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A Warning to the Disbelievers and a Reminder of the Story of `Ad and Thamud

Allah says: `Say, O Muhammad, to these idolaters who disbelieve in the message of truth that you have brought: If you turn away from that which I have brought to you from Allah, then I warn you of the punishment of Allah like the punishment that the past nations suffered for disbelieving in the Messengers.'

﴿ صَـٰعِقَةً۬ مِّثۡلَ صَـٰعِقَةِ عَادٍ۬ وَثَمُودَ

(a Sa`iqah like the Sa`iqah which overtook `Ad and Thamud.) and other similar nations who did what they did,

﴿ إِذۡ جَآءَتۡہُمُ ٱلرُّسُلُ مِنۢ بَيۡنِ أَيۡدِيهِمۡ وَمِنۡ خَلۡفِهِمۡ

(When the Messengers came to them, from before them and behind them) This is like the Ayah:

﴿ وَٱذۡكُرۡ أَخَا عَادٍ إِذۡ أَنذَرَ قَوۡمَهُ ۥ بِٱلۡأَحۡقَافِ وَقَدۡ خَلَتِ ٱلنُّذُرُ مِنۢ بَيۡنِ يَدَيۡهِ وَمِنۡ خَلۡفِهِۦۤ

(And remember (Hud) the brother of `Ad, when he warned his people in Al-Ahqaf. And surely, there have passed away warners before him and after him) (46:21). which means that in the neighboring towns and cities, Allah sent Messengers who commanded the people to worship Allah Alone with no partner or associate, and they brought good news as well as warnings. They saw the punishment Allah sent upon His enemies, and the blessings which He bestowed upon His friends, yet despite all of this, they did not believe in them. On the contrary, they denied them and rejected them, and said:

﴿ لَوۡ شَآءَ رَبُّنَا لَأَنزَلَ مَلَـٰٓٮِٕكَةً۬

(If our Lord had so willed, He would surely have sent down the angels.) meaning, if Allah were to send Messengers, they would be angels sent from His presence.

﴿ فَإِنَّا بِمَآ أُرۡسِلۡتُم بِهِۦ كَـٰفِرُونَ

(So, indeed we disbelieve in that with which you have been sent.) means, `because you are a mere human; we will not follow you because you are just men like us.'

﴿ فَأَمَّا عَادٌ۬ فَٱسۡتَڪۡبَرُواْ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ بِغَيۡرِ ٱلۡحَقِّ

(As for `Ad, they were arrogant in the land without right.) means, they were arrogant, stubborn and disobedient.

﴿ وَقَالُواْ مَنۡ أَشَدُّ مِنَّا قُوَّةً‌ۖ

(and they said: "Who is mightier than us in strength'') They boasted of their physical strength, and power; they thought that this would protect them from Allah's punishment.

﴿ أَوَلَمۡ يَرَوۡاْ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَهُمۡ هُوَ أَشَدُّ مِنۡہُمۡ قُوَّةً۬‌ۖ

(See they not that Allah Who created them was mightier in strength than them.) means, do they not realize, when they are showing enmity, that He is the Almighty Who created all things and gave them whatever strength they have, and that His onslaught will be far greater This is like the Ayah:

﴿ وَٱلسَّمَآءَ بَنَيۡنَـٰهَا بِأَيۡيْدٍ۬ وَإِنَّا لَمُوسِعُونَ

(With Hands did We construct the heaven. Verily, We are able to extend the vastness of space thereof.) (51:47) They openly opposed the Almighty and denied His signs and disobeyed His Messenger. Allah said:

﴿ فَأَرۡسَلۡنَا عَلَيۡہِمۡ رِيحً۬ا صَرۡصَرً۬ا

(So We sent upon them a Sarsar wind). Some said that this was a strongly blowing wind; others said that it was a cold wind. It was also said that it is the wind that makes a noise. The truth that it was all of these things, for it was a strong wind that was an apt punishment for their being deceived by their physical strength. It was also intensely cold, as Allah says:

﴿ بِرِيحٍ۬ صَرۡصَرٍ عَاتِيَةٍ۬

(with a Sarsar wind!) (69:6), meaning a very cold wind. It also made a furious sound. Additionally, there is a famous river in the east which is called Sarsar because of the noise it makes as it flows.

﴿ فِىٓ أَيَّامٍ۬ نَّحِسَاتٍ۬

(in days of calamity) means, consecutive days.

﴿ سَبۡعَ لَيَالٍ۬ وَثَمَـٰنِيَةَ أَيَّامٍ حُسُومً۬ا

(seven nights and eight days in succession) (69: 7). This is like the Ayah:

﴿ فِى يَوۡمِ نَحۡسٍ۬ مُّسۡتَمِرٍّ۬

(on a day of calamity, continuous) (54:19) i.e., the punishment began on a day which was of evil omen for them, and this evil omen continued for them,

﴿ سَبۡعَ لَيَالٍ۬ وَثَمَـٰنِيَةَ أَيَّامٍ حُسُومً۬ا

(seven nights and eight days in succession) (69:7) until they were destroyed, every last one of them, and their humiliation in this world was joined to their punishment in the Hereafter. Allah says:

﴿ لِّنُذِيقَهُمۡ عَذَابَ ٱلۡخِزۡىِ فِى ٱلۡحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنۡيَا‌ۖ وَلَعَذَابُ ٱلۡأَخِرَةِ أَخۡزَىٰ‌ۖ

(that We might give them a taste of disgracing torment in this present worldly life. But surely the torment of the Hereafter will be more disgracing.) meaning, more humiliating for them.

﴿ وَهُمۡ لَا يُنصَرُونَ

(and they will never be helped.) means, in the Hereafter, just as they were never helped in this world, and they had no one who could protect them from Allah or save them from His punishment.

﴿ وَأَمَّا ثَمُودُ فَهَدَيۡنَـٰهُمۡ

(And as for Thamud, We showed them the path of truth) Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) Abu Al-Aliyah, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Qatadah, As-Suddi and Ibn Zayd said, "We explained to them. '' Ath-Thawri said, "We called them.'' Allah's saying;

﴿ فَٱسۡتَحَبُّواْ ٱلۡعَمَىٰ عَلَى ٱلۡهُدَىٰ

(but they preferred blindness to guidance;) means, `We showed them the truth and made it clear to them through the words of their Prophet Salih, but they opposed him and rejected him, and they slaughtered the she-camel of Allah which He had made a sign for them of the truth of their Prophet.'

﴿ فَأَخَذَتۡہُمۡ صَـٰعِقَةُ ٱلۡعَذَابِ ٱلۡهُونِ

(so the Sa`iqah of disgracing torment seized them) means, Allah sent upon them the Sayhah, earthquake, intense humiliation, punishment and torment.

﴿ بِمَا كَانُواْ يَكۡسِبُونَ

(because of what they used to earn) means, because of their disbelief and rejection.

﴿ وَنَجَّيۡنَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ

(And We saved those who believed) means, `We saved them from among them, and no harm came to them;' Allah saved them along with His Prophet Salih (peace be upon him) because of their fear of Allah.

﴿ وَيَوۡمَ يُحۡشَرُ أَعۡدَآءُ ٱللَّهِ إِلَى ٱلنَّارِ فَهُمۡ يُوزَعُونَ حَتَّىٰٓ إِذَا مَا جَآءُوهَا شَہِدَ عَلَيۡہِمۡ سَمۡعُهُمۡ وَأَبۡصَـٰرُهُمۡ وَجُلُودُهُم بِمَا كَانُواْ يَعۡمَلُونَ وَقَالُواْ لِجُلُودِهِمۡ لِمَ شَهِدتُّمۡ عَلَيۡنَا‌ۖ قَالُوٓاْ أَنطَقَنَا ٱللَّهُ ٱلَّذِىٓ أَنطَقَ كُلَّ شَىۡءٍ۬ وَهُوَ خَلَقَكُمۡ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ۬ وَإِلَيۡهِ تُرۡجَعُونَ وَمَا كُنتُمۡ تَسۡتَتِرُونَ أَن يَشۡہَدَ عَلَيۡكُمۡ سَمۡعُكُمۡ وَلَآ أَبۡصَـٰرُكُمۡ وَلَا جُلُودُكُمۡ وَلَـٰكِن ظَنَنتُمۡ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يَعۡلَمُ كَثِيرً۬ا مِّمَّا تَعۡمَلُونَ وَذَٲلِكُمۡ ظَنُّكُمُ ٱلَّذِى ظَنَنتُم بِرَبِّكُمۡ أَرۡدَٮٰكُمۡ فَأَصۡبَحۡتُم مِّنَ ٱلۡخَـٰسِرِينَ فَإِن يَصۡبِرُواْ فَٱلنَّارُ مَثۡوً۬ى لَّهُمۡ‌ۖ وَإِن يَسۡتَعۡتِبُواْ فَمَا هُم مِّنَ ٱلۡمُعۡتَبِينَ

(19. And (remember) the Day that the enemies of Allah will be gathered to the Fire, then they will be driven.) (20. Till, when they reach it, their hearing (ears) and their eyes and their skins will testify against them as to what they used to do.) (21. And they will say to their skins, "Why do you testify against us'' They will say: "Allah has caused us to speak - as He causes all things to speak, and He created you the first time, and to Him you are made to return.'') (22. And you have not been hiding yourselves (in the world), lest your ears and your eyes and your skins should testify against you; but you thought that Allah knew not much of what you were doing.) (23. And that thought of yours which you thought about your Lord, has brought you to destruction; and you have become of those utterly lost!) (24. Then, if they bear the torment patiently, then the Fire is the home for them, and if they seek to please Allah, yet they are not of those who will ever be allowed to please Allah.)

On the Day of Judgement, the Sinners' Limbs will testify against Them
﴿ وَيَوۡمَ يُحۡشَرُ أَعۡدَآءُ ٱللَّهِ إِلَى ٱلنَّارِ فَهُمۡ يُوزَعُونَ

(And (remember) the Day that the enemies of Allah will be gathered to the Fire, then they will be driven.) means, remind these idolaters of the Day when they will be gathered to the Fire and they will be driven, i.e., the keepers of Hell will gather the first of them with the last of them, as Allah says elsewhere:

﴿ وَنَسُوقُ ٱلۡمُجۡرِمِينَ إِلَىٰ جَهَنَّمَ وِرۡدً۬ا

(And We shall drive the criminals to Hell, in a thirsty state) (19:86).

﴿ حَتَّىٰٓ إِذَا مَا جَآءُوهَا

(Till, when they reach it,) means, when they stand at its edge,

﴿ شَہِدَ عَلَيۡہِمۡ سَمۡعُهُمۡ وَأَبۡصَـٰرُهُمۡ وَجُلُودُهُم بِمَا كَانُواْ يَعۡمَلُونَ

(their hearing (ears) and their eyes and their skins will testify against them as to what they used to do.) means, all their deeds, earlier and later; not a single letter will be concealed.

﴿ وَقَالُواْ لِجُلُودِهِمۡ لِمَ شَهِدتُّمۡ عَلَيۡنَا‌ۖ

(And they will say to their skins, "Why do you testify against us'') they will blame their limbs and their skins when they testify against them, at which point their limbs will answer:

﴿ قَالُوٓاْ أَنطَقَنَا ٱللَّهُ ٱلَّذِىٓ أَنطَقَ كُلَّ شَىۡءٍ۬ وَهُوَ خَلَقَكُمۡ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ۬

(They will say: "Allah has caused us to speak -- as He causes all things to speak, and He created you the first time,) means, and He cannot be opposed or resisted, and to Him you will return. Al-Hafiz Abu Bakr Al-Bazzar narrated that Anas bin Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "The Messenger of Allah laughed and smiled one day, and said:

« أَلَا تَسْأَلُونِّي عَنْ أَيِّ شَيْءٍ ضَحِكْتُ؟ »

(Will you not ask about why I laughed)'' They said, "O Messenger of Allah, why did you laugh'' He said:

« عَجِبْتُ مِنْ مُجَادَلَةِ الْعَبْدِ رَبَّهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ يَقُولُ: أَيْ رَبِّي أَلَيْسَ وَعَدْتَنِي أَنْ لَا تَظْلِمَنِي، قَالَ: بَلَى، فَيَقُولُ: فَإِنِّي لَا أَقْبَلُ عَلَيَّ شَاهِدًا إِلَّا مِنْ نَفْسِي، فَيَقُولُ اللهُ تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالَى: أَوَلَيْسَ كَفَى بِي شَهِيدًا وَبِالْمَلَائِكَةِ الْكِرَام الْكَاتِبِينَ قال : فَيُرَدِّدُ هذَا الْكَلَامَ مِرَارًا قال : فَيُخْتَمُ عَلى فِيهِ وَتَتَكَلَّمُ أَرْكَانُهُ بِمَا كَانَ يَعْمَلُ، فَيَقُولُ: بُعْدًا لَكُنَّ وَسُحْقًا، عَنْكُنَّ كُنْتُ أُجَادِل »

(I was amazed at how a servant will dispute with his Lord on the Day of Resurrection. He will say, "My Lord, did You not promise me that you would not treat me unjustly'' Allah will say, "Yes.'' The man will say, "I will not accept any witness against me except from myself.'' Allah will say, "Is it not sufficient that I and the angels, the noble scribes, are witnesses'' These words will be repeated several times, then a seal will be placed over his mouth and his organs (or limbs) will speak about what he used to do. Then he will say, "Away with you! It was only for your sake that I was arguing!'')'' It was recorded by him and Ibn Abi Hatim. It was also recorded by Muslim and An-Nasa'i. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Abu Burdah said that Abu Musa said, "The disbeliever or the hypocrite will be called to account and his Lord will show him his deeds, but he will deny them and say, `O Lord, by Your glory, this angel has written about me something that I did not do.' The angel will say to him, `Did you not do such and such on such and such a day in such and such a place' He will say, `No, by Your glory O Lord, I did not do it.' When he does that, a seal will be placed over his mouth.'' Al-Ash`ari (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "I think that the first part of his body to speak will be his right thigh.'' Allah's saying:

﴿ وَمَا كُنتُمۡ تَسۡتَتِرُونَ أَن يَشۡہَدَ عَلَيۡكُمۡ سَمۡعُكُمۡ وَلَآ أَبۡصَـٰرُكُمۡ وَلَا جُلُودُكُمۡ

(And you have not been hiding yourselves (in the world), lest your ears and your eyes and your skins should testify against you;) means, their organs and skins will say to them, when they blame them for testifying against them, `you did not hide from us what you used to do, on the contrary, you openly committed disbelief and sin, and you claimed that you did not care, because you did not believe that Allah knew about all your deeds.' Allah says:

﴿ وَلَـٰكِن ظَنَنتُمۡ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يَعۡلَمُ كَثِيرً۬ا مِّمَّا تَعۡمَلُونَ وَذَٲلِكُمۡ ظَنُّكُمُ ٱلَّذِى ظَنَنتُم بِرَبِّكُمۡ أَرۡدَٮٰكُمۡ

(but you thought that Allah knew not much of what you were doing. And that thought of yours which you thought about your Lord, has brought you to destruction;) meaning, `this evil thought, i.e., your belief that Allah did not know much of what you were doing, is what has caused you to be doomed and has made your losers before your Lord.'

﴿ فَأَصۡبَحۡتُم مِّنَ ٱلۡخَـٰسِرِينَ

(and you have become of those utterly lost!) means, `in the place of Resurrection, you have lost your own selves and your families.' Imam Ahmad recorded that `Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "I was hiding beneath the covering of the Ka`bah, and three men came along -- a man from the Quraysh and two of his brothers-in-law from Thaqif, or a man from Thaqif and two of his brothers-in-law from the Quraysh. Their bellies were very fat, and did not have much understanding. They said some words I could not hear, then one of them said, `Do you think that Allah can hear what we are saying now' The other said, `If we raise our voices, He will hear it, but if we do not raise our voices, He will not hear it.' The other said, `If He can hear one thing from us, He can hear everything.' I mentioned this to the Prophet , then Allah revealed the words:

﴿ وَمَا كُنتُمۡ تَسۡتَتِرُونَ أَن يَشۡہَدَ عَلَيۡكُمۡ سَمۡعُكُمۡ وَلَآ أَبۡصَـٰرُكُمۡ وَلَا جُلُودُكُمۡ

(And you have not been hiding yourselves (in the world), lest your ears and your eyes and your skins should testify against you) until;

﴿ مِّنَ ٱلۡخَـٰسِرِينَ

(of those utterly lost!) This is how it was recorded by At-Tirmidhi. A similar report was also narrated by Ahmad (through a different chain), Muslim and At-Tirmidhi, and Al-Bukhari and Muslim also recorded (a different chain).

﴿ فَإِن يَصۡبِرُواْ فَٱلنَّارُ مَثۡوً۬ى لَّهُمۡ‌ۖ وَإِن يَسۡتَعۡتِبُواْ فَمَا هُم مِّنَ ٱلۡمُعۡتَبِينَ

(Then, if they bear the torment patiently, then the Fire is the home for them, and if they seek to please Allah, yet they are not of those who will ever be allowed to please Allah.) means, whether they bear it patiently or not, they are in the Fire and they will have no escape or way out from it, and even if they try to please Allah and offer excuses, nothing of that will be accepted from them. Ibn Jarir said, "The meaning of the Ayah,

﴿ وَإِن يَسۡتَعۡتِبُواْ

(and if they seek to please Allah,) is: They will ask to go back to this world, but this plea will not be answered. This is like the Ayah:

﴿ قَالُواْ رَبَّنَا غَلَبَتۡ عَلَيۡنَا شِقۡوَتُنَا وَڪُنَّا قَوۡمً۬ا ضَآلِّينَ رَبَّنَآ أَخۡرِجۡنَا مِنۡہَا فَإِنۡ عُدۡنَا فَإِنَّا ظَـٰلِمُونَ قَالَ ٱخۡسَـُٔواْ فِيہَا وَلَا تُكَلِّمُونِ

(They will say: "Our Lord! Our wretchedness overcame us, and we were (an) erring people. Our Lord! Bring us out of this. If ever we return (to evil), then indeed we shall be wrongdoers.'' He will say: "Remain you in it with ignominy! And speak you not to Me!'')'' (23:106-108).

﴿ وَقَيَّضۡنَا لَهُمۡ قُرَنَآءَ فَزَيَّنُواْ لَهُم مَّا بَيۡنَ أَيۡدِيہِمۡ وَمَا خَلۡفَهُمۡ وَحَقَّ عَلَيۡهِمُ ٱلۡقَوۡلُ فِىٓ أُمَمٍ۬ قَدۡ خَلَتۡ مِن قَبۡلِهِم مِّنَ ٱلۡجِنِّ وَٱلۡإِنسِ‌ۖ إِنَّهُمۡ كَانُواْ خَـٰسِرِينَ وَقَالَ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ لَا تَسۡمَعُواْ لِهَـٰذَا ٱلۡقُرۡءَانِ وَٱلۡغَوۡاْ فِيهِ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تَغۡلِبُونَ فَلَنُذِيقَنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ عَذَابً۬ا شَدِيدً۬ا وَلَنَجۡزِيَنَّہُمۡ أَسۡوَأَ ٱلَّذِى كَانُواْ يَعۡمَلُونَ ذَٲلِكَ جَزَآءُ أَعۡدَآءِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلنَّارُ‌ۖ لَهُمۡ فِيہَا دَارُ ٱلۡخُلۡدِ‌ۖ جَزَآءَۢ بِمَا كَانُواْ بِـَٔايَـٰتِنَا يَجۡحَدُونَ وَقَالَ ٱلَّذِينَ ڪَفَرُواْ رَبَّنَآ أَرِنَا ٱلَّذَيۡنِ أَضَلَّانَا مِنَ ٱلۡجِنِّ وَٱلۡإِنسِ نَجۡعَلۡهُمَا تَحۡتَ أَقۡدَامِنَا لِيَكُونَا مِنَ ٱلۡأَسۡفَلِينَ

(25. And We have assigned for them intimate companions (in this world), who have made fair seeming to them, what was before them and what was behind them. And the Word is justified against them as it was justified against those who were among the previous generations of Jinn and men that had passed away before them. Indeed they (all) were the losers.) (26. And those who disbelieve say: "Listen not to this Qur'an, and make noise in the midst of its (recitation) that you may overcome.'') (27. But surely, We shall cause those who disbelieve to taste a severe torment, and certainly, We shall requite them the worst of what they used to do.) (28. That is the recompense of the enemies of Allah: the Fire. Therein will be for them the eternal home, a recompense for that they used to deny Our Ayat.) (29. And those who disbelieve will say: "Our Lord! Show us those among Jinn and men who led us astray, that we may crush them under our feet so that they become the lowest.'')