Perished nations: Prophet Nuh(AS) and the great flood(Part 1/5)

We (once) sent Nuh to his people,

and he tarried among them a thousand years less fifty: but the Deluge overwhelmed them while they (persisted in) sin.

(Surat al-Ankaboot: 14)

Referred to in nearly all cultures, the Great Flood at the time of Nuh

(as) is one of the instances most widely alluded to in the Qur’an.

The indifference of the Prophet Nuh’s (as) people to his advice

and warnings, their reactions and how the event took place are told in detail in many verses.

The Prophet Nuh (as) was sent to warn his people who had turned

away from Allah’s verses and were associating partners with Him and to urge them to worship Allah only and abandon their rebellion. Despite the messenger Nuh (as) advising his people many times to submit to Allah’s commands and warning them of the wrath of Allah, they still denied him and continued associating partners with Allah. In Surat al-Muminun, how the affair developed is described as follows;

(Further, We sent a long line of prophets for your instruction). We sent Nuh to his people: He said, "O my people! worship Allah! Ye have no other god

but Him. Will ye not fear (Him)?"

The chiefs of the Unbelievers among his people said: "He is no more than a man like yourselves: his wish is to assert his superiority over you: if Allah had wished (to send messengers), He could have sent down angels;

never did we hear such a thing (as he says), among our ancestors of old."

(And some said): "He is only a man possessed: wait (and have patience) with him for a time."

(Nuh) said: "O my Lord! help me: for that they accuse me of falsehood!"

(Surat al-Muminun: 23-26)

We (once) sent Nuh to his people, and he tarried among them a thousand years less fifty: but the Deluge overwhelmed them while they (persisted in) sin.

(Surat al-Ankaboot: 14)

As told in these verses, the chiefs of the community tried to accuse the Prophet Nuh (as) of trying to assert his superiority over them, and they tried to slander him as "possessed", and they decided to bear with him for a while, and keep him under pressure.

Upon this, Allah told His messenger Nuh (as) to build the ark because those who rejected faith and did wrong would be unished by drowning and only those who believed would be saved.

Indeed when the time of punishment came, waters and overflowing springs burst from the ground which, together with excessive rains, caused a huge flood. Allah told Nuh (as) to "take on board pairs of every species, male and female, and his family- except those of them against whom the Word has already gone forth". All the people in that land were drowned in water - including Nuh’s (as) son who thought that he could be saved by taking refuge in a nearby mountain. All were drowned except those who embarked on the Ark with the Prophet Nuh (as). When the waters abated at the end of the Flood, and "the matter was ended", the Ark came to rest on Judi - that is, on a high place - as the Qur’an informs us.

Archaeological, geological and historical studies show that this incident took place just as it is related in the Qur’an. The Flood is also very similarly described in many records of past civilizations and in many historical documents, although character and place-names vary, and "all that happened to an astray people" is presented to contemporary people as a warning.

Apart from the Old and New Testaments, the account of the Flood is told in a very similar manner in Sumerian and Assyrian-Babylonian records, in Greek legends, in the Shatapatha, Brahmana and Mahabharata epics of India, in some Welsh legends of the British Isles, in the Nordic Edda, in Lithuanian legends and even in some Chinese-rooted stories.

How could such detailed and pertinent information be gathered from such geographically and culturally distant lands, which are quite far from each other and from the flood region?

The answer is clear: the fact that the same incident is related in the records and inscriptions of all those communities which have little possibility of communicating with each other, is in fact clear evidence that these people received knowledge from a divine source. It seems that the Flood, one of the biggest and most destructive events in history, was narrated by prophets sent to various civilisations for the purpose of setting an example.

Thus news about the Flood has spread out to various cultures.

Besides, despite being narrated in many cultures and religious sources, the story of the Flood incident and of the Prophet Nuh (as) have been greatly altered and so have diverged from the original version because of falsification of sources, or incorrect transmission and maybe even wrong intentions.

Research reveals that, among all the Flood narrations which relate basically the same event with various differences, the only consistent

DESCRIPTION IS THE ONE IN THE QUR’AN.

The Prophet Nuh (as) and the Flood in the Qur’an

The Great Flood is mentioned in many verses of the Qur’an and these verses have been arranged according to the sequence of events, below:

Prophet Nuh (as) Invites His People to the Religion of Truth

We sent Nuh to his people. He said: "O my people! worship Allah! ye have no other god but Him. I fear for you the punishment of a dreadful day!"

(Surat al-A‘raf: 59)

(Nuh:) "I am to you a messenger worthy of all trust: So fear Allah, and obey me. No reward do I ask of you for it: my reward is only from the Lord of the Worlds: So fear Allah, and obey me." (Surat ash-Shuara: 107-110)

(Further, We sent a long line of prophets for your instruction). We sent Nuh to his people: He said, "O my people! worship Allah! Ye have no other god but Him. Will ye not fear (Him)?" (Surat al-Muminun: 23)

The Prophet Nuh (as) Warns His People Against the Punishment of Allah We sent Nuh to his People (with the Command): "Do thou warn thy People before there comes to them a grievous Penalty." (Surah Nuh: 1)

(Nuh:) "But soon will ye know who it is on whom will descend a penalty that will cover them with shame - on whom will be unloosed a penalty lasting"

(Surah Hud: 39)

(Nuh:) "That ye serve none but Allah: Verily I do fear for you the penalty of a grievous day." (Surah Hud: 26)

Denial of Nuh's (as) People

The leaders of his people said: "Ah! we see thee evidently wandering (in mind)." (Surat al-A‘raf: 60)

They said: "O Nuh! thou hast disputed with us, and (much) hast thou prolonged the dispute with us: now bring upon us what thou threatenest us with, if thou speakest the truth!?" (Surah Hud: 32)

Forthwith he (starts) constructing the Ark: Every time that the chiefs of his people passed by him, they threw ridicule on him. He said: "If ye ridicule us now, we (in our turn) can look down on you with ridicule likewise!"

(Surah Hud: 38)

The chiefs of the Unbelievers among his people said: "He is no more than a man like yourselves: his wish is to assert his superiority over you: if Allah had wished (to send messengers), He could have sent down angels; never did we hear such a thing (as he says), among our ancestors of old."

(And some said): "He is only a man possessed: wait (and have patience) with him for a time." (Surat al-Muminun: 24-25)

Before them the People of Nuh rejected (their messenger): they rejected Our servant, and said, "Here is one possessed!", and he was driven out. (Surat al-Qamar: 9)

Their Disregard of Those Who Followed the Prophet Nuh (as)

But the chiefs of the Unbelievers among his people said: "We see (in) thee nothing but a man like ourselves: Nor do we see that any follow thee but the meanest among us, in judgment immature: Nor do we see in you (all) any merit above us: in fact we think ye are liars!" (Surah Hud: 27)

They said: "Shall we believe in thee when it is the meanest that follow thee?" He said: "And what do I know as to what they do? Their account is only with my Lord, if ye could (but) understand. I am not one to drive away those who believe. I am sent only to warn plainly in public." (Surat ash- Shuara: 111-115)

Allah Reminds Nuh (as) Not to Grieve

It was revealed to Nuh: "None of thy people will believe except those who have believed already! So grieve no longer over their (evil) deeds." (Surah Hud: 36)

Prayers of the Prophet Nuh (as)

(Nuh:) "Judge Thou, then, between me and them openly, and deliver me and those of the Believers who are with me." (Surat ash-Shuara: 118)

Then he called on his Lord: "I am one overcome: do Thou then help (me)!"

(Surat al-Qamar: 10)

(Nuh:) He said: "O my Lord! I have called to my People night and day: But my call only increases (their) flight (from the Right)." (Surah Nuh: 5-6)

(Nuh) said: "O my Lord! help me: for that they accuse me of falsehood!"

(Surat al-Muminun: 26)

(In the days of old), Nuh cried to Us, and We are the best to hear prayer.

(Surat as-Saffat: 75) The Construction of the Ark

But construct an Ark under Our eyes and Our inspiration, and address Me no (further) on behalf of those who are in sin: for they are about to be overwhelmed (in the Flood). (Surah Hud: 37)

The Destruction of the Prophet Nuh’s (as) People by Drowning

But they rejected him, and We delivered him, and those with him, in the Ark: but We overwhelmed in the flood those who rejected Our signs. They were indeed a blind people! (Surat al-A‘raf: 64)

Thereafter We drowned those who remained behind. (Surat ash-Shuara: 120)

We (once) sent Nuh to his people, and he tarried among them a thousand years less fifty: but the Deluge overwhelmed them while they (persisted in) sin. (Surat al-Ankaboot: 14)

But they denied him so We rescued him, and all those with him, in the Ark and We made them the successors and We drowned the people who denied Our Signs. See the final fate of those who were warned! (Surah Yunus: 73)

The Destruction of the Prophet Nuh’s (as) Son

The Qur’an relates a dialogue between Nuh (as) and his son, in the

early stages of the Flood: So the Ark floated with them on the waves (towering) like mountains, and Nuh called out to his son, who had separated himself (from the rest): "O my son! embark with us, and be not with the unbelievers!" The son replied: "I will betake myself to some mountain: it will save me from the water."

Nuh said: "This day nothing can save, from the command of Allah, any but those on whom He hath mercy!" And the waves came between them, and the son was among those overwhelmed in the Flood. (Surah Hud: 42- 43)

Saving the Believers from the Flood

So We delivered him and those with him, in the Ark filled (with all creatures).

(Surat ash-Shuara: 119)

But We saved him and the companions of the Ark, and We made the (Ark) a Sign for all peoples! (Surat al-Ankaboot: 15)

The Physical Nature of the Flood

So We opened the gates of heaven, with water pouring forth. And We caused the earth to gush forth with springs, so the waters met (and rose) to the extent decreed. But We bore him on an (Ark) made of broad planks and caulked with palm-fibre: (Surat al-Qamar: 11-13)

At length, behold! there came Our command, and the fountains of the earth gushed forth! We said: "Embark therein, of each kind two, male and female, and your family - except those against whom the word has already gone forth - and the Believers." but only a few believed with him.

So the Ark floated with them on the waves (towering) like mountains, and Nuh called out to his son, who had separated himself (from the rest): "O my son! embark with us, and be not with the unbelievers!"(Surah Hud: 40- 42)

So We inspired him (with this message): "Construct the Ark within Our sight and under Our guidance: then when comes Our Command, and the fountains of the earth gush forth, take thou on board pairs of every species, male and female, and thy family- except those of them against whom the Word has already gone forth: And address Me not in favour of the wrong-doers; for they shall be drowned (in the Flood)." (Surat al-Muminun: 27)

The Resting of the Ark on a High Place

Then the word went forth: "O earth! swallow up thy water, and O sky! Withhold (thy rain)!" and the water abated, and the matter was ended. The Ark rested on Mount Judi, and the word went forth: "Away with those who do wrong!" (Surah Hud: 44)

The Instructional Aspect of the Flood Incident

We, when the water (of Nuh's Flood) overflowed beyond its limits, carried you (mankind), in the floating (Ark), That We might make it a Message unto you, and that ears (that should hear the tale and) retain its memory should bear its (lessons) in remembrance. (Surat al-Haqqa: 11-12)

Allah’s Praise of the Prophet Nuh (as)

Peace and salutation to Nuh among the nations! Thus indeed do we reward those who do right. For he was one of our believing Servants. (Surat as-Saaffat: 79-81)

continued in series on next posts.