Justice demands that there be a Day of Judgment because good is not always victorious in life as sometimes evil overpowers good
A long time ago, a great tribe followers of Prophet Nuh (A.S) lived in the South of Arabia were called Ad. They were very clever and could do many things. They used the mountains for their homes. They carved out great mansions with wonderful pillars. They called their city Iram. It was very famous. As time went on, the people of Ad thought more about themselves and less about Allah. They thought they didn’t need Allah, because they had lots of money and power. Instead of Allah, the ‘Ad prayed to many different idols and believed that each idol fulfilled a different need. The people of ‘Ad were tall, handsome, strong people, excellent architects and skilled engineers. They liked to build castles and magnificent buildings, and they planted beautiful gardens and orchards. But they didn’t realize that their abilities and the natural resources around them were gifts. According to the Holy Quran, they would say ‘Who is greater than us in strength?’ (Quran 41:15) They were known to build tall towers. Their area became known as the land of a thousand pillars since God blessed them with fertile soil and abundant agriculture, many children, an ample supply of livestock, and easy access to water resources. They mistakenly understood the purpose of life was to gather wealth, status in life, and live in luxury. Prophet Hud (peace be upon hime) would command them to fear and obey God. According to the Holy Quran, Prophet Hud (peace be upon hime) would say to his people: “…O my people, worship Allah; you have no god besides Him. You are not but inventors [of falsehood]” (Quran 11:50) In spite of all these gifts from Allah (SWT), they denied His power. Even though the people of ‘Ad were great builders, they had no morals. In the markets, many would use false weights to cheat people, the poor people spent all of their money but still couldn’t get enough to eat. The rich people kept wealth to themselves and refused to listen to anybody’s advice. Allah (SWT) chose one man from among them to be a Prophet. This man was named Hud (A.S). Prophet Hud (A) tried to teach the people of ‘Ad that there is only one God and that everything – rain and safety and food and health -is from Him. Hud (A.S) told them again and again to stop worshiping their idols. He begged them to live according to Allah’s (SWT) will. He warned them about Allah’s (SWT) punishment of those disobeyed Him, and especially for those who worshiped false gods. He told them “0 my people! I am not asking for reward from you. I am simply sent by Lord of the worlds to warn you and call you back to the path of truth and goodness. If you ask forgiveness from Allah (SWT) and change your ways, He will make you stronger than you are now. He will give you plenty of rain and He will accept you. You must not continue your evil ways.” Most of the people of ‘Ad were not ready to listen to Prophet Hud (A.S). They told him, “You’re stupid! You’re just telling us old wives’ tales. We know that we are not going to be punished and destroyed like the people of Nuh.”However, Prophet Hud (A.S) knew that Allah’s (SWT) punishment would come to his people. After trying to convince them, he decided to leave the valley of Al-Ahqaf with people who listened to his message and were Muslims. As soon as Hud (A.S) left a village, a large cloud appeared in the sky. The people of ‘Ad were happy to see it, because they thought that it would bring rain to their desert land. Little did they know that Allah (swt) was sending a terrible wind-storm trough the cloud. The clouds grew larger and larger as the wind howled louder and louder. The air was full of dust and sand. The wind blew so violently that the people ran into their big houses and beautiful castles to hide. But nothing could save them from the punishment of Allah (swt). The people ran into their big houses and beautiful castles to hide. The storm raged for eight days (69:6-7) and seven nights. Their houses were filled with sand and all the people were smothered. Then the wind blew all the sand back across the desert. There was nothing left except the big empty houses of ‘Ad which were useless against His will, and they now were broken and strewn over the dead land. The only people from ‘Ad who were saved from the storm were those who had left with Prophet Hud (A). The children of these believers grew up to become good Muslims who believed in Allah (swt) alone and lived honest lives. Allah wanted to guide and discipline these people so He sent a prophet from among them. This prophet was Hud (A.S), a noble man who handled this task with great resoluteness and tolerance. Ibn Jarir reported that he was Hud Ibn Shalikh, Ibn Arfakhshand, Ibn Sam, Ibn Noah (A.S). He also reported that Prophet Hud (A.S) was from a tribe called Ad Ibn Us Ibn Sam Ibn Noah, who were Arabs living in Al Ahqaf in Yemen between Oman and Hadramaut, on a land called Ashar stretching out into the sea. The name of their valley was Mughiith. Some traditions claimed that Hud (A.S) was the first person who spoke Arabic while others claimed that Prophet Noah (A.S) was the first. It was also said that Adam (A.S) was the first. Hud (A.S) condemned idol worship and admonished his people. “My people, what is the benefit of these stones that you carve with your own hands and worship? In reality it is an insult to the intellect. There is only One Deity worthy of worship and that is Allah. Worship of Him and Him alone, is compulsory on you. He created you, He provides for you and He is the One Who will cause you to die. He gave you wonderful physiques and blessed you in many ways. So believe in Him and do not be blind to His favors, or the same fate that destroyed Noah’s people will overtake you.” With such reasoning Hud hoped to instill faith in them, but they refused to accept his message. His people asked him: “Do you desire to be our master with your call? What payment do you want?” Hud tried to make them understand that he would receive his payment (reward) from Allah; he did not demand anything from them except that they let the light of truth touch their minds and hearts. Allah the Almighty states: And to Ad people We sent their brother Hud. He said: “O my people! Worship Allah! You have no other Ilah (god) but Him; Certainly, you do nothing but invent (lies)! O my people I ask of you no reward for it (the Message). My reward is only from Him Who created me. Will you not then understand? And O my people! Ask forgiveness of your Lord and then repent to Him, He will send you (from the sky) abundant rain, and add strength to your strength, so do not turn away as Mujrimeen (criminals, disbeliveers in the Oneness of Allah).” They said: “O Hud! No evidence have you brought us and we shall not leave our gods for your mere saying! We are not believers in you. All that we say is that some of our gods (false deities) have seized you with evil (madness).” HE said: “I call Allah to witness and bear you witness that I am free from that which you ascribe as partners in worship, and with Him (Allah). SO plot 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 (living) creature but HE has grasp of its forelock. Verily, my Lord is on the Straight Path (the truth). SO if you turn away, still I have conveyed the Message with which I was sent to you. My Lord will make another people succeed you, and you will not harm Him in the least. Surely, my Lord is Guardian over all things.” (Ch 11:50-57 Quran) Hud tried to speak to them and to explain about Allah’s blessings: how Allah the Almighty had made them Noah’s successors, how He had given them strength and power, and how HE sent them rain to revive the soil. Hud’s people looked about them and found they were the strongest on earth, so they become prouder and more obstinate. Thus they argued a lot with Hud (A.S). The disbelievers believed that when man dies his body decays and turns into dust, which is swept away by the wind. How could that return to its original state? Then what is the significance of the Day of Judgment? Why does the dead return to life? All these questions were patiently received by Hud (A.S). He then addressed his people concerning the Day of Judgment, he explained that belief in the Day of Judgment is essential to Allah’s justice, teaching them the same thing that every prophet taught about it. They listened but disbelieved him. Allah recounts his people’s attitude towards the Day of Judgment: “The chiefs of his people, whom disbelieved and denied the meeting in the Hereafter, and to who We had given the luxuries and comforts of this life, said: “He is no more than a human being like you, he eats of that which you eat, and drinks of what you drink. If you were to obey a human being like yourselves then verily! You indeed would be losers. Does he promise you that when you have died and have become dust and bones, you shall come out alive (resurrected)? Far, very far, is that which you are promised. There is nothing but our life of this world! We die and we live! We are not going to be resurrected! He is only a man who has invented a lie against Allah, but we are not going to believe in him.” (Ch 23:33-38 Quran) The chiefs of Hud’s people asked: “Is it not strange that Allah’s chooses one of us to reveal His message to?” Hud replied: “What is strange in that? Allah wants to guide you to the right way of life, so HE sent me to warn you. Noah’s flood and his story are not far away from you, so do not forget what happened. All the disbelivers were destroyed, no matter how strong they were.” “Who is going to destroy us Hud?” the chiefs asked. “Allah.” replied Hud. The disbelivers among his people answered: “We will be saved by our gods.” Hud clarified to them that the gods they worshipped would be the reason for their destruction, that it is Allah alone Who saves people, and that no other power on earth can benefit or harm anyone.
The conflict between Hud and his people continued. The years passed, and they became prouder and more obstinate, and more tyrannical and more defiant of their prophet’s message. Furthermore, they started to accuse Hud (A.S) of being a crazy lunatic. One day they told him: “We now understand the secret of your madness you insulted our gods and they harmed you; that is why you have become insane.” Allah repeated their words in the Quran: “O my Hud! No evidence have you brought us, and we shall not leave our gods for your mere saying! And we are not believers in you. All that we say is that some of our gods (false deities) have seized you with evil (madness).” (Ch 11:53-54 Quran) Hud (A.S) had to return their challenge. He had no other way but to turn to Allah alone, no other alternative but to give them a threatening ultimatum, he declared to them: “I call Allah to witness and bear you witness that I am free from that which you ascribe as pin worship with Him (Allah). So plot against me, all of you and give me no respite. I put my trust in Allah, my Lord your Lord! There is not a moving (living) creature but He has grasp of its forelock. Verily, my Lord is on the Straight Path (the truth). So if you turn away, still I have conveyed the message with which it was sent to you. My Lord will make another people succeed you, and you will not harm Him.” (Ch 11:54-57 Quran) Thus Hud renounced them and their gods and affirmed his dependence on Allah Who had created him. Hud (A.S) realized that punishment would be incurred on the disbelievers among his people. It is one of the laws of life. Allah punishes the disbelievers, no matter how rich, tyrannical or great they are. Hud (A.S) and his people waited for Allah’s promise. Most of the people of ‘Ad were not ready to listen to Prophet Hud (A.S). To conclude, the holy Quran has used the stories of the people of Noah, Hud, Salih, Lot, Shu’aib and Moses to guide people indirectly towards true path. What is most prominent in their stories is that when Almighty Allah passes His judgment on the people, He does not spare anyone whatsoever, even if he be the nearest relative of the Prophet of the time. Only that one is rescued who had believed in the Prophet, and none else, not even his own son or wife. More than that: the Faith demands from each and every Believer that he should totally forget his relationships when that judgment comes and remember only the relationship of the Faith. For it is against the spirit of Islam to show any regard whatsoever for the relationships of blood and race. And the Muslims demonstrated these teachings practically in the Battle of Badr.
(The authors write regularly on Islamic topics exclusively for the opinion pages of “Kashmir Horizon”. Views are their own)