Surah Hud
سورة هود

Asbab An-Nuzul Surah Hud
Alī ibn Ahmad al-Wāhidī
Sura Hud (Arabic سورة هود, Sūratu Hūd, “Hud”) is the 11th
Chapter of the Qur’an with 123 verses. It is a Makkan sura.

Decorative Lines

Hud – هود

  • Classification: Makkan

Statistics

  • Sura number: 11
  • Number of verses: 123
  • Juz’ number: 11 to 12
  • Hizb number: 22 to 24
  • Number of Sajdahs: none
  • Previous Sura: Yunus (sura)
  • Next Sura: Yusuf (sura)

Contents and themes

The main content of the sura is a series of stories of prophets who warned their people to follow God, the people persisting in defying God, and God punishing and killing them. The sura opens with a discussion on the nature of man and the punishment that awaits those who defy God. Ayat 25–49 tell the story of Noah and how his people did not believe his commands to follow God.

The unbelievers are drowned in a flood, which includes Noah’s son; Noah asks God about this act, but God rebukes Noah as being ignorant and says that Noah’s son is “not a member of his family.” Sura 66, At-Tahrim, elaborates on this and says that Noah’s wife is an unbeliever in hell who was unfaithful to her husband.

Ayat 50–60 deal with the prophet Hud, the namesake of the Sura. He was sent to the A’ad, an Omani tribe which according to history crumbled sometime between the 3rd and 6th century AD. The A’ad do not believe Hud, and Hud and those who do believe are rescued by God, followed by God inflicting a “dreadful doom” on them so that they were “accursed in the world.”[Quran 11:58–60 (Translated by Ahmed Ali)]

Ayat 61–68 concern the people of Thamud and the prophet Saleh. Saleh tries to convince Thamud to repent, but once more the unbelievers ignore the prophet. Saleh offers a she-camel as an offering of peace, but says that it should be left alone. If anything befalls it, the people will be punished. The camel is hamstrung, Saleh and those who believe are rescued, and the unbelievers are smitten by a “blast from heaven.”[Quran 11:67 (Translated by Ahmed Ali)]

The Qu’ranic version of the Biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah is in ayat 69–83. Abraham and Sarah are given the news of their son and grandson’s forthcoming birth (Isaac and Jacob), after which they plead for mercy for Lot’s people. God refuses the request, saying that the punishment cannot be averted. Lot offers his daughters to the men of Sodom, but they respond with disinterest and say “you know what we want.” Sura 7:80–84 confirms the Biblical account of homosexuality as being the crime of Lot’s people. Angels descend to protect Lot and his daughters, and the city is destroyed by a stone rain. Lot’s wife perishes as well.

Ayat 84–95 deal with the prophet Shu’aib sent to Midian. Once more, the people ignore the prophet’s warnings; this time, Shu’aib reminds the people of the fate of the people of Noah, Hud, Saleh, and Lot. It doesn’t work, and the people spare Shu’aib from death by stoning only because he comes from a powerful clan. Shu’aib and those who believe are rescued by God. Afterward, the unbelievers “[were] seized by a punishment from heaven, and lay overturned in their homes in the morning as though they had not dwelt there at all.”[Quran 11:94–95 (Translated by Ahmed Ali)]

The remaining text of the sura discusses the general theme once more, with occasional references to Moses. The harsh punishment is explained as “We did not wrong them; they wronged themselves.” Other gods are decried as false, powerless, and useless. Believers are commanded to walk the straight path and follow God, and those who disbelieve will suffer in Hell.

Sample verses | Quran 11:1-5

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

الر ۚ كِتَابٌ أُحْكِمَتْ آيَاتُهُ ثُمَّ فُصِّلَتْ مِنْ لَدُنْ حَكِيمٍ خَبِيرٍ ﴿١﴾ أَلَّا تَعْبُدُوا إِلَّا اللهَ ۚ إِنَّنِي لَكُمْ مِنْهُ نَذِيرٌ وَبَشِيرٌ ﴿٢﴾ وَأَنِ اسْتَغْفِرُوا رَبَّكُمْ ثُمَّ تُوبُوا إِلَيْهِ يُمَتِّعْكُمْ مَتَاعًا حَسَنًا إِلَىٰ أَجَلٍ مُسَمًّى وَيُؤْتِ كُلَّ ذِي فَضْلٍ فَضْلَهُ ۖ وَإِنْ تَوَلَّوْا فَإِنِّي أَخَافُ عَلَيْكُمْ عَذَابَ يَوْمٍ كَبِيرٍ ﴿٣﴾ إِلَى اللهِ مَرْجِعُكُمْ ۖ وَهُوَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ ﴿٤﴾ أَلَا إِنَّهُمْ يَثْنُونَ صُدُورَهُمْ لِيَسْتَخْفُوا مِنْهُ ۚ أَلَا حِينَ يَسْتَغْشُونَ ثِيَابَهُمْ يَعْلَمُ مَا يُسِرُّونَ وَمَا يُعْلِنُونَ ۚ إِنَّهُ عَلِيمٌ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُورِ ﴿٥

English, Sahih International:

  1. Alif, Lam, Ra. [This is] a Book whose verses are perfected and then presented in detail from [one who is] Wise and Acquainted.
  2. [Through a messenger, saying], “Do not worship except Allah . Indeed, I am to you from Him a warner and a bringer of good tidings,”
  3. And [saying], “Seek forgiveness of your Lord and repent to Him, [and] He will let you enjoy a good provision for a specified term and give every doer of favor his favor. But if you turn away, then indeed, I fear for you the punishment of a great Day.
  4. To Allah is your return, and He is over all things competent.”
  5. Unquestionably, they the disbelievers turn away their breasts to hide themselves from Him. Unquestionably, [even] when they cover themselves in their clothing, Allah knows what they conceal and what they declare. Indeed, He is Knowing of that within the breasts.

Asbab An-Nuzul – Surah Hud

Alī ibn Ahmad al-Wāhidī

11:5.| Lo! now they fold up their breasts that they may hide (their thoughts) from Him…!

[11:5]. This verse was revealed about al-Akhnas ibn Shurayq who was good looking and sweet talking. When he met the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, he pleased him but he always kept in his heart that which displeased him. Al-Kalbi said: “He used to sit with the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, and display things that pleased the Prophet while hiding in his heart the opposite of what he displayed. And so Allah, exalted is He, revealed (Lo! now they fold up their breasts that they may hide (their thoughts)) their thoughts of enmity to Muhammad, Allah bless him and give him peace”.

11:114.| Establish worship at the two ends of the day and in some watches of the night. Lo! good deeds annul ill deeds…!

[11:114]. Master Abu Mansur al-Baghdadi informed us> Abu ‘Amr ibn Matar> Ibrahim ibn ‘Ali> Yahya ibn Yahya> Abu’l-Ahwas> Simak> Ibrahim> ‘Alqamah> al-Aswad> ‘Abd Allah who said: “A man came to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, and said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, I have fondled a woman at the end of Medina. However, I have touched her without making love to her; here I am, sentence me to whatever judgment you see fit!’ ‘Umar exclaimed: ‘Allah had concealed your sin if only you had kept it concealed’.

The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, did not answer him. The man left. Another man went after him, called him back and recited to him this verse. One man asked: ‘O Messenger of Allah, is this for him specifically?’ He said: ‘No, it is for all people’ ”. This was narrated by Muslim from Yahya ibn Yahya and by Bukhari from Yazid ibn Zuray’. ‘Amr ibn Abi ‘Amr informed us> Muhammad ibn Makki> Muhammad ibn Yusuf> Muhammad ibn Isma’il> Bishr ibn Yazid ibn Zuray’> Sulayman al-Taymi> Abu ‘Uthman al-Nahdi> Ibn Mas’ud who reported that:

A man kissed a woman after which he went to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, and informed him of what he did. Allah, exalted is He, then revealed this verse (Establish worship at the two ends of the day and in some watches of the night…) up to the end of the verse. The man asked: “Does this apply specifically to me?” He said: “It applies to whoever practises it from among my community”.

Muhammad ibn Musa ibn al-Fadl informed us> Muhammad ibn Ya’qub al-Umawi> al-‘Abbas al-Duri> Ahmad ibn Hanbal al-Marwazi> Muhammad ibn al-Mubarak> Suwayd> ‘Uthman ibn Mawhab> Musa ibn Talhah> Abu’l-Yusr ibn ‘Amr who said:

“A woman whose husband was sent with an army by the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, came to me and said: ‘I want to buy one silver coin worth of dates’. I liked the woman and so I said: ‘I have in the house dates which are much better than these, so come with me’.

I touched her and kissed her. I then went to the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, and related to him what happened. He said to me: ‘You have betrayed a man who is fighting for the sake of Allah in relation to his wife with the like of this’. And he put his head down on me. I thought I was of the dwellers of hellfire and that Allah would never forgive me. But then Allah, exalted is He, revealed (Establish worship at the two ends of the day and in some watches of the night…).

The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, sent for me and recited it to me”.

Nasr ibn Bakr ibn Ahmad al-Wa’iz> Abu Sa’id ‘Abd Allah ibn Muhammad al-Sijzi> Muhammad ibn Ayyub al-Razi> ‘Ali ibn ‘Uthman> Musa ibn Isma’il> ‘Ubayd Allah ibn ‘Asim (the wording is that of ‘Ali)> Hammad ibn Salamah> ‘Ali ibn Zayd> Yusuf ibn Mahran> Ibn ‘Abbas who said:

“A man went to ‘Umar and said: ‘A woman came to buy from me, I took her inside an antechamber and did with her everything except intercourse’.

‘Umar said: ‘Woe unto you, her husband is absent fighting for the sake of Allah!’ I said: ‘Yes, he is!’ He said: ‘Go to Abu Bakr [and see what he says]’. He went to Abu Bakr and he said exactly as ‘Umar said. He said: ‘Go to the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, and ask him’.

He went to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, and related to him what he had already related to Abu Bakr and ‘Umar. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace said: ‘Is her husband away fighting for the sake of Allah..?’

When the man confirmed it, the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, did not speak with him. This verse was then revealed (Establish worship at the two ends of the day and in some watches of the night. Lo! good deeds annul ill deeds…), and the man asked:

‘O Messenger of Allah, is this for me specifically or is it for everyone..?’

‘Umar struck his chest and said: ‘No, it is for everyone’. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, laughed and said: ‘ ‘Umar is right!’ ”.

Abu Mansur informed us> Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Tusi> ‘Ali ibn ‘Umar al-Hafiz> al-Husayn ibn Isma’il al-Mahamili> Yusuf ibn Musa> Jarir> ‘Abd al-Malik ibn ‘Umayr> ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Abi Layla> Mu’adh ibn Jabal who reported that he was sitting with the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, when a man came and said:

“O Messenger of Allah, what do you say about a man who touches a woman who is unlawful for him to touch, such that he does everything that a man usually does with his lawfully wedded wife, except that he does not have intercourse with her?” The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said to him:

“Perform minor ritual ablutions properly and then stand up to pray”. Then, Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse (Establish worship at the two ends of the day and in some watches of the night…) up to its end.

Mu’adh ibn Jabal asked: “Is this for him specifically or for all Muslims?” He replied: “It is for all Muslims”.

Master Abu Tahir al-Ziyadi informed us> Hajib ibn Ahmad> ‘Abd al-Rahim ibn Munib> al-Fadl ibn Musa al-Sinani> Sufyan al-Thawri> Simak ibn Harb> Ibrahim> ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Yazid> Ibn Mas’ud who said: “A man came to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, and said:

‘O Messenger of Allah, I have fondled a woman except that I did not sleep with her’. Allah, exalted is He, revealed [as a response] (Establish worship at the two ends of the day and in some watches of the night. Lo! good deeds annul ill deeds)”.