Hud (prophet)

This article is about the Islamic prophet. For other uses, see HUD.
Islamic prophet

Hud with the ʿĀd tribe
Illuminated collection of Stories of the Prophets
Born sometime between 300 and 600 BCE
Resting place Kabr Nabi Hud (Possible)[1]
Other names Hud has been identified with ʻĒḇer (Hebrew: עֵבֶר), but this is debated in Islam

Hud (/hd/; Arabic: هود) was a prophet of ancient Arabia mentioned in the Qur’an.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8] The eleventh chapter of the Qur’an, Hud, is named after him, though the narrative of Hud comprises only a small portion of the chapter.[3]

Historical context

Hud has sometimes been identified with 'Eber,[9] an ancestor of the Israelites who is mentioned in the Old Testament.

He is said to have been a subject of a mulk (Arabic: مُـلـك, kingdom) named after its founder, ʿĀd, a fourth generation descendant of Noah (his father being Uz, the son of Aram, who was the son of Shem and a son of Noah.[10] The other tribes claimed to be present at this time in Arabia, were the Thamud, Jurhum, Tasam, Jadis, Amim, Midian, Amalek Imlaq, Jasim, Qahtan, Banu Yaqtan and others.[11]

The Qur’an gives the location of ʿĀd as being "Al-Ahqaf" (Arabic: الأحـقـاف, "The Sandy Plains," or "the Wind-curved Sand-hills").[12][13][6] It is believed to have been in the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula, possibly in eastern Yemen and/or western ‘Oman. In the 1980s, a settlement was discovered and thought to be Ubar, which is thought to be mentioned in the Qur'an as "Iram dhat al-‘Imad" (Arabic: إرم ذات الـعـمـاد, Iram of the Pillars) in the Qur’an,[8][13] and may have been the capital of ʿĀd. An alternative translation of "Iram dhat al-‘Imad" is "Iram of the tentpoles" and it is uncertain whether the name identifies a city or a tribe.[13]


This is a brief summary of Hud's narrative, with emphasis on two particular verses:

The people of ʿĀd were extremely powerful and wealthy and they built countless buildings[14] and monuments to show their power. However, the ʿĀd people's wealth ultimately proved to be their failure, as they became arrogant and forsook God and began to adopt idols for worship, including three idols named Samd, Samud and Hara.[11] Hud, even in childhood, remained consistent in prayer to God. It is related through exegesis that Hud's mother, a pious woman who had seen great visions at her son's birth, was the only person who encouraged Hud in his worship. Thus, the Lord raised up Hud as a prophet for the ʿĀd people.

When Hud started preaching and invited them to the worship of only the true God and when he told them to repent for their past sins and ask for mercy and forgiveness, the ʿĀd people began to revile him and wickedly began to mock God's message. Hud's story epitomizes the prophetic cycle common to the early prophets mentioned in the Qur’an: the prophet is sent to his people to tell them to worship God only and tells them to acknowledge that it is God who is the provider of their blessings[9] The Qur’an[3] states:

We sent to the people of 'Ad their brother Hud, who said: "O my people, worship God; you have no other god but He. (As for the idols,) you are only inventing lies.
O my people, I ask no recompense of you for it: My reward is with Him who created me. Will you not, therefore, understand?
O my people, beg your Lord to forgive you, and turn to Him in repentance. He will send down rain in torrents for you from the skies, and give you added strength. So do not turn away from Him as sinners."
They said: "O Hud, you have come to us with no proofs. We shall not abandon our gods because you say so, nor believe in you.
All we can say is that some of our gods have smitten you with evil." He replied:" I call God to witness, and you be witness too, that I am clear of what you associate (in your affairs)
Apart from Him. Contrive against me as much as you like, and give me no respite.
I place my trust in God who is my Lord and your Lord. There is no creature that moves on the earth who is not held by the forelock firmly by Him. Verily the way of my Lord is straight.
If you turn away, then (remember) I have delivered to you the message I was sent with. My Lord will put other people in your place, and you will not be able to prevail against Him. Indeed my Lord keeps a watch over all things."
Qur'an, sura 11 (Hud), ayah 50-57

Hud preached to the people of ʿĀd for a long time. The majority of them, however, refused to pay any notice to his teachings and they kept ignoring and mocking all he said. As their aggression, arrogance and idolatry deepened, God, after plenty of warning, sent a thunderous storm to finish the wicked people of ʿĀd once and for all. The destruction of the ʿĀd is described in the Qur’an:[6]

So when they saw it as a cloud advancing towards their valleys, they said: "This is just a passing cloud that will bring us rain." "No. It is what you were trying to hasten: The wind which carries the grievous punishment!
It will destroy everything at the bidding of its Lord." So in the morning there was nothing but their empty dwellings to be seen. That is how We requite the sinners.
Qur'an, Surah 46 (Al-Ahqaf), ayah 24-25

In other religions

Judaism and Christianity do not venerate Hud as a Prophet and, as a figure, he is absent from the Bible. However, there are several pre-Qur’anic references to individuals named Hud or possessing a name which is connected to Hud as well as references to the people of ʿĀd.[9] The name has been linked to several Biblical names. The name Hud also appears various ancient inscriptions, most commonly in the Hadhramaut.

Place of burial

Several sites are revered as the tomb of Hud. The most noted site, "Kabr Nabi Hud", is located in the deserted village of the Hadhramaut, around 90 mi (140 km) north of Al Mukalla and is a place of frequent Muslim pilgrimage. R.B. Serjeant (Hud, 129) verified on the spots the facts related by Harawi (Ziyarat, 97/220-1), who described, at the gate of the Masjid, on the west side, the rock onto which Hud climbed to make the call to prayer and mentioned, at the bottom of the ravine, the grotto of Balhut,[1] Around the tomb and neighborhood, various ancient ruins and inscriptions have been found.[15] However, as is often the case with the graves of prophets, other locations have been listed. It is said, for instance, that a possible location for his qabr (Arabic: قـبـر, grave) is said to be near the Zamzam Well,[16] or in the south wall of the Masjid in Damascus.[17] Some scholars have added that the Masjid has an inscription stating: "Hadha Maqam Hud" (Arabic: هـذا مـقـام هـود, "This is (the) Tomb of Hud");[18] others, however, suggest that this belief is a local tradition spewing from the reverence the locals have for Hud.[1]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 Encyclopedia of Islam, C.H. Pellat, Hud
  2. Quran 7 :65–72
  3. 1 2 3 Quran 11 :50–60
  4. Quran 26 :123–139
  5. Quran 38 :11–13
  6. 1 2 3 Quran 46 :21–26
  7. Quran 50 :12–14
  8. 1 2 Quran 54 :21–26
  9. 1 2 3 A-Z of Prophets in Islam and Judaism, Brannon M. Wheeler, Hud
  10. Abdullah Yusuf Ali,The Holy Qur'an: Text, Translation and Commentary, Note 1040: "The 'Ad people, with their prophet Hud, are mentioned in many places. See especially 26:123-140, and 46:21-26. Their story belongs to Arabian tradition. Their eponymous ancestor 'Ad was fourth in generation from Noah, having been a son of 'Aus, the son of Aram, the son of Sam, the son of Noah. They occupied a large tract of country in Southern Arabia, extending from Umman at the mouth of the Persian Gulf to Hadhramaut and Yemen at the southern end of the Red Sea. The people were tall in stature and were great builders. Probably the long, winding tracts of sands (ahqaf) in their dominions (46:21) were irrigated with canals. They forsook the true God, and oppressed their people. A three years famine visited them, but yet they took no warning. At length a terrible blast of wind destroyed them and their land, but a remnant, known as the second 'Ad or the Thamud (see below) were saved, and afterwards suffered a similar fate for their sins. The tomb of the Prophet Hud (qabr Nabi Hud) is still traditionally shown in Hadhramaut, latitude 16 N, and longitude 4912 E', about 90 miles north of Mukalla. There are ruins and inscriptions in the neighborhood."
  11. 1 2 Stories of the Prophets, Ibn Kathir, Story of Hud
  12. E.J. Brill's First Encyclopaedia of Islam 1913-1936. 1. BRILL. 1987. p. 121. ISBN 90-04-08265-4.
  13. 1 2 3 Glassé, Cyril; Smith, Huston (January 2003). The New Encyclopedia of Islam. Rowman Altamira. p. 26. ISBN 978-0-7591-0190-6.
  14. Quran 26:128–129
  15. Hadramut. Some of its mysteries unveiled, D. van der Meulen and H. von Wissmann, 1932
  16. Harawi, 86/98
  17. Harawi, 15/38
  18. Ibn Battuta, i, 205; ii, 203


References in the Qur'an

Further reading

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