Shu`ayb people city

Q: In the city of Al-Bada` in Tabuk there are ancient monuments and houses engraved in the mountain. Some people claim that these are the houses of the people of Shu`ayb (peace be upon him). Was this claim proven or not? What is the ruling on visiting these monuments for the purpose of seeing them or learning a lesson?

A: It is a widely-spread claim that the houses of Madyan to whom Prophet Shu`ayb (peace be upon him) was sent lie in the north western side of the Arabian Peninsula called now Al-Bada` and its surroundings. However, Allah knows the truth better. If this is true, it will not be permissible to visit these places with the sole intention of seeing them. When the Prophet (peace be upon him) passed by Al-Hijr, the dwellings of the people of Thamud, he said, Do not enter the habitations of these people who committed tyranny among themselves unless you are weeping, lest the same calamity should fall upon you as it fell upon them. He then covered his head and hurried until he passed the valley. Narrated by Al-Bukhari in his Sahih (authentic) Book of Hadith, on the authority of Ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with them). In another narration, he said, Do not enter the habitation of these tortured people unless (Part No. 26; Page No. 395) you are weeping, lest their punishment should fall upon you. Ibn Al-Qayyim (may Allah be merciful to him) said while mentioning the lessons learnt from the Battle of Tabuk, "Those who pass by the houses of the tortured people should not enter them; they should hurry and hide their faces until they pass; they should not pass there unless they are weeping. This includes the hurrying of the Prophet (peace be upon him) when he was in Muhassir Valley between Mina and Muzdalifah, being the place where the People of the Elephant perished." (Zad Al-Ma`ad, 3/560). Al-Hafizh Ibn Hajar (may Allah be merciful to him) explained the previously mentioned Hadith saying, "This Hadith refers to the houses of the people of Thamud and such people, although they were the referent of the Hadith." (Fat-h Al-Bary, 6/380).May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.