The people of Sabaa lived in Yemen. Nation Tabaa’ and Bilqis were also among them. They were in great blessings and easiness. One of the Prophets of Allah SWT came to them and instructed them to say thanks to Allah SWT. He called them to the Oneness of God and explained the methods of worshiping One God, Allah SWT. They did not change their concept of God for a certain period of time but when they rigorously refused to accept the orders of Allah SWT and kept on doing disobedience of Allah SWT, all the lands, orchards, fields, etc., were plundered by an enormous flood.
There was a wall across which nation Sabaa was dwelling. This wall was in Maarb, three steps from Sana’a, and was known as Sad-e-Maarb. There were mountains on both sides of the wall. From where streams and rivers came and flowed into the city. And the river flowed with gardens and fields planted on either side. Due to the abundance of water and the beauty of the land, the region was fertile and green.
And We placed between them and the cities which We had blessed [many] visible cities. And We determined between them the [distances of] journey, [saying], “Travel between them by night or day in safety.” [Sabaa: 18]
Hazrat Qatadah even stated if a woman would walk with a cloth on her head. Her cloth used to be also full of fruit until she went some distance. The spontaneous falling from the trees was so frequent that there was no need to break them by hand. The beauty of the climate was such that they did not have flies, mosquitoes, and poisonous animals. This was so that they would believe in the Oneness of God and worship Him with the sincerity of heart and soul. And Allah SWT had said to them: Eat and drink of the provisions of your Lord and be grateful to Him, but they forgot the monotheism of Allah and the gratitude of His blessings and began to worship the sun.
But [insolently] they said, “Our Lord, lengthen the distance between our journeys,” and wronged themselves, so We made them narrations and dispersed them in total dispersion. Indeed in that are signs for everyone patient and grateful. [Sabaa: 19]
As woodpecker had informed Hazrat Sulaiman (as) that I have brought to you solid news of Sabaa. A woman reigns over him who has a strong army and is enthroned on the glorious throne. The queen and her subjects were all sun worshipers. Satan has led them astray. It is narrated that twelve or thirteen Prophets of Allah came to them. Eventually, the wall they had built, rats hollowed it out from inside, and during the rainy season it broke and the water rail started to fall rigorously. Their palaces, their gardens, and their fields were all destroyed. Hand in hand, no tactics worked.
It dawned on them massive destruction that no fruit tree could grow on their land. Pelo, Zhao, Kakar, Acacia, and such useless trees were growing. Yes, of course, there were berry trees, which were relatively common. But they were also very thorny and very polar. This was the outcome of their ignorance and arrogance of disbelief and polytheism that they had lost their blessings and had become miserable and given severe punishments in this world and Hereafter. Hazrat Abu Khaira says that the recompense for sins is that there would be slackness in worship, there would be hardship in employment, there would be different kinds of tribulations as soon as shown a little blessing.
And Iblees had already confirmed through them his assumption, so they followed him, except for a party of believers. [Sabaa: 20]
We can see these signs in our lives as well. Different kinds of tribulations have dawned upon us, different kinds of viruses that we have not even known before. We feel laziness towards prayer. We face unemployment and a shortage of Rizq. All we need is to improve ourselves otherwise it is very easy for Allah SWT to destroy nations just like he destroyed nation Sabaa. Allah SWT tells us the history of different ancient nations so we fear His wrath and stop sinning.
And he had over them no authority except [it was decreed] that We might make evident who believes in the Hereafter from who is thereof in doubt. And your Lord, over all things, is Guardian. [Sabaa: 21]