|And to the Thamud People (We sent) Salih –one of their own brethren. He said: “O’ my people! Worship God, you have no other God but Him. It is He (the One) Who had produced/brought you into being from the earth and settled you therein; then ask for forgiveness of Him, and turn to Him (in Repentance); for my Lord is (always) Ever-Near, and Supreme-Answerer/ ready to answer!” (61)||وَإِلَى ثَمُودَ أَخَاهُمْ صَالِحًا قَالَ يَا قَوْمِ اعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ مَا لَكُمْ مِنْ إِلَهٍ غَيْرُهُ هُوَ أَنْشَأَكُمْ مِنَ الْأَرْضِ وَاسْتَعْمَرَكُمْ فِيهَا فَاسْتَغْفِرُوهُ ثُمَّ تُوبُوا إِلَيْهِ إِنَّ رَبِّي قَرِيبٌ مُجِيبٌ (61)|
|They said: “O’ Salih! You have really been a (a source/centre of) hope among us before you that. Do you (now) forbid us to worship what our fathers worshipped? But surely we (all) are indeed in suspicious (disquieting) doubt as to that to which you invite us!” (62)||قَالُوا يَا صَالِحُ قَدْ كُنْتَ فِينَا مَرْجُوًّا قَبْلَ هَذَا أَتَنْهَانَا أَنْ نَعْبُدَ مَا يَعْبُدُ آَبَاؤُنَا وَإِنَّنَا لَفِي شَكٍّ مِمَّا تَدْعُونَا إِلَيْهِ مُرِيبٍ (62)|
|He said: “O’ my people! Do you see/have you considered? If I have a Clear (Sign) from my Lord, and He has sent Mercy to me from Himself;- who then can help me against God if I were to disobey Him? What then you would add to my portion, but loss and perdition? (63)||قَالَ يَا قَوْمِ أَرَأَيْتُمْ إِنْ كُنْتُ عَلَى بَيِّنَةٍ مِنْ رَبِّي وَآَتَانِي مِنْهُ رَحْمَةً فَمَنْ يَنْصُرُنِي مِنَ اللَّهِ إِنْ عَصَيْتُهُ فَمَا تَزِيدُونَنِي غَيْرَ تَخْسِيرٍ (63)|
|“And O’ my people! This she-camel of God is a symbol to you ; leave here to feed (graze) on God’s (free) earth, and inflict no harm on her, or you would be taken by swift Penalty which will seize you!” (64)||وَيَا قَوْمِ هَذِهِ نَاقَةُ اللَّهِ لَكُمْ آَيَةً فَذَرُوهَا تَأْكُلْ فِي أَرْضِ اللَّهِ وَلَا تَمَسُّوهَا بِسُوءٍ فَيَأْخُذَكُمْ عَذَابٌ قَرِيبٌ (64)|
|But they did ham-string (killed) her. So he said: “Enjoy yourselves in your homes for three days! (Then you will be ruined): Behold! This is a promise not to be belied!” (65)||فَعَقَرُوهَا فَقَالَ تَمَتَّعُوا فِي دَارِكُمْ ثَلَاثَةَ أَيَّامٍ ذَلِكَ وَعْدٌ غَيْرُ مَكْذُوبٍ (65)|
|So when Our Commandment Decree issued; We saved Salih and those who believed with him, by (special) Grace from Ourselves; and from the ignomity and disgrace of that Day. Verily, your Lord, He is the All-Strong One, and the All-Mighty to enforce His Will. (66)||فَلَمَّا جَاءَ أَمْرُنَا نَجَّيْنَا صَالِحًا وَالَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا مَعَهُ بِرَحْمَةٍ مِنَّا وَمِنْ خِزْيِ يَوْمِئِذٍ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ الْقَوِيُّ الْعَزِيزُ (66)|
|The (mighty torment auful cry)overtook the Wrongdoers; and they lay prostrate in their homes (dead corpses) before the morning. (67)||وَأَخَذَ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا الصَّيْحَةُ فَأَصْبَحُوا فِي دِيَارِهِمْ جَاثِمِينَ (67)|
|As if they had never dwelt and flourished there. Ah! Behold! No doubt verily, the Thamud have rejected their Lord and Cherisher! Ah! Behold! So removed away (from sight) were the Thamud! (68)||كَأَنْ لَمْ يَغْنَوْا فِيهَا أَلَا إِنَّ ثَمُودَ كَفَرُوا رَبَّهُمْ أَلَا بُعْدًا لِثَمُودَ (68)|
|And verily, there came Our Messageners to Abraham with glad tidings; they said: “Salam-Peace!” He answered: “Salam-Peace!” and hastened to entertain them with a roasted calf.(69)||وَلَقَدْ جَاءَتْ رُسُلُنَا إِبْرَاهِيمَ بِالْبُشْرَى قَالُوا سَلَامًا قَالَ سَلَامٌ فَمَا لَبِثَ أَنْ جَاءَ بِعِجْلٍ حَنِيذٍ (69)|
|But when he saw their hands not reaching towards the (meat), he felt some mistrust of them, and conceived a fear of them. They said: “Fear not; we have been sent against the people of Lut (Lot).” (70)||فَلَمَّا رَأَى أَيْدِيَهُمْ لَا تَصِلُ إِلَيْهِ نَكِرَهُمْ وَأَوْجَسَ مِنْهُمْ خِيفَةً قَالُوا لَا تَخَفْ إِنَّا أُرْسِلْنَا إِلَى قَوْمِ لُوطٍ (70)|
|And his wife was standing (there), and she laughed: But We gave Glad Tidings of Isaac, and after him, of Jacob. (71)||وَامْرَأَتُهُ قَائِمَةٌ فَضَحِكَتْ فَبَشَّرْنَاهَا بِإِسْحَاقَ وَمِنْ وَرَاءِ إِسْحَاقَ يَعْقُوبَ (71)|
|She said (in astonishment): “Alas for me/Woe to me! Shall I bear a child, seeing I am an old woman, and my husband –here- is an old man? That would indeed be a wonderful thing!” (72)||قَالَتْ يَا وَيْلَتَى أَأَلِدُ وَأَنَا عَجُوزٌ وَهَذَا بَعْلِي شَيْخًا إِنَّ هَذَا لَشَيْءٌ عَجِيبٌ (72)|
|They said: “do you wonder at the Decree of God? The Grace and Mefrcy of God, and His blessings on you, O’ you people of the House (Family of Abraham). Surely, He is indeed worthy of all Praise-All-Praiseworthy, full of Glory-All-Glorious!” (73)||قَالُوا أَتَعْجَبِينَ مِنْ أَمْرِ اللَّهِ رَحْمَةُ اللَّهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ عَلَيْكُمْ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ إِنَّهُ حَمِيدٌ مَجِيدٌ (73)|
|Then when fear had passed from (the mind of) Abraram, and the Glad Tidings had reached him, he began to plead with Us for Lut’s people. (74)||فَلَمَّا ذَهَبَ عَنْ إِبْرَاهِيمَ الرَّوْعُ وَجَاءَتْهُ الْبُشْرَى يُجَادِلُنَا فِي قَوْمِ لُوطٍ (74)|
|Verily, Abraham was –without doubt- forbearing (of Faults), compassionate, and given to look to God”. (75)||إِنَّ إِبْرَاهِيمَ لَحَلِيمٌ أَوَّاهٌ مُنِيبٌ (75)|
|(The Angels Said)“O’ Abraham! Forsake this (plea). Indeed, the Command of your Lord has gone forth. Verily, there will come a torment for them which cannot be turned back!” (76)||يَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ أَعْرِضْ عَنْ هَذَا إِنَّهُ قَدْ جَاءَ أَمْرُ رَبِّكَ وَإِنَّهُمْ آَتِيهِمْ عَذَابٌ غَيْرُ مَرْدُودٍ (76)|
Wahba Mahmoud Diyab
COMMENTARY – VERSES 61-83:
(Verse 61)- A/The story of Salih and the Thamud people has been told from another point of view in Surat Al-A’raf 7 verses 73-79. The difference in the point of view there and here is the same as in the story of HUD – see verse 50. Note how the story is the same, and yet new points and details are brought out to illustrate each new argument. Note -also- how the besetting sin of the ‘Ad –pride and obstinacy- is distinguished from the besetting sin of the Thamud –the oppression of the poor- as illustrated by the test case and symbol of the She-Camel ; see notes of verse 73 from Surat Al-A’raf 7. All sin is in a sense pride and rebellion; yet sins take particular hues in different circumstances, and these colors are brought out as in a most artistically painted picture, with the greatest economy of words and the most piercing analysis of motives. For the locality and history of the Thamud see notes on verse 73 from Surat AlA’raf 7. B/For Ansha’a:???? = as a process of creation –see notes on verse 93 from Surat Al-An’am 6, and there further references given there. As to his body; man has been produced from earth or clay, and his settlement on earth is a fact of his material existence. Therefore we must conform to all the laws of our physical being, in order that through our life on the earth we may develop that higher Life which belongs to the other part of opur being –our spiritual heritage. Through the use we make of our health, of our tilth, of our pastures, of material facts of all kinds, will develop our moral and spiritual nature.
(verse 62)- Salih’s life with his people had been so righteous (like that of Al-Mustapha Al-Amin PPBUH in later times) that he might have been chosen leader or king if he had only conformed to their superstitions and supprted their sins. But he was born for a higher mission –that of a preacher of truth and righteousness and an ardent opponent of selfish privilege and a champion of the rights of humanity on God’s free earth by the symbol of the she-camel.
(Verse 63)-“God has been good to me and bestowed on me His Light and the inestimable privilege of carrying His mission to you. Don’t you see that if I fail to carry out his mission, I shall have to answer before Him? Who can help me in that case? The only thing which you can add to my misfortunes would be total perditioin in the spiritual world”. Verse 28.
(Verse 64)- Salih does not merely take up a negative attitude. He puts forward the she-camel as a symbol – as explained in verse 73 Surat Al-A’raf 7. “Give-up your selfish monopoly. Make God’s gifts on this free earth available to all. Give the poor their rights –including grazing rights on common lands. Show your penitence and your new attitude by leaving this she-camel to graze freely. Shi is a Symbol, and therefore sacred to you”. But their only reply was to defy the appeal and ham-string the camel. And so they went the way of all sinners- to toal perdition.
(Verse 65)- Just three days’ time for further thought and repentance! But they paid no heed. A terrible earthquake came by night, preceded by a mighty rumbling blast (probably volcanic), such as is well-known in earthquake areas. It came by night and burried them in their own fortress homes, which they thought such places of security! The morning found them lying on their faces hidden from the light. How the mighty were brought low!
(Verse 66-67-68)- See above (65).
(When the angels –on a mission to Sodom and Gomorrah- Cities of the Plain, passed by Abraham, he entertained them and received from them the Good News of the Line of Prophets to spring from his loins. He tried –in his goodness of heart- to interced for the wicked Cities, but they were steeped in Sin and passed all hope of repentance. Lut preached to them, but they flouted him and went to their fate, and also did Midian. The people of Shu’aib destroyed their commerce by fraudulent dealings and love of brute force. Marvellous are God’s Mercies, and strange are the ways of ungrateful man).
(Verse 69)- According to the sequence of Surat Al-A’raf 7, the next reference should be to the story of Lut, and that story commences at verse 77 below, but it is introduced by a brief reference to an eipsode in the life of his uncle Abraham, from whose seed sprang the peoples to whom Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad Al-Mustapha [PPBUH] were sent with the major Revelation. Abraham had –by this time- passed through the fire of persecutions in the Mesopotamian valleys; he had left behind him the ancestral idolatory of Ur of the Chaldees; he had been tried and he had triumphed over the persecution of Al-Nimrud; he had now taken up his residence in Canaan, from which his nephew Lot (Lut) was called to preach to the wicked Cities of the Plain east of the Dead Sea which is –itself- called Bahr Lut:??? ??? . Thus prepared and sanctified, he was now ready to receive the Message that he was chosen to be the progenitor of a great line of Prophets, and the Message is now referred to. Can we localise Al-Nimrud? If local tradition in place-names can be relied upon, this king must have ruled over the tract which includes the modern Nimrud –on the Tigris- about twenty miles south of Al-Mosul. This is the site of Assyrian ruins of great interest, but the rise of Assyria –as an Empire- was of course much later than the time of Abraham. The Assyrian city was called Kalakh (or Calah), and archeological excavations carried out there have yielded valuable results, which are however irrelevant for our Commentary.
(Verse 70)- A/ With oriental hospitality received the strangers with a salutation of Peace, and immediately placed before them a sumptuous meal of roasted calf. The strangers were embarassed. They were angels and did not eat. If hospitality is refused in the East, it means that those who refuse it meditate no good to the would be host. Abraham therefore had a feeling of mistrust and fear in his mind, which the strangers at once set at rest by saying that their mission was -in the first place- to help Lut as a warner to the Cities of the Plain. But in the second place they had good news for Abraha: he was to be the father of great people! B/The people of Lut: means the people to whom Lut was sent on his mission of warning, the people of the wicked Cities of the Plain, Sodom and Gomorrah.
(Verse 71)- The narrative is very concise, and most of the details are taken for granted. We may suppose that the angels gave the news first to Abraham, who was already a hundred years of age –according to (Gen. xxi. 5. [Abraham was 100 years old when his son Isaac was born]), and his wife Sarah was not far short of ninety (Gen. xvii. 7). She was probably screened according to oriental custom. She could hardly believe the news. In her scepticism (some say in her joy) she laughed. But the news was formally communicated to her that she was to be the mother of Isaac, and through Isaac the granmother of Jacob. Jacob was to be a fruitful tree, with his twelve sons. But hitherto Abraham had had no son by her, and Sara was past the age of child-bearing. “How could it be?” she thought.
(Verse 72)- This is as much a sigh of past regrets as of future wishfulness!
(Verse 73)- A/ Ahlu-ul-bait=??? ????? : people of the house, a polite form of addressing the wife and members of the family. Blessings are here invoked on the whole family. B/ This little episode of Abraham’s life comes in fitly as one of the illustrations of God’s wonderful providence in His dealings with man. Abraham had had a tussle with his father on behalf of Truth and Unity (see Surat Al-An’am 6 verse 74), he had passed through the fire of temptation uncathed (see Surat Al-Anbiyaa 21 verses 68-69); he had travelled to far countries, and was now ready to receive his great mission as the fountain-head of apostles in his old age. Humanly speaking it seemed impoosible that he should have a son at his age, and yet came to pass and became a corner-stone of sacred history.
(Verse 74)- Glad Tidings=?????? : not only that he was to have a son, but that he was to be a fountain-head of apostles. So he now begins to to plead at once for the sinful people to whom Lut was sent as a Warner.
(Verse 75)- Like Al-Mustapha [PPBUH], Abraham had three qualities in a pre-eminent degree, which are here mentioned: (1) he was long-siffering with other people’s faults; (2) his sympathies and compassion was very wide; and (3) for every difficulty or trouble he turned to God and sought Him in prayer.
(Verse 76)- This is a sort of prophetic apostrophe ‘All your care and sympathy are useless O’ Abraham! All your warning O’ Lut will be unheeded! Alas! They are so deep in sin that nothing will reclaim them!’ This is illustrated in verse 79 below. And now we proceed to Lut and how he was dealt with by the wicked.