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)
اِنۡ نَّقُوۡلُ اِلَّا اعۡتَرٰٮکَ بَعۡضُ اٰلِہَتِنَا بِسُوۡٓءٍ ؕ قَالَ اِنِّیۡۤ اُشۡہِدُ اللّٰہَ وَ اشۡہَدُوۡۤا اَنِّیۡ بَرِیۡٓءٌ مِّمَّا تُشۡرِکُوۡنَ ﴿ۙ۵۵﴾
إِن نَّقُولُ إِلَّا ٱعۡتَرَىٰكَ بَعۡضُ ءَالِهَتِنَا بِسُوٓءٖۗ قَالَ إِنِّيٓ أُشۡهِدُ ٱللَّهَ وَٱشۡهَدُوٓاْ أَنِّي بَرِيٓءٞ مِّمَّا تُشۡرِكُونَ
1435. Important Words:
اعترك (have visited thee) is derived from the root عرو. They say عراہ (as also اعتراہ), i.e. he came to him; or he repaired to him, seeking his aid or bounty. عراہ الامر means, the affair or event came upon him or befell him. اعتراہ said of a malady or of a diabolical possession, etc. means, it befell or betided him; or it attacked him; or it was incidental to him. اعتراہ also means, he or it rendered him possessed or insane or unsound in intellect or in some limb (Lane).
The words, I am clear of that which you associate as partners with God, constitute a strong reply to the allegation of disbelievers that their gods had caused Hud’s mind to become deranged. He says to them in reply that if they think that any of their gods has afflicted his mental powers, then let them know that he roundly condemned all their false gods and evil practices, and so let their deities do their worst against him.
The expression, I call Allah to witness, means, "You have refused to listen to reason. So now I pray to God that He may distinguish the truth from falsehood by mighty Signs from heaven." (close)
مِنۡ دُوۡنِہٖ فَکِیۡدُوۡنِیۡ جَمِیۡعًا ثُمَّ لَا تُنۡظِرُوۡنِ ﴿۵۶﴾
مِن دُونِهِۦۖ فَكِيدُونِي جَمِيعٗا ثُمَّ لَا تُنظِرُونِ
a. 7:196; 10:72. (close)
a. 7:196; 10:72. (close)
This verse should be read along with the preceding one, of which grammatically it forms a part. It has been separated from the former to impart emphasis to the words, Beside Him. (close)
اِنِّیۡ تَوَکَّلۡتُ عَلَی اللّٰہِ رَبِّیۡ وَ رَبِّکُمۡ ؕ مَا مِنۡ دَآبَّۃٍ اِلَّا ہُوَ اٰخِذٌۢ بِنَاصِیَتِہَا ؕ اِنَّ رَبِّیۡ عَلٰی صِرَاطٍ مُّسۡتَقِیۡمٍ ﴿۵۷﴾
إِنِّي تَوَكَّلۡتُ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ رَبِّي وَرَبِّكُمۚ مَّا مِن دَآبَّةٍ إِلَّا هُوَ ءَاخِذُۢ بِنَاصِيَتِهَآۚ إِنَّ رَبِّي عَلَىٰ صِرَٰطٖ مُّسۡتَقِيمٖ
b. 11:7. (close)
1325. The words refer to an ancient custom of the Arabs. When a vanquished people were brought as captives before their victor, he would catch hold of their forelocks or got them shaved in token of victory. (close)
b. 11:7. (close)
1437. Important Words:
بناصیتھا (by its forelock). ناصیة is derived from نصا. They say نصا الرجل i.e. he caught hold of the man by his forelock. انتصی الشعرmeans, the hair grew long. ناصیة means, the fore part of the head; the long hair over the fore part of the head; forelock. نواصی الناس means, the chiefs or nobles among men. The Arabs say اذل فلان ناصیة فلان i.e. such a one has humbled and disgraced the other. The Quranic expression ما من دابة الاھو آخذ بناصیتھا signifies that God holds all creatures in absolute power (Aqrab & Mufradat).
By the words, my Lord and your Lord, Hud means that when God, Who is your Lord and Master is also my Friend and Helper, then how can I fear you who are only His servants, for servants can do no harm to the friend of their master.
The words, but He holds it by the forelock, refer to an ancient custom of the Arabs. When vanquished people were brought as captives before their victor, he often caught hold of their forelock and shook it in token of victory. Another custom among them was that when the victor desired to show mercy to the vanquished, he sometimes shaved their forelocks and then set them free. So the clause may mean both these things. It may mean that every human being is in the power and under the control of God; or it may mean that as an act of grace God has created man free. Thus the Quran reminds him that he is completely in the power of God and that it is only through His bounty and favour that he is permitted a free life; otherwise by his sinful deeds he forfeits his title to it. (close)
فَاِنۡ تَوَلَّوۡا فَقَدۡ اَبۡلَغۡتُکُمۡ مَّاۤ اُرۡسِلۡتُ بِہٖۤ اِلَیۡکُمۡ ؕ وَ یَسۡتَخۡلِفُ رَبِّیۡ قَوۡمًا غَیۡرَکُمۡ ۚ وَ لَا تَضُرُّوۡنَہٗ شَیۡئًا ؕ اِنَّ رَبِّیۡ عَلٰی کُلِّ شَیۡءٍ حَفِیۡظٌ ﴿۵۸﴾
فَإِن تَوَلَّوۡاْ فَقَدۡ أَبۡلَغۡتُكُم مَّآ أُرۡسِلۡتُ بِهِۦٓ إِلَيۡكُمۡۚ وَيَسۡتَخۡلِفُ رَبِّي قَوۡمًا غَيۡرَكُمۡ وَلَا تَضُرُّونَهُۥ شَيۡـًٔاۚ إِنَّ رَبِّي عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيۡءٍ حَفِيظٞ
c. 7:69; 46:24. (close)
d. 4:134; 6:134. (close)
a. 7:69; 46:24. (close)
b. 4:134; 6:134. (close)
1438. Important Words:
حفیظ (Guardian) is derived from حفظ. They say حفظه i.e. he kept it, preserved it, guarded it or protected it; he prevented it from perishing or becoming lost. حفظ السر means, he kept the secret. حفظ یـمینه means, he kept or fulfilled his oath. حفظ القرآنmeans, he committed the Quran to memory or he retained the Quran in his memory. حافظ or حفیظ means, a keeper, preserver, watcher or guardian of a thing; one who is careful, mindful, attentive or considerate. الحفیظ is one of the attributive names of God and means the Preserver of all things; He from Whose preservation nothing is excluded (Lane & Aqrab).
The opponents of God’s Prophets, in their ignorance, often think that by rejecting the Message of a Prophet, they can do him any harm. But in no way can they harm a Divine Messenger. In fact, the rejection of a message can either harm the person who sends the message or the person to whom the message is sent. It cannot harm the bearer of the message. So the Prophet Hud says that he is only a Message-bearer, and therefore he would come to harm only if he failed to deliver his Message, but as he has faithfully delivered the Message he need fear no harm. Again, the rejection of the Message by the people can do no harm to God, Who is the Sender of the Message, for He is All-Powerful. So the only people who can come to grief by the rejection of the Message are those who reject it. If the people to whom it is originally addressed do not accept it, some other people will accept it and it will make them prosper. The Divine Message can never go in vain.
By the words, my Lord is Guardian over all things, Prophet Hud means to say that God will guard the teachings which He has sent through him. They also mean that the works of disbelievers are in the custody of God and they will have to render an account of them before Him. (close)
وَ لَمَّا جَآءَ اَمۡرُنَا نَجَّیۡنَا ہُوۡدًا وَّ الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا مَعَہٗ بِرَحۡمَۃٍ مِّنَّا ۚ وَ نَجَّیۡنٰہُمۡ مِّنۡ عَذَابٍ غَلِیۡظٍ ﴿۵۹﴾
وَلَمَّا جَآءَ أَمۡرُنَا نَجَّيۡنَا هُودٗا وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ مَعَهُۥ بِرَحۡمَةٖ مِّنَّا وَنَجَّيۡنَٰهُم مِّنۡ عَذَابٍ غَلِيظٖ
e. 7:73. (close)
a. 7:73. (close)
1439. Important Words:
غلیظ (severe) is derived from غلظ which means, it was or became thick, gross, bulky or coarse. غلیظ means thick, gross, etc. It also means rough or rugged; dense or deep; rough manners or conduct; rude, unkind, hard, or ill-natured; vehement or severe; intensely painful (Lane & Aqrab).
The words, by Our special mercy, point to a law of God that when a general calamity overtakes a country, both good and bad people become involved in it. But, as in the time of a Prophet these calamities visit the earth in order to testify to his truth, God so ordains that believers more or less remain immune from them. This comparative immunity of believers from such visitations is due to the special grace and mercy of God, which become, as it were, particularly excited in the time of a heavenly Messenger.
The words عذاب غلیظ (severe torment) are intended to hint that disbelievers will not get immunity from the calamities notwithstanding their efforts; for, like one who gets stuck in thick and deep mud, they will not be able to extricate themselves from it. See the different meanings of the word غلیظ above. (close)
وَ تِلۡکَ عَادٌ ۟ۙ جَحَدُوۡا بِاٰیٰتِ رَبِّہِمۡ وَ عَصَوۡا رُسُلَہٗ وَ اتَّبَعُوۡۤا اَمۡرَ کُلِّ جَبَّارٍ عَنِیۡدٍ ﴿۶۰﴾
وَتِلۡكَ عَادٞۖ جَحَدُواْ بِـَٔايَٰتِ رَبِّهِمۡ وَعَصَوۡاْ رُسُلَهُۥ وَٱتَّبَعُوٓاْ أَمۡرَ كُلِّ جَبَّارٍ عَنِيدٖ
The word تلك (these) points to the worldly greatness and grandeur of the tribe of ‘Ad. It has been used to hint that although the ‘Adites were a powerful people, yet when they behaved insolently and wickedly and rejected the Divine Messenger, they came to nought. (close)
وَ اُتۡبِعُوۡا فِیۡ ہٰذِہِ الدُّنۡیَا لَعۡنَۃً وَّ یَوۡمَ الۡقِیٰمَۃِ ؕ اَلَاۤ اِنَّ عَادًا کَفَرُوۡا رَبَّہُمۡ ؕ اَلَا بُعۡدًا لِّعَادٍ قَوۡمِ ہُوۡدٍ ﴿٪۶۱﴾
وَأُتۡبِعُواْ فِي هَٰذِهِ ٱلدُّنۡيَا لَعۡنَةٗ وَيَوۡمَ ٱلۡقِيَٰمَةِۗ أَلَآ إِنَّ عَادٗا كَفَرُواْ رَبَّهُمۡۗ أَلَا بُعۡدٗا لِّعَادٖ قَوۡمِ هُودٖ
a. 28:43. (close)
1325A. Bu‘d (which is derived from Ba‘uda signifying, he was or became distant; he perished; he was cursed) means, remoteness; curse, malediction. They say Bu‘dalla-hu, i.e. may he be cursed, may he perish (Lane). (close)
1441. Important Words:
اتبعوا (was made to follow) literally means, they were made to follow. تبعه means, he followed him. اتبعه means, he followed and overtook him. اتبعه also means, he made him follow another (Lane).
The word لعنة (curse) when ascribed to God means "removing to a distance" or "casting away from mercy." In this sense the first sentence of the verse would mean that God will remove or cast away disbelievers from His mercy and they will not attain His nearness nor see Him on the Day of Resurrection.
The words, the tribe of ‘Ad behaved ungratefully to their Lord, comprise an extremely touching sentence and indicate how perverse and ungrateful were the ‘Ad that they refused to listen to the voice of their رب (Lord), Who brought them into being and then nourished and sustained them. Nobility of character demanded that they should have been grateful to Him, but by rejecting His Message, they set the seal not only on their ingratitude but also on their folly, because they consigned to oblivion the patent fact that He Who gave them greatness and glory could also degrade and debase them. (close)
وَ اِلٰی ثَمُوۡدَ اَخَاہُمۡ صٰلِحًا ۘ قَالَ یٰقَوۡمِ اعۡبُدُوا اللّٰہَ مَا لَکُمۡ مِّنۡ اِلٰہٍ غَیۡرُہٗ ؕ ہُوَ اَنۡشَاَکُمۡ مِّنَ الۡاَرۡضِ وَ اسۡتَعۡمَرَکُمۡ فِیۡہَا فَاسۡتَغۡفِرُوۡہُ ثُمَّ تُوۡبُوۡۤا اِلَیۡہِ ؕ اِنَّ رَبِّیۡ قَرِیۡبٌ مُّجِیۡبٌ ﴿۶۲﴾
۞وَإِلَىٰ ثَمُودَ أَخَاهُمۡ صَٰلِحٗاۚ قَالَ يَٰقَوۡمِ ٱعۡبُدُواْ ٱللَّهَ مَا لَكُم مِّنۡ إِلَٰهٍ غَيۡرُهُۥۖ هُوَ أَنشَأَكُم مِّنَ ٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَٱسۡتَعۡمَرَكُمۡ فِيهَا فَٱسۡتَغۡفِرُوهُ ثُمَّ تُوبُوٓاْ إِلَيۡهِۚ إِنَّ رَبِّي قَرِيبٞ مُّجِيبٞ
b. 7:74. (close)
1326. Thamud, being an Arabic word, shows that the tribe belonged to the Arab stock. It is futile to say that Salih may be the translation of a foreign name, for the Qur’an has adopted all foreign names without translating them such as Musa (Moses), Harun (Aaron), Yunus (Jonah) and Zakariyya (Zachariah). The Thamud were successors to the ‘Ad (7:75) which means that the ‘Ad were also an Arab race. Again, the ‘Ad, in their turn, were successors to the people of Noah. This shows that Noah was also an Arab. In fact, Noah was raised in Mesopotamia, which territory was in early times under Arab rule. Greek historians placed the Thamud tribe in a period not long before the Christian era. Hijr or Agra, as they call it, is given as their home. They call them Thamudeni and mention a place near Hijr which, according to them, the Arabs called Fajjun-Naqah. Ptolemy (140 B.C.) says that near Hijr is a place known as Badanata. Abu Isma‘il, author of the 'Futuhush-Sham,' says, 'The tribe of Thamud filled the land between Bosra (in Syria) and Aden and ruled there. Perhaps they were migrating to the north.' Al-Hijr, (also known as Mada’inu Salih) seems to have been the capital of these people. It lies between Medina and Tabuk, and the valley in which it is situated is called Wadi Qura. It is worthy of note that accounts of the Prophets Hud and Salih have been given at various places in the Qur’an and everywhere the order observed is the same, viz. the account of Hud precedes that of Salih, which is the true chronological order. This shows that the Qur’an gives accurately and in their true historical order the facts of history long consigned to oblivion and wrapped in obscurity. According to some, Thamud is only another name of ‘Ad-e-Thaniyah or the second ‘Ad, while according to others they came after the second ‘Ad. The Thamud ruled over plains and hills (7:75) and their country abounded in springs and gardens wherein grew date palms of excellent quality. They also cultivated land and grew corn (26:148, 149).
This Quranic account is corroborated by the inscription said to have been read by some Muslims during the reign of Mu‘awiyah. Their decline seems to have begun soon after the time of Salih, for only a few centuries after his time their name fails to find mention among victorious nations. Arabia was invaded by an Assyrian king (722-705 B.C.) and the name Thamud is found mentioned among the conquered tribes in an inscription which he caused to be engraved in memory of his victory. Of the Greek historians, Didorus (80 B.C.), Pliny (79 B.C.) and Ptolemy make mention of the Thamud. When Justinian, the Roman Emperor, invaded Arabia, his army included 300 Thamudi soldiers, but before the advent of Islam this tribe had become altogether extinct. See also "The Larger Edition of the Commentary." (close)
a. 7:74. (close)
1442. Important Words:
مجیب (answers prayers) which literally means answerer of prayers, is derived from جاب. They say جابه i.e. he made a hole through it; or he tore it or cut it; or he hollowed it out. جاب also means, he traversed or crossed or cut through (the land) by journeying. اجابه means, he answered or replied to him. اجاب دعاءہ means, He (God) answered his prayer or accepted his prayer. مجیب means, one who answers or replies. المجیب is one of the names of God and means, the Answerer of prayers; He Who recompenses prayers by gift and acceptance (Lane). See also 2:187
Salih, the name of the Prophet sent to the tribe of Thamud, being an Arabic word, shows that the Thamud were an Arab people. It is futile to say that Salih may be the translation of a foreign name, for the Quran has adopted all foreign names without translating them. The names Musa (Moses), Harun (Aaron), Yunus (Jonah) and Zechariah (Zachariah) may be cited as examples. The Quran further states that the Thamud were successors to the ‘Ad (7:75) which means that the ‘Ad were also an Arab race. Again, the ‘Ad, in their turn, have been spoken of in the Quran as successors to the people of Noah. This shows that Noah was also raised in an Arab territory and belonged to the Arab race. In fact, even historically it has been proved that Noah was raised in Mesopotamia, the territory of which was in early times under Arab rule.
The above fact leads to an interesting inference that Arabic was the language used by man in the beginning of the world, for when Arabia is admitted to be the cradle of the human race, the language of that country will have to be admitted as the mother of all languages.
European scholars hold that in the beginning there was such a language as Samiri, from which sprang Arabic and which subsequently became changed and distorted into other tongues. It is also admitted that Samiri was spoken in the south of Arabia. But the truth is that the different languages spoken in Mesopotamia and Arabia are all offshoots of Arabic.
The clause, He raised you up from the earth, does not mean that the people of Salih were created from the earth. It only means: "You were a lowly and despised people, no better than the earth. Then God raised you to a high position, granted you prosperity and eminence, gave you power and dominion and entrusted to you the task of bettering and improving the condition of the world. In view of your immense responsibility, you should pray for the forgiveness of your errors, so that if there has been any remissness on your part in the discharge of your duties, God may pardon it. In that case, you will receive additional grace from Him".
The verse points to the fact that all things tend to revert to their original condition. Man has been created from the earth and so he tends to revert to it. He should, therefore, bear in mind that he is weak by nature and it is only through the grace of God that he can prosper. So he should repeatedly turn to God that he may be able to maintain progress. Otherwise, his connection with God will become severed and he will drift back to his original low condition. By saying that God is "nigh" the verse warns man that God is very near to him. If he rejects His Message, He can quickly punish him, for His forces do not take long to come. One must not think that though God is near to man, He does not interfere in his affairs. This is clearly wrong; for God does interfere in the affairs of men, answers the prayers of those who call on Him, and comes to their aid.
A note on the tribe of Thamud will not be out of place here. This tribe has been mentioned by Greek historians. They place it in a period not long before the Christian era. Hijr or Agra, as they call it, is given as the home of these people, whom they call Thamudeni. They mention a place near Hijr which, according to them, the Arabs called فج الناقة (Fajjun-Naqqah). Ptolemy (بطلیموس 140 B.C.) says that near Hijr is a place known as Badanata. Abu Isma‘il, author of the Futuhush-Sham, says: "The tribe of Thamud filled the land between Bosra (in Syria) and Aden and ruled there. Perhaps they were migrating to the north." The tribes of Himyar and Saba had gained ascendancy in Yemen. When the Thamud who ruled in the south of Ahqaf were ejected from their land, they began to move northwards, first to the Hijaz, then to Tehama and lastly to Hijr. The author of the Tamadduni ‘Arab, however, says, "This is but a mere conjecture." See also Enc. Isl. under Thamud.
In fact, the Arabs think that the Thamud were a branch of the ‘Ad, and, like them, lived in Yemen, and when Himyar rose to power, they drove them towards the Hijaz. This view, however, is not supported by historical evidence, for no trace of them has yet been discovered in the south. Al-Hijr has also been known as Mada’ini Salih or the cities of Salih from ancient times and archaeological discoveries show that it had become subject to the Nabataeans, who were natives of Petra, previous to the Christian era. There have been discovered here many inscriptions in the Nabataean language, and some also in the Yemnite language. Scholars versed in Oriental literature have named these inscriptions as Thamudiyya, i.e. inscriptions belonging to the Thamud. These discoveries lend support to the view of those geographers who hold that the Thamud had migrated from the south to the north; for if it had not been so, their language would not have borne a resemblance to the Yemnite language.
Al-Hijr, which seems to have been the capital of these people, lies between Medina and Tabuk, and the valley in which it is situated is called Wadi Qura. These people held sway here. Speaking of the Thamud, the Quran says: Who hewed out the rocks in the valley (89:10). The Quran represents them as the immediate successors of the ‘Ad (7:75). From 40:31,32, it appears that the Thamud lived before the time of Moses.
Another consideration leads us to the conclusion that they lived even before the time of Abraham. Toward the end of their days they ruled over northern Arabia and southern Palestine. It appears from the Quran that in the time of Moses, these territories were dominated by the Midianites, who were descended from Abraham, Midian being the son of Abraham from Keturah, his third wife (Gen. 25:1,2). The descendants of Keturah lived in these parts, when Joseph was taken from the well and carried to Egypt. This shows that the Thamud had altogether been destroyed or their power had greatly declined before the time of Abraham, otherwise the Midianites would not have been able to take possession of their territory.
It is worthy of note that accounts of the Prophets Hud and Salih have been given at various places in the Quran and everywhere the order observed is the same, viz. the account of Hud precedes that of Salih which is the true chronological order. This shows that the Quran gives accurately and in their true historical order the facts of history long consigned to oblivion and wrapped in obscurity. This refutes the objection frequently urged against the Quran that it fails to observe true historical order in the narration of the events of history. According to some, Thamud is only another name for ‘Adi Thaniyah or the second ‘Ad, while according to others they came after the second ‘Ad. For further discussion of this subject see "Tafsir-e-Kabir" by Hadrat Khalifatul Masih II, vol. 3, p. 219, where, when speaking of the chronological order of the Prophets, it is only Hud and Salih, who are prehistoric Prophets, that are really meant. There is a tradition to the effect that some Muslims read a poetic inscription about the Thamud during the reign of Mu‘awiyah. This tradition is discredited by European critics. The inscription, however, was rediscovered by Captain Haines and Mr. Wellstedt, in 1834. It was published in the Royal Asiatic Society Journal and was reproduced by Mr. Forester in his works. It is in the Himyari language, which was originally a south Arabian tongue. Modern orientalists call it the Himyari inscription. It was discovered at Hisnul-Ghurab, a place near Aden. The following is a translation of it:
"We dwelt, living long and luxuriously in the Zenanas of this spacious mansion: our condition exempt from misfortune and adversity. Rolled in through our channel
The sea, swelling against our castle with angry surge; our fountains flowed, with murmuring fall, above.
The lofty palms: whose keepers planted dry dates in our valley date-grounds; they sowed the arid rice.
We hunted the mountain-goats, and the young hares, with gins and snares; beguiling, we drew forth the fishes.
We walked, with slow, proud gait, in needle-worked many-coloured silk vestments, in whole silks, in grass-green chequered robes.
Over us presided kings far removed from baseness, and stern chastisers of reprobate and wicked men. They noted down for us according to the doctrine of Heber.
Good judgements written in a book to be kept; and we proclaimed our belief in miracles, in the resurrection, in the return into the nostrils of the breath of life.
Made an inroad upon robbers, and would do us violence: collectively we rode forth . . . we and our generous youth, . . . with stiff and sharp-pointed spears; rushing onward
Proud champions of our families, and our wives; fighting valiantly, upon coursers with long necks, dun-coloured, iron-gray, and bright bay.
With our swords still wounding and piercing our adversaries; until, charging home, we conquered and crushed this refuse of mankind".
"With hostile hate, the men of crime We assailed: onward rushed
Our horses, and trampled them under foot."
"Divided into parts, and inscribed from right to left, and marked with points, this song of triumph, Sarash and Dzerah.
Transpierced, and hunted down, and covered their faces with blackness. Aws the Beni Ac" (Historical Geography of Arabia, p. 382. See also Enc. of Islam under Hisn al-Ghurab).
It is clear from the above that the Thamud were a civilized people and they possessed not only a code of laws but also recorded their decisions to serve as an authority in future cases, as is done in modern civilized countries. It is difficult to say whether the people to whom the above inscription refers lived before the Prophet Salih or after him, for possibly a section of the people of Hud may have been left behind in southern Arabia. At any rate it is a proven fact of history that these people were part of Thamud tribe and it was among them or among their brethren who had migrated to the north that Salih was raised.
From 7:75 it appears that the Thamud ruled over plains and hills. Again, from 26:148, 149 we learn that their country abounded in springs and gardens wherein grew date-palms of excellent quality and that they also cultivated lands and grew corn. Thus the Quranic account of these people is fully corroborated by the inscription quoted above.
Their decline seems to have begun soon after the time of Salih, for only a few centuries after his time their name fails to find mention among conquering and victorious nations. Arabia was invaded by an Assyrian king (722-705 B.C.) and the name Thamud is found mentioned among the conquered tribes in an inscription which he caused to be engraved in memory of his victory. Of the Greek historians, Didorus (80 B.C.), Pliny (79 B.C.) and Ptolemy make mention of the Thamud. When Justinian, the Roman Emperor, invaded Arabia, his army included 300 Thamud soldiers, but before the advent of Islam this tribe had become altogether extinct. (close)
قَالُوۡا یٰصٰلِحُ قَدۡ کُنۡتَ فِیۡنَا مَرۡجُوًّا قَبۡلَ ہٰذَاۤ اَتَنۡہٰنَاۤ اَنۡ نَّعۡبُدَ مَا یَعۡبُدُ اٰبَآؤُنَا وَ اِنَّنَا لَفِیۡ شَکٍّ مِّمَّا تَدۡعُوۡنَاۤ اِلَیۡہِ مُرِیۡبٍ ﴿۶۳﴾
قَالُواْ يَٰصَٰلِحُ قَدۡ كُنتَ فِينَا مَرۡجُوّٗا قَبۡلَ هَٰذَآۖ أَتَنۡهَىٰنَآ أَن نَّعۡبُدَ مَا يَعۡبُدُ ءَابَآؤُنَا وَإِنَّنَا لَفِي شَكّٖ مِّمَّا تَدۡعُونَآ إِلَيۡهِ مُرِيبٖ
The people of Salih here complain that they had hoped that he, promising and talented as he was, would bring them prosperity and glory; but, quite contrary to their expectations, he was going to ruin them by forbidding them to worship what their fathers worshipped. This threw them into disquieting doubt about the truth of his mission.
The above-mentioned expression of opinion by the people of Salih about him was no flattery. He really was the centre of their hopes, as are all Messengers of God who impress their people with their extraordinary talents and great righteousness of conduct from their very childhood, and such was the Holy Prophet of Islam. Abu Bakr, ‘Ali, Zaid and Khadijah all believed in him before they had any knowledge of the details of his teachings or had seen any sign in support of his mission. They accepted him on the basis of the evidence that his life was spotlessly pure.
The words, And we are surely in disquieting doubt concerning that to which thou callest us, mean that, just as the taste of the mouth of a man who is suffering from some internal malady becomes vitiated, similarly, the hearts of these people having become corrupt, the very teaching which had come to remove doubts and misgivings appeared to them as creating doubts in their minds. (close)