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Picture of Thamudi dwellings carved into the cliffs at Meda'in Saleh
The Thamud (Arabic: ) were a people of ancient Arabia who were known from the 1st millennium BC to near the time of Muhammad. Although they are thought to have originated in southern Arabia, Arabic tradition has them moving north to settle on the slopes of Mount Athlab near Mada'in Salehmarker. Numerous Thamudic rock writings and pictures have been found on Mount Athlab and throughout central Arabia.

History

The oldest known reference to Thamud is a 715 BC inscription of the Assyrian king Sargon II which mentions them as being among the people of eastern and central Arabia subjugated by the Assyrians.

They are referred to as "Tamudaei" in the writings of Aristo of Chios, Ptolemy, and Pliny.

The Qur'an

In the Qur'an, 'Ad Thamud are generally mentioned together as a matter of context. Where, the verses advise Thamud to take warning from the destruction of 'Ad.

And to Thamûd (people, We sent) their brother Sâlih (Saleh). He said: "O my people! Worship Allâh! You have no other ilâh (deity) than Him. (Lâ ilâha ill-allâh: There is no god but Allâh). Indeed there has come to you a clear sign (the miracle of the coming out of a huge she-camel from the midst of a rock) from your Lord. This she-camel of Allâh is a sign unto you; so you leave her to graze in Allâh's earth, and touch her not with harm, lest a painful torment should seize you. (73) "And remember when He made you successors after 'Ad (people) and gave you habitations in the land, you build for yourselves palaces in plains, and carve out homes in the mountains. So remember the graces (bestowed upon you) from Allâh, and do not go about making mischief on the earth." (74)| }}

This verse suggests some kind of relationship between 'Ad and Thamud, and 'Ad may even have been a part of Thamud's history and culture. Just as Nuh's people were seen as the ancestors of 'Ad, it seems 'Ad were seen in a similar relation to Thamud.

The 'Ad were a people living in southern Arabia. Some remains of Thamud were found in the region where 'Ad had lived, especially around the region where capital city of the Hadramites, the descendants of 'Ad, stood.

Hadith

`Abd Allah ibn `Umar (ca. 614–693) narrated that while Muhammad was passing by Thamud's houses on his way to the Battle of Tabouk, he stopped together with the people there. The people fetched water from the wells from which the people of Thamud used to drink. They prepared their dough (for baking) and filled their water skins from it (the water from the wells). Muhammad ordered them to empty the water skins and give the prepared dough to the camels. Then he went away with them until they stopped at the well from which the she-camel (of Salih) used to drink. He warned them against entering upon the people that had been punished, saying "I fear that you may be affected by what afflicted them; so do not enter upon them."

Historians

The famous historian Ali ibn al-Athir mentions the Thamud in his book The Complete History (Arabic: الكامل في التاريخ - al-Kamil fi at-tarikh) composed ca. 1231.

Ibn Khaldun

Historian and scholar, Ibn Khaldun also mentions the Thamud several times in his great universal history al-Kitābu l-ʕibār ("Book of Evidence"), but only in passing, seldom giving much information.

Some examples from the Muqaddimah ("Introduction"):

Script

A script graphically similar to the Semitic alphabet (called Thamudic) has been found in southern Arabia and up throughout the Hijaz. The script was first identified in a region in north central Yemenmarker that is known as Thamudmarker, which is bound to the north by the Rub' al Khalimarker, to the south by the Hadhramaut and to the west by Shabwahmarker. The script was named after the place where it was first discovered, not for the people. Inscriptions in Thamudic come mostly from northern Saudi Arabiamarker, but can be found throughout the Arabian peninsula.

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