The people of Madyan were Arabs who lived in the country of Ma'an, part of which today is greater Syria. They were a greedy people who did not believe that Allah existed and who led wicked lives. They gave short measure, praised their goods beyond their worth, and hid their defects. They lied to their customers, thereby cheating them.
Allah sent His Prophet Shu'aib armed with many miracles. Shu'aib preached to them, begging them to be mindful of Allah's favors and warning them of the consequences of their evil ways, but they only mocked him. Shu'aib remained calm as he reminded them of his kinship to them and that what he was doing was not for his personal gain.
They seized the belongings of Shuaib and his followers, then drove them out of the city. The Messenger turned to his Lord for help, and his plea was answered. Allah sent down on them scorching heat, and they suffered terribly. On seeing a cloud gathering in the sky, they thought it would bring cool, refreshing rain, and 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. The evil-doers perished in this state of horror.