Where were the People of Aad and the People of Thamud?

by vazir, Friday, November 08, 2013, 03:59 (2025 days ago) @ amirabbas

The Tribe of ‘Ād

The ancient nations like the People of ‘Ād were given high status by Allah, but they, eventually, chose the path of transgression rather than righteousness. To these people, Allah sent His messenger, Hūd (P) as a warner. Our aim here is not to discuss who these people were, but rather where they lived, and what happened to them.

And to ‘Ād We sent their brother Hūd. …… * "Are you surprised that a reminder has come to you from your Rabb through a man from among you to warn you? And remember that He made you successors after the people of Nūh, and He increased you in status. So remember the grace of Allah that you may succeed." [Quran, 7:65-69].

And to 'Ād was sent their brother Hūd. He said: …, * "And my people, seek forgiveness from your Rabb, then repent to Him; He will send (from) the sky to you in abundance (rain), and He will add might to your might. So do not turn away as criminals." * They said: "O Hūd, you have not come to us with any proof, nor will we leave our gods based on what you say. We will not believe in you.” [Quran, 11:50-53]

'Ād denied the messengers * For their brother Hūd said to them: "Will you not be righteous?" * … * "Do you build in every high place a symbol, for the sake of vanity? * … * And be aware of the One who provided you with what you know." * He provided you with livestock and sons * And gardens and springs." [Quran, 26:123-134]

Verses above clearly indicates that people of ‘Ād were successor of people of Nūh and lived in mountainous region (where they built high places as symbol of their strength), receiving heavy rain (that was the reason they mistook sand storm as passing cloud which will bring heavy rain as mentioned in Qur'an), plenty of grazing area suitable for livestock and also having gardens and springs. And Allah destroyed ‘Ād in a way that was fitting of how they built their homes. Not with a flood, but with something else… something that their high and lofty homes and fortresses could not save them from. [Being successor of the people of Nuh (P) means that the people of Nūḥ and the people of ‘Ād lived in the same geographic region. This also means that the Great Flood did not take place in Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq), as is commonly believed.]

How they were destroyed? Barren, violent, furious sand storm.

Where exactly the wind came from?

And recall that the brethren of ‘Ād when he warned his people of the ahqāf, (giant sand dunes), while numerous warnings were also delivered before him and with him: “You shall not serve except Allah. For, I fear for you the retribution of a great day.” * They said: “Have you come to us to divert us away from our gods? Then bring us what you are promising us, if you are truthful!?” * He said: “The knowledge is only with Allah; and I but convey to you what I was sent with. However, I see that you are a people who are ignorant” * Then when they saw it (the retribution) heading towards their valleys, they said: “This is but a passing cloud that will bring to us heavy rain!”, “No, this is what you had asked to be hastened; a violent wind wherein there is a painful retribution” * It destroys everything by the command of its Rabb. Thus they became such that nothing could be seen except their dwellings. We thus requite the criminal people. [Quran, 46:21-25].

The first major clue given here is the term ahqāf, which appears in verse 46:21. This Arabic word is derived from the root verb hqf (حقف), which means: to gather together / shovel (as in quantities dirt or sand) / stacked on top of each other. The word is used in the colloquial dialects of South Arabia, as indicating a region of giant sand dunes.

Contemplate the Rub‘ al-Khāli Desert (the Empty Quarter), which happens to be the largest sand desert on the planet. Note that the more one moves southward, the less rocky the desert becomes and the more sand is accumulated, until one reaches the northern border of Yemen and Oman, where these sand dunes become monstrous in size and are legendary for emitting strange sounds. In fact, this area of the desert has been named al-Ahqāf for countless generations, and the nomads of Oman even consider it a sacred region, barring any non-Muslim from entering it except in extreme circumstances.

The lingering doubt regarding the true geography of the messengers of Allah is not a new thing. In fact, legendary Arabian traveler and explorer Ibn Baṭṭūtah (1304 - 1369 AD), during his expedition to Yemen, made the following remark concerning the location of Hūd’s tomb:

وعلى مسيرة نصف يوم من هذه المدينة الأحقاف، وهي منازل عاد، وهناك زاوية ومسجد على ساحل البحر وحوله قرية لصيّادي السمك، وفي زاويته قبر كُتِب عليه : "هذا قبر هود بن عابر عليه افضل السلام" . وقد ذكرت أن بمسجد دمشق أيض ا موضع ا عليه مكتوب : "هذا قبر هود بن عابر" . والأشبه ان يكون قبره بالاحقاف لأنها بلاده، والله اعلم

Translation: “Half a day’s journey from that city (he means Zafar, Yemen), are the homes of ‘Ād. There, on a sea-side strip is a mosque in the middle of a fishermen’s village. In one corner of the mosque is a sepulcher that reads ‘This is the tomb of the prophet Hūd (P)’. I mentioned previously that there is a mosque in Damascus as well on which the words Tomb of Hūd, son of ‘Āber are carved, but it is more likely the tomb in the Aḥqāf region is the correct one, because that was his homeland, and Allah knows best”.

Do we blame Ibn Baṭṭūtah because he tipped in favor of the Ḥaḍramawt valley of Yemen as being the correct location of Hūd’s tomb, rather than Syria? Or do we blame al-Hamadāni, who made roughly the same observation as Ibn Baṭṭūtah? Let’s read the following passage from Description of Arabia (page 169):

و ساكن شبام من حمير ثم تريس، و هي مدينة عظيمة، و ينحدر المنحدر منها إلى ثوبة، قرية بسفلى حضرموت في وادٍ ذي نخل، و يفيض وادي ثوبة إلى بلد مهرة و حيث قبر النبي هود، و قبره في الكثيب الأحمر ثم منه في كهف مشرف في أسفل وادي الأحقاف.... و أهل حضرموت يزورونه هم و أهل مهرة في كل وقت

What al-Hamadāni is telling us is basically that there is a region of the Ḥaḍramawt valley, not far from Shibām, called Mahrah. And in the red-rock cliffs overlooking the sand dunes of the Ahqāf Valley is a cave containing the tomb of Hūd. And the people of Mahrah visit it regularly. (Note: this was back in the days of al-Hamadāni, who lived around 930 AD).

Dear reader, please carefully analyze the semi-legendary Arabian lineage of Hūd, son of ‘Āber. Who is this ‘Āber? This name is actually the origin of the description ‘Abrān (or ‘Ibrān ), which means “Hebrews” (those who crossed over from one region to another, i.e. the nomads). According to the Old Testament, Aber (or Eber) was an ancestor of Joktan, which is Qaḥṭān in Arabic. Why does the same Biblical genealogical tree of Eber - Joktan - Hazarmaveth appear in the ancient legends of Yemen? And why is Hūd designated as part of that lineage (‘Āber - Qaḥṭān - Ḥaḍramawt - Hūd)?

The Tribe of Thamūd

The Arabs of the Ḥijāz have been lying to the world for many centuries and claiming that the so-called Madā’in Ṣāleḥ, in the north of present-day Saudi Arabia, are the ruins of the people of Thamūd, who are mentioned in the Qur’ān, and to whom Allah’s messenger Ṣāleḥ (P) was sent. They are fond of reciting the following passages - among others - out of context:

And remember that He made you (O Thamūd) successors after ‘Ād, and He established you in the land so that you make palaces on its plains, and you carve homes in the mountains. So remember the grace of Allah, and do not roam the land as corrupter. (7:74)

The destruction came from under their feet. A powerful earthquake annihilated them, leaving them lifeless in their homes. (7:78)

And Thamūd, who engraved the rocks in the valley [89:9]

Then, they market to the world the claim that the carved rock chambers^, in the so-called Madā’in Ṣāleḥ (also known as al-Ḥijr), were once the dwellings of the tribe of Thamūd by ignoring the facts that these structures were used for burial purpose only.

[^Mada’in Saleh, roughly halfway between Petra and Mecca, was the Nabatean's second city. Also known as al-Hijr and Hegra, Mada’in Saleh fell into disuse after the Roman occupation of the Nabatean Kingdom in 106 AD, since the Romans preferred the ports along the Red Sea rather than the overland caravan routes.

Although Mada’in Saleh lacks the magnificent grandeur of Petra, it is nevertheless one of the most enigmatic archaeological sites on the Arabian Peninsula. Several large boulders rise abruptly out of the flat desert landscape. As in Petra, most of the structures that can be seen today were for funerary purpose only, including a total of 131 tombs that have been cut into the surrounding rocks.]

To support their claims, they resort to hadiths attributed to Muhammad (P), in which he prohibited people from settling near those structures, or even from tarrying too long in their vicinity, because they were the site of the great chastisement of Thamūd, in the bygone days.

Until archeology proved them wrong!!!

Let’s read a little bit about this scandal:

In the year 2006, a team of Saudi archeologists, with the help of a European crew on the ground, completely denied any evidence that these structures have anything to do with the Thamūd of the Qur’an, whatsoever. The following is an excerpt from an article in the Sharq al-Awṣaṭ Newspaper:

Title: The Ruins of Al-Ḥijr are Nabatean
Archeologists: “The structures of al-Ḥijr have no relation whatsoever with the Prophet Ṣāleḥ”
Report made by: Ḥalima Mizhfar

A team of archeologists and specialists has confirmed to the newspaper that they have found absolutely no proof whatsoever of those people to whom the Prophet Ṣāleḥ (P) was sent, nor that the sites commonly known as Madā’en Ṣāleḥ, in the north of Arabia, are in any way related to the tribe of Thamūd.

The following are the main points that the team of scientists mentioned:

1- The structures are actually Nabatean tomb chambers (crypts), not designed to be dwellings or homes.
2- No Thamūdic inscriptions were found at the site^.

[^ Thamūdic is a South Arabian alphabet that originated in Yemen, the oldest inscriptions of which date back to around the 16th Century BC. The inscriptions found at the Ḥijr site in Northern Saudi Arabia are Aramaic, not Thamūdic. The Aramaic alphabet was developed in the area of Iraq and the Levant, and has no relation to Thamūd.]

Assistant manager to the Ministry of Archeology, Mutlaq Suleiman al-Mutlaq, has also confirmed the findings, and stated that the examination of the structures (of which there are some 132) and the chemical analysis of the bones buried therein, has proven that they were made around 100 BC (give or take a few years), and that they coincide with the era of the Nabatean kingdom.

How can these structures, which go back to the first century BC, have anything to do with a people as ancient as Thamūd? The Qur’an tells us that Thamūd were descendants of ‘Ād who, in turn, were descendants of Nūḥ’s people. This means is that the era of Thamūd preceded the time of Ibraheem, which we have already estimated to be around 1600 BC. Do you see the anachronism now, dear reader?

What archeology has unquestionably shown that the so-called Madā’in Ṣāleḥ in the north of the Ḥijāz region, are Nabatean tombs. This means that the people who left us the ruins of Petra, in Jordan, are the same ones who carved those rocks in northern Saudi Arabia.

The Sharq al-Awṣat newspaper team visited the site on May 14, 2006, and wrote a report about the region and about the religious controversy surrounding it. The report also quoted many western archeologists who had visited the region, notably British Professor John Healy of Manchester University, who confirmed that the so-called Madā’in Ṣāleḥ are in fact Nabatean, thus completely falsifying Muslim beliefs that they have anything to do with Ṣāleḥ (P) or the people of Thamūd.

Furthermore, the Qur’an states clearly that Thamūd carved their homes from rock. It does not say anything about tombs or crypts.

The truth is that the very name Thamūd is, to Yemen, as the Nile is to Egypt. It is a name that identifies, even defines Yemeni culture. In fact, there is city in Yemen, near the borders of the al-Aḥqāf region (the region of giant sand dunes), called Thamūd. It was most probably named so in memory of the ancient tribe whose name became legend in the Ḥaḍramawt valley.

Even the proponents of the Ḥijāz (North Arabia) as the setting of Ṣāleḥ’s people know this for a fact. If we look up “Thamud” in Wikipedia, for instance, we get the deceptive information that they originated in Yemen, but then migrated Northwards to the Ḥijāz and carved Māda’en Ṣāleḥ there.

Not only is this allegation a lie, but it also defies the Qur’an itself, which states that Thamūd were obliterated completely. They did not migrate outside of Yemen, and they have nothing to do with the Nabatean tombs at al-Ḥijr.

And from Thamūd He left none (53:51)

It’s quite plain and simple: the Qur’ān is correct, as confirmed by archeology. The Hadithists are wrong. Thamūd were an ancient Yemeni tribe that existed since long before 2000 BC. They were among the perished nations of South Arabia, just like their predecessors, the people of Nūḥ and the tribe of ‘Ād. The Qur’an names these nations al-qurūn al-ūla (meaning: the first nations or peoples). The Qur’an also relates to us a conversation between Mūsa (P) and Far‘awn, in which the tyrant asks Mūsa about the fate of those first nations:

He said: "So who is the Rabb of you both, O Mūsa ? * He said: "Our Rabb is the One who gave everything its creation, then guided all." * He said: "What then has happened to the first nations?” * He said: "The knowledge of that is with my Rabb, in a record; my Rabb does not err or forget. * The One who made for you the earth habitable and He made ways for you in it, and He brought down water from the sky, so We sprouted out with it various pairs of vegetation” [20:49-52]

Also, we remind you of the believing man from among Far‘awn’s people, who warned them about the fate of those first nations:

And a believing man from among the people of Far‘awn, who had concealed his belief, said: "Will you kill a man simply because he is saying 'My Rabb is Allah' and he has come to you with proofs from your Rabb? And if he is a liar, then his lie will be upon him, and if he is truthful, then some of what he is promising you will afflict you. For Allah does not guide any transgressor, or liar * O my people, you have the kingship today throughout the land. But then who will save us against the torment of Allah, should it come to us?". Far‘awn said: "I am showing you that which I see, and I am guiding you in the right path" * And the one who believed said: "O my people, I fear for you the same fate as the Day of the Opponents * Like the fate of the people of Nūḥ, ‘Ād, and Thamūd, and those after them. And Allah does not wish any injustice for the servants. (40:28-31)

There is the truth that has been hidden from the awareness of the world. All the messengers of Allah, mentioned in the Qur’an, lived and preached in the same geographical region.

Source: ARABIA: The Untold Story, Book 2: Road of the Patriarch, Page # 117-129.

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