Prophet Shuayb عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلاَم (part 3)

Lives of the Prophets

Prophet Shuʿayb عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلاَم (part 3)

Adnan Ahmad ‘Attari

The nation’s sarcasm

The Quran refers to how the people addressed Prophet Shuayb عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلاَم:

“They said, 'O Shuayb, does your salah command you that we should forsake the deities of our forefathers or that we should not do as we desire with our own wealth? (They said sarcastically) Oh yes! Only you are intelligent, righteous.’”[1]

Prophet Shuʿayb’s people made reference to his intelligence and righteousness, and thus, they asked how it was possible for him to instruct them to stop worshipping the false gods they had been worshipping for generations.

In response, Prophet Shuʿayb عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلاَم declared:

My nation, tell me! If my Lord has blessed me with knowledge, guidance, faith, prophethood and has granted me a huge portion of halal wealth from Himself, would it then be permissible for me to lie about His revelation and not convey His message to you? How is it befitting for me to disobey His command whereas He has granted me so many blessings?[2]

Punishment descends upon the people of Madyan

Despite showing miracles and repetitively advising his nation, Prophet Shuʿayb عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلاَم only saw their obstinance and disobedience increase. Because this disappointed him deeply as he realised they would never reform themselves or come towards guidance, he prayed to Allah Almighty against them.[3]

“O our Lord, make a true decision between us and our people; and Your decision is the best.”[4]

Eventually, punishment came upon the people of Madyan in the form of a destructive earthquake. By morning, their lifeless bodies were found in their homes.[5]

Addressing the deceased

After the nation was destroyed, Prophet Shuʿayb عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلاَم passed by their bodies and exclaimed, “My nation! Without doubt, I conveyed to you the messages of my Lord. I sought good for you, yet none of you became believers no matter what.”6

The people of Ayka

The second nation Prophet Shuʿayb عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلاَم was sent to was Ayka. The literal meaning of ayka is thicket. They were given this name because their city was surrounded by lush forests and trees.[6]

False gods

Ayka was ruled by a king named Abū Jād, who made 30 false gods for his people to worship. Ten of these were for his family and were made from gold and precious jewels. The remaining 20 were for the common folk and were made from silver, copper, stone, iron, and wood.[7]

Call to goodness

Prophet Shuʿayb عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلاَم called the people of Ayka to believe in Allah Almighty. He said:

“When Shuayb said to them, 'Do you not fear? I am indeed a trustworthy messenger of Allah for you. Therefore, fear Allah, and obey me. And I do not ask from you any recompense (for propagating Islam); my reward is upon (the generosity of) only He Who is the Lord of all the worlds. Measure in full, and do not be of those who short-change. And weigh with a properly calibrated scale. And do not give the people their goods by short-changing it, and do not roam the earth causing turmoil. And fear Him Who created you and the earlier creations.’” [8]

 Abū Jād’s rejection

In response, Abū Jād said, “You have conveyed your message, and I have heard it. Now, you must not come here again.”

Prophet Shuʿayb عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلاَم declared, “I am a messenger of Allah Almighty. I shall return time and time again to call towards religion until you begin obeying Allah Almighty.”

The king was enraged by this response. Seeing his reaction, Prophet Shuayb عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلاَم returned and continued encouraging the people of Ayka to worship Allah Almighty alone and offered various forms of advice. Yet, none of them heeded his advice besides a singular minister of the king. The latter asked for this to be kept hidden, which Prophet Shuʿayb عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلاَم allowed.[9]

The nation’s disrespectful conduct

Ultimately, the people of Ayka said, “Shuʿayb, magic has been cast upon you. And you are not an angel, but an ordinary human like us. As for your claim to prophethood, we certainly think you are lying about this. If you are a true prophet, pray to Allah Almighty and ask Him to make a piece of the sky fall upon us as punishment.”[10]

(We ask Allah Almighty to make us amongst those respectful towards the prophets and saints and keep us safe from being disrespectful towards them– اٰمِیْنْ)

Punishment in Ayka

Prophet Shuʿayb عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلاَم listened to what they said and then declared, “My Lord knows well of your deeds and what punishment you are deserving of. If He wants a portion of the sky to fall upon you, He shall cause this to happen. And if He wills to inflict another punishment upon you, He shall cause that to occur instead.”[11]

Then, one day, they were struck by the punishment. It was extremely hot for seven days without even a single gust of wind passing by. When they sought shelter from the heat by going indoors, they found it hotter inside than outside. A cloud then appeared overhead, under which the entire nation gathered. Upon this, the cloud began raining fire, burning all of them.[12]

The believers were kept safe

Most people of Ayka did not accept faith. As for the believers and Prophet Shuʿayb عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلاَم himself, they saw the punishment befall the disbelievers, but by the mercy of Allah Almighty, they were not affected in the slightest.

Prophet Shuʿayb عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلاَم then distributed their wealth amongst the Muslims, married a believing woman, and settled in Madyan.[13]

(To be continued in the next instalment)

[1] Al-Quran, part 12, Hūd, verse 87

[2] irā al-Jinān, vol. 4, pp. 483-484

[3] Shar al-Shifāˈ li Alī al-Qārī, vol.1, p. 335

[4] Al-Quran, part 9, al-Aʿrāf, verse 89

[5] Al-Quran, Part 9, al-Arāf, verse 91

6 irā al-Jinān, vol. 3, p. 382

[6] irā al-Jinān, vol. 5, p. 257

[7] Nihāyat al-Arab, vol. 13, p. 145

[8] Al-Quran, part 19, al-Shuʿarāˈ, verses 177 to 184

[9] Nihāyat al-Arab, vol. 13, p. 147

[10] irā al-Jinān, vol. 7, p. 153

[11] irā al-Jinān, vol. 7, p. 154

[12] ibid

[13] Nihāyat al-Arab, vol. 13, p. 149




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