THE PROPHET SALIH (peace be upon him)
Salih was sent as a Prophet to the Bani Thamud to rectify their depraved people. The Thamudites were the descendants of Thamud, a grandson of Sam. They lived in Wadi al-Qura and al-Hajr between Syria and Hijaz. They worshipped idols and thought them very powerful. They believed that their idols provided them with food and rain, preserved them from all dangers and restored them to health when they were ill. This tribe flourished more than two centuries after Ad. Its people were famous for their longevity and enormous bulk. They built spacious buildings in the caves of the mountains and attained considerable powers.
Slaughtering of She-Camel:
The Prophet Salih (peace he upon him) was commissioned by Allah to invite the tribe to the worship of One God but they turned a deaf ear to his preaching. Whenever the Prophet Salih (peace be upon him) spoke ill of their deities, they behaved impudently towards him. At last they hatched a plan to put him to death. Allah fixed a she-camel as a sign and warned them that if they slew her, they would be overtaken by the chastisement from Allah. There is nothing strange in fixing she-camel as a sign. It is an admitted fact that Ka'bah, a constructed House, is one of the signs of Allah. Whoso tries to destroy it, perishes himself. Similarly she-camel was one of the signs of God. The Prophet Salih (peace be upon him) demanded that she should be allowed to graze in the pastures and drink water from the springs. The stubborn people slaughtered the she-camel provided by God while it was grazing in the pastures.
When they were about to execute their final plan against Prophet Salih (peace be upon him), they were destroyed by God's punishment. A visitation befell them and they were exterminated by volcanic eruption which showered stones upon them. The calamity which overtook the Bani Thamud was very terrible.
Description in the Holy Qur'an:
Some references regarding the Prophet Salih (peace be upon him) and his people are as under:
"And to the Thamud We sent their brother Salih. He said: 0' my people: Serve Allah. You have no god other than Him. Clear proof, indeed, has come to you from your Lord. This is as Allah's she-camel for you, a sign. Therefore, leave her alone to pasture on God's earth and do not do her any harm. Otherwise painful chastisement will overtake you. And remember when He made you successors after Ad and settled you in the land. You made mansions on its plains and hew out houses in the mountains; remember, therefore, Allah's benefits and do not act corruptly in the land making mischiefs. The Chiefs of those who behaved proudly among his people said to those who were considered weak, to those who believed from among them: Are you sure that Salih is sent by his Lord ? They said: Surely, we are believers in what he has been sent with. Those who were haughty said: Surely, we deny of what you believe in. So they slew the she-camel and revolted against their Lord's Commandments and they said: O' Salih! Bring us of what you have threatened us with if you are one of the Apostles. Then the earthquake overtook them so they became motionless bodies in their abodes." (7: 73-78)
Copied from 'THE ISLAMIC SCHOLAR'