The Thamud (also) rejected (their)
Warners. For they said: "What! a man! a Solitary
one from among ourselves! shall we follow such a one?
Truly should we then be straying in mind, and mad!"
"Is it that the Message is sent to him, of all
people amongst us? Nay, he is a liar, an insolent
one!" Ah! they will know on the morrow, which
is the liar, the insolent one! (Surat al-Qamar:, 23-26)
As stated in the Qur'an, Thamud
rejected the warnings of Allah just as 'Ad did and perished
in consequence. Today, as a result of archaeological and
historical studies, many previously unknown things have
been brought into daylight, such as the location where Thamud
lived, the houses they made and their life-styles. The Thamud
mentioned in the Qur'an, are a historic fact confirmed by
many archaeological finds today.
Before looking at these archaeological finds related to
Thamud, it is useful to examine the story in the Qur'an
and to look over the struggle of these people with their
prophet. As the Qur'an is a book addressing all times, Thamud's
denial of the warnings coming to them is an incident which
is itself a warning to people of all ages.
The Prophet Salih's conveyance of the message
In the Qur'an, it is mentioned that Salih was sent to Thamud
to warn them. Salih was a recognised person within Thamud
society. His people, who did not expect him to proclaim
the religion of truth, were surprised by his calling on
them to abandon their deviation. Their first reaction was
to slander and condemn him;
A small part of the community complied with Salih's call,
but most of them did not accept what he told. The leaders
of the community in particular denied Salih and took an antagonistic
stand towards him. They tried to impede those who believed
Salih and tried to oppress them. They were enraged at Salih,
because he called them to worship Allah. This rage was not
specific only to Thamud; Thamud were repeating the mistake
made by the people of Nuh and by Ad' who had lived before
them. This is why the Qur'an refers to these three communities
To the Thamud People (We sent) Salih, one of their
own brethren. He said: "O my people! Worship Allah:
ye have no other god but Him. It is He Who hath produced
you from the earth and settled you therein: then ask forgiveness
of Him, and turn to Him (in repentance): for my Lord is
(always) near, ready to answer." They said: "O
Salih! thou hast been of us! a centre of our hopes hitherto!
dost thou (now) forbid us the worship of what our fathers
worshipped? But we are really in suspicious (disquieting)
doubt as to that to which thou invitest us." (Surah
Despite the prophet Salih's warnings, the people still went
on overcome by doubts. But still, there was a group who believed
in the prophethood of Salih - and those were the ones who
were saved along with Salih when the great catastrophe came.
The leaders of the community tried to oppress the group believing
Has not the story reached you, (O people!), of those
who (went) before you? - of the people of Prophet Nuh,
and 'Ad, and Thamud? - And of those who (came) after them?
None knows them but Allah. To them came messengers with
Clear (Signs); but they put their hands up to their mouths,
and said: "We do deny (the mission) on which ye have
been sent, and we are really in suspicious (disquieting)
doubt as to that to which ye invite us." (Surah Ibrahim:
Thamud still continued in doubt regarding Allah and the prophethood
of Salih. Moreover, a certain group openly denied Salih. A
group among those who rejected faith - supposedly in the name
of Allah - made plans to kill Salih.
The leaders of the arrogant party among his people
said to those who were reckoned powerless - those among
them who believed: "know ye indeed that Salih is
a messenger from his Lord?" They said: "We do
indeed believe in the revelation which hath been sent
through him." The Arrogant party said: "For
our part, we reject what ye believe in." (Surat al-Araf:
To see whether his people would follow Allah's commands, Salih
showed them a female camel as a trial. To see whether they
would obey him or not, he told his people to share their water
with this female camel and not to harm her. His people reacted
by killing the camel. In Surat ash-Shuara, the events are
described as follows;
They said: "Ill omen do we augur from thee and
those that are with thee". He said: "Your ill
omen is with Allah; yea, ye are a people under trial."
There were in the city nine men of a family, who made
mischief in the land, and would not reform. They said:
"Swear a mutual oath by Allah that we shall make
a secret night attack on him and his people, and that
we shall then say to his heir (when he seeks vengeance):
'We were not present at the slaughter of his people, and
we are positively telling the truth.'" They plotted
and planned, but We too planned, even while they perceived
it not. (Surat an-Naml: 47-50)
The prophet Salih's struggle with his people is told as follows
in Surat al-Qamar:
The Thamud (people) rejected the messengers. Behold,
their brother Salih said to them: "Will you not fear
(Allah)? I am to you a messenger worthy of all trust.
So fear Allah, and obey me. No reward do I ask
of you for it: my reward is only from the Lord of the
Worlds. Will ye be left secure, in (the enjoyment of)
all that ye have here? Gardens and Springs, And corn-fields
and date-palms with spathes near breaking (with the weight
of fruit)? And ye carve houses out of (rocky) mountains
with great skill. But fear Allah and obey me; And
follow not the bidding of those who are extravagant, Who
make mischief in the land, and mend not (their ways)."
They said: "Thou art only one of those bewitched!
Thou art no more than a mortal like us: then bring us
a Sign, if thou tellest the truth!" He said: "Here
is a she-camel: she has a right of watering, and ye have
a right of watering, (severally) on a day appointed. Touch
her not with harm, lest the Penalty of a Great Day seize
you." But they ham-strung her: then did they become
full of regrets. (Surat ash-Shuara: 141-157)
The fact that they were not punished at that very moment,
increased the insolence of these people more. They attacked
Salih, criticised him and accused him of being a liar .
The Thamud (also) rejected (their) Warners. For they
said: "What! a man! a Solitary one from among ourselves!
shall we follow such a one? Truly should we then be straying
in mind, and mad! Is it that the Message is sent to him,
of all people amongst us? Nay, he is a liar, an insolent
one!" Ah! they will know on the morrow, which is
the liar, the insolent one! For We will send the she-camel
by way of trial for them.So watch them, (O Salih),
and possess thyself in patience! And tell them that the
water is to be divided between them: Each one's right
to drink being brought forward (by suitable turns). But
they called to their companion, and he took a sword in
hand, and hamstrung (her). (Surat al-Qamar: 23-29)
Allah rendered the plans and stratagems of the unbelievers
feeble and saved Salih from the hands of those who wanted
to do him harm. After this event, seeing that he had proclaimed
the message to his people in many different ways and that
still nobody took the advice to heart, Salih told his people
that they would be destroyed in three days;
Then they ham-strung the she-camel, and insolently
defied the order of their Lord, saying: "O Salih!
bring about thy threats, if thou art a messenger (of Allah)!"
(Surat al-Araf: 77)
Sure enough, three days later, Salih's warning came true and
the Thamud were destroyed.
But they did ham-string her. So he said: "Enjoy
yourselves in your homes for three days: (Then will be
your ruin): (Behold) there a promise not to be belied!"
(Surah Hud: 65)
The (mighty) Blast overtook the wrong-doers, and they
lay prostrate in their homes before the morning - As if
they had never dwelt and flourished there. Ah! Behold!
For the Thamud rejected their Lord and Cherisher! Ah!
Behold! removed (from sight) were the Thamud! (Surah Hud:
||From the Qur'an,
it is understood that Thamud were the descendants
of "Ad. In agreement with that, archaeological
finds show that the roots of Thamud, who lived
in the north of the Arabian Peninsula, go back
to South Arabia where "Ad had once lived.