Allah sent the Prophet Hud (as) to the ‘Ad people as a Messenger. He, too, first made clear to his people that he was a reliable messenger of Allah and that he did not expect anything in return for his services, and then called upon his people to fear Allah.
The Prophet Hud (as) was also verbally assaulted and aspersions were cast on him, like the messengers preceding him. For instance, his people claimed that he was a “fool”. The way he responded to this ugly accusation was very mature and compassionate, an indication of his moral excellence:
He [Hud] said, “My people, I am by no means a fool, but rather am a Messenger from the Lord of all the worlds, transmitting my Lord’s Message to you, and I am a faithful counsellor to you.” (Surat al-A‘raf, 67-68)
The Prophet Hud (as) Stated That He Did Not Ask For Any Wage In Return For Spreading The Message
[Hud said,] “My people! I do not ask you for any wage for it. My wage is the responsibility of Him Who brought me into being. So will you not use your intellect?” (Surah Hud, 51) [Hud said,] “I do not ask you for any wage for it. My wage is the responsibility of no one but the Lord of all the worlds.” (Surat ash-Shu‘ara’, 127)
As we have seen in the lives of the messengers narrated so far, it is an important characteristic of the believers to communicate to people the message of religion throughout their lives and not to expect any return for it. Regardless of the age he lives in and regardless of the people among whom he lives, a believer is responsible for calling upon others to accept the moral standards of which Allah approves and for reminding them of the approaching Day of Judgement. Therefore, he does not expect any rewards from people, but tries to do his duty to the fullest extent and to earn Allah’s approval.
While Calling His People To Worship Allah, He Warned Them Of A Terrible Punishment
Like other messengers, the Prophet Hud (as) told his people to worship Allah alone and said that he feared they would incur punishment if they failed to do this: Remember the brother of ‘Ad when he warned his people in the Valley of the Sand Dunes—and warners passed away before and after him—saying, “Worship no one but Allah. I fear for you the punishment of a terrible Day.” (Surat al-Ahqaf, 21) He also reminded them that the things they valued in the life of this world were of an ephemeral nature. His words are recorded as follows:
[Hud said to his people,] “Do you build a tower on every hilltop, just to amuse yourselves, and construct great fortresses, hoping to live for ever?” (Surat ash-Shu‘ara’, 128-129)
Then he told them to fear Allah, to obey His commands and not to tyrannise other people. He also warned them that they might be punished if they did so:
[Hud said,] “When you exercise your powers, you act like cruel tyrants. So fear Allah and obey me. Fear Him Who has given you all the things you know. He has given you livestock and children, and gardens and clear springs. I fear for you the punishment of a terrible Day.” (Surat ash-Shu‘ara’, 130-135)
The Prophet Hud Reminded His People Of Allah’s Blessings
Allah’s blessings on people are too numerous to be counted, as stated in the 18th verse of the Surat an-Nahl. However, many people forget that it is Allah Who gave them these blessings and that they should be grateful to Him for all of them. They do not think that Allah is well able to take them back if He wills. This is why the messengers told their people to turn to Allah and reminded them that everything they had was a blessing of Allah, for which they should give thanks to Him. Likewise, the Prophet Nuh (as) reminded his people of the blessings Allah had given them and told them to fear Him:
[Hud said to his people,] “Or are you astonished that an admonition should come to you from your Lord through a mortal like yourselves in order to warn you? Remember when He appointed you successors to the people of Nuh, and endowed you with greater power than He has given to other men. Remember Allah’s blessings, so that hopefully you will be successful.” (Surat al-A‘raf, 69)
The Prophet Hud (as) also called his people to ask forgiveness from Allah. He said that Allah would increase His blessings if they repented and took refuge in Him:
[Hud said,] “My people! Ask forgiveness of your Lord and then turn to Him in repentance, He will send down to you abundant rain from the sky and He will add strength to your strength. Do not turn away as evil-doers.” (Surah Hud, 52)
The Prophet Hud (as) Warned His People Against Being Ignorant
The concept of “ignorant” as defined in the Qur’an comes to mean those who do not know religion and are remote from it. In other words, even one who may have had further education is ignorant according to the Qur’an unless he acknowledges Allah, knows His book and lives by it. One who does not reflect on who he is and on why he has been created, who does not acknowledge his Creator and therefore does not perform as Allah demands is one of the ignorant, even if he possesses great knowledge.
When ignorant people are questioned, they usually say that they act in accordance with religion. However, the religion that they refer to is in fact nothing but the religion of ignorance that they inherited from their forefathers or learnt from those around them. The truth is that this religion has nothing to do with Allah’s book.
As Allah relates in the stories of messengers in the Qur’an, messengers have communicated the true religion to such people throughout history. However, because of their ignorance, most of these people grew arrogant, although they may have recognised the truth as a matter of conscience. Despite all the warnings, all but a very few of them held on to their false religion.
The people of the Prophet Hud (as) also refused to abandon the state of ignorance that they had been used to and to obey the messenger. Therefore, the Prophet Hud (as) told his people that they were in a state of ignorance:
He [Hud] said, “Allah alone knows when it [His scourge] will come. I only convey to you the message I have been sent with. But I can see that you are a people who are ignorant.” (Surat al-Ahqaf, 23)
The Prophet Hud (as) Told Those Of His People Who Disbelieved That He Was Not Afraid Of Them And That He Put His Trust In Allah
Despite all his urging, the Prophet Hud’s (as) people opposed him and refused to follow the path that he encouraged them to follow. Just as all unbelievers have done throughout history, they said that they wanted to see miracles and that they would not believe otherwise:
They said, “Hud, you have not brought us any clear sign [miracle]. We will not forsake our gods at your behest. We do not believe you.” (Surah Hud, 53)
The Prophet Hud (as) stated that he was free from what they ascribed as partners to Allah and that he was not afraid of their plots:
… He [Hud] said, “I call on Allah to be my witness, and you also bear witness, that I am free of all the gods you have apart from Him. So scheme against me, if you will, and then grant me no respite.” (Surah Hud, 54-55)
The Prophet Hud (as) was a prophet of Allah and was well aware that Allah had created all things and that He would protect His sincere servants. Being certain of the ultimate failure of the aspersions and plots against him, he expressed his trust in Allah as follows:
“I have put my trust in Allah, my Lord and your Lord. There is no living creature on Earth whose destiny He does not control. My Lord is on a Straight Path.” (Surah Hud, 56)