Surah Hud Ayat 61-86

{61. And to Thamud (people We sent) their brother Salih. He said: “O my people! Worship Allah: you have no other god but Him. He brought you forth from the earth and settled you therein, then ask forgiveness of Him and turn to Him in repentance. Certainly, my Lord is Near (to all by His knowledge), Responsive.”}

The Story of Salih and the People of Thamud

Allah, the Exalted, says, “And” This is an introduction to that which is implied, “Verily, We sent.” “to Thamud” They were a group of people who were living in cities carved from the rocks, between Tabuk and Al-Madinah (in Arabia). They lived after the people of Ad, so Allah sent to them, “their brother Salih.” He (Salih) commanded them to worship Allah alone. He said to them, “He brought you forth from the earth” This means: ‘He began your creation from it (the earth). From it He created your father, Adam.’ “and settled you therein” This means: ‘He made you prosperous in the earth. You are settled in it and you treasure it.’ “then ask forgiveness” ‘This is in reference to your previous sins.’ “and turn to Him in repentance.” ‘This is in reference to the future.’ “Certainly, my Lord is Near (to all by His knowledge), Responsive.” This is similar to Allah’s statement, “And when My servants ask you concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed Near (to them by My knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me.” (2:186)

{62. They said: “O Salih! You have been among us as a figure of good hope until this! Do you (now) forbid us the worship of what our fathers have worshipped But we are really in grave doubt as to that to which you invite us.” 

63. He said: “O my people! Tell me, if I have a clear proof from my Lord, and there has come to me a mercy from Him, who then can help me against Allah, if I were to disobey Him Then you increase me not but in loss.”}

The Conversation between Salih and the People of Thamud

Allah, the Exalted, mentions what transpired in the discussion between Salih and his people. Allah informs of their ignorance and obstinacy in their statement, “You have been among us as a figure of good hope till this!” They were saying in this, “We had hope in your strong intellect before you began saying what you have said.” “Do you (now) forbid us the worship of what our fathers have worshipped?” what those who were before us were upon.” “But we are really in grave doubt as to that which you invite us.” This alludes to the great amount of doubt that they had. “He said: “O my people! Tell me, if I have a clear proof from my Lord…’‘ ‘In reference to what He (Allah) has sent me with to you, I am upon conviction and sure evidence.’ “and there has come to me a mercy from Him, who then can help me against Allah, if I were to disobey Him” ‘and abandon calling you to the truth and the worship of Allah alone. If I did so, you would not be able to bring me any benefit, nor increase me “but in loss.” This means loss and ruin.

{64. “And O my people! This she-camel of Allah is a sign to you, so leave her to graze in Allah’s land, and touch her not with evil, lest a near torment should seize you.”

65. But they slaughtered her. So he said: “Enjoy yourselves in your homes for three days. This is a promise (a threat) that will not be belied.”

66. So when Our commandment came, We saved Salih and those who believed with him by a mercy from Us, and from the disgrace of that Day. Verily, your Lord — He is the All-Strong, the All-Mighty.

67. And As-Sayhah (awful cry) overtook the wrongdoers, so they lay (dead), prostrate in their homes.

68. As if they had never lived there. No doubt! Verily, Thamud disbelieved in their Lord. So away with Thamud!) A discussion of this story has already preceded in Surat Al-A`raf and it is sufficient without having to be repeated here. Allah is the Giver of success. }

A discussion of this story has already preceded in Surat Al-Araf and it is sufficient without having to be repeated here. Allah is the Giver of success.

69. And verily, there came Our messengers to Ibrahim with the glad tidings. They said: “Salaman (greetings or peace!)” He answered, “Salamun (greetings or peace!),” and he hastened to entertain them with a roasted calf. 

70. But when he saw their hands went not towards it (the meal), he mistrusted them, and conceived a fear of them. They said: “Fear not, we have been sent against the people of Lut.” 

71. And his wife was standing (there), and she laughed. But We gave her glad tidings of Ishaq, and after Ishaq, of Yaqub. 

72. She said (in astonishment): “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!” 

73. They said: “Do you wonder at the decree of Allah The mercy of Allah and His blessings be on you, O the family [of Ibrahim]. Surely, He (Allah) is All-Praiseworthy, All-Glorious.”}

The Coming of the Angels to Ibrahim and Their Glad Tidings to Him of Ishaq and Yaqub

Allah, the Exalted, says, “And verily, there came Our messengers” The word “messengers” here means angels. “to Ibrahim with the glad tidings.” It has been said that the word “the glad tidings” means, “Receive the glad tidings of Ishaq.” Others have said that it means, “The destruction of the people of Prophet Lut.” The proof of the correctness of the first view is in Allah’s statement, “Then when the fear had gone away from (the mind of) Ibrahim, and the glad tidings had reached him, he began to plead with Us for the people of Lut.” (11:74) “They said: “Salaman.” He answered, “Salamun.” This means, “Upon you.” The scholars of explanation have said, “Ibrahim’s reply of ‘Salamun’ was better than that with which they had greeted him with, because the subjective case (Salamun instead of Salaman) alludes to affirmation and eternity.” “and he hastened to entertain them with a roasted calf.” This means that he (Ibrahim) left with haste in order to bring them food, as a host. The food that he brought was a calf. The word Hanidh means roasted upon heated stones. This meaning has been reported from Ibn Abbas, Qatadah and others. (At-Tabari 15:384, 385) This is as Allah has said in another verse, “Then he turned to his household, and brought out a roasted calf. And placed it before them (saying): “Will you not eat?” (51:26-27) This verse contains many aspects of the etiquettes of hosting guests. “But when he saw their hands went not towards it (the meal), he mistrusted them” This means that he felt estranged from them. “and conceived a fear of them.” This is because angels are not concerned with food. They do not desire it, nor do they eat it. Therefore, when Ibrahim saw them reject the food that he had brought them, without tasting any of it at all, he felt a mistrust of them. “and conceived a fear of them.”

As-Suddi said, “When Allah sent the angels to the people of Lut, they set out walking in the form of young men, until they came to Ibrahim and they were hosted by him. When Ibrahim saw them, he rushed to host them. “Then he turned to his household, and brought out a roasted calf.” (51:26) He slaughtered it (the calf), roasted it on hot stones and brought it to them. Then, he sat down with them. when he placed it before them. (saying): ‘Will you not eat?’ They said, ‘O Ibrahim! Verily, we do not eat food without a price.’ Ibrahim then said, ‘Verily, this food has a price.’ They said, ‘What is its price?’ He said, ‘You must mention the Name of Allah over it before eating it and praise Allah upon finishing it.’ Jibril then looked at Mika’il and said, ‘This man has the right that his Lord should take him as an intimate friend.’ “But when he saw their hands went not towards it (the meal), he mistrusted them”

When Ibrahim saw that they were not eating, he became scared and frightened by them. Then, when Sarah looked and saw that he was honoring them, she began to serve them and she was laughing. She said, ‘What amazing guests we have. We serve them ourselves, showing them respect and they do not eat our food.” (At-Tabari 15:389)

Then, concerning Allah’s statement about the angels, “They said: “Fear not,” They were saying, “Do not be afraid of us. Verily, we are angels sent to the people of Lut in order to destroy them.” Then, Sarah laughed in delight of the good news of their destruction. This is because they had caused much corruption and their disbelief was severe. For this reason, she was rewarded with the glad tidings of a son, even after her despair. Concerning Allah’s statement, “and after Ishaq, of Yaqub.” This means that the son that she was going to have would have a son (her grandson) who would succeed him and beget many children. For verily, Yaqub was the son of Ishaq, just as Allah says in Surat Al-Baqarah, “Or were you witnesses when death approached Yaqub When he said unto his sons, “What will you worship after me?” They said, “We shall worship your God, the God of your fathers, Ibrahim, Ismail, Ishaq, One God, and to him we submit.” (2:133)

From this point in this verse there is an evidence for those who say that Ismail was the son of Ibrahim who was to be sacrificed. It could not have been Ishaq, because the glad tidings were given that he would have a son born to him named Yaqub. So how could Ibrahim be commanded to sacrifice him when he was a small child and there had not been born to him a child yet, named Yaqub, who was promised? The promise of Allah is true and there is no breaking of Allah’s promise. Therefore, it is not possible that Ibrahim was to sacrifice this child (Ishaq) with the condition being as it was. This makes it clear that Ismail was the son that was to be sacrificed and this is the best, most correct and clearest evidence of that. And all praise is due to Allah.

“She said (in astonishment): “Woe unto me! Shall I bear a child while I am an old woman, and here is my husband an old man” Allah speaks of her statement in this verse, just as He spoke of her action in another verse. “Then his wife came forward with a loud voice: she smote her face, and said: “A barren old woman!” (51:29) This was the custom of the women in their speech and actions when they were expressing amazement. “Then said: “Do you wonder at the decree of Allah?” This means that the angels were saying to her, “Do not be amazed at the command of Allah, for verily, whenever He wants something, He merely says ‘Be’ and it is. So do not be amazed at this, even though you are old and barren and your husband is a very old man. Verily, Allah is able to do whatever He wills.” “The mercy of Allah and His blessing be on you, O the family (of Ibrahim). Surely, He (Allah) is All-Praiseworthy, All-Glorious.” This means that He is the Most Praiseworthy in all of His actions and statements. He is praised and glorified in His Attributes and His Self. For this reason, it is confirmed in the two Sahihs that they (the Prophet’s Companions) said, “Verily, we already know how to greet you with Salam (peace), but how do we send Salah (prayer) upon you, O Messenger of Allah” He said,

“Say, “O Allah, send prayers upon Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, just as You have sent prayers upon Ibrahim and the family of Ibrahim. And bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, just as You have blessed the family of Ibrahim. Truly, You are the All-Praiseworthy, All-Glorious.” (Fath Al-Bari 6:469 and Muslim 1:305)

{74. Then when the fear had gone away from (the mind of) Ibrahim, and the glad tidings had reached him, he began to plead with Us (Our messengers) for the people of Lut. 

75. Verily, Ibrahim was, without doubt, forbearing, used to invoke Allah with humility, and was repentant. 

76. “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.”}

The Dispute of Ibrahim over the People of Lut

Allah, the Exalted, informs of what happened after the fright of Ibrahim left him and he felt no more fear of the angels when they refused to eat. After this, they gave him the glad tidings of the birth of a son and the destruction of the people of Lut. When they told him of this, he spoke to them as Said bin Jubayr narrated concerning this verse. Said said: When Jibril and the other angels who were with him came to Ibrahim, they said, “Verily, we are going to destroy the people of this town.” Ibrahim said to them, “Will you destroy a town that has three hundred believers in it?” They said, “No.” He then said, “Will you destroy a town that has two hundred believers in it?” They said, “No.” He said, “Will you destroy a town that has forty believers in it?” They said, “No.” He then said, “Thirty” They still replied, “No.” This continued until he said, “Five” They said, “No.” Then he said, “What do you think if there is one Muslim man in the town, would you destroy it?” They said, “No.” With this, 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.” Therefore, Ibrahim remained silent and his soul was at rest. (At-Tabari 15:403)

Concerning Allah’s statement, “Verily, Ibrahim was, without doubt, forbearing, used to invoke Alllah with humility, and was repentant (to Allah).” (11:75)This is a commendation for Ibrahim because of these beautiful characteristics.

Then Allah says, “O Ibrahim! Forsake this. Indeed, the commandment of your Lord has gone forth.”

This means the decree was settled concerning them and the Word was already given that they should be destroyed. The evil torment was coming to them, that cannot be averted from wicked people.

{77. And when Our messengers came to Lut, he was grieved on account of them and was concerned for them. He said: “This is a distressful day.” 

78. And his people came rushing towards him, and since aforetime they used to commit crimes, he said: “O my people! Here are my daughters, they are purer for you. So have Taqwa of Allah and disgrace me not with regard to my guests! Is there not among you a single right-minded man” 

79. They said: “Surely, you know that we have no need of your daughters, and indeed you know well what we want!”}

The Coming of the Angels to Out, His Grief, and His Discussion with His People

Allah, the Exalted, informs about the coming of His messenger angels. After they informed Ibrahim of their mission to destroy the people of Lut, they left him and set out to destroy Lut’s people that very night. After leaving Ibrahim, they came to Lut. Some say that they came to him while he was on a piece of land that belonged to him. Others say that they came to him while he was in his home. They approached him while they were in the most handsome of forms. They appeared in the forms of young men with handsome faces. This was a test from Allah that contained much wisdom and a firm evidence. Their appearance saddened him (Lut) and he felt grief in his soul because of them. He was afraid that if he did not host them as his guests, someone else of his people would host them and harm them. “He said: “This is a distressful day.” Ibn Abbas and others said that this means, “A severe test for him.” (At-Tabari 15:411) This was because he knew that he would have to defend them and it would cause great problems for him. Qatadah said, “They came to him while he was on a piece of land that belonged to him. They requested him to host them. He agreed, but he was shy of them and he walked in front of them. On the way to his home he said to them in attempt to convince them to go away, ‘By Allah, I do not know any people on the face of the earth more wicked and disgusting than these people of this town.’ Then he walked on a little further. Then he repeated the same statement to them. He continued doing this until he had repeated the same thing four times.” Then Qatadah said, “They were ordered not to destroy them until their Prophet testified against them of this.” (At-Tabari 15:408)

Concerning Allah’s statement, “rushing towards him.” meaning, they made haste and rushed due to their delight of this “new young men”. Concerning the statement, “and since aforetime they used to commit crimes.” This means that this did not cease being their behaviour until they were seized (by Allah’s torment) and they were still in the same condition. “He said: “O my people! Here are my daughters (the women of the nation), they are purer for you…” This was his attempt to direct them to their women, for verily the Prophet is like a father for his nation. Therefore, he tries to guide them to that which is better for them in this life and the Hereafter. This is similar to his statement to them in another verse, “Go you in unto the males of the nation, and leave those whom Allah has created for you to be your wives? Nay, you are a trespassing people!” (26:165-166)

Allah said in another verse, “They (the people of the city) said: “Did we not forbid you from entertaining any of the Alamin?” (15:70) This means, “Didn’t we forbid you from hosting men (male) guests?” “[Lut] said: “These (the girls of the nation) are my daughters, if you must act (so).” Verily, by your life, in their wild intoxication, they were wandering blindly.” (15:71-72) Then, Allah said, in this noble verse, “Here are my daughters, they are purer for you.” Mujahid said, “Actually, they were not his daughters, but they were from among his nation. Every Prophet is like a father to his nation.” (At-Tabari 15:414) A similar statement has been reported from Qatadah and others. (At-Tabari 15:413)

Concerning the statement, “So have Taqwa of Allah and disgrace me not with regard to my guests!” This means, “Accept what I command you by limiting the fulfillment of your desires to your women.” “Is there not among you a single right-minded man?” This means, “Is there not a good man among you who will accept what I am enjoining upon you and abandon what I have forbidden for you” “They said: “Surely, you know that we have no need of your daughters…” This means, “Verily, you know that we do not want our women, nor do we desire them.” “and indeed you know well what we want!” This means, “We only want males and you know that. So what need is there for you to continue speaking to us about this?”

{80. He said: “Would that I had strength to overpower you, or that I could betake myself to some powerful support.” 

81. They (messengers) said: “O Lut! Verily, we are the messengers from your Lord! They shall not reach you! So travel with your family in a part of the night, and let not any of you look back; but your wife (will remain behind), verily, the punishment which will afflict them, will afflict her. Indeed, morning is their appointed time. Is not the morning near?”}

Lut’s Inability, His Desire for Strength and the Angels’ Informing Him of the Reality

Allah, the Exalted says that Lut was threatening them with his statement, “Would that I had strength (men) to overpower you” meaning, ‘I would surely have made an example of you and done (harm) to you from myself and my family.’ In this regard, there is a Hadith which is reported from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“May Allah’s mercy be upon Lut, for verily, he betook himself to a powerful support [meaning Allah, the Mighty and Sublime.] Allah did not send any Prophet after him, except amidst [an influential family] among his people.” (At-Tirmidhi no.3116)

With this, the angels informed him that they were the messengers of Allah sent to them. They also told him that his people would not be able to reach him (with any harm). “They (messengers said): “O Lut! Verily, we are the messengers from your Lord! They shall not reach you!” They commanded him to travel with his family during the last part of night and that he should follow them from behind. In this way it would be as though he were driving his family (as a cattle herder). “and let not any of you look back” This means, “If you hear the sound of what (torment) befalls them (the people of the village), do not rush towards that disturbing noise. Rather, continue leaving.” “but your wife” Most of the scholars said that this means that she would not travel at night and she did not go with Lut. Rather, she stayed in her house and was destroyed. Others said that it means that she looked back (during the travel). This later group says that she left with them and when she heard the inevitable destruction, she turned and looked back. When she looked she said, “O my people!” Thus, a stone came down from the sky and killed her. Then they (the angels) brought close to him the destruction of his people as good news for him, because he said to them, “Destroy them in this very hour.” They replied, “Indeed, morning is their appointed time. Is not the morning near?” They were saying this while Lut’s people were standing at his door. They tried to rush his door from all sides and Lut was standing at the door repelling them, deterring them and trying to prevent them from what they were doing. Yet, they would not listen to him. Instead, they threatened him and sought to intimidate him. At this point, Jibril came out to them and struck them in their faces with his wing. This blow blinded their eyes and they retreated, unable to see their way. This is as Allah said, “And they indeed sought to shame his guest (asking to commit sodomy with them). So We blinded their eyes (saying), “Then taste you My torment and My warnings.” (54:37)

{82. So when Our commandment came, We turned them upside down, and rained on them stones of clay, in an array. 

83. Marked from your Lord; and they are not ever far from the wrongdoers.}

The Town of Lut’s People is overturned and Their Destruction

Allah, the Exalted, says, “So when Our commandment came” This happened at sunrise. “We [turned it]…” The city of Sadum (Sodom) “upside down” This is similar to Allah’s statement, “So there covered them that which did cover (torment with stones).” (53:54) This means, “We rained upon it with stones made of Sijjil.” Sijjil is a Persian word meaning stones made of clay. This definition has been mentioned by Ibn Abbas and others. (At-Tabari 15:434) Some of the scholars said that it (Sijjil) derived from the word Sang, which means a stone. Some others said it means Wakil, which is clay. In another verse Allah says, “the stones of clay” This means clay made into strong, hard stone. Some of the scholars said it means baked clay. Al-Bukhari said, “Sijjil means that which is big and strong.”

Concerning Allah’s statement, “in an array.” Some of the scholars said that Mandud means the stones were arranged in the heavens and prepared for that (destruction). Others said, “in an array.” This word means that some of them (the stones) followed others in their descent upon the people of Lut. Concerning the statement, “Marked” meaning the stones were marked and sealed, all of them having the names of their victims written on them. Qatadah and Ikrimah both said, “Musawwamah means each stone was encompassed by a sprinkling of red colouring.” (At-Tabari 15:438) The commentators have mentioned that it (the shower of stones) descended upon the people of the town and upon the various villages around it. One of them would be speaking with some people when a stone would strike him from the sky and kill him while he was among the people. Thus, the stones followed them, striking the people in the entire land until they destroyed them all. Not a single one of them remained.

Concerning Allah’s statement, “and they are not ever far from the wrongdoers.” This means that this vengeance (of Allah) is not far from similar wrongdoers.

{84. And to the Madyan people (We sent) their brother Shuayb. He said: “O my people! Worship Allah, you have no other god but Him, and give not short measure or weight. I see you in prosperity and verily, I fear for you the torment of a Day encompassing.”}

The Story of the People of Madyan and the Call of Shuayb

Allah, the Exalted, says, ‘We sent a Messenger to the people of Madyan.’ They were a tribe of Arabs who lived between the land of the Al-Hijaz and Ash-Sham, close to the land of Ma’an. Their land was known by the name of their tribe and was thus, called Madyan. Allah sent unto them the Prophet Shuayb and he was of the noblest of them in lineage. For this reason, Allah said, “their brother Shuayb.” Shuayb commanded them to worship Allah alone without associating any partners with him. He also prohibited them from cheating in their weights and measures (for business transactions). “I see you in prosperity” meaning, ‘in your livelihood and your provisions. And verily, I fear that you will be deprived of this bounty that you are enjoying by violating Allah’s prohibitions.”and verily, I fear for you the torment of a Day encompassing.” This means the abode of the Hereafter.

{85. “And O my people! Give full measure and weight in justice and reduce not the things that are due to the people, and do not commit mischief in the land, causing corruption.” 

86. “That which is left by Allah is better for you, if you are believers. And I am not a guardian over you.” }

First, he (Shuayb) prohibited them from cheating in business by decreasing the weights whenever they gave (products) to people. He commanded them to give just measure and weight whether they were giving or receiving (in transactions). He also forbade them from causing mischief and corruption in the land. This was due to their practice of highway robbery along the roads. Abu Jafar bin Jarir said, “That which is left by Allah (after giving the rights of the people) is better for you” “This means what you gain from your successful business dealings in which you have given just measure, is better for you than wrongfully taking the wealth of the people.” (At-Tabari 15:447) Ibn Jarir said that this statement has been reported from Ibn Abbas and I say it is similar to Allah’s statement, “Say: “Not equal are Khabith (all that is evil) and Tayyib (all that is good), even though the abundance of Khabith may please you.” (5:100) Allah then says, “And I am not a guardian over you.” This means a watcher over you people. In other words, “Do this for Allah and not to be seen by the people.”

Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Vol 5 Pages 77-97

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