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Then when they had provoked Our wrath, We inflicted Our retribution on them and drowned every one of them. (43:55) Allah warns every nation through His chosen Messengers so that they might be saved from idolatry and degeneration. As for those who ignore these warnings and grow more insolent, Allah punishes them. And, His retribution is surely unlike that of people: Those who did not believe will be addressed: “Allah’s abhorrence of you, when you were called to faith but then chose unbelief, is even greater than your hatred of yourselves.” (40:10) In most cases, Allah may delay His punishment upon those people who were warned, and thus were informed of the truth, to give them more time to acquire faith and purify themselves. However, the majority of people use this time to strengthen their existing insolence. Therefore, they deserve a humiliating punishment. As Allah states: It is coming closer to you and closer. Then closer to you and closer still. Does man reckon that he will be left to go on unchecked? (75:34-36) According to the Qur’an, denying our Lord, being insolent and ungrateful toward Him, and refusing to abandon such defiant attitudes are among the greatest crimes that a person can commit. This is why Allah punishes unbelievers in ways that they could never have imagined. In one verse, Allah informs us that He is the Retaliator: On the day We launch the Great Assault, We will certainly inflict Our retribution. (44:16)