Verses from Surah Hud (50-60)

[50] And to ‘Aad60 (We sent) their brother Hud.61 He said, ‘My people! Worship Allah (alone). You have no other god besides Him. Surely (by suggesting other gods) you are but fabricators.’ 

Commentary

60. Majid comments: “(The ‘Aad were) the ancient Arab tribe which inhabited Yemen and Hadramaut, extending from the coasts of the Persian Gulf to the borders of Mesopotamia.

61. “In the province of Hadhramaut, at some distance from east of Qasm, there still ‘stands the shrine of Nabi Hud.’ (EBr. XI, p. 62)” – Majid.

[51] ‘My people! I do not ask you any wealth over this (message). My wage is upon Him who originated me. Do you not understand? [52] And O my people! Seek forgiveness of your Lord and then turn to him (in repentance). He will open up the sky in torrents upon you (pouring rain).62 And He will grant you strength over your (present) strength. And do not turn back criminals.’

Commentary

62. Durr al-Mansur and others have a report that the rains were held back from the ‘Adians for three years.
Ibn Kathir comments: Whoever is endowed with the qualities stated herewith will have Allah (swt) drive his sustenance easily to him, smoothen his affairs, and rescue him from nagging problems. A hadith of the Prophet (saws) is in the same vein. It says, (as recorded in Abu Da’ud and Ibn Majah: H.Ibrahim), “Whoever sought forgiveness of Allah often, will have Allah make an opening out of every nagging problem, an easy way out of every tight situation, and will feed him from quarters he didn’t reckon.”

[53] They replied, ‘O Hud! You haven’t brought us a clear (sign) and we are not the ones to abandon our deities on your word. Nor are we gong to believe in you (anytime in the future). [54] In fact, we believe some of our deities have smitten you with some evil.’63 He (Hud) said, ‘I call Allah to witness. You (too) bear witness that I am quit of those you associate (with Allah).’

Commentary

63. The mentality of idol worshipers doesn’t change over time. When a slave-girl went blind after she embraced Islam, the Makkan pagans told her that reasons went back to the curse of one of their deities. And, probably because the belief was so powerfully prevalent among them, that it needed a miraculous refutation. Accordingly, the Prophet (saws) prayed for her and she regained her sight (Ibn Is-haq and Sirah al-Nabawiyyah, Dr. Mahdi Rizqallah, p. 191) – Au.

[55] – apart from Him. Therefore, plot against me, all together, and allow me no respite.64

Commentary

64. What Hud (asws) meant is that, “I haven’t kept my disdain for your deities in secret. If you believe any of them has smitten me, then, let me tell you point blank that I am quit of them.” Then he added salt to injury by challenging them to bring on him whatever they and their deities could. And, “Let you be quick about it. Indeed, far from doing me harm, you aren’t free to act. You are all held by Allah by your fore-lock” (Thanwi).

Sayyid adds: “(For a fuller understanding, the background has to be kept in mind. When Hud challenged them in those words, it was not addressed to a people who could be treated as nobody. That was a mighty nation at whom Hud recklessly threw that challenge). The Qur’an told us about them elsewhere (Al-Shu‘ara’, 123-138), “‘Aad gave a lie to the Messengers. When their brother Hud told them,‘Do you not fear? I am a trustworthy Messenger to you. Therefore, fear Allah and follow me. And, I have not asked you wages over this. My wages are upon Allah, the Lord of the worlds. Do you build a landmark in vain? And you construct palatial structures as if you will live forever. And, when you seize, you seize in the manner of tyrants. Therefore, fear Allah and follow me. Fear the God who extended you with what you know very well. He extended you with cattle and children, orchards and springs. Indeed, I fear a mighty chastisement for you.’ They said, ‘It is the same to us whether you admonished us or you were not of the admonishers. This is nothing but a custom of the past. Surely, we are not going to be subjected to chastisement.’” (It was this kind of people, strong, rich, confident, merciless tyrants, at whom Hud had flung the challenge). Obviously, Hud (asws) couldn’t have done it without his full confidence in Allah and a strong faith in His Powers.”

[56] Verily, I have placed my trust in Allah, my Lord and your Lord. There isn’t a moving creature but He holds it by its fore-lock.65 Surely, my Lord is (to be found) on the straight path.

Commentary

65. Asad explains, “When describing a person’s humility and subjection to another person, the ancient Arabs used to say, ‘The forelock of so-and-so is in the hand of so-and-so.’”

And it has been the practice that when a confirmed criminal is presented to the authorities he is pulled by his fore-lock (Au.)

[57] But if you turn away66 then, surely, I have conveyed to you what I was sent with unto you. My Lord will replace you with a people other than you. And you will not be able to harm Him in the least. Verily, my Lord is a Guardian over everything.’

Commentary

66. The textual tawallaw, was originally tatawallaw of which one taa has been dropped off for the reason of two tas appearing together, hence the meaning is (if) ‘you turned away’ and not ‘if they turn away’ (Qurtubi).

[58] So, when Our command came, We delivered Hud and those who had believed with him – by a grace from Us.67 Indeed, We delivered them from a severe chastisement.

 

Commentary

67. Commentators have clarified, at this point and elsewhere, that in the normal circumstances when Allah’s scourge comes down, both the believers as well as the unbelievers can be affected. In that event, the believers will be rewarded in the Hereafter for the pain they bore. But when it happens because of the rejection of a Prophet, then the believers are saved because if they were also punished, the creditability of the Prophet would be in question. In fact, it could lead people to believe that it makes no difference whether you believed in a Prophet or not, you got destroyed all the same (Au.).

[59] That was ‘Aad.68 They disputed the signs of their Lord and disobeyed their Messengers, following the bidding of every tyrant, obstinate transgressor. 

Commentary

68. Majid has a historical note: “In a Himyaric inscription discovered in 1834 in the ruins of Hisn-Ghurab occurs the following:

1. We dwelt at ease for ages within the court of the castle. A life without strait, and above wants…
2. Kings reigned over us, far removed from baseness. And vehement against the people of perfidy and fraud…
3. They sanctioned for us, from the religion of Hud, right law. And we believed in miracles, the resurrection, and the resurrection of the dead by the breath of God… (Forster, Historical Geography of Arabia, II. p. 93).

This establishes, in the first place, the historical personality of the Prophet Hud, and secondly, the fact that his followers were the only people of the tribe of ‘Aad, who survived the Divine catastrophe.”

[60] They were pursued by a curse in this world and (so will it be) on the Day of Judgment. Lo! Surely ‘Aad rejected their Lord. Lo! Away with ‘Aad, the people of Hud.69

Commentary

69. They had to be qualified as “‘Aad, the people of Hud” because there were two ‘Aad nations. This one, to whom Hud (asws) was sent, and the other one called the ‘Aad of Iram (Zamakhshari).