THE PROPHET SHU’AIB (peace be upon him)
The People of Madian and Their Character:
Long ago a nation colonised in the northern Arabia. This nation had an ancestral link with Madian, the son of Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him). The name of the habitation where he resided was also Madian. It was a fertile land which produced rich crops. Most of the people had adopted trade as their profession and earned a lot of money by fair or foul means. They hankered after wealth from dawn to dusk. They used to give short measures and weight to their customers. They were dishonest and deceitful in their dealings. In addition to malpractices in commerce and trade the People indulged in theft, debauchery, fornication and numerous unlawful acts. The abundance of wealth had made those people refractory and wayward. They were not afraid of God even and did whatever they liked. They ignored all moral values. Allah sent Shu’aib for the reformation of His people. The Holy Qur’an says:
“And unto Madian We sent their brother Shu’aib who said: O’ my people! serve Allah, you have no god save Him. There has come to you a manifest sign from your Lord: then give good weight and measure, and be not niggardly of your gifts to men and do not do evils in the earth after it has been righted. That is better for you if you are believers.” (7:83-86)
The Prophet Shu’aib Preaches and is Tortured:
According to the research of Ibn Khaldun the mother of Prophet Shu’aib (peace be upon him) was the pious daughter of the Prophet Lut (peace be upon him). His genealogy joins with Madian son of Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him). The Prophet Shu’aib (peace be upon him) was an eloquent orator. He had the surname of Khatibul Anbiya (the Preacher to the Prophets).
He advised the people to mend their ways and give up wrangling in evil ways. The people turned a deaf ear to his advice and ridiculed him whenever they had got an opportunity. They began to torture him. The mischief makers used to sit in the way towards the residence of the Prophet Shu’aib (peace be upon him) and threatened his visitors of dire consequences. They disgraced those who followed him. He continued preaching and warned the evil doers by saying:
“And sit not down in every path, threatening and turning from the path of God those who believe in Him and craving to make it crooked. Remember when you were few and He multiplied you; and see what was the end of the evil doers. “
Some haughty chiefs of the Madian tribe threatened the Prophet Shu’aib (peace be upon him) and his followers to be banished from that locality. The Holy Qur’an affirms:
“Said the crowd of those who were big with pride amongst his people: We Will surely turn you out, O’ Shu’aib and those who believe with thee from our village, or else you should return to our faith” (7: 88)
The Prophet Shu’aib (peace be upon him) was not coerced by such threats and went on conveying the message of Allah. He reminded them of dreadful calamities which befell upon the previous nations The Holy Qur’an affirms:
“And, O’ my people! let not the schism with me cause you to sin so that there befall you that which befell the folk of Nuh? and the folk of Hod and the folk of Salih and the folk of Lut are not far off from you.” (11: 89)
Visitation Befalls upon them:
The people jocularly rejected the veracity and truth of the religion of Allah. They tortured Prophet Shu’aib (peace be upon him)and his followers by transgressing all moral limits. When they did not give up their obstinacy in doing evil actions, Allah destroyed them by descending dreadful chastisement upon them. The Holy Qur’an says:
“And when Our Commandment came to pass, We saved Shu’aib and those who believed with him by a mercy from Us, and the awful cry seized those who did injustice and morning found them prostrate in their dwellings As though they had not dwelt there. A far removal for Madian, even as Thamud had been removed afar.” (11:94,95)
“But they denied him, so there came on them the retribution of the day of gloom. LO! it was the retribution of an awful day.” (16: 189)
Death and Burial:
After the perdition of that sinful nation. Prophet Shu’aib (peace be upon him) settled in Hadramaut where he passed away after some time. He was buried in Shaban near the Valley of Ibn ‘ALI. The people came from far and wide to visit his sacred grave.
The Story of Shu’aib
(Peace be upon him)
Allah the Almighty revealed the story of Shu’aib (PBUH): « And to (the people of) Madyan (Madian) (We sent) their brother Shu’aib. He said: “O my people! Worship Allah, you have no other Ilah (God) but Him. Verily, a clear proof (sign) from your Lord has come unto you; so give full measure and full weight and wrong not men in their things, and do not mischief on the earth after it has been set in order, that will be better for you, if you are believers. And sit not on every road, threatening, and hindering from the Path of Allah those who believe in Him, and seeking to make it crooked. And remember when you were but few, and He multiplied you. And see what was the end of the Mufsideen (mischief-makers, corrupts, liars). And if there is a party of you who believes in that which I have been sent and a party who do not believe, so be patient until Allah judges between us, and He is the Best of judges.”
The chiefs of those who were arrogant among his people said: “We shall certainly drive you out, O Shu’aib, and those who hare believed with you from our town, or else you (all) shall return to our religion.”
He said: “Even though we hate it! We should have invented a lie against Allah if we returned to your religion, after Allah has rescued us from it. And it is not for us to return to it unless Allah, our Lord, should will. Our Lord comprehends all things in His Knowledge. In Allah (Alone) we put our trust. Our Lord! Judge between us and our people in truth, for You are the Best of those Who give judgment.”
The chiefs of those who disbelieved among his people said (to their people): “If you follow Shu’aib, be sure then you will be the losers!”
So the earthquake seized them and they lay (dead), prostrate in their homes. Those who belied Shu’aib, became as if they had never dwelt there (in their homes). Those who belied Shu’aib, they were the losers.
Then he (Shu’aib) turned from them and said: “O my people! I have indeed conveyed my Lord’s Messages unto you and I have given you good advice. Then how can I sorrow for the disbelieving people’s (destruction).”»Surah 7: 85-93
The people of Madyan were Arabs who lived in the country of Ma’an, part of which today is greater Syria. They were a greedy people who did not believe that Allah existed and who led wicked lives. They gave short measure, praised their goods beyond their worth, and hid their defects. They lied to their customers, thereby cheating them.
Allah sent His Prophet Shu’aib (PBUH) armed with many miracles. Shu’aib preached to them, begging them to be mindful of Allah’s favors and warning them of the consequences of their evil ways, but they only mocked him. Shu’aib remained calm as he reminded them of his kinship to them and that what he was doing was not for his personal gain.
They seized the belongings of Shu’aib and his followers, then drove them out of the city. The Messenger turned to his Lord for help, and his plea was answered. Allah sent down on them scorching heat, and they suffered terribly. On seeing a cloud gathering in the sky, they thought it would bring cool, refreshing rain, and rushed outside in the hope of enjoying the rainfall. Instead, the cloud burst, hurling thunderbolts and fire. They heard a thunderous sound from above, which caused the earth under their feet to tremble. The evil-doers perished in this state of horror.
Allah the Exalted stated: «The dwellers of Al-‘Aiyka (near Midian or Madyan) belied the Messengers. When Shu’aib said to them: “Will you not fear Allah (and obey Him)? I am a trustworthy Messenger to you. So fear Allah, keep your duty to Him, and obey me. No reward do I ask of you for it (my Message of Islamic Monotheism), my reward is only from the Lord of the ‘Alamin (mankind, jinn and all that exists). Give full measure, and cause no loss (to others). And weigh with the true and straight balance. And defraud not people by reducing their things, nor do evil, making corruption and mischief in the land. And fear Him Who created you and the generations of the men of old.”
They said: “You are only one of those bewitched! You are but a human being like us and verily, we think that you are one of the liars! So cause a piece of the heaven to fall on us, if you are of the truthful!”
He said: “My Lord is the Best Knower of what you do.”
But they belied him, so the torment of the day of shadow (a gloomy cloud) seized them, indeed that was the torment of a Great Day. Verily, in this is a sign, yet most of them are not believers. And verily! Your Lord, He is indeed the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful.» Surah 26: 176-191