Tuesday 9 July 2019

Surah Ash-Shu'ara - The Poets: Exegesis / Tafsir 26th Chapter of the Holy Quran - Part IV

Sūrah Ash-Shuʻarāʼ is the twenty sixth surah with 227 ayahs with eleven rukus, part of the 19th Juzʼ  of the Holy Qur'an. The Surah takes its name from verse 224 in which the word Ash-Shu`araa' occurs.

As already mentioned in the Overview of this surah, since this surah is very long, the exegesis / tafseer has been broken down into parts for better understanding as under and will be presented separately in our subsequent posts: 
  • Part I:   Rukhu 1-4 (Verses 1-68) - Mention of Prophet Moses and Pharaoh
  • Part II:  Rukhu 5 (verses 69-104) - Mention of Prophet Abraham
  • Part III: Rukhu 6-7 (Verses 105-140) - Mention of Prophets Noah and Hüd
  • Part IV: (This Part) Rukhu 8-10 (Verses 141-191) - Mention of Prophets Sälih, Lüt, and Shu'aib
  • Part V:  Rukhu 11 (Verses 192-227) - The Revelation of the Qur'an 
Just a reminder of the overview, from Sūrah Ash-Shuʻarāʼ, a new series of four Surahs (Chapters 26-29), begins which illustrate the contrast between the spirit of Prophecy and spiritual Light and the reactions to it in the communities among whom it appeared, by going back to old Prophets and the stories of the Past. In this particular Surah the story of Moses in his fight with Pharaoh and of Pharaoh's discomfiture has been mentioned. Other Prophets mentioned are Abraham, Noah, Hüd, Sälih, Lüt, and Shu'aib. The lesson is drawn that the Qur'an is a continuation and fulfillment of previous Revelations, and is pure Truth, unlike This Surah begins the poetry of vain poets Chronologically the Surah belongs to the middle Makkan period, when the contact of the Light of Prophecy with the milieu of Pagan Makkah was testing the Makkans in their most arrogant mood.

Let us now read the translation and exegesis / tafseer in English of the Surah segmented into portions as per the subject matter. For Arabic Text, please refer to the references given at the end and may also listen to its recitation in Arabic with English subtitles:

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ 
"In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful"

Rukhu 8 [Verses 141-159]
141-159 Story of Prophet Sälih (peace be upon him), his address to his people, they disbelieved and as a result faced destruction:

The people of Thamud denied their Messenger.  When Prophet Sälih asked them to fear Allah they accused him of being affected by magic.  He asked for no reward and reminded them of their provisions from Allah, and told them to stay away from transgressors, but it was not enough, they wanted a sign.   Sälih brought forth a she-camel out of a mountain which was to share their water; each drinking on alternate days.  The people were warned not to hurt her, but they hamstrung her.  In the morning they were full of regret because the punishment fell upon them.  Allah is Mighty and Merciful. 
( 141 )   Thamud denied the messengers
Thamud achieved power and glory after the destruction of Aad (details about Aad and Prophet Hud have already been given in Part III of Surah Ash Shu'ara earlier) and as far as progress in civilization is concerned, they followed in the footsteps of their predecessors. In their case, too, the standards of living went on rising higher and higher and the standards of humanity continued to fall lower and lower, suffering one deterioration after the other. On the one hand, they erected large edifices on the plains and hewed beautiful houses out of the hills, and on the other hand, they became addicted to idol-worship and the land was filled with tyranny and oppression. The worst men became leaders and rulers in the land. As such, Prophet Sälih’s (peace be upon him) message of truth only appealed to the weak people belonging to the lower social strata and the people of the upper classes refused to believe in him.

The mention is also made (Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayats 73-79); (Surah Hud, Ayats 61-68); (Surah Al-Hijr, Ayats 80-84); (Surah Bani Israil, Ayat 59); and for further details, see (Surah An-Naml, Ayats 45-53); (Surah Az-Zariyat, Ayats 43- 45); (Surah Al-Qamar, Ayats 23-31); (Surah AI-Haqqah, Ayats 4-5); (Surah Al-Fajr, Ayat 9); and (Surah Ash-Shams, Ayat 11).
( 142 )   When their brother Sälih said to them, "Will you not fear Allah?
( 143 )   Indeed, I am to you a trustworthy messenger.
The people of Prophet Sälih (peace be upon him) themselves admitted that he was a man of great integrity and extraordinary caliber: They said, O Salih, till now you were such a person among us of whom we had great expectations. (Surah Houd, Ayat 62).
( 144 )   So fear Allah and obey me.
( 145 )   And I do not ask you for it any payment. My payment is only from the Lord of the worlds.
( 146 )   Will you be left in what is here, secure [from death],
That is, do you consider that your life of indulgence and pleasure is everlasting, and you will never be asked to account for Allah’s favors to you and for your own misdeeds?
( 147 )   Within gardens and springs
( 148 )   And fields of crops and palm trees with softened fruit?
The date palm flowers on a long spathe: when the Howers develop into fruit, the heavy ones hang with the load of fruit. The Thamud evidently were proud of their skill in producing corn and fruit and in hewing fine dwellings out of rocks, like the later dwellings of Roman times in the town of Petra.

Here in this verse word Hadim has been used which means heavy bunches of ripe, juicy and soft date-palm fruit hanging from trees.
( 149 )   And you carve out of the mountains, homes, with skill.
Just as the most prominent feature of the Aad civilization was that they built large edifices with high pillars, so the most prominent feature of the Thamud civilization for which they were known among the ancient peoples was that they carved out dwellings in the hills. That is why in Surah Al-Fajr, the Aad have been referred to as (people) of the pillars, and the Thamud as those who hewed rocks in the valley. These people also built castles on the plains, the purpose and object of which was nothing but display of wealth and power and architectural skill as there was no real necessity for them. These are, in fact, the ways of the perverted people: the poor among them do not have proper shelters, and the wealthy members not only have sufficient fine dwellings but over and above those they raise monuments for ostentation and display.

A few of the Thamudic type monuments that we saw at Al- Hijr were also found at Madyan along the Gulf of Aqabah and at Petra in Jordan. At Petra, specially, the Thamudic and Nabataean works stand side by side, and their styles and architectural designs are so different that anyone who examines them will find that they were neither built in the same age nor by the same nation. Doughty, the British orientalist, in his attempt to prove the Quran as false, has claimed that the works found at Al-Hijr were not carved out by Thamud but by the Nabataeans. But others are of the view that the art of carving houses out of the rocks started with the Thamud, and thousands of years later, in the second and first centuries B.C., it was considerably developed by the Nabataeans and it reached perfection in the works of the caves of Ellora, which were carved out about 700 years after Petra.

Some of these Thamudic works exist between Al-Madinah and Tabuk in Saudi Arabia, a few miles to the north of Al-Ula (Wad-il-Qura of the Prophet’s time) in Hejaz. The local inhabitants call it Al-Hijr and Madain Salih even today. Al- Ula is still a green and fertile valley abounding in water springs and gardens, but Al-Hijr appears to be an abandoned place. It has thin population, little greenery and a few wells, one of which is said to be the one at which Prophet Salih’s (peace be upon him) she camel used to drink water. This well is now dry and located within a deserted military post of the time of the Turks. At Al-Ula, there are hills which seemed to have been shattered to pieces from top to bottom as if by a violent earthquake.

In fact such hills are scattered over a large area from Al-Ula to Khaibar, for about 50 miles, and towards the north inside Jordan, for about 30 to 40 miles. This indicated that an area, stretching well over 300 to 400 miles in length and 100 miles in width, had been devastated by the terrible earthquake.
( 150 )   So fear Allah and obey me.
( 151 )   And do not obey the order of the transgressors,
( 152 )   Who cause corruption in the land and do not amend."
That is, you should give up obedience to your chiefs, guides and rulers under whose leadership you are following an evil way of life. These people have transgressed all bounds of morality: they cannot bring about any reforms and they will corrupt every system of life that they adopt. The only way for you towards success and well-being is that you should inculcate fear of God, give up obedience to the misguided and obey me, because I am God’s Messenger. You are fully aware of my honesty and integrity. I have no personal interest and motive for undertaking the work of reform. This was in short the manifesto which Prophet Salih (peace be upon him) presented before his people. It not only contained the religious message but invitation to cultural, moral and political revolution as well.
( 153 )   They replied: "You are nothing but one of those who are bewitched.
Enchanted person, mad and insane person who has lost reasoning power. According to the ancient conceptions, madness was either due to the influence of a jinn or magic. That is why a mad person was either called majnun (one under the influence of a jinn) or one enchanted by magic.
( 154 )   You are but a man like ourselves, so bring a sign, if you should be of the truthful."
That is, we cannot believe you to be a Messenger from God because you are just like us and we see no distinction in you. However, if you are true in your claim that God has appointed you as His Messenger, you should present such a clear miracle as should make us believe that you have really been sent by the Creator and Master of the universe.
( 155 )   He said, "This is a she-camel. For her is a [time of] drink, and for you is a [time of] drink, [each] on a known day.
And when the miracle of camel happened, it was not a common she-camel, but it was brought about in a supernatural manner because it was presented in response to the demand for a miracle, that is a live living she -camel coming out of a mountain, which gave birth to a she-camel and then died. Prophet Salih (peace be upon him) could not have produced before the people an ordinary she-camel as a proof of his Prophethood because that would not have satisfied them.

At other places in the Quran it has been clearly referred to as a miracle.
  • In Surahs Al-Aaraf and Houd it has been said: Here is Allah’s she camel, a sign for you. (Surahs Al-Aaraf, Ayat 73).
  • In Surah Bani Israil the same thing has been stated more emphatically: And nothing has hindered Us from sending signs except that the former people refused to acknowledge them as such. (For example) We sent the she-camel as an open sign to Thamud but they treated her with cruelty; whereas We send signs only by way of warning. (verse 59). 
Moreover, the challenge given to the wicked people of Thamud, after presenting the she-camel before them, was such that it could only be given after presenting a miracle.

However, Prophet Salih warned that: You and your animals will take water, and this arrangement will not be violated in any way. There could hardly be a greater challenge for the people of Arabia, for taking of water had been the foremost cause of feuds and fights among them, which mostly resulted in bloodshed, even loss of life. As such, the challenge given by Prophet Salih (peace be upon him) was indeed a challenge to the whole nation, which could not be acceptable unless the people were sure that the challenger had a great power at his back. But Prophet Salih (peace be upon him) threw this challenge all by himself without any worldly power behind him, and the whole nation not only received it quietly, but also abid by it submissively for quite some days.

In Surahs Al-Aaraf and Houd there is an addition to this: Here is Allah’s she-camel, a sign for you. So let her graze at will in Allah’s land, and do not touch her with an evil intention. (Surah Houd, Ayat 64). That is, the challenge was not only this that the she-camel would drink water all alone every alternate day, but, in addition, she would freely move about and graze at will in their fields and gardens and palm groves and pastures and was not to be touched with an evil intention.
( 156 )   And do not touch her with harm, lest you be seized by the punishment of a terrible day."
( 157 )   But they hamstrung her and so became regretful.
This does not mean that as soon as they heard the challenge, they attacked the she-camel at once and hamstrung her. Actually, when the she-camel became a problem for the whole nation, the hearts of the people were filled with rage, and they began to hold lengthy consultations as to how to get rid of her. At last, a haughty chief undertook the task of putting an end to her, as mentioned in Surah Ash-Shams thus: When arose the most villainous of the people (verse 12), and in Surah Al-Qamar thus: They appealed to their companion; so he took up the responsibility and hamstrung her. (verse 29).
( 158 )   And the punishment seized them. Indeed in that is a sign, but most of them were not to be believers.
As stated at other places in the Quran, when the shecamel was killed, Prophet Salih (peace be upon him) declared: You have only three more days to enjoy yourselves in your houses. (Surah Houd, Ayat 65). When this time limit came to an end, a shocking explosion took place in the night at about dawn, followed by a violent earthquake, which destroyed the whole nation completely. In the morning their dead bodies lay scattered here and there like dry pieces of bush trampled down by animals around an enclosure. Neither their stony castles nor their rock-hewn caves could protect them against the calamity. We sent against them a single blast and they became as the trampled twigs of the fence of a fold-builder. (Surah Al- Qamar, Ayat 31). Consequently a shocking catastrophe overtook them and they lay lifeless in their dwellings. (Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayat 78). At last a violent blast overtook them with the approach of the morning, and all that they had achieved proved of no avail to them. (Surah Al-Hijr, Ayat 83, 84).
( 159 )   And indeed, your Lord - He is the Exalted in Might, the Merciful.
Rukhu 9 [Verses 160-175]
160-175 Now the story of Prophet Lüt (Lot, peace be upon him) for his people too disbelieved and faced destruction.

The people of Lüt also disbelieved.  He asked them for no reward and warned them to fear God.  Lot admonished them and cautioned them not to partake in unnatural acts.  They responded by threatening Lüt with expulsion.  Lüt asked God to save him and his family and He did; all except his wife who was destroyed with the rest.  A rain of destruction poured down on those who had been forewarned.  Another lesson the people failed to learn.  God is Mighty and Merciful. 
( 160 )   The people of Lot denied the messengers
There are similar verses elsewhere in the Qur'an too: For comparison, see (Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayats 80-84); (Surah Houd, Ayats 74-83); (Surah Al-Hijr, Ayats 57-77); (Surah Al-Anbiya, Ayats 71-75); (Surah An-Naml, Ayats 54- 58); (Surah Al-Ankabut, Ayats 28-35); (Surah As-Saffat, Ayats 133-138); and (Surah Al-Qamar; Ayats 33-39).
( 161 )   When their brother Lot said to them, "Will you not fear Allah?
( 162 )   Indeed, I am to you a trustworthy messenger.
( 163 )   So fear Allah and obey me.
( 164 )   And I do not ask you for it any payment. My payment is only from the Lord of the worlds.
( 165 )   Do you approach males among the worlds
This can have two meanings. (1) Of all the creatures you have chosen males only for the purpose of gratifying your sex desires, whereas there are plenty of women in the world. (2) You alone are the people in the whole world, who go to men to satisfy the sex desires; even the animals do not resort to this. This second meaning has been explained in Surahs Al-Aaraf and Al-Ankabut thus: Have you become so shameless that you commit such indecent acts as no one committed before you in the world? (Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayat 80).
( 166 )   And leave what your Lord has created for you as mates? But you are a people transgressing."
This can also have two meanings. (1) You leave your wives whom God has created for you to satisfy your sex desire and adopt unnatural ways with the males for the purpose. (2) Even with respect to your wives you do not follow the natural way but adopt unnatural ways for the gratification of your lust? This they might have been doing with the intention of family planning.

It adds that this is not the only vice in you; your whole lives have become corrupted and perverted, as stated in (Surah An-Naml, Ayat 54) thus: Do you commit indecent acts openly and publicly? And in (Surah Al-Ankabut, Ayat 29 )thus: Have you become so perverted that you gratify your lust with the males, you rob travelers, and you commit wicked deeds publicly in your assemblies?
( 167 )   They said, "If you do not desist, O Lot, you will surely be of those evicted."
That is, you know that whosoever has spoken against us, or protested against our doings, or opposed us in any way, he has been turned out of our habitations. If you also behave like that, you too will be treated likewise. It has been stated in Surahs Al-Aaraf and An-Naml that before giving this warning to Prophet Lot (peace be upon him), the wicked people had decided to “turn out these people of your habitations for they pose to be very pious.” (Surah Al- Aaraf, Ayat 82).
( 168 )   He said, "Indeed, I am, toward your deed, of those who detest [it].
( 169 )   My Lord, save me and my family from [the consequence of] what they do."
( 170 )   So We saved him and his family, all,
( 171 )   Except an old woman among those who remained behind.
This refers to the Prophet Lot’s (peace be upon him) wife as stated in (verse 10 of Surah At-Tahrim) about the wives of Prophets Noah and Lot (peace be upon them): These two women were in the houses of Our two pious servants but they acted treacherously towards them. That is, they did not believe, and sided with the unbelievers instead of their righteous husbands. Therefore, when Allah decreed to send a torment on the people of Prophet Lot (peace be upon him), He commanded the Prophet Lot (peace be upon him) to leave the place along with his people but to leave his wife behind: So depart from here with the people of your household in the last hours of the night. And look here: none of you should turn round to look behind; but your wife (who will not accompany you) shall meet the same doom as they. (Surah Houd, Ayat 81).
( 172 )   Then We destroyed the others.
( 173 )   And We rained upon them a rain [of stones], and evil was the rain of those who were warned.
This was not a rain of water but a rain of stones. According to the details given at other places in the Quran, when Prophet Lot (peace be upon him) had left the place along with the people of his household in the last hours of the night, there occurred a terrible explosion at dawn and a violent earthquake, which turned all their habitations upside down and rained on them stones of baked clay as a result of a volcanic eruption and a strong blast of wind.

Below we give a resume of the Biblical account and of ancient Greek and Latin writings and modern geological researches and archaeological observations about the torment and the place where it occurred:

The hundreds of ruins found in the waste and uninhabited land lying to the south and east of the Dead Sea indicate that this must have been a prosperous and thickly populated area in the past. The archaeologists have estimated that the age of prosperity of this land lasted between 2300 and 1900 B.C. According to historians, Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) lived about 2000 B.C. Thus the archaeological evidence confirms that this land was destroyed in the time of Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) and his nephew Prophet Lot (peace be upon him).

The most populous and fertile part of the area was the vale of Siddim as mentioned in the Bible: And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt (Gen. 13: 10). The present day scholars are of the opinion that valley is now under the Dead Sea and this opinion is supported by firm archaeological evidence. In the ancient times, the Dead Sea did not so much extend to the south as it does today. Opposite and to the west of the present Jordanian city of Al-Karak, there is a small peninsula called Al-Lisan. This was the end of the sea in ancient days. The area to the south of it, which is now under sea water was a fertile valley, the vale of Siddim, in which were situated Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboim, Zoar, the famous cities of the people of Lot. In about 2000 B.C. this valley sank as a result of a violent earthquake and was submerged in sea water. Even today this is the most shallow part of the Sea. In the Roman period it was more so and was fordable from Al-Lisan to the western coast. One can still see submerged jungles along the southern coast and there might as well be submerged buildings.

According to the Bible and the ancient Greek and Latin writings, the region abounded in pits of petroleum and asphalt and at places inflammable gas also existed. It appears from the geological observations that with the violent earthquake shocks, petroleum, gases and asphalt were thrown up and ignited, and the whole region exploded like a bomb. The Bible says that when Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) got the news and went from Hebron to see the affected valley, he saw that the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace. (Gen. 19: 28).
( 174 )   Indeed in that is a sign, but most of them were not to be believers.
( 175 )   And indeed, your Lord - He is the Exalted in Might, the Merciful.
Rukhu 10 [Verses 176-191]
176-191 Story of Prophet Shu'aib (peace be upon him), his address to his people, they disbelieved and as a result faced destruction.

Shu'aib’s people disbelieved even though he was a trustworthy Messenger who asked for no reward.  He warned his people to weigh with correct scales, to give full measure, and not spread corruption, but they accused him of being bewitched.  They called him a liar and asked him to cause fragments of the sky to fall upon them if he was truthful.  Due to their stubborn denial the torment seized them, a scourge from the dark clouds.  Most do not learn the lesson and become believers.  God is Mighty and Merciful.

كَذَّبَ اَصۡحٰبُ لْئَيۡكَةِ الۡمُرۡسَلِيۡنَ ​ۖ​ۚ‏ 
( 176 ) The people of Aykah also gave the lie to the Messengers.
The people of Aiykah have been briefly mentioned in verses 78-84 of Surah Al-Hijr. More about them here. There is a difference of opinion among the commentators as to whether the Midianites and the people of Aiykah were two different tribes or one and the same people. One group holds that they were different tribes and gives the argument that in Surah Al-Aaraf Prophet Shuaib (peace be upon him) has been brother of the Midianites (verse 85), whereas here, with regard to the people of Aiykah, he has not been called so. The other group holds that they were one and the same people on the ground that the moral diseases and characteristics mentioned of the Midianites in Surahs Al-Aaraf and Hüd are the same as of the people of Aiykah mentioned here. Then the message and admonition of Prophet Shuaib (peace be upon him) to both the tribes was the same, and the two tribes also met the same end.

Research in this regard has shown that both the views are correct. The Midianites and the people of Aiykah were doubtless two different tribes but branches of the same stock. The progeny of Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) from his wife (or slave girl) Keturah, is well known in Arabia and in the history of the Israelites as the children of Keturah. Their most prominent branch was the one which became famous as the Midianites, after their ancestor, Midian, son of Abraham. They had settled in the territory between northern Arabia and southern Palestine, and along the coasts of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqabah. Their capital city was Madyan, which was situated, according to Abul Fida, on the western coast of the Gulf of Aqabah at five days’ journey from Aiykah (present day Aqabah). The rest of the children of Keturah, among whom the Dedanites are comparatively better known, settled in the territory between Taima and Tabuk and Al-Ula in northern Arabia, their main city being Tabuk, the Aiykah of the ancient times. (Yaqut in his Mujam al-Buldan, under Aiykah, writes that this is the old name of Tabuk, and the natives of Tabuk confirm this).

The reason why one and the same Prophet was sent to the Midianites and the people of Aiykah was probably that both the tribes were descendants of the same ancestors, spoke the same language and had settled in the adjoining areas. It is just possible that they lived side by side in the same areas and had marriages and other social relations between them. Then, these two branches were traders by profession and had developed similar evil practices and social and moral weaknesses. According to the early books of the Bible, these people worshiped Baal-peor. When the Children of Israel came out of Egypt and entered their territory, they also became infected with the evils of idolatry and adultery. (Numbers, 25: 1-5, 31: 16-17). Then those people had settled on the two main international trade routes, the one joining Yaman with Syria and the other the Persian Gulf with Egypt. Due to their advantageous position they had started big scale highway robbery and would not let any caravan pass till it had paid heavy taxes. They had thus rendered these trade routes highly unsafe. Their characteristic of highway robbery has been mentioned in the Quran, for which they were admonished through Prophet Shuaib (peace be upon him), thus: And do not lie in ambush by every path (of life) as robbers in order to frighten the people (Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayat 86). These were the reasons why Allah sent to both the tribes the same Prophet, who conveyed to them the same teachings and message. For the details of the story of Prophet Shuaib (peace be upon him) and the Midianites, see (Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayats 85-93); (Surah Houd, Ayats 84-95); and (Surah Al-Ankabut, Ayats 36-37).
( 177 )   When Shu'aib said to them, "Will you not fear Allah?( 178 )   Indeed, I am to you a trustworthy messenger.( 179 )   So fear Allah and obey me.( 180 )   And I do not ask you for it any payment. My payment is only from the Lord of the worlds.
( 181 )   Give full measure and do not be of those who cause loss.
They were generally traders, but they were given to fraud, injustice, and wrongful mischief (by intermeddling with others). They are asked to fear Allah and follow His ways: it is He Who also created their predecessors among mankind, who never prospered by fraud and violent wrongdoing, but only justice and fair dealing.
( 182 )   And weigh with an even balance. 
( 183 )   And do not deprive people of their due and do not commit abuse on earth, spreading corruption. ( 184 )   And fear He who created you and the former creation."( 185 )   They said, "You are only of those affected by magic.( 186 )   You are but a man like ourselves, and indeed, we think you are among the liars.
They deny that he is a prophet or that they are doing wrong, or that any former generations behaved differently. They think they are the true exponents of human nature, and that such as he-idealists-are mere madmen.
( 187 )   So cause to fall upon us fragments of the sky, if you should be of the truthful."
'If you really claim any real contact with Allah, let us see if you can bring down a piece of the sky to fall on us!'
( 188 )   He said, "My Lord is most knowing of what you do."
That is, it is not in my power to bring down the torment; it is in Allah’s power, and He is fully aware of your misdeeds. He will send down the torment as and when He wills. In this demand of the people of Aiykah and the answer of Prophet Shuaib (peace be upon him) to them there was an admonition for the Quraish as well. They also demanded from the Prophet (peace be upon him) to bring down the torment on them: Or.... you cause the sky to fall down on us in fragments, as you threaten us. (Surah Bani Israil, Ayat 92). As such the Quraish are being told that the people of Aiykah had also demanded a similar thing from their Prophet, and the answer that they got from their Prophet is the answer of Muhammad (peace be on him) to you.
( 189 )   And they denied him, so the punishment of the day of the black cloud seized them. Indeed, it was the punishment of a terrible day.
The details of this torment are neither found in the Quran nor in any authentic tradition. What one can learn from the text is this: As these people had demanded a torment from the sky, Allah sent upon them a cloud which hung over them like a canopy and kept hanging until they were completely destroyed by the torment of continuous rain. The Quran clearly points out that the nature of the torment sent upon the Midianites was different from that sent upon the people of Aiykah. The people of Aiykah, as mentioned here, were destroyed by the torment of the canopy, while the torment visiting the Midianites was in the form of a terrible earthquake: It so happened that a shocking catastrophe overtook them and they remained lying prostrate in their dwellings. (Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayat 91). And: A dreadful shock overtook them and they lay lifeless and prostrate in their homes. (Surah Hüd, Ayat 94 "And when Our command came to pass, We delivered Shu'ayb and those who shared his faith, through Our mercy, and the Blast seized those who were engaged in wrong-doing, so they lay lifeless in their homes"). Therefore, it is wrong to regard the two torments as identical. Some commentators have given a few explanations of the torment of the Day of canopy, but we do not know the source of their information. Ibn Jarir has quoted Abdullah bin Abbas as saying: If somebody from among the scholars gives you an explanation of the torment of the Day of canopy, do not consider it as correct.
( 190 )   Indeed in that is a sign, but most of them were not to be believers.
( 191 )   And indeed, your Lord - He is the Exalted in Might, the Merciful.
With this, there comes an end to mention of Prophets in this Surah which were mentioned as a warning to the pagans of Makkah who always demanded of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to bring upon them a torment if he was a real prophet. But it is up to Allah how He decides to reward or punish a people. Allah restrained and a day came when people of Makkah gave in and Makkah came under the ambit of Islam without a battle being fought as pagans of Makkah realised that there was no escaping from the truth that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had shown them.

You may now like to listen to Arabic recitation of Surah Ash-Shu'ara with English subtitles:

You may refer to our post "114 Chapters (Sūrahs) of the Holy Qur'an" for translation, meaning and summary / exegesis of other chapters (Though not complete but building up from 30th Juzʼ / Part backwards for chapters in 30th Juzʼ / Part are shorter and easier to understand). 

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Reading the Holy Quran should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully.

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Holy Qur'an from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that:
  • The plain translation has been taken from the Holy Quran officially published by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 
  • The exegesis of the chapters of the Holy Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi. 
  • In addition the references of  other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites. 
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