Thamud people are believed to have been the successors to the ancient tribe of Ād. Their ancestral descendant may have been Eber, the great-grandson of Noah and their location is likely to have been in the Northwest corner of Arabia, between Madinah and Syria. In later Islamic history, when Muhammad led his expedition to Tabuk against the Romans, on a reported Roman invasion from Syria, the prophet - and his companions - came across the remains of Thamud. With the advance of material civilization, the people of Thamud became materialistic and arrogant as well as godless. Thus, God sent the prophet and seer Saleh, to warn them about the impending doom they would face if they did not mend their sinful ways. Thamud cannot be equated with the Edomites at Petra. Salih was born before Abraham and the Edomites were a Semitic race. Historic Petra had several places of worship, and the main mountain at the site - Jebel al-Madhbah - is topped by two stone obelisks, suggesting the worship of deities via stone phallic symbols. The narrow gorge leading to the site - known as the Siq - can sometimes channel the wind to produce a loud trumpet-like sound, and it is known by local Bedouin as the trumpet of God. The Edomite occupants of Petra were, however, not obliterated, but instead just migrated to the Negev; neither were the subsequent Nabataean occupants of Petra destroyed by divine command, but instead were weakened by the Roman Emperor, Trajan, and reduced to mere peasants. The name of Saleh may originate in the name of the city, as it was historically known as Sela, a word deriving from the Hebrew term Se'lah, meaning rock; the Greek name Petra has the same meaning. Theprophet Saleh is not mentioned in any other Abrahamicscripture or contemporary historical text, and his account is only found in the Qur'an. However, the account of Thamud's destruction was well known in Pre-Islamic Arabia and among the Arabic tribes and their poets that they mentioned them (and the people of ʿĀd) in some of their poetry, as a moral lesson and a bad end. Arab Jews knew about the stories of Thamūd and ʿĀd from the tribes of the Arabian Peninsula, but mostly as an Arabian tradition, and not as a matter of belief and faith, because they were not mentioned in the Jewish sources, nor in the contemporary Roman or Christianones. Many years passed by after the torment that befell the people of 'Ad, and other generations came to succeed them. Among these were the Thamud people who were the successors of the believers who were saved with Prophet Hud. Once again, the people of Thamud, deviated from the right path and started to worship idols, and once again, Allah the Most Merciful decided to send them a prophet from amongst themselves to guide them back to the right path. This prophet was Prophet Saleh. The people of Thamud were Arab tribes that lived in the area between Madinah and Syria. Their land was made of rocky mountains and spacious fertile plains. They lived in huge houses that they carved out of the huge rocks in the mountains - and the remains of these houses are still visible in northwest Saudi Arabia. The Thamud people were arrogant and they oppressed the poor among them. The rich exploited the plains and water resources and seldom did they permit others to equally profit from the bounty of Allah. Prophet Saleh, whom they respected very much for he was the most righteous among them, was sent to them as a warner. He said to them: "O my people! Worship Allah, you have no other god but Him" Ibn Khaldun Historian and scholar, IbnKhaldun also mentions the Thamud several times in his great universal history al-Kitābu l-ʻibār ("Book of Evidence"), but only in passing, seldom giving much information. Some examples from the Muqaddimah ("Introduction"): This can be illustrated by what happened among the nations. When the royal authority of 'Ad was wiped out, their brethren, the Thamud, took over. They were succeeded, in turn, by their brethren, the Amalekites. The Amalekites were succeeded by their brethren, the Himyar. The Himyar were succeeded by their brethren, the Tubba's, who belonged to the Himyar. They likewise were succeeded by the Adhwa'. Then, the Mudar came to power.—IbnKhaldun, Muqaddimah Chapter II Bedouin civilization, savage nations and tribes and their conditions of life, including several basic and explanatory statements, 21 As long as a nation retains its group feeling, royal authority that disappears in one branch will, of necessity, pass to some other branch of the same nation ( noteamalekites are the Imliq). — From Prophets and Patriarchs.WhenThamud in turn was destroyed, the remaining sons of Iram were called Arman — they are Nabateans. The origin of the Nabateans remains obscure, but they were Aramaic speakers, and the term "Nabatean" was the Arabic name for an Aramean of Syria and Iraq.
Saleh was an Arabic prophet of ancient Arabia mentioned in the Qur'an.