“To divide the people with the truth is better than having them unite upon falsehood.”

Allah, Exalted is He, informs us in surah al-Naml about the story of the Prophet Saalih (‘alaihis salaam) and his people when He says:

وَلَقَدْ أَرْ‌سَلْنَا إِلَىٰ ثَمُودَ أَخَاهُمْ صَالِحًا أَنِ اعْبُدُوا اللَّـهَ فَإِذَا هُمْ فَرِ‌يقَانِ يَخْتَصِمُونَ

“And We had certainly sent to Thamūd their brother Ṣāliḥ, saying, ‘Worship Allah alone,’ and at once they became two parties quarreling with each other.” [27:45]

Imam al-Suyooti writes in his tafsir:

عن قتادة في قوله: {فإذا هم فريقان يختصمون} قال: إن القوم بين مصدق ومكذب. مصدق بالحق ونازل عنده، ومكذب بالحق تاركه. في ذلك كانت خصومة القوم

Qataada said about His statement, “and at once they became two parties quarreling with each other” – the people were divided by either affirmation of denial (of Saalih’s call to tawheed). Affirmation of the truth and living according to it, or denial of the truth and abandoning it. That was the heart of the people’s quarreling.

[Tafsir al-Jalaalayn]

Imam al-Sa’di said in his tafsir:

ولقد أرسلنا إلى ثمود أخاهم صالحًا‏:‏ أن وحِّدوا الله‏,‏ ولا تجعلوا معه إلهًا آخر‏,‏ فلما أتاهم صالحٌ داعيًا إلى توحيد الله وعبادته وحده صار قومه فريقين‏:‏ أحدهما مؤمن به‏,‏ والآخر كافر بدعوته‏,‏ وكل منهم يزعم أن الحق معه‏.‏

And We had certainly sent to Thamūd their brother Ṣāliḥ” to single out Allah for worship, and to not make any other gods along with him. And when Saalih came to them calling to the tawheed of Allah and His worship exclusively, then the people became two parties: one of them believing in it, and the other disbelieving in his call, and each of them asserted that the truth was with them.”

[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman]

Imam al-Qurtubi, in his tafsir, writes:

{فَإِذا هُمْ فَرِيقانِ يَخْتَصِمُونَ} قال مجاهد: أي مؤمن وكافر، قال: والخصومة ما قصه الله تعالى في قوله: {أَتَعْلَمُونَ أَنَّ صالِحاً مُرْسَلٌ مِنْ رَبِّهِ} إلى قوله: {كافِرُونَ}.

and at once they became two parties quarreling with each other“. Mujaahid said, “meaning mu’min and kaafir.” And he said, “And the quarreling is what Allah, Exalted is He, narrated when He said:

The leaders who were arrogant among his people said to those who were oppressed – to those who believed among them, “Do you [actually] know that Saalih is sent from his Lord?” They said, “Indeed we, in that with which he was sent, are believers.” Those who were arrogant said, “Indeed we are disbelievers in that which you have believed.” So they hamstrung the she-camel and were insolent toward the command of their Lord and said, “O Saalih, bring us what you promise us, if you should be of the messengers.” [7:75-77]

وقيل: تخاصمهم أن كل فرقة قالت: نحن على الحق دونكم.

And it is said that “their quarrel was what every group says, ‘We are upon the truth to the exclusion of you.'”

[Jaami’ al-Ahkam al-Qur’an 13/198]

And Sheikh ‘Abdul-‘Aziz al-Tarefe drew the following benefit from this ayah, saying:

تفريق الناس بالحق، خيرٌ من اجتماعهم على الباطل (ولقد أرسلنا إلى ثمود أخاهم صالحا أن اعبدوا الله فإذا هم فريقان يختصمون) فرقهم صالح بالإيمان

To divide the people with the truth is better than having them unite upon falsehood:

And We had certainly sent to Thamūd their brother Ṣāliḥ, saying, ‘Worship Allah alone,’ and at once they became two parties quarreling with each other.

Saalih divided them with eemaan.

For more on the story of Saalih, see also: “We guided them, but they preferred blindness over guidance”

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One thought on ““To divide the people with the truth is better than having them unite upon falsehood.”

  1. Pingback: “We guided them, but they preferred blindness over guidance” | Tulayhah

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