Allah tells us about the evildoers of Thamud and their leaders who used to call their people to misguidance and disbelief, and to deny Salih. Eventually they killed the she-camel and were about to kill Salih too. They plotted to let him sleep with his family at night, then they would assassinate him and tell his relatives that they knew nothing about what happened to him, and that they were telling the truth because none of them had seen anything. Allah says:
(And there were in the city) meaning, in the city of Thamud,
(nine Raht,) meaning, nine people,
(who made mischief in the land, and would not reform.) They forced their opinions on the people of Thamud, because they were the leaders and chiefs. Al-`Awfi reported that Ibn `Abbas said: "These were the people who killed the she-camel,'' Meaning, that happened upon their instigation, may Allah curse them. Allah says:
(But they called their comrade and he took (a sword) and killed (the she-camel). ) (54:29)
(When the most wicked man among them went forth (to kill the she-camel).) (91:12) `Abdur-Razzaq said that Yahya bin Rabi`ah As-San`ani told them, "I heard `Ata' -- i.e. Ibn Abi Rabah -- say:
(And there were in the city nine Raht, who made mischief in the land, and would not reform.) `They used to break silver coins.''' They would break off pieces from them, as if they used to trade with them in terms of numbers (as opposed to weight), as the Arabs used to do. Imam Malik narrated from Yahya bin Sa`id that Sa`id bin Al-Musayyib said: "Cutting gold and silver (coins) is part of spreading corruption on earth.'' What is meant is that the nature of these evil disbelievers was to spread corruption on earth by every means possible, one of which was that mentioned by these Imams.
(They said: "Swear one to another by Allah that we shall make a secret night attack on him and his household...'') They took a mutual oath, pledging that during the night, whoever met the Allah's Prophet Salih (peace be upon him) he would assassinate him. But Allah planned against them and caused their plot to backfire. Mujahid said, "They took a mutual oath pledging to kill him, but before they could reach him, they and their people were all destroyed.'' `Abdur-Rahman bin Abi Hatim said: "When they killed the she-camel, Salih said to them:
("Enjoy yourselves in your homes for three days. This is a promise (i.e., a threat) that will not be belied.'') (11:65). They said: `Salih claims that he will finish with us in three days, but we will finish him and his family before the three days are over.' Salih had a place of worship in a rocky tract in a valley, where he used to pray. So they set out to go to a cave there one night, and said, `When he comes to pray, we will kill him, then we will return. When we have finished him off, we will go to his family and finish them off too.' Then Allah sent down a rock upon them from the mountains round about; they feared that it would crush them, so they ran into the cave and the rock covered the mouth of the cave while they were inside. Their people did not know where they were or what had happened to them. So Allah punished some of them here, and some of them there, and He saved Salih and the people who were with him. Then he recited:
(So, they plotted a plot, and We planned a plan, while they perceived not. Then see how was the end of their plot! Verily, We destroyed them and their nation, all together. These are their houses in utter ruin,) i.e., deserted.''
(for they did wrong. Verily, in this is indeed an Ayah for people who know. And We saved those who believed, and had Taqwa of Allah.)
(54. And (remember) Lut! When he said to his people: "Do you commit immoral sins while you see'') (55. "Do you practice your lusts on men instead of women Nay, but you are a people who behave senselessly.'') (56. There was no other answer given by his people except that they said: "Drive out the family of Lut from your city. Verily, these are men who want to be clean and pure!'') (57. So, We saved him and his family, except his wife. We destined her to be of those who remained behind.) (58. And We rained down on them a rain. So, evil was the rain of those who were warned.)
Allah tells us about His servant and Messenger Lut (peace be upon him) and how he warned his people of Allah's punishment for committing an act of immorality which no human ever committed before them -- intercourse with males instead of females. This is a major sin, whereby men are satisfied with men and women are with women (i.e., homosexuality). Lut said:
(Do you commit immoral sins while you see) meaning, `while you see one another, and you practice every kind of evil in your meetings.'
(Do you practice your lusts on men instead of women Nay, but you are a people who behave senselessly.) means, `you do not know anything of what is natural or what is prescribed by Allah.' This is like the Ayah:
(Go you in unto the males of mankind, and leave those whom Allah has created for you to be your wives Nay, you are a trespassing people!) (26:165-166)
(There was no other answer given by his people except that they said: "Drive out the family of Lut from your city. Verily, these are men who want to be clean and pure!'') means, `they feel embarrassed because of the deeds you are doing, and because you approve of your actions, so expel them from among yourselves, for they are not fit to live among you in your city.' So, the people resolved to do that, and Allah destroyed them, and a similar end awaits the disbelievers. Allah says:
(So, We saved him and his family, except his wife. We destined her to be of those who remained behind.) meaning, she was one of those who were destroyed, with her people, because she was a helper to what they did and she approved of their evil deeds. She told them about the guests of Lut so that they could come to them. She did not do the evil deeds herself, which was because of the honor of the Lut and not because of any honor on her part.
(And We rained down on them a rain.) means; stones of Sijjil, in a well-arranged manner one after another. Marked from your Lord; and they are not ever far from the evildoers. Allah said:
(So, evil was the rain of those who were warned.) meaning, those against whom proof was established and whom the warning reached, but they went against the Messenger and denied him, and resolved to drive him out from among them.
(59. Say: "Praise and thanks be to Allah, and peace be on His servants whom He has chosen! Is Allah better, or what they ascribe as partners'') (60. Is not He Who created the heavens and the earth, and sends down for you water from the sky, whereby We cause to grow wonderful gardens full of beauty and delight It is not in your ability to cause the growth of their trees. Is there any god with Allah Nay, but they are a people who ascribe equals!)
Allah commands His Messenger to say:
(Praise and thanks be to Allah,) meaning, for His innumerable blessings upon His servants and for His exalted Attributes and most beautiful Names. And He commands him to send peace upon the servants of Allah whom He chose and selected, i.e., His noble Messengers and Prophets, may the best of peace and blessings from Allah be upon them. This was the view of `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam and others; the meaning of the servants He has chose is the Prophets. He said, "This like He said in the Ayah;
(Glorified be your Lord, the Lord of honor and power! (He is free) from what they attribute unto Him! And peace be on the Messengers! And all the praises and thanks be to Allah, Lord of all that exists.) (37:180-182).'' Ath-Thawri and As-Suddi said, "This refers to the Companions of Muhammad, may Allah be pleased with them all.'' Something similar was also narrated from Ibn `Abbas, and there is no contradiction between the two views, because they were also among the servants of Allah whom He had chosen, although the description is more befitting of the Prophets.
(Is Allah better, or what they ascribe as partners (to Him)) This is a question aimed at denouncing the idolaters for their worship of other gods besides Allah. Some more Proofs of Tawhid Then Allah begins to explain that He is the Only One Who creates, provides and controls, as He says:
(Is not He Who created the heavens) meaning, He created those heavens which are so high and serene, with their shining stars and revolving planets. And He created the earth, with its varying heights and densities, and He created everything in it, mountains, hills, plains, rugged terrain, wildernesses, crops, trees, fruits, seas and animals of all different kinds and colors and shapes, etc.
(and sends down for you water from the sky,) means, He sends it as a provision for His servants,
(whereby We cause to grow wonderful gardens full of beauty and delight) means, beautiful and delightful to behold.
(It is not in your ability to cause the growth of their trees.) meaning, `you are not able to cause their trees to grow. The One Who is able to do that is the Creator and Provider, Who is doing all this Alone and Independent of any idol and other rival.' The idolaters themselves admitted this, as Allah says in another Ayah:
(And if you ask them: "Who has created them'' they will certainly say: "Allah.'') (31:25)
(And if you were to ask them: "Who sends down water from the sky, and gives life therewith to the earth after its death'' they will surely reply: "Allah.'') (29:63) Meaning they will admit that He is the One Who does all these things, Alone, with no partner or associate, but then they worship others alongside Him, others who they admit cannot create or provide anything. But the Only One Who deserves to be worshipped is the Only One Who can create and provide, Allah says:
(Is there any god with Allah) meaning, `is there any god that can be worshipped alongside Allah, when it is clear to you and anyone who with reason that He is the Creator and Provider, as you yourselves admit' Then Allah says:
(Nay, but they are a people who ascribe equals (to Him)!) meaning, they describe others as being equal and comparable to Allah.
(61. Is not He Who has made the earth as a fixed abode, and has placed rivers in its midst, and has placed firm mountains therein, and has set a barrier between the two seas (of salt and sweet water) Is there any ilah (god) with Allah Nay, but most of them know not!) Allah says:
(Is not He Who has made the earth as a fixed abode,) meaning, stable and stationary, so that it does not move or convulse, because if it were to do so, it would not be a good place for people to live on. But by His grace and mercy, He has made it smooth and calm, and it is not shaken or moved. This is like the Ayah,
(Allah, Who has made for you the earth as a dwelling place and the sky as a canopy) (40:64).
(and has placed rivers in its midst,) means, He has placed rivers which are fresh and sweet, cutting through the earth, and He has made them of different types, large rivers, small rivers and some in between. He has caused them to flow in all directions, east, west, south, north, according to the needs of mankind in different areas and regions, as He has created them throughout the world and sends them their provision according to their needs.
(and has placed firm mountains therein, ) means, high mountains which stabilize the earth and make it steadfast, so that it does not shake.
(and has set a barrier between the two seas) means, He has placed a barrier between the fresh water and the salt water, to prevent them from mixing lest they corrupt one another. Divine wisdom dictates that each of them should stay as it is meant to be. The sweet water is that which flows in rivers among mankind, and it is meant to be fresh and palatable so that it may be used to water animals and plants and fruits. The salt water is that which surrounds the continents on all sides, and its water is meant to be salty and undrinkable lest the air be corrupted by its smell, as Allah says:
(And it is He Who has let free the two seas, this is palatable and sweet, and that is salty and bitter; and He has set a barrier and a complete partition between them.) (25:53) Allah says:
(Is there any god with Allah) meaning, any god who could do this, or who deserves to be worshipped Both meanings are indicated by the context.
(Nay, but most of them know not!) means, in that they worship others than Allah.
(62. Is not He Who responds to the distressed one, when he calls on Him, and Who removes the evil, and makes you inheritors of the earth, generations after generations Is there any god with Allah Little is that you remember!) Allah points out that He is the One upon Whom people call in times of difficulty, and He is the One to Whom they turn when calamity strikes, as He says elsewhere:
(And when harm touches you upon the sea, those that you call upon vanish from you except Him) (17:67),
(Then, when harm touches you, unto Him you cry aloud for help) (16:53). Similarly, Allah says here:
(Is not He Who responds to the distressed one, when he calls on Him,) meaning, Who is the only One to Whom the person in desperate need turns, and the only One Who can relieve those who are stricken by harm Imam Ahmad reported that a man of Balhajim said: "O Messenger of Allah, what are you calling for'' He said:
(I am calling people to Allah Alone, the One Who, if you call on Him when harm befalls you, will relieve you; and when you are lost in the wilderness, you call on Him and He brings you back: and when drought (famine) strikes, you call on Him and He makes your crops grow.) He said: "Advise me.'' He said:
(Do not slander anyone and do not think of any good deed as insignificant, even if it is only meeting your brother with a cheerful face or emptying your vessel into the vessel of one who is asking for water. Wear your lower garment at mid-calf length, or -- if you insist -- let it reach your ankles, and beware of lowering the garment below the ankles along the ground, for it is a form of showing-off, and Allah does not like showing-off.)
In his biography of Fatimah bint Al-Hasan Umm Ahmad Al-`Ajaliyyah, Al-Hafiz bin `Asakir reported that she said: "One day the disbelievers defeated the Muslims in a battle. There was a good horse which belonged to a rich man who was also righteous. The horse just stood there, so its owner said, `What is the matter with you Woe to you! I was only preparing you for a day such as this.' The horse said to him: `How can you expect me not to perform badly, when you delegated my feeding to the grooms, and they mistreated me and only fed me a little' The man said, `I make you a promise before Allah that from this day on, only I will feed you from my own lap.' So the horse began to run, and his owner was saved, and after that he only ever fed the horse from his own lap. This story became well known among the people, and they started to come to him to hear the story from his own lips. News of this reached the king of Byzantium, and he said: `A city where this man is, will be kept safe from harm.' He wanted to bring the man to his own city, so he sent an apostate (a man who had left Islam) who was living in his city to go to him, and when he reached him, he pretended that his intentions towards Islam and its followers were good, so the Mujahid trusted him. One day they went out walking along the shore, but the apostate made a pact with another person, a follower of the Byzantine king, to come and help him take the Mujahid prisoner. When they made their move, he lifted his gaze to the sky and said, `O Allah! He has deceived me by swearing in Your Name, so protect me in whatever way You will.' Then two wild animals came out and seized them, and the Mujahid came back safe and sound. '' The Inheritance of the Earth
(and makes you inheritors of the earth,) means, each generation inherits from the generation that came before them, one after the other, as Allah says:
(if He wills, He can destroy you, and in your place make whom He wills as your successors, as He raised you from the seed of other people) (6:133),
(And it is He Who has made you generations coming after generations, replacing each other on the earth. And He has raised you in ranks, some above others) (6:165),
(And (remember) when your Lord said to the angels: "Verily, I am going to place generations after generations on earth.'') (2:30) meaning, people who will come after one another, as we have already stated. Allah's saying:
(and makes you inheritors of the earth,) means, nation after nation, generation after generation, people after people. If He had willed, He could have created them all at one time, and not made some of them the offspring of others. If He had willed, He could have created them all together, as He created Adam from dust. If He had willed, He could have made some of them the offspring of others, but not caused any of them to die until they all died at one time; in this case the earth would have become constricted for them and it would be too difficult for them to live and earn a living, and they would have caused inconvenience and harm to one another. But His wisdom and decree ruled that they should be created from one soul, then their numbers should be greatly increased, so He created them on the earth and made them generation after generation, nation after nation, until their time will come to an end and there will be no one left on earth, as Allah has decreed and as He has completely counted out their numbers. Then the Resurrection will come to pass, and each person will be rewarded or punished according to his deeds. Allah says:
(Is not He Who responds to the distressed one, when he calls on Him, and Who removes the evil, and makes you inheritors of the earth, generations after generations Is there any god with Allah) meaning, is there anyone else able to do that, or a god with Allah worth worshipping -- while you know that He is the only one who can do that, having no partners
(Little is that you remember!) meaning, how little they think about that which would guide them to the truth and show them the straight path.
(63. Is not He Who guides you in the darkness of the land and the sea, and Who sends the winds as heralds of glad tidings, going before His mercy Is there any god with Allah Exalted be Allah above all that they associate as partners!) Allah says,
(Is not He Who guides you in the darkness of the land and the sea,) meaning, by means of what He has created of heavenly and earthly signposts. This is like the Ayah,
(And landmarks and by the stars, they guide themselves.) (16:16)
(It is He Who has set the stars for you, so that you may guide your course with their help through the darkness of the land and the sea...) (6:97)
(and Who sends the winds as heralds of glad tidings, going before His mercy) meaning, ahead of the clouds which bring rain, by means of which Allah shows His mercy to His servants who are suffering drought and despair.
(Is there any god with Allah Exalted be Allah above all that they associate as partners!)
(64. Is not He Who originates creation, and shall thereafter repeat it, and Who provides for you from heaven and earth Is there any god with Allah Say: "Bring forth your proofs, if you are truthful.'') He is the One Who, by His might and power, originates creation and then repeats it. This is like the Ayat:
(Verily, the punishment of your Lord is severe and painful. Verily, He it is Who begins and repeats.) (85:12-13)
(And He it is Who originates the creation, then He will repeat it; and this is easier for Him.) (30:27)
(and Who provides for you from heaven and earth) with the rain He sends down from the sky causing the blessings of the earth to grow, as He says elsewhere:
(By the sky which gives rain, again and again. And the earth which splits.) (86:11-12)
(He knows that which goes into the earth and that which comes forth from it, and that which descends from the heaven and that which ascends to it) (34:2). Allah, may He be blessed and exalted, sends down water from the sky as a blessing, and causes it to penetrate the earth, and then come forth as springs. After that, by means of the water He brings forth all kinds of crops, fruits and flowers, in all their different forms and colors.
(Eat and pasture your cattle; verily, in this are signs for men of understanding) (20:54). Allah says:
(Is there any god with Allah) meaning, who did this Or, according to another interpretation: after this (who could be worth worship)
(Say: "Bring forth your proofs, if you are truthful.'') Produce the evidence of that. But it is known that they have no proof or evidence, as Allah says:
(And whoever invokes besides Allah, any other god, of whom he has no proof; then his reckoning is only with his Lord. Surely, the disbelievers will not be successful.) (23:117)
(65. Say: "None in the heavens and the earth knows the Unseen except Allah, nor can they perceive when they shall be resurrected.'') (66. Nay, their knowledge will perceive that in the Hereafter. Nay, they are in doubt about it. Nay, they are in complete blindness about it.)