We have narrated that after spending hundreds of years calling people to tawhid without much success, Great Flood had been sent to drown all the disbelievers among the people of Noah.
Similar pattern can be seen with the subsequent prophets. After Noah, came Hud, Shalih, Abraham and Lot. Allah also destroyed the disbelievers among the people of these prophets. During Prophet Adam and Idris, who came before Prophet Noah, punishment like this did not happen.
When Prophet Noah did not know how else to convince his people to leave idol worshiping, Allah inspired to him that the hearts of his people were already sealed. Then Prophet Noah made doa, asking Allah to destroy them all. We can see this in the Quran chapter 71: verses 26-27: "My Lord! Leave not one of the disbelievers on the earth. If you leave them, they will mislead Your slaves and they will beget none but wicked disbelievers."
And Allah granted his request.
After the great flood, the children of Prophet Noah started to multiply and spread all over the earth. One of his descendants was called Aad. He lived somewhere in the present day Yemen. His descendants became the people or the tribe of Aad. They worshiped the idols, so Allah sent a prophet among them named Hud.
After preaching for so many years without much success, Prophet Hud AS warned his people that if they do not believe in the One True God, he feared that Allah will punish them. Instead of taking his advice kindly, they mocked at him, calling him mad. Then Allah sent drought to them. Prophet Hud warned them, saying the drought is a warning that Allah is angry. If they repent, Allah will forgive and send them rain.
But, instead of believing in his warning, they mocked at Prophet Hud and became more stubborn. The drought increased, the trees turned yellow, and plants died. Then a day came when they found the sky full of clouds. The people were happy, thinking that the rain is coming. But it was not a rain. It was a storm that came to destroy everything. Only Hud and his followers remained unharmed.
Another of Noah’s descendant was called Thamud. He lived somewhere between north of Saudi Arabia and south of Jordan in the present day. His descendants became the people or the tribe of Thamud. Like the people of Aad, they also worshiped the idols, so Allah sent a prophet among them named Shalih.
Prophet Shalih was more successful as he had some followers. But, fearing that his followers would increase, the chiefs among his people then tried to discredit him. They asked him to perform a miracle. They said, if he can make a unique she-camel come out of a mountain rock, then they will believe in him.
Prophet Shalih then prayed to Allah to grant their request. Allah split the mountain rock and a great camel came out. The people were astounded with the wonderful event. Some people declared their belief, but most of them continued with their disbelief.
This camel did not only come out of the mountain rock miraculously. It was also a miraculous she-camel. She can produce more milk than all their camels combined. But she also drank a lot of water. When the she-camel drank, their well would run dry, so the people had to wait until tomorrow. They had to alternate between their day to use the well and the she-camel’s day. This situation made their leaders hated Shalih more. So they plotted a conspiracy. Offering great rewards and beautiful wives, they engaged some young men to kill the camel. And the camel was killed.
They celebrated the death of the miraculous camel but Prophet Shalih warned them: "Enjoy life for 3 more days then the punishment will descend upon you." Prophet Shalih was hoping they would repent, but instead of repenting, they mocked and challenged him: "Why three days? Let the punishment come as quickly as possible." Three days after the warning, thunderbolts filled the air, followed by severe earthquakes which destroyed the entire tribe and its homeland.
After that came Prophet Abraham and his nephew Prophet Lot. Allah had sent two angels to destroy the people of Lot in Sodom and Gomorrah. But before they went to Sodom and Gomorrah, the angels visited Prophet Abraham first who lived in the area of Canaan.
The visit was to tell Prophet Abraham about the good and bad news. The good news was that Abraham will have a son with his wife Sarah. Although very surprised because both of them were already very old, they were overjoyed with the good news.
After the good news, the angels told Prophet Abraham that they were on their way to destroy the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. Prophet Abraham was alarmed, saying that his nephew Lot was there. The angels told him that Lot and his family who believed in him will be saved. Except his wife, because she disbelieved in him.
Then Prophet Abraham tried to plead with the angels to spare the people of Lot. But the angels said the matter had been decided by Allah and told Prophet Abraham to stop pleading.
The angels then came to Prophet Lot’s house as handsome young men. This worried Prophet Lot immensely because his people indulged in homosexuality. So he hid them in his house. But his wife went out to tell people about the handsome young guests.
Soon people came to his house demanding him to surrender the two men so that they can satisfy their lust. Prophet Lot tried to reason with them, saying they can marry his two beautiful daughters as that would be more decent. But they only laughed at him, saying they are not interested in women, and demanded him to surrender the two guests. When they demanded more violently and Prophet Lot feared something really terrible would happen, the guests said: "Do not be anxious or frightened, Lot, for we are angels, and these people will not harm you."
On hearing this, the mob was terrified and fled from Lot's house, hurling threats at him as they left. The angels warned Prophet Lot to leave his house before sunrise, taking with him all his family except his wife. While fleeing from the town, Allah destroyed the town of Sodom and Gomorrah.
The Bible said that Prophet Lot also took his wife along, and warned her not to turn his face toward the town no matter what. While fleeing, an earthquake rocked the town and a storm of stones rained on the city, leaving horrifying sound behind. None of them turned their face to look at what happened, except his disbelieving wife. She turned to look at the terrifying event and was turned into a pillar of salt.
Some biblical commentators said that she was turned into a pillar of salt because, when the angels came and her husband hid them, his wife told him there was no salt in the house. Salt is very important in food preparation. Without salt, food would be tasteless, and that is not the way to treat special guests. So she told her husband she needed to go out to borrow some salt. In reality, she went out to tell the people about the guests. Since she lied about the salt, God turned her into a pillar of salt.
In the story of Prophet Lot, we saw that Prophet Abraham tried to appeal to the angels to spare the people of Lot. In the case of Prophet Noah, he himself had asked Allah to destroy all of the disbelievers. While Prophet Hud and Prophet Shalih did not directly ask Allah to destroy the disbelievers, they did not plead to Allah to spare or save them either.
Here, we see a similarity between Prophet Abraham and Prophet Muhammad. Aisha, the wife of the Prophet, asked him one day whether he had encountered worst day than the Battle of Uhud.
In the Battle of Uhud, the Prophet was very sad. Not only that the Muslims had lost the war, but 70 of his companions were also killed, and among them was his beloved uncle Hamzah, who was not only killed, but mutilated. His belly was cut open, his liver was taken, his nose and his ears were cut off. The Prophet also lost his tooth and got badly hurt.
Despite all that, the Prophet said he had a worse day than the Day of Uhud. In the Lesson “Humble Beginning,” we have narrated how his people had treated him and his followers badly for 10 years. Then he lost his protective uncle Abu Talib and his beloved wife Khadijah. As he did not know what else to do, he went to Taif with a high hope that the people in Taif would believe in his message.
But, instead of treating him kindly, they chased him. The elders told the foolish people and the kids to stone him. He ran away bleeding and felt the world was closing on him. Then the angels came, saying that if he like, they can make the mountain crushed and destroyed all the people in Taif. Instead of agreeing with the angels’ proposal, the Prophet said: “No, rather I hope that Allah will bring from their descendants people who will worship Allah alone without associating partners with him.”
Here we see the likeness between Prophet Muhammad and Prophet Ibrahim. When asked which prophet looked like him, the Prophet used to say: “I am the one who resembles Abraham the most amongst his children.” He was referring to physical resemblance, but we can see that their approach is also similar. Unlike other prophets, both Prophet Muhammad and Prophet Abraham tried the best they can to save the people from being punished.
It is not a coincidence, therefore, that among 124,000 prophets, these two are often single out as the greatest. Or, in the story of the Brick House of Prophethood, these are the two greatest bricks.