Prophet Hud (Alayhis salaam)
Hud (Alaihis salaam) has been mentioned 7 times in the Quran in the following verses: 7:65; 11:50,53,58,60,89; 26:124
The nation of Hud (Alaihis salaam) viz. Aad have been mentioned in 9 Chapters viz. Fussilat, Ahqaaf, Az Zaariyaat, A’raf, Hud, Mumineen, Shura, Al Qamr and Al Haaqqah.
Besides the Quran, no other heavenly or historical book throws any light on the nation of Aad. Consequently the main sources of their history are the Quran and those facts unearthed by archaeologists. The first source is authentic and the facts derived from it are certain, while the latter source is based on presumption and estimate.
Aad is the name of a powerful ancient Arabian tribe. Some European historians regard the nation of Aad as a myth. This presumption of theirs is totally unfounded because recent discoveries disclose that the ancient Arabs were a powerful tribe who migrated from Arabia to Syria, Egypt and Babylon, where they established powerful dynasties. The only difference is that the Arabs refer to them as Umame Baaidah (the annihilated nations) or Arabe Aaribah (pure Arabs) and named their different tribes as Aad, Thamud, Tasam and Jadees, while the Orientalists call them Umame Saamiyah. However the difference in name does not influence the question of their existence. Accordingly the Quran has named them “The First Aad” so as to clarify that Banu Saam and Aade Ula are one and the same.
Geographers state that the word Arab was originally Arabah, meaning desert. In Arabic “A’raab” means people of the desert and Irabah is the term used for a bedouin.
Some researchers are of the opinion that the word Arab was originally “Gharb” (north). The Aramaic nations lived north of the Euphrates, hence they were originally called Gharb which later changed to Arab by the deletion of the diacritical point on the letter ghain.
Whatever the reason for the name Arab may be, it is a fact that this area was the land of Umame-Saamiyah or Aad. Hence concerning the nation of Aad being Arabs, there is no difference of opinion. The word Aad is Arabic, meaning high and in Hebrew it means famous. In the Quran the word Iram which means lofty and high is also used for them. Aad have wrongfully been called Amalekites by incorrect reference to the Torah.
The era of Aad
Aad lived approximately 2000 years before Isa (alaihis salaam). The Quran has referred to them as the successors of Nuh (alaihis salaam). Accordingly it can be deduced that after Syria was reinhabited, the progress of Umame-Saamiyah begins from Aad.
The land of Aad
The central area of Aad is the land of Ahqaaf, which is situated north of Hadramaut. On the east is Oman while Ar-Rub’ul Khali lies to the north. Today there is nothing here besides sand dunes. Some historians are of the opinion that they lived in the best part of Arabia viz. in Hadramaut and Yemen i.e. from the shores of the Persian Gulf till the borders of Iraq. Yemen was their capital.
The religion of Aad
Aad were idol worshippers. Some experts of ancient history purport that their deities were Wadd, Suwa, Yaghoos, Yauq and Nasr. It is reported by Abdullah bin Abbas (Radiallahu anhuma) that they had a deity named Samood and one was Hataar.
Aad became so proud of their physical strength that they completely forgot their Creator and fearlessly began worshipping idols made by their own hands.
Propagation of Islam
Hud (Alaihis salaam) invited his nation towards the worship and unity of Allah. He prohibited them from oppression and injustice. However they disobeyed him and proudly boasted “Who is more powerful than us?” This rejection did not deter Hud (Alaihis salaam). He continued preaching to them, warning them of Allah’s punishment and reminding them of the terrible punishment that befell the nation of Nuh (Alaihis salaam). Sometimes he used to say: “O people! Do not be misled by your physical strength and the authority of your government. Be grateful to Allah for having blessed you with these bounties. After the decimation of the people of Nuh, He made you the owners of the land. He granted you a comfortable existence, free of problems and worries. Therefore do not forget His bounties and refrain from worshipping idols, which can neither benefit nor harm. Understand clearly that life, death, benefit and harm all lie in the hands of the Creator. You have disobeyed Him for some time, but even today if you repent, then His mercy is vast. The door of repentance has not been closed. Seek His forgiveness, He will overlook your shortcomings. Adopt a pure life and He will increase His bounties upon you.”
During his propagation he repeatedly informed them that he was not desirous of any reward from them. Reward will be granted by Allah. This is the characteristic of a Nabi. No one can accuse him of fulfilling his duty in the hope of earning wealth, honour and kingship. His duty was to fulfil his obligation and to convey the message of Allah. The majority were all defiant. They could not even bear to listen to this advice and they did not desire that any person advise them in their affairs. Accordingly, they began mocking Hud (Alaihis salaam) by saying, “O Hud, you have not brought any proof for us nor are we going to leave our gods.”
Very few people of the nation of Aad accepted his message. The majority were all defiant. They could not even bear to listen to this advice and they did not desire that any person advise them in their affairs. Accordingly, they began mocking Hud (Alayhis salaam) by saying, ‘O Hud, you have not brought any proof for us nor are are we going to leave out gods.”
Hud (Alaihis salaam) replied: “Neither am I insane nor foolish. Undoubtedly I am a messenger of Allah. For such an important task, Allah only chooses those who are worthy and can accomplish it in the best manner.”
Allah knows best who He grants prophethood. The mutiny of the people continued despite the fact that they were furnished with proof and irrefutable evidence. Rather than heeding, they began mocking Hud (Alaihis salaam) all the more by saying: “Since you began preventing us from idol worship, we have noticed your condition deteriorating and you have reached the brink of insanity because of the anger of our idols.” They thought that such statements would deter everyone from paying attention to Hud (Alaihis salaam).
Hud (Alaihis salaam) bore all this patiently and addressed them: “I make Allah and all of you witness that I am completely innocent of the belief that these idols can cause harm to anyone. I challenge you and your false gods to cause me any harm if they have the ability. With the grace of Allah I have intelligence, wisdom and intuition. I repose my trust only in Allah, who controls the entire universe and who is the owner of life and death. He will assuredly assist and safeguard me from all forms of trauma.” Eventually after witnessing their obstinacy and lack of co-operation, Hud (Alaihis salaam) declared that if they did not amend their ways, they were heading for destruction. He advised them not to fall into the deception that it was not possible for a messenger to come from amongst their own species as this was the system of Allah. They should therefore accept and submit to Allah’s will. He urged them to take a lesson from the dreadful retribution that became the lot of the people of Nuh (alaihis salaam).
The advice of Hud (Alaihis salaam) angered the people who responded by saying, “Bring the punishment which you have promised us, if you are truthful.” Hud (alaihis salaam) replied, “Are you disputing with me regarding the names of other idols which you and your forefathers have kept. (This was a reference to their obstinacy over idol worship and refusal to accept the supreme authority of Allah.) Allah has revealed no proof regarding them. Therefore wait (for Allah’s chastisement) and I will also wait with you.”
Initially, the punishment took the form of a drought. The people of Aad became very perplexed, helpless and worried. Intense compassion was aroused in Hud (Alaihis salaam) and after his initial loss of hope, he once again explained to them the need to adopt the correct path, but it had no effect on the wretched nation. The promised punishment ensued. Violent tornadoes raged continuously for eight days and seven nights. All the buildings were decimated. The powerfully built muscular men who used to boast of their physical prowess were left lying on the ground like the hollow trunks of fallen palm trees. The entire nation was completely annihilated as a lesson for the generations to come. Hud (Alaihis salaam) and his followers were saved from this grievous punishment through the mercy of Allah
The demise of Hud (Alaihis salaam)
The Arabs make different claims regarding the death and grave of Hud (Alaihis salaam) e.g. the people of Hadramaut claim that he migrated to Hadramaut after the destruction of Aad. He is buried in the eastern sector of Hadramaut in close proximity to Tareem.
A narration reported by Hadrat Ali (Radiallahu anhu) states that his grave is in Hadramaut on a red hillock and there is a tree at his head side.
The Palestinians meanwhile claim that he is buried in Palestine. They have erected a tomb for him and celebrate annual ceremonies at the tomb.
From all the above narrations, the narration of Hadramaut is perhaps the correct one because the villages of Aad were in close proximity to Hadramaut. It therefore seems most likely that Hud (Alaihis salaam) would have resided in a nearby area after the destruction of Aad.
Lessons to be learnt
(1) Whoever reads the narrative of Aad, observes a person who is an embodiment of sobriety and dignity. Nobility and eminence is apparent on his countenance. Hud (Alaihis salaam) used to examine the consequences before uttering anything. He answered his nation’s mockery with forbearance. Sincerity was his priority. His people used to say: “We regard you as foolish and we think you are a liar.” He used to reply: “O my people! I am not foolish. I am a messenger from the Lord of the worlds. I am conveying to you the message of my Sustainer and I am a trustworthy advisor to you.”
This dialogue turns our attention to the fact that when the chosen apostle of Allah advises anyone, he does not bother about the mockery and derision which he is confronted with. He does not abandon his task by becoming distraught and agitated. He treats the spiritual patients with a lofty character and compassion. The distinguishing feature of his advice is that he does not ask the people for any recompense. “I do not ask you for any wage in exchange for this advice. My wage be granted by Allah.”
(2) Hud (Alaihis salaam) compassionately encouraged his nation to believe in the unity of Allah. He reminded them of Allah’s eternal bounties but the wretched people did not heed his advice. The most important reason for this was their ignorant belief that whoever speaks against the belief of their forefathers, will be doomed by the idols. Whichever nation was affected by this destructive belief, treated their mentor and prophet in the same way as did the nations of Hud and Nuh (Alaihimas salaam). The enmity and hatred which people normally have for the messengers is primarily based on the belief that nothing should be said against the age-old traditions of the forefathers with regard to idol-worship. The famous Greek physician, Socrates, had to imbibe the goblet of poison because he spoke out against the deities of his people. This disease has always destroyed the spiritual life of nations and proved pernicious for their eternal salvation.
(3) The practice of Hud (Alaihis salaam) and the other messengers to reply to evil and bitterness with virtue and pleasant speech is an excellent example to follow. However the preacher must remind the people of Allah’s punishment for their obstinacy and disbelief. He should continuously warn them of the disastrous consequences of their evil conduct and that when a nation collectively oppresses and mutinies, Allah’s wrath annihilates them from the surface of the earth. The nations of Nuh and Hud (Alaihimas salaam) are clear examples of this.