In Sura 17, we see the following requests that were made to God’s messenger.
[17:89] We have cited for the people in this Quran all kinds of examples, but most people insist upon disbelieving. [17:90] They said, “We will not believe you unless you cause a spring to gush out of the ground. [17:91] “Or unless you own a garden of date palms and grapes, with rivers running through it. [17:92] “Or unless you cause masses from the sky, as you claimed, to fall on us. Or unless you bring GOD and the angels before our eyes. [17:93] “Or unless you own a luxurious mansion, or unless you climb into the sky. Even if you do climb, we will not believe unless you bring a book that we can read.” Say, “Glory be to my Lord. Am I any more than a human messenger?”
وَلَقَدْ صَرَّفْنَا لِلنَّاسِ فِي هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنِ مِنْ كُلِّ مَثَلٍ فَأَبَىٰ أَكْثَرُ النَّاسِ إِلَّا كُفُورًا
وَقَالُوا لَنْ نُؤْمِنَ لَكَ حَتَّىٰ تَفْجُرَ لَنَا مِنَ الْأَرْضِ يَنْبُوعًا
أَوْ تَكُونَ لَكَ جَنَّةٌ مِنْ نَخِيلٍ وَعِنَبٍ فَتُفَجِّرَ الْأَنْهَارَ خِلَالَهَا تَفْجِيرًا
أَوْ تُسْقِطَ السَّمَاءَ كَمَا زَعَمْتَ عَلَيْنَا كِسَفًا أَوْ تَأْتِيَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْمَلَائِكَةِ قَبِيلًا
أَوْ يَكُونَ لَكَ بَيْتٌ مِنْ زُخْرُفٍ أَوْ تَرْقَىٰ فِي السَّمَاءِ وَلَنْ نُؤْمِنَ لِرُقِيِّكَ حَتَّىٰ تُنَزِّلَ عَلَيْنَا كِتَابًا نَقْرَؤُهُ قُلْ سُبْحَانَ رَبِّي هَلْ كُنْتُ إِلَّا بَشَرًا رَسُولًا
وَمَا مَنَعَ النَّاسَ أَنْ يُؤْمِنُوا إِذْ جَاءَهُمُ الْهُدَىٰ إِلَّا أَنْ قَالُوا أَبَعَثَ اللَّهُ بَشَرًا رَسُولًا
If these are the requests that were made against the prophet Muhammad by his objectors, when did the prophet make the claim that masses would fall down upon the people as per 17:92? Were the objectors lying that he made this claim? If so, why wouldn’t the Quran clarify this? And if he made such a claim then was he mistaken for making this claim as this event never happened to his objectors? Or is this further evidence that this is not in reference to the prophet but to a future messenger?
Alternatively, Rashad Khalifa, who claimed to be God’s messenger of the covenant as prophesized in 3:81, did make this claim.
[3:81] GOD took a covenant from the prophets, saying, “I will give you the scripture and wisdom. Afterwards, a messenger will come to confirm all existing scriptures. You shall believe in him and support him.” He said, “Do you agree with this, and pledge to fulfill this covenant?” They said, “We agree.” He said, “You have thus borne witness, and I bear witness along with you.”
وَإِذْ أَخَذَ اللَّهُ مِيثَاقَ النَّبِيِّينَ لَمَا آتَيْتُكُمْ مِنْ كِتَابٍ وَحِكْمَةٍ ثُمَّ جَاءَكُمْ رَسُولٌ مُصَدِّقٌ لِمَا مَعَكُمْ لَتُؤْمِنُنَّ بِهِ وَلَتَنْصُرُنَّهُ قَالَ أَأَقْرَرْتُمْ وَأَخَذْتُمْ عَلَىٰ ذَٰلِكُمْ إِصْرِي قَالُوا أَقْرَرْنَا قَالَ فَاشْهَدُوا وَأَنَا مَعَكُمْ مِنَ الشَّاهِدِينَ
He made this claim towards the Arabs who rejected him based on the prophecy of the smoke from the Quran in Sura 44, The Smoke (Al-Dukhãn).
[44:10] Therefore, watch for the day when the sky brings a profound smoke.*
[44:11] It will envelop the people; this is a painful retribution.
[44:12] “Our Lord, relieve this retribution for us; we are believers.”
[44:13] Now that it is too late, they remember! An enlightening messenger had come to them.
[44:14] But they turned away from him, saying, “Well educated, but crazy!“
[44:15] We will relieve the retribution for awhile; you will soon revert.
فَارْتَقِبْ يَوْمَ تَأْتِي السَّمَاءُ بِدُخَانٍ مُبِينٍ
يَغْشَى النَّاسَ هَٰذَا عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ
رَبَّنَا اكْشِفْ عَنَّا الْعَذَابَ إِنَّا مُؤْمِنُونَ
أَنَّىٰ لَهُمُ الذِّكْرَىٰ وَقَدْ جَاءَهُمْ رَسُولٌ مُبِينٌ
ثُمَّ تَوَلَّوْا عَنْهُ وَقَالُوا مُعَلَّمٌ مَجْنُونٌ
إِنَّا كَاشِفُو الْعَذَابِ قَلِيلًا إِنَّكُمْ عَائِدُونَ
From these verses, we see that this is not in reference to the Day of Resurrection as the retribution of the smoke will be temporary with enough time for the people to revert after it is removed. Additionally, 44:16 then talks about the Day or Resurrection occurring after this event.
These verses also refer to the messenger as “a clarifying messenger” (rasūlun mubīnun / رَسُولٌ مُبِينٌ ) as well as describing him as “well educated, but crazy” (muʿallamun majnūnun / مُعَلَّمٌ مَجْنُونٌ ). Muhammad was called many things, but one thing that he has not been labeled by his opponents is “well educated.”
Some make the argument that based on 16:104, this could be in reference to Muhammad because people accused him of being taught and that the meaning of muʿallamun ( مُعَلَّمٌ ) is just one who was taught, but this is not correct.
[16:103] We are fully aware that they say, “A human being is teaching him!” The tongue of the source they hint at is non-Arabic, and this is a perfect Arabic tongue.
وَلَقَدْ نَعْلَمُ أَنَّهُمْ يَقُولُونَ إِنَّمَا يُعَلِّمُهُ بَشَرٌ لِسَانُ الَّذِي يُلْحِدُونَ إِلَيْهِ أَعْجَمِيٌّ وَهَٰذَا لِسَانٌ عَرَبِيٌّ مُبِينٌ
[25:5] They also said, “Tales from the past that he wrote down; they were dictated to him day and night.”
(٥) وَقَالُوا أَسَاطِيرُ الْأَوَّلِينَ اكْتَتَبَهَا فَهِيَ تُمْلَىٰ عَلَيْهِ بُكْرَةً وَأَصِيلًا
The meaning of muʿallamun ( مُعَلَّمٌ ) means one who teaches and not the expression of a student who is being taught. This is also consistent with the 24 other occurrences in the Quran of the word ‘allam ( عَلَّم ) used in the Quran. This word is consistently used in the context of teaching. In addition, below is a snippet from Lanes Lexicon for this meaning.
Sura 26 is one of the suras that describes the five annihilated communities in the Quran, e.g. the people of Noah, the people of Hud (Ad), the people of Lot (Sodom), the people of Saleh (Thamud), the people of Shuaib (The Woods). After these communities are mentioned, it describes the Quran, and another community that is not specifically specified.
[26:198] If we revealed this to people who do not know Arabic. [26:199] And had him recite it (in Arabic), they could not possibly believe in it. [26:200] We thus render it (like a foreign language) in the hearts of the guilty. [26:201] Thus, they cannot believe in it; not until they see the painful retribution. [26:202] It will come to them suddenly, when they least expect it. [26:203] They will then say, “Can we have a respite?” [26:204] Did they not challenge our retribution? [26:205] As you see, we allowed them to enjoy for years. [26:206] Then the retribution came to them, just as promised. [26:207] Their vast resources did not help them in the least. [26:208] We never annihilate any community without sending warners. [26:209] Therefore, this is a reminder, for we are never unjust.
(٢٦:١٩٨) وَلَوْ نَزَّلْنَاهُ عَلَىٰ بَعْضِ الْأَعْجَمِينَ
(٢٦:١٩٩) فَقَرَأَهُ عَلَيْهِمْ مَا كَانُوا بِهِ مُؤْمِنِينَ
(٢٦:٢٠٠) كَذَٰلِكَ سَلَكْنَاهُ فِي قُلُوبِ الْمُجْرِمِينَ
(٢٦:٢٠١) لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِهِ حَتَّىٰ يَرَوُا الْعَذَابَ الْأَلِيمَ
(٢٦:٢٠٢) فَيَأْتِيَهُمْ بَغْتَةً وَهُمْ لَا يَشْعُرُونَ
(٢٦:٢٠٣) فَيَقُولُوا هَلْ نَحْنُ مُنْظَرُونَ
(٢٦:٢٠٤) أَفَبِعَذَابِنَا يَسْتَعْجِلُونَ
(٢٦:٢٠٥) أَفَرَأَيْتَ إِنْ مَتَّعْنَاهُمْ سِنِينَ
(٢٦:٢٠٦) ثُمَّ جَاءَهُمْ مَا كَانُوا يُوعَدُونَ
(٢٦:٢٠٧) مَا أَغْنَىٰ عَنْهُمْ مَا كَانُوا يُمَتَّعُونَ
(٢٦:٢٠٨) وَمَا أَهْلَكْنَا مِنْ قَرْيَةٍ إِلَّا لَهَا مُنْذِرُونَ
(٢٦:٢٠٩) ذِكْرَىٰ وَمَا كُنَّا ظَالِمِينَ
Many people want to think that this is discussing the Day of Judgment, but it is clear that this retribution is describing one particular community that will be annihilated. Specifically, a community that had the Quran in their own language, had vast resources, and was allowed to enjoy their sinful ways for many years.
We see another challenge made by the disbelievers in the following verses regarding this same topic.
[52:42] Are they plotting and scheming? The disbelievers’ schemes backfire against them. [52:43] Do they have another god besides GOD? GOD be glorified, far above having partners. [52:44] When they see masses falling from the sky, they will say, “Piled clouds!” [52:45] Disregard them until they meet the day in which they are struck. [52:46] On that day, their schemes will not protect them, nor will they be helped. [52:47] Those who transgress suffer retribution here, but most of them do not know.
(٥٢:٤٢) أَمْ يُرِيدُونَ كَيْدًا فَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا هُمُ الْمَكِيدُونَ
(٥٢:٤٣) أَمْ لَهُمْ إِلَٰهٌ غَيْرُ اللَّهِ سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ
(٥٢:٤٤) وَإِنْ يَرَوْا كِسْفًا مِنَ السَّمَاءِ سَاقِطًا يَقُولُوا سَحَابٌ مَرْكُومٌ
(٥٢:٤٥) فَذَرْهُمْ حَتَّىٰ يُلَاقُوا يَوْمَهُمُ الَّذِي فِيهِ يُصْعَقُونَ
(٥٢:٤٦) يَوْمَ لَا يُغْنِي عَنْهُمْ كَيْدُهُمْ شَيْئًا وَلَا هُمْ يُنْصَرُونَ
(٥٢:٤٧) وَإِنَّ لِلَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا عَذَابًا دُونَ ذَٰلِكَ وَلَٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَهُمْ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ
Every month Rashad Khlifa would publish his newsletter called Submitters Perspective. On January 31, 1990 Rashad Khalifa was martyred at his Masjid in the late hours of the night. Interestingly, he happend to have published his March 1990 in advance prior to his martyrdom. In this issue he made the following claims regarding the prophecy of the smoke.