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To Madyan - The Story of Our Prophet Shu'ayb

By: Kamal al-Syyed
Translated by: Jasim al-Rasheed


An Arab tribe led a happy life in the village of Madyan[1], which had green valleys. There was a small village near Madyan. The village was famous for its gardens, so it was called the village of al-Ayka. Life bloomed in that area over three thousands years ago.

The climate of the two villages was moderate. It rained heavily there. So agriculture and pastures flourished. Thus, the people of the two villages led a happy life.

The people of Madyan village were few in number. Then they increased owing to the good life in that village. Thus, Madyan village had many markets and was full of activity.

There was a righteous man called Shu'ayb. Shu'ayb loved his village and his tribe. He loved people in general.

For this reason he took care of their affairs in Madyan, and the village of al-Ayka.

However, why did Shu'ayb look sad? Why did he feel pain for his people?

The people of Madyan were unbelievers. They worshipped idols. They worshipped useless stones. They imagined that idols would give them livelihood and bless their village.

For this reason our prophet Shu'ayb was sad. His people did not look at the sky full of stars. They did not look at the earth full of mountains. They did not think of the creation of trees.

If they had thought of those idols, they would have understood that the idols were insignificant gods.

If they had considered carefully people, trees, and the stars, they would have understood that there was no god except Allah, the Glorified.

Our prophet Shu'ayb asked his people to serve Allah and to refrain from worshipping idols.

Cheating in the Markets

Allah, the Glorified, gave the people of Madyan every thing. The people of Madyan led a happy life. Every thing was available in their markets. However, they practiced cheating in buying and selling. They decreased weight. They cheated both seller and buyer. When they bought something, they decreased its weight. When they sold something, they increased its weight.

They thought that they were free from this deed.

At that time Allah, the Glorified, chose the righteous person Shu'ayb as a prophet. He ordered him to propagate His message.

Allah's Message

Our prophet Shu'ayb was an eloquent orator. His proofs were strong, for he spoke in the name of truth and justice. He spoke in the language of pure nature.

Our prophet Shu'ayb summoned his people to serve Allah, the One and Only and to refrain from worshipping idols. Then he calmly talked about corrupt markets and cheating in buying and selling.

Our prophet Shu'ayb said to his people: "With these acts of yours you'll spread corruption. Social life depends on exchanging commodities. You must exchange your commodities with each other.

"Exchanging commodities in the market requires public security. This public security will keep the weight, quality, and quantity of all commodities.

"Be ware of cheating both buyer and seller. Be careful not to decrease the weight of the commodities you sell. Don't take good commodities for bad ones. If you don't refrain from these deeds, Allah, the Glorified, will destroy your houses."

Prophet Shu'ayb's words were very sweet. The Prophet used such words because he wanted the people of Madyan to lead a better life. He wanted them to live in a village full of good, livelihood, peace, and faith.

Our Prophet Shu'ayb knew what had afflicted the people of Noah, Salih, and Hud. He knew that Allah, the Glorified, had destroyed Noah's people with the flood, Thamud's tribe with storms, Sadum and 'Amurd (two tribes at the Dead Sea) with meteors.

Shu'ayb said to his people: "Allah destroyed Lot's people because they disobeyed their Prophet."

Struggle

The people of Madyan divided into two parties. One party believed in Shu'ayb and Allah's message. The members of this party were poor.

The other party disbelieved in Shu'ayb and Allah's message. The rich and the tyrants of Madyan joined this party.

The members of this party annoyed Shu'ayb and the believers. They threatened Shu'ayb, saying: "Shu'ayb, we don't understand your words. You're a weak person. Were it not for the members of your tribe, we would kill or dismiss you from Madyan."

Shu'ayb (A. S.) said to them: "Why do you fear the members of my tribe and not fear Allah? I want to spread good manners in this village. I don't want any reward for that.

I want to warn you against Allah's wrath! If you go on practicing corruption, cheating, and worshipping idols, Allah will surely punish you I"

The tyrants said: "We're free to do anything! We're free to spend our money!"

One of the unbelievers laughed and said: "Do your prayers order us to abandon our gods? Do they prevent us from spending our money freely?"

Our Prophet Shu'ayb answered: "Freedom doesn't mean that you should oppress each other.

"Spend your money freely. However, don't oppress others. Don't cheat them. Buy and sell with the scales fairly.

"You live in one village. You must help each other. You must respect the freedom of others.

"My people, ask your Lord for forgiveness. Turn to him in repentance. Surely, my Lord is Most Gracious, Most Merciful. Allah want you to follow the way of good. For this reason He's sent me to you.

One of the unbelievers said: "Shu'ayb, you're a bewitched person! We never understand your words! Were it not for a person of your relatives, we'd kill you! We're able to do that at any time!"

The people of Shu'ayb were stubborn. They did not listen to his words. So Shu'ayb's warned them against Allah's wrath, saying: "My people, act according to your ability. I will also act according to my ability. You will know the one to whom the punishment will come and disgrace him."

One of the unbelievers said to him: "We accuse you of lying. If you're truthful, then let your Lord punish us."

Our Prophet Shu'ayb said: "You'll know who the liar is!"

Thus he left them and went to a neighboring village called al-Ayka.

The People of al-Ayka

Our Prophet Shu'ayb was not from the people of al-Ayka; he was from the people of Madyan. When Shu'ayb (A. S.) arrived at al-Ayka village, he found the people there leading a life similar to that of the people of Madyan.

Shu'ayb found gardens full of fruit trees. The trees had twisted around each other. Springs gushed from the core of the dust and rocks. They watered the fields. However, the people of al-Ayka also worshipped idols. They practiced cheating when they bought and sold.

For this reason our Prophet Shu'ayb said to them: "Don't you fear Allah's wrath? I'm afraid that Allah will punish you. Allah dislikes corruption and the wicked. So don't make corruption in the land."

The people of al Ayka refused to believe in Shu'ayb's message. They accused him of lying and magic.

They said to him: "If you're truthful, then let your Lord punish us."

Shu'ayb politely said to them: "Surely Allah knows your deeds. I want to propagate my Lord's message. I want to spread good manners as far as possible."

One of the unbelievers said: "You're a false magician. There's no difference between you and us. You're a person like us.

So Shu'ayb came back to the village of Madyan. As for the people of al Ayka, they led a life void of faith, justice, and righteousness.

In the village of Madyan, the struggle between the believers and the unbelievers started. The unbelievers refused to believe in Allah's message. Besides they threatened and hurt the believers to force them to worship idols.

Shu'ayb advised his people, saying: "Don't hinder the way of faith, for it's the lighted way in the dark. Allah, the Glorified, won't forgive this fault of yours."

One day the unbelievers came to Shu'ayb and said to him: "We'll dismiss you and your followers."

One of the believers explained: "We've done nothing worthy of dismissal!"

One of the unbelievers said: "We'll force you to follow our religion."

The Prophet Sbu'ayb (A. S.) said: "We hate your religion. The believers won't follow your religion, for Allah's enlightened their hearts with faith."

Then Shu'ayb raised his hands towards the sky and humbly said: "Our Lord, decide between us and our people with truth. You are the best of deciders."

The End

Our Prophet Shu'ayb left his people. However, the unbelievers did not let Shu'ayb and the believers live peacefully. They spared no effort to force Shu'ayb and his followers to follow their religion. They always hurt them.

When a person wanted to go to Shu'ayb to listen to his words, the unbelievers hindered and threatened that person.

Our Prophet Shu'ayb reminded his people final results of the past nations. He said to them: "If you hurt me and wage war against me, Allah will punish you as He punished the past nations, who hurt the Prophets and waged war against believers."

The people of Shu'ayb had seen the ruins of Sadum and 'Amura; nevertheless they did not take a lesson from them.

The promised day came. The people prostrated themselves to their idols, and then they went to their work early in the morning.

Their markets were full of noise; their eyes flashed with cheating.

They thought about ways to cheat both the buyer and the seller to gain much more money. Such passed the day. The sun set; it got dark.

The hours of that night passed slowly.

Suddenly, an earthquake occurred. Those moments were terrible. Madyan turned to ruins.

Allah saved only the believers from that earthquake.

Allah also punished the village of al Ayka.

Our Prophet Shu'ayb saw the ruins of the village, so he said: "My people, surely I delivered to you the messages of my Lord and I gave you good advice; how shall I then be sorry for an unbelieving people?"[2]

Our Prophet Shu'ayb spent the rest of his life at Madyan grazing his cattle.

When he became an old man, his two daughters grazed the cattle. They suffered very much from this work. When they wanted to water the cattle, they were ashamed to water near the shepherds.

One day a young man came from Egypt. The young man was thirty years old. His name was Musa b. 'Umran, who escaped from the oppression of the Pharaohs and came to the village of Madyan. What had happened?

We will know that in "The Crossing", so read on.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
And to Madyan (We sent) their brother Shu'ayb. He said: O my people, serve Allah, you have no god other than him; clear proof indeed has come to you from your Lord, therefore give full measure and weight and do not diminish to men their things, and do not make mischief in the land after its reform; this is better for you if you are believers* And do not lie in wait in every path threatening and turning away from Allah's way him who believes in Him, seeking to make it crooked and remember when you were few, then He multiplied you, and consider what was the end of the rnischief-makers* And if there is a party of you who believe in that with which I have been sent, and another party who do not believe, then wait patiently until Allah judges between us, and He is the best of judges* The chiefs, who were proud from among his people, said: We will most surely turn you out, O Shu'ayb, and (also) those who believe with you from our village, or you shall come back to our faith. He said: What! though we dislike (it)? Indeed we shall have forged a lie against Allah if we go back to your religion after Allah has delivered us from you, and it befits us not that we should go back to it except if things in his knowledge; in Allah do we trust: Our Lord, decide between us and our people, and You are the best of deciders* And the chiefs of those who disbelieved from among his people said: If you follow Shu'ayb, you shall then most surely be losers* Then the earthquake overtook them, so they became motionless bodies in their abode* Those who called Shu'ayb a liar were as though they had never dwelt therein; those who called Shu'ayb a liar, they were the losers* So he turned away from them and said: O my people, certainly I delivered to you the messages of my Lord and I gave you good advice; how shall I then be sorry for an unbelieving people?[3]


[1] Tbe city of Ma'an in Jordan.
[2] Koran, 7, 93.
[3] Koran, 7, 85-93