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The Guests of the Prophet Ibrahim

We mentioned this story before in Surah Hud and Al-Hijr. Allah said,

﴿ هَلۡ أَتَٮٰكَ حَدِيثُ ضَيۡفِ إِبۡرَٲهِيمَ ٱلۡمُكۡرَمِينَ

(Has the story reached you, of the honored guests of Ibrahim), whom Ibrahim honored and who,

﴿ قَالُواْ سَلَـٰمً۬ا‌ۖ قَالَ سَلَـٰمٌ۬‌ۖ

(they said: "Salaman!'' He answered: "Salamun.'')

﴿ وَإِذَا حُيِّيتُم بِتَحِيَّةٍ۬ فَحَيُّواْ بِأَحۡسَنَ مِنۡہَآ أَوۡ رُدُّوهَآ‌ۗ

(When you are greeted with a greeting, greet in return with what is better than it, or return it equally.)(4:86) So the Friend of Allah chose a better reply in return for their greeting, implementing Allah's command: Reciprocating the greeting with the term Salamun is stronger than the greeting using the term Salaman. The three angels; Jibril, Mika'il and Israfil came to Ibrahim in the image of handsome young wonderfully graceful men. This is why Ibrahim said,

﴿ قَوۡمٌ۬ مُّنكَرُونَ

(You are a people unknown to me.) Allah the Exalted said,

﴿ فَرَاغَ إِلَىٰٓ أَهۡلِهِۦ

(Then he turned to his household,) Ibrahim discretely went inside in haste,

﴿ فَجَآءَ بِعِجۡلٍ۬ سَمِينٍ۬

(and brought out a roasted calf.) from the best of his menu, And in another Ayah

﴿ فَمَا لَبِثَ أَن جَآءَ بِعِجۡلٍ حَنِيذٍ۬

(And he hastened to entertain them with a roasted calf.) (11:69) means roasted on hot coals

﴿ فَقَرَّبَهُ ۥۤ إِلَيۡہِمۡ

(And placed it before them), brought it close to them,

﴿ قَالَ أَلَا تَأۡكُلُونَ

(Saying, "Will you not eat'') Ibrahim said this polite and kind statement to his guests, and surely, this Ayah indicates proper manners for honoring guests. For he brought the food to his guests quickly, while they were unaware that it was being prepared for them. He did not first mention this favor to them by saying, "We will make food for you.'' Rather, he discretely had it prepared and placed before them. He prepared the best kind of food he had, a young, fat roasted calf. He did not place the food far from them and invite them to come close to it to eat. Rather, he placed it close to them and refrained from ordering them to eat. Instead he invited them using a kind and subtle invitation,

﴿ أَلَا تَأۡكُلُونَ

(Will you not eat) This statement is similar to one of us saying to a guest, "Would you be kind and generous to do such and such'' Allah the Exalted said,

﴿ فَأَوۡجَسَ مِنۡہُمۡ خِيفَةً۬‌ۖ

(Then he conceived fear of them.) this Ayah is explained by Allah's statement,

﴿ فَلَمَّا رَءَآ أَيۡدِيَہُمۡ لَا تَصِلُ إِلَيۡهِ نَڪِرَهُمۡ وَأَوۡجَسَ مِنۡہُمۡ خِيفَةً۬‌ۚ قَالُواْ لَا تَخَفۡ إِنَّآ أُرۡسِلۡنَآ إِلَىٰ قَوۡمِ لُوطٍ۬ وَٱمۡرَأَتُهُ ۥ قَآٮِٕمَةٌ۬ فَضَحِكَتۡ

(But when he saw their hands went not towards it, he mistrusted them, and felt a sense of fear of them. They said: "Fear not, we have been sent against the people of Lut.'' And his wife was standing (there), and she laughed.)(11:70-71), meaning, she was glad that the people of Lut would be destroyed on account of their rebellion and transgression against Allah, the Exalted. This is when the angels delivered the good news to her of a son, Ishaq, and Ya`qub after Ishaq,

﴿ قَالَتۡ يَـٰوَيۡلَتَىٰٓ ءَأَلِدُ وَأَنَا۟ عَجُوزٌ۬ وَهَـٰذَا بَعۡلِى شَيۡخًا‌ۖ إِنَّ هَـٰذَا لَشَىۡءٌ عَجِيبٌ۬ قَالُوٓاْ أَتَعۡجَبِينَ مِنۡ أَمۡرِ ٱللَّهِ‌ۖ رَحۡمَتُ ٱللَّهِ وَبَرَكَـٰتُهُ ۥ عَلَيۡكُمۡ أَهۡلَ ٱلۡبَيۡتِ‌ۚ إِنَّهُ ۥ حَمِيدٌ۬ مَّجِيدٌ۬

(She said: "Woe unto me! Shall I bear a child while I am an old woman, and here is my husband an old man Verily, this is a strange thing!'' They said, "Do you wonder at the decree of Allah The mercy of Allah and His blessings be on you, O family of the house. Surely, He (Allah) is All-Praiseworthy, All-Glorious.'')(11:72-73) Allah said here;

﴿ وَبَشَّرُوهُ بِغُلَـٰمٍ عَلِيمٍ۬

(And they gave him glad tidings of a son having knowledge.) This news was as good to Ibrahim as it was to his wife, for this son would be theirs, and therefore, they both were getting some good news. Allah the Exalted said,

﴿ فَأَقۡبَلَتِ ٱمۡرَأَتُهُ ۥ فِى صَرَّةٍ۬

(Then his wife came forward with a loud voice), She screamed loudly, according to Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, `Ikrimah, Abu Salih, Ad-Dahhak, Zayd bin Aslam, Ath-Thawri and As-Suddi. She said when she shouted,

﴿ يَـٰوَيۡلَتَىٰ

(Ah! Woe to me!)(25:28), then,

﴿ فَصَكَّتۡ وَجۡهَهَا

(she smote her face,) meaning, she struck herself upon her forehead, according to Mujahid and Ibn Sabit. Ibn `Abbas said that she smacked her face just as women do when confronted with an amazing thing,

﴿ وَقَالَتۡ عَجُوزٌ عَقِيمٌ۬

(and said: "A barren old woman!'') meaning, "How can I give birth while I am an old woman And even when I was young I was barren and could not have children,''

﴿ قَالُواْ كَذَٲلِكِ قَالَ رَبُّكِ‌ۖ إِنَّهُ ۥ هُوَ ٱلۡحَكِيمُ ٱلۡعَلِيمُ

(They said: "Even so says your Lord. Verily, He is the All-Wise, the All-Knower''), `He is the All-Knower of the honor that you are worthy of and He is the most Wise in His statements and decisions.'

﴿ قَالَ فَمَا خَطۡبُكُمۡ أَيُّہَا ٱلۡمُرۡسَلُونَ قَالُوٓاْ إِنَّآ أُرۡسِلۡنَآ إِلَىٰ قَوۡمٍ۬ مُّجۡرِمِينَ لِنُرۡسِلَ عَلَيۡہِمۡ حِجَارَةً۬ مِّن طِينٍ۬ مُّسَوَّمَةً عِندَ رَبِّكَ لِلۡمُسۡرِفِينَ فَأَخۡرَجۡنَا مَن كَانَ فِيہَا مِنَ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ فَمَا وَجَدۡنَا فِيہَا غَيۡرَ بَيۡتٍ۬ مِّنَ ٱلۡمُسۡلِمِينَ وَتَرَكۡنَا فِيہَآ ءَايَةً۬ لِّلَّذِينَ يَخَافُونَ ٱلۡعَذَابَ ٱلۡأَلِيمَ

(31. (Ibrahim) said: "Then for what purpose you have come, O messengers'') (32. They said: "We have been sent to a people who are criminals.'') (33. "To send down upon them stones of clay.'') (34. "Marked by your Lord for transgressors.'') (35. So We brought out from therein the believers.) (36. But We found not there any household of the Muslims except one.) (37. And We have left there a sign for those who fear the painful torment.)

The Angels were sent to destroy the People of the Prophet Lut

Allah the Exalted said about Ibrahim (peace be upon him)

﴿ فَلَمَّا ذَهَبَ عَنۡ إِبۡرَٲهِيمَ ٱلرَّوۡعُ وَجَآءَتۡهُ ٱلۡبُشۡرَىٰ يُجَـٰدِلُنَا فِى قَوۡمِ لُوطٍ إِنَّ إِبۡرَٲهِيمَ لَحَلِيمٌ أَوَّٲهٌ۬ مُّنِيبٌ۬ يَـٰٓإِبۡرَٲهِيمُ أَعۡرِضۡ عَنۡ هَـٰذَآ‌ۖ إِنَّهُ ۥ قَدۡ جَآءَ أَمۡرُ رَبِّكَ‌ۖ وَإِنَّہُمۡ ءَاتِيہِمۡ عَذَابٌ غَيۡرُ مَرۡدُودٍ۬

(Then when the fear had gone away from (Ibrahim), and the glad tidings had reached him, he began to plead with Us for the people of Lut. Verily, Ibrahim was, without doubt forbearing, used to invoke Allah with humility, and was repentant. "O Ibrahim! Forsake this. Indeed, the commandment of your Lord has gone forth. Verily, there will come a torment for them which cannot be turned back.'')(11:74-76) Allah said here,

﴿ قَالَ فَمَا خَطۡبُكُمۡ أَيُّہَا ٱلۡمُرۡسَلُونَ

((Ibrahim) said: "Then for what purpose you have come, O messengers'') meaning, `what is the mission that you were sent with,'

﴿ قَالُوٓاْ إِنَّآ أُرۡسِلۡنَآ إِلَىٰ قَوۡمٍ۬ مُّجۡرِمِينَ

(They said: "We have been sent to a people who are criminals.'') in reference to the people of Lut,

﴿ لِنُرۡسِلَ عَلَيۡہِمۡ حِجَارَةً۬ مِّن طِينٍ۬ مُّسَوَّمَةً

(To send down upon them stones of baked clay, marked), or written,

﴿ عِندَ رَبِّكَ لِلۡمُسۡرِفِينَ

(by your Lord for transgressors.) recorded with Allah to their names; each stone has the name of its companion. Allah said in Surat Al-`Ankabut,

﴿ قَالَ إِنَّ فِيهَا لُوطً۬ا‌ۚ قَالُواْ نَحۡنُ أَعۡلَمُ بِمَن فِيہَا‌ۖ لَنُنَجِّيَنَّهُ ۥ وَأَهۡلَهُ ۥۤ إِلَّا ٱمۡرَأَتَهُ ۥ ڪَانَتۡ مِنَ ٱلۡغَـٰبِرِينَ

((Ibrahim) said: "But there is Lut in it.'' They said: "We know better who is there. We will verily save him and his family except his wife: she will be of those who remain behind.'')(29:32), and said here,

﴿ فَأَخۡرَجۡنَا مَن كَانَ فِيہَا مِنَ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ

(So We brought out from therein the believers.) they are: Lut and his family, except his wife,

﴿ فَمَا وَجَدۡنَا فِيہَا غَيۡرَ بَيۡتٍ۬ مِّنَ ٱلۡمُسۡلِمِينَ

(But We found not there any household of the Muslims except one.) Allah the Exalted said,

﴿ وَتَرَكۡنَا فِيہَآ ءَايَةً۬ لِّلَّذِينَ يَخَافُونَ ٱلۡعَذَابَ ٱلۡأَلِيمَ

(And We have left there a sign for those who fear the painful torment.) meaning, `We left a proof of the punishment, torment and stones made of Sijjil (baked clay) that We sent on them; We made their dwelling place a putrid, evil, dead sea. This should provide a lesson for the believers,'

﴿ لِّلَّذِينَ يَخَافُونَ ٱلۡعَذَابَ ٱلۡأَلِيمَ

(for those who fear the painful torment.)

﴿ وَفِى مُوسَىٰٓ إِذۡ أَرۡسَلۡنَـٰهُ إِلَىٰ فِرۡعَوۡنَ بِسُلۡطَـٰنٍ۬ مُّبِينٍ۬ فَتَوَلَّىٰ بِرُكۡنِهِۦ وَقَالَ سَـٰحِرٌ أَوۡ مَجۡنُونٌ۬ فَأَخَذۡنَـٰهُ وَجُنُودَهُ ۥ فَنَبَذۡنَـٰهُمۡ فِى ٱلۡيَمِّ وَهُوَ مُلِيمٌ۬ وَفِى عَادٍ إِذۡ أَرۡسَلۡنَا عَلَيۡہِمُ ٱلرِّيحَ ٱلۡعَقِيمَ مَا تَذَرُ مِن شَىۡءٍ أَتَتۡ عَلَيۡهِ إِلَّا جَعَلَتۡهُ كَٱلرَّمِيمِ وَفِى ثَمُودَ إِذۡ قِيلَ لَهُمۡ تَمَتَّعُواْ حَتَّىٰ حِينٍ۬ فَعَتَوۡاْ عَنۡ أَمۡرِ رَبِّہِمۡ فَأَخَذَتۡهُمُ ٱلصَّـٰعِقَةُ وَهُمۡ يَنظُرُونَ فَمَا ٱسۡتَطَـٰعُواْ مِن قِيَامٍ۬ وَمَا كَانُواْ مُنتَصِرِينَ وَقَوۡمَ نُوحٍ۬ مِّن قَبۡلُ‌ۖ إِنَّہُمۡ كَانُواْ قَوۡمً۬ا فَـٰسِقِينَ

(38. And in Musa, when We sent him to Fir`awn with a manifest authority.) (39. But (he) turned away along with his hosts, and said: "A sorcerer or a madman.'') (40. So We took him and his armies, and dumped them into the sea (Yamm), for he was blameworthy.) (41. And in `Ad when We sent against them the barren wind;) (42. It spared nothing that it reached, but blew it into broken spreads of rotten ruins.) (43. And in Thamud, when they were told: "Enjoy yourselves for a while!'') (44. But they insolently defied the command of their Lord, so the Sa`iqah overtook them while they were looking.) (45. Then they were unable to rise up, nor could they help themselves.) (46. (So were) the people of Nuh before them. Verily, they were a people who were rebellious.)

Lessons from the Destruction of Fir`awn, `Ad, Thamud, and the People of Nuh

Allah the Exalted said,

﴿ وَفِى مُوسَىٰٓ إِذۡ أَرۡسَلۡنَـٰهُ إِلَىٰ فِرۡعَوۡنَ بِسُلۡطَـٰنٍ۬ مُّبِينٍ۬

(And in Musa, when We sent him to Fir`awn with a manifest authority.) meaning, with clear proof and plain evidence,

﴿ فَتَوَلَّىٰ بِرُكۡنِهِۦ

(But he turned away along with his hosts,) meaning, in rebellion and arrogance, Fir`awn turned away from the plain truth that Musa was sent with,

﴿ ثَانِىَ عِطۡفِهِۦ لِيُضِلَّ عَن سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ‌ۖ

(Bending his neck in pride, and leading (others) too (far) astray from the path of Allah.)(22:9 ), meaning turning away from truth in arrogance,

﴿ وَقَالَ سَـٰحِرٌ أَوۡ مَجۡنُونٌ۬

(and said: "A sorcerer, or a madman.'') meaning Fir`awn said to Musa, "With regards to the message that you brought me, you are either a magician or a madman.'' Allah the Exalted replied,

﴿ فَأَخَذۡنَـٰهُ وَجُنُودَهُ ۥ فَنَبَذۡنَـٰهُمۡ

(So We took him and his armies, and dumped them), meaning `We threw them,'

﴿ فِى ٱلۡيَمِّ

(into the Yamm), into the sea,

﴿ وَهُوَ مُلِيمٌ۬

(for he was blameworthy.) meaning, Fir`awn was a denying sinner and a stubborn disbeliever worthy of blame. Allah the Exalted and Most Honored said,

﴿ وَفِى عَادٍ إِذۡ أَرۡسَلۡنَا عَلَيۡہِمُ ٱلرِّيحَ ٱلۡعَقِيمَ

(And in `Ad when We sent against them the barren wind) that destroys everything and produces nothing. This was said by Ad-Dahhak, Qatadah and others. Allah's statement,

﴿ مَا تَذَرُ مِن شَىۡءٍ أَتَتۡ عَلَيۡهِ

(It spared nothing that it reached,) meaning, everything that the wind could destroy,

﴿ إِلَّا جَعَلَتۡهُ كَٱلرَّمِيمِ

(but blew it into broken spreads of rotten ruins.) meaning, made it just like a rotten and destroyed. Sa`id bin Al-Musayyib and others commented on:

﴿ إِذۡ أَرۡسَلۡنَا عَلَيۡہِمُ ٱلرِّيحَ ٱلۡعَقِيمَ

(when We sent against them the barren wind),"Southerly winds.'' However, there is a Hadith in the Sahih from Shu`bah bin Al-Hakam, from Mujahid, from Ibn `Abbas, who said that the Messenger of Allah said,

« نُصِرْتُ بِالصَّبَا وَأُهْلِكَتْ عَادٌ بِالدَّبُور »

(I have been made victorious with the Saba (easterly wind), and the people of `Ad were destroyed with the Dabur (westerly wind).) Allah saying,

﴿ وَفِى ثَمُودَ إِذۡ قِيلَ لَهُمۡ تَمَتَّعُواْ حَتَّىٰ حِينٍ۬

(And in Thamud, when they were told: "Enjoy yourselves for a while!'') is just as He said in another Ayah,

﴿ وَأَمَّا ثَمُودُ فَهَدَيۡنَـٰهُمۡ فَٱسۡتَحَبُّواْ ٱلۡعَمَىٰ عَلَى ٱلۡهُدَىٰ فَأَخَذَتۡہُمۡ صَـٰعِقَةُ ٱلۡعَذَابِ ٱلۡهُونِ

(And as for Thamud, We guided them to the path of truth, but they preferred blindness to guidance; so the Sa`iqah of disgracing torment seized them.) (41:17) Allah said here,

﴿ وَفِى ثَمُودَ إِذۡ قِيلَ لَهُمۡ تَمَتَّعُواْ حَتَّىٰ حِينٍ۬ فَعَتَوۡاْ عَنۡ أَمۡرِ رَبِّہِمۡ فَأَخَذَتۡهُمُ ٱلصَّـٰعِقَةُ وَهُمۡ يَنظُرُونَ

(And in Thamud, when they were told: "Enjoy yourselves for a while!'' But they insolently defied the command of their Lord, so the Sa`iqah overtook them while they were looking.) Thamud were given a respite for three days, during which they await the torment. In the early morning of the fourth day, the torment overtook them,

﴿ فَمَا ٱسۡتَطَـٰعُواْ مِن قِيَامٍ۬

(Then they were unable to rise up,) they were unable to escape and run away from it,

﴿ وَمَا كَانُواْ مُنتَصِرِينَ

(nor could they help themselves.) nor could they save themselves from the torment that befell them. Allah the Exalted and Most Honored said,

﴿ وَقَوۡمَ نُوحٍ۬ مِّن قَبۡلُ‌ۖ

((So were) the people of Nuh before them.) meaning, `We destroyed the people of Nuh before these people (Fir`awn, `Ad and Thamud).'

﴿ إِنَّهُمۡ كَانُواْ قَوۡمً۬ا فَـٰسِقِينَ

(Verily, they were a people who were revellious.) We mentioned these stories in details before in the Tafsir of several other Surahs.

﴿ وَٱلسَّمَآءَ بَنَيۡنَـٰهَا بِأَيۡيْدٍ۬ وَإِنَّا لَمُوسِعُونَ وَٱلۡأَرۡضَ فَرَشۡنَـٰهَا فَنِعۡمَ ٱلۡمَـٰهِدُونَ وَمِن ڪُلِّ شَىۡءٍ خَلَقۡنَا زَوۡجَيۡنِ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تَذَكَّرُونَ فَفِرُّوٓاْ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ‌ۖ إِنِّى لَكُم مِّنۡهُ نَذِيرٌ۬ مُّبِينٌ۬ وَلَا تَجۡعَلُواْ مَعَ ٱللَّهِ إِلَـٰهًا ءَاخَرَ‌ۖ إِنِّى لَكُم مِّنۡهُ نَذِيرٌ۬ مُّبِينٌ۬

(47. With Hands We constructed the heaven. Verily, We are able to expand the vastness of space thereof.) (48. And We have made the earth a Firash; how excellent spreader (thereof) are We!) (49. And of everything We have created pairs, that you may remember.) (50. So, flee to Allah. Verily, I am a plain warner to you from Him.) (51. And set not up any other god along with Allah. Verily, I am a plain warner to you from Him.)