Another people who were destroyed
and who are mentioned in various Surah of the Qur'an is 'Ad,
who are mentioned after the people of Nuh. Being sent to 'Ad,
Hud summoned his people, just like all the other prophets
had done, to believe in Allah without ascribing partners to
Him and to obey him, the prophet of that time. The people
reacted to Hud with animosity. They accused him of imprudence,
untruthfulness, and attempting to change the system their
ancestors had established. In Surah Hud, all that passed between
Hud and his people is told in detail;
And the 'Ad, they were destroyed
by a furious Wind, exceedingly violent; He made it
rage against them seven nights and eight days in succession:
so that thou couldst see the (whole) people lying
prostrate in its (path),as they had been roots of
hollow palm-trees tumbled down! Then seest thou any
of them left surviving?(Surat al-Haaqqa: 6-8)
Another Surah mentioning 'Ad is Surat ash-Shuara. In this
Surah, some characteristics of 'Ad are emphasised. According
to this, 'Ad were a people who "build a landmark on every
high place" , and its members "get for themselves
fine buildings in the hope of living therein (for ever)".
Besides, they did mischief and behaved brutally. When Hud
warned his people, they commented that his words were "a
customary device of the ancients". They were very confident
that nothing would happen to them;
To the Ad People (We sent) Hud, one of their own brethren.
He said: "O my people! worship Allah! ye have no
other god but Him. (Your other gods) ye do nothing but
invent! O my people! I ask of you no reward for
this (Message). My reward is from none but Him who created
me: Will ye not then understand? And O my people! Ask
forgiveness of your Lord, and turn to Him (in repentance):
He will send you the skies pouring abundant rain, and
add strength to your strength: so turn ye not back in
They said: "O Hud! No Clear (Sign) that hast
thou brought us, and we are not the ones to desert our
gods on thy word! Nor shall we believe in thee! We
say nothing but that (perhaps) some of our gods may have
seized thee with imbecility."
He said: "I call Allah to witness, and do ye
bear witness, that I am free from the sin of ascribing,
to Him, Other gods as partners! so scheme (your worst)
against me, all of you, and give me no respite. I put
my trust in Allah, My Lord and your Lord! There is not
a moving creature, but He hath grasp of its fore-lock.
Verily, it is my Lord that is on a straight Path. If
ye turn away,- I (at least) have conveyed the Message
with which I was sent to you. My Lord will make another
people to succeed you, and you will not harm Him in the
least. For my Lord hath care and watch over all things."
So when Our decree issued, We saved Hud and those
who believed with him, by (special) Grace from Ourselves:
We saved them from a severe penalty. Such were
the Ad People: they rejected the Signs of their Lord and
Cherisher; disobeyed His messengers; And followed the
command of every powerful, obstinate transgressor. And
they were pursued by a Curse in this life - and on the
Day of Judgment. Ah! Behold! for the 'Ad rejected their
Lord and Cherisher! Ah! Behold! removed (from sight) were
'Ad the people of Hud! (Surah Hud: 50-60)
The people who showed animosity to Hud and rebelled against
Allah, were indeed destroyed. A horrible sandstorm annihilated
'Ad as if they had "never existed".
The 'Ad (people) rejected the messengers. Behold,
their brother Hud said to them: "Will ye 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. Do
ye build a landmark on every high place to amuse yourselves?
And do ye get for yourselves fine buildings in the hope
of living therein (for ever)? And when ye exert your strong
hand, do ye do it like men of absolute power? Now
fear Allah, and obey me. Yea, fear Him Who has bestowed
on you freely all that ye know. Freely has He bestowed
on you cattle and sons, And Gardens and Springs. Truly
I fear for you the Penalty of a Great Day."
They said: "It is the same to us whether thou
admonish us or be not among (our) admonishers! This is
no other than a customary device of the ancients, And
we are not the ones to receive Pains and Penalties!"
So they rejected him, and We destroyed them. Verily
in this is a Sign: but most of them do not believe.
And verily thy Lord is He, the Exalted in Might, Most
Merciful. (Surat ash-Shuara: 123-140)
The Archaeological Finds of the City of Iram
At the beginning of 1990, there appeared press-releases
in the well-known newspapers of the world declaring "Fabled
Lost Arabian city found", "Arabian city of Legend
found", "The Atlantis of the Sands, Ubar".
What rendered this archaeological find more intriguing was
the fact that this city was also referred to in the Qur'an.
Many people who, since then, thought that 'Ad recounted
in the Qur'an were a legend or that their location could
never be found, could not conceal their astonishment at
this discovery. The discovery of this city, which was only
mentioned in oral stories of Bedouins, awoke great interest
It was Nicholas Clapp, an amateur archaeologist, who found
this legendary city mentioned in the Qur'an.1
The remains of the city of Ubar, where 'Ad lived, were
found somewhere near to the coasts of Oman.
Being an Arabophile and a winning documentary film maker,
Clapp had come across a very interesting book during his
research on Arabian history. This book was Arabia Felix
written by the English researcher Bertram Thomas in 1932.
Arabia Felix was the Roman designation for the southern
part of the Arabian Peninsula which today includes Yemen
and much of Oman. The Greeks called this area "Eudaimon
Arabia" and medieval Arab scholars called it "Al-Yaman
All of these names mean "Fortunate Arabia", because
the people living in that region in old times were known
to be the most fortunate people of their time. Well, what
was the reason for such a designation?
Their good fortune was in part due to their strategic
location - serving as middlemen in the spice trade between
India and places north of the Arabian peninsula. Besides,
the people living in this region produced and distributed
"frankincense", an aromatic resin from rare trees.
Being highly favoured by the ancient communities, this plant
was used as a fumigant in various religious rites. In those
times, the plant was at least as valuable as gold.
The English researcher Thomas described these "lucky"
tribes at length and claimed that he found the traces of an
ancient city founded by one of these tribes.3
This was the city known as "Ubar" by the bedouins.
In one of the trips he made to the region, the bedouins living
in the desert had shown him well-worn tracks and stated that
these tracks led toward the ancient city of Ubar. Thomas,
who showed great interest in the subject died before being
able to complete his research.
Many works of art and monuments of high civilisation
were once erected in Ubar in accordance with the Qur'an's
account. Today, only the remains are right.
Clapp, who examined
what the English researcher Thomas wrote, was convinced
of the existence of the lost city described in the book.
Without losing much time, he started his research.
Clapp tried two ways to prove the existence of Ubar. First,
he found the tracks which the Bedoins said existed. He applied
to NASA to provide the satellite images of the area. After
a long struggle, he succeeded in persuading the authorities
to take the pictures of the region.4
Clapp went on to study the ancient manuscripts and maps
in the Huntington library in California. His aim was to
find a map of the region. After a short research, he found
one. What he found was a map drawn by the Greek-Egyptian
geographer Ptolemy. In the map was shown the location of
an old city found in the region and the ways that led to
Meanwhile, he received the news that the pictures had been
taken by NASA. In the pictures, some caravan trails became
visible which were difficult to identify with the naked
eye, but could only be seen as a whole from the sky. Comparing
these pictures with the old map he had in hand, Clapp finally
reached the conclusion he was looking for: the trails in
the old map corresponded with the trails in the pictures
taken from the satellite. The final destination of these
trails was a broad site understood to have once been a city.
Finally, the location of the legendary city which had been
subject of the stories told orally by the bedouins was discovered.
After a short while, excavations began and remains of an
old city started to be uncovered under the sands. Thus,
this lost city was described as "the Atlantis of the
Well, what was it that proved this city to be the city
of the people of 'Ad mentioned in the Qur'an?
The location of the city of Ad was discovered by photographs
taken from the Space Shuttle. On the photograph, the
place where caravan trails intersect is marked, and
it points towards Ubar.
1.Ubar, could only be seen from space before excavations
2.A city 12 metres below the sands was uncovered by
Right from the moment remains started to be unearthed,
it was understood that this ruined city belonged to 'Ad
and Iram's pillars mentioned in the Qur'an, because among
the structures unearthed were the towers particularly referred
to in the Qur'an. A member of the research team leading
the excavation, Dr. Zarins said that since the towers were
alleged to be the distinctive feature of Ubar, and since
Iram was mentioned as having towers or pillars, this then
was the strongest proof so far that the site they had unearthed
was Iram, the city of 'Ad described in the Qur'an. The Qur'an
mentions Iram as follows;
Seest thou not how thy Lord dealt with the 'Ad (people),Of
the (city of) Iram, with lofty pillars, The like of which
were not produced in (all) the land? (Surat al-Fajr: 6-8)