Prophet Muhammed ﷺ describes him as Khateeb Al-Anbiya, meaning the best speech deliverer.
He is Prophet Shu’ayb عليه السلام who lived along with Arabian people of Madyan in a town called Madyan, which was close to Syria and not very far from the Dead Sea.
The Madyan people came after the people of Prophet Lot عليه السلام by a relatively short time.
They were the sons of Madyan Ibn Madyan Ibrahim.
The Madyan people were known to be merchants, business players, and very intelligent in terms of business, but they were very wicked.
They worshipped a tree called Al-Ayka as they believed in holiness of that tree, and used to prostrate and bow to it.
The Noble Quran also calls them as Ashabul Ayka or the people of Ayka who were known for their bad actions.
The Madyan community were the first people to impose fees and tolls over those who passed through their town.
They insisted on a life of robbery and injustice even though Prophet Shu’ayb عليه السلام did his best to convince them that the punishment of God would befall them if they did not desist.
They never exacted true measure and weight in their business dealings.
They were cheaters, and used to say, “This is for you! It weights ten pounds, so give me fifty dinar per pound!”
Although in reality it was only eight pounds.
They would sell milk, but they would mix it with water and on top of that they did something else.
As was the case with all the prophets of God ﷻ, Prophet Shu’ayb’s (عليه السلام) mission was to call his people to worship God ﷻ alone and to follow His commandments.
He tried to do so by reminding them of the graces and favours bestowed on them by God ﷻ, but they were heedless.
Those who had not completely abandoned belief worshipped in the incorrect manner.
As is the way with disbelievers they did not practice what they preached and they mocked and belittled Prophet Shu’ayb عليه السلام.
Allah ﷻ mentions his story in the Noble Quran in Surah Al-A’raf (7), verses 85 as translated, “And to (the people of) Madyan (We sent) their brother Shu’ayb. He said, ‘O my people, worship Allah; you have no deity other than Him. There has come to you clear evidence from your Lord. So fulfill the measure and weight and do not deprive people of their due and cause not corruption upon the earth after its reformation. That is better for you, if you should be believers.”
Prophet Shu’ayb عليه السلام spoke and guided in such a good way that he was known as ‘the orator of the Prophets’.
He was articulate, elegant, and rich in his speech.
Prophet Shu’ayb عليه السلام would say a short statement, yet it was full of meanings and impacts.
However, his people did not accept this richness, and indulged in injustice.
Most of them walked away from belief, and exaggerated in injustice.
They did not think that Shu’ayb عليه السلام had a powerful influence, due to the small number of people following him.
They seized the belongings of Prophet Shu’ayb عليه السلام and his followers, then drove them out of the city.
So, Prophet Shu’ayb عليه السلام turned to his Lord ﷻ for help, and his pray was answered.
Allah ﷻ sent down on them scorching heat from which they suffered terribly.
As they saw a cloud gathering in the sky, they thought it would bring cool and refreshing rain. So, they rushed outside in the hope of enjoying the rainfall.
Instead, the cloud burst, hurling thunderbolts and fire.
They heard a thunderous sound from above, which caused the earth under their feet to tremble.
Earlier, Prophet Shu’ayb عليه السلام had warned them as mentioned in Surah Hud, verse 84-86 with translation, “O my people, worship Allah; you have no deity other than Him. And do not decrease from the measure and the scale. Indeed, I see you in prosperity, but indeed, I fear for you the punishment of an all-encompassing Day.”
“And O my people, give full measure and weight in justice and do not deprive the people of their due and do not commit abuse on the earth, spreading corruption.”
“What remains (lawful) from Allah is best for you, if you would be believers. But I am not a guardian over you.”
They recalled Prophet Shuaib عليه السلام as mentioned in the next verse, saying, “O Shu’ayb, does your prayer command you that we should leave what our fathers worship or not do with our wealth what we please? Indeed, you are the forbearing, the discerning!”
“So, cause to fall upon us fragments of the sky, if you should be of the truthful.”
Prophet Shuaib عليه السلام answered in verse 88-90, as translated, “O my people, have you considered: if I am upon clear evidence from my Lord and He has provided me with a good provision from Him… ? And I do not intend to differ from you in that which I have forbidden you; I only intend reform as much as I am able. And my success is not but through Allah . Upon him I have relied, and to Him I return.”
“And O my people, let not [your] dissension from me cause you to be struck by that similar to what struck the people of Noah or the people of Hud or the people of Salih. And the people of Lot are not from you far away.”
“And ask forgiveness of your Lord and then repent to Him. Indeed, my Lord is Merciful and Affectionate.”
The Madyan people responded the prophet in the next verse, saying, “O Shu’ayb, we do not understand much of what you say, and indeed, we consider you among us as weak. And if not for your family, we would have stoned you (to death); and you are not to us one respected.”
In verses 92-93, Prophet Shuaib عليه السلام said to his people, “O my people, is my family more respected for power by you than Allah? But you put Him behind your backs [in neglect]. Indeed, my Lord is encompassing of what you do.”
“And O my people, work according to your position; indeed, I am working. You are going to know to whom will come a punishment that will disgrace him and who is a liar. So, watch; indeed, I am with you a watcher, (awaiting the outcome).”
When Prophet Shuaib عليه السلام and his followers went back to town, they saw the fate of the disbelievers of Allah ﷻ, and did not feel any regret as the prophet warned them before but chose not to listen.
Allah ﷻ tells us on what happened to the Madyan people in Surah Hud, verse 94-95, as translated, “And when Our command came, We saved Shu’ayb and those who believed with him, by mercy from Us. And the shriek seized those who had wronged, and they became within their homes (corpses) fallen prone.”
“As if they had never prospered therein. Then, away with Madyan as Thamud was taken away.”
That is the reason we never see Madyan and Thamud people, even though they were large communities with great civilizations back at the time.