Islam-beliefs

Story of Noah/Nuh AS

Birth

As we all know, many books were revealed(sent) to the Prophets by Allah(swt). Among these 4 are mentioned by name in the Quran:

1. Taurat was revealed to Prophet Musa (AS) – also called as Torah

2. Zabur was revealed to Prophet Dawood (AS) – also called as Psalms

3. Injeel was revealed to Prophet ‘Isa (AS) – also called as Gospel

4. Finally, the Qur’an was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.).

All previous books were canceled by Allah when the Qur’an was sent, all of them became corrupt and modified. Now the Qur’an is the only authentic and true book which is to be followed by all men, which has remained and will remain intact exactly as it was revealed.

According to the history of the people of the Books (refers to the Jews, and Christians), the period between the birth of Noah and the death of Adam was 146 years. The period between Adam and Noah was ten centuries. We should however keep in mind that any statement or narratives taken from the People of the Book are not necessarily credible.

The chain is found as follows: 1. Adam AS → 2. Seth AS → 3. Anoush → 4. Qinan → 5. Mahlabil → 6. Yard → 7. Enoch AS → 8. Mitoshilkh → 9. Lamik → 10. Noah AS.

A Brief History

We found out 10 generations between Adam AS and Nuh AS, which is a long period of time as people used to live for more than centuries at that time. A long time since Adam AS (probably till the time of Idris (Enoch) AS) people used to worship one God Allah(swt) alone. 

Introduction to Idol Worshiping

Time passed by and people started to forget and the messengers and righteous men amongst them reminded the people of their obligations to God.

Shaitan slowly inspired the people to make statues of the righteous men.  In this way, Shaitan said, they would remember the righteous people and thus remember to worship.

The statutes are built and Satan left them alone until everyone forgot the reason behind their existence. Many years later, Shaitan appeared to their later generations, suggesting that their forefathers used to worship these idols and were finally able to convince them completely and thus idol worshiping / shirk started for the first time.

They gave their idols names such as Waddan, Suwa’an, Yaghuthah, Ya’augah, and Nasran. These idols represented, respectively, manly power; mutability, beauty; brute strength, swiftness, sharp sight, insight according to the power they thought these gods possessed. Allah the Almighty revealed:

“They (idolaters) have said, ‘You shall not leave your gods nor shall you leave Wadd, nor Suwa, nor Yaghuth, nor Ya’uq nor Nasr.'” {Surah Nuh: Ayat 23}.

All the idols which were worshiped by the people of Noah were worshiped by the Arabs later on as found in the below Hadith of Sahih Al-Bukhari.

Ibn Abbas Narrated: All the idols which were worshiped by the people of Noah were worshiped by the Arabs later on. As for the idol Wadd, it was worshiped by the tribe of Kalb at Daumat-al-Jandal; Suwa` was the idol of (the tribe of) Hudhail; Yaghouth was worshiped 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 Noah, 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 worshiped till those people (who initiated them) had died and the origin of the idols had become obscure, whereupon people began worshiping them.{Sahih Bukhari Book 60, Hadith 442}.

As per Ibn Kathir, Ibn Jarir narrated: Firstly, Shaitan persuaded them to make statues of their pious role models and later on crept into the minds of later generations saying: ‘Your forefathers used to worship them, and through that worship they got rain.’ So they worshiped them.”

Also as per Ibn Abi Hatim, “Waddan was a righteous man. He was buried in Babylonia after death and the people who loved him were overwhelmed by sadness. When Shaitan saw it, he disguised himself in the form of a man saying: ‘I have seen your sorrow because of this man’s death; can I make a statue like him which could be put in your meeting place to make you remember him?’ They accepted. After that, Shaitan said again: ‘Can I build a statue of him in the home of each one of you so that he would be in everyone’s house and you could remember him?’ They agreed. Their children saw what they were doing. They also started remembering him instead of Allah and thus it began.

It was narrated that Umm Habibah and Umm Salmah told Muhammad(pbuh) about the church called “Maria” which they had seen in the land of Abyssinia. They described its beauty and the pictures therein. He said: “Those are the people who build places of worship on the grave of every dead man who was righteous and then make those pictures. Those are the worst of the creation of Allah.

‘A’isha reported: Umm Habiba and Umm Salama made a mention before the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) of a church which they had seen in Abyssinia and which had pictures in it. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: When a pious person amongst them (among the religious groups) dies they build a place of worship on his grave, and then decorate it with such pictures. They would be the worst of creatures on the Day of judgment in the sight of Allah. {Sahih Muslim, BookBook 5, Hadith 21}.

Commentary – Idolatry

Worshiping anything other than Allah(swt) is a tragedy that results not only in the loss of freedom, its serious effect reaches man’s mind and destroys it as well. Almighty Allah programmed our mind with its purpose set on achieving knowledge, the most important of which is that, Allah(swt) alone is the Creator none other is worthy to be worshiped.

Therefore, disbelief in Allah(swt), or polytheism, results in the destruction of the mind and the absence of a noble target in life. By worshiping anything other than Allah(swt), man becomes enslaved to Satan and becomes harnessed to his own baser qualities).

The journey of Nuh AS begins

Into this environment, Allah(swt) sent Nuh AS with His message to guide and save these people. Nuh AS was the only intellectual outside the trap of the idea of polytheism, he was the only Muslim and all the remaining of the society was committing the greatest of all sins → Shirk.

Nuh AS argued

Noah was an excellent speaker and a very patient man. He pointed out to his people the mysteries of life and the wonders of the universe. He pointed out how the night is regularly followed by the day and that the balance between these is designed by Allah(swt). The night gives coolness and rest while the day gives warmth and awakens activity. The sun causes growth, keeping all plants and animals alive, while the moon and stars assist in the reckoning of time, direction and seasons. He pointed out that the ownership of the heavens and the earth belongs only to the Divine Creator.

He explained that there cannot be more than one deity. He clarified to them how the devil had deceived them for such a long time and this is the time to stop all these. Nuh AS spoke to them of Allah’s(swt) glorification towards human beings, how He had created, provided sustenance and blessings. He told them that idol worshiping was a suffocating injustice to the mind. He warned them not to worship anyone but Allah(swt) and described the terrible punishment if they continued in their evil ways.

The People’s Reaction

His words surprised the people’s minds as it is always a shock to a person who is asleep under a wall which is about to fall and who is vigorously awakened. A person may even become angry when alarmed, even though the actual aim is to save him/her.

Noah’s people were divided into two groups after his warning. His words touched the hearts of some of the weak and poor people, which soothed their wounds with its mercy. As for the rich and strong people, they believed that it would be better for them to remain in their position by not listening to Nuh AS and not bringing any change to their lifestyle. This situation can be witnessed till now, where the weak and poor people are mostly religious (if not, are more easily convinced) in comparison to the rich and powerful people, mostly busy with their life and wealth and have a reason to be afraid of the divine obligation to share his portion to the poor.

The People’s Argument

At first, they accused Nuh AS as a liar being only a human like them and are only followed by the weak and poor people.

“And We … sent Noah to his people, [saying], ” Indeed, I am to you a clear warner. That you not worship except Allah . Indeed, I fear for you the punishment of a painful day.” So … [ the disbelievers said], ” We do not see you but as a man like ourselves, and we do not see you followed except by those who are the lowest of us [and] at first suggestion. And we do not see in you over us any merit; rather, we think you are liars.” {Surah Hud: Ayat 25-27}

He, however, asserted that he was only a human being whom Allah(swt) had sent as a messenger with clear evidence, it is not logical to force to believe by sending a message with angels.

He said, “O my people have you considered: if I should be upon clear evidence from my Lord while He has given me mercy from Himself but it has been made unapparent to you, should we force it upon you while you are averse to it? {Surah Hud: Ayat 28} And O my people, I ask not of you for it any wealth. My reward is not but from Allah . And I am not one to drive away those who have believed. Indeed, they will meet their Lord, but I see that you are a people behaving ignorantly. {Surah Hud: Ayat 28-29}

As Nuh AS continued with his duties, they started to bargain, “Listen Nuh, if you want us to follow you, then dismiss your believers. They are weak and poor and we can not be with them.” Nuh AS understood that they were stubborn but responded to them gently. He explained to them that he could not dismiss the believers as only Allah(swt) knows their true status. Disregarding them might make Nuh AS to be one of the oppressors/wrongdoers and nobody can save him from Allah(swt). The true status of a human being can not be weighed in respect of his/her wealth and power but it depends on their inner belief in Allah(swt). Nuh AS also mentioned that he does not want any benefit from them.And O my people, I ask not of you for it any wealth. My reward is not but from Allah. And I am not one to drive away those who have believed. Indeed, they will meet their Lord, but I see that you are a people behaving ignorantly. And O my people, who would protect me from Allah if I drove them away? Then will you not be reminded? And I do not tell you that I have the treasures of Allah or that I know the unseen, nor do I tell you that I am an angel, nor do I say of those upon whom your eyes look down that Allah will never grant them any good. Allah is most knowing of what is within their souls. Indeed, I would then be among the wrongdoers.” {Surah Hud: Ayat 28-31}

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