All those who took the path of disbelief, denial and evil, are gradually being surrounded by a hard grip of the Almighty, without being aware of it.
The word Istadraj stands for doing something slowly and gradually but in the terminology of Shari'ah, it refers to every apparent excellence which actually leads to heedlessness towards Allaah-SWT and causes gradual destruction. For example, certain acts of wonder may give a person the false impression of Wilayah in him and keep him misguided. In another situation, a person getting richer by the day but failing to obey Allaah-SWT may believe that Allaah-SWT is pleased with him. Or else a person blessed with State power without correct beliefs and conduct may misconstrue it to be a proof of Allah-SWT's Nearness and Approval. All these attitudes can be termed as Istadraj. Eventually, after a life spent in neglect, they will suffer eternal doom of which they had no awareness all their lives.
Respite on Sin.
Allah-SWT gives respite to the wrongdoers because if He-SWT was to reprimand every sinner instantly, the freedom of action given to human beings would have been compromised. So Allaah-SWT gave them the right to choose their courses of action and at the same time, gave them the respite to practice what they believed. He-SWT also reminds the mankind of His-SWT Omnipresence that no one can hide from Him-SWT and eventually everyone will be produced before Him-SWT .
Eulogy of the Beloved
Did the opponents of the Holy Prophet-SW ever bother to think why this exalted being who had been brought up amongst them had suddenly become so fanatically concerned for their good? Why cannot they see how hard he-SW is trying to reform each and every individual. It is also amazing how he-SW cautions them over the end results of their misdeeds after death, in the grave and on the Day of Judgement. He-SW explains everything explicitly and exquisitely. Is this grand empire of the earth and the heavens, and the endless phenomena of Divine Creativity not enough to open the eyes of the ignorant? Can't they see how every birth is gradually drawn to the doorsteps of death; how a mountain crumbles and yet another takes it place? Is it not amazing how the grass is reduced to ashes and replaced by fresh greenery and how a generation passes away allowing the next to enter the field of practical life? Can't they discern from all this that death may be waiting around the corner and whether they are prepared to face it?
If all the facts laid bare by the Quran are not enough to open their eyes, then there is nothing else to convince mankind. The Quran has no parallel and it is the Final Revelation. It does not lack in the explanation of any aspect of life. Therefore, it should not be expected that there ever will be another Divine Revelation after the Quran.
The Day of Judgement
Who can guide those who have spoiled their terms with Allaah-SWT because of their misdeeds? Certainly no one! Allaah-SWT gives them respite to further advance into error, because they have lost the ability to be guided. They come up with all sorts of crazy questions to the Holy Prophet-SW. They ask him-SW about the time of occurrence of the Doomsday .
So Allaah-SWT tells the Holy Prophet-SW to inform them that the time is known only to Him-SWT and none else need to know about it. Its onslaught will certainly be an open secret for everyone. However, it will be such a clamorous Day that the sky would be torn apart and the earth will be rocked out of existence. A recount of events at this stage shall render people's lives miserable.
Therefore, it will happen suddenly just like sudden death. Yet the Signs of its occurrence have been clearly stated by the Holy Prophet-SW Just as the various stages of human life provide evidence of death, like graying hair, weakening eyesight and falling teeth. These are all indicators of aging and a warning of the approaching death. Similarly the Holy Prophet-SW highlighted the Signs of nearing of the Doomsday. Should people insist on knowing the precise details they must be told that a Prophet-AS needs to know only what is necessary for his mission. To have a knowledge of everything, all the time, is a Divine Attribute. Thus there are many things which are not even known to the angels-AS and the Prophets-AS. Since it does not form part of the duty of a Prophet-AS to unleash the Doomsday, he is not aware of its precise onset. But it is very much amongst the duties of a Prophet-AS to warn the people in time how to prepare for that Day.
The Exalted Office of Prophethood
The Holy Prophet-SW is being told to inform the people that he-SW has no power over his-SW own gain and loss, for it is purely in the control of the Almighty. It is His-SWT Will that prevails and it is by His-SWT Grace and blessing that he-SW enjoys an exalted status, which depends upon His-SWT Pleasure. Prophets-AS, too, are Allah-SWT's creation who submit to His-SWT Omnipotence and always look up to Him-SWT for His-SWT Blessings. To ascribe partners in Divine Attributes is polytheism; neither a Prophet-AS, nor an angel-AS nor a Wali can be taken as partners in any of His-SWT Attributes. In fact, to eradicate this very evil Allaah-SWT sent His-SWT Messengers-AS unto mankind. It is not proper to hope for the attainment of health, affluence or other worldly needs from a Prophet-AS or to make obedience conditional to the fulfillment of mundane desires. The expectation generally associated with the Aulia that they can prevent a loss or cause benefit is absolutely wrong. Take note that these are Divine Attributes and whatever happens is by His-SWT Free Will.
The Holy Prophet-SW told the people that he-SW had no knowledge of the unseen. Had he-SW any control over his-SW gain and loss, he-SW would have never gone through any distress. He-SW could have avoided all problems by making the correct choice and avoiding possible loss, had he-SW known the unseen. But they could see how he-SW endured hardships and temporal losses. Though he-SW was not responsible for the worldly loss or gain yet the status he-SW enjoyed was to impart broad and enlightened vision and knowledge to the mankind through which they can perceive the end results of evil and the reward of piety, to help cultivate a strong faith in the Day of Judgement. Take note that the Messengers-AS of Allaah-SWT are the personalities "those mildest gestures can brighten the destiny of millions. At the same time it can also be a source of punishment if inspite of being associated with a Prophet"-AS, one fails to accept the faith and be obedient. Therefore, all authority rests with Allah-SWT . Barakah can be acquired through the Prophets-AS and the Aulia but it is not a ride that all associating with them will always be guided.
Knowledge of the Unseen
Secondly, it is worth paying attention that the topics addressed by the Prophets-AS pertain to the unseen, such as the Angels-AS, Barzakh, Hereafter and the Almighty Himself-SWT , Who-SWT is the Greatest of the Unseen. The Prophets-AS do inform mankind on the unseen but reiterate that they do not possess the Knowledge of the Unseen themselves. In fact, all realities pertaining to the unseen conveyed to mankind by the Prophets-AS are revealed unto them by Allaah-SWT . The major share of such knowledge, of course, went to the Holy Prophet-SW and his knowledge excels all his-SW distant and recent predecessors. But this is termed as Information on the Unseen whereas Knowledge of the Unseen is that which is not attained through a medium or a source and is an Attribute of the Almighty. The excellence of Prophethood is that people become not only aware of good and evil but also practically begin to refrain from the latter and thus receive the glad tidings of salvation. This is also an indicator of the distinction of a Wali that those who associate with him are blessed with correction of beliefs and practices. But only those shall be blessed with this correction who embrace faith because the pre requisite of receiving beneficence from a Prophet-AS is faith.