The Dwellers of the Town
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Allah the Almighty says: “And put forward to them a similitude: the (story of the) dwellers of the town, when there came Messengers to them. When We sent to them two Messengers, they belied them both; so We reinforced them with a third, and they said: “Verily we have been sent to you as Messengers.” They (people of the town) said: “You are only human beings like ourselves and the Most Gracious (Allah) has revealed nothing. You are only telling lies.” The Messengers said: “Our Lord knows that we have been sent as Messengers to you.” And our duty is only to convey plainly (the Message).” They (people) said: “For us, we see an evil omen from you: if you cease not, we will surely stone you, and a painful torment will touch you from us.”They (Messengers) said: “Your evil omens be with you! (Do you call it “evil omen”) because you are admonished? Nay, but you are a people Musrifun (transgressing all bounds by committing all kinds of great sins, and by disobeying Allah). And there came a man running from the farthest part of the town. He said: “O my people! Obey the Messengers. ” “Obey those who ask no wages of you (for themselves), and who are rightly guided. “And why should I not worship Him (Allah Alone) Who has created me and to Whom you shall be returned.” “Shall I take besides Him alihah (gods)? If the Most Gracious (Allah) intends me any harm, their intercession will be of no use for me whatsoever, nor can they save me?” “Then verily, I should be in plain error.” “Verily! I have believed in your Lord, so listen to me!” It was said (to him when the disbelievers killed him): “Enter Paradise.” He said: “Would that my people knew. “That my Lord (Allah) has forgiven me, and made me of the honored ones!” And We sent not against his people after him a host from the heaven, nor was it needful for Us to send (such a thing). It was but one Saihah (shout) and lo! They (all) were still (silent, dead, destroyed)”.
‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas, Ka’b Al-Ahbar and Wahb Ibn Munabih and many others narrated a story of a town called Antioch (Antakiyah), governed by the king Antikhis Ibn Antikhis. This king used to observe idol worship. Allah Almighty sent him three Messengers whom he severely belied. The Messengers were: Sadiq, Masduq and Shalom. It is evidently apparent that they were Messengers sent by Allah the Almighty. Qatadah claimed them to be messengers sent by Jesus Christ. The same view was held by Ibn Jarir after Wahb after Ibn Sulaiman after Shu’ aib Al- Jiba’i who added that: those messengers were called: Shimon, Jonah and Paul and the town was called Antioch. This view is groundless because the people of Antioch when received three of the disciples of Jesus Christ (Peace be upon him) -were the first to believe in him at that very time. Thereupon, Antioch was one of the first four towns in which there first existed Christian Patriarchs. These four towns were Antioch, Jerusalem, Alexandria and Rome. However, the people of these towns were not destroyed, whereas the people of the aforementioned town in the Qur’anic verses were totally annihilated, following the killing of their companion whom Allah sent to admonish them.
The people of the town said that the Messengers were only human beings and they set aside the idea that Allah Almighty might send human beings as His Messengers to mankind. The Messengers asserted that Allah knows that they have been sent to them and that if they lie to Him, He would certainly give them the severest of all punishment. People did not believe them as Human and Messenger at the same time. they threatened them with afflicting humiliation (bad words) and killing (stoning to death). Allah sent a third Messenger to support the Messengers and to declare his faith in them. He said: They invite you to the absolute truth without asking wages or reward for themselves of you. Then he invited them to worship Allah Alone, and not to worship other than Him that can do nothing in this present life or in the Hereafter. Then this third Messenger believed the prior Messenger and said that you should listen to my statement and bear witness to this before your Lord. Or, 0 my people! Listen to my declaration of faith of these Messengers. Thereupon, the people killed him either by stoning him to death, or biting, or making one sudden assault against him. Narrated Ibn Ishaq after some of his counterparts on the authority of `Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud that the people stepped over his body till they broke his neck. It is said that the name of that believing man was Habib Ibn Murriy who was said to be a carpenter, or rope-maker, or shoe-maker. It is also said that he used to observe his religious rituals in an isolated cave. when he was killed by his people, Allah Almighty admitted him into Paradise. When he saw of the pleasures and joys therein, he said that he wished that his people would know the honor Allah bestowed on him.
To punish the transgression of those people, Allah the Almighty sent Gabriel (AS) who maintained a grasp on their town’s gate and made a single shout, and they turned to be silent, motionless and dead.