Story of Prophet Shuaib (AS) – Story, Miracles, Duas, Punishment and more

makkah clock tower

On the outskirts of the Hejaz region, near the Red Sea, was Madyan – a small town that belonged to wise but wicked merchants and business people. The Midianites bowed down to a tree called Ashab al-Aykah and cheated on one another to make a living.

The evil-doers robbed, conned, and betrayed passersby. They would sell you milk but mix it with water, lie about their products to oversell, and tax travellers. 

To end the culture of dishonesty and lying, Allah SWT sent Prophet Shuaib (AS) to call the Midianites to worship the Almighty and follow His commandments. But it wasn’t as easy as it sounds.

While some accepted Islam, most of the Midianites paid no heed. Instead, they made fun of Prophet Shuaib (AS) and pushed him and the believers out of town only to face the punishment of Allah SWT. 

In this article, we will walk you through the story of Prophet Shuaib (AS). Keep reading to learn more about the prophet of the Madyan community and his role and significance in the history of Islam. 

Who Was Prophet Shuaib (AS)?

Also known as Jethro in biblical history, Prophet Shuaib (AS) was sent upon the community of Midiantes, the worshippers of Ashab al-Aykah (a large tree). Prophet Shuaib (AS) was a good man, a great preacher, and a devoted messenger of Allah SWT. 

prophet shuaib as is a prophet of Allah

He was blessed with the gift of speaking and effortlessly conveying the message of Allah SWT. Prophet Shuaib (AS) is one of the four Arabian prophets alongside Prophet Hud (AS), Prophet Saleh (AS), and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). 

Meaning/Title of Prophet Shuaib (AS)

Shuaib, Shu-ayb, Shuayb, or Shoaib is an Arabic name that means “who knows to show the right path.” Prophet Shuaib (AS) was known as the “eloquent preacher amongst the prophets.” In biblical history, he is also referred to as Jethro – father-in-law of Prophet Musa (AS). 

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) describes Prophet Shuaib (AS) as “Khateeb ul-Anbiya,” the speech deliverer of the Messengers and Prophets of Allah SWT. Narrating a hadith, Abu Dhar (RA) stated that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) once said, “O Abu Bhar, four from the Prophets are Arab, Hud, Saleh, Shuaib, and your Prophet O Abu Dhar.”

Where Was Prophet Shuaib (AS) Born?

Prophet Shuaib (AS) was born in a small town named Madyan (Madian) situated on the outskirts of the Hejaz region but within the borders of Syria and not far from the Red Sea. However, today, Madyan is part of Jordan. 

Prophet Shuaib (AS) and the People of Madyan

The people of Madyan practised many things prohibited in Islam, including idolatry, collecting interest, cheating customers in business transactions by lying about the services and products, and robbery.

The Midianites were known as “Companions of the Wood” (Ashab al-Aykah) as they used to worship a large tree. Allah SWT sent Prophet Shuaib (AS) to guide the tribes between Shaam and Hijaz. 

Prophet Shuaib (AS) was an excellent speaker and devotedly worked towards spreading the message of Allah SWT and guiding the Midianites to do good deeds and to worship no one else but the God Almighty. 

Allah SWT narrates the story of Prophet Shuaib (AS) and the people of Madyan in Surah Al-A’raf in the Holy Quran. He (SWT) says, “O my people, worship Allah; you have no deity other than Him. There has come to you clear evidence from your Lord.

So fulfill the measure and weight and do not deprive people of their due and cause not corruption upon the earth after its reformation. That is better for you if you should be a believer. And do not sit on every path, threatening and averting from the way of Allah those who believe in Him, seeking to make it [seem] deviant. And remember when you were few and He increased you. And see how was the end of the corrupters.

And if there should be a group among you who has believed in that with which I have been sent and a group that has not believed, then be patient until Allah judges between us. And He is the best of judges.” [7:85-87, Holy Quran]

How Did the People of Madyan Respond to Prophet Shuaib (AS)?

In reply to Prophet Shuaib (AS), the arrogant Midianites said, “O Shuaib, does your prayer [i.e., religion] command you that we should leave what our fathers worship or not do with our wealth what we please? Indeed, you are the forbearing, the discerning!” [11:87, Holy Quran]

Prophet Shuaib (AS) responded, “Even though we hate it!? We would have invented against Allah a lie if we returned to your religion after Allah had saved us from it. And it is not for us to return to it except that Allah, our Lord, should will.

Our Lord has encompassed all things in knowledge. Upon Allah, we have relied. Our Lord, decide between us and our people in truth, and You are the best of those who give decision.” [7:88-89, Holy Quran]

He later added, “O my people, have you considered: if I am upon clear evidence from my Lord and He has provided me with a good provision from Him…? And I do not intend to differ from you in that which I have forbidden you; I only intend reform as much as I am able. And my success is not but through Allah. Upon Him, I have relied, and to Him, I return.” [11:88, Holy Quran]

However, the people of Madyan refused to entertain the words of Prophet Shuaib (AS) and threatened to drive him and his followers out of the land if they didn’t stop. The Midianites showed no interest in worshiping Allah SWT and giving up their wrongful earning methods. 

In spite of it all, Prophet Shuaib (AS) stood firm with his message and told the disbelievers he wouldn’t bow down to falsehood. Prophet Shuaib (AS) turned towards Allah SWT and asked the Almighty to decide between the believers and the disbelievers. 

Warnings of a Severe Punishment

The disbelievers of Madyan refused to fear Allah SWT, accept His message, and continued showing resistance. Seeing this, Prophet Shuaib (AS) warned Midianites by giving examples of the punishments of Prophet Nuh (AS) and the people of Saleh and Hud.

However, because the disbelievers were arrogant and stubborn and showed no inclination toward change, Prophet Shuaib (AS) gave a warning of an upcoming painful punishment:

“And O my people, let not [your] dissension from me cause you to be struck by that similar to what struck the people of Noah or the people of Hūd or the people of Ṣāliḥ. And the people of Lot are not from you far away.

And O my people, let not [your] dissension from me cause you to be struck by that similar to what struck the people of Noah or the people of Hūd or the people of Ṣāliḥ. And the people of Lut are not from you far away.” [11:89-90, Holy Quran]

People of Madyan Destroyed

Despite several warnings, the people of Madyan didn’t accept the message of Prophet Shuaib (AS). In fact, they asked Prophet Shuaib (AS) to tell Allah SWT to inflict any punishment upon them and forcefully banished Prophet Shuaib (AS) and his followers from Madyan.

However, as stated in the Holy Quran, Allah SWT planned to protect the believers, “We will surely evict you, O Shuaib, and those who have believed with you from our city, or you must return to our religion.” [7:88, Holy Quran]

earthquake punishment from Allah for madyan people

Once Prophet Shuaib (AS) and the believers were at a safe distance, the messenger asked Allah SWT for help, and the Almighty answered his plea by sending down an azaab (terrible punishment) as described in the following verses of the Holy Quran:

“So the earthquake seized them, and they became within their home [corpses] fallen prone. Those who denied Shuaib – it was as though they had never resided there. Those who denied Shuaib – it was they who were the losers.” [7:91-92, Holy Quran]

“And when Our command came, We saved Shuaib and those who believed with him, by mercy from Us. And the shriek seized those who had wronged, and they became within their homes [corpses] fallen prone as if they had never prospered therein. Then, away with Madyan as Thamūd was taken away.” [11:94-95, Holy Quran]

“And they denied him, so the punishment of the day of the black cloud seized them. Indeed, it was the punishment for a terrible day. Indeed that is a sign, but most of them were not to be believers.” [26:189-190, Holy Quran]

Allah SWT states that Azaab were sent upon the Midianites to punish them for not obeying the command of the Almighty. It all started with unbearable hot weather, which the disbelievers suffered silently. 

The next day, a huge dark black cloud filled the sky. Seeing this, the Midianites thought it would be the end of the scorching heat. The disbelievers gathered under the cloud, hoping it would bring refreshing and cool rain. 

Little did they know, a huge thunderstorm, followed by an earthquake, ended the lives of all Madyan disbelievers. It is also said that the hurling thunderbolts, cloud bursts, and fire took over the cries of the people of Madyan, and they became lifeless in their own homes. 

When Prophet Shuaib (AS) and his followers returned to Madyan, they were shocked to see the fate of the disbelievers. However, they didn’t feel any regret as Prophet Shuaib (AS) had already fulfilled his duty to warn the Midianites, but they chose not to listen. 

Miracle of Prophet Shuaib (AS)

While there are many miracles of Prophet Shuaib (AS), one of the most famous miracles is that whenever Prophet Shuaib (AS) wanted to climb a mountain, the mountain would magically lower its height, allowing Prophet Jethro to climb upon it.

It is also believed that the miraculous staff of Prophet Musa (AS) was a gift from Prophet Shuaib (AS).  

Dua of Prophet Shuaib (AS)

Prophet Shuaib (AS) made the following dua asking Allah SWT for help and guidance in the time of adversity:

Rabbana iftah baynana wabayna qawmina bilhaqqiwaanta khayru alfatiheen

Translation: “Our Lord, decide between us and our people in truth, and You are the best of those who give decision.” [7:89, Holy Quran]

Where in the Quran (Which Surah) Is Prophet Shuaib (AS) Mentioned?

Prophet Shuaib (AS) is one of the four Arab prophets mentioned in the Holy Quran with Prophet Hud (AS), Prophet Saleh (AS), and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Allah SWT has mentioned the name of Prophet Shuaib (AS) 11 times in the Holy Quran in Surah Al A’raf, Surah Qasas, Surah Hud, Surah Al-Hijr, Surah Ash-Shura, and Surah Al-Ankabut. 

Prophet Shuaib (AS) mentioned in the Quran

Family Tree of Prophet Shuaib (AS)

When it comes to the family background of Prophet Shuaib (AS), every school of thought has a different story. According to most of the narrations, Prophet Shuaib (AS) was the grandson of Prophet Ibrahim (AS).

Others believe that Prophet Shuaib (AS) didn’t belong to the family of Prophet Ibrahim (AS), but his father had accepted Islam at the time of Prophet Ibrahim (AS). 

Who Is the Father of Prophet Shuaib (AS)?

Nuwayb Madyan b. Ibrahim was the father of Prophet Shuaib (AS). While Nuwayb was the name of the Prophet Shuaib’s (RA) father, Madyan b. Ibrahim was his grandfather. 

Who Is the Mother of Prophet Shuaib (AS)?

While we don’t know the exact name of the mother of Prophet Shuaib (AS), we know that she was the daughter of Prophet Lut (AS). 

Prophet Shuaib (AS) Wife

No information is provided related to the name and identity of the wife of Prophet Shuaib (AS). However, we know that Prophet Shuaib (AS) had a loving wife, and Allah SWT blessed their union in the form of two modest, pious, and loving daughters. 

Names of Prophet Shuaib’s (RA) Daughters

Prophet Shuaib (AS) had two daughters, and one of them was named Safura. 

Who Married the Daughter of Prophet Shuaib (AS)?

According to Islamic scriptures, Prophet Musa (AS) escaped from Egypt and found refuge in Madyan. It is where he (Prophet Musa (AS) met Prophet Shuaib (AS) and married one of his daughters. 

Allah SWT narrates the blessed union event in Surah Qasas of the Holy Quran, “Then one of the two women approached him, walking bashfully. She said, ‘Indeed, my father invites you to pay you the wages for watering [our flock] for us.’ So when he came to him and recounted the story to him, he said, ‘Do not be afraid. You have been delivered from the wrongdoing lot.'” [Surah Qasas, Holy Quran]

Even though the name of Prophet Shuaib (AS) isn’t mentioned in these verses. However, exegetes state that when Prophet Musa (AS) went to Madyan, Prophet Shuaib (AS) was very old and needed someone to help him.

Thus, Prophet Shuaib (AS) not only hired Prophet Musa (AS) to take care of his sheep for 8 years and 10 additional years but also gave one of his daughters (Safura) to Prophet Musa (AS) in marriage. 

Summary – Story of Prophet Shuaib (AS)

The people of Madyan were arrogant and selfish disbelievers. They lived sinful lives and were willing to do anything possible for their own benefit. Armed with many miracles, Allah SWT had sent Prophet Shuaib (AS) to be the beacon of light in the world of darkness. 

Prophet Shuaib (AS) devotedly preached the message of Allah SWT, begged the Midianites to fear Allah SWT and be mindful of His favours, and warned them about the consequences of their evil deeds.

However, the disbelievers didn’t listen. Instead, they seized the belongings of Prophet Shuaib (AS) and the believers and drove them out of the town. Prophet Shuaib (AS) turned to Allah SWT and asked him for help.

Allah SWT punished them with scorching heat and a dangerous thunderstorm, perishing the evil-doers forever. 

The story of Prophet Shuaib (AS) shows us the importance of obeying Allah SWT. Had the disbelievers of Madyan listened to the message of Prophet Jethro and stopped doing wrongful deeds, they wouldn’t have faced the punishment of Allah SWT and would have lived happily in the world and hereafter.

Thus, we must remember that Allah SWT has created us with the sole purpose to worship Him and obey His commandments. We must do this by following the way of the Quran and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

Find answers to over 300 Hajj and Umrah questions