Allah sent Noah to his people and asked him to tell them to worship none but the One, who was the Creator of all. He was also told to warn them that ‘stern retribution will overtake them’ if they did not heed his call. The nobles among them refused to believe him. They said:

You are just a human being like us; why should we follow you? Except the vulgar who may thoughtlessly hasten to listen to you, you have no superiority over us; in fact, you are nothing but an impostor [11:27]

Noah beseeched them not to misunderstand him:

I have a clear message from the Lord Who in His mercy has granted me this task. I ask you not to be deaf to what I have to say. I am not coercing you nor am I asking you for wealth. My reward is with my Lord. I will not turn away believers. Only pause and think of your future. I do not claim to possess God’s treasures nor have I the knowledge of the Unseen; I am also no angel. But do not be scornful of those who believe in God or talk ill of them. [11: 28-31]

These people, however, remained adamant in their opposition and told Noah bluntly:

You have raised a dispute between us; we have heard your contentions and also the warnings of dire consequences. Bring upon us the calamity that you threaten; let us see what your God can do to us. [11:32]

Noah warned them that if God so willed, He would do what He wanted and nothing could frustrate it. He pleaded with them again to come out of their ‘persistent delusion’. But they refused to listen to him. In desperation, Noah told the Lord:

O my Lord, night and day I have pleaded with my people, but instead of listening to me they have fled away from me. Each time I have asked them to seek Your forgiveness, they have put their fingers in their ears and wrapped their heads with rich garments; they have persisted in their arrogance. Even so I pleaded with them, privately as well as publicly, in all earnestness, entreating them to seek Your forgiveness and to remember Your bounties and Your Awesome Majesty. But they have said ‘no’ to me. On the contrary, they have asked people not to abandon the worship of their gods. [71:5-23]

God then asked Noah not to be distressed and to construct an ark ‘under Our eyes and by Our inspiration’. As he began the work, the chiefs of his people mocked him. He told them that soon they would realize who was in for lasting doom’.

And so it happened; under a decree from the Lord, the waters gushed forth and flooded the earth. Noah was commanded by the Lord to take into the ark two creatures of each species, a male and a female, members of his family, except the wrongdoers among them, and all the believers who numbered just a handful. Noah’s son refused to board. The father pleaded with him, but he said, ‘No, I will climb the mountain and take shelter there and protect myself.’ Noah cried out:

This day there shall be no protection from the wrath of Allah, save for those who will receive His mercy.

The waves came gushing forth in torrents and swept off Noah’s son and all unbelievers; when Noah saw his son drowning, in a moment of weakness he asked God to forgive his son and to save him. The Lord said: ‘He was not a true son of yours; what he did was wrong. Do not ask for something which is wrong and of which you have no comprehension. Otherwise, you may be counted among the ignorant and the willful.’ Noah realized his folly and was repentant. He asked for God’s forgiveness, and the blessings came:

Noah! Take to the way of peace; Our blessings are upon you and upon people descending from you. We will give satisfaction to believers and retribution to unbelievers. the future is only known to Us; neither you nor your people have an inkling, hence be patient and fear your Lord. [11:48]

As the floods overwhelmed the unbelievers and took them to their doom, Noah prayed to the Lord:

O my Lord! Forgive me and all believers who have taken shelter under my roof, but do not leave on earth a single unbeliever. For if You spare any one of them, He will lead Your servants astray and also their offspring and make them faithless wrongdoers. [71:26-28]

Noah and his companions in the ark were safely conveyed to the shore. God kept them steadily under His grace and granted them His bounties.

“Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knoweth best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance.” Qur’an 16:125

Leave a Reply