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The Story of the People of Madyan and the Call of Shu`ayb Print E-mail

Allah, the Exalted, says, `We sent a Messenger to the people of Madyan.' They were a tribe of Arabs who lived between the land of the Al-Hijaz and Ash-Sham, close to the land of Ma`an. Their land was known by the name of their tribe and was thus, called Madyan. Allah sent unto them the Prophet Shu`ayb and he was of the noblest of them in lineage. For this reason, Allah said,

﴿أَخَاهُمْ شُعَيْبًا﴾

(their brother Shu`ayb.) Shu`ayb commanded them to worship Allah alone without associating any partners with him. He also prohibited them from cheating in their weights and measures (for business transactions).

﴿إِنِّى أَرَاكُمْ بِخَيْرٍ﴾

(I see you in prosperity) meaning, `in your livelihood and your provisions. And verily, I fear that you will be deprived of this bounty that you are enjoying by violating Allah's prohibitions.'

﴿وَإِنِّى أَخَافُ عَلَيْكُمْ عَذَابَ يَوْمٍ مُّحِيطٍ﴾

(and verily, I fear for you the torment of a Day encompassing.) This means the abode of the Hereafter.

﴿وَيقَوْمِ أَوْفُواْ الْمِكْيَالَ وَالْمِيزَانَ بِالْقِسْطِ وَلاَ تَبْخَسُواْ النَّاسَ أَشْيَآءَهُمْ وَلاَ تَعْثَوْاْ فِى الاٌّرْضِ مُفْسِدِينَ ﴾

بَقِيَّتُ اللَّهِ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ وَمَآ أَنَاْ عَلَيْكُمْ بِحَفِيظٍ-﴾

(85. "And O my people! Give full measure and weight in justice and reduce not the things that are due to the people, and do not commit mischief in the land, causing corruption.'') (86. "That which is left by Allah is better for you, if you are believers. And I am not a guardian over you.'')

First, he (Shu`ayb) prohibited them from cheating in business by decreasing the weights whenever they gave (products) to people.

He commanded them to give just measure and weight whether they were giving or receiving (in transactions). He also forbade them from causing mischief and corruption in the land. This was due to their practice of highway robbery along the roads. Abu Ja`far bin Jarir said,

﴿بَقِيَّتُ اللَّهِ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ﴾

(That which is left by Allah (after giving the rights of the people) is better for you,) "This means what you gain from your successful business dealings in which you have given just measure, is better for you than wrongfully taking the wealth of the people.'' Ibn Jarir said that this statement has been reported from Ibn `Abbas and I say it is similar to Allah's statement,

﴿قُل لاَّ يَسْتَوِى الْخَبِيثُ وَالطَّيِّبُ وَلَوْ أَعْجَبَكَ كَثْرَةُ الْخَبِيثِ﴾

(Say: "Not equal are Khabith (all that is evil) and Tayyib (all that is good), even though the abundance of Khabith may please you.'')﴿5:100﴾ Allah then says,

﴿وَمَآ أَنَاْ عَلَيْكُمْ بِحَفِيظٍ﴾

(And I am not a guardian over you.) This means a watcher over you people. In other words, "Do this for Allah and not to be seen by the people.''

﴿قَالُواْ يَشُعَيْبُ أَصَلَوَتُكَ تَأْمُرُكَ أَن نَّتْرُكَ مَا يَعْبُدُ ءابَاؤُنَآ أَوْ أَن نَّفْعَلَ فِى أَمْوَالِنَا مَا نَشَؤُا إِنَّكَ لاّنتَ الْحَلِيمُ الرَّشِيدُ ﴾

(87. They said: "O Shu`ayb! Does your Salah command you that we give up what our fathers used to worship, or that we give up doing what we like with our property Verily, you are the forbearer, right-minded!'')

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