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The followers of Prophet Nuh (pbuh) were noble Muslims, living pious lives, who settled down in Arabia, hence their Arab origins. But, as time went by, some of their children drifted away from the way of Islam. They forgot the guidance of Allah and began worshipping idols, drinking alcohol, gambling, and cheating each other. God sent prophets from among them to correct such errant ways.
"To the `Ad People (We sent)
Hud one of their own brethren.
The Ad people lived in an area between Yemen and Oman. They were known for being tall, handsome, and strong people. They were excellent architects and skilled engineers. They liked to build castles and magnificent buildings, and also planted beautiful gardens and orchards. They were not a people ignorant of the existence of Allah, nor did they refuse to worship Him. But along with Allah, they worshiped other gods and idols believing that each deity fulfilled a different need. According to them, all the powers that really belong to Allah were divided among these many gods.
Allah wanted to guide and discipline these people, so He sent a prophet from among them, Prophet Hud (pbuh). He was from an Arab tribe living in Al-Ahqaf in Yemen on a land called Ashar. He was a noble, patient and tolerant man.
Hud (pbuh) tried to speak to them and to explain Allah's blessings: how Allah the Almighty had given them strength and power, and how He sent them rain to revive the soil. Hud's people looked about them and found they were the strongest on earth, so they became prouder and more obstinate. "And O my people! ask forgiveness of your Lord and turn to Him (in repentance): He will send you the skies pouring abundant rain and add strength to your strength: so turn ye not back in sin!" <Qur'an Hud 11:52> He explained that belief in the Day of Judgment was essential to Allah's justice, teaching them the same thing that every prophet taught. After many warnings, the conflict between Hud and his people continued. The years passed, and they became prouder, more obstinate, more tyrannical and more defiant of their prophet's message.
Hud (pbuh) renounced them and their gods and affirmed his dependence on Allah
Who had created him. Hud (pbuh) realized that punishment would be incurred on
the disbelievers among his people. "I put my
trust in Allah my Lord and your Lord! There is not a moving creature but He
hath grasp of its forelock. Verily it is my Lord that is on a Straight Path.
If ye turn away I (at least) have conveyed the Message with which I was sent
to you. My Lord will make another People to succeed you and you will not harm
Him in the least. For my Lord hath care and watch over all things."
Hud (pbuh) and his people waited for Allah's promise. A drought spread throughout the land, for the sky no longer sent its rain. The sun scorched the desert sands, looking like a disk of fire which settled on people's heads. Almighty Allah recounts: "Then, when they saw (the penalty in the shape of) a cloud traversing the sky,coming to their valleys, they said: "This cloud will give us rain!" Nay, but it is the calamity which you were asking to be hastened! A wind wherein is a grievous penalty! Destroying everything by the command of its Lord! <Qur'an Ahqaf 46: 24-25 > They were destroyed by a furious wind exceedingly violent which Allah imposed on them for seven nights and eight days in succession. Only Hud and his followers remained unharmed. They migrated to Hadramaut and lived there in peace, worshiping Allah, their true Lord.
"To the Thamud people, (We sent) Salih, one of their own brethren..."<Qur'an A'raf 7:73>
After the destruction of the 'Ad, the tribe of Thamud, another Arab tribe, succeeded them in power and glory. They also fell to idol worshipping. As their material wealth increased, so did their evil ways, while their virtue decreased. Like the people of 'Ad, they erected huge buildings on the plains and hewed beautiful homes out of the hills. Tyranny and oppression became prevalent as evil men ruled the land.
Salih (pbuh) was known for his wisdom, purity and goodness and had been greatly
respected by his people before Allah's revelation came to him. Salih's people
said to him: "0 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
(Allah) alone! Do you (now) forbid us the worship of what our fathers have worshiped?
But we are really in grave doubt as to that which you invite us to (monotheism)."
<Qur'an Hud 11: 62> The people of Thamud doubted his words, thinking
he was charmed, and they saw that he would not stop preaching. Fearing that
his followers would increase, they tried to put him off by assigning him a challenge:
Salih (pbuh) had to prove that he was a messenger of Allah by performing a miracle.
They asked him to make a unique she-camel emerge from the mountains. Allah the
Almighty says in the Holy Book: "And We sent
the she-camel to Thamud as a clear sign, but they did her wrong." <Qur'an
Bani Israel 17: 59> A number of Salih's people believed, yet most
of them continued in their disbelief, stubbornness and waywardness. So they
killed the she-camel and insolently defied the commandment of their Lord, and
said: "0 Salih! Bring about your threats if you
are indeed one of the Messengers (of Allah)." And they received the retribution
they had requested, for "
the earthquake took them unawares, and
they lay prostrate in their homes in the morning."
All were destroyed before they realized what was happening. A terrible earthquake
came and buried the people and destroyed their boasted civilization. The calamity
must have been fairly extensive in area and intense in the terror it inspired
for it is described as a single mighty blast.(source:A. Yusuf Ali,commentary
of the Qur'an) As for the people who believed in the message of Salih (pbuh),
they left the place before the earthquake and were saved.
"Also mention in the Book, (the story of) Isma'il; he was strictly true to what he promised and he was a messenger."<Qur'an Maryam 19:54>
It has been said that all Arabs trace their origins to Isma'il, the son of
Ibrahim; upon them both be peace. However, what is well known to be true is
that the 'arab al-Ariba (the original Arabs) came before Isma'il. Among them
were the people of Ad, Thamud, Tasm, Jadis, Umaym, Jurhum, and the 'Amaliq,
as well as others known only to God. Also, these peoples both came before and
were contemporaries of Prophet Ibrahim (pbuh). Yet the 'arab al-musta'riba (the
Arabized Arabs), the Arabs of the Hijaz, were the descendants of Isma'il, son
of Abraham; upon them both be peace. The Jewish people, on the other hand, are
descendants of Prophet Ishaaq (pbuh), second son of Prophet Ibrahim (pbuh).
Prophet Ishaaq's son Prophet Yaqub (pbuh) is the father of the Jewish people.
Allah the Almighty tells us of Ibrahim's affliction. After his rescue from
the fire, Ibrahim (pbuh) says : "Verily, I am
going to my Lord. He will guide me! My Lord! Grant me (offspring) from the righteous."
So We gave him the glad tidings of a forbearing boy. And, when he (Isma'il)
was old enough to walk with him, he said: "0 my son! I have seen in a dream
that I am slaughtering you (offer you in sacrifice to Allah), so look what do
you think!" He said: "0 my father! Do that which you are commanded,
Insha' Allah (if Allah wills), you shall find me of the patient." Then,
when they had both submitted themselves (to the Will of Allah) and he had laid
him prostrate on his forehead (or on the side of his forehead for slaughtering);
and We called out to him: "0 Abraham! You have fulfilled the dream (vision)!"
Verily! Thus do We reward those who perform good deeds totally for Allah's sake
"O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring
to dwell in a valley without cultivation, by thy Sacred House in order, O our
Lord, that they may establish regular prayer. So fill the hearts of some among
men with love towards them." <Qur'an Ibrahim 14:37>
Allah commanded Ibrahim (pbuh) to take Isma'il (pbuh) and his mother from Quds to Mecca and leave them there. Then, Allah revealed to him the place on which Ka'ba was built previously and instructed him to rebuild it where Isma'il (pbuh) had been left as a baby with his mother, a place which was higher than the land surrounding it. And so it was that Ibrahim (pbuh) and Ismail (pbuh) built the Ka'ba. As they worked they kept repeating: "Our Lord! Accept this service from us, for Thou art the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing." <Qur'an Baqara 2:127> The House of God used to be the centre to which all the Arab tribes resorted for trade, for poetic contests, and for worship. The Ka'ba continued to remain a centre of worship for his progeny through his son Isma'il (pbuh).
Allah sent Prophet Shu'aib (pbuh) armed with many miracles to the people of Madyan, who were Arabs and lived in the country of Ma'an, part of which today is greater Syria. They were a greedy people who did not believe that Allah existed and who led wicked lives. They gave short measure, praised their goods beyond their worth, and hid their defects. They lied to their customers, thereby cheating them.
Shu'aib (pbuh) preached to them, begging them to be mindful of Allah's favors and warning them of the consequences of their evil ways, but they only mocked him. He remained calm as he reminded them of his kinship to them and that what he was doing was not for his personal gain. They seized the belongings of Shu'aib (pbuh) and his followers then drove them out of the city. The Messenger turned to his Lord for help, and his plea was answered. Allah sent down on them scorching heat, and they suffered terribly. On seeing a cloud gathering in the sky, they thought it would bring cool, refreshing rain, and rushed outside in the hope of enjoying the rainfall. Instead, the cloud burst, hurling thunderbolts and fire. They heard a thunderous sound from above, which caused the earth under their feet to tremble. The evil-doers perished in this state of horror.
"We sent thee not, but as a mercy (Muhammad) for all creatures"
<Qur'an Anbiyaa 21:107>
Muhammad (pbuh) was born in 570 in Makkah, among semi-civilized Arabs, where educated people were few, and hence had not have the benefit of even rudimentary literacy. During his boyhood, he tended flocks of sheep and goats with his uncle Abu Talib, and became a modest tradesman in his youth. He was an ordinary, simple, pure and humble man. At the age of 40 he received the divine command and was entrusted with the great task of calling human kind to Islam, the religion of submission and surrender to one true God. Within a short span of next 23 years he conquered the hearts and minds of the Arabs. He laid down firm foundations of Islam, which after his death, because of its inherent truth, vitality and proximity to human nature, spread fast and within one hundred years became the most powerful and dominant religion on the globe. The world has never seen the like of a revolution brought about by him. Now some fourteen centuries after his death he is undisputedly recognized as the wisest, and most accomplished of men, the most efficient law-giver, the ablest administrator general, and warrior, the most successful reformer and above all the most magnificent conqueror of ideas and the most revolutionary leader of mankind. Of of his biggest quality was his sincerity and truthfulness. He has never taken any credit for his greatness, and in utmost humility, ascribes it to God Who sent him to guide mankind. "Say :I am but a man like yourselves, (but ) the inspiration has come to me, that your God is One God: whoever expects to meet his Lord, let him work righteousness, and in the worship of his Lord, admit no one as partner." <Qur'an Kahf 18:110> Righteousness and true respect for God, which excludes the worship of anything else, wether idols, or forces of nature, or faculties of man, or self ; these are the criteria of true worship.