Surah Al-A’raf Ayat 73 in Arabic Text
Here you can read various translations of verse 73
And to the Thamud [We sent] their brother Salih. He said, “O my people, worship Allah; you have no deity other than Him. There has come to you clear evidence from your Lord. This is the she-camel of Allah [sent] to you as a sign. So leave her to eat within Allah ‘s land and do not touch her with harm, lest there seize you a painful punishment.
To the Thamud people (We sent) Salih, one of their own brethren: He said: “O my people! worship Allah: ye have no other god but Him. Now hath come unto you a clear (Sign) from your Lord! This she-camel of Allah is a Sign unto you: So leave her to graze in Allah’s earth, and let her come to no harm, or ye shall be seized with a grievous punishment.
And to Thamud We sent forth their brother. Salih. He said to them: ‘O my people! Serve Allah, you have no other god than Him. Truly there has come to you a clear proof from your Lord. This she-camel from Allah is a Divine portent for you. So leave her alone to pasture on Allah’s earth, and touch her with no evil lest a painful chastisement should seize you.
And to Thamud (people, We sent) their brother Salih (Saleh). He said: “O my people! Worship Allah! You have no other Ilah (God) but Him. (La ilaha ill-Allah: none has the right to be worshipped but Allah). Indeed there has come to you a clear sign (the miracle of the coming out of a huge she-camel from the midst of a rock) from your Lord. This she-camel of Allah is a sign unto you; so you leave her to graze in Allah’s earth, and touch her not with harm, lest a painful torment should seize you.
And to (the tribe of) Thamud (We sent) their brother Salih. He said: O my people! Serve Allah. Ye have no other Allah save Him. A wonder from your Lord hath come unto you. Lo! this is the camel of Allah, a token unto you; so let her feed in Allah’s earth, and touch her not with hurt lest painful torment seize you.
And to Thamûd (We sent) their brother Salih. He said, “O my people! Worship Allah! In no way do you have any god other than He. A Supremely evident (sign) from your Lord has already come to you. This is the she-camel of Allah to be a sign for you. So leave her out (free) to eat in the earth of Allah, and do not touch her with any odious (treatment) (lest) then a painful torment should take you (away).
To the people of Thamud We sent their brother, Salih. He said, ‘My people, serve God: you have no god other than Him. A clear sign has come to you now from your Lord: this is God’s she-camel- a sign for you- so let her graze in God’s land and do not harm her in any way, or you will be struck by a painful torment.
Quran 7 Verse 73 Explanation
For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Al-A’raf ayat 73, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.
(7:73) And to Thamud We sent forth their brother. Salih. He said to them: ‘0 my people! Serve Allah, you have no other god than Him. Truly there has come to you a clear proof from your Lord. This she-camel from Allah is a Divine portent for you. So leave her alone to pasture on Allah’s earth, and touch her with no evil lest a painful chastisement should seize you.
57. The Thamud are another ancient Arab people, next only to the ‘Ad in fame. Legends relating to them were quite popular in pre-Islamic Arabia. In fact poetry and orations of the pre-Islamic (Jahiliyah) period abound with references to them. They are also mentioned in the Assyrian inscriptions and in the Greek, Alexandrian and Roman works of history and geography. Some descendants of the Thamud survived to a little before the birth of Jesus. The Roman historians mention that they entered into the Roman army and fought against the Nabateans, their arch-enemy.
The Thamud lived in the north-western part of Arabia which is still called al-Hijr. In the present time there is a station on the Hijaz railway, between Madina and Tabuk. This is called Mada’in Salih, which was the capital town of Thamud and was then known as al-Hijr, the rock-hewn city. This has survived to this day and is spread over thousands of acres. It was once inhabited by no less than half a million people. At the time of the revelation of the Qur’an Arab trade caravans passed through the ruins of this city.
While the Prophet (peace be on him) was on his way, to Tabuk, he directed the Muslims to look upon these monuments and urged them to learn the lessons which sensible persons ought to learn from the ruins of a people that had been destroyed because of their evil-doing. The Prophet (peace be on him) also pointed to the well from which the she-camel of the Prophet Salih used to drink. He instructed the Muslims to draw water from that well alone and to avoid all other wells. The mountain pass through which that she-camel came to drink was also indicated by the Prophet (peace be on him). The pass is still known as Fajj al-Naqah. The Prophet (peace be on him) then gathered all the Muslims who had been directed to look around that city of rocks, and addressed them. He drew their attention to the tragic end of the Thamud, who by their evil ways had invited God’s punishment upon themselves. The Prophet (peace he on him) asked them to hastily move ahead for the place was a grim reminder of God’s severe punishment and he hence called for reflection and repentance. (See waqidi, al-maghazi, vol. 3, pp. 1006-8. See also the comments of Ibn Kathir on verses 73-8 – Ed.)
58. The context seems to indicate that the clear proof referred to in the verse stands for the she-camel which is also spoken of as ‘a Divine portent’. In( al-Shu’ara’ 26: 154-8) it is explicitly mentioned that the Thamud themselves had asked the Prophet Salih to produce some sign which would support his claim to be God’s Messenger. Responding to it, Salih pointed to the she-camel.
This illustrates clearly that the appearance of the she-camel was a miracle. Similar miracles had been performed earlier by other Prophets with a view to fulfilling the demand of the unbelievers and thus of vindicating their claim to prophethood. The miraculous appearance of the she-camel reinforces the fact that Salih had presented it as a ‘Divine portent’ and warned his people of dire consequences if they harmed it. He explained to them that the she-camel would graze freely in their fields; that on alternate days she and other animals would drink water from their well, They were also warned that if they harmed the she-camel they would be immediatelv seized by a terrible chastisemen’ from God.
Such statements could obviously only have been made about an animal which was known to be of a miraculous nature. The Thamud observed the she-camel graze freely in their fields and she and the other camels drank water on alternate days from their well. The Thamud, though unhappy with the situation, endured this for quite some time. Later, however, after prolonged deliberations, they killed her. Such lengthy deliberations demonstrate that they were afraid to kill the she-camel. It is clear that the object of their fear was none other than the she-camel as they had no reason to be afraid of Salih, who had no power to terrify them. Their sense of awe for the she-camel explains why they let her graze freely on their land. The Qur’an, however, does not provide any detailed information as to what the she-camel looked like or how she was born. The authentic Hadith too provide no information about its miraculous birth. Hence, one need not take too seriously the statements of some of the commentators on the Qur’an about the mode of her birth. However, as far as the fact of her miraculous birth is concerned, that is borne out bv the Qur’an itself.
73. And to Thamud (people, We sent) their brother Salih. He said: “O my people! Worship Allah! You have no other god but Him. Indeed there has come to you a clear sign from your Lord. This she-camel of Allah is a sign unto you; so you leave her to graze in Allah’s earth, and touch her not with harm, lest a painful torment should seize you. 74. And remember when He made you successors (generations) after `Ad and gave you habitations in the land, you build for yourselves palaces in plains, and carve out homes in the mountains. So remember the graces (bestowed upon you) from Allah, and do not go about making mischief on the earth. 75. The leaders of those who were arrogant among his people said to those who were counted weak — to such of them as believed: “Know you that Salih is one sent from his Lord.” They said: “We indeed believe in that with which he has been sent.” 76. Those who were arrogant said: “Verily, we disbelieve in that which you believe in.” 77. So they killed the she-camel and insolently defied the commandment of their Lord, and said: “O Salih! Bring about your threats if you are indeed one of the Messengers (of Allah).” 78. So the earthquake seized them, and they lay (dead), prostrate in their homes.
Scholars of Tafsir and genealogy say that (the tribe of Thamud descended from) Thamud bin `Athir bin Iram bin Sam bin Nuh, and he is brother of Jadis son of `Athir, similarly the tribe of Tasm, and they were from the ancient Arabs, Al-`Aribah, before the time of Ibrahim, Thamud came after `Ad. They dwelled between the area of the Hijaz (Western Arabia) and Ash-Sham (Greater Syria). The Messenger of Allah passed by the area and ruins of Thamud when he went to Tabuk (in northern Arabia) during the ninth year of Hijrah. Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn `Umar said, “When the Messenger of Allah went to the area of Al-Hijr in Tabuk with the people, he camped near the homes of Thamud, in Al-Hijr and the people brought water from the wells that Thamud used before. They used that water to make dough and placed the pots (on fire) for cooking. However, the Prophet commanded them to spill the contents of the pots and to give the dough to their camels. He then marched forth with them from that area to another area, near the well that the camel (as will follow) used to drink from. He forbade the Companions from entering the area where people were tormented, saying,
(I fear that what befell them might befall you as well. Therefore, do not enter on them.)” Ahmad narrated that `Abdullah bin `Umar said that the Messenger of Allah said while in the Hijr area,
(Do not enter on these who were tormented, unless you do so while crying. If you are not crying, then do not enter on them, so that what befell them does not befall you, as well.) The basis of this Hadith is mentioned in Two Sahihs.
(And to Thamud), meaning, to the tribe of Thamud, We sent their brother Salih,
(He said: “O my people! Worship Allah! You have no other god but Him.”) All Allah’s Messengers called to the worship of Allah alone without partners. Allah said in other Ayat,
(And We did not send any Messenger before you but We revealed to him (saying): “None has the right to be worshipped but I, so worship Me.”) ﴿21:25﴾ and,
(And verily, We have sent among every Ummah a Messenger (proclaiming): “Worship Allah (Alone), and avoid Taghut (all false deities)”) ﴿16:36﴾.
Prophet Salih said,
(“Indeed there has come to you a clear sign from your Lord. This she-camel of Allah is a sign unto you;”) meaning, a miracle has come to you from Allah testifying to the truth of what I came to you with. Salih’s people asked him to produce a miracle and suggested a certain solid rock that they chose, which stood lonely in the area of Hijr, and which was called Al-Katibah. They asked him to bring a pregnant camel out of that stone. Salih took their covenant and promises that if Allah answers their challenge, they would believe and follow him. When they gave him their oaths and promises to that, Salih started praying and invoked Allah (to produce that miracle). All of a sudden, the stone moved and broke apart, producing a she-camel with thick wool. It was pregnant and its fetus was visibly moving in its belly, exactly as Salih’s people asked. This is when their chief, Jundu` bin `Amr, and several who followed him believed. The rest of the noblemen of Thamud wanted to believe as well, but Dhu’ab bin `Amr bin Labid, Al-Habbab, who tended their idols, and Rabbab bin Sum`ar bin Jilhis stopped them. One of the cousins of Jundu` bin `Amr, whose name was Shihab bin Khalifah bin Mikhlat bin Labid bin Jawwas, was one of the leaders of Thamud, and he also wanted to accept the message. However, the chiefs whom we mentioned prevented him, and he conceded to their promptings. The camel remained in Thamud, as well as, its offspring after she delivered it before them. The camel used to drink from its well on one day and leave the well for Thamud the next day. They also used to drink its milk, for on the days she drank water, they used to milk her and fill their containers from its milk. Allah said in other Ayat,
(And inform them that the water is to be shared between (her and) them, each one’s right to drink being established (by turns)) ﴿54:28﴾ and,
(Here is a she-camel: it has a right to drink (water), and you have a right to drink (water) (each) on a day, known) ﴿26:155﴾ The camel used to graze in some of their valleys, going through a pass and coming out through another pass. She did that so as to be able to move easily, because she used to drink a lot of water. She was a tremendous animal that had a strikingly beautiful appearance. When she used to pass by their cattle, the cattle would be afraid of her. When this matter continued for a long time and Thamud’s rejection of Salih became intense, they intended to kill her so that they could take the water for themselves every day. It was said that all of them (the disbelievers of Thamud) conspired to kill the camel. Qatadah said that he was told that, “The designated killer of the camel approached them all, including women in their rooms and children, and found out that all of them agreed to kill her.” This fact is apparent from the wording of the Ayat,
(Then they denied him and they killed it. So their Lord destroyed them because of their sin, and made them equal in destruction!) ﴿91:14﴾, and,
(And We sent the she-camel to Thamud as a clear sign, but they did her wrong.) ﴿17:59﴾ Allah said here,
(So they killed the she-camel) Therefore, these Ayat stated that the entire tribe shared in agreeing to this crime, and Allah knows best.
Imam Abu Ja`far Ibn Jarir and other scholars of Tafsir said that the reason behind killing the camel was that a disbelieving old woman among them named Umm Ghanm `Unayzah, the daughter of Ghanm bin Mijlaz, had the severest enmity among Thamud towards Salih, peace be upon him. She had beautiful daughters and she was wealthy, and Dhu’ab bin `Amr, one of the leaders of Thamud, was her husband. There was another noblewoman whose name was Saduf bint Al-Muhayya bin Dahr bin Al-Muhayya, who was of noble family, wealthy and beautiful. She was married to a Muslim man from Thamud, but she left him. These two women offered a prize for those who swore to them that they would kill the camel. Once, Saduf summoned a man called Al-Habbab and offered herself to him if he would kill the camel, but he refused. So she called a cousin of hers whose name was Musaddi` bin Mihraj bin Al-Muhayya, and he agreed. As for `Unayzah bint Ghanm, she called Qudar bin Salif bin Jundu`, a short person with red-blue skin, a bastard, according to them. Qudar was not the son of his claimed father, Salif, but the son of another man called, Suhyad. However, he was born on Salif’s bed (and thus named after him). `Unayzah said to Qudar, “I will give you any of my daughters you wish, if you kill the camel.” Qudar bin Salif and Musaddi` bin Mihraj went along and recruited several mischievous persons from Thamud to kill the camel. Seven more from Thamud agreed, and the group became nine, as Allah described, when He said,
(And there were in the city nine men, who made mischief in the land, and would not reform.) These nine men were chiefs of their people, and they lured the entire tribe into agreeing to kill the camel. So they waited until the camel left the water well, where Qudar waited beside a rock on its path, while Musaddi` waited at another rock. When the camel passed by Musaddi` he shot an arrow at her and the arrow pierced her leg. At that time, `Unayzah came out and ordered her daughter, who was among the most beautiful women, to uncover her face for Qudar, encouraging Qudar to swing his sword, hitting the camel on her knee. So she fell to the ground and screamed once to warn her offspring. Qudar stabbed her in her neck and slaughtered her. Her offspring went up a high rock and screamed. `Abdur-Razzaq recorded from Ma`mar that someone reported from Al-Hasan Al-Basari that the offspring said, “O my Lord! Where is my mother” It was said that her offspring screamed thrice and entered a rock and vanished in it, or, they followed it and killed it together with its mother. Allah knows best. When they finished the camel off and the news reached Prophet Salih, he came to them while they were gathered. When he saw the camel, he cried and proclaimed,
(“Enjoy yourselves in your homes for three days.”) ﴿11:65﴾
The nine wicked persons killed the camel on a Wednesday, and that night, they conspired to kill Salih. They said, “If he is truthful, we should finish him before we are finished. If he is a liar, we will make him follow his camel.”
(They said: “Swear one to another by Allah that we shall make a secret night attack on him and his household, and thereafter we will surely say to his near relatives: `We witnessed not the destruction of his household, and verily, we are telling the truth.”’ So they plotted a plot, and We planned a plan, while they perceived not.) ﴿27:49-50﴾ When they conspired to kill Salih and gathered at night to carry out their plot, Allah, to Whom belongs all might and Who protects His Messengers, rained down stones that smashed the heads of these nine people before the rest of the tribe. On Thursday, the first of the three days of respite, the people woke up and their faces were pale (yellow), just as Prophet Salih had promised them. On the second day of respite, Friday, they woke up and found their faces had turned red. On the third day of the respite, Saturday, they woke up with their faces black. On Sunday, they wore the fragrance of Hanut ﴿the perfume for enshrouding the dead before burial﴾ and awaited Allah’s torment and revenge, we seek refuge with Allah from it. They did not know what will be done to them or how and from where the torment would come. When the sun rose, the Sayhah (loud cry) came from the sky and a severe tremor overtook them from below; the souls were captured and the bodies became lifeless, all in an hour.
(And they lay (dead), prostrate in their homes.) They became dead and lifeless and none among them, whether young, old, male or female, escaped the torment. The scholars of Tafsir said that none from the offspring of Thamud remained, except Prophet Salih and those who believed in him. A disbelieving man called Abu Righal was in the Sacred Area at the time and the torment that befell his people did not touch him. When he went out of the Sacred Area one day, a stone fell from the sky and killed him. `Abdur-Razzaq narrated that Ma`mar said that Isma`il bin Umayyah said that the Prophet passed by the gravesite of Abu Righal and asked the Companions if they knew whose grave it was. They said, “Allah and His Messenger know better.” He said,
(This is the grave of Abu Righal, a man from Thamud. He was in the Sacred Area of Allah and this fact saved him from receiving Allah’s torment. When he went out of the Sacred Area, what befell his people also befell him. He was buried here along with a branch made from gold.) So the people used their swords and looked for the golden branch and found it. `Abdur-Razzaq narrated that Ma`mar said that Az-Zuhri said that Abu Righal is the father of the tribe of Thaqif.
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