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The People Of Ras

The people of Ras lived between Azerbaijan and Armenia on the bank of the river Ras during the time just after Prophet Sulayman (A). They lived in twelve towns situated along the river. The largest of these towns was Isfandar where the king, Tarqooz, lived. Tarqooz was a descendant of the cruel king Namrud who had ruled at the time of Prophet Ibrahim (A).

The people of Ras worshipped the "Sanobar". This was a huge pine tree that had been originally planted at Isfandar by Yafas, son of Prophet Nuh (A), after the great flood. There was a spring at the foot of the pine tree and nobody was allowed to drink from it because it was considered to be the life blood of the god.

The people of Ras cultivated the lands around the river and Allah blessed them with a pleasant climate and a life of comfort. In spite of this, they were unmindful of His favours and thoughtlessly turned to the pine tree for their needs. Twigs from the great tree would be taken to homes and also worshipped. During the days of festival, animal flesh would be burnt and offered to the tree as sacrifices.

To educate and guide these ignorant people, Allah sent to them His Prophet. Although the name of the Prophet is not mentioned in history, we do know that he was from the descendants of Yahuda, son of Prophet Ya'qub (A).

The Prophet tried to bring the people to their senses by pointing out the error of their ways. He taught them about the blessings and bounties of Allah and warned them not to worship anything besides Him. However, in spite of his continuous efforts, the people turned a deaf ear to the Prophet's words and carried on worshipping their pine tree.

On the day of their festival the Prophet sadly watched the people prepare for the ceremonies. As he observed the dedication and enthusiasm with which they were preparing to glorify their tree, he invoked Allah to dry up the tree so that the people may realize the absurdity of their worship.

The prayer was granted by Allah and the shocked people watched their pine tree wither and begin to die before their eyes. However, instead of learning a lesson, they decided that their god was annoyed at the interference of the Prophet and resolved to sacrifice him to appease their god.

The people of Ras seized the Prophet and threw him into a large pit. Thereafter, they covered the pit and thus buried him alive. For some time the cries of the Prophet were heard but then there was quiet as his soul departed this world. The people turned to their tree to see if it had recovered. Instead, they noticed the signs of Divine Punishment.

Suddenly, the Wrath of Allah broke over the whole tribe. A red blast of wind swept through them and destroyed the entire population.

All that was left at the end was a black cloud which hung over the entire region, plunging it into darkness. Thus, the people of Ras faded into obscurity, providing posterity with a valuable lesson.

The Holy Qur'an mentions them in the following verses:
And the (tribes of) Aad and Thamud and the inhabitants of Ras, and generations between them in a great number. And to each of them We gave examples (lessons, warnings) and We destroyed every one (of them) with an utter extermination. (Quran 25:38,39)

...The people of Nuh and the dwellers of Ras, Thamud, Aad, Fir'aun and the brethren of Lut and the dwellers of the Forest and the people of Thubba' had all rejected the Prophets. Thus My promise (of their doom) was proved true. (Quran 50:12-14)

(Courtesy of:- Shia Ithna asheri Madressa)


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