One of the greatest disasters which occurred in the history of man was the flood at the time of Noah (A.S.). It was a form of punishment to the people at that time for their wickedness and transgression. Noah was sent as a messenger to his people with a mission of guidance and truth. He tried all forms and methods of preaching, but was rejected by his people. The Quraan gives an account of his preaching in the following words. “He (Noah) said, “Oh my Lord! I have called my people night and day. But my call only increases (their) flight from the right. And every time I have called them that you might forgive them, they have thrust their fingers into their ears, covered themselves up with their garments, grown obstinate, and given themselves up to arrogance. So I have called them aloud. Further I have spoken to them in public and secretly in private”. (Surah Nooh, Verses 5-9)
Noah used all the resources he had to reach out to them, but these went in vain. His nation did not accept him. They considered him a man like themselves, having no rank as a prophet. They told him he was a liar and only the down-trodden ones were following him.
Noah pleaded with them that he did not want their wealth or their goods, but he was only a messenger sent by Allah to deliver a message.
They paid no heed to Noah’s message and continued to criticize him. They saw him as an obstacle in their path, and eventually became tired of his preaching. Being unable to deal with the arguments he placed before them, they arrogantly threw out their challenge, “They said, ‘Oh Noah! you have disputed with us and much have you prolonged the dispute. Now bring upon us (the punishment) what you have threatened us with, if you are speaking the truth.” (Surah Hud, Verse 32)
Hearing this, Noah (A.S.) made it clear to them, saying, “Truly, Allah will bring it on you if He wills and then you will not be able to evade it”. (Surah Hud, Verse 33)
Not withstanding their insolence, Noah (A.S) continued to preach to his people hoping that some change will take place, but his preaching was all in vain. He then became troubled and worried, but was consoled by Allah in the following words: “None of your people will believe except those who have believed already! So grieve no longer over their evil deeds”. (Surah Hud, Verse 36)
Having learnt this, Noah (A.S.) made a request to Allah, saying, “Oh my Lord! Leave not of the unbelievers a single one on earth. For if you leave (any of) them, they will but mislead your devotees and they will breed none but wicked, ungrateful ones”. (Surah Nooh, Verses 26-27)
The prayer of Noah was accepted and it was decreed that the punishment will fall upon the transgressors. Then, in order to save Noah and the believers from the terrible punishment, Allah commanded Noah by saying: “And 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 drowned”. (Surah Hud, Verse 37)
Noah (A.S.) began the construction of the ark, but was ridiculed and mocked by the people. They said, “Can a boat float on land?” “Noah the prophet has turned a carpenter!” They said laughing and jeering at him.
About their conduct, the Quraan states, “Forthwith he (starts) constructing the ark: Every time the chiefs of
his people passed by him, they threw ridicule on him. He said, “If you ridicule us now, we (in our turn) can look down on you with ridicule likewise!” But soon will you know who it is on whom will descend a chastisement that will cover them with shame, and on whom will be unloosed a lasting chastisement”. (Surah Hud, Verses 38-39)
The Ark was finally completed and Noah (A.S.) awaited the order from Allah. The Quraan narrates this event in the following words, “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”. (Surah Hud, Verse 40)
It was a great flood and a total destruction, except to those who were saved by Allah. Rain started to pour from the sky and the water gushed forth from the earth. Days and nights passed, but the rain did not stop. The unbelievers began to panic and thought about seeking refuge in the ark, but it was too late for them since the ark had already started to sail. The Quraan states, “And the Ark sailed with them on waves (towering) like mountains. And Noah called out to his son, who had separated himself (from the rest), “Oh my son! Embark with us, and be not with the unbelievers!”
“The son (who did not believe in the message of his father, Noah) replied, “I will betake myself to some mountain, it will save me from the water.” Noah said, “This day nothing can save from the command of Allah, any but those on whom he has mercy. And the waves came between them, and the son was among those who were drowned.” (Surah Hud, Verses 42-43).
The flood thus came to an end, the water subsided and the command came to Noah, saying, “Oh Noah! Come down (from the Ark) with peace from Us and blessings on you” (Surah Hud, Verse 48)
The transgressors were all destroyed by Allah and the believers were all saved. It was a new beginning for those who were saved seeing that every single thing was destroyed. Noah (A.S.) came out with his people, but being a kind hearted father he was worried about his son. He said, “Oh my Lord! Surely my son is of my family and Your promise is true and You are the most just of judges.” (Surah Hud, Verse 45)
Allah’s reply came to Noah, “Oh Noah! He is not of your family. For his conduct is unrighteous. So ask not of me that of which you have no knowledge. I give you counsel lest you act like the ignorant! (Surah Hud, Verse 46)
Hearing this, Noah (A.S.) immediately asked for Allah’s forgiveness and mercy. He said, “Oh my Lord! I do seek refuge with You lest I ask You for that of which I have no Knowledge, and indeed be among the losers” (Surah Hud, Verse 47)
LESSONS FROM THE LIFE OF THE PROPHET NOAH (A.S)
By narrating this incident, the Quraan brings before man the true and established teaching of belief in One God. Noah was one of the earliest prophets, and was sent to remind the people of the teachings which came to them from Allah (God Almighty) through Adam (A.S).
Belief in One God is therefore the original and true teaching, through which salvation comes. Prophet Noah sacrificed his life to preach and propagate this teaching. He was ridiculed, mocked, insulted and condemned by his people, but he did not stop preaching this message to mankind. He persevered and was patient. He remained steadfast upon this belief and was determined to convey God’s message to the people. He suffered at the hands of his people for over 900 years, but at the end, he gained victory over them. Therefore, victory always comes to the people of truth even though they may undergo hardships for a long while.
From among Noah’s people, there were those who believed in him and carried out his teachings, but were few in number. There were also those who rejected him and turned a blind eye to his teachings. These were the great majority who outnumbered the few believers. Like Prophet Noah, those who accepted his message, also suffered ridicule, insults and persecution at the hands of the unbelievers. However, in the end, it was the believers who became triumphant. They were saved from the punishment of the flood, and were promised paradise in the life after death. As for those who rejected and opposed Noah, they were destroyed by the flood, and were promised the blazing fire of hell in the hereafter.
In this way, my dear readers, the battle between truth and falsehood will continue, and the challenge to choose one above the other will remain. Those who chose truth above falsehood will always be winners in this world and the next. As for those who choose falsehood above the truth, they will always be losers, and will perish like the wrongdoers of the past.
Make the right choice
Islam – The religion of truth