By Sikandar Azam
Man has been making tireless strivings for development and advancement since dawn the ages. In our post-modern era, the Lord Almighty has blessed him with tremendous successes in the various fields of science and technology. These successes are the God-given bounties. But the irony is that the more he is advancing scientifically and technologically, the more he is behaving like a beast. He has lost the mental peace and social harmony that he had been enjoying earlier. In fact, he has shed the shred of humanity.
The question is why. Study the society around you along with the history of past nations and you will find that the cause of this irony is the lopsided development of science and technology.
A study of the history of past nations is necessary, for it holds a mirror to us, telling us how those nations were blessed with wonderous bounties, intellect and talents to run the affairs of the land and how those among them who stood ungrateful to God were punished. The Qur’ān records some such very important happenings to show us the consequences of being ungrateful to God.
The Qur’ān (7:69) says: “…And do call to mind when He made you successors after the people of Noah and amply increased you in stature. Remember then the wondrous bounties of Allah, that you may prosper.” The ayah aims at impressing upon man to gratefully recognise the favours, bounties and rewards God has lavished upon him, bearing in mind that God also has the Power to take them away as and when He likes.
Then the ayah 7:74 again knocks at our conscience: “And call to mind when He made you successors after ‘Ad and gave you power in the earth so that you build for yourselves palaces in its plains and carve out houses on the mountains.”
The divine commandment to ‘call to mind’ is God’s invitation to man to think and reflect on past happenings. If we do so, we will find that after ‘Ad, another people named Thamud were blessed with the power in the earth. The story of Thamud, the followers of Prophet Salih, speaks of their tremendous skills in civil engineering and architecture. But instead of being grateful to God, they forgot the remembrance of God and started bragging of their tremendous skills and successes. The ayah 7:74 further tries to awaken them: “Remember, then, the wondrous bounties of Allah and do not go about creating mischief in the land.” The ayah in fact persuades them to draw a lesson from the tragic end of ‘Ad. For just as God destroyed that wicked people and established them (Thamud) in positions of power and influence previously occupied by the people of ‘Ad, He can also destroy them and replace them by others if they should become wicked and mischievous. But Thamud remained arrogant and conceited and rejected the Truth and eventually met the fate of ‘Ad.
Thus the stories of ‘Ad and Thamud serve as warning for us to take lesson therefrom and save our life from divine wrath.