Translated by: Jasim al-Rasheed
When you carefully consider the Arab Peninsula, you will find a wide desert area in the east. It is the area of al-Rub' al-Khali. This area is void of all marks of life. There is neither plants nor water.
However, was this area a desert thousands of years ago?
The answer is no. There were green fertile areas in this desert land. The archeologists have found the ruins of a city buried under the sand.
The strong tribes of 'Ad lived in this area in the pre-historic ages. They belonged to the ancient Arabs. History has mentioned nothing about them. Only the Holy Koran has mentioned them.
The tribes of 'Ad lived in that green grassy area. It rained during the different seasons. So the earth became fertile. Brooklets and small streams were full of water, and fields were pretty.
So their land was full of date-palms, grapevines, and fields. Moreover, their gardens were spacious.
The people of that time took special care in building houses. They were specialists in building palaces, castles, and forts.
They were strong and self-conceited. The blessings made them ungrateful. They did not listen to the voice of reason.
They were pagans, who worshipped idols. They made the idols with their own hands, and then they worshipped them.
They built their temples on hills and put idols in them. They said: "This is the god of fertility, this is the god of sea, this is the god of land, and that is the god of war."
For this reason, they turned to those idols when they faced a certain misfortune.
The land of al-Ahqaf was green. It was full of pastures. Their cattle were many. So they led a life of luxury and haughtiness.
They thought that their gods had brought about all those blessings. So they clung strongly to their gods.
They oppressed the innocent and severely punished those who did not follow their beliefs and way of life.
Good people were afraid of them. They were a weak minority. The rich were strong and tall, and had big mussels. Their hearts were as hard as stone. Prophet Hud lived in that area during that period of time.
Prophet Hud was righteous. He had a good heart and loved good. Allah, the Glorified, chose him as a prophet and sent him as a messenger to his people.
Prophet Hud invited his people to worship Allah, the One and Only. He prevented them from worshipping idols and gods. He told them that idols and gods were useless stones.
Prophet Hud was brave. He was not afraid of the pagans. The pagan's had strong bodies. However, prophet Hud was stronger than them in will and spirit, for he supported Allah and Allah supported him. Allah has power over all things.
The good people believed in the message of prophet Hud, but they were few in number.
The strong and the luxurious mocked prophet Hud. They mocked at his message and said that Hud was foolish and mad. They hurt and threatened him.
Prophet Hud went on inviting his people to believe in Allah. He always preached to them. He reminded them of Allah's blessings and favors, but all his efforts were in vain.
They thought that the gods bestowed blessing upon them, caused rain to come down, caused grass to grow, and increased their cattle:
So they said: "Hud is mad. The gods have cursed him." They also wanted to make Hud afraid of the final result, thus they said to him: "If you go on inviting us to believe in your Lord, the gods will punish you."
Prophet Hud challenged the tyrants of 'Ad. He also challenged their gods.
He went on carrying out his message, so the tyrants were unable to resist him.
The people of 'Ad were two parties. One party believed in Allah and the Day of Judgment. It was few in number. The other party disbelieved in Hud's message. It adopted aggression, corruption, and misguidance. Prophet Hud had no hope in reforming them, for they insisted on living a life of misguidance.
The DroughtThe season of rain came but it did not rain. Clouds passed through the sky of al-Ahqaf and went far away. They gathered, and then they scattered. The people of 'Ad lived on pastures, agriculture, and the fruit of their gardens.
That year passed, but it did not rain
Their products decreased. Some of their cattle died because of hunger Some trees died because of the lack of rain.
The people of 'Ad went to their gods. They worshipped them and sacrificed rams for them, but all their efforts were in vain.
The next season came. Clouds gathered. The people of 'Ad rejoiced at that. The clouds were black. Some of them said: "Those clouds are full of rain." Suddenly, the clouds scattered.
They doubled the number of sacrifices. However, clouds appeared, and then they disappeared. The wind blew and carried sand for them
Faith Meant FertilityProphet Hud came and preached to his people. He said to them: "People, I love you. I want to do good for you." Then he said to them: "O People, ask forgiveness of your Lord, then turn to him in repentance. He will send on you clouds pouring down abundance of rain and add strength to your strength. "
The people of 'Ad did not listen to the preaching of Allah's Apostle. They turned away from him and threatened him. Moreover, they went to their gods and sacrificed rams for them.
The season of rain ended. Not a drop of rain fell down. Their land was dry.
Their green land became a desert. Most of their cattle and trees died.
A third year came. It was a Critical year. Their water was little. They kept it for the remaining animals. They did not water their fields.
They went to their temples every day and worshipped and supplicated to their idols. Meanwhile prophet Hud advised his people and invited them to believe in Allah, the Great and Almighty. He wanted them to understand that Allah had power over all things, and that the idols were just stones.
Iram, The Wonderful CityIn that period of time, the people of 'Ad built the greatest city in the world. It was the city of Iram: "The like of which was not created in the (other) cities."
It was full of palaces and gardens. Shaddad - a strong, pagan man ordered the city to be built. He wanted it to be a garden to live in.
He thought that he would never die. He was very strong, so he thought that he would be immoral.
The Storm Of DestructionThe third season of rainfall came. However, there was nothing except dryness. The wind below and moved waves of sands to the valleys, which were once green.
Famine struck the land of al-Ahqaf.
Prophet Hud went on inviting his people to believe in Allah. He wanted them to refrain from worshipping idols.
Prophet Hud said to his people: "Allah, the Glorified, is able to create rain and enliven the dry land. Allah, the Most High, is able to create plants in the valleys and plains. Idols are useless stones."
In spite of this, the tribes of 'Ad did not believe in the message of Hud. They obeyed the tyrants.
No one believed in Hud except some good people. In the third season, the people of al-Ahqaf went outside. They looked at the sky waiting for rain.
The sky was clear and blue. There was no cloud in it. The pagans slaughtered more rams for their gods. They thought that the god of fertility would save them from drought and dryness, still, there was no rain.
Prophet Hud came to his people. He wanted to give them the last piece of advice. He said to them: "Turn to Allah in repentance. Only Allah can send clouds and create plants."
The people of 'Ad scolded our prophet Hud. They said to him: "Go away! You're mad! You're a liar! If you're truthful, let your Lord punish us! We won't leave our gods. Our gods bestow blessings upon us, send clouds, create plants, and increase our cattle! Our gods never forget that!"
Prophet Hud was sad for his people. He wanted them to believe in Allah. He wanted them to lead a peaceful life.
Hours passed. Fearful, black clouds appeared in the horizon. They moved gradually. Then they covered the whole sky of al-Ahqaf.
The people of 'Ad rejoiced at the clouds. They said: "Our gods have accepted our prayer. They've sent us clouds full of rain, thus valleys and gardens will be full of grass."
When prophet Hud saw the signs of punishment, he said: "Nay! It is what you sought to hasten on, a blast of wind in which there is a painful punishment. "
Prophet Hud and the believers sought protection in the mountain. The punishment was close at hand. The pagans were gazing at the black clouds waiting for rain. However, there was no rain.
A cold wind blew. Then a destructive storm started. Lightning flashed in the sky. Thunder boomed in the sky. Thunderbolts stroke the pagans.
The pagans were shaking with fear, so they went running to their houses. They had no hope in the clouds.
They did not listen to the words of prophet Hud. They only looked at their idols. They thought that their idols would do good for them.
The storm of heavenly wrath began. The wind was strong, cold, and dry.
The wind did not carry clouds nor did it carry rain, rather it carried cold and thick sand.
The fearful hours passed. Yet the storm went on blowing. The waves of sands were moving to the valley.
The people of 'Ad were proud of their strength. They thought that they would overcome the drought, dryness, and the storm.
They thought that the storm would abate at night or in the morning of the next day.
The destructive wind began blowing on Wednesday. It went on blowing for seven nights and eight days.
The wind abated on Wednesday. It had filled the fertile valley with sand.
The wind buried the wonderful city of Iram, under the sands. It had destroyed its houses and their strong marble pillars. It had also knocked down the people who disbelieved in the message of prophet Hud (A.S.). Those people fell on the sand. They were tall, so they looked like dry date-palms.
The idols fell on their faces and broke into pieces. The pagan temples became ruins.
The curse befell them. They were tyrannical persons whose hearts were void of mercy. Their life was full of play. They built their palaces for playing.
They made no use of their palaces. They disbelieved in Allah and persecuted the believers.
For this reason, Allah destroyed the people of 'Ad. He saved prophet Hud and the believers from them. He wanted people to return to their nature and lead a life full of good, fertility, and growth.
In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.
And to Ad (We sent) their brother Hud. He said: O my people! serve Allah, you have no god other than He; you are nothing but forgers (of lies).
O my people! I do not ask of you any reward for it; my reward is only with Him Who created me; do you not then understand?
And, O my people! ask forgiveness of your Lord, then turn to Him; He will send on you clouds pouring down abundance of rain and add strength to your strength, and do not turn back guilty.
They said: O Hud! you have not brought to us any clear argument and we are not going to desert our gods for your word, and we are not believers in you:
We cannot say aught but that some of our gods have smitten you with evil. He said: Surely I call Allah to witness, and do you bear witness too, that I am clear of what you associate (with Allah).
Besides Him, therefore scheme against me all together; then give me no respite:
Surely I rely on Allah, my Lord and your Lord; there is no living creature but He holds it by its forelock; surely my Lord is on the right path. But if you turn back, then indeed I have delivered to you the message with which I have been sent to you, and my Lord will bring another people in your place, and you cannot do Him any harm; surely my Lord is the Preserver of all things.
And when Our decree came to pass, We delivered Hud and those who believed with him with mercy from Us, and We delivered them from a hard chastisement.
And this was Ad; they denied the communications of their Lord, and disobeyed His messengers and followed the bidding of every insolent opposer (of truth).
And they were overtaken by curse in this world and on the resurrection day; now surely Ad disbelieved in their Lord; now surely, away with Ad, the people of Hud.
Koran, 11, 50-60.