Prophet Shu’aybعلیہ السلام (Part 2)

Lives of the prophets

Prophet Shuʿayb عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلاَم (Part 2)

Adnan Ahmad Attari

Select points regarding Prophet Shuʿayb عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلاَم were described in the first instalment. Let us now discuss some facets of it in detail.


His father was a scholar of Madyan who married a pious lady from the Amalekites. She went on to give birth to Prophet Shuʿayb. He was exceedingly beautiful in appearance and was granted profound intellect, spiritual insight, and immense knowledge. He would converse little, and mostly remained absorbed in contemplation.

His father’s prayers

His father once saw his delicate body and said, “O Allah! You have increased the numbers of tribes and small groups in Madyan. Grant blessings in this small group of mine (i.e., in this son of mine).” The father then had a dream in which he heard someone saying, “Allah has placed blessing in your small group (i.e., your son) and made him the prophet of the people of Madyan.”

The meaning of “Shuʿayb”

In Arabic, the word شعیب means a small group.[1]

Worship and spiritual endeavour 

After the passing of his father, he took his place and preoccupied himself in worship and spiritual endeavour. He attained superiority over the people of his era in ascetism and piety.[2]


He received a flock of sheep from his father in inheritance, from which he obtained many benefits.[3] He would shepherd them himself.[4]

Madyan and it’s people

The people of Madyan traded in wheat, barley, and other foodstuffs.[5] They had two types of scales. When they purchased something, they would use functional scales and weights. Yet, when they would sell, they would use ones which were deficient, thereby deceiving people. Prophet Shuʿayb grew up amongst them but stayed away from these injustices.[6]

His messengership

He once sat at the door of his home, making remembrance of Allah. A traveller came along and vented, “This nation oppresses people. I bought 100 dinars worth of goods from them. They took 100 dinars and more money on top, but when I later weighed what I had purchased, it was only worth 80.”

Prophet Shuʿayb consoled, “Perhaps they made a mistake. Go back to them.” The traveller revealed, “I did. They beat me up, swore at me, and shouted, ‘In our city, this is our way.’” He then asked Prophet Shuʿayb for help. They went to the market and Prophet Shuʿayb questioned the people. They said, “This is the way of our ancestors.”  He declared, This is not their way.” He continued to admonish them, but they did not give the traveller his remaining goods. They then struck the traveller to the extent he began to bleed. Seeing all of this, Prophet Shuʿayb returned to his home.[7]

Angel Jibrīl then came to Prophet Shuʿayb and said, “Allah has made you a messenger for the people of Madyan and Aykah. He orders for you to call towards worshipping and obeying Him, and to forbid them from lessening in measuring and weighing.”[8]

A nation’s transgression

Prophet Shuʿayb would prohibit them from this and instruct them to believe in Allah, but they did not do so. They instead sat at pathways and said to passers-by, Shuʿayb is a liar, and he will distance you from your religion.”[9]

Repeatedly explained to the people

He declared to his people:

O my nation! Worship Allah! You have no god other than Him. Indeed, there has come to you a clear proof from your Lord. Measure and weigh fully, do not give people their things reduced, and do not spread discord in the earth after its reformation. That is better for you if you believe.[10]

The arrogant chiefs of his nation said, “O Shuʿayb! We shall most definitely banish you and the believers with you from our village or you will have to adopt our religion.”[11] Prophet Shuʿayb replied, “Even though we detest it?” They said, “Yes, even so, enter into it.” Prophet Shuʿayb responded, “Indeed, we would definitely ˹be˺ ascribing a lie to Allah if we (the believers) adopt your religion after Allah saved us from it. And it is not for us that we accept your creed except that Allah, our Lord, wills.”[12]

Warning against punishment

He also warned his nation in the following manner:

O my nation! Worship Allah. There is none worthy of worship for you other than Him. And do not lessen in measure and weight. Indeed, I see you as affluent, and indeed I fear for you the punishment of the Encompassing Day.[13] My nation! Complete the tasks of weighing and measuring with justice, and do not lessen the items of the people, and do not roam around the earth spreading discord.[14] That which remains from what Allah granted is better for you if you believe; and I am not a protector over you.[15]

[1] Nihayat al-Arab, vol. 13, p. 145

[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid

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

[5] Nihayat al-Arab, vol. 13, p. 145

[6] Ibid

[7] Ibid

[8] Ibid, p. 146

[9] Tafsīr abarī, vol. 5, p. 544, Al-Aʿrāf

[10] Al-Quran, part 8, Al-Aʿrāf, verse 85

[11] Al-Quran, part 8, Al-Aʿrāf, verse 88

[12] irā al-Jinān, vol. 3, p. 376, amended

[13] Al-Quran, part 12, Hūd, verse 84

[14] Ibid, verse 85

[15] Ibid, verse 86