Lessons from the Stories of the Prophets in the Quraan by Mufti Menk – Saalih AS
This Ramadan 2011 Tafseer series is originally posted by Du’aa a Day on Facebook. – A transcript of Mufti Ismail Menk’s post Taraweeh Series in Cape Town, South Africa
Shared on 16 August 2011 – See original
الحمد لله و كفى و صلى الله و سلّم و بارك على عباده الذين اصطفى و بعد
All praise is due to Allah Subhana Wa ta’aala, Blessings and salutations upon Muhammad SAW
Yesterday we discussed how the people of Aad were destroyed by a powerful wind. No trace of them remains to this day. They were large huge people who were granted lot’s of wealth. Today on the globe we have people who claim to be the most powerful. Look at Japan, one of the most sophisticated nations in the world. In 8 seconds Allah decided to destroy a whole portion. Nothing and no one could stop it.
Whenever the Prophet PBUH used to see clouds his face se change and he use to become worried. “O Allah grant us a rain of mercy not a rain of punishment.” Obviously the nation of Islam will not be destroyed all at once like the previous nations. May Allah forgive us and grant us protection. Aameen!
A period of time lapsed after the destruction of the Aad and once again kufr and shirk spread in the land. The tribe of Thamud succeeded the Aad in power and glory. They left the Yemen region and migrated to the northern parts of the Peninsula and settled in an area called Hijr approx 380kms north west of Madeenah. Thus the Thamud were also known as As-haab al-Hijr. Like the people of Aad, they erected huge buildings on the plains and carved beautiful homes out of the hills. They also fell to idol-worshipping and forgot Allah. Remember, those who remember Allah in good circumstances Allah will remember you in difficult times.
As their material wealth increased so, too, did their evil ways while their virtue decreased. Tyranny and oppression became prevalent as evil men ruled the land.
Allah then sent a man who had a high standing in society. There was an upright, noble man amongst the Thamud – his name was Saalih. He was known for his wisdom, purity and goodness and had been greatly respected by his people before Allah’s revelation came to him. He called his people to worship Allah alone, and to not associate partners with Him. Allah says:
“O my people! Worship Allah, you have no other diety worthy of worship besides Him.”
The core message of the Qur’an is to abstain from shirk- associating partners with Allah. Yet, just how we will still use the same old-fashion mousetrap today in order to catch a mouse as was used in the past, Shaytaan also uses the same old traps and tricks to deviate man and up to today with all the advancement and progress man still falls for his trap!
While some of them believed him, the majority of them disbelieved and harmed him by both words and deeds. Saalih AS’s people said to him: “O Saalih! 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 should leave our gods and worship your God (Allah) 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).” Saalih AS directed them: “O my people! Worship Allah, you have no other Diety(god) but Him. It is He who brought into existence from the earth and gave you residence therein, so repent to Him. Indeed my Rabb is close and will respond. ” They merely wanted to worship the same gods as their fathers, with no reason, no proof, and no thought. The proof of Saalih AS’s message was evident, but despite this it was obvious that most of his people did not believe him.
Saalih AS reasoned with them “O my people! Why do you hasten in evil before the good? Why do you not seek forgiveness from Allah so that He may have mercy upon you?”
They taunted him further by saying ” Has the (divine) message been sent to him, from amongst all of us? In fact he is a great, evil liar!” They even went further and accused him of being under some magical spell. They troubled the followers of Saalih AS by going to them and asking “Do really believe in what he is preaching?” When they responded in the affirmative the disbelievers mocked at them saying “Indeed we have rejected that which you believe in!” Basically they were trying to put off the believers and to turn away anyone who might be eager to even listen to the truth. As the Messenger of Allah, Saalih AS continued inviting all these people towards the truth until such a time that they now began openly abusing and insulting him and calling for his expulsion from the community.
Saalih As asked them “O my people! What do you think, if I am on a clear mission from my Rabb, and He has bestowed me His mercy, then who will assist me against Allah if I disobey Him? As for all of you, you will only increase me in loss!” They said “You are but a human like us! So bring forth a sign if you are indeed truthful!”
The Thamud challenged Saalih AS in this manner and they declared that they would not accept any sign but they wanted something which should meet their demands – “fit their specs” ! Now they started detailing their challenge, each one contributing with an air of pride and arrogance, cackling with haughty laughter as they went along: ” We require that this massive rock should split up and a she camel should come out of it; It must be pregnant – ready to deliver it’s young; It must be a deep red colour; It must have plenty of hair/fur; It must be gigantic; So gigantic as never seen before by any of us before; so huge that it will need one full day to drink from the water source of the community and the community will use the source the next day (take daily turns);etc…. Saalih AS replied: “Look now! If Allah sends you what you have requested, just as you have described, will you believe in that which I have come to you with and will you have faith in the message I have been sent with?” They answered: “Yes.”
So he took a vow from them on this, then prayed to Allah the Almighty to grant their request. Allah ordered the distant rock to split asunder, bringing forth a great ten month pregnant she camel. Much larger than they had ever seen before – in fact the largest camel in history! When their eyes set on it, they were amazed. They saw this great creature, a wonderful sight, a dazzling power and clear evidence! Saalih AS declared “O my people! And this is the She Camel of Allah! A clear sign for all of you! So let it roam and graze on the earth of Allah and do not touch it with any evil intent lest a near punishment takes hold of you.” This was no ordinary camel as it was not begotten from another camel but created directly by Allah! There was no room for anyone to doubt that this was the practice of magic! It was indeed a sign manifest! Allah instructed Saalih AS to inform them that they will have to share with this camel from the water source, drinking in turns on alternate days. They should not prevent it from drinking neither should they cause any harm whatsoever to it.
There are a number of accounts of this camel and its miraculous nature. It met all their “specs” and even more as some accounts claim that it then gave birth and it’s young followed it everywhere; it produced milk sufficient for the entire community to drink,etc. In acknowledgment of this great sign, a number of people believed the message of Saalih AS yet most of them continued in their disbelief, stubbornness, and going astray. These people remained in the majority and they feared that the number of Saalih AS’s followers would increase day by day, as a result of this great “inter-active” sign living in their midst. So within a short period of time their turned their hatred of Saalih AS towards the blessed she camel and became centered on it. They now began complaining that this huge she camel with its unusual qualities drank most of the water and frightened their cattle.
A conspiracy started to be hatched against the camel by the disbelievers, and they secretly plotted against it. Aniza, an old woman, offered one of her daughters to a young man, Qudar Ibn Salif, in return for killing the camel. Saduq bint of Mahya, who was from a rich and noble family, offered herself to a young man named Masrai Ibn Mahraj on condition that he hamstring the camel. Naturally these young men were tempted and they called upon seven others to assist them. They watched the camel closely, observing all its movements, planning and plotting how to execute their evil intentions. Qudar was chosen to head the mission –he masterminded the exercise and then informed all the other disbelievers of their plans and gained their approval and support. Then as the she camel came to drink one day, Masrai shot it in the leg with an arrow, Qudar followed the camel and struck it with a sword in the other leg – he sliced the hamstring. As it fell to the ground, he pierced it with his sword killing it.
The killers were given a hero’s applause, cheered with songs and poetry composed in their praise. In their arrogance they mocked Saalih AS claiming he could do nothing now.
According to some narrations the disbelievers even chased after the young of the she camel and killed it too. They invited the entire community to partake of the flesh of the slain animals – thus all participated in this grave wrong doing, except the few believers with Saalih AS. In their merriment, the disbelievers slipped into further arrogance and very boldly called out “O Saalih! Bring forth that (punishment) which you have promising us if you are truly from amongst the (divine) messengers!”
He gave them the ultimate warning by saying: “Enjoy life in your homes for 3 more days, for that is the promised time which will cannot be falsified now. (then the punishment will descend upon you).” Saalih AS was hoping that they would see the folly of their ways and change their attitude before the 3 days went out. But they were not to change nor realise their wrong. They were now intoxicated with pride and arrogance and called out “Why 3 days? Let the punishment come as quickly as possible.”
The disbelievers, having got rid of the clear sign in their midst, now turned in hatred to Saalih AS once again. They began discussing a plot to kill him so that they would not have to continue to listen to warnings and threats anymore. The very nine men who carried out the great injustice against the camel and it’s young, conferred in a determined manner.
Allah refers to their evil in the Holy Qur’aan “And there were nine men in the city, who made mischief in the land, and would not reform. They said: “Swear to another by Allah that we shall make a secret night attack on him and his household, and afterwards we will surely say to his near relatives: “We did not witness the destruction of his household! And verily we are telling the truth”. ”
Allah says “So they plotted a plot, and We planned a plan, while they perceived not.”
Saalih AS was instructed to take the believers with him and leave the locality as Allah had intended to save Saalih AS and his followers from the wicked plans of the disbelievers and also from the severe punishment which was about to descend on the entire community. Heavy hearted, they left the evil doers and moved to another place. Allah says “Verily the dwellers of Al Hijr (the rocky tract) denied the Messengers. We gave them Our Signs, but they were averse to them.” The stage was now set for the destruction of these people who were unrepentant, ungrateful and mischievous. On the first day all their faces turned yellow and they began crying, not knowing what really affected them. The second day their faces turned red and on the third day their faces went black! Nobody knew what exactly affected them – they did understand that there was something really bad coming up. They started preparing for their death as they now had no way out.
Three days after Saalih AS’s warning, various forms of punishment started descending upon the Thamud (As-haab al Hijr). Thunderbolts filled the air, followed by severe earthquakes and as the land was violently shaken, all humans were sent crashing to the earth whilst all other living creatures were destroyed. Ear splitting sounds rang out from all directions which destroyed the entire tribe and its homeland. The first people to be destroyed were “the group of nine”. Then finally there was one terrific cry which had hardly ended when the remainder of the disbelievers were struck dead, one and all. Neither their strong buildings nor their rock hewn homes could protect them.
Allah says in the Holy Qur’aan ” So look at what was the outcome of their plot! How We destroyed them and their entire nation? So there are their houses destroyed because of what they had transgressed. Indeed in that there are signs for the people who know. And We saved those who believed, and used to fear and obey Allah”. (Ch 27:45-53)
و صلّى الله و سلّم و بارك على نبيّنا محمّد و آله و أصحابه أجمعين ، سبحان الله و بحمده سبحانك اللهم و بحمدك أشهد أن لا إله إلا أنت أستغفرك و أتوب إليك ، والسلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته