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Shu`ayb's Refutation of His People

He said to them: Do you see O my people, that if I

﴿ عَلَىٰ بَيِّنَةٍ۬ مِّن رَّبِّى

(have a clear evidence from my Lord) meaning, upon clear guidance in that which I am calling to.

﴿ وَرَزَقَنِى مِنۡهُ رِزۡقًا حَسَنً۬ا‌ۚ

(and He has given me a good sustenance from Himself.) It has been said that he meant the prophethood. It has also been said that he meant the lawful provisions. It seems that the verse carries both meanings. Ath-Thawri said,

﴿ وَمَآ أُرِيدُ أَنۡ أُخَالِفَكُمۡ إِلَىٰ مَآ أَنۡهَٮٰڪُمۡ عَنۡهُ‌ۚ

(I wish not, in contradiction to you, to do that which I forbid you.) meaning, `do not forbid you from something and at the same time I contradict my prohibitions in secret behind your backs, doing what I have forbidden.' This is similar to what Qatadah said concerning Allah's statement,

﴿ وَمَآ أُرِيدُ أَنۡ أُخَالِفَكُمۡ إِلَىٰ مَآ أَنۡهَٮٰڪُمۡ عَنۡهُ‌ۚ

(I wish not, in contradiction to you, to do that which I forbid you.) "He is saying, `I do not forbid you all from something while I do it myself.'''

﴿ إِنۡ أُرِيدُ إِلَّا ٱلۡإِصۡلَـٰحَ مَا ٱسۡتَطَعۡتُ‌ۚ

(I only desire reform to the best of my power.) This means, "In that which I command and forbid you, I only want to correct your affair as much as I am able.''

﴿ وَمَا تَوۡفِيقِىٓ

(And my guidance cannot come) This means, "In whatever I intend that agrees with the truth.''

﴿ إِلَّا بِٱللَّهِ‌ۚ عَلَيۡهِ تَوَكَّلۡتُ

(except from Allah, in Him I put my trust) This means in all of my affairs.

﴿ وَإِلَيۡهِ أُنِيبُ

(and unto Him I repent.) meaning; "I return.'' This has been said by Mujahid and others.

﴿ وَيَـٰقَوۡمِ لَا يَجۡرِمَنَّكُمۡ شِقَاقِىٓ أَن يُصِيبَڪُم مِّثۡلُ مَآ أَصَابَ قَوۡمَ نُوحٍ أَوۡ قَوۡمَ هُودٍ أَوۡ قَوۡمَ صَـٰلِحٍ۬‌ۚ وَمَا قَوۡمُ لُوطٍ۬ مِّنڪُم بِبَعِيدٍ۬ وَٱسۡتَغۡفِرُواْ رَبَّڪُمۡ ثُمَّ تُوبُوٓاْ إِلَيۡهِ‌ۚ إِنَّ رَبِّى رَحِيمٌ۬ وَدُودٌ۬

(89. "And O my people! Let not my Shiqaq cause you to suffer the fate similar to that of the people of Nuh or of Hud or of Salih, and the people of Lut are not far off from you!'') (90. "And ask forgiveness of your Lord and turn unto Him in repentance. Verily, my Lord is Most Merciful, Most Loving.'') He (Shu`ayb) said to them,

﴿ وَيَـٰقَوۡمِ لَا يَجۡرِمَنَّكُمۡ شِقَاقِىٓ

(And O my people! Let not my Shiqaq cause you) This means, "Do not let your hatred and enmity of me cause you to persist in your corruption and disbelief. If you continue this way, you will suffer the same vengeance and torment that overcame Nuh's people, Hud's people, Salih's people and Lut's people.'' Qatadah said,

﴿ وَيَـٰقَوۡمِ لَا يَجۡرِمَنَّكُمۡ شِقَاقِىٓ

(And O my people! Let not my Shiqaq cause you) "He is saying, `Do not be influenced by your differing with me.''' As-Suddi said, "This means your enmity of me should not lead you to continue in misguidance and disbelief, or else you will be afflicted by what afflicted them.'' Concerning His statement,

﴿ وَمَا قَوۡمُ لُوطٍ۬ مِّنڪُم بِبَعِيدٍ۬

(and the people of Lut are not far off from you!) It has been said that this refers to the period of time. Qatadah said, "This means that they were only destroyed before you yesterday.'' It has also been said that it refers to place. Actually, the verse carries both meanings.

﴿ وَٱسۡتَغۡفِرُواْ رَبَّڪُمۡ

(And ask forgiveness of your Lord) from the previous sins.

﴿ ثُمَّ تُوبُوٓاْ إِلَيۡهِ‌ۚ

(and turn unto Him in repentance.) In whatever evil actions you may encounter in the future. Concerning his statement,

﴿ إِنَّ رَبِّى رَحِيمٌ۬ وَدُودٌ۬

(Verily, my Lord is Most Merciful, Most Loving.) to those who repent.

﴿ قَالُواْ يَـٰشُعَيۡبُ مَا نَفۡقَهُ كَثِيرً۬ا مِّمَّا تَقُولُ وَإِنَّا لَنَرَٮٰكَ فِينَا ضَعِيفً۬ا‌ۖ وَلَوۡلَا رَهۡطُكَ لَرَجَمۡنَـٰكَ‌ۖ وَمَآ أَنتَ عَلَيۡنَا بِعَزِيزٍ۬ قَالَ يَـٰقَوۡمِ أَرَهۡطِىٓ أَعَزُّ عَلَيۡڪُم مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ وَٱتَّخَذۡتُمُوهُ وَرَآءَكُمۡ ظِهۡرِيًّا‌ۖ إِنَّ رَبِّى بِمَا تَعۡمَلُونَ مُحِيطٌ۬

(91. They said: "O Shu`ayb! We do not understand much of what you say, and we see you weak among us. Were it not for your family, you would have been stoned, and you are not powerful against us.'') (92. He said: "O my people! Is then my family of more weight with you than Allah And you have cast Him away behind your backs. Verily, my Lord is surrounding all that you do.'')

The Response of Shu`ayb's People

They said,

﴿ يَـٰشُعَيۡبُ مَا نَفۡقَهُ

(O Shu`ayb! We do not understand) This means that we do not comprehend.

﴿ كَثِيرً۬ا

(much) `most of what you say'. Ath-Thawri said, "He (Shu`ayb) was called the orator of the Prophets.'' As-Suddi said,

﴿ وَإِنَّا لَنَرَٮٰكَ فِينَا ضَعِيفً۬ا‌ۖ

(and we see you weak among us.) "They meant, `You are only one person.''' Abu Rawq said, "They meant, `You are despised, because your tribe is not upon your religion.'''

﴿ وَلَوۡلَا رَهۡطُكَ لَرَجَمۡنَـٰكَ‌ۖ

(Were it not for your family, you would have been stoned,) This means, your people. Were it not for their powerful position over the people of Madyan, they would have stoned him to death. Some said that this means with rocks. It has also been said that this means that they would have cursed and insulted him verbally.

﴿ وَمَآ أَنتَ عَلَيۡنَا بِعَزِيزٍ۬

(and you are not powerful against us.) This means, "You have no position of power over us.''

Shu`ayb's Refutation of His People
﴿ قَالَ يَـٰقَوۡمِ أَرَهۡطِىٓ أَعَزُّ عَلَيۡڪُم مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ

(He said: "O my people! Is then my family of more weight with you than Allah'')( He says: You would leave me alone out of respect for my people but not out of respect for the greatness of the Lord, the Most Blessed and Exalted Does not your awe of Allah prevent you from harming His Prophet Indeed you have placed the fear of Allah,

﴿ وَرَآءَكُمۡ ظِهۡرِيًّا‌ۖ

(behind your backs.) This means that you have thrown it behind you. You do not obey it, nor do you respect it.

﴿ إِنَّ رَبِّى بِمَا تَعۡمَلُونَ مُحِيطٌ۬

(Verily, my Lord is surrounding all that you do.) This means that He knows all of your actions and He will reward you according to them.

﴿ وَيَـٰقَوۡمِ ٱعۡمَلُواْ عَلَىٰ مَكَانَتِڪُمۡ إِنِّى عَـٰمِلٌ۬‌ۖ سَوۡفَ تَعۡلَمُونَ مَن يَأۡتِيهِ عَذَابٌ۬ يُخۡزِيهِ وَمَنۡ هُوَ كَـٰذِبٌ۬‌ۖ وَٱرۡتَقِبُوٓاْ إِنِّى مَعَڪُمۡ رَقِيبٌ۬ وَلَمَّا جَآءَ أَمۡرُنَا نَجَّيۡنَا شُعَيۡبً۬ا وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ مَعَهُ ۥ بِرَحۡمَةٍ۬ مِّنَّا وَأَخَذَتِ ٱلَّذِينَ ظَلَمُواْ ٱلصَّيۡحَةُ فَأَصۡبَحُواْ فِى دِيَـٰرِهِمۡ جَـٰثِمِينَ كَأَن لَّمۡ يَغۡنَوۡاْ فِيہَآ‌ۗ أَلَا بُعۡدً۬ا لِّمَدۡيَنَ كَمَا بَعِدَتۡ ثَمُودُ

(93. "And O my people! Act according to your ability, and I am acting. You will come to know who it is on whom descends the torment that will cover him with ignominy, and who is a liar! And watch you! Verily, I too am watching with you.'') (94. And when Our commandment came, We saved Shu`ayb and those who believed with him by a mercy from Us. And As-Sayhah (awful cry) seized the wrongdoers, and they lay (Jathimin) in their homes.) (95. As if they had never lived there! So away with Madyan just as Thamud went away!)

Shu`ayb's threatening of His People When the Prophet of Allah, Shu`ayb, despaired of their response to him, he said, "O my people,
﴿ ٱعۡمَلُواْ عَلَىٰ مَكَانَتِكُمۡ

(Act according to your ability,) This means, "Act according to your current ways.'' This is actually a severe threat.

﴿ إِنِّى عَـٰمِلٌ۬‌ۖ

(I am acting.) according to my way.

﴿ سَوۡفَ تَعۡلَمُونَ مَن يَأۡتِيهِ عَذَابٌ۬ يُخۡزِيهِ وَمَنۡ هُوَ كَـٰذِبٌ۬‌ۖ

(You will come to know who it is on whom descends the torment that will cover him with ignominy, and who is a liar!) meaning, between me and you.

﴿ وَٱرۡتَقِبُوٓاْ

(And watch you!) This means to wait.

﴿ إِنِّى مَعَڪُمۡ رَقِيبٌ۬

(I too am watching with you.) Allah then says,

﴿ وَلَمَّا جَآءَ أَمۡرُنَا نَجَّيۡنَا شُعَيۡبً۬ا وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ مَعَهُ ۥ بِرَحۡمَةٍ۬ مِّنَّا وَأَخَذَتِ ٱلَّذِينَ ظَلَمُواْ ٱلصَّيۡحَةُ فَأَصۡبَحُواْ فِى دِيَـٰرِهِمۡ جَـٰثِمِينَ

(And when Our commandment came, We saved Shu`ayb and those who believed with him by a mercy from Us. And As-Sayhah (awful cry) seized the wrongdoers, and they lay (Jathimin) in their homes.) His saying Jathimin means extinct and lifeless without any movement. Here Allah mentions that a loud cry (Sayhah) came to them. In Surat Al-A`raf He says a severe quake (Rajfah) came to them. In Surat Ash-Shu`ara', He said it was a torment of a cloudy day. They were one nation upon which all of these punishments were gathered on the day of their destruction. In each context, Allah only mentioned that which was suitable. In Surat Al-A`raf when they said,

﴿ لَنُخۡرِجَنَّكَ يَـٰشُعَيۡبُ وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ مَعَكَ مِن قَرۡيَتِنَآ

(We shall certainly drive you out, O Shu`ayb, and those who have believed with you from our town.) (7:88) In this verse it was suitable to mention a tremor, or quake (Rajfah). The earth in which they practiced their wrongdoing and they wanted to expel their Prophet from it, shook them. Here, due to their disrespectful manners in speaking to their Prophet, Allah mentioned the awful cry (Sayhah) which overcame them and killed them. In Surat Ash-Shu`ara' when they said,

﴿ فَأَسۡقِطۡ عَلَيۡنَا كِسَفً۬ا مِّنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ إِن كُنتَ مِنَ ٱلصَّـٰدِقِينَ

(So cause a piece of the heaven to fall on us, if you are of the truthful!))26:187) Allah said in response,

﴿ فَأَخَذَهُمۡ عَذَابُ يَوۡمِ ٱلظُّلَّةِ‌ۚ إِنَّهُ ۥ كَانَ عَذَابَ يَوۡمٍ عَظِيمٍ

(So the torment of the day of Shadow seized them. Indeed that was the torment of a Great Day.))26:189( This is from the intricate secrets and to Allah belongs all praise and much bounty forever. Concerning the statement,

﴿ كَأَن لَّمۡ يَغۡنَوۡاْ فِيهَا‌ۚ

(As if they had never lived there!) This means it was as if they had not lived in their homes before that.

﴿ أَلَا بُعۡدً۬ا لِّمَدۡيَنَ كَمَا بَعِدَتۡ ثَمُودُ

(So away with Madyan as just as Thamud went away!) They (Thamud) were their neighbors and they did not live far from the homes of the people of Madyan. They were similar in their disbelief and their highway robbery. They were also both Arabs.

﴿ وَلَقَدۡ أَرۡسَلۡنَا مُوسَىٰ بِـَٔايَـٰتِنَا وَسُلۡطَـٰنٍ۬ مُّبِينٍ إِلَىٰ فِرۡعَوۡنَ وَمَلَإِيْهِۦ فَٱتَّبَعُوٓاْ أَمۡرَ فِرۡعَوۡنَ‌ۖ وَمَآ أَمۡرُ فِرۡعَوۡنَ بِرَشِيدٍ۬ يَقۡدُمُ قَوۡمَهُ ۥ يَوۡمَ ٱلۡقِيَـٰمَةِ فَأَوۡرَدَهُمُ ٱلنَّارَ‌ۖ وَبِئۡسَ ٱلۡوِرۡدُ ٱلۡمَوۡرُودُ وَأُتۡبِعُواْ فِى هَـٰذِهِۦ لَعۡنَةً۬ وَيَوۡمَ ٱلۡقِيَـٰمَةِ‌ۚ بِئۡسَ ٱلرِّفۡدُ ٱلۡمَرۡفُودُ

(96. And indeed We sent Musa with Our Ayat and a manifest authority.) (97. To Fir`awn and his chiefs, but they followed the command of Fir`awn, and the command of Fir`awn was no right guide.) (98. He will go ahead of his people on the Day of Resurrection, and will lead them into the Fire, and evil indeed is the place to which they are led.) (99. They were pursued by a curse in this (deceiving life of this world) and (so they will be pursued by a curse) on the Day of Resurrection, evil indeed is the gift granted.)