Question and answer details
|I have read a translation of the Qur’an and there is a continual reference to a she-camel. What does this mean?|
It is nice to hear from you again.
According to footnotes for this passage in Yusuf Ali’s translation of the Qur’an, the Thamud were the successors to the culture and civilization of the `Ad people that are also mentioned in the Qur’an (7:65–72; 11:50–60 and elsewhere). The Thamud lived in the northwest corner of Arabia, between Madinah and Syria.
The main sin of the Thamud is that they were arrogant and would not give the poor their rights to pasture and water, both of which are gifts of Allah and should be shared by all.
The she-camel was a sign or symbol sent to Prophet Salih. It was a test case to see if the arrogant ones would come to reason.
There are various traditions that say that the she-camel appeared miraculously. Ibn Kathir (d. AH 774), in his Stories of the Prophets, says that the Thamud people asked for a miracle, specifically that a pregnant she-camel would issue from a rock. Allah granted them the miracle, and Salih warned them to allow the she-camel to have access to the water springs on alternate days with their own animals. Ibn Kathir further repeats various traditions that say that the miraculous she-camel would drink all the water on her days, not leaving any for the other animals, but in return she provided enough milk for all; and that the other animals were afraid of it and would not approach it or sleep where it had slept.
While some of the people accepted Salih’s message to worship only Allah and to be just to one another, the rich continued in their arrogance and refused to accept his message. Finally, several young men plotted to hamstring and then kill the she-camel. After they did so, Salih warned them that they had three days to repent of their crime. They refused, and the people were destroyed by an earthquake.
You can read more about The Story of Prophet Salih.
I hope this answer is satisfactory. Please write again if we can help you.