The Companions of the Rass, also known as the People of the Well or the People of Ar-Rass, were an ancient community, who are mentioned in the Qur'an.[1] The Qur'an provides little information concerning them other than to list them with other communities, including ʿĀd, Thamud, the People of Noah and others; the Qur'an groups all these communities together as nations who went astray and were perished for their sins.[2] Muslim scholars related that the Companions of the Rass were a community in the Azerbaijan region.[3] The root meaning of rass is a well or water pit,[4] but some scholars have stated that Rass was the name of a river or the city itself. It is speculated that modern Aras River is ar-Rass.

Another less common theory is that Companions of the Rass were an Indus Valley civilisation. With Rass meaning "well" or "along the water channels" or "water tranches". Means refer to place which has lot of wells. Today we know that at Mohenjo-daro around 700 wells existed at the peak of their civilization. Similar estimates for the city of Harappa itself claim that it had 300 wells. Same about Dholavira, where many trenches were created to store water. Some Arabs referred to Indus people as Companions of the Rass.[citation needed]

As the Quran narrates that it is a 'confirmation' of what came before, and in the 17th Chapter narrates the tale of the Fall of Jerusalem, any scholar of the Scriptures will know that Companions of the Rass from Chapter 25 verse 38 or 'Water Well' from Chapter 50 verse 12 refers to the followers of King Zedekiah whom took the prophet Jeremiah whom warned the King and People of Israel to repent before the fall of Jerusalem, but as the King's followers did not like his words or prophecies, captured him and lowered him into a Well/Cistern filled with mud.

Account in Exegesis

Other documents of Islamic literature give little information on the place or people of this particular community. However, Ibn Kathir states in his Stories of the Prophets that the prophet sent to them was a man named Hanzalah ibn Sifwan.[5] Exegesis narrates that the people of this community threw the prophet into a well, with some accounts narrating that he died in the well and others narrating that he survived.[6]

Modern day scholars such as Imad Zuhair Hafidh, Hikmat ibn Bashir ibn Yasin and Muhammad Sulaiman al-Ashqar, three professors of tafseer from Muhammad Sulaiman al-Ashqar has viewed that Ashab al-Rass or peoples of Rass were the peoples who lived during the time of Shuaib, a prophet of Islam.[7]


  1. ^ Qur'an 25:38
  2. ^ A-Z of Prophets in Islam and Judaism, B.M. Wheeler, People of the Well
  3. ^ A-Z of Prophets in Islam and Judaism, B.M. Wheeler, People of the Well
  4. ^ Dictionary of Arabic to English meanings, Rass
  5. ^ Stories of the Prophets, Ibn Kathir, Chapter XIII: Towns Destroyed By Divine Punishment
  6. ^ A-Z of Prophets in Islam and Judaism, B.M. Wheeler, People of the Well
  7. ^ Imad Zuhair Hafidh; Hikmat ibn Bashir ibn Yasin; Muhammad Sulaiman al-Ashqar. "Surat Qaf Ayat 12". Tafsirweb (in Indonesian). Islamic University of Madinah; Ministry of Religious Affairs (Indonesia); Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance. Retrieved 25 April 2024.