Word by Word
They said: "Thou art only one of those bewitched!
They said, 'You are indeed one of the bewitched, those who have succumbed so many times to sorcery that their minds have been overcome.
Salih and the People of Thamud
كَذَّبَتۡ ثَمُودُ الۡمُرۡسَلِينَ
إِذۡ قَالَ لَهُمۡ أَخُوهُمۡ صَالِحٌ أَلَا تَتَّقُونَ
إِنِّي لَكُمۡ رَسُولٌ أَمِينٌ
فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُونِ
وَمَا أَسۡأَلُكُمۡ عَلَيۡهِ مِنۡ أَجۡرٍ
إِنۡ أَجۡرِيَ إِلاَّ عَلَى رَبِّ الۡعَالَمِينَ
Thamud denied the Messengers. When their brother Salih said to them:Will you not have Taqwa! I am a trustworthy Messenger to you. So, have Taqwa of Allah, and obey me. No reward do I ask of you for it; my reward is only from the Lord of Al-`Alamin.
Here Allah tells us about His servant and Messenger Salih, whom He sent to his people Thamud. They were Arabs living in the city of Al-Hijr -- which is between Wadi Al-Qura and Greater Syria. Their location is well known.
In our explanation of Surah Al-A`raf, we mentioned the Hadiths which tell how the Messenger of Allah passed by their dwelling place when he wanted to launch a raid on Syria. He went as far as Tabuk, then he went back to Al-Madinah to prepare himself for the campaign. Thamud came after `Ad and before Ibrahim, peace be upon him. Their Prophet Salih called them to Allah, to worship Him alone with no partner or associate, and to obey whatever commands were conveyed to them, but they refused, rejecting him and opposing him. He told them that he did not seek any reward from them for his call to them, but that he would seek the reward for that with Allah. Then he reminded them of the blessings of Allah
A Reminder to Them of their Circumstances and the Blessings
أَتُتۡرَكُونَ فِي مَا هَاهُنَا امِنِينَ
فِي جَنَّاتٍ وَعُيُونٍ
وَزُرُوعٍ وَنَخۡلٍ طَلۡعُهَا هَضِيمٌ
Will you be left secure in that which you have here, In gardens and springs. And crops and date palms with soft clusters.
They enjoyed Salih preached to them, warning them that the punishment of Allah could overtake them and reminding them of the blessings that Allah had bestowed upon them, by giving them ample provision and making them safe from all kinds of dangers, giving them gardens and flowing springs, and bringing forth for them crops and fruits.
وَنَخۡلٍ طَلۡعُهَا هَضِيمٌ
and date palms with soft clusters.
Al-Awfi narrated from Ibn Abbas,
Ripe and rich.
Ali bin Abi Talhah narrated from Ibn Abbas that:
this meant growing luxuriantly.
Ismail bin Abi Khalid narrated from `Amr bin Abi `Amr -- who met the Companions -- from Ibn Abbas that this means,
When it becomes ripe and soft.
This was narrated by Ibn Abi Hatim, then he said:And something similar was narrated from Abu Salih.
وَتَنۡحِتُونَ مِنَ الۡجِبَالِ بُيُوتًا فَارِهِينَ
And you hew out in the mountains, houses with great skill.
Ibn Abbas and others said,
With great skill.
According to another report from him:
They were greedy and extravagant.
This was the view of Mujahid and another group.
There is no contradiction between the two views, because they built the houses which they carved in the mountains as a form of extravagant play, with no need for them as dwelling places. They were highly skilled in the arts of masonry and stone-carving, as is well known to anyone who has seen their structures.
So, Salih said to them:
فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُونِ
So, have Taqwa of Allah, and obey me.
Pay attention to that which could benefit you in this world and the Hereafter; worshipping your Lord Who created you, who granted you provisions so that you could worship Him alone and glorify Him morning and evening.
وَلَا تُطِيعُوا أَمۡرَ الۡمُسۡرِفِينَ
الَّذِينَ يُفۡسِدُونَ فِي الاَۡرۡضِ وَلَا يُصۡلِحُونَ
And follow not the command of the extravagant, who make mischief in the land, and reform not.
meaning, their chiefs and leaders, who called them to Shirk, disbelief and opposition to the truth
The Response of Thamud, Their Demand for a Sign, and Their Punishment
Allah tells us how Thamud responded to their Prophet Salih, upon him be peace, when he called them to worship their Lord, may He be glorified.
قَالُوا إِنَّمَا أَنتَ مِنَ الۡمُسَحَّرِينَ
They said:You are only of those bewitched!
They meant he was one affected by witchcraft.
Then they said
مَا أَنتَ إِلاَّ بَشَرٌ مِّثۡلُنَا
You are but a human being like us.
meaning, `how can you receive Revelation when we do not!'
This is like the Ayah where they are described as saying:
أَءُلۡقِىَ الذِّكۡرُ عَلَيۡهِ مِن بَيۡنِنَا بَلۡ هُوَ كَذَّابٌ أَشِرٌ
سَيَعۡلَمُونَ غَداً مَّنِ الۡكَذَّابُ الاٌّشِرُ
Is it that the Reminder is sent to him alone from among us! Nay, he is an insolent liar!
Tomorrow they will come to know who is the liar, the insolent one! (54:26-27)
فَأۡتِ بِأيَةٍ إِن كُنتَ مِنَ الصَّادِقِينَ
Then bring us a sign if you are of the truthful.
Then they asked him for a sign to prove that what he brought to them from their Lord was the truth. A crowd of them gathered and demanded that he immediately bring forth from the rock a she-camel that was ten months pregnant, and they pointed to a certain rock in their midst.
Allah's Prophet Salih made them promise that if he responded to their request, they would believe in him and follow him. So they agreed to that.
The Prophet of Allah Salih, peace be upon him, stood and prayed, then he prayed to Allah to grant them their request. Then the rock to which they had pointed split open, revealing a she-camel that was ten months pregnant, exactly as they had requested.
So some of them believed, but most of them disbelieved.
قَالَ هَذِهِ نَاقَةٌ لَّهَا شِرۡبٌ وَلَكُمۡ شِرۡبُ يَوۡمٍ مَّعۡلُومٍ
He said:Here is a she-camel:it has a right to drink (water), and you have a right to drink (water) (each) on a day, known.
meaning, `she will drink from your water one day, and on the next day you will drink from it.'
وَلَا تَمَسُّوهَا بِسُوءٍ فَيَأۡخُذَكُمۡ عَذَابُ يَوۡمٍ عَظِيمٍ
And touch her not with harm, lest the torment of a Great Day should seize you.
He warned them of the punishment of Allah if they should do her any harm.
The she-camel stayed among them for a while, drinking the water, eating leaves and grazing, and they benefited from her milk which they took in sufficient quantities for every one to drink his fill. After this had gone on for a long time, and the time for their destruction drew near, they conspired to kill her:
فَعَقَرُوهَا فَأَصۡبَحُوا نَادِمِينَ
But they killed her, and then they became regretful. So, the torment overtook them.
Their land was shaken by a strong earthquake, and there came to them an overwhelming Sayhah (shout) which took their hearts from their places. They were overtaken by events which they were not expecting, so they were left (dead), lying prostrate in their homes.
إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَايَةً وَمَا كَانَ أَكۡثَرُهُم مُّوۡمِنِينَ
وَإِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَهُوَ الۡعَزِيزُ الرَّحِيمُ
Verily, in this is indeed a sign, yet most of them are not believers. And verily your Lord, He is indeed the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful.
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