History of the Prophets
by Maulana Muhammad Ali
Prophets not Mentioned in the Bible
The history of Noah in the Holy Quran is generally followed, when a chronological order is observed, by the history of the prophet Hud, who was sent to the tribe of ‘Ad. Hud and some other prophets spoken of in the Holy Quran find no mention in the Bible, and they are all dealt with in this chapter without keeping in view the chronological order of their appearance. The tribe of ‘Ad lived in the desert of al-Ahqaf (The Holy Quran, 46:21), extending from Oman to Hadramaut, in the south of Arabia. The tribe takes its name from ‘Ad, the grandson of Aram, the grandson of Noah, and is sometimes called the first ‘Ad (The Holy Quran, 53:50), as distinguished from the tribe of Thamud, which is called the second ‘Ad. It was a powerful tribe, as the inscriptions now discovered show, and probably had spread far and wide. The prophet Hud is not mentioned in the Bible, nor the prophet Salih, who was sent to the tribe of Thamud, which is often mentioned along with ‘Ad, though territorially separated from it. Thamud lived in al-Hijr (The Holy Quran, 15:80), to the north of Madina. The only important things mentioned about ‘Ad are that they were successors of Noah’s people (The Holy Quran, 7:69), that they made lofty building—(the words thus translated may also signify that they were men of tall statures)—being the most powerful nation of their day (The Holy Quran, 89:7, 8),
“the like of which were not created in other cities”,
and that they were destroyed by a strong wind (The Holy Quran, 69:6,7; 54:19).
About Thamud we are told that they hewed out houses in the mountains (The Holy Quran, 7:74), traces of these rock habitations being still met with in the Holy Prophet’s time (The Holy Quran, 27:52), and that they were destroyed by an earthquake (The Holy Quran, 7:78). There is mention of a she-camel which was given to them as a sign, they being warned that if they slew the she-camel, punishment would overtake them. The many legends about this she-camel are not met with in the Quran, and the facts seem to be that they had laid a plan for the murder of their Prophet (The Holy Quran, 27:48, 49), and the slaying of the she-camel was a sign that they were about to execute their final plan against Salih himself.
A few quotations relating to the preaching of these prophets are given below to show that every prophet whom God sent aimed at establishing righteousness in the earth, and his opponents were destroyed because of their wickedness:
“And to ‘Ad (We sent) their brother Hud. He said: O my people, serve Allah, you have no god other than Him. Will you not then guard against evil? …. I deliver to you the messages of my Lord and I am a faithful adviser to you… And remember when He made you successors after Noah’s people and increased you in excellence of make. So remember the bounties of Allah, that you may be successful.” (The Holy Quran, 7:65–69)
“And to Thamud We sent their brother Salih. He said: O my people, serve Allah, you have no god other than Him. Clear proof has indeed come to you from you Lord… And remember when He made you successors after ‘Ad and settled you in the land—you make mansions on its plains and hew out houses in the mountains. So remember Allah’s bounties and act not corruptly in the land, making mischief.” (The Holy Quran, 7:73, 74)
These are not the only prophets mentioned in the Quran about whom the Bible is silent. The Quran speaks of a prophet of the name of Luqman (The Holy Quran, 31:13), who seems to have been an Ethiopian. His teachings are quoted as specially laying stress on humility and meekness to point out that the teaching of humility is not the monopoly of one prophet or one nation:
“And when Luqman said to his son, while he admonished him: O my son, ascribe no partner to Allah… O my son, even if it be the weight of a grain of mustard-seed, even though it be in a rock or in the heaven or in the earth, Allah will bring it forth… O my son, keep up prayer and enjoin the good and forbid evil, and bear patiently that which befalls thee. Surely this is an affair of great resolution. And turn not thy face away from people in contempt, nor go about in the land exultingly.” (The Holy Quran, 31:13–18)
It also speaks of a non-Israelite prophet who was contemporaneous with Moses, and to whom Moses went in search of knowledge. He is spoken of thus:
“Then they found one of Our servants whom We had granted mercy from Us and whom We had taught knowledge from Ourselves.” (The Holy Quran, 18:65)
This prophet is spoken of as living at the junction of the two Niles (The Holy Quran, 18:60), i.e., at Khartum. This is to show that every nation had a prophet.
Again the Holy Quran speaks of Dhu-l-Qarnain in terms showing that he too was a prophet (The Holy Quran, 18:83–98). The word Dhu-l-Qarnain literally means the two-horned one, and he is so called in reference to the two-horned ram of Daniel’s vision (Daniel 8:3), which that prophet interpreted as the kingdoms of Media and Persia, which were combined into a single kingdom under one ruler, Cyrus who is erroneously called Darius in the Bible (Encyclopaedia Biblica and Jewish Encyclopaedia, Article Darius). That the two-horned ram of Daniel’s vision is the king of Media and Persia is made plain in Daniel’s book, where the interpretation of the dream is given in the following words:
“The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia.” (Daniel 8:20)
According to the Holy Quran, Dhu-l-Qarnain undertook three journeys, evidently with the object of strengthening the frontiers of his empire:
“So he followed a course. Until, when he reached the setting-place of the sun, he found it going down into a black sea… Then he followed (another) course. Until when he reached (a place) between the two mountains, he found on that side of them a people who could hardly understand a word” (The Holy Quran, 18:85–93).
Here he was asked to build a barrier against the attacks of the tribes called Gog and Magog. The two mountains are the mountains of Armenia and Azarbaijan; the people living beyond them spoke a different language and could not understand the Iranian language. According to the Jewish Encyclopaedia:
“Darius was the organizer of the Persian empire. His conquests served to round out the boundaries of his realm in Armenia, the Caucasus, and India, and along the Turanian steppes and the high lands of Central Asia.”
“Darius in his inscriptions appears as a fervent believer in the true religion of Zoroaster.”
According to the Holy Quran, he was granted the gift of prophecy, for after making the great barrier which stopped the onrushes of Gog and Magog,1 he says:
“This is a mercy from my Lord, but when the promise of my Lord comes to pass, He will crumble it, and the promise of my Lord is ever true” (The Holy Quran, 18:98).
This prophecy is immediately followed by a mention of the latter-day conflicts of Gog and Magog which were to follow their predominance in the world. Thus it is added:
“And on that day We shall let some of them surge against others” (The Holy Quran, 18:99).
The prevalence of Gog and Magog over the whole world is spoken of in the following words elsewhere:
“Until when Gog and Magog are let loose and they sally forth from every elevated place” (The Holy Quran, 21:96).
The words signify their taking possession of every position of advantage and every place of eminence; in other words, their overcoming the whole world.
- Gog and Magog are Biblical names for the Slav and Teutonic races. ↩