Prophet Noah


Prophet Noah (peace be upon him) is one of the great Ulu l-'Azm (meaning the determined or steadfast) prophets. His name is mentioned 43 times in the Quran and a whole chapter of it is named after him. In Islam, the flood is called “the flood of Noah” as the flood was inflicted as a punishment to the people of Noah. Even though his life previous to his prophethood is not mentioned, his persistent call of the belief of oneness of Allah to his people is narrated in different chapters.


It is said that people believed just in God until the prophet Noah’s time. During his time, people began to worship some idols which were named Wadd, Suwâ’, Yaghûth, Ya’ûq, and Nasr in the Quran [Quran 71:23]. An elite group of people would encourage others to worship and not abandon these idols. Noah was sent to these people to warn them about their wrongdoing of idolatry. Noah’ message was clear. It is narrated in the Quran that he was sent to warn people about the punishment they would suffer if they do not forsake their mischief.

Indeed, We sent Noah to his people ˹saying to him˺, “Warn your people before a painful punishment comes to them.” Noah proclaimed, “O my people! I am truly sent to you with a clear warning: worship Allah ˹alone˺, fear Him, and obey me.” [Quran 71:1-3] They were asked to fear Allah and accept the oneness of Him.


The call to Tawhid (the belief that the creator is one) was not easy for Noah. Not only did his people not listen to his warnings but also ridicule him. People accused him of being a liar and misguided, and threatened to stone him to death. They even challenged him to bring the punishment they had been warned about upon themselves. “They protested, “O Noah! You have argued with us far too much, so bring upon us what you threaten us with, if what you say is true.” [Quran 11:32]. One can only imagine the despair and frustration that he felt when only a handful of people believed him even though it is said that he lived for 950 years. This year may be just a metaphor and it indicates that he struggled with his people to have them believe in the one God for a very long time. For this very long time, he endured taunts and mockery of his people and called them to turn to Allah before the flood, their doomed end, came.


He preached the message of Allah to people both in public and private. He warned people about the wrongness of their idol worship. That’s why he always reminded the nature of Allah who is the most forgiving and urged them to repent from their sins. The Surah Noah addresses all people in the example of the tribe of Noah.


He will shower you with abundant rain,supply you with wealth and children, and give you gardens as well as rivers. What is the matter with you that you are not in awe of the Majesty of Allah, when He truly created you in stages ˹of development˺? Do you not see how Allah created seven heavens, one above the other, placing the moon within them as a ˹reflected˺ light, and the sun as a ˹radiant˺ lamp? Allah ˹alone˺ caused you1 to grow from the earth like a plant. Then He will return you to it, and then simply bring you forth ˹again˺. And Allah ˹alone˺ spread out the earth for you to walk along its spacious pathways.’ [Quran 71 - 11-20]


Sometimes we, either a believer of Allah or not, all forget that we were brought to this world when we were nothing and live our lives in the pursuit of all different things, mostly material ones. We eat, sleep, study, work, have a hobby, get married, have children and eventually we die. How many times do we think of the reason we are in this world? How many times do we think about how we have come to being? and how many times do we think how this universe is so amazing and sustained? Yet, Allah frequently says “Have they not pondered” over things that are created or the Quran. Have you ever looked at the stars and thought that you are so small in this enormous, yet here you are created? Have you ever thought the universe is so well designed that it cannot come into being by a coincidence and the order of it can only be sustained by one true God?


Noah is the symbol of patience and persistence in Islam. He preached the oneness of Allah to their people who would not turn from their polytheistic beliefs. Even though his prophethood lasted for a very long time, only few believed him, leaving him desperate for his people. However, he never gave up calling them even in the face of insults and abuse. The Quran shows us prophet Noah’s patience, insistence in Allah’s message, his gratefulness for the creation of Allah and submission to Allah’s volition.