1- The Story of the People of Madyan and the Call of Shu`ayb ‘alayhissalam
2- The Response of Shu`ayb’s People
3- Shu’ayb’s Refutation of His People
4- Shu’ayb’s threatening of His People When Shu’ayb ‘alayhissalam despaired of their response
And to the Madyan people (We sent) their brother Shu’aib. He said: “O my people! Worship Allah, you have no other Ilah (God) but Him, and give not short measure or weight, I see you in prosperity; and verily I fearfor you the torment of a Day encompassing.
Madyan was a place between the land of Al-Hijaz and Al-Sham, not very far from the Sodom where Lut ‘alayhissalam’s people were destroyed.
Shu’ayb ‘alayhissalam was an eloquent prophet, and was known as Khateeb Al Anbiya (The Orator of the Prophets). The power of speech was given to him and he would throw off any opponents during an argument or debate. He was also the best amongst them in lineage.
The people of Madyan are referred to as Ashaab Al Aykah, “the people of the wooden tree” because they would worship it.
They were wealthy people who earned their money through cheating, taxes and bribes. They did not know that what is less and pure is far better than what is in large quantities and filthy.
He called them to the worship of Allah; it was the prime message and the prophets knew that once they stop the Shirk, all other vices will be easy to overcome.
“And O my people! Give full measure and weight in justice and reduce not the things that are due to the people, and do not commit mischief in the land, causing corruption.
“That which is left by Allah for you (after giving the rights of the people) is better for you, if you are believers. And I am not set over you as a guardian.
Then he says, “Fulfill the measure and the weight and do not cheat the people.” He called them to transparency and clarity in their buying and selling, and told them to stop ruining things and causing problems for the people, diverting them from the straight path and violating their rights.
If we look back and reflect for a moment, all these vices are now common in our societies today, making this a very, very beneficial reminder. Deceit and corruption are common factors in commercial practices today, and some people shamelessly flaunt their unlawful profits, never once thinking about the consequences.
They used to borrow money and buy things on credit for no reason at all, they were wealthy, well-off people but just loved to waste and consume others’ property. They were forever indebted. He told them that the little that Allah has given them as halal is much better for them, if only they believed and feared judgement on the Last Day.
He told them that they are haughty, arrogant people who diverted, hindered and blocked those who believed, trying to make them adapt to their way of life. This is exactly what our societies today are calling to: materialism and capitalism. The rich exploit the poor, and everybody is driven by finance and luxury.
He reminded them that they were small in number, and Allah granted them offspring and strength. He reminded them of their humble beginnings and told them to be grateful to Allah rather than coveting for more. He also told them that filthy, corrupted wealth will never buy happiness and contentment, nor will it make them live forever.
They told him that he is foolish and possessed by the devil. They tried to tempt him to deal with them and join his wealth with theirs, trying to do business with him!
They said: “O Shu’aib! Does your Salat (prayer) (i.e. the prayers which you offer has spoiled your mind, so you) command that we leave off what our fathers used to worship, or that we leave off doing what we like with our property? Verily, you are the forbearer, right-minded!” (They said this sarcastically).
Now their business deals were earning them millions, and Shu’ayb ‘alayhissalam barely had any followers. They said, “You’re praying too much! You’re too spiritual. Are you calling us to abandon what our forefathers were upon? And you’re telling us that we cannot handle our financial matters the way we see fit?” They sarcastically mock him. They’re telling him to separate the deen and dunya. Business is one thing and religion is another.
This attitude is SO PREVALENT in our societies nowadays and it’s one of the deceptive ways Shaitan has seeped corruption into the people. You might know of a man who prays his five prayers in the masjid regularly, but the people know him to be a con in his business dealings! This is also what today’s political agendas are calling for. Insurance, interest, credit, bonds, investments, money, money, money.
He said: “O my people! Tell me, if I have a clear evidence from my Lord, and He has given me a good sustenance from Himself (shall I corrupt it by mixing it with the unlawfully earned money). I wish not, in contradiction to you, to do that which I forbid you. I only desire reform so far as I am able, to the best of my power. And my guidance cannot come except from Allah, in Him I trust and unto Him I repent.
“And O my people! Let not my Shiqaq cause you to suffer the fate similar to that of the people of Nuh (Noah) or of Hud or of Salih (Saleh), and the people of Lout (Lot) are not far off from you!
“And ask forgiveness of your Lord and turn unto Him in repentance. Verily, my Lord is Most Merciful, Most Loving.”
He replied saying, “Don’t you see that Allah has given me clear signs, and I may have less than you, but Allah has blessed me with pure wealth, and I will not stop calling to Allah regardless of how you tempt me.”
They called him a liar and looked down upon him, accusing him (YET AGAIN) of having ulterior motives, i.e. that he wants to become their leader and usurp their wealth, and that’s why he’s preaching to them.
He replied saying, “My aim isn’t to contradict what I am preaching to you, which is living a simple life with pure wealth. If you find me prohibiting you from something, you will never see me taking a part in it myself. I only intend to bring about social, economical goodness and purity, and I rely on Allah to bring me results and accept these efforts from me.”
He reminded them that none of this will help them against the punishment of Allah, nor will it protect them on the Day of Judgement. He says, “Please don’t allow your hatred for me be the reason you get punished the way that Nuh, Hud, Saalih and Lut’s people were destroyed. Stop being prejudiced and listen to what I’m trying to tell you, before it’s too late.” He warned them of a punishment similar to that of Nuh, Hud, Saalih and Lut ‘alayhissalam’s people… the shriek, the flood, the stones… quite devastating but they still turned away.
Sometimes we may encounter difficulties in convincing people of the truth because of some prior misunderstanding or misconception. This is the case especially with family members who hold past occurrences against you in their obstinacy against the truth, and all help is sought from Allah.
He calls them to the forgiveness of Allah, and tells them to turn to Him in repentance because there is STILL a chance.
These are two tactics he tried: he tried being stern, then he tried being soft. He reminded them of the punishment of Allah, then he reminded them of the forgiveness of Allah and the love that Allah bestows on a person who turns to Him in repentance.
They said: “O Shu’aib! We do not understand much of what you say, and we see you a weak (man, it is said that he was a blind man) among us. Were it not for your family, we should certainly have stoned you and you are not powerful against us.”
He said: “O my people! Is then my family of more weight with you than Allah? And you have cast Him away behind your backs. Verily, my Lord is surrounding all that you do.
But they STILL turn away, “We don’t understand what you’re saying; this is haram, and that is halal. And you’re so weak, we’ll fix you up and change your mind soon.” They wanted to eliminate him, murder him or kick him out of the town, but they forgot that Allah is WATCHING and LISTENING. They said, “If it wasn’t for the small number of people following you, we would have stoned you to death a long time ago, and you’re nothing special to us, nor are you powerful against us.”
But they now threaten him: they want to throw him and those who believed with him out of the town OR they will force them to conform to their evil ways. He told them, “What if we don’t want to?! You cannot force anything upon us against our will, because Allah has saved us from these ways and we will be fabricating a lie against Him if we return.”
“And O my people! Act according to your ability and way, and I am acting (on my way). You will come to know who it is on whom descends the torment that will cover him with ignominy, and who is a liar! And watch you! Verily, I too am watching with you.”
And when Our Commandment came, We saved Shu’aib and those who believed with him by a Mercy from Us. And As-Saihah (torment – awful cry, etc.) seized the wrong-doers, and they lay (dead) prostrate in their homes.
As if they had never lived there! So away with Madyan (Midian)! As away with Thamud! (All these nations were destroyed).
Enough is enough. Shu’ayb ‘alayhissalam was challenged for a sign and a proof of his honesty and they ask him, “Bring us down a piece from the sky to prove yourself.” They’re asking for punishment. Shu’ayb ‘alayhissalam now prayed to Allah to judge between him and the people.
The punishment came: large, dense clouds covered the sun and the wind stopped, it became humid and hot, extremely suffocating, choking weather. A powerful tremor and sound wave overtook them, and they were destroyed in the blink of an eye, and their wealth was still lying there.
They used to call the believers losers, but Allah showed them exactly who the losers are. In Surah Al A’raf:
وَقَالَ الْمَلَأُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ قَوْمِهِ لَئِنِ اتَّبَعْتُمْ شُعَيْبًا إِنَّكُمْ إِذًا لَخَاسِرُونَ
The chiefs of those who disbelieved among his people said (to their people): “If you follow Shu’aib, be sure then you will be the losers!”
فَأَخَذَتْهُمُ الرَّجْفَةُ فَأَصْبَحُوا فِي دَارِهِمْ جَاثِمِينَ
So the earthquake seized them and they lay (dead), prostrate in their homes.
الَّذِينَ كَذَّبُوا شُعَيْبًا كَأَنْ لَمْ يَغْنَوْا فِيهَا ۚ الَّذِينَ كَذَّبُوا شُعَيْبًا كَانُوا هُمُ الْخَاسِرِينَ
Those who belied Shu’aib, became as if they had never dwelt there. Those who belied Shu’aib, they were the losers.
Shua’yb ‘alayhissalam came back after the punishment was over and said, “Didn’t I deliver the messages to you? But now, how can I feel sorry for those who denied?”
Allah says, “Indeed, we got rid of the people of the Madyan, just as we got rid of the people of Thamud.” And they are far removed from His mercy and forgiveness.
-The Sahara Bloggers (Umm Saifullah)