By Sikandar Azam
A close study of earlier nations reveals that God sent to them His Prophets to convey the Divine Message to them, gave them time enough to reflect upon the Message so that they could mend their ways, and rewarded or punished them accordingly. Those who realised the importance of the Message and accepted it were rewarded with Divine pleasure. But those who unfortunately failed to reflect upon the Message and ultimately rejected it were punished. That is, we find the same message, the same response from the nations and the same end. The Qur’ān presents some of these historical accounts for us to learn a lesson or two therefrom.
In the 7th Chapter, Al-A‘rāf, the Qur’ān (7:65) presents, for example, the story of the people of ‘Ād, to whom Prophet Hūd was sent. At the very outset Prophet Hūd addressed his people and conveyed the Divine Message in very plain words: “And to ‘Ād (We sent) their brother Hūd. He said: ‘My people, worship God alone, you have no deity other than Him. Will you not, then, be God-fearing.’” This is the same Message that Prophet Noah had conveyed to their ancestors.
The people of ‘Ād were descendants of Prophet Noah and those who survived with him in the ark. There is no doubt that they worshipped God alone, believing that He is the Lord of all the worlds. This is why they were saved along with Prophet Noah. With the passage of time, they settled down in different parts of the world. But, as Satan’s machinations would have it, they forgot the Divine Message and started following their whims and inconsistencies, deeply immersed in wealth and enjoyment and social stature. Like the people of Prophet Noah, a majority of ‘Ād or the people of Prophet Hūd also rejected the warnings, and refused to reflect on what had happened to those who went along before them. The Qur’ān shakes their conscience: “Will you not, then, be God-fearing?”
This brief sentence brings into light their defiant and arrogant attitude of leading a reckless and careless life shorn of any Divine Guidance. The leaders of ‘Ād argued with their Prophet in a defiant manner and ultimately rejected the Message, inviting the Divine punishment. The Qur’ān (7:72) says: “So, by Our grace, We saved him (Prophet Hūd) together with all those who stood by him, and We wiped out the last remnant of those who denied Our revelations and would not believe.” The exegesists of the Qur’ān say that it was total destruction from which no one was saved. Let’s pray to God to help us reflect upon His Message, save us from His chastisement and bless us with ultimate success both here on earth and in the Hereafter.