Friday, January 15, 2010


Chambers at inside the hewed home
Cluster of hewed homes in a mountain
Cluster of hewed homes in a mountain

Cluster of hewed homes in another mountain

Prophet Saleh

God selected a man among Thamuds as His messenger. He was Saleh bin Ubaid bin Maseh bin Ubaid bin Hadir bin Thamud bin Athir bin Iram bin Noah. His presence among Thamuds as Prophet is the pinnacle of their history that is well documented and remembered by Muslims all over the world and particularly in the region even today. It is also observed from the traditions of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) that this region is cursed by the Creator due to the severe punishment meted out to Thamuds through natural obliteration. Even today, the elderly Arabs living nearby region was not interested to visit the place. Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) advises to avoid visiting such cursed places and even if someone to visit for learning purposes, should cry for the fear of curse and punishment.

Followings are the verses from different parts of Holy Quran to detail the final events that led to the destruction of Thamuds from earth. Prophet Saleh called them to worship one God and not to associate any partner with Him. He warned of their corrupted life widely prevailed among them including their way of life that is against the Creator and the law of nature.

“And to Thamud We sent their brother Saleh. He Said, ‘O my people! Worship Allah, you have no God other than Him. He has created you from the earth and made you dwell in it, therefore, ask for forgiveness from Him, then repent to Him, surely my Lord is near and responsive’.

They said, ‘O Saleh! Surely, you were among us a source of hope before this. Do you forbid us to worship what our fathers worshipped? Surely, we are in suspicious doubt as to what you invite us to”. (11:61,62 – Holy Quran)

“Thamud rejected the Messengers, when their brother Saleh said to them; Will you fear Allah? I am for you a trustworthy Messenger. So fear Allah and obey me. And I do not ask you for any reward for it, surely my reward is only with the Lord of the worlds. Do you think you will be left secure here, in gardens and fountains, in plantations and date groves with fine spathes? And you hew houses out of the mountains with great skills. So fear Allah and obey me, and do not obey the bidding of the transgressors, who spread corruptions in the land do not do right”. (26:141-152 – Holy Quran)

Thamuds were continue to reject him and even believed that he is a sorcerer or bewitched.

“You are merely one of those who are bewitched” (26:153 – Holy Quran)

Thamuds then demanded Saleh to produce some evidence or to bring a miracle to prove his claim as Prophet and has received guidance from God.

"So bring a sign if you are truthful” (26:154 – Holy Quran)

The researchers and scholars have summarized that Thamud gathered in their assembly and Prophet Saleh came to them again and invited to believe in one God. He further admonished them and even warned the consequences of spreading corruption and rejecting the faith. Thamuds have demanded something impossible like ‘If you can produce from this rock (pointing towards a rock) a she-camel with a specific characteristic of at least 10 meters long. The Prophet Saleh accepted their challenge and asked them to believe in him as messenger of God and took their covenant and promise for that. Prophet Saleh stood up and offered prayers to God to respond their demand. God commanded particular rock to produce a she-camel with the qualities they have described.

“This is a she-camel, she shall have her portion of water and you shall have your portion of water on an appointed day. And do not harm her, least you be seized with a chastisement of grievous day”. (26:155,156 – Holy Quran)

“This is the she-camel of Allah, as a sign for you, leave her to graze in Allah’s earth and do not harm her, lest you be seized by a swift chastisement”. (7:73 – Holy Quran)

“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”. (54:27,28 – Holy Quran)

When they watched this miracle, many of them believed in Saleh’s message and equal number of them still persisted in their erroneous way of life and devotion. However, the she-camel is a reality and need to remain with them. The she-camel was grazing wherever she wanted and drink whenever it require. It became the practice for Thamud tribes and the she-camel to drink from the well on alternative days and the well was equally divided between she-camel and Thamuds. It is also said that Thamuds drank or consumed the milk from the she-camel in return of sharing the water well.

After a long confrontational situation, their leaders gathered and decided unanimously that the she-camel should be hamstrung and killed, in order to relieve them with sufficient portion of water for themselves. The person who took charge or volunteered of slaying the she-camel was their chief Qidar bin Salif bin Junda. It is said that he was born out of wedlock and chief of them, hence his act of slaying is regarded as the act of his whole people.

Ibn Jarir have mentioned that there were two women in Thamuds and one of them was Saduq, the daughter of Mahya bin Zuhair bin Mukhtar and was wealthy. The other woman was Unaizah bint Ghunaim bin Mijlaz and nicknamed Umm Ghanmah. Saduq was divorced due to her husband’s belief in Saleh as Prophet and approached her cousin to marry her provided if he can kill the she-camel. Her cousin name was Masra bin Muharraj bin Mahya. Umm Ghanmah had four daughters and offered one of her daughters to Qidar bin Salif bin Junda if he can kill the she-camel. These are the two men and along with seven more members from the community made available to kill the she-camel.

“And there were in the city nine people who made mischief in the land, and did not act righteously” (27:48 – Holy Quran)

They pursued the rest of the tribe to agree with them by presenting the benefits of killing the she-camel and all agreed to their plan. When the she-camel came out from a well Masra ambushed her with his arrow into her shinbone. While group of women chanting for their heroics and instigated other men, Qidar bin Salif came forward with his sword and hamstrung her and she fell on the earth.

"But they called their companion and he took a sword and hamstrung her. See how was My punishment and how True My warnings". (54:29,30 – Holy Quran)

“When their most wretched broke forth with mischief; then the Messenger of Allah said to them: ‘The she-camel of Allah, let her have her drink’. But they disbelieved him and they hamstrung her, for their sin their Lord obliterated them. And He fears not the consequences thereof’. (91:12 to 15 – Holy Quran)
“So they slew the she-camel and insolently defied their Lord’s command and challenged Saleh saying; ‘Bring us that which you threaten us with, if you are a Messenger” (7:77 – Holy Quran)
As soon as the she-camel fell on earth, all other people cut the she-camel into pieces when her calf watched all this. The calf fled from the place and went onto the peak of the mountain and howled three times. They even tried to kill Saleh on the same evening.
“But they slew her, and he said: Enjoy yourselves in your homes for three days, this is the promise not to be belied”. (11:65 Holy Quran)

They still could not believe in the warning of Saleh and continue their mission of killing Saleh and his family.

“They said; ‘swear a mutual oath by Allah that we shall make a night attack on him and his family, and then we will say to his heir; we did not witness the slaying of his family, and we are saying the truth”. (27:49 – Holy Quran)

“And they devised a plot, and We planned a plan while they did not perceive. See how was the end of their plot, for We destroyed them and their people all together. So these are their houses in utter ruin, because of the evil they committed. Surely there is a sign in this for people who have knowledge. And We rescued those who believed and were God fearing”. (27:50 to 53 – Holy Quran)

God saved Saleh and his people with His miracle by crushing the enemies with a larger stone rolled down from a mountain while they were waiting to ambush Saleh and his family. It is also observed in history that Saleh and his people left the city and lived afterwards in Makkah.

“So Saleh left them and said: ‘O my people! I did indeed convey to you the message of my Lord, and I advised you sincerely, but you do not love sincere advisors”. (7:79 – Holy Quran)

(To be continued)

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