Is it possible to throw some light on the life and messengership of Prophet Hud (a.s.)?

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SHAFAQNA- Prophet Hud is one of the divine prophets whose name has been mentioned seven times in Surah al-Araf and Surah al-Shu’ara.  He is among the descendants (great grandsons) of Prophet Noah (a.s.) with seven generations away.

He was called ‘Hud’ because he had been protected from the misguidance in which his people had fallen and that he had been also appointed by God to guide his own people. He was 40 when he was divinely appointed as prophet among his people (tribe) who were called ‘Ād. These people disobeyed Prophet Hud and were put to a terrible punishment. However, Prophet Hud (a.s.) and a number of his companions were protected but they had to move to another region called Hadhramaut.
Detailed Answer
Prophet Hud is one of the divine prophets whose name has been mentioned seven times in Surah al-Araf and Surah al-Shu’ara. There is also a Surah that draws its name from his. He is among the descendants (great grandsons) of Prophet Noah (a.s.) with seven generations away.[1] Hud’s stature and appearance were similar to Prophet Adam’s with hairy face and beautiful complexion.[2] He is the second prophet who, after Prophet Noah (a.s.), stood up against idolatry.[3] He was called ‘Hud’ because he had been protected from the misguidance in which his people had fallen and he had also been appointed by God to guide his own people.[4]
Prophet Hud as Seen by Prophet Noah (a.s.)
Authentic chains of narrators have conveyed a tradition from Imam Ja‘far as-Sadiq, wherein he says, “When the time of death approached for Nuh he summoned his people and followers and told them, ‘Keep in mind, after me will be occultation of the proof of Allah. During this period, you shall be subjugated and oppressed by illegitimate leaders and tyrannical kings. And the Almighty will relieve you of these difficulties through ‘al-Qa’im’ (one who rises) – whose name is Hud. He shall be of good appearance, pleasing manners, calm and dignified. He shall resemble me in appearance. When he appears the Almighty will destroy your enemies through wind.’”[5]
Thus, the majority of the believers began to anticipate the arrival of Hud but a long time passed and gradually the people strayed from the path. The Almighty Allah sent Hud at a time when they had lost all hopes and were involved in extreme difficulties.  Then Almighty Allah destroyed their enemies through a strong biting wind.[6]
Mission of Prophet Hud versus His Tribe
The ‘Ād tribe[7] are a strong and formidable people who would dig into mountains with their hands. They had blooming and blissful cities.[8] They settled in Ahqaf.[9] They were defiant, rebellious, promiscuous, misled and stubborn people not ready to surrender to the truth. Prophet Hud (a.s.) invited his people to worship One God but they rejected his invitation accusing him of lying.
Prophet Hud’s mission as God’s messenger among his idolatrous people started at age forty. The Almighty Allah revealed to him to invite his people towards His worship and Oneness (Tawhid), to guide them in the right path and save them from moral degradation.
Hud advised them too much and he started his invitation by saying:
“O my people! serve Allah, you have no god other than He; you are nothing but forgers (of lies). O my people! I do not ask of you any reward for it; my reward is only with Him Who created me; do you not then understand?
“And, O my people! ask forgiveness of your Lord, then turn to Him; He will send on you clouds pouring down abundance of rain and add strength to your strength, and do not turn back guilty.
They said: O Hud! you have not brought to us any clear argument and we are not going to desert our gods for your word, and we are not believers in you:  We cannot say aught but that some of our gods have smitten you with evil.
He (Hud) said: Surely I call Allah to witness, and do you bear witness too, that I am clear of what you associate (with Allah).
“Besides Him, therefore scheme against me all together; then give me no respite:  Surely I rely on Allah, my Lord and your Lord; there is no living creature but He holds it by its forelock; surely my Lord is on the right path.
But if you turn back, then indeed I have delivered to you the message with which I have been sent to you, and my Lord will bring another people in your place, and you cannot do Him any harm; surely my Lord is the Preserver of all things.[10]
However, Hud’s actions left no impact on them and they called for the divine promise which was to send down punishment on them:
“They said: It is the same to us whether you admonish or are not one of the admonishers, this is naught but a custom of the ancients; and we are not going to be punished.”[11]
Also, they said: “Hast thou come in order to turn us aside from our gods? Then bring upon us the (calamity) with which thou dost threaten us, if thou art telling the truth?”[12]
After the people refused to accept his invitation and instead began to torture Hud in various ways, the Almighty prevented rain for three years causing a terrible famine. This was just a warning that punishment would befall them soon.
Hud made use of this opportunity and asked them to have faith in God and turn to Him in repentance. A group of people approached him and asked him to pray. He accepted their request and it started raining once again eventually leading to greenery and cheerfulness across the country.[13]
However, those stubborn people still kept disbelieving and were to reject Prophet Hud. This time, they were not spared and God willed to punish them:
“And to Ad (We sent) their brother Hud. He said: O my people! serve Allah, you have no god other than Him; will you not then guard (against evil)?  The chiefs of those who disbelieved from among his people said: Most surely we see you in folly, and most surely we think you to be of the liars. He said: O my people! there is no folly in me, but I am an messenger of the Lord of the worlds.  I deliver to you the messages of my Lord and I am a faithful adviser to you:  What! do you wonder that a reminder has come to you from your Lord through a man from among you that he might warn you? And remember when He made you successors after Nuh’s people and increased you in excellence in respect of make; therefore remember the benefits of Allah, that you may be successful.  He said: Indeed uncleanness and wrath from your Lord have lighted upon you; what! do you dispute with me about names which you and your fathers have given? Allah has not sent any authority for them; wait then, I too with you will be of those who wait.[14]
God, the Exalted, sent down upon them the vicious wind. It continued to blow for seven nights and eight days. It used to lift up men and women and throw them headlong to the earth. It uprooted the mountains in the same way as it destroyed and powdered the houses. No one was saved except Hud and his comrades.[15]
Following this incident, Hud went to Hadhramaut where he settled until the end of his life. The grave of this prophet of God is in Wadi al-Salam Cemetery of Najaf, Iraq.[16]

[1] His lineage is said to be as such: “Hud son of Abdullah son Rabah son of Khulud son of Ad son of Aws son of Erum son of Sam son of Noah”
[2] Majlisi, Muhammad Baqir, Behar al-Anwar, vol.11, p. 357, Al-Wafa Institute, Beirut, 1404 A.H.
[3] Tabatabai, Sayyid Muhammad Hussein, al-Mizan,  translated by Musavi Hamedani, Sayed Muhammad Baqir, vol.10, p. 44, Islamic Publications Office, qom, 1374 A.H.
[4] Behar al-Anwar, vol.11, p. 357
[5] Behar al-Anwar, vol.11, p. 363.
[6] Vide: Different interpretations of a single event in the Quran, answer, 6515.
[7] They were called ‘Ad because their grandparent was called “’Ad bin Aws”.
[8] Study answer 26595 about ‘Ad and Thamud Tribes’.
[9] What is now eastern Yemen and western Oman, running from the Arabian Sea up into the Dhofar Mountains and to the edge of the Rub’ al Khali.
[10]  Hud, 50 – 57.
[11] Shuara, 136 – 139.
[12] – Ahqaf, 22
[13] Hud, 54; Al-Araf, 66.
[14] Al-Araf, 65 -71.
[15] See: Al-Mizan, translation, Musavi Hamedani, Sayed Muhammad Baqir, vol.10, p. 458.
[16] It has been mentioned in Ziaratnama of the Commander of the Faithful, Ali (a.s.): “Assalamu alaika wa ‘alaa jaraika Hud wa Saleh” which means Peace be upon you and on your two neighbors, Hud and Saleh. “Assalamu alaika wa ‘alaa zaji’aika Adam wa Nuh” Peace be upon you and on Adam and Noah (a.s.) who rest beside you. Behar al-Anwar, vol.53, p. 271; vol.97, p. 286.

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