Saleh (AS)

The Camel of Allah

Prophet Saleh or Salih (AS) was a messenger of Allah and a descendant of the Prophet Nuh (AS). He was sent by Allah to the nation of Thamud, a nation that was grew very powerful, wealthy and influential.

The society grew very proud of their accomplishment and began building huge castles, palaces, and other structures as status symbols of their power and influence.

Allah gave them a change to turn back to Him, especially as they knew what happened to the people Ad’ from the story of Hud (AS). They still denied these warning as their obsession with material possessions grew. They turned away from All and the poor began worshiping the rich who proclaimed themselves as Gods.

Prior to his prophethood, Prophet Saleh (AS) was a man of very high standing within the community. He built a reputation of respect and was wealthy herself. He was help in high regard by the people of Thamud for his wisdom and virtue. They respected him so much the their were preparing to appoint him as their leader. Though, it was during this period that Saleh (AS) was bestowed with prophethood.

It astonished the people of Thamud when Prophet Saleh (AS) exclaimed, “O my people, worship Allah; you have no deity other than Him. He has produced you from the earth and settled you in it. So ask forgiveness of Him and then repent to Him. Indeed, my Lord is near and responsive” (11:61)

Saleh (AS) continued to urge the people to obey him and fear and worship Allah. Though they remained stubborn and replied, “O Saleh, you were among us a man of promise before this. Do you forbid us to worship what our fathers worshipped?  And indeed we are in disquieting doubt about that to which you invite us.” (11:62). There were a few among the poor that followed and entered the fold of Islam, but the majority rejected the message, with some calling him crazy and others saying he must be possessed.

As the days passed, the people of Thamud feared that Prophet Saleh’s (AS) followers would increase in number. In a plan to put off the message of Saleh (AS), they planned on asking him for a miracle to prove he was indeed a messenger of Allah. With a seemingly impossible miracle, they confronted Saleh (AS).

They pointed at an enormous rock and demanded Saleh (AS) bring out a she camel with the following attributes:
  • Must be red
  • Extremely Tall
  • Very Wooly
  • Attractive
  • Ten Months Pregnant

Desperate to bring his people to the path of Allah, Saleh (AS) made dua for Allah to grant him this miracle. Allah accepted his request and Saleh (AS) quickly gathered his people to witness the coming of the miracle. With the order of Allah, the earlier mentioned rock split in half and from it emerged a red, gigantic, ten month pregnant she-camel. The people of Thamud watched in awe and amazement as they have just been given clear evidence of Allah. This caused a number of people to declare their faith, though the majority still remained untouched and pursed their disbelief, stating that is was noting but pure magic.

The she-camel was indeed a living miracle, and every passing day people continued to convert to Islam. The disbelievers could not bear this and eventually their hatred for Saleh (AS) was diverted towards the she-camel. Saleh (AS) feared that the disbelievers would conspire against the she-camel and warned them, “O my people! This she camel of Allah is a sign to you, leave her to feed on Allah’s earth, and touch her not with evil lest a near torment will seize you.”  The people Thamud initially allowed the she-camel to graze on their land and drink freely from the common well.

Though, it wasn’t long before the people of Thamud became disgruntled, the believers found their faith increasing while the disbelievers’ hatred intensified to a degree where they began plotting to kill the she camel.

With the support of all the disbelievers in town, nine men set out aiming to kill the she-camel. They watched her closely. As she approached to drink from the well one of the men shot her in the leg, thereby hindering her from escape. The others immediately sprang forward and plunged a sword into her body, killing her.

The townspeople saw this as a clear victory and cheered loudly for the men. They went on to slaughter the she-camel and eat her meat. When Saleh (AS) heard of this he hurried to warn the people, but it was too late. The people mocked him saying, “O Saleh, bring us what you promise us, if you should be of the messengers.” Saleh replied, “Enjoy yourselves in your homes for three days. That is a promise that will not be denied.” (11:65)

The disbelievers taunted Saleh (AS), mockingly telling him to bring on the punishment. Prophet Saleh (AS) said “O my people, why are you impatient for evil instead of good? Why do you not seek forgiveness of Allah that you may receive mercy?” The people paid no heed. They were only infuriated and began plotting to kill Prophet Saleh. The nine men gathered together and discussed, “Take a mutual oath by Allah that we will kill him by night, he and his family. Then we will say to his executor, ‘We did not witness the destruction of his family, and indeed, we are truthful.” (27:49)

Meanwhile Allah had a plan for the people of Thamud, “And they planned a plan, and We planned a plan, while they perceived not” (27:50) so he instructed Saleh (AS) to gather his followers and leave town. The people were overjoyed to be rid of him or were unperturbed by Saleh’s (AS) warning. The people of Thamud possessed excellent craftsmanship that they had carved their houses out of the dense rock of the mountains. This made them feel secure. They believed their rock fortresses would protect them from all disasters.

Three days after Salih’s (AS) warning, thunderbolts filled the air, followed by severe earthquakes which destroyed the entire tribe and its homeland. The land was violently shaken, destroying all living creatures in it. There was one terrific cry which had hardly ended when the disbelievers of Salih’s (AS) people were struck dead, one and all, at the same time. Neither their strong buildings nor their rock hewn homes could protect them.

The disbelievers of Thamud had no ally that day. They had incurred the wrath of Allah which caused them to be destroyed before they realized what was happening.

Meanwhile, Prophet Saleh (AS) and the believers were saved by the mercy of Allah. Saleh (AS) returned to Al Hijr one day to witness the destruction of his people and said with a heavy heart, “O my people, I had certainly conveyed to you the message of my Lord and advised you, but you do not like advisors.” Prophet Saleh then migrated to Palestine, where he lived until his death.