The exact time period when Prophet Hud preached is unknown. It is believed that he came approximately 200 years before Prophet Saleh
. Based on archaeological evidence, the time period is estimated to be sometime around 300-600 B.C.
Hud and his people lived in the Yemeni province of Hadramawt
. This region is at the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula, in an area of curved sand hills.
Hud was sent to an Arab tribe called 'Ad
, who were related to and ancestors of another Arab tribe known as Thamud
. Both tribes were reported to be descendants of the Prophet Nuh (Noah). The 'Ad were a powerful nation in their day, primarily due to their location at the southern end of the African/Arabian trade routes. They were unusually tall, used irrigation for farming, and built large fortresses.
The people of 'Ad worshipped several main deities, whom they thanked for giving them rain, preserving them from danger, providing food, and restoring them to health after sickness. Prophet Hud tried to call his people to the worship of One God, to Whom they should give thanks for all their bounties and blessings. He criticized his people for their vanity and tyranny, and called upon them to give up the worship of false gods.
The 'Ad people largely rejected Hud's message. They challenged him to bring the wrath of God upon them. The 'Ad people suffered through a three-year famine, but rather than take that as a warning, they considered themselves invincible. One day, a huge cloud advanced toward their valley, which they thought was a rain cloud coming to bless their land with fresh water. Instead, it was a devastating sandstorm which ravaged the land for eight days and destroyed everything.
His Story in the Quran:
The story of Hud is mentioned several times in the Quran. To avoid repetition, we quote just one passage here (from the Quran chapter 46, verses 21-26):
Mention Hud, one of 'Ad's own brethren. Behold, he warned his people beside the winding sand-tracts. But there have been warners before him and after him, saying: "Worship none other than Allah. Truly I fear for you the chastisement of a mighty Day."
They said, "Have you come in order to turn us away from our gods? Then bring upon us the calamity with which you threaten us, if you are telling the truth!"
He said, "The knowledge of when it will come is only with Allah. I proclaim to you the mission on which I have been sent, but I see that you are a people in ignorance."
Then, when they saw a cloud advancing towards their valleys, they said: "This cloud will give us rain!" No, it is the calamity you were asking to be hastened! A wind wherein is a grievous chastisement!
Everything will it destroy by the command of its Lord! Then by the morning, nothing was to be seen but the ruins of their houses. Thus do We recompense those given to sin.
The life of the Prophet Hud is also described in other passages of the Quran: 7:65-72, 11:50-60, and 26:123-140. The eleventh chapter of the Quran is named after him.