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Three pre-Islamic Arabian prophets- Hūd (=05), Ṣāliḥ (=06), Shu`ayb (=07) and associated figures.



الأنبياء العرب

Three pre-Islamic Arabian prophets, Hūd, Ṣāliḥ  and Shu`ayb with Select Babi-Baha'i and related exegetical and other comments.

Stephen Lambden, UC Merced.

In Progress and supplementation - last updated 09-02-2022

Certain  Islamic traditions reckon Hūd (=05), Ṣāliḥ (=06), Shu`ayb (=07), Ibrāhīm (=08) and Muhammad (= 028) the five "Arabian prophets".


One of the many shrines allegedly that of the prophet Hūd in Hadhramaut, Yemen.

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05. Hūd R.

Possibly the biblical Heber (Heb.  ḥeber)

Possibly (Ar.) `Ābar the Kenite, a descendant of Hobab and father-in-law of Moses (? Judg. 4:11). Q title sūra 11 and x 7  Hūd is seven times mentioned in 3 sūras of the Qur'an. Hūd is also the title of sūra 11. It has been supposed that Hūd is a purely allegorical ancestor of the Jews  cf. EI2 Wensinck [Pellat] art.`Hūd’). . In the Q. Hūd is a messenger sent to his people `Ād whose story is related three times in three sūras (Q.7:63-70; 11:50-60; 26:123-40). His monotheistic message was ridiculed by the `Ādites (of al-aḥqāf, "the sand dunes"; Q.46:21). In consequence they were largely destroyed by the violent ṣarṣar ("clamorous [raging] wind").

Hūd finds succinct qiṣaṣ al-anbiyā’-rooted mention in select Bābī-Bahā’ī sources. In his Surat al-Nuṣḥ (c. 1861?) Baha'-Allah refers to Hūd as a nabī (prophet) sent to both orient and occident (Surat al-Nuṣḥ, 246; cf. Kitab-i Iqan:7-8 /6-7).

One possibe site of the tomb of Ṣāliḥ, now in in Saudi Arabia

06. Ṣāliḥ,    a Rasul (Sent Messenger) and a Nabi (Prophet), is mentioned nine times  in 6 sūras of the Qur'an.


Ṣāliḥ, was a (pre-Abrahamic?) prophet sent to the tribe of Thamūd (Q. 7:73-9, etc). He came with the "sign", "proof" or "test" of the nāqa (`[she-] camel’) but was rejected. His mocking audience were all destroyed by a storm or earthquake. Baha'u'llah explained (the tribe of) "Thamud" allegorically as opponents of truth in any  age (Baha'u'llah, Tafsir Surat al-Shams, 15-16; cf. Surat al-Nuṣḥ, 246; KI 7-8/7). Like Shaykh Ahmad ibn Zayn al-Din al-Ahsa'i (d.1241/1826) and the Bab (d. 1850), the founder of the Baha'i reliogion referred to Ṣāliḥ quite frequently sometimes utilizing the associated motif of the "she-camel" (L-Dhi`b/ESW, index) In the 25th Surah of his Qayyum al-asma', the  Surat al-Khatam or  the Surah of the Seal [or Ringstone], the Bab refers to Thamud and other examples of wayward peoples

Baha'i Exegesis

On one occasion Abd al-Baha' explained that the nāqah (she-camel)  indicates Ṣālīḥ’s "sanctified self" (nafs-i muqaddas). Being "hamstrung" indicated an event within the person of Ṣālīḥ precipitated by his enemies which prevented him from proffering the "milk" of spiritual beatitude to his people (Abd al-Baha', Ma’idih -yi asmani, II:99).

One oof the possible sites of the shrine or tomb  of   شعيب  Shu`ayb, believed to be located near Kfar Zeitim, near Tiberias, northern Israel

07. Shu`ayb,   a Rasul (sent Prophet) and a Nabi (prophet figure) R+N, perhaps the biblical [uncle of ?] Jethro (Heb.  Yitrô,) priest of Midian and father of Zipporah the wife of Moses, in fact the father-in-law of Moses (Exod. 3:1; 4:18; 18:1ff; Qx11 in 3 Sūrahs). A messenger-prophet sent with risālāt ("messages") to the people of Madyan (Midian, NW Arabia, cf. Q. 20:40; 28:22f) or the aṣḥāb al-ayka ("people of the thicket"; Q. 7:83-91, etc).  In his EI2 article` Shu`ayb’, (IX:491+ see refs. and bib.) Andrew Rippin notes that it was on the basis of Q. 9:91 that he was "understood to have come after Ḥ¬d, Ṣālīḥ and Lot (Lūṭ )."

A qur’ānic rasūl though not, it seems a Bābī-Bahā’ī maẓhar-i ilāhī, Shu`ayb is infrequently mentioned in Bābī- Bahā’ī sources (Baha'u'llah, KI:7-8-7).








Wheeler, Brannon , `Arab Prophets of the Qur'an and Bible / ‮الأنبياء العرب في القرآن والکتاب المقدس‬'    in Journal of Qur'anic Studies Vol. 8, No. 2 (2006), pp. 24-57.  Edinburgh University Press.