After Allah mentioned the story of Adam in the beginning of this Surah, He started mentioning the stories of the Prophets, the first then the latter of them. Allah mentioned the story of Nuh, because he was the first Messenger Allah sent to the people of the earth after Adam. His name was Nuh bin Lamak bin Matushalakh bin Khanukh. And Khanukh was, as they claim, the Prophet Idris. And Idris was the first person to write letters using pen, and he was the son of Barad bin Mahlil, bin Qanin bin Yanish bin Shith bin Adam, upon them all be peace. This lineage is mentioned by Muhammad bin Ishaq and other Imams who document lineage. `Abdullah bin `Abbas and several other scholars of Tafsir said that the first idol worship began when some righteous people died and their people built places of worship over their graves. They made images of them so that they could remember their righteousness and devotion, and thus, imitate them. When time passed, they made statues of them and later on worshipped these idols, naming them after the righteous people: Wadd, Suwa`, Yaghuth, Ya`uq and Nasr. After this practice became popular, Allah sent Nuh as a Messenger, all thanks are due to Him. Nuh commanded his people to worship Allah alone without partners, saying,
("O my people! Worship Allah! You have no other god but Him. Certainly, I fear for you the torment of a Great Day!'') the torment of the Day of Resurrection, if you meet Allah while associating others with Him.
(The leaders of his people said) meaning, the general public, chiefs, commanders and great ones of his people said,
("Verily, we see you in plain error'') because of your calling us to abandon the worship of these idols that we found our forefathers worshipping. This, indeed, is the attitude of evil people, for they consider the righteous people to be following misguidance. Allah said in other Ayat,
(And when they saw them, they said: "Verily, these have indeed gone astray!'') (83:32) and,
(And those who disbelieve say of those who believe: "Had it been a good thing, they (the weak and poor) would not have preceded us thereto!'' And when they have not let themselves be guided by it (this Qur'an), they say: "This is an ancient lie!'') (46:11) There are several other Ayat on this subject.
((Nuh) said: "O my people! There is no error in me, but I am a Messenger from the Lord of all that exists!'') meaning, there is nothing wrong with me, but I am a Messenger from the Lord of all that exists, Lord and King of all things,
("I convey unto you the Messages of my Lord and give sincere advice to you. And I know from Allah what you know not.'') This is the attribute of a Messenger, that he conveys using plain, yet eloquent words, offers sincere advice and is knowledgeable about Allah; indeed, no other people can compete with the Prophets in this regard. In his Sahih, Muslim recorded that the Messenger of Allah said to his Companions on the Day of `Arafah, when their gathering was as large as it ever was,
(O people! You will be asked about me, so what will you say) They said, "We testify that you have conveyed and delivered (the Message) and offered sincere advice.'' So he kept raising his finger to the sky and lowering it towards them, saying,
(O Allah! Bear witness, O Allah! Bear witness.)
(63. "Do you wonder that there has come to you a Reminder from your Lord through a man from among you, that he may warn you, so that you may fear Allah and that you may receive (His) mercy'') (64. But they belied him, so We saved him and those along with him in the Fulk, and We drowned those who belied Our Ayat. They were indeed a blind people.) Allah said that Nuh proclaimed to his people,
("Do you wonder...''), do not wonder because of this. Surely, it is not strange that Allah sends down revelation to a man among you as mercy, kindness and compassion for you, so that he warns you that you may avoid Allah's torment by associating none with Him,
("and that you may receive (His) mercy.'') Allah said,
(But they belied him) but they insisted on rejecting and opposing him, and only a few of them believed in him, as Allah stated in another Ayah. Allah said next,
(So We saved him and those along with him in the Fulk) the ark,
(And We drowned those who belied Our Ayat. ) Allah said in another Ayah,
(Because of their sins they were drowned, then they were admitted into the Fire. And they found none to help them instead of Allah.) (71:25) Allah said,
(They were indeed a blind people.) meaning, blind from the Truth, unable to recognize it or find their way to it. Here, Allah said that He has taken revenge from His enemies and saved His Messenger and those who believed in him, while destroying their disbelieving enemies. Allah said in a another Ayah,
(Verily, We will indeed make victorious Our Messengers) (40:51). This is Allah's Sunnah (way) with His servants, in this life and the Hereafter, that the good end, victory and triumph is for those who fear Him. For example, Allah destroyed the people of Nuh, and saved Nuh and his believing followers. Ibn Wahb said that he was told that Ibn `Abbas said that eighty men were saved with Nuh in the ship, one of them was Jurhum, who spoke Arabic. Ibn Abi Hatim collected this statement, which was also narrated with a continuous chain of narration from Ibn `Abbas.
(65. And to `Ad (the people, We sent) their brother Hud. He said: "O my people! Worship Allah! You have no other god but Him. Will you then not have Taqwa'') (66. The leaders of those who disbelieved among his people said: "Verily, we see you in foolishness, and verily, we think you are one of the liars.'') (67. (Hud) said: "O my people! There is no foolishness in me, but (I am) a Messenger from the Lord of all that exists!) (68. "I convey unto you the Messages of my Lord, and I am a trustworthy adviser (or well-wisher) for you.) (69. "Do you wonder that there has come to you a Reminder (and an advice) from your Lord through a man from among you to warn you And remember that He made you successors (generations after generations) after the people of Nuh and increased you amply in stature. So remember the graces (bestowed upon you) from Allah so that you may be successful.'')
Allah says, just as We sent Nuh to his people, similarly, to the `Ad people, We sent Hud one of their own brethren. Muhammad bin Ishaq said that the tribe of `Ad were the descendants of `Ad, son of Iram, son of `Aws, son of Sam, son of Nuh. I say, these are indeed the ancient people of `Ad whom Allah mentioned, the children of `Ad, son of Iram who were living in the deserts with lofty pillars or statues. Allah said,
(Have you not seen how your Lord dealt with `Ad (people). Of Iram like (lofty) pillars. The like of which were not created in the land) (89:6-8) because of their might and strength. Allah said in another instance,
(As for `Ad, they were arrogant in the land without right, and they said: "Who is mightier than us in strength'' See they not that Allah Who created them was mightier in strength than them. And they used to deny Our Ayat!) (41:15).
The people of `Ad lived in Yemen, in the area of Ahqaf, which means sand mounds. Muhammad bin Ishaq narrated that Abu At-Tufayl `Amir bin Wathilah said that he heard `Ali (bin Abi Talib) saying to a man from Hadramawt (in Yemen), "Have you seen a red sand mound, where there are a lot of Arak and Lote trees in the area of so-and-so in Hadramawt Have you seen it'' He said, "Yes, O Commander of the faithful! By Allah, you described it as if you have seen it before.'' `Ali said, `I have not seen it, but it was described to me.'' The man asked, "What about it, O Commander of the faithful'' `Ali said, "There is the grave of Hud, peace be upon him, in its vicinity.'' Ibn Jarir recorded this statement, which gives the benefit of indicating that `Ad used to live in Yemen, since Prophet Hud was buried there. Prophet Hud was among the noble men and chiefs of `Ad, for Allah chose the Messengers from among the best, most honorable families and tribes. Hud's people were mighty and strong, but their hearts were mighty and hard, for they were among the most denying of Truth among the nations. Prophet Hud called `Ad to worship Allah alone without partners, and to obey and fear Him.
(The leaders of those who disbelieved among his people said...) meaning, the general public, chiefs, masters and commanders of his people said,
("Verily, we see you in foolishness, and verily, we think you are one of the liars'') meaning, you are misguided because you call us to abandon worshipping the idols in order to worship Allah Alone. Similarly, the chiefs of Quraysh wondered at the call to worship One God, saying,
("Has he (Muhammad) made the gods (all) into One God'') (38:5).
((Hud) said: "O my people! There is no foolishness in me, but (I am) a Messenger from the Lord of all that exists!'') Hud said, I am not as you claim. Rather, I brought you the Truth from Allah, Who created everything, and He is the Lord and King of all things,
("I convey unto you the Messages of my Lord, and I am a trustworthy adviser for you.'') These, indeed, are the qualities of the Prophets: conveying, sincerity and honesty,
("Do you wonder that there has come to you a Reminder from your Lord through a man from among you to warn you'') Prophet Hud said, do not wonder because Allah sent a Messenger to you from among yourselves to warn you about Allah's Days (His torment) and meeting with Him. Rather than wondering, you should thank Allah for this bounty.
("And remember that He made you successors (generations after generations) after the people of Nuh...'') meaning, remember Allah's favor on you in that He made you among the offspring of Nuh, because of whose supplication Allah destroyed the people of the earth after they defied and opposed him.
("and increased you amply in stature.'') making you taller than other people. Similarly, Allah said in the description of Talut (Saul),
(And has increased him abundantly in knowledge and stature.) (2:247) Hud continued,
("So remember the graces (bestowed upon you) from Allah.'') in reference to Allah's favors and blessings
("so that you may be successful.'')
(70. They said: "You have come to us that we should worship Allah Alone and forsake that which our fathers used to worship. So bring us that wherewith you have threatened us if you are of the truthful.'') (71. (Hud) said: "Rijs (torment) and wrath have already fallen on you from your Lord. Dispute you with me over names which you have named -- you and your fathers -- with no authority from Allah Then wait, I am with you among those who wait.'') (72. So We saved him and those who were with him out of mercy from Us, and We severed the roots of those who belied Our Ayat; and they were not believers.)
(They said: "You have come to us that we should worship Allah Alone'') Later on, the disbelievers of Quraysh said,
(And (remember) when they said: "O Allah! If this (the Qur'an) is indeed the truth (revealed) from You, then rain down stones on us from the sky or bring on us a painful torment.'') Muhammad bin Ishaq said that the people of Hud used to worship several idols, such as Suda', Samud and Al-Haba'. This is why Hud, peace be upon him, said to them,
("Rijs and wrath have already fallen on you from your Lord.'') you deserve `Rijs' from your Lord because of what you said. Ibn `Abbas said that, `Rijs', means scorn and anger.
("Dispute you with me over names which you have named -- you and your fathers'') (7:71). Hud said, do you dispute with me over these idols that you and your fathers made gods, even though they do not bring harm or benefit; did Allah give you authority or proof allowing you to worship them Hud further said,
("with no authority from Allah Then wait, I am with you among those who wait.'') this is a threat and warning from the Messenger to his people.
So Allah said;
(So We saved him and those who were with him out of mercy from Us, and We severed the roots of those who belied Our Ayat; and they were not believers.) Allah mentioned several times in the Qur'an, the way the people of `Ad were destroyed stating that He sent a barren wind that destroyed everything it passed by. Allah said in another Ayah,
(And as for `Ad, they were destroyed by a furious violent wind! They were subjected to it for seven nights and eight days in succession, so that you could see men lying overthrown (destroyed), as if they were hollow trunks of date palms! Do you see any remnants of them) (69:6-8) When `Ad rebelled and transgressed, Allah destroyed them with a strong wind that carried them, one by one, up in the air and brought each one of them down on his head, thus smashing his head and severing it from its body. This is why Allah said,
(as if they were hollow trunks of date palms!) (69:7) Muhammad bin Ishaq said that `Ad used to live in Yemen between Oman and Hadramawt. They also spread throughout the land and defeated various peoples, because of the strength that Allah gave them. They used to worship idols instead of Allah, and Allah sent to them Prophet Hud, peace be upon him. He was from their most common lineage and was the best among them in status. Hud commanded them to worship Allah Alone and associate none with him. He also ordered them to stop committing injustice against the people. But they rejected him and ignored his call. They said, `Who is stronger than us' Some of them, however, followed Hud, although they were few and had to conceal their faith. When `Ad defied the command of Allah, rejected His Prophet, committed mischief in the earth, became arrogant and built high palaces on every high place -- without real benefit to them -- Hud spoke to them, saying,
("Do you build high palaces on every high place, while you do not live in them And do you get for yourselves palaces (fine buildings) as if you will live therein forever. And when you seize (somebody), seize you (him) as tyrants Have Taqwa of Allah, and obey me.'') (26:128-131) However,
(They said: "O Hud! No evidence have you brought us, and we shall not leave our gods for your (mere) saying! And we are not believers in you. All that we say is that some of our gods have seized you with evil.'') meaning, madness,
(He said: "I call Allah to witness, and bear you witness that I am free from that which you associate with Him. So plot against me, all of you, and give me no respite. I put my trust in Allah, my Lord and your Lord! There is not a moving creature but He has the grasp of its forelock. Verily, my Lord is on the straight path (the truth).'') (11:53-56).''
Imam Ahmad recorded that Al-Harith Al-Bakri said: "I went to the Messenger of Allah to complain to him about Al-`Ala bin Al-Hadrami. When I passed by the area of Ar-Rabdhah, I found an old woman from Bani Tamim who was alone in that area. She said to me, "O servant of Allah! I need to reach the Messenger of Allah to ask him for some of my needs, will you take me to him'' So I took her along with me to Al-Madinah and found the Masjid full of people. I also found a black flag raised high, while Bilal was holding a sword before the Messenger of Allah . I asked, "What is the matter with the people'' They said, "The Prophet intends to send `Amr bin Al-`As (on a military expedition) somewhere.'' So I sat down. When the Prophet went to his house, I asked for permission to see him, and he gave me permission. I entered and greeted him. He said, "Was there a dispute between you and Bani Tamim'' I said, "Yes. And we had been victorious over them. I passed by an old woman from Bani Tamim, who was alone, and she asked me to bring her to you, and she is at the door''. So he allowed her in and I said, "O Allah's Messenger! What if you make a barrier between us and (the tribe of) Bani Tamim, such as Ad-Dahna' (Desert)'' The old woman became angry and opposed me. So I said, "My example is the example of a sheep that carried its own destruction. I carried this woman and did not know that she was an opponent. I seek refuge with Allah and His Messenger that I become like the emissary of `Ad.' So the Prophet asked me about the emissary of `Ad, having better knowledge in it, but he liked to hear the story again. I said, "Once, `Ad suffered from a famine and they sent an emissary ﴿to get relief﴾, whose name was Qayl. Qayl passed by Mu`awiyah bin Bakr and stayed with him for a month. Mu`awiyah supplied him with alcoholic drinks, and two female singers were singing for him. When a month ended, Qayl went to the mountains of Muhrah and said, `O Allah! You know that I did not come here to cure an ill person or to ransom a prisoner. O Allah! Give `Ad water as You used to.' So black clouds came and he was called, `Choose which one of them you wish (to go to `Ad)!' So he pointed to one of the black clouds and he heard someone proclaiming from it, `Take it, as ashes that will leave none in `Ad.' And it has been conveyed to me that the wind sent to them was no more than what would pass through this ring of mine, but it destroyed them.'' Abu Wa'il said, "That is true. When a man or a woman would send an emissary, they would tell him, `Do not be like the emissary of `Ad (bringing disaster and utter destruction to them instead of relief).,'' Imam Ahmad collected this story in the Musnad. At-Tirmidhi recorded similar wording for it, as did An-Nasa'i and Ibn Majah.
(73. And to Thamud (people, We sent) their brother Salih. He said: "O my people! Worship Allah! You have no other god but Him. Indeed there has come to you a clear sign from your Lord. This she-camel of Allah is a sign unto you; so you leave her to graze in Allah's earth, and touch her not with harm, lest a painful torment should seize you.) (74. And remember when He made you successors (generations) after `Ad and gave you habitations in the land, you build for yourselves palaces in plains, and carve out homes in the mountains. So remember the graces (bestowed upon you) from Allah, and do not go about making mischief on the earth.) (75. The leaders of those who were arrogant among his people said to those who were counted weak -- to such of them as believed: "Know you that Salih is one sent from his Lord.'' They said: "We indeed believe in that with which he has been sent.'') (76. Those who were arrogant said: "Verily, we disbelieve in that which you believe in.'') (77. So they killed the she-camel and insolently defied the commandment of their Lord, and said: "O Salih! Bring about your threats if you are indeed one of the Messengers (of Allah).'') (78. So the earthquake seized them, and they lay (dead), prostrate in their homes.)