Nuh (Noah), Part 1

Bismillah. As we mentioned in our previous post in the Prophets’ Series, Nuh (peace be upon him) was the first Prophet to be sent to mankind after Adam ‘alayhis salaam. His story can be found in the Qur’an in Surah Nuh (of course!) and Surah Hud.

Ten Qarn

How much time was there between Adam and Nuh? Bukhari narrated from Ibn Abbaas that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “There were ten qarn between Adam and Nuh. They all lived according to Islam.”

The question now arises – what is a qarn? Some say that it means a century, others say that it means a generation of people. If a century is the meaning, then the time between Adam and  Nuh was 1,000 years. If a generation is meant, then that number is variable. Remember, human beings used to live much longer back then. So ten qarn could mean thousands of years! wAllahu ‘Alam.

One God, One Message

Nuh (peace be upon him) was the first messenger sent to mankind to call people to the Oneness of God. He called people to worship Allah Alone, without associating any partners with him. He asked them not to worship any idols, statues or false dieties. He required them to believe in the Oneness of Allah, with no God other than Him and with no Lord other than Him. Every messenger after him came with the same message and they were all from his progeny. Allah says: “And We made his progeny to endure (on this earth).” (37:77) So is the case with Abraham (that all of the Prophets after him were from his progeny).

And We had certainly 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.” (Hud, 25-26)

and in Surah Nuh:

That you not worship except Allah . Indeed, I fear for you the punishment of a painful day. Worship Allah, fear Him and obey me.  He (Allah) will forgive you of your sins and respite you to an appointed term. Verily, the term of Allah when it comes, cannot be delayed, if you but knew. (Nuh, 2-4)

In Every Way

Let’s look at the method of da’wah Nuh used with his people. We see in Surah Nuh that Nuh tells Allah that he appealed to his people publicly and privately, by night and by day, in every means that he knew. And what effect did all of this preaching have on his people? It fell on deaf ears.

But my invitation increased them not except in flight. And indeed, every time I invited them that You may forgive them, they put  their fingers in their ears, covered themselves with their garments, persisted, and were arrogant with [great] arrogance.” (71:5-6)

Not only did Nuh invite them to Islam through different forms of da’wah, but he preached to them for 950 years. Imagine 950 years! I cannot even imagine making da’wah to someone for 950 days!

If you ever feel despair at someone not following Islam despite all of efforts remember Nuh (peace be upon him) and how he preached to his people in every way – and for 950 years! – yet most of them were heedless. Allah says that He guides whom He wills, and our job is just to spread the message.

Surely you cannot guide whom you love, but Allah guides whom He pleases, and He knows best the followers of the right way. (28:56)

Nuh also teaches them the value of istighfaar – asking for Allah’s forgiveness. He tells them to make istighfaar, and he also tells them of the benefits they may reap from it. Ask forgiveness from your Lord; Verily, He is Oft-Forgiving; He will send rain to you in abundance; and give you increase in wealth and children, and bestow on your gardens; and bestow on you rivers. (71:10-12)

Nuh ‘alayhis salaam uses another tool of da’wah. Very simplistic, and very profound. Look at the creation so that you may glorify the Creator. See you not how Allah has created the seven heavens one above another, and has the moon a light therein and made the sun a lamp? And Allah has brought you forth from the (dust of) earth. Afterwards He will return you into it (the earth), and bring you forth (again on the Day of Resurrection)? And Allah has made for you the earth wide spread (an expanse) that you might go about therein on broad roads. (71:15-20)

Followers of No Worth

Nuh was giving da’wah for 950 years and only a few became Muslim. And these few tended to be from the weak and poor. The leaders, the wealthy and the political leaders, influential men of the society, noticed this. They came to Nuh and 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.” (11:27) They told Nuh that they didn’t think he was any better than them. Look at your followers, they said, the weak and downtrodden. They follow you without thinking.

Let’s look at these two aspects – the weakness of the followers of Nuh ‘alayhis salaam and their unqeustioning obedience.

When Abu Sufyan (a disbliever at the time), was on a business trip to ar-Room (or the Romans); he was visiting ash Shaam, which was part of the Roman Empire at the time. Heracul, or Hercules was the emperor of the Romans. He was there at the time and he heard about Muhammad (peace be upon him). When he heard that there was an Arab caravan in town, he said, “Go and see if any of them knows about Muhammad.” So they went and bought these men from Quraysh to the emperor. Hercules asked this group, “Who of you is the closest relative of Muhammad?” Abu Sufyan said, “I am.” Hercules started to ask him a few questions. One of these questions was, “Who are the followers of this man?”

Abu Sufyan said, “His followers are the slaves and the weak and the poor and the servant.” Hercules said, “These are the followers of the messengers.”

These were the followers of ‘Eesa [Jesus], Musa [Moses], Hud, Saleh… The people who follow the prophets in the beginning are usually the weak and the poor. Allah subhaana wa ta’aala gives them this blessing. This “point” that the rich, disbelivers of the people of Nuh are bringing up is worthless.

The second point they made (the chiefs) is that these followers followed Nuh without thinking. The word used in the ayah means that as soon as Nuh put his message to them, they accepted without any reflection or contemplation. What they are accused of was exactly what Allah praised them for. Because truth is apparent and does not need any reflection or deep thinking. Truth, as soon as it becomes clear, must be followed.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Every one I presented Islam to hesitated for a moment, except Abu Bakr. As soon as I presented the message to him, he accepted.” Without giving it a second thought.

These chiefs are accusing these followers with something that is a point of praise and honor for them! It seriously shows how rooted their ignorance and arrogance is.

No Compensation

Nuh said, “And O my people! I ask of you no wealth for it.” (11:29) It is very important that the one giving da’wah never want compensation – financial material – for what he is doing. The work should be done for Allah alone. The ayah continues: “My reward is from none but Allah. I am not going to drive away those who have believed.”

These chiefs had said you have to kick out the weak and slaves before we believe. Nuh, of course, said he would not.

Then Nuh said, “And I do not say to you that with me are the Treasures of Allah.” The Prophets of Allah do not have to be wealthy for the people to follow them. Notice that Nuh (peace be upon him) is telling them he doesn’t possess what people usually want in their leaders – wealth. We respect and honor the wealthy. If a person is poor, people usually don’t want them as their leader. The same thing happened with Talut – the people said, Him? He’s not rich. Here, Nuh is telling his people that he doesn’t control the treasures of Allah, nor does he know the unseen, except what Allah would teach him. “Nor that I know the Ghaib (unseen); nor do I say I am an angel.” (11:31)

Who Gives?

It never really occurred to me before reading this – but who gave in? Who threw in the towel after nearly a millenia of preaching? Did Nuh give up? No! It was the disbelievers that tired! SubhaanAllah. Fo’ shame, man!

They said to Nuh: “O Nuh (Noah)! You have disputed with us and much have you prolonged the dispute with us, now bring upon us what you threaten us with, if you are of the truthful.” (11:32) This one Prophet was able to stand up against all of this vile society. Imagine that – I can hardly get through the day with all of my children without whining to my husband at night 😦 Nuh (peace be upon him) preached and was rejected by these losers for how long he was.

They threatened him. They said: “If you cease not, O Nuh (Noah)! You will surely be among those stoned (to death).” (26:116)

Now, Nuh started making du’aa` against them, because they reached a level where they were threatening to take his life; they didn’t want to believe any more; they wanted to end it. Nuh said: “My Lord! They have disobeyed me, and followed one whose wealth and children give him no increase but only loss.” (71:21) They followed the wealthy and the strong families. And it was inspired to Nuh: “None of your people will believe except those who have believed already. So be not sad because of what they used to do.” (11:36)

Nuh started to make du’aa` to Allah. Allah says: “And indeed Nuh (Noah) invoked Us, and We are the Best of those who answer (the request).” (37:75) After 950 years of patience, Nuh finally made a du’aa`, and he said: “My Lord! Leave not one of the disbelievers on the earth.” (71:26) Why? Not because of a personal problem between Nuh and them. Nuh says, “If You leave them, they will mislead Your slaves, and they will beget none but wicked disbelievers.” And this du’aa` was received by Allah. And what a great Responder He is 🙂

Next we will begin talking about the Ark inshaAllah.

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