اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ بِجَمِیعِ مَحَامِدِه کُلِّهَا عَلَی جَمِیعِ نِعَمِهِ کُلِّهَا… اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ مالِکِ الْمُلْکِ مُجْرِی الْفُلْکِ مُسَخِّرِ الرِّیاحِ فالِقِ الاْصْباحِ دَیّانِ الدّینِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمینَ اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ عَلی حِلْمِهِ بَعْدَ عِلمِهِ وَالْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ عَلی عَفْوِهِ بَعْدَ قُدْرَتِهِ وَالْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ عَلی طُولِ اَناتِهِ فی غَضَبِهِ وَهُوَ قادِرٌ عَلی ما یُریدُ
Praise is to God with all his praises, for all his blessings. . . Praise is to God, the owner of the property, the operator of the orbit, the bender of the wind, the glory of the morning, the religion of the beliefs, lord of the worlds; praise is to God for his dream after his knowledge and thank God for forgiveness after his power, and praise be to God for his long patience in his wrath and he is capable to do what he wills
و نشهد أن لا اله الا الله وحده لا شریک له، و أَنَّ محمداً عبده و رسوله ارسله بالهدی و دین الحق لیظهره علی الدین کله و لو کره المشرکون اوصیکم عبادالله و نفسی بتقوی الله و اتباع امره و نهیه، و اخوفکم من عقابه
And we bear witness that there is no god but God alone, without partner, and that Muhammad is his servant and messenger, he sent him with guidance and the religion of truth, that he might proclaim it over all religion, even if the polytheists hated it.
The biography of the prophet Salih and the people of Thamud
The people and the prophet who became famous in history after the people of Aa’d and their prophet, Hood, and whose instructive story is mentioned in different chapters and verses of the Qur’an, are the people of Thamud and their prophet, Salih. The holy Qur’an says: وَلَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا إِلَى ثَمُودَ أَخَاهُمْ صَالِحاً؛ Certainly We sent to Thamud Salih, their brother, [with the summons:] ‘Worship Allah!’ But thereat they became two groups contending with each other. (Namal: 45)
Characteristics of the Thamud tribe
The people of Thamud were a group pf people from the generation of the saved and the believers of the people of Aa’d, who, after a few generations, had an advanced civilization and many divine blessings. These people had an advanced industry appropriate to their time and had achieved the ability to conquer and change the mountains. The holy Qur’an says in this regard: وَثَمُودَ الَّذِينَ جَابُوا الصَّخْرَ بِالْوَادِ and [the people of] Thamud, who hollowed out the rocks in the valley; (Fajr: 9)
Two characteristics can be mentioned for the Thamud people: 1. Economic prosperity, 2. Ignorant adherence to ethnic traditions.
Regarding the economic well-being of the people of Thamud, the holy Qur’an mentions their summer and winter palaces, which are a sign of their great material well-being, and addresses them in the words of the prophet Salih:
وَاذْكُرُوا إِذْ جَعَلَكُمْ خُلَفَاءَ مِنْ بَعْدِ عَادٍ وَبَوَّأَكُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ تَتَّخِذُونَ مِنْ سُهُولِهَا قُصُوراً وَتَنْحِتُونَ الْجِبَالَ بُيُوتاً؛
Remember when He made you successors after [the people of] ‘Ad, and settled you in the land: you build palaces in its plains, and hew houses out of the mountains. So remember Allah’s bounties, and do not act wickedly on the earth, causing corruption.’ (A’raf: 74)
Regarding the ignorant adherence of the people of Thamud to the tradition of their ancestors, the holy Qur’an mentions their words addressed the prophet Salih, who attributed the reason for their opposition to his invitation to his confrontation with the idols of their fathers:
قَالُوا يَا صَالِحُ قَدْ كُنْتَ فِينَا مَرْجُوًّا قَبْلَ هَذَا أَتَنْهَانَا أَنْ نَعْبُدَ مَا يَعْبُدُ آبَاؤُنَا وَإِنَّنَا لَفِي شَكٍّ مِمَّا تَدْعُونَا إِلَيْهِ مُرِيبٍ؛
They said, ‘O Salih! You were a source of hope to us before this. Do you forbid us to worship what our fathers have been worshiping? Indeed we have grave doubts concerning that to which you invite us.’ (Hood: 62)
Both of these characteristics can have a positive side, just as they can have a negative side.
If economic prosperity and enjoyment of worldly blessings are accompanied by attention to God, whose blessings and economic prosperity are rooted in His mercy and success, he will be the best helper in the happiness of this world and the hereafter. Therefore, they have said لا مَعَادَ لِمَن لا مَعَاشَ لَه There is no hostility to the one who does not have a pension.
And adherence to ancestral traditions, just as if these traditions do not have rational roots, is negative and can be a cause of misguidance, just as if it has rational roots, it is positive and will be a factor of guidance and happiness.
The beginning of the invitation of the prophet Salih
Salih, like all divine prophets, began his mission by calling for monotheism. According to the holy Qur’an, the first word of the prophet Salih in communicating the divine religion is that only “God” should be worshiped:
وَإِلَى ثَمُودَ أَخَاهُمْ صَالِحاً قَالَ يَا قَوْمِ اعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ مَا لَكُمْ مِنْ إِلَهٍ غَيْرُهُ هُوَ أَنْشَأَكُمْ مِنَ الْأَرْضِ وَاسْتَعْمَرَكُمْ فِيهَا فَاسْتَغْفِرُوهُ ثُمَّ تُوبُوا إِلَيْهِ إِنَّ رَبِّي قَرِيبٌ مُجِيبٌ؛
And to Thamud [We sent] Salih, their brother. He said, ‘O my people! Worship Allah. You have no other god besides Him. He brought you forth from the earth and made it your habitation. So plead with Him for forgiveness, then turn to Him penitently. My Lord is indeed nearmost [and] responsive.’ (Hood: 61)
This word of the prophet Salih is “there is no god except the unique God” which is expressed in another phrase. This message, which is monotheism in worship, is the secret of human happiness in the path of the worldly life, which is the word of all divine prophets, which has been expressed in different terms.
The attitude of the people of Thamud to the invitation of the prophet Salih
Some people of the Thamud tribe, believing in his words which were in accordance with their divine nature, believed in him and many people opposed him. The Qur’an says that there was a dispute among the people of Thamud about the invitation and the words of the prophet Salih:
وَلَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا إِلَى ثَمُودَ أَخَاهُمْ صَالِحاً أَنِ اعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ فَإِذَا هُمْ فَرِيقَانِ يَخْتَصِمُونَ؛
Certainly We sent to Thamud Salih, their brother, [with the summons:] ‘Worship Allah!’ But thereat they became two groups contending with each other. (Namal: 45)
The oppositions of the prophet Salih are divided into several groups, according to the holy Qur’an. Salih addressed all these opponents for goodness, forgiveness, and rationality:
قَالَ يَا قَوْمِ لِمَ تَسْتَعْجِلُونَ بِالسَّيِّئَةِ قَبْلَ الْحَسَنَةِ؟ لَوْلَا تَسْتَغْفِرُونَ اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ؛
He said, ‘O My people! Why do you press for evil sooner than for good? Why do you not plead to Allah for forgiveness so that you may receive His mercy?’ (Namal: 46)
And the response of the opponents to peaceful words of the prophet Salih was due to their stubbornness and malice:
قَالُوا اطَّيَّرْنَا بِكَ وَبِمَنْ مَعَكَ قَالَ طَائِرُكُمْ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ بَلْ أَنْتُمْ قَوْمٌ تُفْتَنُونَ؛
They said, ‘We take you and those who are with you for a bad omen.’ He said, ‘Your bad omens are from Allah. Indeed, you are a people being tested.’ (Namal: 47)