Lessons From the Past:
Noah, Hud, Saleh, Lot, Shu’aib
Cont’d from page 2
“This is news from the past communities that we narrate to you. Some are still standing, and some have vanished. We never wronged them; they wronged their own souls… Such was the retribution enforced by your Lord when the communities transgressed. Indeed, His retribution is painful, devastating. This should be a lesson for those who fear retribution of the Hereafter…”
“We narrate to you the history of those communities: their messengers went to them with clear proofs, but they were not to believe in what they had rejected before. God thus seals the hearts of the disbelievers.” (7:101)
“This should be a lesson, but most people are not believers.”
In Suras (Chapters) 7, 11, and 26, there are verses about a progression of messengers sent to evil communities. They are only a minority of the total messengers sent by God, but these five have very specific tales to tell. This is a chronology and abbreviated history for us to learn from. “We have set it up as a lesson. Does any of you wish to learn?” (54:15)
Although they are sometimes given in different order in other places in the Quran, the chronology in suras 7, 11 and 26 is correct. Verse 11:89 tells us that Noah, Hud, Saleh, and Lot all preceded Shu’aib, with Lot just before him. Verse 7:69 says that the people of Hud were inheritors after the people of Noah, and 7:74 says that Saleh followed Hud.
Noah’s community was full of idol worship (7:59 and 71:23) and corruption (71:21-2). He preached to them day and night, publicly and privately. They rejected him because “the first people to follow you are the worst among us” (7:27 and 26:111). His people suspected him of seeking personal gain and said God could have sent angels instead (23:24)
Noah then built the ark, which, as a sign of messengership, his people ridiculed and rejected (11:37, 23:27, 29:15, 54:13-5). The flood then came, and Noah and a few believers were saved (11:40, 23:27, 54:12, 71:25). Not even all of Noah’s family was saved with him. His son clearly disbelieved and was among those who were drowned (11:43). And Noah’s wife is given as an example of a disbeliever married to a righteous servant. (66:10).
‘Ad then inherited from Noah, and God multiplied their numbers and blessed them (7:69, 26:133). They were allowed to build beautiful buildings (26:128-9, 89:6-8). But this became a problem for them, making them vain and aggressive (26:128-30), and they were also idolatrous (7:70, 11:50-4, 46:22). Hud was the messenger God sent,
but he was accused of behaving foolishly (7:66-7), and again the people said God could have sent angels (41:14).
The retribution for ‘Ad was a storm with disastrous winds (41:16, 46:24-5, 51:41-2). It lasted seven nights and eight days and “tossed the people around as if they were decayed palm tree trunks” (54:20, 69:6-7). Yet it left the homes standing (46:25). Thamoud was the community which followed ‘Ad. They too had beautiful mansions, carving homes from the mountains (7:74, 26:149, 89:9). Like ‘Ad, they were an aggressive people (85:7-8, 89:9-11), and they practiced idolatry (11:61-2). Their messenger was Saleh, who was a popular member of the society until he began telling them to worship God alone. His people asked for a miracle (26:154), and God sent the special camel (7:73, 11:64, 17:59, 26:155, 54:27, 91:13).
When the people rejected Saleh and slaughtered the camel, God gave Saleh knowledge of the future – that Thamoud had only three more days to live (11:65). A devastating earthquake, “one blow,” (54:31) left them “dead in their homes” (7:78), and utterly ruined their homes (27:52).
Lot was the next messenger to a transgressing community. The people of his community practiced homosexuality, which Lot described as “such as abomination” (7:80). In addition, they committed highway robbery and allowed all kinds of vice (29:29). Lot stood up to his people repeatedly, and they rejected him because of his purity and steadfastness (7:82, 11:78, 27:56).
Cont'd on page 4