Prophet Shuaib (/ˈʃuːeɪb/), or Shuʿayb, or Shoaib (Arabic: شعيب; meaning "who shows the right path"), was an ancient Midianite Prophet. He is mentioned in the Quran a total of 11 times. He is believed to have lived after Abraham, and Muslims believe that he was sent as a prophet to a community: the Midianites also known as the People of the Tree since they used to worship a large tree. To the people, Shuʿayb proclaimed the faith of Islam and warned the people to end their fraudulent ways. When they did not repent, God destroyed the community. Shuʿayb is understood by Muslims to have been one of the few Arabian prophets mentioned by name in the Qur'an, the others being Saleh, Hud, and prophet Muhammad. It is said that he was known by early Muslims as "the eloquent preacher amongst the prophets", because he was, according to tradition, granted talent and eloquence in his language.
The main town Shuʿayb was sent to is named 'Madyan in the Qur'an, known in English as Midian. It is said they were a wandering tribe, and that their principal territory at Moses's time was the Sinai Peninsula.
Classical commentators, such as ibn Kathir, say Shuʿayb prophesied four generations from Abraham. Shuʿayb is believed to have been the son of Mikil, son of Isaachar, son of Midian, son of Abraham.
Prophecy in Midian
The Qur'an states that Shuʿayb was appointed by God to be a prophet to the people who lived east of Mount Sinai, the people of Midian. The people of this land were said to be especially notorious for cheating others through dishonesty and for idolatry. Shuʿayb's prophecy mainly involved calling the Midianites to the correct path of God and forbidding them to worship false gods.
It is also said he told his people to stop being dishonest in their daily activities. Although he preached and prophesied for a sustained period of time, the majority of the people refused to listen to him. Shuʿayb, however, remained steadfast. He consistently preached powerfully against the wicked, telling them of the punishment that had befallen the sinful before them. Shuʿayb warned the people that their ignorance would lead to the destruction of Midian, giving historical examples of earlier prophets, including Noah, Hud, Saleh and Lot, all of whose people had been destroyed by God.
The people taunted Shuʿayb and told him that, were it not for the prestigious family he came from, he would surely have been stoned to death. Shuʿayb replied, "Is my family of more consideration with you than God?" When the Midianites refused to believe, they were destroyed by a mighty earthquake. The Qur'an, however, mentions that Shuʿayb, and his believing companions, were rescued from the thunderous punishment.
Parallel with other prophets
Shuʿayb's mission is often mentioned in the Qur'an with the mission of Noah, Hud, Saleh and Lut. Scholars have pointed out that these five prophets exemplify the early prophetic missions: The prophet would be sent to his community; the community would pay no attention to his warning and would instead threaten him with punishment; after years of preaching, God would ask him to leave his community and his people would be subsequently destroyed in a punishment. Scholars interpret the listing of the five prophets to be chronological, with Noah being the only prophet in the list who preached before the Great Flood. He was also a descendant of Prophet Abraham.
The tomb of Shuʿayb is well preserved in Jordan; it is located 2 km (1.2 mi) west of the town of Mahis in an area called Wadi Shuʿayb. Traditions attributes other sites located in the Sinai Peninsula and historical Palestine.