The Story of Noah (Nuh)

Imam Ibn Kathir Ad-Dimashqi

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Allah accepted Noah's prayer. The case was closed, and He passed His judgment on the disbeliveers in the form of a flood. Allah the Exalted ordered His worshipper Noah to build an ark with His knowledge and instructions and with the help of angels. Almighty Allah commanded: "And construct the ship under Our Eyes and with Our Inspiration and address Me not on behalf of those who did wrong; they are surely to be drowned." [Ch 11:37 Quran]

Noah chose a place outside the city, far from the sea. He collected wood and tools and began to day and night to build the ark. The people's mockery continued: "O Noah! Does carpentry appeal to you more than prophethood? Why are you building an ark so far from the sea? Are you going to drag it to the water or is the wind going to carry it for you?" Noah replied: "You will come to know who will be put to shame and suffer."

Allah the Almighty narrated: As he was constructing the ship, whenever the chiefs of his people passed by him, they made a mockery of him. He said : "If you mock at us, so do we mock at you likewise for your mocking. And you will know who it is on whom will come a torment that will cover him with disgrace and on whom will fall a lasting torment." [Ch 11:38-39 Quran]

The ship was constructed, and Noah sat waiting Allah's command. Allah revealed to him that when water miraculously gushed forth from the oven at Noah's house, that would be the sign of the start of the flood, and the sign for Noah to act.

The terrible day arrived when the oven at Noah's house overflowed. Noah hurried to open the ark and summon the believers. He also took with him a pair, male and female, of every type of animal, bird and insect. Seeing him taking these creatures to the ark, the people laughed loudly: "Noah must have gone out of his head! What is he going to do with the animals?"

Almighty Allah narrated: So it was till then there came Our Command and the oven gushed forth (water like fountains from the earth). We said: "Embark therein, of each kind two (male and female), and your family, except him against whom the Word has already gone forth, and those who believe." And none believed him except a few. [Ch 11:40 Quran]

Noah's wife was not a believer with him so she did not join him; neither did one of Noah's sons, who was secretly a disbeliever but had pretended faith in front of Noah. Likewise most of the people were disbeliveers and did not go on board.

The scholars hold different opinions on the number of those who were with Noah on the ship. Ibn Abbas stated that there were 80 believers while Ka'ab al Ahbar held that there were 72 believers. Others claimed that there were 10 believers with Noah.

Water rose from the cracks in the earth; there was not a crack from which water did not rise. rain poured from the sky in quantities never seen before on earth. Water continued pouring from the sky rising from the cracks; hour after hour the level rose. The seas and waves invaded the land. The interior of the earth moved in a strange way, and the ocean floors lifted suddenly, flooding the dry land. The earth, for the first time was submerged.

Allah told the story thus: He (Noah) said: "Embark therein in the Name of Allah will be its moving course and its resting anchorage. Surely, my Lord is Oft Forgiving, most Merciful." so it (the ship) sailed with them amidst the waves like mountains, and Noah called out to his son, who had separated himself (apart), "O my son! Embark with us and be not with the disbeliveers." The son replied, "I will betake myself to a mountain, it will save me from the water." Noah said: "This day there is no savior from the Decree of Allah except him on whom He has mercy." And a wave came in between them so he (the son) was among the drowned.

It was said: "O Earth! Swallow up your water, and O sky! Withhold (your rain)." The water was diminished (made to subside) and the Decree (of Allah) was fulfilled (the destruction of the people of Noah). And it (the ship) rested on Mount Judi, and it was said: "Away with the people who are Zalimeen (polytheists, and wrongdoing)!"

Noah called upon his Lord and said, "O my Lord! Verily, my son is of my family! Certainly, Your Promise is true, and You are the Most Just of the judges." Hh said: "O Noah! Surely, he is not of your family; verily, his work is unrighteous, so ask not of Me that of which you have no knowledge! I admonish you, lest you be one of the ignorants."

Noah said: "O my Lord! I seek refuge with You from asking You that of which I have no knowledge. And unless You forgive me and have Mercy on me, I would indeed be one of the losers."

It was said: "O Noah! Come down (from the ship) with peace from Us and blessings on you and on the people of who are with you(and on some of their offspring), but (there will be other) people to whom We shall grant their pleasures (for a time), but in the end a painful torment will reach them from Us." [Ch 11:41-48 Quran]

With the issue of the divine command, calm returned to earth, the water retreated, and the dry land shone once again in the rays of the sun. The flood had cleansed the earth of the disbeliveers and polytheists.

Noah released the birds, and the beats which scattered over the earth. After that the believers disembarked. Noah put his forehead to the ground in prostration. The survivors kindled a fire and sat around it. Lighting a fire had been prohibited on board so as not to ignite the ship's wood and burn it up. None of them had eaten hot food during the entire period of the floor. Following the disembarkation there was a day of fasting in thanks to Allah.

The Quran draws the curtain on Noah's story. We do not know how his affairs with his people continued. All we know or can ascertain is that on his deathbed he requested his son to worship Allah alone, Noah then passed away.

Abdullah Ibn Amru Ibn Al as narrated that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: "When the death of the Messenger of Allah Noah approached, he admonished his sons: 'Indeed I would give you far reaching advice, commanding you to do 2 things, and warning you against doing 2 things as well. I charge you to believe that there is no god but Allah and that if the seven heavens and the seven earths were put on one side of a scale and the words "there is no god but Allah" were put on the other, the latter would outweigh the former. I warn you against associating partners with Allah and against pride." (Sahih al Bukhari)

Some traditions said that his grave is in the Scared Mosque in Mecca, while others said that he was buried in Baalabak, a city in Iraq.