Saleh

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Saleh
Salih and the she camel.jpg
An imagining of Saleh inviting his people to see the She-Camel, from an illuminated manuscript version of Stories of the Prophets.
Prophet, Seer, Apostle to Thamud
Born Thamud
Honored in Islam
Major shrine Nabi Salih
Influenced Many Muslim saints

Saleh or Șāliḥ (Arabic: صالح‎, meaning Pious) was an Arabic prophet of ancient Arabia mentioned in the Qur'an, who prophesied to the tribe of Thamud.[1][2] He is mentioned nine times throughout the Qur'an and his people are frequently referenced as a wicked community who, because of their sins, were ultimately destroyed.[3] Saleh is sometimes equated with Salah, a figure from the Hebrew Bible, although the two have little in common save for their names. The preaching and prophecy of Saleh is linked to the famous Islamic story of the She-Camel, which was the gift given by God to the people of Thamud when they desired a miracle to confirm the truth of the message Saleh was preaching. Chronologically, scholars believe Saleh's prophesying to have been post-Antediluvian[clarification needed] but pre-Abrahamic.

Narrative[edit]

Saleh's life in his community had been so righteous that the people of Thamud virtually relied upon him for support.[4] In fact, he might have been chosen as their leader or king if he had too followed their idolatrous ways. But Saleh was chosen by God as a prophet and he was born for a higher mission - to preach against the selfishness of the wealthy and to condemn the practice of idolatry. Although Saleh preached the message for a sustained period of time, the people for Thamud refused to hear his warning and instead began to ask Saleh to obtain a miracle for them.

Saleh kept telling his people to look around them and remember the numerous miracles God had bestowed upon them. In monologues of preaching, Saleh reminded his people of the countless castles and palaces they built,[5] and of their technological superiority over neighboring communities. Furthermore, he told them about their ancestors - the ʿĀd tribe - and how they too were destroyed for their sins. As usually happened in such events, the poor and needy were the steadfast believers from the community[6] and the suppressive were the rich and arrogant townsfolk. As Saleh took the side of the underprivileged, the chieftains of the tribe reviled the prophet and mocked his words.

Although Saleh had told his people about God's mercy, they argued and demanded that he obtain a miracle. This showed a weakness on the part of Thamud people, and represents in them a childish reliance on visual miracles rather than spiritual faith. Thus, God gave Thamud tribe a she-camel, to provide them with sustenance, as both a blessing and a test. Pasture was considered a free gift of God, and this camel would be a trial to see if the arrogant and greedy would let the camel graze peacefully or whether they would slay her.[7] The rich and wealthy, instead of accepting the test of God, hamstrung the innocent she-camel and gruesomely slew her.

The people of Thamud had three more days for further repentance to God.[8] But in the next three days, the people of Saleh asked for no repentance. Thus, a terrible earthquake came by night[9] on the third day, preceded by a mighty blast in the sky. The explosion struck their community and, in a matter of minutes, the people were buried in the ruins of their own homes.[10] While the majority of the people perished, Saleh and the believers were saved, being just and righteous people. Saleh left them lamenting over the destruction of his people for their sinning against God.[11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Quran 26:143: "I am to you a messenger worthy of all trust."
  2. ^ Quran 7:73: "To Thamud people (We sent) Salih, one of their own brethren: He said: 'O my people! worship Allah: ye have no other god but Him. Now hath come unto you a clear (Sign) from your Lord! This she-camel of Allah is a Sign unto you: So leave her to graze in Allah's earth, and let her come to no harm, or ye shall be seized with a grievous punishment.'"
  3. ^ Quran 11:61–68
  4. ^ Quran 11:62: "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.'"
  5. ^ Quran 7:74: "And remember how He made you inheritors after the 'Ad people and gave you habitations in the land: ye build for yourselves palaces and castles in (open) plains, and care out homes in the mountains; so bring to remembrance the benefits (ye have received) from Allah, and refrain from evil and mischief on the earth"
  6. ^ Quran 7:75: "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.'"
  7. ^ Quran 7:73: "To Thamud people (We sent) Salih, one of their own brethren: He said: 'O my people! Worship God: ye have no other god but Him. Now hath come unto you a clear (Sign) from your Lord! This she-camel of Allah is a Sign unto you: So leave her to graze in Allah's earth, and let her come to no harm, or ye shall be seized with a grievous punishment.'"
  8. ^ Quran 11:65: "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!'"
  9. ^ Quran 11:67: "The (mighty) Blast overtook the wrong-doers, and they lay prostrate in their homes before the morning,"
  10. ^ Quran 11:68: "As if they had never dwelt and flourished there. Ah! Behold! for Thamud rejected their Lord and Cherisher! Ah! Behold! removed (from sight) were Thamud!"
  11. ^ Quran 7:79: "So Salih left them, saying: 'O my people! I did indeed convey to you the message for which I was sent by my Lord: I gave you good counsel, but ye love not good counsellors!'"

External links[edit]