Allah blessed the descendants of Nuh and they spread over the earth. One community from them was called ‘Ad.
They were strong men with bodies like iron. They conquered everyone, and no-one was able to conquer them. They did not fear anyone but were feared by everyone.
Allah blessed the ‘Ad in everything. Their camels and sheep filled the hills and valleys. Their horses filled the streets and footpaths of their cities. Their children filled the houses.
When the sheep and camels of the ‘Ad went out to pasture, they made a very beautiful sight. When the children went out in the morning to play, they also made a very beautiful sight.
The land of the ‘Ad was a fertile green land full of gardens and springs.
The ‘Ad’s rejection
But the ‘Ad were not grateful to Allah for all these blessings. They forgot the story of the flood which they had heard from their fathers and whose traces they saw in the land. They forgot why Allah had sent the flood against the community of Nuh.
They began to worship idols as the community of Nuh had done. They carved them out of stone with their own hands and then prostrated themselves before them and worshipped them. They asked them for what they needed, prayed to them and sacrificed to them. They were following in the footsteps of Nuh’s community.
Their intelligence did not keep them from worshipping idols. Their cleverness in the things of this world did not guide them in religion.
The tyranny of the ‘Ad
The strength of the ‘Ad became a curse for them and for the people because they did not believe in Allah and did not believe in the Next World.
What was to stop them from acting unjustly, from being tyrants and wronging people? They did not think anyone was above them. They did not fear any reckoning or punishment.
They were no better than wild animals. The high and great among them would wrong the low, the strong among them would live off the weak.
When they were angry, they were like mad elephants who kill whatever they meet in their way. When they made war, they destroyed every living thing. When they entered a village, they laid waste to it and made its mighty people lowly.
The weak were terrified of their evil and fled from their injustice. Their strength was a curse for them and for others. That is what happens with any people who do not fear Allah and do not believe in the Next World.
The castles of the ‘Ad
The ‘Ad did nothing but eat and drink, play and amuse themselves. They competed with each other in building high castles and spacious houses. They wasted their wealth on water, clay and stones. Whenever they saw an empty place or some high ground, they built a tall castle on it.
They built houses as if they were going to live forever and never die. They built castles without any need for them while some of the people could not find anything to eat or drink. The poor among them could not find anywhere to live while the houses of the rich were empty. Anyone who saw them and saw their castles would know straightaway that they did not believe in the Next World.
Hud the messenger
Allah wanted to send a messenger to the ‘Ad. Allah does not like His slaves to disbelieve; He does not like cruelty and corruption in the earth.
The ‘Ad did not use their intelligence for anything except eating and drinking, playing, amusing themselves and building houses. Their intelligence was wasted because they did not use it on religion. They did not understand and so they worshipped stones.
Allah wanted to send the ‘Ad a messenger from among themselves to guide them, someone they would know and whose words they would understand.
Hud was that Messenger. He was born into a noble family and grew up intelligent and virtuous.
Hud stood up among his people and said, ‘Oh my people, worship Allah. You have no god except Him.’ (11: 50)
He said, ‘O people, how can you worship stones and not worship the One who created you!
‘O people, how can you worship stones today which you had carved for yourselves only yesterday? Allah created you and provided for you. He blessed you in your property, children, crops and cattle. He made you rulers after the people of Nuh and gave you physical strength.
‘Part of what you owe for these blessings is to worship Allah and not to worship anything but Him.
‘The dog to which you throw a bone does not leave you and will follow you like a shadow. Have you ever seen a dog freely leave his master and go to someone else? Have you ever seen any animal prostrate before an idol? Is man lower than an animal or higher than an animal?’
The people’s answer
The ‘Ad were busy eating, drinking, playing and amusing themselves. They were content with the life of this world.
They were distressed by what Hud said. They said to each other, ‘What is Hud saying? What does he mean? We do not understand what he says.’
They decided, ‘He is a fool or a madman.’
When Hud called them again, the nobles of his people said, ‘We see that you are in a state of folly and think that you are a liar.’
He said, ‘My people, there is no folly in me. Rather, I am a messenger from the Lord of all the worlds. I convey to you the messages of my Lord and I am a faithful adviser to you.’ (7: 66-8)
Hud worked hard to counsel his people. He called them with wisdom and kind-heartedness: ‘O my people,
I was your brother and friend yesterday. Don’t you know me? My brothers! Why do you fear me and flee from me?
I will not make you any poorer at all.
‘О my people, I do not ask you for any wealth. My wage falls only on Allah. (11: 29)
‘O my people, what do you have to fear if you believe in Allah? Allah will not lessen your riches at all if you believe in Him. Allah will bless you in your provision and increase it.
‘My people, why are you surprised at my message? Allah does not speak to each person individually, telling each one to do this and to do that. Allah sends to every people a man from among them to speak to them and advise them. Do you wonder that a reminder from your Lord should come to you by means of a man from among you that he may warn you?’ (7: 69)
The ‘Ad could not think of an answer. So they said, ‘Our gods are angry with you. You have been afflicted by a mental disease. A curse from the gods has struck you.’
Hud said, ‘These idols are only stones. They cannot help or hurt anyone; they neither speak nor hear nor see. They do not possess good or evil, they have no power to bring harm or benefit for anyone.
‘You yourselves do not possess any benefit or harm for me. I do not believe in your gods and I do not fear them. I am quit of what you associate. (11: 54) And I do not fear you either. Try your guile on me, all together.
Truly, I have put my trust in Allah, my Lord and your Lord. (11: 56)
‘Everything is under His control. Not even a single leaf falls from a tree without His permission.’
The ‘Ad’s stubbornness
The ‘Ad heard all that, but still they did not believe. Hud’s wisdom and good advice were wasted on them. They said, ‘Hud, you have no proof or evidence! Hud, we will not abandon our ancient gods because of your new talk. Should we leave the gods our fathers worshipped for Something someone says? Never!
‘Hud, you do not believe in our gods and you do not fear them. Well, we do not believe in your God and we do not fear His punishment. You are always talking about the punishment, so where is it, Hud? When will it come?’
Hud said, ‘The knowledge is with Allah. I am a dear warner.’ (67: 26)
They said, ‘We are waiting for that punishment and want to see it.’
Hud was astonished at their impudence; his heart filled with sadness at their foolishness.
The ‘Ad looked into the sky for the rain they needed. They looked every day. They looked at the sky and did not see a wisp of cloud. They yearned for rain.
One day, they saw a cloud coming toward them. They were very happy and shouted, ‘This is a rain cloud! This is a rain cloud!’ People danced for joy. They called out to each other: ‘A rain cloud! A rain cloud!’
But Hud understood that the punishment had come. He told them, This is not a cloud of mercy. It is a wind containing a painful punishment/
So it was. A fierce wind blew whose like the people had never seen before. The tempest blew and uprooted trees and destroyed houses. It carried up animals and flung them far away. The desert sands were blown into the air and blacked out everything. No-one could see anything.
Terror filled the people and they ran into their houses and bolted the doors. The children clung to their mothers. People clung to the walls. The children were weeping and the women shouting. They were praying and begging for help.
It was as if someone was saying, ‘There is no protector today from Allah’s command. ‘(11: 43)
That went on for eight days and seven nights.
The people were struck down like palm-trees fallen to the ground. It was a terrible sight. The once proud people were now only dead bodies and the birds ate them. Their grand houses were now only ruins and owls lived in them.
Hud and the believers were saved by their belief. The ‘Ad were destroyed because of their disbelief and rebellion.
The ‘Ad rejected their Lord. So away with the ‘Ad, the people of Hud! (11: 60)