The Story of Shu'aib
Imam Ibn Kathir Ad-Dimashqi
eBook: Stories of the Prophets
Allah the Almighty revealed the story of Shu'aib (pbuh): To the people of Madyan (Madian) (We sent) their brother Shu'aib. He said: "O my people! Worship Allah, you have no other Ilah (God) but Him. Verily! a clear proof (sign) from your Lord has come unto you; so give full measure and full weight and wrong not men in their things, and do not mischief on the earth after it has been set in order that will be better for you, if you are believers."
"And sit not on every road, threatening, and hindering from the Path of Allah those who believe in Him, and seeking to make it crooked. Remember when you were but few, and He multiplied you. See what was the end of the Mufsideen (mischief makers, corrupts and liars). And if there is a party of you who believes in that which I have been sent and a party who do not believe, so be patient until Allah judges between us, and He is the Best of judges."
The chiefs of those who were arrogant among his people said: "We shall certainly drive you out, O Shu'aib! and those who have believed with you from our town, or else you all shall return to our religion."
He said: "Even though we hate it! We should have invented a lie against Allah if we returned to your religion, after Allah has rescued us from it. It is not for us to return to it unless Allah, our Lord, should will. Our Lord comprehends all things in His Knowledge. In Allah (Alone) we put our trust. Our Lord! Judge between us and our people in truth, for You are the Best of those Who gives judgment."
The chiefs of those who disbelieved among his people said to their people: "If you follow Shu'aib be sure then you will be the losers!"
Then he (shu'aib) turned from them and said: "O my people! I have indeed conveyed my Lord's Messages unto you and I have given you good advice. Then how can I sorrow for the disbelieving people's (destruction)." [Ch 7:85-93 Quran]
The people of Madyan were Arabs who lived in the country of Ma'an, part of which today is greater Syria. They were a greedy people who did not believe that Allah existed and who led wicked lives. They gave short measure, praised their goods beyond their worth, and hid their defects. They lied to their customers, thereby cheating them.
Allah sent His Prophet Shu'aib (pbuh) armed with many miracles. Shu'aib preached to them, begging them to be mindful of Allah's favors and warning them of the consequences of their evil ways, but they only mocked him. Shu'aib remained calm as he reminded them of his kinship to them and that what he was doing was not for his personal gain.
They seized the belongings of Shu'aib and his followers, then drove them out of the city. The Messenger turned to his Lord for help, and his plea was answered. Allah sent down on them scorching heat and they suffered terribly. On seeing a cloud gathering in the sky, they thought it would bring cool, refreshing rain, and rushed outside in the hope of enjoying the rainfall. Instead the cloud burst, hurling thunderbolts and fire. They heard a thunderous sound from above which caused the earth under their feet to tremble. The evil doers perished in this state of horror.
Allah the Exalted stated: The dwellers of Al-Aiyka (near Midian, or Madyan) belied the Messengers. When Shu'aib said to them: "Will you not fear Allah and obey Him? I am a trustworthy Messenger to you. SO fear Allah, keep your duty to Him, and obey me. No reward do I ask of you for it (my message of Islamic Monotheism), my reward is only from the Lord of the Alamin (mankind, jinn and all that exists). Give full measure, and cause no loss to others. And weigh with the true and straight balance. Defraud not people by reducing their things nor do evil making corruption and mischief in the land. Fear Him Who created you and the generations of the men of old."
They said: "You are only one of those bewitched! You are but a human being like us and verily, we think that you are one of the liars! So cause a piece of heaven to fall on us, if you are of the truthful!"
He said: "My Lord is the Best Knower of what you do."
But, they belied him, so the torment of the day of shadow (a gloomy cloud) seized them, indeed that was the torment of a Great Day. Verily, in this is a sign yet most of them are not believers. And verily! Your Lord, He is indeed the All Mighty, the Most Merciful." [Ch 26:176-191 Quran]