Third wife of Abraham bore six sons. One of them was Madyan who was married to the daughter of Lut and they settled in Arab. All the tribes from the children of Madyan son of Abraham were named after him. At the time of Shuaib these tribes inhabited on the eastern banks of Mediterranean Sea and the North East of Arab close to the boarders of Syria. These areas had a pleasant climate and due to this trees and plants and orchards were in abundance. His period is reported to be 16th or 17th Century BC. In the Old Testament he has been mentioned as Jethro and Hobab. He was the father-in-law of Moses. His daughter Safora was married to Moses. Moses spent quite some time with him and he imparted prophetic training to Moses.
In the holy Quran these people have been named as the people of the woods (aika), which in Arabic is the bunch of green shrubs. Because of fertile land and orchards all around the inhabitations the Madyan people were wealthy and prosperous. They were traders. As long as these people followed the teachings of Abraham, materialistic approach could not baffle them and the glitter of gold and silver could not ride their nerves. But, when they forsake the prophetic teachings and started preferring the individual interests to the collective beneﬁts, they lost the right path.
People of Shuaib like the Lucifer, became arrogant and proud, and their arrogance misled them towards Wrong ways In other words to avenge the children of Adam, the Satan sowed the seed of pride and haughtiness in them. Prosperity, abundance of resources of life, proﬁts of the trade and availability of comforts of life led them to believe that all this was due to their personal abilities and their hard work. They ignored this fact that all this was the result of magnanimity and mercy of their Lord God. They became ungrateful. Hauteur and haughtiness sealed their hearts and they became high headed. When this happens man confines in the shell of his personal ego and gets away from the collective consciousness and sensibility.
It is one of the spiritual laws that limiting and variable senses prevail upon the selfish person. Love and respect for others fades away from his heart. Rights of others are usurped; arrogance and disobedience become the norm of life. Immodesty gives rise to immoral practices.
God had blessed the people of Shuaib with many comforts. Although they considered their abundance and prosperity a result of their own hard work, on the other hand they remained anxious and felt uneasy from the fear of the losing their wealth. When the greed overpowered them they started amassing wealth and riches. Entire nation had fallen prey to materialistic approach and they were practically worshipping the wealth and riches. Ascribing importance to wealth more than God is infidelity of the highest order, which is not tolerated by the Lord. Most of the nations have been destroyed only because of this very crime.
They had made colossal statues of Baal, which they bathed with perfumes, showered flower petals upon them and offered sacrifices of camels. They even slaughtered their children before the idols decorated with gold and silver ornaments. Latter on the same idol was worshipped in Arabia as Habal.
When the religious and moral conditions of the nation worsened beyond limit Nature appointed a gentle and noble person from amongst them to guide and lead them to the right path.
“And to the Madyan people, We sent Shuaib, one of their own brethren; he said; O my people! Worship God, ye have no other god but Him. ”
(S: 7, V: 85)
Shuaib preached the need of acknowledging and worshipping only one God and advised them to act upon the teachings of the prophets of God. He pointed out the moral turpitudes and told them to avoid bad and evil deeds.
“And give not short measures of weight. I see you in prosperity but I fear for you the Penalty of a day that will compass you all around. Anal, 0 my people! Give just measures and weight nor withhold from the people the things that are their due, commit not evil in the land with intent to do mischief "
(S: 11, V: 84-85)
They were notorious for cheatings and unfair practices in trade and business. They used to sell inferior quality goods as superior, gave lesser measures of weight and quantities and deceived their customers in their transactions. Acting upon Shuaib’s teachings and advices meant deprivation from their extra proﬁts. Shuaib advised them to keep their trade and businesses clean of cheatings and deceits.
Shuaib told them that the greed of wealth and riches gnaws away the human qualities, one forgets to tell between good and evil and remains engaged in amassing wealth. He advised them to learn a lesson from the destruction suffered by the disobedient nations of the past and warned them that if they persisted to disregard the right path destruction and annihilation would be their fate.
"And, O my people! Let not my dissent cause you to sin, lest you suffer a fate similar to that of the people of Noah or of Hud or of Salih, nor are the people of Lut far from you. But ask forgiveness of your Lord and turn unto Him for my Lord is indeed full of mercy and loving-kindness.”
(S: 11, V: 89-90)
Shuaib described to them the reasons that had resulted into annihilation of the past nations but his people did not pay any attention to his warnings. People who opted obedience were almost negligible. Those who had any authority threatened those who wanted to go to Shuaib. Addressing those people Shuaib said:
“And squat not on every road, breathing threats, hindering from the path of God, those who believe in Him. And, seeking in it something crooked. But remember how ye were little, and He gave you increase. And, hold in your mind ’s eye what was the end.”
(S: 7, v: 86)
Shuaib continued with his monotheistic mission and continued his efforts of preaching the word of God with determination.
“O my people! Do whatever you can; I will do my part of the job. Soon will ye know who it is on whom descends the penalty of ignominy and who is a liar! And, watch ye! For I am too watching with ye!
(3; 11, v; 93)
Chiefs of the people did not like this forewarning and they told Shuaib that they couldn’t understand what had gone wrong with him. He was weaker than them and they would have stoned him to death if he had not been amongst them. And, that he was not their leader. Shuaib expressed his grief over such a way of thinking and said, “ God, is indeed more powerful and mightier than any family or tribe.”
He said to them, “God has sent me to correct" you as much as I could do. My duty is to guide you towards the right path only and I have not been appointed a warden upon you. I am ordained to show you the signs of God. But it is unfortunate that you people are not ready to quit your arrogance and disobedience. I do not want any reward from you, for my reward is with God, His grace and mercy is encompassing me. He provides me with best of sustenance. The conduct that I expect of you is my obligation. You won’t find any contradiction in my words and deeds. Whatever I do, I do it depending upon God and because of His help and assistance my work completes but you people do not acknowledge this, ridicule my preaching, refuse to recognize me as the prophet of God and do not spare any occasion of opposing me.”
Chiefs of his people in their false vanity opted to oppress Shuaib and his followers. They demanded them to leave the right path and join them in their idol worshipping rites and rituals otherwise they would be expelled from the town. But Shuaib remained ﬁrm in his mission. He said, “What! Even though we detest them? We should indeed invent a lie if we returned to your ways after God has rescued us there from.”
Shuaib warned his people that if they did not leave their hypocritical and arrogant ways they would surely suffer the punishment under the laws of God. But, his people, in their ignorance remained forgetful about the eventual consequence and kept on ridiculing his message and asked for punishment sarcastically. So ﬁnally the people of Shuaib suffered a disastrous end.
“When Our decree issued, We saved Shuaib and those who believed with him by mercy from Ourselves. But the mighty blast did seize the wrongdoers and they lay prostrate in their homes by the morning as if they had never dwelt and ﬂourished there. Ah! Behold! How the Madyans were removed as were removed the Thamud!"
(S: 11, V: 94-95)
“But the earthquake took them unaware and they lay prostrate in their homes before the dawn. Those who rejected Shuaib became as if they had never been in the homes where they had ﬂourished, the men who rejected Shuaib... it was they who were ruined. ”
(S: 7, v: 91)
Disobedient and rebellious people were obliterated from the surface of the earth and Shuaib and those who believed were saved from the calamity. He along with his followers, left that place saying, “I delivered the messages of your Lord unto you and did my best for your good, now how can I grieve for the people who reject to believe.”
Points to note
Deliberation in this story leads us to conclude that the basis of a religion is to do good for others. If we cannot do good to others we should not do bad for them.
God is the greatest of all our friends and sympathizers. For enabling us to lead a better life God first made certain laws and then arranged to deliver these laws through his apostles. No need, no beneﬁt or any advantage of God can be ascribed to these laws. All these laws have been made for the good of the human beings. One hundred and twenty four thousand prophets of God gave the concepts of good and bad, to the children of Adam. They introduced the norms, rules and regulations to acquaint mankind with the Most Supreme Being; God and taught to worship God.
The people who disobey God and worship the wealth and riches instead of God, God disgraces such people. It is not a mere statement. There exist so many evidences to establish this fact. Ruins of magniﬁcent palaces of the great kings are scattered all over the world. The King of Iran whose family ruled the country for two thousand ﬁve hundred years died in the most miserable circumstance so much so that his dead body was disallowed burial in that country.
Do these people not travel through the earth and see what was the end of those before them? They were superior to them in strength and in the traces they left behind in the land but God did call them to account for their sins and none had they to defend them against God.
(S: 40, v: 21)
Laws of Nature keep on ignoring the mistakes as long as God’s system is not disrupted but when due to people’s wrong doings God’s creative system starts suffering commotion; corrective mechanism triggers and people are made to face a miserable punishment. Laws of God deprive such people of powers and authority and they are put to subjugation to others because they submitted themselves to wealth and riches and chose subjugation of a temporary and perishable thing. Wealth and riches are one of the biggest weaknesses of man.
“And violent is he in his love of wealth.”
(S: 100, V: 8)
Man thinks that gems, gold and silver fulﬁll his needs. He amasses wealth and strives to take a lead on others. He wastes the stores of energies that God has bestowed upon him in fulfilling the vain desires and the lust of wealth.
Man says that all I earn because of my abilities and efforts. Now this is the approach of thinking that sows the seeds of rebellion and arrogance in the hearts of human beings. When this arrogance and rebellion turns into a huge tree, his relation with God withers away and he becomes amongst the progeny of Qaron.
In the holy Quran at various places, to reduce the signiﬁcance of the world, God ordains to spend from the legitimate earnings for the sake of God for this is one of the ways to express gratitude for the favors of God.
“Ye cannot reach virtue unless you give away for the sake of God, which you like the most. ”
“O Prophet! They ask, what they should be spending for God, tell all that is in excess of their needs. "
Keeping these commands in view, one is required to spend as much as possible to serve the creatures of God. Charity can be started at home and may be extended to other needy people. Remember all that we spend for the sake of God must not be having any other objectives like fame, reward or any other motive.
Poor must be helped secretly so that neither you should feel proud nor their self-respect is injured. Do not impress others after giving out something.
Once Holy Prophet (PBUH) asked the people sitting around him; “Do you know who is the poor?
They replied that one who has no wealth and means.
Holy Prophet (PBUH) said, “Amongst my followers, on the Day of Judgment, that person will be the poor who would be having all the prayers, fasting, and zakats but he had abused someone in the world, falsely accused someone of adultery, had taken someone’s possession unduly and slain a person. All his virtues would be settled against the rights of others and when the virtues would exhaust, sins of those with whom he had been unjust, would be transferred to his account and he would be thrown into the Hell.
Rights of people due toward us begin from our relatives and the most important of them are the obligations concerning our parents. Obedience to our parents and their service is one of our foremost duties. Earning livelihood for the kids and family and their proper education is also our obligation. Then come the obligations concerning other relatives and neighbors and lastly the sphere of these obligations extends to all other human beings. These obligations include social, ﬁnancial and moral obligations. Quran has deﬁned the limits of all these obligations and declared them part of our belief.
Self-centered and selﬁsh capitalists have inﬂicted the calamity of black marketing and hoarding upon the poor for their personal gains and beneﬁts. Those who accumulate and hide away the items of provisions only for the sake of future proﬁts actually play with the entire humanity and are inviting the wrath of God.
Holy Prophet (PBUH) has stated that those who hoard the grains and other utilities so that create an artiﬁcial dearth of those items in the market resulting into price hike, are the most sinful people.
Holy Prophet (PBUH) has also stated those God is merciful to him who is gentle in buying, selling and asking for his dues.
Those who hoard in their greed to earn more proﬁts, usurp the rights of other people and create troubles for the other creatures are deprived of the wealth of peace. Apparently they might be very happy but their heart keep on crying within and fears of all sorts keep on haunting them. They do not trust anyone and nobody has any sympathy for them. When the prices drop, grief gnaws at their hearts and when the prices increase they rejoice.
The people of Shuaib had developed the habit of selling faulty things, making adulteration and deceitfully giving lesser measures. Today the Muslims have developed all those vices that were common in the people of Shuaib. Lying, nepotism, deceits, adulteration of low-grade oils in ghee, water and powder in milk, so much so that markets are flooded with second quality goods, lesser measuring, deceitfully breach of laws for proﬁting, fault ﬁnding in others, dealing in usury (Ribu) considering others inferior and caring about the rights only and remain neglectful of the duties have become so common in Muslims. Every crime for which the nations were destroyed, all have accumulated in the Muslims. Nobody respect any Muslim in the world.
Once His Divine Grace, Qalander Baba Auliya, said sadly, “Tonight a strange thing happened in the court of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). Angels collectively appealed to him that their duty be changed. They inspire goodness to the Muslims but no one accepts that inspiration except a few who have some love for God and His apostle. Lip servicing is common but no one actually practices good things. Everyone is preaching goodness but nobody acts upon them.”
When we claim to be the followers of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), we ought to think that how much we are acting upon the teachings of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). Holy Prophet (PBUH) was forgiving and how many of us have developed this quality of forgiving others. He was the trust worthiest person of all and how many of us enjoy this quality. God and His apostle have forbidden us from getting angry but every Muslim family is suffering only because of the fact that every one of us is raging.
Holy Prophet (PBUH) has forbidden us from selfishness “and the norms of our Muslim society are exactly opposite to them. Everyone is expecting from others but no one is mindful of his own duties concerning the rights of others. If I love a person it means that he must obey me and must accept what I demand of him.
If, for instance, a boy proposes to a girl to marry him as he loves her. He openly says that if she would not marry him he would kill her. And, if he is asked why should she marry you if she does not love you. His reply is, so what? I love her and I want to marry her isn’t that enough.
We all are trapped in the snare of selfishness and disillusions. And these are the acts, which are not liked by God.
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