Reflections from Surah Hud: Ayah 61-68


1- The Story of Salih and the People of Thamud     

2- The Conversation between Salih and the People of Thamud

Quran, Surah Hud, Ayat 61

And to Thamud (people, We sent) their brother Salih (Saleh). He said: “O my people! Worship Allah, you have no other Ilah (God) but Him. He brought you forth from the earth and settled you therein, then ask forgiveness of Him and turn to Him in repentance. Certainly, my Lord is Near, Responsive.”

The people of ‘Ad were the most sophisticated, inventive people on earth, but Allah destroyed them and nothing could stop Him. Likewise the superpowers of this era are technologically advanced, and quickly progressing, and while they arrogantly attribute this “success” to themselves, it is nothing but a test that will soon be over. The greatest disaster that this Ummah faced was the death of the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. There is no disaster that can compare. No matter how slowly progressing we may seem in comparison to the western nations, we are actually in greater blessing because Allah is with us. That is true attainment. They were succeeded by the people of Salih, known as the nation of Thamud.

The people of Salih lived in a place called “Al Hijr” which was a rocky area. Their dwellings are still present close to Madinah, and the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam visited their remnants and so did his companions radhiallahu ‘anhum. They were also misled by luxuries that they indulged themselves in. They were huge, wealthy, strong people. 

Allah sent to them Salih ‘alayhissalam who was also from a wealthy family that had a high standing in their community. They were going to appoint him as their leader anyway because they considered him to have leadership skills and characteristics, as did all the other Messengers. 

He warned them against polytheism just as all the Messengers before him had done with their nations. He reminds them of the gifts of Allah upon them; He established them on the earth and granted them growth and offspring, so they should be grateful and turn to Him repentance, and that repentance and belief will guarantee their prayers to be answered. 

These people used to carve their homes out of rocks, and like the people of Hud, were arrogant about their strength and ability. They felt very secure in their homes thinking: the water cannot reach the mountain because it is so high, and the wind cannot destroy the mountain because it is so strong, and the earthquakes cannot destroy the mountain because it is established firmly into the ground. But little did they remember or take heed from the people who had been destroyed before them. 

Quran, Surah Hud, Ayat 62

They said: “O Salih! You have been among us as a figure of good hope (and we wished for you to be our chief), till this [new thing which you have brought; that we leave our gods and worship your God Alone]! Do you now forbid us the worship of what our fathers have worshipped? But we are really in grave doubt as to that which you invite us to (monotheism).”

Quran, Surah Hud, Ayat 63

He said: “O my people! Tell me, if I have a clear proof from my Lord, and there has come to me a Mercy (Prophethood, etc.) from Him, who then can help me against Allah, if I were to disobey Him? Then you increase me not but in loss.

Salih ‘alayhissalam was a very intelligent man, he told them to fear Allah and stop being blasphemous. He told them about the Message from Allah and told them that they should obey him. He reminded them that they did not have to recompense him with any material good, rather, his reward is with Allah. This reminder is repeated by almost every Messenger, and it serves as a good reminder and eye opener that many preachers of deviant religions have no incentive except making money. These money making schemes have become more and more common in our world today, as corrupted, ignorant people feed on the innocence of their followers. Allah is reminding us that the truthful people will never have greedy incentives. 

They tell him that they used to consider him a leader, and had hope in him, but now that he is calling to a “new religion”, they start doubting him. They belittle the Message that he came with, and told him that it will never get him a high standing in their society. 

They accused him of being a magician because a few poor people started following him. And theeeeeeen they asked him to bring a sign… Uh oh. Once they ask for a sign, and Allah sends it to them exactly the way they asked for it, there are no more chances after that. They demanded: “Ask your Lord to make a she-camel, which must be 10 months pregnant, tall and attractive, issue from the rock for us.”

Quran, Surah Hud, Ayat 64

“And O my people! This she-camel of Allah is a sign to you, leave her to feed on Allah’s earth, and touch her not with evil, lest a near torment will seize you.”

When the camel came forth the way they wanted it, Salih ‘alayhissalam told them not to harm it and warned them of Allah’s punishment. It was a huge camel and had a huge appetite. One day was designated for this camel to drink from the spring, and the next day was designated for the rest of their camels. They were very unhappy with this.

The community split into two. Half of them called it magic and half of them believed. Everyday a few people accepted Salih ‘alayhissalam’s message. The number of his followers started increasing, but the majority were still disbelievers.  

Quran, Surah Hud, Ayat 65

 But they killed her. So he said: “Enjoy yourselves in your homes for three days. This is a promise (i.e. a threat) that will not be belied.”

They got tired of this camel soon enough. Their cattle and camels were afraid of it and would run away anytime it approached. They decided to kill the camel and Salih ‘alayhissalam warned them again. But a few men from amongst them destroyed the sign that Allah had sent to them, and in their ignorance they challenged Salih ‘alayhissalam and said, “Bring the punishment that you promised now.” He replied, “Remain in your houses three days, and that will be the end.” They were still haughty and arrogant about their homes and didn’t think twice of what they had now done. 

Quran, Surah Hud, Ayat 66

So when Our Commandment came, We saved Salih (Saleh) and those who believed with him by a Mercy from Us, and from the disgrace of that Day. Verily, your Lord, He is the All-Strong, the All-Mighty.

 The first day of the punishment, their faces changed color and they were crying, calling it “days of bad omen.” In the evening, nine people from his community got together and swore an oath to kill Salih ‘alayhissalam and his whole family and in the morning they would pretend that they did not do it. They planned, but Allah had a greater plan. Salih ‘alayhissalam left the area with his family and those who believed. The result of their plot against the one who was bringing them to goodness was that Allah destroyed them completely! They stayed in their mountain homes and Allah sent a wave of loud shrieking that made the whole nation shake out of terror. Their hearts burst because of the intensity of that sound. 

Quran, Surah Hud, Ayat 67

And As-Saihah  overtook the wrong-doers, so they lay (dead), prostrate in their homes, –

It was a loud sound wave, and the whole nation ended up in a pile of rubble. When everything was destroyed, Salih ‘alayhissalam went back and saw the destruction… He said, “O my people, I conveyed the message to you and I advised you, but you do not like people who advise you.” 

Quran, Surah Hud, Ayat 68

As if they had never lived there. No doubt! Verily, Thamud disbelieved in their Lord. So away with Thamud!

Their empty homes are still a sign for those who wish to take heed. The companions radhiallahu ‘anhum visited it with the Messenger of Allah who instructed people never to pass through that destruction except in the state of humility and fear, rather than treating it as a tourist attraction. 

-The Sahara Bloggers (Umm Saifullah)


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