Hud’s preaching to His People `Ad
Here Allah tells us about His servant and Messenger Hud, when he called his people `Ad. His people used to live in the Ahqaf, curved sand-hills near Hadramawt, on the borders of Yemen. They lived after the time of Nuh, as Allah says in Surat Al-A`raf:
(And remember that He made you successors after the people of Nuh and increased you amply in stature) (7:69). This refers to the fact that they were physically strong and well-built, and very violent, and very tall; they had also been given a great deal of provisions, wealth, gardens, rivers, sons, crops and fruits. Yet despite all of that, they worshipped others besides Allah. So Allah sent Hud, one of their own, as a Messenger bringing them good news and delivering warnings. He called them to worship Allah alone, and he warned them of Allah’s wrath and punishment if they were to go against him and treating him harshly. He said to them, as Nuh had said to his people:
(Do you build on every Ri` an Ayah for your amusement) The scholars of Tafsir differed over the meaning of the word Ri`. In brief, they said that it refers to an elevated location at a well-known crossroads, where they would build a huge, dazzling, sturdy structure, this is why he said:
(Do you build on every Ri` an Ayah) i.e., a well-known landmark,
(for your amusement) meaning, `you are only doing that for the purpose of frivolity, not because you need it, but for fun and to show off your strength.’ So their Prophet, peace be upon him, denounced them for doing that, because it was a waste of time and exhausted people’s bodies for no purpose, and kept them busy with something that was of no benefit in this world or the next. He said:
(And do you get for yourselves Masani` as if you will live therein forever) Mujahid said, “This means fortresses built up strong and high and structures that are built to last.”
(as if you will live therein forever) means, `so that you may stay there forever, but that is not going to happen, because they will eventually cease to be, just as happened in the case of those who came before you.’
(And when you seize (somebody), seize you (him) as tyrants) They are described as being strong, violent and tyrannical.
(So, have Taqwa of Allah, and obey me.) `Worship your Lord and obey your Messenger.’ Then Hud began reminding them of the blessings that Allah had bestowed upon them. He said:
(And have Taqwa of Him, Who has aided you with all that you know. He has aided you with cattle and children, and gardens and springs. Verily, I fear for you the torment of a Great Day.) meaning, `if you disbelieve and oppose (your Prophet).’ So he called them to Allah with words of encouragement and words of warning, but it was to no avail.