Saleh bigraphy, stories - Islamic prophet

Saleh : biography

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Saleh, Sahlay or Șāliḥ (); meaning Pious was an Arabic prophet of ancient Arabia mentioned in the Qur'an, who prophesied to the tribe of Thamud.: "I am to you a messenger worthy of all trust.": "To 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.'" He is mentioned nine times throughout the Qur'an and his people are frequently referenced as a wicked community who, because of their sins, were ultimately destroyed. Saleh is sometimes equated with the Salah (biblical figure) of the Hebrew Bible. The preaching and prophecy of Saleh is linked to the famous Islamic story of the She-Camel, which was the gift given by God to the people of Thamud when they desired a miracle to confirm the truth of the message Saleh was preaching. Chronologically, scholars believe Saleh's prophesying to have been post-Antediluvian but pre-Abrahamic.

Historical context

Thamud people are believed to have been the successors to the ancient tribe of ʿĀd. Their ancestral descendant may have been Eber, the great-grandson of NoahStories of The Prophets, Ibn Kathir, page. 110 and their location is likely to have been in the Northwest corner of Arabia, between Madinah and Syria. In later Islamic history, when Muhammad led his expedition to Tabuk against the Romans, on a reported Roman invasion from Syria, the prophet - and his companions - came across the remains of Thamud. With the advance of material civilization, the people of Thamud became materialistic and arrogant as well as godless. Thus, God sent the prophet and seer Saleh, to warn them about the impending doom they would face if they did not mend their sinful ways.

Thamud cannot be equated with the Edomites at Petra. Salih was born before Abraham and the Edomites were a Semitic race. Historic Petra had several places of worship, and the main mountain at the site - Jebel al-Madhbah - is topped by two stone obelisks, suggesting the worship of deities via stone phallic symbols. The narrow gorge leading to the site - known as the Siq - can sometimes channel the wind to produce a loud trumpet-like sound, and it is known by local Bedouin as the trumpet of God. The Edomite occupants of Petra were, however, not obliterated, but instead just migrated to the Negev; neither were the subsequent Nabataean occupants of Petra destroyed by divine command, but instead were weakened by the Roman Emperor, Trajan, and reduced to mere peasants. The name of Saleh may originate in the name of the city, as it was historically known as Sela, a word deriving from the Hebrew term Se'lah, meaning rock; the Greek name Petra has the same meaning.

The prophet Saleh is not mentioned in any other Abrahamic scripture or contemporary historical text, and his account is only found in the Qur'an. However, the account of Thamud's destruction was well known in Pre-Islamic Arabia and among the Arabic tribes and their poets that they mentioned them (and the people of ʿĀd) in some of their poetry, as a moral lesson and a bad end. Arab Jews knew about the stories of Thamūd and ʿĀd from the tribes of the Arabian Peninsula, but mostly as an Arabian tradition, and not as a matter of belief and faith, because they were not mentioned in the Jewish sources, nor in the contemporary Roman or Christian ones.

Narrative

Saleh's life in his community had been so righteous that the people of Thamud virtually relied upon him for support.: "They said: 'O Salih! Thou hast been of us! A centre of our hopes hitherto! Dost thou (now) forbid us the worship of what our fathers worshipped? But we are really in suspicious (disquieting) doubt as to that to which thou invitest us.'" In fact, he might have been chosen as their leader or king if he had too followed their idolatrous ways. But Saleh was chosen by God as a prophet and he was born for a higher mission - to preach against the selfishness of the wealthy and to condemn the practice of idolatry. Although Saleh preached the message for a sustained period of time, the people for Thamud refused to hear his warning and instead began to ask Saleh to obtain a miracle for them.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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