Lessons from the Stories of the Prophets in the Quraan by Mufti Menk – Hud 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 12 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
Allah reminds us in Surah Yusuf:
( ذلك من أنباء الغيب نوحيه إليك ، و ما كنت لديهم إذ أجمعوا أمرهم و هم يمكرون )
“That is the news of the unseen which we reveal to you (O Muhammed SAW) You were not present with them when they arranged their plan together and while they were plotting.”
So we would have known nothing about these stories had Allah not revealed it to His messenger. It is a favour upon us that we have the Qur’an. There is absolute no doubt regarding it’s authenticity so we know that every single thing mentioned in it is 100% accurate. What is the purpose of these stories? For us to draw a lesson from them for ourselves. What lesson do we take from the story of Nuh AS which we have related? It was a consolation to the Prophet PBUH. That, فاصبروا! -bear patience O Muhammed SAW! The makkans will trouble you just as the nations of the past troubled their Prophets. Look at Nuh AS, he was a da’ee (caller) for 950 years with very little response. At times decades went by with not a single person turning to Allah. We too need to be patient in life with our children, family members, relatives, friends and all human beings. It may take a long time to solve matters but never lose hope in the Mercy of Allah. When assistance comes, it will be worth the wait. Even when du’aas are made, keep repeating them and do not lose hope. One day when the time is right you will be amazed at the outcome of the du’aas. This requires a lot of patience – which is in fact a test from Allah, to confirm that one deserves what he has asked for.
A narration says Nuh AS lived for another 100-150 years after descending from the ark. After Nuh AS the people began to spread once again on earth. Following the destruction of the earth during the time of Nuh AS everyone who was saved worshipped Allah Alone. This lasted several centuries until Shaytaan came and caused Shirk and polytheism to creep in once again at the time of Hud AS. Shaytaan reintroduced the worship of idols to them. With regards to animate objects, in Islam we are not allowed to hang pictures of people and other animate objects as this prevents the angels from entering the house. We shouldn’t frame pictures and display them etc. Whether we understand the wisdom behind this or not is not important, we need to submit to the verse when we hear it!
As time passed the people were granted great physical strength by Allah and they were growing huuuuge in stature. Reminds me of the youngsters of today, when you have to greet them you have to look up 🙂 The first people to engage in Shirk after Nuh AS’s people were the people of Aad. These people lived in the coastal area known as Shihr near hadhramaut between Yemen and Oman. The nearby mountains in which they carved their homes were known as Ah-qaaf which means sandy mountains. They were fair in complexion, very tall, well built, healthy, wealthy and very strong – even stronger than the people of Nuh AS. They built huge homes and their favourite buildings were massive tent-like structures. They used to compete with one another in these buildings and in wealth as though they had nothing to live for besides that. This has been mentioned in the Qur’aan. Nobody before them or after them has ever built or will ever build what they have built. Their infrastructure was amazing. Allah Almighty has described it in the Qur’aan as “unmatched” and “miraculous”. They lived on the flat coastal land yet they built their homes by carving the nearby mountains. Their large homes and wealth together with their good health, huge bodies and other gifts they were granted made them arrogant. They felt that they would live forever. Allah had granted them crops and livestock in abundance as well as offspring. They had rivers flowing with fresh drinking water. This time the gifts that Allah had bestowed upon them had lead them to become arrogant and made them forget their duties and their ultimate return to Allah Almighty.
They became so arrogant that it drove them to say, “Who is stronger than us in any way?” Allah Almighty says in the Qur’aan in response to that question, “Do they not realise that Allah who created them in the first place is stronger than them!”
So Allah Almighty sent them a Messenger from amongst them to remind them to be grateful to Allah and to worship Him Alone. The more you have the more closer to the ground you should become. If it’s good wealth it will make us humble and down to earth. So Hud AS was ordered to remind them that arrogance will lead them to disbelief and as a result Allah Almighty may take away whatever He has bestowed.
Hud AS said, “Oh My people! Worship Allah Alone for you have no god besides Him. Do you not fear Him?” The elite from amongst his people responded saying, “We regard you as silly and as a liar!” He said, “Oh My people! I am not silly but I am a prophet from the Lord of the worlds and I am an honest adviser to you! Has it surprised you that your Lord has sent you a reminder through a person from amongst you to warn you? Remember that He has made you heirs after Nuh AS and granted you more in terms of physical ability (than them). Remember the gifts of Allah upon you so that you may succeed.”
As Hud AS continued to remind them, they felt that with their vast wealth they could bribe him out of his call. He told them that they were senseless in their trials since he would get his reward from Allah Alone. He told his people to turn to Allah in repentance so that they could be given more than they had and at the same time earn His Happiness. These reminders meant nothing to them. They were so well to do that they felt they were above every law of Allah’s. They even began to oppress those who were weak and poor to the extent that they killed some of them. Whenever Hud AS told them to obey Allah and fulfill the rights of fellow humans they would laugh at him saying that he was just an ordinary human being who ate the same food as them and drank from what they drink. They said they knew what they were doing and swore oaths that there was no life after death and that they had to live it up whilst they were breathing because life would only come once. Allah says they said,
( أيعدكم أنكم إذا متتم و كنتم ترابا و عظاما أنكم مبعوثون ، هيهات هيهات لما توعدون ، إن هي إلا حياتنا الدنيا نموت و نحيا و ما نحن بمبعوثين )
“Is he promising you that after you die and have disintegrated into sand and bones that you are going to be resurrected? Verrry faaaaar is that which you are promised! It is only the life of this world, we die and we live and we are not going to be resurrected!”
We too, sometimes the way we operate as if we are not gong t be raised up again and stand before Allah! Allah gives us blessed days like Ramadan and days like Jumuah to mend our ways. We say we believe in the resurrection but the way we lead our lives proves otherwise!
The people of Hud AS accused him of being a liar, of being mad and being possessed by a jinn just as the people of Nuh AS had accused Nuh! Why all these accusations? Simply because the wealthy were not prepared to change their lifestyle. Sometimes, we are so comfortable in our bad habits that when we are reminded we don’t want to admit, accept and change. Instead we want to throw the warner out. When we are advised no one is attacking anyone. We only deliver the message.
They built huge monumental homes on the mountains which they didn’t live in, and they built other fine homes in the valley which they lived in. They built them to boast and brag and compete with each other as if they were going to live forever. There’s nothing wrong to own a lot of wealth and live in good homes but we should also find ourselves in the houses of Allah 🙂
Hud AS told them he asks of them no reward. His reward lies with his Creator and Maker alone. They said their forefathers did not come with what he has come with, why is he going against them! From this we learn that eeeven if generations of ours have been involved in that which is incorrect, it does not mean we need to engage in the same after knowledge has come to us! Sometimes our own children will be the ones to correct us. As parents we need to acknowledge our error even if we are being corrected by our own children. At times they will be faaar ahead of us as far as deen is concerned. You see the daughter is wearing the scarf but the mother might not be wearing one. Remember that your uncovered hair is cursing you! Don’t allow pride to overtake you in fulfilling the commandments of Allah. Don’t be embarrassed of our children when they incline towards religion. Support and encourage them.
Hud AS continued reminding them of the countless favors Allah bestowed on them. They were blessed with sooo much cattle and offspring. They had 100’s of children because of their lengthy lifespan. They had gardens like a paradise on earth.
Remember that when Allah ahs granted you abundance of wealth and children, this doesn’t mean He is pleased with you and if He has granted you a little it doesn’t necessarily mean He is displeased with you. It all depends on the condition of your heart and your relationship with Allah.
After he called them for a very long period of time, they got tired of him. They said “Whether you warn us or not it is the same. These are tales of the past and we will never be punished the way you are telling us!”
This was the result of their pride. A hadeeth states, ( من تواضع لله رفعه الله و من تكبر وضعه الله ) Whoever humbles himself for Allah’s sake Allah will raise his status and whoever is proud Allah will disgrace him. They thought that no one could be stronger than them. Allah tells them, that whoever made thm is definitely stronger and mightier than them! Don’t think you are so great, Allah can make you go crazy just with a tiny mosquito buzzzzing in your room all night 😉 That is how weak man is!
When this happened he challenged them saying, “Get all your forces and false gods and come together then plot against me to destroy me and then you will not be spared…. And if you do not, then too I have delivered the message I have been sent to you with, and (soon) Allah will replace you with other nations and you will never be able to affect Him.”
Hud As then called out to Allah Almighty saying, “Oh Allah! Assist me regarding their disbelief!” The response came that very soon they will regret their misdeeds.
Meanwhile the people of ‘Aad felt that nothing could go wrong with their lives. Their houses were very strong and built within the mountains. Their bodies were so healthy they had not seen illness. Their strength was so great they could repel any power that may try to attack or destroy them. Their wealth was so much that they felt there was no loss that would be too great for them to handle.
For the first time they experienced a severe drought. Hud AS warned them that this was the punishment of Allah, but they rejected his warnings. Then one day they became very happy upon seeing a huge dark cloud at a distance. The cloud was over their valleys where the crop was planted. They mocked at Hud AS saying that this was no punishment, it was the rain that had come.
To their surprise, the winds began to blow, an ice-cold freezing wind accompanied by a howling sound steadily heading their way; Hud AS together with his followers went into a secure place. Through Allah’s Decree and Mercy the wind was ordered not to affect Hud AS and his followers. The wind suddenly grew so severe that it destroyed them all together with everything they ever had. The Qur’aan says that after seven nights and eight days of destructive wind the only thing that could then be recognized was the remains of their homes which were built within the mountains. The huge and powerful people looked like hollow, burnt, rotten uprooted tree stumps covered in the ground. Allah Almighty says, “This is how we treat those who transgress (beyond the bounds).” No sign of them was left. Hud AS lived after this incident with his people in Hadhramaut – in Yemen, where he later passed away.
This teaches us that whenever Allah has granted us anything we should never allow it to make us arrogant. If this happens, it is just a matter of time – long or short – and devastating punishment may overtake us. Allah sends reminders to us very often and if we continue to ignore them, thinking we know what we are doing or that it is not going to affect us, we are indeed tightly in the clutches of shaitaan and treading the path of destruction. We should understand that it is Allah Alone who has given it to us and He can take it back anytime he wishes to do so.
At times wealth, health and other goodness are none other than a test from Allah for us for a short period of time only to see how we react and change when we have got everything. Then once the test is over, all is taken away – either in this world or upon death.
When death overtakes us neither will we take with us a single penny of ours nor will our excellent health during our lifetime come with us. What will help us is if we obeyed Allah during the short stay in the world even when we had everything. If we treated fellow human being’s fairly and fulfilled their rights even when we knew that if we oppressed them, they would not be able to do anything about it and they would succumb to our power and wealth.
Do we even see a speck of any remnants of the powerful and mighty nations of the past who defied their Prophets and rejected the message of Allah which came to them? Is it not time that we learnt lessons from the previous nations and their situations lest we are overtaken by the wrath of Allah? May Allah Forbid!
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 ~*