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Newsletter for July 2016
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by Syed Haider Hussain Shamsi
Saleh was born in the ninth generation from Nuh. He was appointed prophet for the Thamud people who inhabited the mutinous territory between Hejaz and Palestine. They built their homes by hewing the rocky faces of cliffs. They lived long lives and worshiped gods made from stone.
They refused to listen to the wisdom of Saleh and challenged him to show them any sign to prove that an invisible God existed. They demanded a miracle at their annual festival. They told Saleh: "You pray to your God and we will pray to ours. Let us see whose prayer is accepted, yours or ours. That will decide the matter between us.
They came in drones from around the land and gathered around their decorated stone gods and brought offerings for fulfillments of their prayers. Clearly the stone gods were unable to respond to their prayers. They then turned to Saleh and one of them asked him to pray to his God and to bring out a pregnant camel from the large boulder that was lying on the ground, and if this she-camel had an off-spring born in front of their eyes, they would accept Saleh's God as theirs as well.
Saleh prayed to The Almighty Allah and sure enough a pregnant she-camel rose out of the large boulder and gave birth to a calf as they watched. They were clearly struck with wonder on this miracle.
In accordance with Allah's Command, Saleh told the people that they must share their drink with the camel. It was agreed that the people would use the water from the village well on all days of the week except one day which was reserved for the camel and her baby. But they were a disobedient people. They refused the animals to drink or graze freely in the territory as agreed, and forced Saleh to assume their full responsibility. Saleh told them that the camel and her baby were there because they had asked for the miracle, and they must take care of the animals. They threatened to kill the two animals. He then reminded them of the benevolence of Allah that only He could bestow over His creation without asking for it, namely water, rain, fertility of the land where crops grow, the stone cliffs where they built their homes, and the clean air that they breathed. They must refrain from their threatened acts otherwise they would bring down a disaster over themselves.
One day the people carried out their threat and slew both the mother and her baby camel. This invited Allah's immediate wrath.
Allah instructed Saleh to leave the territory along with his family and a small group of true believers before His wrath would strike that insolent people. No sooner the pious group of believers had crossed over the last of the cliffs, than a tremendous earth quake -shook the land with a blinding lightning and an ear shattering thunder. The entire people in that territory perished along with their false gods.
References: al Qur'an: Sura Araf, Lud, Ibrahim, Hajar, Furqan, Shu'ra' Nahl, Ankabooi, Ha-Meem Sajdah, Zariyat, Qamar, al-Haqah, Fajar, Shams.
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