The Story of Prophet Nuh (as) is probably one of the most famous stories in the world. Children are taught it in schools, studies are done by archaeologists to determine what happened. Jews, Christians and Muslims all know about it. But only Muslims have the remaining truth of the story of Nuh (as).
Prophet Nuh (as) was sent to bring his people back to the Truth and Straight Path of Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) and his people were those who had first adopted idol worship. Prophet Nuh (as) is classed as one of the great Prophets from Allah and he preached to his people for 950 years! This is a great lesson for those of us who are impatient when trying to spread the message of Islam to others. Only after Nuh (as) had exhausted all manner of spreading the message to his people, did the Punishment of Allah come down on them – the great flood!
The following are some snippets of the Stories of the Prophets as written by the renowned scholar (masha’Allah), Ibn Kathir and translated by Sheikh Muhammad Mustafa Geme’ah (Office of the Grand Imam, Sheikh Al-Azhar). I hope you will find them beneficial, insha’Allah.
NOAH’S PEOPLE – IDOLATERS For many generations Noah’s people had been worshipping statues that they called gods. They believed that these gods would bring them good, protect them from evil and provide all their needs. They gave their idols names such as Waddan, Suwa’an, Yaghutha, Ya’auga, 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 (names of the idols).” (Qur’an 71:23)
Originally these were the names of good people who had lived among them. After their deaths, statues of them were erected to keep their memories alive. After sometime, however, people began to worship these statues. Later generations did not even know why they had been erected; they only knew their parents had prayed to them. That is how idol worshipping developed. Since they had no understanding of Allah the Almighty Who would punish them for their evil deeds, they became cruel and immoral…
NOAH’S REASONING WITH HIS PEOPLE Allah in His Mercy sent His messenger Noah to guide his people. 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 opposites were designed by Allah the Almighty for our good. The night gives coolness and rest while the day gives warmth and awakens activity. The sun encourages 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. Therefore, he explained to this people, there cannot have been more than one deity. He clarified to them how the devil had deceived them for so long and that the time had come for this deceit to stop. Noah spoke to them of Allah’s glorification of man, how HE had created him and provided him with sustenance and the blessings of a mind.
He told them that idol worshipping was a suffocating injustice to the mind. He warned them not to worship anyone but Allah and described the terrible punishment Allah would mete out if they continued in their evil ways.
DIVISION AMONG NOAH’S PEOPLE The people listened to him in silence. His words were a shock to their stagnating minds as it is a shock to a person who is asleep under a wall which is about to fall and who is vigorously awakened. This person may be alarmed and may even become angry although the aim was to save him.
Noah’s people were divided into two groups after his warning. His words touched the hearts of the weak, the poor, and the miserable and soothed their wounds with its mercy. As for the rich, the strong, the mighty and the rulers they looked upon the warning with cold distrust. They believed they would be better off if things stayed as they were. Therefore they started their war of words against Noah.
THE DISBELIEVER’S ARGUMENTS First they accused Noah of being only human like themselves.
“The chiefs of the disbelievers among his people said: “We see you but a man like ourselves.”‘ (Ch 11:27 Quran)
He, however, had never said anything other than that. He asserted that, indeed, he was only a human being; Allah had sent a human messenger because the earth was inhabited by humans. If it had been inhabited by angels Allah would have sent an angelic messenger. 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 disbelievers 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).