The Story of Noah (Nuh)

Imam Ibn Kathir Ad-Dimashqi

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The contest between the polytheists and Noah continued. the rulers had thought at first that Noah's call would soon fade on its own. When they found that his call attracted the poor, the helpless and common laborers, they started to verbally attack and taunt him: 'You are only followed by the poor, the meek and the worthless.'

Allah the Almighty told us: "Indeed We sent Noah to his people (he said): 'I have come to you as a plain Warner that you worship none but Allah, surely, I fear for you the torment of a painful Day.' The chiefs of the disbeliveers among his people said: 'We see you but a man like ourselves, nor do we see any follow you but the meanest among us and they too followed you without thinking. And we do not see in you any merit above us in fact we think you are liars.'" [Ch 11:25-27]

Thus the conflict between Noah and the heads of his people intensified. The disbeliveers tried to bargain: "Listen Noah, if you want us to believe in you, then dismiss your believers. They are meek and poor, while are elite and rich; no faith c an include us both." Noah listened to the heathens of his community and realized they were being obstinate. However, he was gentle in his response. He explained to his people that he could not dismiss the believers as they were not his guests but Allah's.

Noah appealed to them: "O my people! I ask of you no wealth for it, my reward is from none but Allah. I am not going to drive away those who have believed. Surely, they are going to meet their Lord, but I see that you are a people that are ignorant. O my people! Who will help me against Allah, if I drove them away? Will you not then give a thought? And I do not say to you that with me are the Treasures of Allah nor that I know the unseen, nor do I say I am an angel, and I do not say of those whom your eyes look down upon that Allah will not bestow any good on them. Allah knows what is in their inner selves (regards to Belief). In that case, I should, indeed be one of the Zalimeen (wrongdoers, oppressors etc)." [Ch 11:29-31 Quran]

Noah refuted the arguments of the disbeliveers with the noble knowledge of the prophets. It is the logic of intellect that rids itself of personal pride and interests.

The rulers were tired of Noah's arguments. Allah the Exalted related their attitude: They said: "O Noah! You have disputed with us and much have you prolonged the dispute with us, now bring upon us what you threaten us with, if you are of the truthful." He said: "Only Allah will bring it (the punishment)on you, if He will, and then you will escape not. And my advice will not profit you, even if I wish to give you counsel, if Allah's Will is to keep you astray. He is your Lord! And to Him you shall return." [Ch 11:32-34 Quran]

The battle continued; the arguments between the disbeliveers and Noah became prolonged. When all the refutations of the disbeliveers collapsed and they had no more to say, they began to be rude and insulted Allah's prophet: 'The leaders of his people said: "Verily, we see you in plain error." [Ch 7:60 Quran]

Noah responded in the manner of the prophets: "O my people! There is no error in me, but I am a Messenger from the Lord of the Alamin (mankind, jinn and all that exists)! I convey unto you the Messages of my Lord and give sincere advice to you. And I know from Allah what you know not." [Ch 7:61-62 Quran]

Noah continued appealing to his people to believe in Allah hour after hour, day after day year after year. He admonished his people and called them to Allah day and night, in secret and openly. HE gave them examples, explained Allah's signs and illustrated Allah's ability in the formation of His creatures. But whenever he called them to Allah, they ran away from him. Whenever he urged them to ask Allah to forgive them, they put their fingers in their ears and became too proud to listen to the truth.

Allah the Almighty related what Noah faced: Verily, We sent Noah to his people saying: "Warn your people before there comes to them a painful torment."

He said: "O my people! Verily, I am a plain Warner to you, that you should worship Allah alone, be dutiful to Him and obey me, He (Allah) will forgive you of your sins and respite you to an appointed term. Verily, the term of Allah when it comes, cannot be delayed, if you but knew."

He said: "O my Lord! Verily, I have called my people night and day (secretly and openly to accept the doctrine of Islamic Monotheism), but all my calling added nothing but to their flight from the truth. Verily! Everytime I called unto them that You might forgive them, they thrust their fingers into their ears, covered themselves up with their garments, and persisted (in their refusal), and magnified themselves in pride. Then verily, I called to them openly (aloud); then verily, I proclaimed to them in public, and I have appealed to them in private, I said to them: 'Ask forgiveness from your Lord, Verily, He is Oft Forgiving; He will send rain to you in abundance, and give you increase in wealth and children, and bestow on you gardens and bestow on you rivers."

What is the matter with you, that you fear not Allah (His Punishment), and you hope not for reward from Allah or you believe not in His Oneness. While He has created you in different stages. [Ch 23:13-14 Quran]

See you not how Allah has created the seven heavens one above another, and has made the moon a light therein and made the sun a lamp? And Allah has brought you forth from the dust of earth. Afterwards He will return you into it (the earth), and bring you forth (again on the Day of Resurrection) Allah has made for you the earth wide spread (an expanse) that you may go about therein broad roads.

Noah said: "My Lord! They have disobeyed me, and followed one whose wealth and children give him no increase but only loss. They have plotted a mighty plot. They have said: 'you shall not leave your gods, nor shall you leave wadd, nor Suwa, nor Yaghuth, nor ya'uq nor Nasr (names of the idols). Indeed they have led many astray. O Allah! Grant no increase to the Zalimeen (polytheists, wrongdoers, and disbeliveers etc) save error."

Because of their sins they were drowned, then were made to enter the Fire and they found none to help them instead of Allah. [Ch 71:1-25 Quran].

Noah continued to call his people to believe in Allah for nine hundred fifty years. Allah the Almighty said: Indeed We sent Noah to his people and he stayed among them a thousand years less fifty years (inviting them to believe in the Oneness of Allah (Monotheism) and discard the false gods and other deities). [Ch 29:14 Quran]

It happened that every passing generation admonished the succeeding one not to believe Noah and to wage war against him. the father used to teach his child about the matter that was between himself and Noah and counsel him to reject his call when he reached adulthood. Their natural disposition rejected believing and following the truth.

Noah saw that the number of believers was not increasing, while that of the disbeliveers was. He was sad for his people, but he never reached the point of despair.

There came a day when Allah revealed to Noah that no others would believe. Allah inspired him not to grieve for them at which point Noah prayed that the disbeliveers be destroyed. He said: "My Lord! Leave not one of the disbeliveers on the earth. If you leave them, they will mislead Your slaves and they will beget none but wicked disbeliveers." [Ch 71:27 Quran]

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