Our Beacon Forum

A History Of The Prophets - 4
By:*Dr Shabbir
Date: Saturday, 23 January 2010, 10:06 pm

[Notice that the salvage of Noah and his companions was no miracle. God had revealed to Noah that a tremendous storm and flood was at hand. His companions believed in him, hence, they took preventive action, built an ark and rode the flood to safety. The disbelievers, on the other hand, considered all warnings as empty threats.]

Miracles would defy the Unchangeable Divine Laws. Allah makes His laws in the World of Command (Amr) as He wills. Then, He implements them in the World of Creation i.e. the Universe and never changes them. If these laws were to keep changing, no science would be possible. Just one example should suffice. If the force of gravity pulled objects one day and repelled them another day, our existence on earth would become impossible. Imagine people floating in the air today and falling down from great heights tomorrow.

[In the World of command He makes laws as He wills. Then He implements these laws in the World of Creation - the Universe (7:54). And then He neither changes them, nor makes any exceptions. 17:77, 33:38, 33:62, 35:43, 40:85, 48:23. His Rule is the Rule of law and not of haphazard tantrums]

Therefore, any semblance of miracles, must be taken allegorically.

3:7 (The Book He has sent down, bears an important Principle.) He is the One Who has revealed to you (O Prophet) the scripture. In it some verses are literal, while some verses are allegorical. The verses that pertain to Permanent Values have been presented literally. These verses, Muhkamat, are the essence of the Divine law. But abstract phenomena, some historical events, and the World of the Unseen are described in similes, metaphors and allegories (Mutashaabihaat) for your understanding. But those who are given to crookedness in their hearts pursue the allegories and try to give them literal meanings, thus creating dissension of thought. None encompasses their final meaning (of such as the Essence of God, His Throne, His Hand, His Book of Decrees, the exact mode of revelation on the heart of the Messengers, the Eternity) but God. Those who are well founded in knowledge understand why the allegories have been used and they keep learning from them. They proclaim the belief that the entire Book is from their Lord. As the human knowledge evolves, more and more allegories will unfold their literal meaning. But only the men and women of understanding will bear this fact in mind.

[Every verse of the Qur’an is Muhkam, absolute truth. The context enables us to understand which ones are to be taken literally and which ones are to be taken allegorically. Each verse in the Book complements another. 11:1, 39:23, 41:53, 47:20, 74:31]

We have noted that verse 6:84 begins naming prophets with Noah and not Adam. Also,

4:163 We have sent you (Muhammad) the revelation as We sent it to Noah and the Prophets after him. We sent revelations to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and his progeny (the Tribes), Jesus, Job (Ayub), Jonah (Yunus), Aaron, and Solomon; and to David We gave Zaboor. [Zaboor = The Psalms = A book of Divine wisdom]

4:164 [We sent Our Messengers to all nations with a uniform Message] We have told you the stories of some in the Qur’an, of the others We have not. (However, all of them were assigned a Common Mission.) And God spoke directly to Moses.

4:165 All these Messengers gave good news, as well as warning, so that humans would not have an argument against God, after the Messengers conveyed to them the guidance. God is Almighty, Wise.

Q. Why does the Qur'an mention only the prophets that came to the Middle East?

A. The first addressees of the Qur'an were Arabs and they were familiar with their names and some folklore about them and their people. Their caravans often traveled through their ruins. If the Book mentioned prophets in other parts of the world, the ignorant Arabs would not be able to connect with either those prophets or their people. The Message, then, would be lost in their questions about who was who and where was what.

10:47 Every community has had a Messenger. ----.

16:36 We have raised in every community a Messenger ----.

PROPHET HUD
He was sent to the nation of 'Aad who flourished around 6000 B.C. They used to inhabit in and around what is called today Al-Ahqaaf (the land of Sand-dunes), and south to Yemen. Al-Ahqaaf or the Empty Quarter, located in the South-eastern Arabian Peninsula is the second largest desert in the world after the Sahara of Africa.

Men of vision:

'Aad's vested interests hindered them from coming to the right path. They were people of vision and high intellect, Mustabsireen. However, unjust systems wither away regardless of how smartly they are run. The capital of ‘Aad was the legendary Iram, the Town of Pillars that lies buried in the sand dunes of the second largest desert in the world after the African Sahara. Called Ruba’ al-Khali’ = The Empty Quarter, this desert covers much of the Southeastern Arabian Peninsula. Iram is mentioned in 89:7. The Tribe of Thamud had descended from ‘Aad and is, therefore, frequently referred to in history and ancient Arabic poetry as ‘Aad-e-thani (Second ‘Aad). Inscriptions and records dating as far back as 715 BC refer to them as Thamudenes and Thamudaei (writings of Aristo, Ptolemy, Pliny). Thamud had vanished 2,000 years before these visitors. Rock inscriptions, dwellings and tombs decorated with animal sculptures still exist in the valley of Al-Hijr from Northern Hijaz to Syria. Recently, satellite images have discovered their castles built within the drilled mountains of Yemen as well!

‘Aad were a very strong and prosperous nation. They were smart people and using their faculties, they had become quite advanced in science and technology. They were proud of their strength and achievements. However, they disregarded Permanent Moral Values and oppressed the weak.

41:15 As for ‘Aad, they behaved in the land arrogantly against all right. And they used to say, "Who is mightier than us in power?" What! Could they not realize that God Who created them, is Mightier than they in power? But they went on denying Our messages, knowingly. [Yajhadoon = They knowingly opposed the truth. 27:14]

Vain Monuments:

They used to build monuments of vanity. These buildings, mostly towers and minarets, served no purpose, but in their false pride, ‘Aad desired to leave impressive landmarks for posterity. They were oblivious to the Divine law that “the real existence on earth is only of that which benefits mankind.” (13:17)

26:128 You build on every height monuments of vanity.

26:129 And you make for yourselves mighty castles; will you thus become immortal?

Mighty Grasp:

For labor, they grasped poor people with a mighty grasp. The nation, as a whole, had become predators taking delight in holding captives and torturing whoever came into their custody.

26:130 And you seize people cruelly, without any restraint. [Subjecting them into bondage to build these gorgeous structures for you]

26:131 Be mindful of God and heed me.

26:132 Be mindful of Him Who helped you with good things you know and the know-how and skills.

26:133 He Who has helped you with livestock and human resources.

26:134 And gardens and water springs.

26:135 Surely, I fear for you the requital of an awesome day.”

26:136 But they answered, "It is the same for us whether you counsel us or not.

Rationalization:

26:137 This has been our life-style for generations.

26:138 And we shall never be doomed."

26:139 So, they rejected him and We destroyed them. Therein is a sign, even though most people are not believers (in the law of Just Recompense).

Idolatry:

‘Aad worshiped idols and idolatry inherently comes with priesthood that exploits people and divides the community into sects. Superstitions and blood sacrifices are integral parts of idolatry. These trends caused multiple social evils in the society.

7:69 Why do you wonder that there has come to you a reminder from your Lord through a man from amongst you, to warn you? Recall that He made you successors to Noah’s people and gave you abundant power. Keep in mind God’s authority and blessings that you may continue to prosper.”

7:70 They said, "Have you come to us that we serve God alone and give up what our forefathers worshiped? Bring upon us what you threaten us with, if you are truthful.”

7:65 To the people of ‘Aad, We sent their brother, Hud. He said, “O My people! Serve God by serving His creation. You have no god beside Him. Do you not seek to live upright?”

7:66 The elite among his people who were disbelieving said, "Ah! We see that you are in folly, and we think that you are a liar.”

7:67 He said, "O My people! There is no folly in me. I am a Messenger from the Lord of the Worlds.

7:68 I convey to you the messages of my Lord, and I am a sincere and trustworthy adviser to you.

Tyranny:

Strangely, they preferred to have cruel tyrants to rule them and obeyed every oppressive, mighty leader.

11:59 Such were ‘Aad. They denied the clear messages of their Lord, rebelled against His Messengers and followed the command of every stubborn tyrant.

God sent messengers to them but the People of ‘Aad failed to reform. Finally, during the times of Prophet Hud, the mighty nation got annihilated.

11:60 And they were pursued in this world by Divine rejection, and will be overtaken by it on the Resurrection Day. ‘Aad denied their Sustainer! Oh, away with the ‘Aad, the people of Hud!

46:26 We had established them in the land better than We ever established you, and We had given them keen faculties of hearing, sight and intellect. But their hearing and sight and intellect did not avail them when they went on knowingly rejecting God’s messages. And so, the very thing they used to mock, surrounded them.

[Fuaad, plural Af’idah = The faculty of intellect, reasoning and insight. 17:36, 32:9, 45:23]

Prosperous And Powerful:

7:71 (‘Aad were a powerful community that had gone unjust. Since there is a Law of Respite for nations, they flourished and were unable to see the wrong thus far.) Hud said, "Your Lord’s Requital is already hovering over you. Do you argue with me about certain names that you and your forefathers have fabricated, whereas God never authorized them. Then wait for the consequences, and I am also waiting.” [53:23]

Hurricane Winds:

7:72 [The People of ‘Aad ruled a big empire in Arabia. However, they failed to heed the Prophet’s warning. Then hurricane winds annihilated them 41:16] We saved him and those with him by mercy from Us, and cut the root of those who denied Our messages and would not believe.

41:16 And so We sent upon them a raging windstorm for days of misfortune, that We let them taste a punishment of humiliation in the life of this world. But the punishment of the Hereafter is far more humiliating and they will have none to help them.

46:21 And remember the brother of ‘Aad when he warned his people in their Land of Sand-dunes. Warners came and went before and after him, saying, “Serve none but God. I fear for you the retribution of a Tremendous Day.”

Blind Following:

46:22 They answered, “Have you come to turn us away from our gods?” Bring us, then, what you are threatening us with, if you are of the truthful.”

46:23 He said, “That knowledge is with God alone. I announce to you the Mission on which I have been sent. But I see that you are a people who prefer to live in the darkness of ignorance.”

46:24 And so, when they saw a dense cloud approaching their valleys, they said, “Here is a dense cloud bringing us the needed rain.” Nay, this is the very thing you were asking to be hastened – a wind wherein is a grievous torment,

46:25 Bound to destroy everything by its Lord’s command. And the morning found them so that nothing could be seen but their empty dwellings. Thus We reward the guilty.

46:26 We had established them in the land better than We ever established you, and We had given them keen faculties of hearing, sight and intellect. But their hearing and sight and intellect did not avail them when they went on knowingly rejecting God’s messages. And so, the very thing they used to mock, surrounded them.

[Fuaad, plural Af’idah = The faculty of intellect, reasoning and insight. 17:36, 32:9, 45:23]

51:41 And in ‘Aad! When We sent upon them the devastating wind.

51:42 It spared nothing that it blew on and smashed it to dust.

They were ill-prepared for Natural disasters:

54:18 The tribe of ‘Aad had also rejected the message. Then see how was My retribution after My warnings! [7:65]

54:19 We sent raging winds upon them on a day of relentless misery. [69:6-8]

54:20 Tossing people around like empty, uprooted palm-trunks.

54:21 Then see how was My retribution after My warnings!

69:6 And as for ‘Aad, they were annihilated with raging hurricane winds.

69:7 Which He made it rage upon them for seven long nights and eight long days. Such that you could imagine those people as uprooted hollow palm-trunks. [54:20]

69:8 Can you see any remnants of them?

89:6 Have you noted how your Lord dealt with ‘Aad? [They had refused to listen to their prophets on equitable treatment with the poor, and violated human rights. 7:65-72]

The City of Towers:

89:7 Those whose capital was Iram, the city of towers and lofty mansions. [Iram were the generation of Iram son of Sam son of Noah. The capital of the tribe of ‘Aad bears the same name, Iram, and now lies buried in Al-Ahqaf, the Sand-dunes of Southern Arabia. 46:21]

89:8 The like of which (the towers and castles) were never built in other cities. [26:128-134]

29:38 And (the Tribes of) ‘Aad and Thamud! Their fate is manifest to you from their ruined dwellings. Satan had made their doings seem goodly to them, and thus had barred them from the right path. And they were people who were endowed with vision!

11:50 We sent to ‘Aad their brother Hud. He said, “O My people! Serve God alone. You have no god but He. As it is, you are but inventors of falsehood.”

MIRACLES?

11:53 They said, "O Hud! You have not shown us any miracle. We will not forsake our idols just because you say so. We are not going to believe you.”

DEMON?

11:54 “We think that one of our gods has possessed you like a demon and you have gone crazy." Hud said, "I call God to witness, and you too bear witness that I am absolutely free of your idolatry.”

HUD'S DETERMINATION

11:55 “Get together, all of you and your gods besides Him. Make a firm decision against me and give me no respite.”

11:56 “I have put my trust in God, my Lord and your Lord. There is not a creature in the Universe beyond His firm Control. Indeed, my Lord is on the straight path.”

SALVATION VS SUCCESS

[God has designed the Universe so that all things go through evolution. It is an ascending, linear journey that makes progress possible. In the Cyclical hypothesis of the Greek philosophers, things will keep revolving in a circle like oxen endlessly going around water well without covering any distance. Christian monasticism, Judaic mysticism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sufism etc define the ultimate objective of humans as freeing themselves of the endless cycle of life i.e. salvation. Therefore, salvation is a negative notion, whereas the Qur’an motivates us to attain eternal success. The dogma of Original Sin in Christianity also involves restoration to a sinless state, once again a negative connotation]

NATIONS MAY GET DOMINATED OR REPLACED

11:57 “You may accept or reject the message that I have clearly conveyed to you. If you turn away, you will decline and fall. Then, My Lord will bring another people in your place. You cannot harm Him at all. My Lord is the Guardian of all things.”

11:58 And so, when Our command came to pass, We saved Hud and those who believed with him by a mercy from Us. We saved them from a harsh retribution that inflicted the rejecters.

11:59 Such were ‘Aad. They denied the clear messages of their Lord, rebelled against His Messengers and followed the command of every stubborn tyrant.

11:60 And they were pursued in this world by Divine rejection, and will be overtaken by it on the Resurrection Day. ‘Aad denied their Sustainer! Oh, away with the ‘Aad, the people of Hud!