(26:176) The people of Aykah also gave the lie to the Messengers.115 كَذَّبَ اَصۡحٰبُ لْئَيۡكَةِ الۡمُرۡسَلِيۡنَ ۖۚ
(26:177) Recall, when Shuayb said to them: "Have you no fear?
اِذۡ قَالَ لَهُمۡ شُعَيۡبٌ اَلَا تَتَّقُوۡنَۚ
(26:178) I am a trustworthy Messenger to you.
اِنِّىۡ لَـكُمۡ رَسُوۡلٌ اَمِيۡنٌۙ
(26:179) So fear Allah and obey me.
فَاتَّقُوا اللّٰهَ وَاَطِيۡعُوۡنِۚ
(26:180) I ask of you no reward for this. My reward is with none but the
Lord of the Universe.
وَمَاۤ اَسۡـَٔـــلُكُمۡ عَلَيۡهِ مِنۡ اَجۡرٍۚ اِنۡ اَجۡرِىَ اِلَّا عَلٰى
رَبِّ الۡعٰلَمِيۡنَ ؕ
(26:181) Fill up the measure and do not diminish the goods of people,
اَوۡفُوا الۡـكَيۡلَ وَلَا تَكُوۡنُوۡا مِنَ الۡمُخۡسِرِيۡنَۚ
(26:182) weigh with an even balance
وَزِنُوۡا بِالۡقِسۡطَاسِ الۡمُسۡتَقِيۡمِۚ
(26:183) and do not deliver short, and do not go about creating mischief
in the land,
وَلَا تَبۡخَسُوا النَّاسَ اَشۡيَآءَهُمۡ وَلَا تَعۡثَوۡا فِى الۡاَرۡضِ مُفۡسِدِيۡنَۚ
(26:184) and have fear of Him Who created you and the earlier generations."
وَاتَّقُوا الَّذِىۡ خَلَقَكُمۡ وَالۡجِـبِلَّةَ الۡاَوَّلِيۡنَؕ
(26:185) They said: "You are no more than one of those who have been bewitched,
قَالُوۡۤا اِنَّمَاۤ اَنۡتَ مِنَ الۡمُسَحَّرِيۡنَۙ
(26:186) you are only a mortal like us. Indeed we believe that you are an
وَمَاۤ اَنۡتَ اِلَّا بَشَرٌ مِّثۡلُـنَا وَ اِنۡ نَّظُنُّكَ لَمِنَ الۡكٰذِبِيۡنَۚ
(26:187) So cause a piece of the sky to fall upon us if you are truthful."
فَاَسۡقِطۡ عَلَيۡنَا كِسَفًا مِّنَ السَّمَآءِ اِنۡ كُنۡتَ مِنَ الصّٰدِقِيۡنَؕ
(26:188) Shuayb said: "My Lord knows well all what you do."116 قَالَ رَبِّىۡۤ اَعۡلَمُ بِمَا تَعۡمَلُوۡنَ
(26:189) Then they branded him a liar, whereupon the chastisement of the
Day of Canopy overtook them.117 It was the chastisement of a very
فَكَذَّبُوۡهُ فَاَخَذَهُمۡ عَذَابُ يَوۡمِ الظُّلَّةِؕ اِنَّهٗ كَانَ عَذَابَ
(26:190) Surely there is a Sign in this, but most of them would not believe.
اِنَّ فِىۡ ذٰ لِكَ لَاَيَةً ؕ وَمَا كَانَ اَكۡثَرُهُمۡ مُّؤۡمِنِيۡنَ
(26:191) Verily Your Lord is Immensely Mighty, Most Compassionate.
وَاِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَهُوَ الۡعَزِيۡزُ الرَّحِيۡمُ
115. The people of Aiykah have been briefly mentioned in verses 78-84 of
Surah Al-Hijr. More about them here. There is a difference of opinion among
the commentators as to whether the Midianites and the people of Aiykah were
two different tribes or one and the same people. One group holds that they were
different tribes and gives the argument that in Surah Al-Aaraf Prophet Shuaib
(peace be upon him) has been brother of the Midianites
(verse 85), whereas here,
with regard to the people of Aiykah, he has not been called so. The other group
holds that they were one and the same people on the ground that the moral diseases
and characteristics mentioned of the Midianites in Surahs Al-Aaraf and Houd
are the same as of the people of Aiykah mentioned here. Then the message and
admonition of Prophet Shuaib (peace be upon him) to both the tribes was the
same, and the two tribes also met the same end.
Research in this regard has shown that both the views are correct. The Midianites
and the people of Aiykah were doubtless two different tribes but branches of
the same stock. The progeny of Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) from his
wife (or slave girl) Keturah, is well known in Arabia and in the history of
the Israelites as the children of Keturah. Their most prominent branch was the
one which became famous as the Midianites, after their ancestor, Midian, son
of Abraham. They had settled in the territory between northern Arabia and southern
Palestine, and along the coasts of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqabah. Their
capital city was Madyan, which was situated, according to Abul Fida, on the
western coast of the Gulf of Aqabah at five days’ journey from Aiykah (present
day Aqabah). The rest of the children of Keturah, among whom the Dedanites are
comparatively better known, settled in the territory between Taima and Tabuk
and Al-Ula in northern Arabia, their main city being Tabuk, the Aiykah of the
ancient times. (Yaqut in his Mujam al-Buldan, under Aiykah, writes that this
is the old name of Tabuk, and the natives of Tabuk confirm this).
The reason why one and the same Prophet was sent to the Midianites and the
people of Aiykah was probably that both the tribes were descendants of the same
ancestors, spoke the same language and had settled in the adjoining areas. It
is just possible that they lived side by side in the same areas and had marriages
and other social relations between them. Then, these two branches were traders
by profession and had developed similar evil practices and social and moral
weaknesses. According to the early books of the Bible, these people worshiped
Baal-peor. When the Children of Israel came out of Egypt and entered their territory,
they also became infected with the evils of idolatry and adultery. (Numbers,
25: 1-5, 31: 16-17). Then those people had settled on the two main international
trade routes, the one joining Yaman with Syria and the other the Persian Gulf
with Egypt. Due to their advantageous position they had started big scale highway
robbery and would not let any caravan pass till it had paid heavy taxes. They
had thus rendered these trade routes highly unsafe. Their characteristic of
highway robbery has been mentioned in the Quran, for which they were admonished
through Prophet Shuaib (peace be upon him), thus: And do not lie in ambush by
every path (of life) as robbers in order to frighten the people
(Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayat 86). These were the reasons why Allah sent to both the tribes the same
Prophet, who conveyed to them the same teachings and message. For the details
of the story of Prophet Shuaib (peace be upon him) and the Midianites, see
(Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayats 85-93);
(Surah Houd, Ayats 84-95); and
(Surah Al-Ankabut, Ayats 36-37).
116. That is, it is not in my power to bring down the torment; it is in Allah’s
power, and He is fully aware of your misdeeds. He will send down the torment
as and when He wills. In this demand of the people of Aiykah and the answer
of Prophet Shuaib (peace be upon him) to them there was an admonition for the
Quraish as well. They also demanded from the Prophet (peace be upon him) to
bring down the torment on them: Or.... you cause the sky to fall down on us
in fragments, as you threaten us.
(Surah Bani Israil, Ayat 92). As such the
Quraish are being told that the people of Aiykah had also demanded a similar
thing from their Prophet, and the answer that they got from their Prophet is
the answer of Muhammad (peace be on him) to you.
117. The details of this torment are neither found in the Quran nor in any
authentic tradition. What one can learn from the text is this: As these people
had demanded a torment from the sky, Allah sent upon them a cloud which hung
over them like a canopy and kept hanging until they were completely destroyed
by the torment of continuous rain. The Quran clearly points out that the nature
of the torment sent upon the Midianites was different from that sent upon the
people of Aiykah. The people of Aiykah, as mentioned here, were destroyed by
the torment of the canopy, while the torment visiting the Midianites was in
the form of a terrible earthquake: It so happened that a shocking catastrophe
overtook them and they remained lying prostrate in their dwellings.
(Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayat 91). And: A dreadful shock overtook them and they lay lifeless and prostrate
in their homes.
(Surah Houd, Ayat 94). Therefore, it is wrong to regard the
two torments as identical. Some commentators have given a few explanations of
the torment of the Day of canopy, but we do not know the source of their information.
Ibn Jarir has quoted Abdullah bin Abbas as saying: If somebody from among the
scholars gives you an explanation of the torment of the Day of canopy, do not
consider it as correct.