وَ قِیۡلَ یٰۤاَرۡضُ ابۡلَعِیۡ مَآءَکِ وَ یٰسَمَآءُ اَقۡلِعِیۡ وَ غِیۡضَ الۡمَآءُ وَ قُضِیَ الۡاَمۡرُ وَ اسۡتَوَتۡ عَلَی الۡجُوۡدِیِّ وَ قِیۡلَ بُعۡدًا لِّلۡقَوۡمِ الظّٰلِمِیۡنَ ﴿۴۵﴾
وَقِيلَ يَـٰٓأَرۡضُ ٱبۡلَعِي مَآءَكِ وَيَٰسَمَآءُ أَقۡلِعِي وَغِيضَ ٱلۡمَآءُ وَقُضِيَ ٱلۡأَمۡرُ وَٱسۡتَوَتۡ عَلَى ٱلۡجُودِيِّۖ وَقِيلَ بُعۡدٗا لِّلۡقَوۡمِ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ
1317A. The mountain Al-Judi is, according to Yaqutul-Hamwi, a long chain of mountains on the eastern side of the Tigris in the province of Mosul (Mu‘jam). According to Sale, "Al-Judi is one of those mountains which divide Armenia on the south from Mesopotamia and that part of Assyria which is inhabited by the Curds, from whom the mountain took the name of Cardu or Gardu, but the Greeks turned it into Gordyoei … The tradition which affirms the Ark to have rested on these mountains must have been very ancient, since it is the tradition of the Chaldeans themselves (Berosus apud Joseph. Antiq...). The relics of the Ark were also to be seen here in the time of Epiphanius... and we are told, the Emperor Heraclius went from the town of Thamanin up to the mountain Al-Judi and saw the place of the Ark. There was also formerly a famous monastery, called the 'Monastery of the Ark.' Upon some of these mountains the Nestorians used to celebrate a feast-day on the spot where they supposed the Ark had rested; but in 776 A.D. that monastery was destroyed by lightning" (Sale, pp. 179, 180)... 'Judi (Djudi) is a lofty mountain mass in the district of Bohtan, about 25 miles N.E. of Jaziratu ibn-e-‘Omar in 37°,30´ N.Lat.. It owes its fame to the Mesopotamian tradition, which identifies it, and not Mount Ararat, the mountain on which Noah’s Ark rested... Older exegesis identified the mountain now called Judi, or according to Christian authorities the mountains of Gordyene, as the apobaterion of Noah' (Enc. of Islam. vol. I. P. 1059). Babylonian traditions also place the mount Al-Judi in Armenia (Jew. Enc. under "Ararat"), and the Bible admits that Babylon was the place where the descendants of Noah lived (Gen. 11:9). (close)
1425. Important Words:
اقلعی (cease raining) is derived from قلع i.e. he displaced or uprooted. اقلع means, it (rain) left off; it cleared away. یاسماء اقلعیmeans, O sky, cease raining. اقلع عنه means, he or it left him; he abstained or desisted from it. They say أقلعت الحمی عن فلان i.e. the fever passed away or left such a one (Lane & Aqrab).
بعدا (curse) is the noun-infinitive from بعد which means, he or it was or became distant, remote, or aloof; he went or withdrew himself to a distance; he alienated; it perished. They say لا تعبد و ان بعدت عنی i.e. mayest thou not perish, though thou be distant from me. The Arabs say ابعدہ الله i.e. may God alienate him, or estrange him from good or prosperity; or may God curse him. بعد means, distance or remoteness; remoteness from probability or correctness i.e. improbability or strangeness; perdition or death; judgement and prudence; curse, execration or malediction. They say, بعدا له i.e. may he be cursed, or may God alienate him from good (Lane & Aqrab).
The verse makes it clear that water not only came out from the "fountains of the earth" (v. 41) but it also fell from the sky (i.e. the clouds) and thus both combined to deluge the land.
The mountain al-Judi is, according to Yaqut al-Hamwi, a long chain of mountains on the eastern side of the Tigris in the province of Mosul (Mu‘jam). According to Sale, "al-Judi is one of those mountains which divide Armenia on the south from Mesopotamia and that part of Assyria which is inhabited by the Curds, from whom the mountain took the name of Cardu or Gardu, but the Greeks turned it into Gordyaei...The tradition which affirms the ark to have rested on these mountains must have been very ancient, since it is the tradition of the Chaldeans themselves (Berosus, apud Joseph. Antiq.). To confirm it, we are told that the remainders of the ark were to be seen on the Gordyaean mountains. Berosus and Abydenus both declare that there was such a report in their time…The relics of the ark were also to be seen here in the time of Epiphanius and we are told the Emperor Heraclius went from the town of Thamanin up to the mountain al-Judi and saw the place of the ark. There was also formerly a famous monastery, called the monastery of the ark, upon some of these mountains where the Nestorians used to celebrate a feast-day on the spot where they supposed the ark rested; but in 776 A.D. that monastery was destroyed by lightning" (Sale, pp. 179, 180).
Again, "Judi (Djudi) is a lofty mountain mass in the district of Bohtan, about 25 miles N.E. of Jazirat ibn ‘Omar in 37°, 30΄ N. Lat…It owes its fame to the Mesopotamian tradition, which identifies it, and not Mount Ararat, with the mountain on which Noah’s ark rested. It is practically certain from a large number of Armenian and other writers that, down to the 10th century, Mt. Ararat was in no way connected with the Deluge. Ancient Armenian tradition certainly knows nothing of a mountain on which the ark rested; and when one is mentioned in later Armenian literature, this is clearly due to the gradually increasing influence of the Bible which makes the ark rest on the mountains (or a mountain) of Ararat. The highest and best known mountain there is Masik…The tradition that Masik was the mountain on which the Ark rested, only begins to find a place in Armenian literature in the 11th and 12th centuries. Older exegesis identified the mountain now called Judi, or according to Christian authorities the mountains of Gordyene, as the apobaterion of Noah (Enc. of Islam. Vol. 1, p. 1059).
Babylonian traditions also place the mount al-Judi in Armenia (Jew. Enc. under Ararat) and the Bible admits that Babylon was the place where the descendants of Noah lived (Gen. 11:9). (close)
وَ نَادٰی نُوۡحٌ رَّبَّہٗ فَقَالَ رَبِّ اِنَّ ابۡنِیۡ مِنۡ اَہۡلِیۡ وَ اِنَّ وَعۡدَکَ الۡحَقُّ وَ اَنۡتَ اَحۡکَمُ الۡحٰکِمِیۡنَ ﴿۴۶﴾
وَنَادَىٰ نُوحٞ رَّبَّهُۥ فَقَالَ رَبِّ إِنَّ ٱبۡنِي مِنۡ أَهۡلِي وَإِنَّ وَعۡدَكَ ٱلۡحَقُّ وَأَنتَ أَحۡكَمُ ٱلۡحَٰكِمِينَ
This verse beautifully illustrates how the Prophets maintain a highly respectful attitude to God even under very hard trials. Noah had, by an error of judgement, thought that all the members of his family would be saved from the flood, but when he saw that his son was going to be drowned, he made his supplication to God in a most respectful way, appealing to Him in the name of His promise about the safety of his family. He was, however, careful to add that if his son was drowned, he would not think that God’s promise was false but that he himself had misunderstood the Divine Words, for God’s promise was ever true and His judgement always just. (close)
قَالَ یٰنُوۡحُ اِنَّہٗ لَیۡسَ مِنۡ اَہۡلِکَ ۚ اِنَّہٗ عَمَلٌ غَیۡرُ صَالِحٍ ٭۫ۖ فَلَا تَسۡـَٔلۡنِ مَا لَـیۡسَ لَکَ بِہٖ عِلۡمٌ ؕ اِنِّیۡۤ اَعِظُکَ اَنۡ تَکُوۡنَ مِنَ الۡجٰہِلِیۡنَ ﴿۴۷﴾
قَالَ يَٰنُوحُ إِنَّهُۥ لَيۡسَ مِنۡ أَهۡلِكَۖ إِنَّهُۥ عَمَلٌ غَيۡرُ صَٰلِحٖۖ فَلَا تَسۡـَٔلۡنِ مَا لَيۡسَ لَكَ بِهِۦ عِلۡمٌۖ إِنِّيٓ أَعِظُكَ أَن تَكُونَ مِنَ ٱلۡجَٰهِلِينَ
1318. According to this verse only those persons were considered members of Noah’s family who had established true relationship with God through him. The pronoun hu in inna-hu may also refer to Noah’s prayer for his unrighteous son which act of his was Ghairu Salih i.e. out of place. (close)
1319. ‘Amalun (lit. a deed) here means Dhu ‘Amalin, i.e. the doer of a deed. The use of the infinitive as active participle when an intensified sense is intended is in harmony with Arabic idiom. See also 2:178, where Birr (lit. righteousness) means a righteous person. An Arab poet says of his she-camel: Innama hiya Iqbalun wa Idbaru, i.e. she is so restless that she has become the very act of moving forward and backward, meaning the embodiment thereof. (close)
1427. Important Words:
عمل (man of conduct) generally signifies work, deed or action; a motion of the whole or of a portion of the body or even of the mind; the utterance of a saying. The word عمل (lit. deed) may also mean ذوعمل i.e. the doer of a deed, which construction is permissible in the Arabic language when an intensified sense is intended (Lane & Muhit).
In a brief sentence, viz. he is surely not of thy family, God disclosed a great truth to Noah.
What He meant was that when He promised to save his family, He did not mean all members of the family, but only such of them as were righteous and believed in him, because, truly speaking, only those persons were members of his family who had established a true relationship with God through him.
The Quranic words انه عمل غیر صالح rendered here as, he is indeed a man of unrighteous conduct, are capable of two interpretations. First, they may refer to the prayer of Noah. In that case, the clause would mean that this act of his, i.e. his prayer for his son, was غیر صالح i.e. out of place, the word صالح meaning "suitable, meet or proper." By using these words with regard to Noah’s prayer, God meant to point out that as He had already pronounced His judgement and the hour of punishment had actually arrived, so the time for prayer had passed.
Secondly, the clause may refer to Noah’s son. In that case, the word عمل (lit. deed) would be taken as meaning ذوعمل(the doer of a deed). This usage of the word is quite in harmony with Arabic idiom, according to which the infinitive is sometimes used in place of the active participle to impart emphasis. An Arab poet describing the restlessness of a she-camel who had lost her young ones says:انما ھی اقبال و ادبار i.e. "She is so restless that she has become the very act of moving forward and backward," meaning the embodiment thereof. According to this meaning of the word عمل the clause would mean that the reason why his son was not considered as belonging to his family was that he was a man of unrighteous conduct.
The words, ask not of Me, may mean either asking for a favour in prayer or simply inquiring. Taking the words in the former sense, the verse would mean that one should not pray for a matter of whose benefit one is not certain, for in such a case a man cannot know whether what he is praying for will prove a blessing or a curse. In such cases one should pray to God only generally to grant what is good in His sight. There are, however, certain matters about the goodness of which there can be no doubt, e.g. the pleasure of God or the welfare of the life to come. For such matters one can pray without qualification. The prayer of Noah for his son belonged to the former category. He did not know how his son would behave if he were saved. It was possible, nay it was most probable, that if he had been saved, the cause of religion would have materially suffered through him.
If the word "ask" be taken in the sense of "inquire," the verse would mean that Noah was not to inquire about a matter which was beyond his power to comprehend or the disclosure of which was not considered proper. The words مالیس لك به علم do not, in this case, mean "that of which thou hast no knowledge," for man always inquires about matters which he does not know. The words would therefore mean "that which thou canst not know," either because they are beyond thy comprehension or because they cannot be disclosed to thee.
God’s reply to Noah given in the words, he is indeed a man of unrighteous conduct, shows that Noah was not aware of the misdeeds of his son, and the reason why Noah was advised to abstain from asking questions about his son was that such questions were calculated to expose the latter’s misdeeds, which was inconsistent with the God’s attribute of mercy as well as with His attribute of covering up or screening the faults of His creatures. Extraordinary are the ways of God! On the one hand He decreed that Noah’s son should be drowned, and on the other His mercy drew a veil over his misdeeds.
The clause, I advise thee lest thou become one of the ignorant, refers to Noah’s prayer to God to save his son, who was a member of his family and was apparently included among those whom God had promised to save, and means: "You, being the bearer of the Word of God, must in future ponder over every aspect of the Divine revelation received by you and should not act unknowingly." In other words, the seeming indefiniteness of the prophecy was cited to serve the purpose of a warning to Noah, who was asked to learn a lesson from it and to remember that prophecies bear more than one meaning and that their true significance becomes known only when they are actually fulfilled.
It may be asked why, whereas Noah refers to a "promise" of God (see the preceding verse), actually there is no mention of a Divinepromise here. In this connection it may be noted that the words ارکبوھا بسم الله i.e. Embark therein in the name of Allah…(v. 42) did imply a Divine promise, because sometimes a commandment is tantamount to an undertaking. When God directed Noah to make his people enter the Ark, the direction implied a promise by God to save those who entered it. Similarly, the words, except those against whom the word has already gone forth (v. 41), also point to a promise having been made by God. If the above-quoted words contained only a command-ment and implied no promise, the names of excepted persons should have been revealed to Noah so that these could have been refused entrance. The fact that the names of the excepted persons were not disclosed shows that all those who went into the Ark were meant to be saved. (close)
قَالَ رَبِّ اِنِّیۡۤ اَعُوۡذُ بِکَ اَنۡ اَسۡـَٔلَکَ مَا لَـیۡسَ لِیۡ بِہٖ عِلۡمٌ ؕ وَ اِلَّا تَغۡفِرۡ لِیۡ وَ تَرۡحَمۡنِیۡۤ اَکُنۡ مِّنَ الۡخٰسِرِیۡنَ ﴿۴۸﴾
قَالَ رَبِّ إِنِّيٓ أَعُوذُ بِكَ أَنۡ أَسۡـَٔلَكَ مَا لَيۡسَ لِي بِهِۦ عِلۡمٞۖ وَإِلَّا تَغۡفِرۡ لِي وَتَرۡحَمۡنِيٓ أَكُن مِّنَ ٱلۡخَٰسِرِينَ
a. 7:24. (close)
1320. Noah had committed no sin by saying that his son was included in his family. It was only an error of judgment which is human, yet he offered Istighfar which shows that the offering of Istighfar is not necessarily a proof of one’s sinfulness. It may also be offered for protection against the evil consequences of human weaknesses or those of errors of judgment. (close)
This verse shows the exalted spiritual position to which the Prophets of God attain. When Noah heard the Divineremonstration, he not only withdrew his words, but solicited God’s help against repeating such a mistake. In contrast to this, how pitiable is the condition of those who, though enjoying no spiritual status, yet boast and brag and make big claims and do not profit by the example of God’s chosen servants.
The words, unless Thou forgive me, throw interesting light on the significance of the term استغفار (asking for forgiveness) when used about a Prophet of God. The verse mentions the استغفار of Noah. Now as the preceding verses clearly show Noah had committed no sin against the Law but only an error of judgement, which is human, yet in spite of this he is here reported to have offered استغفار. This proves that the offering of استغفار is not the proof of one’s sinfulness in all cases. It may be offered for protection against the consequences of human weaknesses or against errors of judgement. (close)
قِیۡلَ یٰنُوۡحُ اہۡبِطۡ بِسَلٰمٍ مِّنَّا وَ بَرَکٰتٍ عَلَیۡکَ وَ عَلٰۤی اُمَمٍ مِّمَّنۡ مَّعَکَ ؕ وَ اُمَمٌ سَنُمَتِّعُہُمۡ ثُمَّ یَمَسُّہُمۡ مِّنَّا عَذَابٌ اَلِیۡمٌ ﴿۴۹﴾
قِيلَ يَٰنُوحُ ٱهۡبِطۡ بِسَلَٰمٖ مِّنَّا وَبَرَكَٰتٍ عَلَيۡكَ وَعَلَىٰٓ أُمَمٖ مِّمَّن مَّعَكَۚ وَأُمَمٞ سَنُمَتِّعُهُمۡ ثُمَّ يَمَسُّهُم مِّنَّا عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٞ
1321. The verse shows that apart from the progeny of Noah the progeny of those believers who were with him in the Ark also were saved from the Deluge and that they prospered and multiplied. Scholars now subscribe to the view that most of the inhabitants of the earth are descended from Noah.
The story of the Deluge with some variations is to be found in the traditions and literature of different countries (Enc. Rel. & Eth.; Enc. Bib. & Enc. Brit. under "Deluge"). The catastrophe seems to have taken place somewhere near the dawn of human civilization. It is a well-known historical fact that whenever a people, comparatively more advanced in culture and civilization, have come to settle in a country, they have either blotted out of existence the less civilized inhabitants of the land or have greatly weakened them. Thus it appears that when the descendants of Noah and those of his companions who were the founders of human civilization spread to other lands, because they were more powerful than the people already living there, they either exterminated them or absorbed them. Thus they must have introduced into all the countries they subjugated their own traditions and customs; and consequently the tradition about the Deluge must also have come to be introduced into other lands. With the lapse of time however, the immigrants ceased to have any connection with their original home and the catastrophe consequently came to be regarded as a local occurrence, with the result that local names of persons and places came to be substituted for the original names. So the Deluge was not a universal visitation, nor should the traditions of different lands be taken to point to separate floods. (close)
This verse shows that not only was the progeny of Noah saved from the Flood and was blessed by God and multiplied upon the earth, but the progeny of those believers who were with him in the Ark also prospered and multiplied. So the popular notion that only Noah’s progeny survived and multiplied in the earth has no basis in fact. This statement of the Quran establishes its superiority over the Bible. All educated Christians now believe that the inhabitants of the earth are not all descended from Noah; but in holding this view they, in fact, subscribe to the statement of the Quran and reject that of the Bible, for the Bible clearly says that only Noah and his sons survived the Deluge and that it was their progeny that dwelt and multiplied in the earth (Gen. ch. 9). Accordingly, Christian writers divide the human race into three groups, viz. the descendants of Ham, Sam and Yapheth, the three sons of Noah. But according to the Quran the children of those who believed in Noah also survived and multiplied in the earth, to say nothing of other races.
The clause, there will be other peoples whom We shall grant provision, may mean: (1) that even in the time of Noah there were other peoples who did not perish but who were given respite and then perished in due time; (2) that some of those who were saved with Noah and who received blessings became corrupt in due course and were then punished by God. (close)
تِلۡکَ مِنۡ اَنۡۢبَآءِ الۡغَیۡبِ نُوۡحِیۡہَاۤ اِلَیۡکَ ۚ مَا کُنۡتَ تَعۡلَمُہَاۤ اَنۡتَ وَ لَا قَوۡمُکَ مِنۡ قَبۡلِ ہٰذَا ؕۛ فَاصۡبِرۡ ؕۛ اِنَّ الۡعَاقِبَۃَ لِلۡمُتَّقِیۡنَ ﴿٪۵۰﴾
تِلۡكَ مِنۡ أَنۢبَآءِ ٱلۡغَيۡبِ نُوحِيهَآ إِلَيۡكَۖ مَا كُنتَ تَعۡلَمُهَآ أَنتَ وَلَا قَوۡمُكَ مِن قَبۡلِ هَٰذَاۖ فَٱصۡبِرۡۖ إِنَّ ٱلۡعَٰقِبَةَ لِلۡمُتَّقِينَ
1322. The Quranic accounts of the various Prophets are not meant as mere stories. They are given in the Qur’an because they contain a prophetic allusion to the analogous events that were to occur in the life of the Holy Prophet himself. (close)
The words, This is of the tidings of the unseen, are intended to hint that the Quranic accounts of the various Prophets are not meant as mere stories of the ancient peoples. They are given in the Quran because they contain a prophetic allusion to the analogous events that were to occur in the life of the Holy Prophet himself. This is what is implied in the words "the tidings of the unseen". The concluding words of the verse, i.e. "the end is for the God-fearing," lend further support to this inference. These accounts also serve to warn Muslims that they too will have to pass through the experiences of the followers of former Prophets and they warn disbelievers that they too shall meet a fate similar to that of the rejecters of past Prophets.
The words, So be thou patient, mean that just as the people of Noah were destroyed, so will a section of the Holy Prophet’s people be destroyed; and then of their seed and of the seed of their companions God will raise a people who will bear the standard of piety and righteousness in every age.
The story of the Deluge with some variations is to be found in the traditions and literature of various countries (see Enc. Rel. & Eth. Enc. Bib. & Enc. Brit. under Deluge). The importance which is attached to it and the widespread credence it commands points to its being an historical event of very great importance. It cannot be denied that a great flood did take place sometime in the remote past, that it was of an extraordinary nature and that it affected many nations of the earth. Its description as given in the Quran, however, shows that there was nothing unnatural about it.
The catastrophe seems to have taken place somewhere at the dawn of human civilization. The Holy Prophet of Islam spoke of Noah as the first Messenger of God, i.e. the first organizer of a religious community (Bukhari, ch. on Anbiya’).The Bible also represents him as such (Gen. 6:8). Hindu traditions, too, corroborate this fact, for they speak of Manu (who is the same as Noah), the Hindu hero of the Deluge, as the first man (Enc. Brit. under Manu). But they add that seven others were saved with him, which points to the fact that he was not the first man absolutely but only the first man of the first cycle of human civilization. These statements made in the Scriptures of three great religions of the world leave no doubt about the fact that Noah laid the foundations of human civilization and culture. In fact, with the progress and advance of a people in civilization, their numbers also begin to grow with a corresponding decrease taking place in the numbers of less civilized communities living with them in the same land. It is a well-known historical fact that whenever a people, comparatively more advanced in culture and civilization, have come to settle in a country, they have either blotted out of existence the less civilized inhabitants of the land or have greatly weakened them. Thus it appears that when the descendants of Noah and those of his companions, who were the founders of human civilization, spread to other lands, because they were more powerful than the people already living there, they either exterminated them or absorbed them by breaking their power. In this way they must have introduced into all the countries they subjugated their own traditions and customs; and consequently the tradition about the Deluge which naturally impressed the subjugated people must also have come to be introduced into other lands. With the lapse of time, however, the immigrants ceased to have any connection with their original home and the catastrophe consequently came to be regarded as a local occurrence, with the result that local names of persons and places came to be substituted for the original names.
In short, the Deluge was not a universal visitation, nor should the traditions of different lands be taken to point to separate floods. It was confined to one land, but owing to the immigration of the descendants of Noah and his companions to other lands, the story spread far and wide and finally the Flood came to be regarded as a local occurrence in every country.
As for the place where the Deluge occurred see note on al-Judi in v. 45. (close)
وَ اِلٰی عَادٍ اَخَاہُمۡ ہُوۡدًا ؕ قَالَ یٰقَوۡمِ اعۡبُدُوا اللّٰہَ مَا لَکُمۡ مِّنۡ اِلٰہٍ غَیۡرُہٗ ؕ اِنۡ اَنۡتُمۡ اِلَّا مُفۡتَرُوۡنَ ﴿۵۱﴾
وَإِلَىٰ عَادٍ أَخَاهُمۡ هُودٗاۚ قَالَ يَٰقَوۡمِ ٱعۡبُدُواْ ٱللَّهَ مَا لَكُم مِّنۡ إِلَٰهٍ غَيۡرُهُۥٓۖ إِنۡ أَنتُمۡ إِلَّا مُفۡتَرُونَ
a. 7:66. (close)
1323. Some European critics have denied the very existence of the Adites. They say that none of the inscriptions that have so far been discovered in Arabia mention ‘Ad as the name of any people in that country, and therefore they allege that the Qur’an has only quoted one of the popular legends that were current among the Arabs in the Holy Prophet’s time. This objection is based on a misunderstanding. In fact, sections of the human race are generally known by two sets of names, one representing the whole race and the other some particular group thereof. ‘Ad was not the name of a single tribe but of a group of tribes, whose different sections rose to power at different times. They left behind them inscriptions bearing the name of particular groups. But they all belonged to the main ‘Ad family. The fact that this name is found in ancient books of geography also shows that a people of the name of ‘Ad did indeed live. The geographical works compiled in Greece state that in the pre- Christian era, Yemen was ruled by a tribe called Adramitai who were none other than the ‘Ad who have been called ‘Ad-e-Iram in the Qur’an. The termination of the Greek name is a noun-suffix, the real name being ‘Adram which is a corruption of ‘Ad-e-Iram (Al-‘Arabu Qablil-Islam). The ‘Ad tribe mentioned in the Qur’an was called Iram. This Iram section of the Adites possessed a powerful kingdom which lasted up to 500 B.C. Their language was Aramaic, which is akin to Hebrew. The Aramaic Kingdom was established after the fall of the Semitic Kingdom and it included in its boundaries the whole of Mesopotamia, Palestine, Syria and Chaldea. Archaeological researchers have discovered traces of this Kingdom. See also "The Larger Edition of the Commentary."
The ‘Ad tribe lived immediately after the people of Noah (7:70). They built monuments on elevated places (26:129). There still exist ruins of big buildings in Arabia. The history of these people has now become wrapped in obscurity and only some remains of their buildings are to be seen (46:26). The territory in which these people lived is called Ahqaf (46:22), which, literally meaning meandering and zigzag sand-hills, is the name given to two parts of Arabia, one in the south, known as the Southern Ahqaf, the other in the north, called the Northern Ahqaf. These tracts are fertile, but as they lie near the desert, sand-hills are caused there by the sand of the desert being heaped up by the wind. These sand-hills may have been formed when ‘Ad were punished by a sandstorm. Their destruction was caused by the blowing of a violent wind burying their chief cities under heaps of sand and dust (69:7, 8). (close)
European critics have denied the very existence of the ‘Adites. They say that none of the inscriptions that have so far been discovered in Arabia mention ‘Ad as the name of any people in that country, and therefore they allege that the Quran has only quoted one of the popular legends that were current among the Arabs in the Prophet’s time.
This objection is based on a misunderstanding. In fact, sections of the human race are generally known by two sets of names, one representing the whole race and the other some particular group thereof. "Aryan," for instance, is the collective name of a whole race which comprises many groups and tribes. Now it would be absurd to infer that because inscriptions have been found bearing, for example, only such names as Chandra Gupta or Vikramaditya and no inscription is discovered bearing the name "Aryan," therefore "Aryan" is only a fictitious name and no nation of that name ever existed.
In the same way ‘Ad was not the name of a single tribe but of a group of tribes, whose different sections rose to power at different times. They left behind them inscriptions bearing the name of particular groups. But they all belonged to the main ‘Ad family. The fact that this name is found in ancient books of geography also shows that a people of the name of ‘Ad did indeed live. The geographical works compiled in Greece state that in the pre-Christian era, Yemen was ruled by a tribe called Adramitai who were no other than the ‘Ad who have been called ‘Adi Iram in the Quran. The termination of the Greek name is a noun-suffix, the real name being ‘Adram which is a corruption of ‘Adi Iram.
Some European writers think that Adramitai stands for Hadramaut but this is incorrect, because Hadramaut is the name of a place while Adramitai is the name of a tribe. Moreover, the name Hadramaut occurs both in Greek and Latin books, and nowhere has it been given as Adramitai. In Greek books it is given as Adramotitai, while in Latin books it is given as Chatramotitai. It is not reasonable to think that in this particular case geographers abandoned a generally accepted spelling and invented a new form. Moreover, the same work which mentions the tribe of Adramitai also gives an account of Hadramaut (Adramotitai) which clearly shows that according to the author of that book, Adramitai and Adramotitai are two different names (Al-‘Arab qabl al-Islam).
The Quran gives the following facts about the ‘Adites:
1. They built lofty buildings, and no other people in Arabia attained to that height of power to which they had attained (89:9). The verse referred to above also shows that the tribe of ‘Ad mentioned in the Quran was called Iram. This Iram section of the ‘Adites possessed a powerful kingdom which lasted up to 500 B.C. Their language was Aramaic, which is akin to Hebrew. The Aramaic kingdom was established after the fall of the Semitic kingdom and it included in its boundaries the whole of Mesopotamia, Palestine, Syria and Chaldea and, according to certain authorities, it extended even beyond these limits. Archaeological re-searches have discovered traces of this kingdom,
2. The people of ‘Ad as mentioned in the Quran lived immediately after the people of Noah (7:70). This shows that the Semites and other peoples referred to in history as existing before the Aramites were also sections of the ‘Adites.
3. They built monuments on elevated places (26:129). There still exist ruins of great buildings in Arabia. Only a few miles from Aden there can still be seen remains of lofty buildings erected on high hills,
4. It appears from 46:26 that the history of these people has now become wrapped in obscurity and only some remains of their buildings are to be seen.
5. The territory in which these people lived is called Ahqaf (46:22). Ahqaf, which literally means meandering and zigzag sandhills, is the name given to two parts of Arabia, one in the south, known as the Southern Ahqaf, the other in the north, called the Northern Ahqaf These tracts are fertile, but as they lie near the desert, sandhills are caused there by the sand of the desert having been heaped up by the wind. These sand-hills may not have existed in the time when these people lived there and may have come into being when ‘Ad were punished by a sandstorm.
6. From 69:7 it appears that the destruction of the ‘Adites was caused by the blowing of a violent wind which continued to rage over their territory for seven days, burying their chief cities under heaps of sand and dust. This disaster broke the power of these peoples and brought about their fall. The words, so that thou mightest have seen the people therein lying overthrown (69:8), show that their habitations lie buried under mounds of sand and their ruins may still be brought to light if the ground is cleared of the sandhills. This verse also shows that the territory received the name Ahqaf only when after the Divine visitation they became buried under sandhills. (close)
یٰقَوۡمِ لَاۤ اَسۡـَٔلُکُمۡ عَلَیۡہِ اَجۡرًا ؕ اِنۡ اَجۡرِیَ اِلَّا عَلَی الَّذِیۡ فَطَرَنِیۡ ؕ اَفَلَا تَعۡقِلُوۡنَ ﴿۵۲﴾
يَٰقَوۡمِ لَآ أَسۡـَٔلُكُمۡ عَلَيۡهِ أَجۡرًاۖ إِنۡ أَجۡرِيَ إِلَّا عَلَى ٱلَّذِي فَطَرَنِيٓۚ أَفَلَا تَعۡقِلُونَ
a. 26:128. (close)
a. 26:128. (close)
This verse reveals on the one hand an independence of spirit and an absence of any selfish motive on the part of the Prophet Hud and, on the other, represents him as helplessly crying for God’s mercy. Such, indeed, is the true nature of all holy men. In their attitude towards the men of this world they display complete independence of spirit, but before God they exhibit such humility and lowliness as if they are virtually nothing. (close)
وَ یٰقَوۡمِ اسۡتَغۡفِرُوۡا رَبَّکُمۡ ثُمَّ تُوۡبُوۡۤا اِلَیۡہِ یُرۡسِلِ السَّمَآءَ عَلَیۡکُمۡ مِّدۡرَارًا وَّ یَزِدۡکُمۡ قُوَّۃً اِلٰی قُوَّتِکُمۡ وَ لَا تَتَوَلَّوۡا مُجۡرِمِیۡنَ ﴿۵۳﴾
وَيَٰقَوۡمِ ٱسۡتَغۡفِرُواْ رَبَّكُمۡ ثُمَّ تُوبُوٓاْ إِلَيۡهِ يُرۡسِلِ ٱلسَّمَآءَ عَلَيۡكُم مِّدۡرَارٗا وَيَزِدۡكُمۡ قُوَّةً إِلَىٰ قُوَّتِكُمۡ وَلَا تَتَوَلَّوۡاْ مُجۡرِمِينَ
b. 11:4, 62; 71:11. (close)
1324. It seems that the chief occupation of the people of ‘Ad was agriculture and that they depended on rainwater for the cultivation of their land, there being no wells or canals to irrigate it. (close)
b. 11:4, 62; 71:11. (close)
1433. Important Words:
مدرارا (pouring down abundant rain) is derived from در which means, it (the milk) was or became copious or abundant; or it flowed copiously or abundantly. They say درت الناقة بلبنھا i.e. the she-camel yielded her milk, or made it to flow, copiously or abundantly. درت السماء بالمطر means, the sky poured down rain abundantly. سماء مدرار means, a sky pouring down abundance of rain. رزق دار means, continual and, uninterrupted sustenance (Lane & Aqrab).
This verse shows that the chief occupation of the people of ‘Ad was agriculture and that they depended on rainwater for the cultivation of their land, there being no wells or canals to irrigate it. It also hints that the acceptance of a Prophet of God improves and betters not only the moral and spiritual condition of a people but also their material condition and leads to all-round progress and prosperity. (close)
قَالُوۡا یٰہُوۡدُ مَا جِئۡتَنَا بِبَیِّنَۃٍ وَّ مَا نَحۡنُ بِتَارِکِیۡۤ اٰلِہَتِنَا عَنۡ قَوۡلِکَ وَ مَا نَحۡنُ لَکَ بِمُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ ﴿۵۴﴾
قَالُواْ يَٰهُودُ مَا جِئۡتَنَا بِبَيِّنَةٖ وَمَا نَحۡنُ بِتَارِكِيٓ ءَالِهَتِنَا عَن قَوۡلِكَ وَمَا نَحۡنُ لَكَ بِمُؤۡمِنِينَ
c. 71:24. (close)
a. 71:24. (close)
It is strange that a people who themselves followed the most unreasonable practice of setting up equals to God and of associating partners with Him should have demanded from Hud evidence in support of his monotheistic teachings. The onus of proof, in fact, lay on those who practised shirk and not on those who denied it. They themselves practised shirkfor which they possessed no reasonable basis; yet when arguments were given in refutation of their creed they denied them as if they were great believers in arguments and never accepted anything without them.
The words, merely because of thy saying, are expressive of great contempt. The opponents of Hud meant to say that they could not give up their deities for the sake of such a contemptible person as he. As a matter of fact, evil-minded persons are ever wont to put a wrong construction even on sincere motives. Hud’s opponents misunder-stood his exhortations and thought that his real object was not to preach the truth but to gain mastery over them. So they replied by saying that they would not forsake their idols for his sake and were not going to obey him. (close)