Prophet Shuaybعلیہ السلام (Part 1)

Lives of the prophets عَـلَـيْهِمُ السَّلَام

Prophet Shuʿayb عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام

(Part 1)

Abu Ubayd Attari

Allah once sent a revelation to one of His beloved prophets عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام: “When morning comes, set off on a journey. Eat the first thing that crosses your path, bury the second, keep the third, and feed the fourth.”

The next day, the prophet in mention first came across a mountain. “How can I eat a mountain?” he thought, “This is beyond me.” The mountain began shrinking until it eventually became a sweet date, which he then proceeded to eat.

He then saw a discarded bowl. Despite digging a hole in the ground and burying it therein, the bowl came to the surface. Every time he attempted to bury it, the bowl came back to the surface. In the end, he left it as it was and continued his journey. A little further on, he saw a pigeon he placed in his sleeve, and soon after that, he came across an eagle trying to crack an egg.  As he took out a knife with the intention of slaughtering the pigeon (to feed the eagle), an angel called out to him:

I am an angel sent by Allah to inform you about these matters. The mountain that you were instructed to consume is anger. When you kindle it, it rages and becomes like a towering mountain which you can neither eat nor carry. If you control it, it will remain calm until it is the equivalent of a date which you will prefer to consume, and upon it ending, you will praise Allah. 

The discarded bowl represents the deeds of people. Allah will reveal the one who does righteous deeds, such that the individual will become renowned amongst people. And Allah will also reveal the one who transgresses, such that the individual will become known among people. The pigeon you were told to protect is good conduct with relatives; if your close or distant relatives break ties with you, maintain relations with them.  The eagle you were commanded to feed is goodness. Extend it to your family and others, treating the worthy and unworthy with exceptional courtesy.[1]

Dear readers, according to one opinion, the prophet in mention was Prophet Shuʿayb عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام

Brief biography

Prophet Shuʿayb عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام is from the descendants of Prophet Ibrāhīm عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام. His paternal grandmother was the daughter of Prophet Lūعَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام.[2] He came after Prophets āli and Yūsuf, but just before Prophet Mūsā عَـلَـيْهِمُ السَّلَام.[3]

His city Midian is found towards Tabuk on the coast of the Red Sea,[4] approximately 144 miles from Egypt.[5] He was very wealthy.[6] His source of income was from the milk he sold from the animals he raised.[7]

In fact, he would tend to his goats himself.[8] Books mention that he had two daughters: afūrah and Sharqāˈ.[9]  When he advanced in age and could not find someone suitable to look after his goats, his daughters assumed the responsibility of taking them to graze.[10] After this, they would bring the goats to a well where men withdrew water for their animals to drink. These pure and chaste daughters of a prophet kept their distance as this happened and waited for the men to leave, after which they approached the well, withdrew water for their goats, and returned home.

When Prophet Mūsā عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام came from Egypt, he saw the daughters of Shuʿayb عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام standing away from the men near the well, and so he asked them about this. After understanding the situation, he removed a heavy rock from another well nearby and drew water for their goats. When the daughters returned home that day, they related everything to their father. He instructed them to invite Mūsā عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام to their home. One daughter then veiled herself and approached Mūsā عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام with utmost modesty, whilst covering her face with her sleeve. She conveyed the invitation of her father to him, and he accepted. He set forth with the intention to see Shuʿayb عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام and meet him. Initially, the daughter was in front as they walked. In the spirit of modesty, Mūsā عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام expressed he would walk ahead while she instructed from a distance behind him. In this manner, he reached the residence of Shuʿayb عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام.[11]

Shuʿayb عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام had a meal with Mūsā عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام, gave him the responsibility of tending to the goats, and gifted him a blessed staff. Originally, this was red,[12] and Prophet Ādam عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام brought it with him from Paradise.[13] Mūsā عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام stayed with Shuʿayb عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام for a number of years, tending to his goats and assisting him in other tasks.  Shuʿayb عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام also gave one of his daughters to Mūsā عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام in marriage.[14]

A miracle displayed by Shuʿayb عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام is when he gifted goats to Mūsā عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام and declared, “These will give birth to black and white offspring.” In time, the goats gave offspring as foretold.[15] Prophet Shuʿayb عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام would read the scriptures that were revealed to Prophet Ibrāhīm عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام.[16]  According to one opinion, Prophet Shuʿayb عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام was also granted scriptures himself.[17]

The nation of Shuʿayb عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام

Prophet Shuʿayb عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام was sent as a messenger to two communities: the people of Midian and Aykah.[18] He preached to them with excellence and utmost compassion. This is why the Prophet Muhammad صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said, “He is the orator of the prophets,”[19] whenever mentioning him.

Prophet Shuʿayb عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام would deliver sermons all day and spend the night in salah.[20] A particular narration describes the profuse amount of salah he offered. When his nation saw him praying, they made fun and even laughed at him.[21] He called people to worship the one, true God Who has no partner, and condemned deceiving whilst weighing and measuring. He also stopped people from annoying and distressing travellers. These endeavours brought some fortunate individuals to Islam, but most disbelieved.[22]

The majority of both the residents of Midian and the people of Aykah were disrespectful towards him, and consequently, they were destroyed by divine punishment. The people of Midian were punished by the piercing cry of Angel Jibrīl, described by the Quran as فَاَخَذَتْهُمُ الصَّیْحَةُ,[23] whilst a dark cloud came over the people of Aykah followed by a sudden fire which incinerated them.[24]

(To be continued…)

[1] Usd al-Ghābah, vol. 5, p. 277

[2] Tafsīr al-Khāzin, Al-Arāf, verse 85, vol. 2, p. 118

[3] Alām li al-Ziriklī, vol. 3, p. 165

[4] Seerat-e-Mustafa, p. 41

[5] irāal-Jinān, vol. 6, p. 198

[6] Tafsīr Kabīr, Al-Hūd, verse 88, vol. 6, p. 388

[7] Islami Zindagi, p. 143

[8] Al-Muntaam fī Tārīkh al-Mulūk wa al-Umam, vol. 1, p. 326

[9] Mustadrak: 3583

[10] Laāˈif al-Ishārāt li al-Qushayrī, vol. 2, p. 433

[11] Al-Bayāwī, vol. 3, p. 289

[12] Tafsīr al-Qurubī, part. 6, vol. 11, p. 91

[13] Nihayat al-Arab, vol. 13, p. 160

[14] Mustadrak: 3583

[15] irāal-Jinān, vol. 3, p. 371

[16] Tarīkh Ibn ʿAsākir, vol. 23, p. 78

[17] Al-Sīrat al-alabiyyah, vol. 1, p. 314

[18] Tafsīr al-abarī, Al-Shuʿarāˈ: 189, vol. 9, p. 473

[19] Nawādir al-Usūl, vol. 4, p. 60

[20] irāal-Jinān, vol. 4, p. 481

[21] Tafsīr Kabīr, Al-Hūd, 87, vol. 6, p. 387

[22] Al-Bidāyah wa al-Nihāyah, vol. 1, p. 267

[23] Ajāˈib al-Qurān, p. 353

[24] Tafsīr al-abarī, al-Shuarāˈ, 189, vol. 9, p. 473




Security Code