Last Updated on 13th January 2023
“And We did raise among every people a Messenger”
Jalees Ahmad, Al Hakam
Noahas was a prophet of God from Mesopotamia (Five Volume Commentary, Vol. 2, p. 994). He is well-known for the deluge that befell his people and the ark he was commanded to build.
Allah states in the Holy Quran that He chose “Adam and Noah and the family of Abraham and the family of Imran above all peoples” (3:34). Thus, Noah is among the chosen and beloved ones of Allah.
The history of Noahas tells us the story of the full annihilation of those who oppose God and the truth. He is, in the Holy Quran, the first prophet of punishment.
Alluding to the time of Noahas, the Promised Messiahas, in one of his Persian poems, states:
ہمچو وقتِ نوح دنیا بود پُر از ہر فساد
ہیچ دل خالى نبود از ظلمت و گرد و غبار
“In the time of Noah, the world was filled with every mischief;
“No heart was free from darkness and dust.” (Aaina-e-Kamalat-e-Islam, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 5, p. 25)
In the Five Volume Commentary, it is stated, with regards to humanity reaching its perfection:
“[…] Humanity had to pass through four cycles to reach its perfect moral and spiritual development: (1) In the cycle of Adam the foundations were laid of human civilization. (2) Noahas was the founder of the cycle of the Shari‘ah. (3) In the cycle of Mosesas the details of the Shari‘ah were revealed and (4) with the Holy Prophetsa was completed the fourth and last cycle when the Shari‘ah became complete and perfect and man attained the highest peak of social, moral and spiritual development.” (Five Volume Commentary, Vol. 4, p. 2205)
The age of Noahas
It is often said that Prophet Noahas lived to the ripe old age of 950. The Holy Quran mentions that the age of Noah was 950 years; however, this should not be taken to mean that he lived for 950 years. Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra has explained that 950 years does not allude to his age but rather to the era of his teaching.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh states:
“[…] Prophets lived under some divine law that is called sharia, and the age of their sharia is mentioned in those years, not their personal age.” (Liqa’ Ma’ al-‘Arab, 17 February 2000)
Noahas was a law-bearing prophet
In Tafsir-e-Kabir, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra, under the commentary of Surah al-Anbiya` chapter 21 verse 78, explained that Noahas was the first Law-bearing Prophet. Huzoorra writes that the Holy Prophetsa is reported to have said about Noahas:
أول نبي شرعت على لسانه الشرائع
Meaning that Noah was the first Prophet to whom Law was revealed (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 5, p. 537). Huzoorra states that the Holy Quran alludes to this in the following verse:
“Surely, We have sent revelation to thee, as We sent revelation to Noah and the Prophets after him.” (Surah an-Nisa, Ch. 4: V. 164)
Huzoorra explained that the first law was revealed to Noahas as, in his time, mankind’s mind had reached a stage where it was able to comprehend the divine message of Allah.
Noahas preaches to his people
“The people to whom Noahas preached his Message lived in Iraq, which lies to the northeast of Arabia.” (Five Volume Commentary, Vol. 5, p. 3036)
Like all prophets, Noahas was chosen and commissioned by Allah the Almighty to spread the message of Tawhid to his people. Addressing his people, Noahas said:
“‘O my people, worship Allah, you have no other god but Him.’” (Surah al-A’raf, Ch.7: V.60)
Noahas told his people that he feared a punishment would overtake them.
It has been observed throughout history that whenever a prophet is sent to his people, it is commonly seen that he finds them misguided. This was the case with the people of Arabia during the time of the Holy Prophetsa and during the time of the Father of the Prophets, Abrahamas. The people of Noahas were no different.
The Holy Quran states that the people of Noahas were steeped in idol worship. His people are recorded as having said: ‘And they say [to one another], “Forsake not your gods. And forsake neither Wadd nor Suwa‘, nor Yaghuth and Ya‘uq and Nasr.”’ (71:24)
The disbelievers at the time of Noahas had various idols. The Holy Quran mentions five in this verse. Alluding to the idols, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Ira, in his tafsir, explains that each idol represented something for the people and says that some had the figure of a man and others of a horse. (Haqaiq-ul-Furqan, Vol. 4, p. 218)
In Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Tafsir, we read:
“All the idols that were worshipped by the people of Noahas were worshipped by the Arabs later on. As for the idol Wadd, it was worshipped by the tribe of Kalb at Daumatal-Jandal; Suwa‘ was the idol of (the tribe of) Hudhail; Yaghuth was worshipped by (the tribe of) Murad and then by Bani Ghutaif at Al-Jurf near Saba; Ya‘uq was the idol of Hamdan, and Nasr was the idol of Himyar, the branch of Dhi al-Kala`. The names (of the idols) formerly belonged to some pious men of the people of Noahas, and when they died, Satan inspired their people to prepare and place idols at the places where they used to sit, and to call those idols by their names. The people did so, but the idols were not worshipped till those people (who initiated them) had died and the origin of the idols had become obscure, whereupon people began worshipping them.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Hadith 4920)
The beginning verses of Surah Nuh explain that Prophet Noahas exhausted all efforts to call his people to the divine message he was sent with; yet his people made equal efforts to deny him completely. The Holy Quran records Noahas as having said:
“‘And every time I called them that Thou mightest forgive them, they put their fingers into their ears, and covered [themselves with] their garments, and persisted [in their iniquity], and were disdainfully proud.’” (71:8)
Noah’sas people reject him
It is replete with evidence throughout history that, generally, the chiefs of a nation are the first to stand to oppose the Prophet and his message. Whether it be the Pharaoh of the time of Mosesas, or the chiefs of Mecca who opposed the Holy Prophetsa, history is filled with examples of chiefs being among those who are foremost to oppose the message.
The Promised Messiahas has explained that those who are worldly bent and possess superficial mindset mock people who are sent by God. The chiefs of that time, after hearing Noahas, said that they saw him as being in manifest error. His people said, “‘We see in thee nothing but a man like ourselves, and we see that none have followed thee but those who, to all outward appearance, are the meanest of us. And we do not see in you any superiority over us; nay, we believe you to be liars.’” (Surah Hud, Ch.11: V.28)
His enemies argued that neither he nor his followers seemed to have anything worthy for them to follow. They saw him as an ordinary person from among themselves.
Hazrat Noahas, after explaining to his people that he was commissioned as a prophet of Allah, said:
“‘O my people, if my station [with God] and my reminding you [of your duty] through the Signs of Allah offend you – and in Allah do I put my trust – muster then [all] your designs, you and your ‘partners’; then let not your course of action be obscure to you; then carry out [your designs] against me and give me no respite. (Surah Yunus, Ch.10: V.72)
The faith possessed by prophets of God is simply remarkable. They are fully convinced of the truth and desire to show the manifest error of their people so that they may be saved.
Through the study of the Holy Quran, in particular the disbelievers of the time of Noahas, it seems the well-off among them suffered from a sense of superiority. They refused to mingle with the poor. Their pique was one of the main reasons why they rejected the call of the hour.
Enemies of Noahas demand punishment
The Five Volume Commentary explains:
“Noah’s opponents are represented as having brought forward six objections to reject his message: First, that he was only a man like themselves. Secondly, that he sought to impose his leadership on them. Thirdly, that no angel had descended from heaven to testify to his truth. Fourthly, that his teaching was opposed to the time-honoured beliefs of their forebears. Fifthly, that he was stricken with madness, and sixthly, that sooner or later he was sure to come to grief. These objections have always been raised against every Prophet and Divine Reformer in every age.” (Five Volume Commentary, Vol. 4, p. 2206)
After persisting in their disbelief, the people of Noahas challenged him and demanded that Noahas bring the divine punishment he had warned them about. This is the extent the people of Noahas went to. They said to Noahas:
“‘O Noah, thou hast indeed disputed with us [long] and hast disputed with us many a time; bring us now what thou threatenest us with, if thou art of those who speak the truth.’ (Surah Hud, Ch. 11: V.33)
Realising that his advice would no longer profit his people, Prophet Noahas knew that he must submit to the divine decree. Hazrat Noahas prayed to Allah to not leave him:
“‘My Lord, leave not on the land a single dweller of the disbelievers” (Surah Nuh, Ch.71: V.27). This prayer lends an insight into Noah’sas mission and how he felt. He persisted to show his people the error of their ways, yet they went on to reject him. His enemies had transgressed to such an extent they threatened Noahas, “‘If thou desist not, O Noah, thou shalt surely be one of those who are stoned.’” (Surah ash-Shu’ara, Ch. 26: V. 120)
Prophets of God are accustomed to resorting to the most effective weapon – prayer. Hazrat Noahas said that his people had treated him to be a lair and so prayed:
“‘Judge Thou decisively between me and them; and save me and the believers that are with me.” (Surah ash-Shu’ara, Ch.26: V.119)
It was revealed to Prophet Noahas that his people would not accept his message apart from those who had already accepted him as a messenger of Allah. The Quran states:
“And it was revealed to Noah, ‘None of thy people will believe except those who have already believed; grieve not therefore at what they have been doing.’” (Surah Hud, Ch.11: V.37)
The Promised Messiahas said, “If the people of Noahas had possessed true awareness, which inspires fear of God, they would not have drowned.” (Lecture Lahore, p. 6)
Prophet Noahas builds the ark
Though Noah’sas opponents went to extreme measures to reject his message, they were not punished at once. The Holy Quran states that Noahas preached to his people for quite some time. God did not punish them all at once but gave them some respite. However, as their wickedness increased and it was clear that such people were not going to avail themselves of the call of the hour, the divine punishment came.
The Holy Quran states that Noahas was commanded to build an ark:
“And build thou the Ark under Our eyes and [as commanded by] Our revelation.” (Surah Hud, Ch.11: V.38)
The people of Noahas, like disbelievers of other nations and prophets, did not just ignore the call of the time but also went beyond to mock the messengers who were sent to them. Instead of profiting from their prophetic guidance, they ridiculed them. Even when Noahas was building the ark, his enemies mocked him.
With regards to the people of Noahas, the Promised Messiahas writes, “The people of Noahas, for instance, derived no benefit from any kind of miracle, except the miracle of the deluge, which drowned them.” (Lecture Sialkot, p. 54)
The Holy Quran alludes to the fact that Noahas lived in a hilly area surrounded by mountains where springs were found in abundance (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 3, p. 192), with Noah living at the foot of the mountain.
The Holy Quran describes the coming of the punishment with the following words:
“And the fountains [of the earth] gushed forth, We said, ‘Embark therein two of every kind, male and female, and thy family, except those against whom the word has already gone forth, and those who believe.’ And there did not believe [and live] with him except a few.” (Surah Hud, Ch.11: V.41)
The punishment that came to the people of Noahas was not just the gushing of the fountains. The Holy Quran states that the real cause of the flood were the clouds. Rain fell with force and so the water of the earth also gushed forth. The Holy Quran states, “Thereupon We opened the gates of heaven, with water pouring down; And We caused the earth to burst forth with springs, so the [two] waters met for a purpose that was decreed.” (54:12-13)
The matter of animals
Noahas did not take two of all animals of the earth, as some people believe. In fact, Noahas was only commanded to take all those animals that were needed. Where the Holy Quran uses the word کل, it does not denote all animals. In fact, another example of this is found in the Holy Quran. For instance, the Holy Quran states the Queen of Sheba was “given everything” (27:24). However, here, it does not mean she was literally given everything, it only means she was given everything that was needed and required.
Further, the ark built by Noahas, without a doubt, was not big enough to carry all the animals on the earth. Noahas being a messenger to his people alone is enough proof. He was not a universal messenger, so his message was only for the people of his area. It would, then, not be logical to embark two of every single animal.
Alluding to this matter, the Promised Messiahas explained:
“The Bible and science possess such enmity between one another as though they were two wives married to the same husband. It is written in the Bible that the flood covered the entire world, and that the ark was three hundred cubits long and fifty cubits wide, and that Noahas brought into the ark seven pairs of each animal that was pure and two pairs of each animal that was impure; however, both of these notions are false. Firstly, Allah the Exalted has never punished a nation until He sends down His message to them through the Messengers, and when did Noahas preach to the entire world so that the whole of it deserved to be drowned? Secondly, how could all the creatures of the world, animals, both beast and bird, seven pairs of each, or two pairs of each, fit in such a small ark which was only three hundred cubits long and fifty cubits wide? This proves that the book has been altered and it is now ridden with many errors.” (Malfuzat, Vol. III, p. 237)
Before embarking on the ark, Noahas said:
“And he said, ‘Embark therein. In the name of Allah be its course and its mooring. My Lord is assuredly Most Forgiving, Merciful.’” (Surah Hud, Ch.11: V.42)
Noah’sas son drowns and the ark settles on mount Judi
Noahas then cried out to his son, who did not board the ark. He said, “‘O my son, embark with us and be not with the disbelievers.’” (Surah Hud, Ch.11: V.43)
As the place where Noahas lived was a hilly and mountainous area, his son said that he would take shelter on a mountain. His son said, “‘I shall soon betake myself to a mountain which will shelter me from the water.’” (Surah Hud, Ch.11: V.44)
Noahas replied that the punishment was a decree of Allah and there would be no shelter for anyone from His decree. Then, the Holy Quran states, “the wave came in between the two” and Noah’s son drowned. Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra explains that Noahas was saved from witnessing his son drowning as a wave came between the two, as such a scene would have been unbearable for any father to physically witness with their eyes. (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 3, p. 192)
The ark rests on al-Judi
The Holy Quran states, “And it was said, ‘O earth, swallow thy water, and O sky, cease raining.’ And the water was made to subside and the matter was ended. And the [Ark] came to rest on al-Judi. And it was said, ‘Cursed be the wrongdoing people.’” (Surah Hud, Ch.11: V.45)
According to the Bible, Noah’sas ark rested on the mountains of Ararat:
“And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.” (Genesis, 8:4) Whereas the Holy Quran, as stated above, says it came to rest on al-Judi.
The Promised Messiahas, explaining this very matter, states:
“The word Ararat, which is the name of the place where Noah’sas ark came to rest, is actually a compound from ara-reet, which means, ‘I see the peak of the mountain.’ The word reet means ‘the peak of a mountain.’ In the Holy Quran, Allah the Exalted has used the word judi, which means ‘My munificence and grace,’ that is to say, the ark rested on God’s munificence and grace.” (Malfuzat, Vol. III, pp. 237-238)
Noahas makes supplication
As He promised, Allah saved Noahas and those with him in the fully laden Ark. Naturally, with the loss of a son, any father would feel saddened and grieved. Hazrat Noahas cried out to Allah “‘My Lord, verily, my son is of my family, and surely, Thy promise is true, and Thou art the Most Just of judges.’” (Surah Hud, Ch.11: V.46)
His son, being a member of his family, drowned. Noahas, respectfully, conveyed his grief to God and what He promised.
Upon this, Allah replied:
“‘O Noah, he is surely not of thy family; he is indeed [a man of] unrighteous conduct. So ask not of Me that of which thou hast no knowledge. I advise thee lest thou become one of the ignorant.’” (Surah al-Hud, Ch.11: V.47)
Allah’s promise was for those who believed in Noah’s message. Truly, those who follow the prophet and his message are among his spiritual family who gain guidance through him and established a true connection with God. And this has been the way of Allah since the beginning.
“Allah sets forth for those who disbelieve the example of the wife of Noah and the wife of Lot. They were under two righteous servants of Ours, but they acted unfaithfully towards them.” (66:11)
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Ira, under this verse, states that the Holy Quran sets the example of Noah’sas and Lot’sas wives who did not believe. Huzoorra explains that Noah’sas wife was caught in the punishment of God and perished. She was unable to avail anything despite her relationship with Noahas. (Haqaiq-ul-Furqan, Vol. 4, p. 151)
Prophethood in Noah’sas progeny
Prophets of God are sent to the world to guide mankind in their errors. They remind their people of the true living God and attempt to bring them back to the path of Tawhid. The story of Noahas is truly a reminder for mankind. A man, who seemed ordinary to his people, sent as a prophet of God, is remembered throughout the world. Prophet Noahas was sent to his people who rejected him and arrogantly demanded to see the punishment.
The Holy Quran states:
“And We did send Noah and Abraham, and We placed among their seed prophethood and the Book. So some of them followed the guidance, but many of them were rebellious.” (Surah al-Hadid, Ch. 57: V.27)
The verse makes special mention of Noahas and Abrahamas. After Noahas and Abrahamas, we read about prophets who continued to come throughout the ages to direct and remind mankind about the message of Tawhid.
Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra, alluding to after Noah’sas time, writes:
“After Noah’s[as] time, the population dispersed into different countries. The influence of Noah’s teaching began to decline, because the means of communication were so poor. A teacher in one country could not communicate his Message to other countries. It was but appropriate then that God should have sent a Prophet to each country, so that no country should be without His Guidance. This made for division between religion, because the human mind had not yet fully developed. As human intellect and understanding lacked the development to which they were to attain later, every country had a teaching sent to it appropriate to the level of development to which it had attained.” (Introduction to the Study of the Holy Quran, p. 11)
Thus, as the Holy Quran testifies, after Noahas, came a galaxy of prophets.