The people of ‘Aad lived at a place called ‘Ahqaaf’, which is a vast desert situated between Oman and Hadramites (Hidarmaut). Their tribe is known from the name of their ancestor whose name was ‘Aad Bin ‘Aws Bin Arum Bin Saam Bin Nuh. The people started calling this tribe by the name of their ancestor ‘Aad. These people were idol worshippers and were very vicious and sinful. Allah sent Sayyiduna Hood علیہ السلام as a Prophet to guide these people but they refuted him due to their arrogance and viciousness and remained stuck with their unbelief. Sayyiduna Hood علیہ السلام repeatedly admonished these deviant people of the Divine torment but the cruel people said to their Prophet (علیہ السلام ) very disrespectfully and fearlessly that:
Have you come to us in order that we worship only Allah, and abandon those whom our forefathers worshipped? So bring upon us what you have been promising us, if you are truthful.
[Kanz-ul-Iman (Translation of Quran)] (Part 8, Surah Al-A’raf, verse 70)
Finally, the signs of the Divine torment became apparent. There was no rain for three years. Famine prevailed everywhere. The conditions became so worse that the people were dying for a single grain. It was a common tradition in those days that, in case of sufferings, they would supplicate near the sacred Ka’bah in holy Makkah and thus they would be blessed with relief. Therefore, a group of people went to Makkah. Within this delegation, there was a person called Marsad Bin Sa’d who was a believer. But he would keep his faith secret from the people. When these people started supplicating in Ka’bah, the faith and spiritual enthusiasm of Marsad Bin Sa’d bubbled over. He said in an emotional outburst to people, ‘O my people! No matter you make millions of supplications, I swear by the name of Allah that the rain will not shower until you do not embrace faith in your Prophet Hood علیہ السلام .’
When Sayyiduna Marsad Bin Sa’d revealed his faith, the mischievous people of ‘Aad beat him, separated him and resumed praying. At that time, Allah sent three clouds, one was white, one was red and one was black. A voice was heard from the skies: ‘O people of ‘Aad! You may choose one cloud among these three clouds for you.’ They opted for the black cloud assuming that the black cloud will bring about a lot of rain. Therefore, the black cloud started moving towards the village of the people of ‘Aad. The people of ‘Aad became very happy to see the black cloud. Sayyiduna Hood علیہ السلام said: ‘O my people! Witness that the torment from Allah is approaching you in the form of a cloud. But these transgressors refuted their Prophet (علیہ السلام ) and said, ‘What type of torment and where from?’ They added, : ھٰذَا عَارِضٌ مُمْطِرُنَا i.e. it is a cloud which is coming to provide us rain.
(Ruh-ul-Bayan, vol. 3, pp. 187-189; part 8, Surah Al-A’raf, verse 70)
The cloud was approaching continuously towards the village from the west and all of a sudden, a storm blew up from that cloud. This windstorm was so violent that it would throw away camels along with their riders from one place to another. It became more violent soon and it uprooted the trees. Upon seeing this, the people of ‘Aad confined them in their stone-carved palaces and made the doors shut. However, the storm was so furious that it did not only uproot the doors but also caused wreckage of the palaces.
This windstorm sustained for seven nights and eight days and killed each and every individual of the people of ‘Aad. Not even a single child of these people could survive. When the storm ended, the corpses of the people of ‘Aad were lying all over the ground like the date-palm trees fell uprooted. Therefore, Allah has said:
And as for ‘Aad, they were destroyed by a severe thundering windstorm. He forced it upon them with strength, consecutively for seven nights and eight days – so you may see those people therein prostrate, as if they were trunks of date palms fallen down. So do you see any survivor among them? [Kanz-ul-Iman (Translation of Quran)] (Part 29, Surah Al-Haqqah, verse 6-8)
Then with the grace of Allah , a flock of black birds appeared. They picked the dead bodies up and threw them into the sea.
Sayyiduna Hood علیہ السلام then left that area and went to Makka-tulMukarramah with few believers who had embraced the faith. They remained in the home of Allah (i.e. Makkah) worshipping until the last moments of their life.
(Tafseer As-Saawi, vol. 2, pp. 686; part 8, Surah Al-A’raf, verse 70)
Moral: Let’s see the moral lesson that we get from this hearttrembling event of the Holy Quran. The people of ‘Aad were very powerful and tall. They were also economically well-established because they had cropped fields and lush gardens. These people had made separate palaces for their summer and winter’s living by engraving the mountains. These people, who relied a lot on their enormous number and power, were very proud of their estates and their living in the lap of luxury.
But their unbelief, transgression and misdeeds brought Divine torment such that it was totally impossible for them to bear the brunt of storm which shook the whole village upside down and destroyed it. Their existence from the face of the earth was wiped out in such a way that no signs of even their graves exist anywhere, so how can we the weak people, face the blows of the severe Divine torment! Therefore, all those who are serious for their well-being and survival must always refrain from the sins and disobedience of Allah and His Beloved Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم. They should do their utmost to perform virtuous deeds. Otherwise, the verses of the Holy Quran are teaching us openly that the outcome of virtuous deeds is reward bearing and that of evil deeds is destructive.
One may read in the Holy Quran that: وَالْمُؤْتَفَکٰتُ بِالْخَاطِئَۃِ meaning,
‘Many cities were destroyed, because of (people’s) committing sins’ and also read the following verse:
And had the people of the cities believed and feared, we would have surely opened for them the blessings from the sky and from the earth, but they denied, and We therefore seized them on account of their deeds.
[Kanz-ul-Iman (Translation of Quran)] (Part 9, Surah Al-A’raf, verse 96)