The Prophet Salih

Bismillah. Here we go! The continuation of our Prophet series. The Prophet Salih.

The People of Thamūd

The people of ‘Aad (to whom Hud was sent) and the people of Thamud were related. They shared a common ancestor–Shem, the son of Noah (May God be pleased with him).

The people of Hūd were, as we mentioned before, from the Original Arabs. They came before the people of Thamud and were the first people to disbelieve after Nūh ‘alayhis salaam. They lived in the deserts of Yemen, in the mountains between Oman and Hadramowt, near the sea (in the southernmost part of the Arabian Peninsula).

Thamūd was the forefather of the people of Thamūd—simple enough to understand. Saleh was sent to these people. There were four fathers (think generation) between Thamūd and Saleh. Thamud lived in a place between Hijaaz and Tabūk.

‘Aad and Thamud were not known to the people of the book, though Allah mentions in the Qur’an that Musa mentioned them to his people. The people of the book didn’t mention their stories or preserve them because these nations were Arab.mapHadramowt

Thamud lived after the people of ‘Aad. They worshipped idols just like ‘Aad did. And, just like ‘Aad, they were an arrogant people.

The Dwellers of Al-Hijr

Allah tells us in the Surah Al-Hijr:

“And certainly did the dwellers of Al-Hijr deny the messengers. And we gave then Our signs, but from them they turned away. And they used to carve from the mountains houses, feeling secure.”

Al-Hijr is a rocky tract. They lived in a rocky area. The people of Thamud would carve their houses out of mountain—bedrock! So their house were very strong. Imagine a house that is carved out of solid rock!

rockymountainsHow would you feel if you lived in a house carved out of the mountainside? You would probably imagine that nothing could harm you in the mountain. You might think that no storm, no hurricane, no amount of sleet or any other kind of destructive weather could hurt you. This is what Thamud felt; they felt that nothing could harm them and that they were safe and secure.

But we should fear Allah. We should never behave in an arrogant way or think that we are safe from Allah punishing us. Allah says in Surah al-‘Araf: “None feels secure from the Plan of Allah except the people who are the losers.”

Loving Allah is part of eman, and so is fearing Him. We have to have both of these qualities within us. We love Him because of His Mercy, because of His Justice, because He created us, because of everything He gives us. We love Allah. At the same time, we know that we make mistakes. Any injustice we do, Allah may hold us accountable for it. And we know that He has power over everything.

Their Prophet Salih tells them, “Will you be left secure in that which you have here? In gardens and springs and corn fields and date palms with soft spadix. And you carve houses out of mountains with great skill?” (26:146-149) These people were very excellent architects. Just like their brothers of ‘Aad, they had great power in the land. And just as many people of power are, Thamud were corrupt.

Salih Reminds Them

Allah says that Salih told his people: “And remember when He made you successors after ‘Aad (people) and gave you habitations in the land, you build for yourselves palaces in plains, and carve out homes in the mountains. So remember the graces (bestowed upon you) from Allah, and do not go about making mischief on the earth.” (7:74)

The Prophet Salih told them, “Do not go about making mischief on the earth.”

What message do you think the Prophet Salih was sent with? Think about Nuh and Hud. What did they tell their people?

Salih came with the same message the other Prophets always came with.

He said: “O my people! Worship Allah! You have no other Ilah (God) but Him. (La ilaha ill-Allah: none has the right to be worshipped but Allah).” (7:73)

He is telling them to make istighfaar and ask for forgiveness.

Their Response

How did they feel about Salih prior to his inviting them to Islam? They said of Salih that he was a hope for them. They said: “O Salih (Saleh)! You have been among us as a figure of good hope (and we wished for you to be our chief), till this [new thing which you have brought; that we leave our gods and worship your God (Allah) Alone]! Do you (now) forbid us the worship of what our fathers have worshipped? But we are really in grave doubt as to that which you invite us to (monotheism).” (11:62)heartofgold

Salih was a very intelligent and strong young man. He was from a noble family – the high class. And they were preparing him to be their leader; they were looking forward to him assuming responsibility for the people of Thamud.

SubhaanAllah, these people looked up to him and respected him and liked him before he came with Islam. Look at the condition of their hearts—as soon as he came to preach the truth to them, they rejected him. They preferred to worship what their fathers did, even if it was wrong. This was, by the way, the same reason for which the Arabs persecuted the Prophet (S). They knew him for his good character, honesty and truthfulness, but they rejected him because what he came with was different from what their forefathers taught.

It may be hard to imagine that a superpower or a nation of strength would not accept the truth—but what characteristic do we see settle into people who are powerful, who feel that they have everything and are self-sufficient? People like this often become arrogant. They feel that they do not need anyone, not even God.

Give Us a Sign

Then they accused him of magic. They said, “You are only of those bewitched. You are but a human being like us. Then bring us a sign if you are of the truthful.” (26:153-4)

Thamud were given that was not given to any other nation: they got to choose their miracle. Salih asked them, “What do you want?” They said to him, “Do you see this rock? We want you to produce a living camel out of it.” And they described the camel exactly how they wanted her to be.

Salih asked Allah; the miracle was performed. For Allah, what is the difference from creating from a cell or a dead rock? Allah just has to say “be!” and it is.

Suddenly, out of this rock, a huge she-camel came out. She was gigantic; bigger than a regular camel. Many of the people believed after they saw the she-camel come.

camelandcalfAllah said to them: “We shall send the she-camel as a trial for them. So watch them and bear patiently. And inform them that the water is to be shared between them and her, each one will have his drink in turn.”[1]

Salih said, this is the agreement: you can drink from your water one day, but the next day, you have to let the camel drink and you can’t touch it. If you want, you can drink of the milk of the camel, but you cannot take the water. It is said that they all drank from her milk to their satisfaction.

“And touch her not with harm, lest the torment of a Great Day seize you.” (26:155-6)

The Leaders Plotted

The camel would drink one day and they would drink one day, but there was something going on between the leaders. They were planning, not only to harm the camel, but to kill it. How many people were they that decided to do this?

The one who decided to do it was Qidaar bin Saalif bin Junda’—their chief. And the other people who were actively involved were nine. Out of the whole nation, the ones that conspired to kill the camel were just these few leaders. Allah says, “And there were in the city nine men (from the sons of their chiefs), who made mischief in the land, and would not reform.”[2]

There was a woman of wealthy and noble descent who went to one of her cousins, telling him that if he were to slay the camel, she would marry him. Another woman from the people, who was old and of evil fitra, enticed a young man to help with the kill by offering him any of her four daughters, should he kill the camel. These two young men volunteered and seven more came forward, making a total of nine. These men persuaded the rest of the tribe to back them and then they went out, to lie in wait of the she-camel.

They made their move. When they got next to the camel, they hesitated, because the camel was so huge. One of them – the most evil – took his sword and hit the camel in its front of the legs, or the shin bone. The camel fell and one of the men came forth with his sword and hamstrung her. Allah says: “Thamud (people) denied (their Prophet) through their transgression When the most wicked man among them went forth (to kill the she-camel).”[3]

Bring the Punishment!

Allah says, “So they killed the she ­camel and insolently defied the Commandment of their Lord, and said: ‘O Salih! Bring about your threats if you are indeed one of the Messengers (of Allah)!’”[4]

Look at how arrogant and ill-mannered they are! They are basically mocking sayyidna Salih, saying, “If your camel is sacred, bring the punishment you promised!”

Not only did they do that, they went back and made a plan to assassinate Salih and his whole family. They said: “Swear one to another by Allah that we shall make a secret night attack on him and his household, and afterwards we will surely say to his near relatives: ‘We witnessed not the destruction of his household, and verily! We are telling the truth.’” (27:49)

Three Days

Salih came out and told his people and said, “You have three days to enjoy yourselves. This is a promise that will not be belied.”

The morning of the first day, their faces were pale. On the second day, their faces were red. On the third day, their faces were black. That evening, they all said to each other, “All three days of the deadline have passed!”

In the morning, they perfumed themselves and sat down insolently in wait of their punishment.

“But As-Saihah (torment – awful cry etc.) overtook them in the early morning (of the fourth day of their promised punishment days).” (15:83) They went to bed safe, in houses carved from solid bedrock. Nothing could harm their houses – rain, storms, floods, earthquakes. They thought they were safe. Allah destroyed them with the awful cry; a voice so loud that it caused the earth to shake.

They thought that they were safe and no element of nature could harm them because of the strength of their houses—no wind, no water, no objects. But what about sound? We know that sound waves can travel through anything Allah has created.

Allah says: “And As-Saihah (torment – awful cry, etc.) overtook the wrong-doers, so they lay (dead), prostrate in their homes as if they had never lived there. No doubt! Verily, Thamud disbelieved in their Lord. So away with Thamud!” (11:67-8)

Allah says, “So they plotted a plot, and We planned a plan, while they perceived not. Then see how was the end of their plot! Verily! We destroyed them and their nation, all together.” (27:51)

Silent Majority

How many were the ones who plotted? Nine. And who went ahead and made the first move? One.

Why is it that everyone was destroyed? Because everyone knew about this corruption and did not stop it. They didn’t do anything. They thought they could eat, drink, sleep and have sex, be safe, and nothing would happen to them.

There is no in between party. There is no sitting on the fence. You are either with Allah, or you are with shaytaan.

This is true of most nations. There are a set of people who make the rules and dictate where society goes. The rest are sheep; they quietly go along with what thtey are told to do.

Allah says, “[…] Those who disbelieve enjoy themselves and eat as cattle eat, and the Fire will be their abode.” (47:12)

When these nine men plotted this evil and no one in society stopped them, the punishment did not differentiate between them. This is an important lesson for us. We have to know that we must stop any injustice or wrongdoing if we see it.

The Prophet (S) told us: “Whoever among you sees an evil action, and he is able to change it with his hand, then change it with his hand (by taking action); if he cannot, (do so) with his tongue then with his tongue (by speaking out); and if he cannot then with his heart (by hating it and feeling that it is wrong), and that is the weakest of faith.”[5]


And after Thamud were destroyed, Salih came back to his town. It was a ghost town, because Allah obliterated the disbelievers, and he turned to them, and said: ‘O my people! I have indeed conveyed to you the Message of my Lord, and have given you good advice but you like not good advisers.’[6]

lostcitypetraAfter the battle of Badr, the leaders of Quraysh were all buried. RasulAllah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam came to them and said, “O people of the grave, do you find the promise of Allah on you to be true? Because I find the promise of Allah to me to be true.” Allah promised Muhammad sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and it happened. ‘Umar ibn AlKhattaab said, “O RasulAllah, are you talking to bodies that are already decomposed?” These are a few days after they were already buried. RasulAllah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “You cannot hear me better than they.”

When RasulAllah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and the sahabah were travelling to Tabuk and they passed by the ruins of Thamud, some of the Sahabah went in and took some water from the wells of Thamud. They mixed water with flour and made bread, and they bought some of that water. RasulAllah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam told them not to eat from that bread. He asked them to throw it and all of the water out as well.

Some of the sahabah wanted to check out the ruins “as a wonder,” but the Prophet (S) told them to not enter upon their dwellings, unless it was in a state of crying.

subhaanAllah, when my children and I went to go see the mummies in the Egypt exhibit at the museum, they had so many belongings, paintings and statues of the Pharoahs. I thought it was ironic that these are the people that so many of us are fascinated by, when we really need to learn the lesson and remember that it was these same nations that Allah was angered by and that were destroyed because of their disobedience.

It is not in the “civilizations” of these arrogant men that we should find wonder, but in the Majesty of their Creator.

May Allah make us amongst those who take benefit from these stories and increase our eman through them. May Allah forgive me for any mistakes I may have made. And please do point them out if you see any.

[1] 53:27-28

[2] 27:48

[3] 91:11-12

[4] 7:77

[5] Sahih Ibn Mājah

[6][6] 7:79

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One Response to The Prophet Salih

  1. Ruby KS says:

    Jazakallahu Khairan…..Mashallah beautifully written.

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