The Prophet Nuh (as) is mentioned and praised in many verses of the Qur’an:
You are the descendants of those We carried in the Ark with Nuh. He was a truly grateful servant. (Surat al-Isra’, 3)
Nuh called out to Us, his prayers were graciously answered. We rescued him and his family from the terrible plight and made his descendants the sole survivors; and We bestowed on him the praise of later generations. Peace be upon Nuh among all beings! (Surat as-Saffat, 75-79)
Allah chose Adam and Nuh and the family of Ibrahim and the family of ‘Imran over all other beings. (Surah Al ‘Imran, 33)
We sent Nuh to his people: “Warn your people before a painful punishment comes to them.” (Surah Nuh, 1)
Allah sent the Prophet Nuh (as) to his people as a messenger. In order to make the Prophet Nuh (as) and those who obeyed him swerve from the true path, the ruling circle of those of his people who disbelieved plotted against them, tried to defame them through aspersions and dared to mock at them. In return for what they did, Allah punished this people in the life of this world and sent a raging flood upon them.
The Prophet Nuh (as) Declared To His People That He Was A Messenger Worthy Of Trust
Those who do not fear Allah do not trust each other in the true sense. This is because in a society of such people, one can possibly be harmed even by whom one considers to be the closest to oneself. In such a society, its members always act guardedly, trying not to show any of their weaknesses to others. This is why people mostly want to have real friends upon whom they can rely.
Messengers, on the other hand, go in fear of Allah and are thus utterly reliable people. The recognition of messengers’ trustworthiness is of great importance, for which reason the messengers particularly stress this quality while communicating Allah’s message to others:
The people of Nuh denied the Messengers. Their brother Nuh said to them, “Will you not guard against evil? I am a Messenger to you worthy of all trust. So fear Allah and obey me.” (Surat ash-Shu‘ara’, 105-108)
Concerns like greed for leadership, longing for wealth and property, and expectation of esteem hold people back from trusting others—to such an extent that people do not expect others to do another a favour unless a personal interest is in question. The prophets, however, expect their recompense from Allah alone and stress that they do not demand anything from people. As the Prophet Nuh (as) said to his people:
“I do not ask you for any wage for it. My wage is the responsibility of no one but the Lord of all the worlds.” (Surat ash-Shu‘ara’, 109)
“If you turn your backs, I have not asked you for any wage. My wage is the responsibility of Allah alone. I am commanded to be one of the Muslims.” (Surah Yunus, 72)
The Prophet Nuh (as) Called His People To Worship Allah Alone
The Prophet Nuh (as) invited his people to abandon the falsehood in which they had been mired and to worship Allah. He reminded them that there was no god besides Allah and warned them that if they failed to grasp this fact in the world, they would meet a terrible punishment in the future. Thus he admonished them and provided various explanations in order for them to believe. Some of the relevant verses are as follows:
We sent Nuh to his people and he said, “My people, worship Allah. You have no god other than Him. So will you not guard against evil?” (Surat al-Muminun, 23)
We sent Nuh to his people: “I am a clear warner to you. Worship none but Allah. I fear for you the punishment of a painful day.” (Surah Hud, 25-26)
The Prophet Nuh’s advice to his people is also stated by our Prophet (saas) in one of his hadiths: “When the death of Nuh, the Messenger of Allah, approached, he admonished his tribe: ‘Indeed I would give you far reaching advice, commanding you to do two things, and warning you against doing two things as well. I charge you to believe that there is no god but Allah and that if the seven heavens and the seven earths were put on one side of a scale and the words “there is no god but Allah” were put on the other, the latter would outweigh the former. I warn you against associating partners with Allah and against pride.’” (Sahih al-Bukhari)
The Prophet Nuh (as) Called His People To Turn To Allah And To Ask For Forgiveness From Him
After reminding them that Allah is the one and only god, the Prophet Nuh (as) urged his people to ask for the forgiveness of Allah, and gave them the good news of the blessings that Allah would bestow upon them if they turned to Him:
[Nuh said, “My Lord,] I said, ‘Ask forgiveness of your Lord. Truly He is Endlessly Forgiving. He will send down abundant rain from the sky for you and bestow upon you more wealth and sons, and grant you gardens with running brooks.’” (Surah Nuh, 10-12)
In many verses of the Qur’an, Allah promises that He will grant those who believe a beautiful life. Therefore, while calling their people to turn to Allah, the messengers have also related that Allah would grant them blessings. They have also given detailed accounts and Allah’s blessings with a view to enable people to grasp His magnanimity and to realise Allah’s favour and compassion for them. The Prophet Nuh (as) addressed his people as follows:
[Nuh said, “My Lord, I said to my people,] ‘What is the matter with you that you do not hope for honour from Allah, when He created you by successive stages? Do you not see how He created seven heavens in layers, and placed the moon as a light in them and made the sun a blazing lamp? Allah caused you to grow from the earth like a plant, and to the earth He will restore you. Then He will bring you back afresh. Allah has spread the earth out as a carpet for you so that you could use its wide valleys as roadways.’” (Surah Nuh, 13-20)
What the believers should do is to give thanks to Allah and to urge other people to be thankful too by remembering Allah’s blessings as the prophets did.
In Reply To The Aspersions Cast Upon Him,The Prophet Nuh (as) Provided The Most Rational Answers By Reminding His People Of Allah
Throughout the world’s history, all messengers of Allah have been slandered in similar ways. This is an immutable command of Allah that all messengers have experienced throughout the ages. The people of the Prophet Nuh (as) also refused to obey their prophet and cast numerous aspersions upon him to intimidate him in their own way. One of their aspersions was to call him erroneous: The ruling circle of his people said, “We see you in flagrant error.” (Surat al-A‘raf, 60)
One of the distinctive characteristics of the messengers is their unending perseverance, firm resolution and adherence to high moral standards, regardless of the circumstances. In the face of the accusations and the difficulties they encountered, they acted maturely and put their trust in Allah. How the Prophet Nuh responded to this aspersion by his people is a good example for all believers:
He [Nuh] said, “My people, I am not in error at all but rather am a Messenger from the Lord of all the worlds, transmitting my Lord’s Message to you and giving you good counsel, and I know from Allah what you do not know.” (Surat al-A‘raf, 61-62)
The Prophet Nuh (as) responded to those who accused him of being a liar as follows:
The ruling circle of those of his people who disbelieved said, “We do not see you as anything but a human being like ourselves. We do not see anyone following you but the lowest of us, who are rash and undiscerning. We do not see you as superior to us. On the contrary, we consider you to be a liar.” He [Nuh] said, “My people! What do you think? If I were to have clear evidence from my Lord and He had bestowed upon me His grace, but you were blind to it, could we force it on you if you were unwilling? My people! I do not ask you for any recompense for this; for none but Allah can reward me. Nor will I chase away those who believe, for they are surely going to meet their Lord. However, I can see that you are ignorant people.” (Surah Hud, 27-29)
The Prophet Nuh (as) Pointed Up The InsincerityOf Those Who Asked For Miracles As A Condition For Believing
Throughout history, those who disbelieved made up various pretexts to avoid obeying their messengers. They claimed that the messengers should have possessed more wealth than themselves or should have worked miracles. They even claimed that the messengers should not have been human beings, but angels. The Prophet Nuh (as) responded to such expectations as follows:
“I do not say to you that I possess Allah’s treasures; nor do I know the Unseen; nor do I say that I am an angel; nor do I say to those who are vile in your eyes that Allah will not be bountiful to them—Allah knows best what is in their hearts. If I did, I would certainly become a wrongdoer.” (Surah Hud, 31)
It is typical of the unbelievers to expect the messengers to be wealthy, and to be able to perform miracles. However, what the messengers are superior in is piety and fear for Allah. They are superior to other people because they turn to Allah in every deed and at every instant of their lives; they are submissive to Allah, put their trust in Him and never fail in perseverance and steadfastness. Allah may give wealth, properties, highly regarded positions, knowledge and all other worldly values to many people. These are not, however, a measure of superiority but only a means of trial. Only those who have distanced themselves from the religion consider such worldly values as a sign of superiority in the eyes of Allah.
Has news not reached you of those who came before you, the peoples of Nuh and ‘Ad and Thamud, and those who came after them? Allah alone knows their number. Their messengers came to them with clear signs, but they put their hands to their mouths saying, “We reject your message. We have grave doubts about the faith to which you are calling us to.” Their messengers answered, “Is there any doubt about Allah, the Bringer into Being of the heavens and the Earth? He summons you to forgive you for your wrong actions and to reprieve you until your appointed time.” They said, “You are nothing but human beings like ourselves, who want to turn us away from the goals our fathers worshipped; so bring us a clear proof.” Their messengers replied, “We are indeed nothing but human beings like yourselves. But Allah shows favour to any of His servants He wills. It is not for us to bring you proof except by Allah’s permission. So let the believers put their trust in Allah.” (Surah Ibrahim, 9-11)
The Prophet Nuh (as) Employed Every Possible Way To Spread Allah’s Message
Like all messengers, the Prophet Nuh (as) tried all courses to make his people believe. As well as summoning them openly to the religion, he also tried to approach them in different ways. Despite his efforts, however, his people insisted on disbelief and insolence. The Prophet Nuh (as) has related this obstinate conduct of his people as follows:
He [Nuh] said, “My Lord, I have pleaded with my people night and day, but my pleas have only added to their aversion. Indeed, every time I called on them to ask Your forgiveness, they put their fingers in their ears, wrapped themselves up in their cloaks, persisting in sin, and were overweeningly arrogant. Then I called upon them openly. Then I appealed to them in public and in private.” (Surah Nuh, 5-9)
As can be understood by the above words of the Prophet Nuh (as), the Prophets have unceasingly called people to Allah’s path and employed various methods to arouse people’s conscience. It is an important responsibility of the true believers, as well as of the prophets, to be resolute in face of all the reactions of the people and to strictly obey the command of Allah He formulates as “commanding the right and forbidding the wrong”:
Let there be a community among you who call for righteousness, enjoin justice, and forbid evil. They are the ones who will have success. (Surah Al ‘Imran, 104)
Those who repent, those who worship, those who praise, those who fast, those who bow, those who prostrate themselves, those who command the right, those who forbid the wrong, those who observe the commandments of Allah shall be richly rewarded: give the good news to the believers. (Surat at-Tawba, 112)
The Firm Resolution Of The Prophet Nuh (as) Towards His People
Being aware of the fact that the possessor of everything on the face of the Earth is Allah and that nobody is able to harm or benefit them except with Allah’s permission, the messengers have never been daunted by the threats of their people. In face of the difficulties they encountered, they have always put their trust in Allah, just like the Prophet Nuh (as), who carried on a dauntless struggle with the ruling circle of the unbelievers and insisted that he would never be disheartened by their slanders and assaults:
[Recount to them the story of Nuh when he said to his people,] “My people, if my standing here and reminding you of Allah’s Signs has become too much for you to bear, know that I have put my trust in Allah. So decide, you and your gods, on what you want to do and be open about it. Do with me whatever you decide and do not keep me waiting.” (Surah Yunus, 71)
In like manner, the believers who take the prophets as their models, are also steadfast in the face of difficulties and never yield to their enemies. They know that Allah’s help is with them and that absolute victory always comes to those who believe. This is guaranteed in the Qur’an as follows:
Do not give up and do not be downhearted. You shall be uppermost if you are believers. (Surah Al ‘Imran, 139) … Allah will not let the disbelievers triumph over the believers. (Surat an-Nisa’, 141)
The Prophet Nuh (as) Warned His People Against A Dreadful Punishment
Many nations have been destroyed with punishments that Allah has sent down on them in retribution for their opposition to the messengers and the struggle they waged against those who believed. The messengers warned their people before the punishment and summoned them to follow Allah’s path, as the Prophet Nuh (as) warned his people:
[We sent Nuh to his people and he said,] “My people, worship Allah! You have no other god than Him. I fear for you the punishment of a dreadful Day.” (Surat al-A‘raf, 59)
The Answer That The Prophet Nuh (as) Gave To His People Who Mocked At The Believers
In numerous verses of the Qur’an, Allah makes mention of those who try to ridicule the believers. However, throughout history, Allah has made a mockery of those who dared to heap scorn on the believers. The humiliation of these people will be much worse in the Hereafter. Allah has related in the Qur’an that, believers lodged in Paradise will be mocking these people while they are being exposed to punishment in Hell. (Surat al-Mutaffifin, 34) When his people jeered at him and the believers, the Prophet Nuh (as) replied to them as follows:
… “Though you ridicule us now, we will certainly ridicule you as you do us. You will soon know who will receive a punishment which disgraces him and find unleashed against himself an everlasting punishment.” (Surah Hud, 38-39)
The Prophet Nuh (as) Asked For Allah’s Help When His People Persisted In Disbelief
As we have seen in the quoted verses of the Qur’an so far, the Prophet Nuh (as) warned his people all his lifetime about Allah’s punishment. When his people who were lured into error persisted in disbelieving, despite all his efforts, he prayed to Allah as follows:
Nuh said, “My Lord! Do not leave a single one of the disbelievers on Earth! If You leave any they will misguide Your servants and spawn nothing but more dissolute disbelievers.” (Surah Nuh, 26-27)
This is what the believers who follow the example of the messengers should do: communicate the message of the religion by every means—in verbal or written form—, demonstrate the signs of Allah’s existence and spread awareness of the closeness of the Day of Judgement, of Paradise and of Hell… Should there be people who still refuse to believe, the believers pray that Allah will requite them justly both in this world and in the Hereafter.
The Prophet Nuh’s (as) Son Was Among Those Who Disbelieved
Allah sent down a great calamity on the people of Nuh (as) who well deserved punishment in retribution for their disbelief, mockery and assaults. Thus those who denied the messenger perished, whereas the believers who adhered to the Prophet Nuh (as) boarded the Ark and were saved from punishment. Among those who were destroyed was the Prophet Nuh’s (as) son; being the son of a prophet did not save him from punishment.
Today certain people take pride in the piety of their relatives, although they themselves are not devout. One man’s father may be a pilgrim or another’s grandfather may have been a scholar in religion. Yet, man will be held responsible in the Hereafter only for his own actions and how he has discharged his religious duties. The merits and devoutness of his relatives will not be of any help to him. This is related in the Qur’an as follows:
Allah has set an example for those who disbelieve in the wife of Nuh and the wife of Lut. They were married to two of Our servants who were righteous, but they betrayed them and were not helped at all [by their husbands] against Allah. They were told, “Enter the Fire along with all who enter it.” (Surat at-Tahrim, 10)
The Prophet Nuh (as) warned his son until the last moment against being one of the disbelievers, but his warnings were of no avail.
It [the Ark] sailed with them through mountainous waves, and Nuh called out to his son, who had kept himself apart,
“My “My son! Come on board with us. Do not stay with the disbelievers!” He said, “I will take refuge on a mountain; it will protect me from the flood.” He said, “There is no protector from Allah’s command today but He Who has mercy.” The waves surged in between them and he was among the drowned. (Surah Hud, 42-43)
The Prophet Nuh (as) Prayed For Those Who Believed
The Prophet Nuh (as) also prayed for forgiveness of the believers’ sins: [Nuh said,] “My Lord! Forgive me and my parents and all who enter my house as believers, and all the men and women of the believers, and hasten the destruction of the wrongdoers!” (Surah Nuh, 28)
This prayer of the prophet is another example that all believers should follow. Those who believe in Allah are each other’s sole friends and helpers. Therefore, it is a sign of their faith to pray for one another’s well-being in the Hereafter.