Reflecting Over Punished Nations

‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar narrated that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and his Companions passed by al-Hijr, which was the location of the dwellings of the people of Thamud. So, the Prophet turned to them and said: “Do not approach the dwellings of these people who have been punished except that you are weeping. If you will not weep while doing so, do not approach them lest you be struck with the same punishment they were struck with.”

This was reported by al-Bukhari (433) and Muslim (2970).

In ‘Fath al-Bari’ (1/632), Ibn Hajar commented with the following:

“The motive for this fear is that weeping will push one to think and reflect. So, it is as if he commanded them to reflect over things that one has no choice but to weep over, such as Allah’s Ordainment that these people would remain upon kufr while simultaneously allowing them to flourish and establish themselves on Earth, be heedless for such a long period of time, and then have His Anger and extreme punishment befall them, and He is the controller of the hearts. So, the believer can never feel secure from his outcome being the same as this.

Reflection should also occur over how these people responded to Allah’s blessings upon them with kufr and the failure to use their intellect to believe in Him and obey Him. So, whoever passes by their dwellings and fails to reflect over what should bring one to tears has imitated them in their actions, and this is a sign of the hardness of his heart and lack of humility. So, such a person is not protected from following them in their actions and thus being stricken with what they were stricken with. With this, we have a response to the question of those who ask: how can the punishment of the transgressors befall those who don’t transgress? This is because such a person is not safe from becoming a transgressor and being punished for his transgression.

This hadith also encourages taking oneself to account, as well as the prohibition of living in the lands of those who were punished, and that one should proceed quickly when passing by them. This was also indicated in the verse: {“And you dwelt in the dwellings of those who wronged themselves, and it became clear to you how We dealt with them…”} [Ibrahim; 45]”

In his commentary on ‘Sahih Muslim’ (9/266), an-Nawawi said:

“This shows the encouragement of taking oneself to account when passing by the dwellings of the transgressors and the places where they were punished. The same applied to the Valley of Muhassar, as this was where the People of the Elephant were destroyed. So, whoever passes by such places should engage in reflection over his own actions, have fear, be weeping, and think about these people and their fate, and he should ask Allah to protect him from that.”

al-Bukhari (3379) and Muslim (2971) continued to relate on the authority of Ibn ‘Umar that when the Companions arrived at al-Hijr, they drank from its wells and used its water to knead dough. So, the Messenger of Allah commanded them to spill whatever drinking water they had collected from these wells and to feed the dough to their camels, and to instead drink from the well that the she-camel of Prophet Salih used to drink from. an-Nawawi commented (9/266) by saying:

“This shows that they avoided the wells of the wrongdoers and instead sought the blessing of using the wells of the righteous.”

One Response to “Reflecting Over Punished Nations”

  1. Mashallah.

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