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Noah in Islam

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Noah in Islam

alayhi s-salām -
 ( عليه السلام )
The name Noah written in Islamic calligraphy followed by Peace be upon him.
Native name Nūḥ - نوح [1]
Known for Noah's Ark
Children Shem, Ham, Japheth, Kenan (Islamic tradition)

Nûḥ (Arabic: نوحtranslit.: Nūḥ),[1] known as Noah in the Old Testament, is recognized in Islam as a prophet and apostle of God (Arabic: الله Allāh). He is a highly important figure in Islamic history, as he is counted amongst the earliest prophets sent by God to mankind.[2] According to Islam, Noah's mission was to save a wicked world, plunged in depravity and sin. God charged Noah with the duty of preaching to his people to make them abandon idolatry and to worship only the One Creator and to live good and pure lives.[3] Although he preached the Message of God with immense zeal, his people refused to mend their ways, leading to his building of the Ark and the famous event of the Deluge, the Great Flood in which all the evil people of his time perished. The influence of Noah's preaching and prophet-hood spanned 950 years according to Quran.[4]

Noah's mission had a double character: he had to warn his people, asking them to call for repentance and, at the same time, he had to preach about God's mercy and forgiveness, promising them the glad tidings God would provide if they led righteous lives. References to Noah are scattered throughout the Qur'an, and there is even an entire sura carrying his name, Noah.[5]


Little is known of Noah's personal history before his call to prophecy. However, tradition records him to have been the son of Lamech (father of Noah),[2] one of the patriarchs from the Generations of Adam. Noah was neither the leader of the tribe nor a very rich man but, even before being called to prophecy, he worshiped God faithfully and was, in the words of the Qur'an, "a devotee most grateful".[6]

He was a prophet, sent to warn mankind of that region and his people to change their ways.

Historical narrative in Islam

idols. It was to guide the people that God raised up Noah to be the next prophet to mankind.[7]

Early preaching

Noah began preaching to his people both verbally and by example. He would praise God consistently and he urged his people to do the same, warning his tribe of the punishment they would face if they did not mend their ignorant ways. The Qur'an states that Noah repeatedly told his people:
"O my people, worship Allah; you have no deity other than Him. Indeed, I fear for you the punishment of a tremendous Day!" [al-Quran, 7:59][8]
Early on, a few were moved by Noah's words but the powerful and wealthy members of the tribe refused to hear his call. The unbelievers at the time were impelled to rebel by various evil motives. Firstly, they were extremely envious and jealous of men superior to them in any way.[9] Secondly, the people were ignorant of the weak and lowly, who were frequently superior intellectually, morally and spiritually.[7] As a result of their ignorance, they were arrogant and mocked all who they felt were inferior to them. When Noah preached the faith of God to them, all they did was revile the messenger, abuse the message and call the whole warning a lie.[7] He then went on to explain the Message in greater depth, ensuring them that it was not a message of destruction but it was a message with the mercy from God, and that their acts would lead to destruction if they did not accept the faith. He questioned them, asking why they would not accept what would benefit them in the near future.[7] Noah went onto further, and told his community that he asked of no reward from them, telling them his only reward would be from God.


Miniature from Hafiz-i Abru’s Majma al-tawarikh. “Noah’s Ark” Iran (Afghanistan), Herat; Timur’s son Shah Rukh (1405-1447) ordered the historian Hafiz-i Abru to write a continuation of Rashid al-Din’s famous history of the world, Jami al-tawarikh. Like the Il-Khanids, the Timurids were concerned with legitimizing their right to rule, and Hafiz-i Abru’s “A Collection of Histories” covers a period that included the time of Shah Rukh himself.

As time passed, Noah became firmer in his preaching.[7] When the unbelievers began insulting those who accepted God's message, believing that Noah would send those faithful away to attract the wealthy unbelievers, Noah revealed that they - the arrogant and ignorant rich - were the wicked and sinful ones.[10] His people accused him of being soothsayer[11] or diviner. Noah declared that he was by no means a mere fortune-teller, pretending to reveal secrets which are not worth revealing. Noah also denied accusations claiming Noah was an angel, always maintaining that he was a human messenger.[7] When the people refused to acknowledge their sinfulness Noah told them that it was not Noah, but God that would punish them - however God pleased.[7]

Noah's prayer

Noah prayed to God,[2] telling Him that his preaching only made his people disbelieve further.[12] Noah told God how they had closed their minds to accepting the message, so that the light of the truth should not affect their thinking.[13] Noah told God how he had used all the resources of the classical preacher, conveying the message both in public places and with individuals in private.[14] Noah spoke of how he had told the people the rewards they would receive if they became righteous, namely that God would supply plentiful rain[15] as a blessing, and that God would also guarantee them an increase in children and wealth.[16]

Building of the Ark

Noah's ark and the deluge from Zubdat-al Tawarikh

One day, Noah received a revelation from God, in which he was told that no one would believe the message now aside from those who have already submitted to God.[17] Noah's frustration at the defiance of his people led him to ask God to not leave even one sinner upon earth.[2] Thereupon, God decreed that a terrible flood would cover the whole earth and He ordered Noah to build an Ark which would save him and the believers from this dreadful calamity.[18] Ever obedient to God's instructions, Noah went out in search of material with which to build the vessel.

Exegesis narrates that, in the land where Noah lived, vegetation was scarce and so Noah had to plant trees and wait for them to grow before beginning work on the Ark. When Noah began building the Ark, the people who saw him at work laughed at him even more than before. Their conclusion was that he was surely a madman – they could not find any other reason why a man would build a huge vessel when no sea or river was nearby.[2] Although Noah was now very old, the aged patriarch continued to work tirelessly until, at last, the Ark was finished.

Praise of Noah in the Qur'an

Noah is praised by God in the Qur'an, which shows his great status amongst the prophets. In sura 17 (Al-Isra), ayah 3, God states: "Verily he was a devotee most grateful."[19] Also, from the Qur'an which states:

(In the days of old), Noah cried to Us, and We are the best to hear prayer. And We delivered him and his people from the Great Calamity, And made his progeny to endure (on this earth); And We left (this blessing) for him among generations to come in later times: "Peace and salutation to Noah among the nations!"
—Qur'an sura 37 (As-Saaffat) ayat 75-79"[20]

And also in sura 3 (Al-i-Imran) ayah 33, it states: "Allah did choose Adam and Noah, the family of Abraham, and the family of 'Imran above all people,-"[21]

The story of Noah, as told by Qur'anic verses

The Qu'ran states that Noah was inspired by God, like other Islamic prophets such as Ibrāhīm (Abraham), Ismā'īl (Ishmael), Ishaq (Isaac), Ya'qub (Jacob), Isa (Jesus), Ilyas‘ (Elijah), Ayub (Job), Harun (Aaron), Yunus (Jonah), Daud (David) and Muhammad (Mohammed), and that he was a faithful messenger. Noah had firm belief in the oneness of God, and preached Islam (literally "submission," meaning submission to God).[22]

He continuously warned the people of the painful doom that was coming and asked them to accept one God instead of worshipping idols such as Wadd, Suwa', Yaghuth, Ya'uq and Nasr.[23] He called the people to serve God, and said that nobody but God could save them.[24] He said that the time of the deluge was appointed and could not be delayed, and that the people had to submit to God.[25]

God commanded Noah to build a ship, the Ark, and as he was building it, the chieftains passed him and mocked him. Upon its completion, the ship is said to be loaded with pairs of every animal available that time, and Noah's household,[26] and a group of believers who did submit to God. The people who denied the message of Noah, including one of his own sons, drowned.[27] The final resting place of the ship was referred to as Mount Judi.[28] Noah is called a grateful servant.[19] Both Noah and Abraham were taught the prophethood and the scripture.[29]

Noah's family

Noah's wife (Naamah) is referred to in the Qur'an as an evil woman. When God emphasizes upon the notion that everyone is for themselves on the Day of Judgement and that marital relations will not be to your aid when the judgement takes place, the Qur'an says:

Allah sets forth, for an example to the Unbelievers, the wife of Noah and the wife of Lut: they were (respectively) under two of our righteous servants, but they were false to their (husbands), and they profited nothing before Allah on their account, but were told: "Enter ye the Fire along with (others) that enter!
—Qur'an, sura 66, (At-Tahrim), ayah 10[30]
In contrast, the wife of the Pharaoh of the Exodus, Asiya, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, are referred to as among the best of women. This adds to the notion that, on the Last Day, everyone will be judged according to their own deeds.[31]

"Stories of The Prophets" explain that the son who declined to embark[32] was a non believer.

Noah's mausoleum photo gallery

Noah's mausoleum in Cizre, Turkey
Street sign to Noah's mausoleum 
Entrance to Noah's mausoleum 
Muslim Prayer for Noah 
History of Noah 
Noah's coffin 
Inside Noah's mausoleum 
The front of Noah's mausoleum 

References to Noah in the Qur'an

  • As one of the first messengers: 4:163, 6:84, 11:25, 26:107, 29:14, 37:75, 57:26, 71:1–2, 71:5
  • Noah's preaching: 4:163, 7:59, 7:61–64, 10:71–72, 11:25–26, 11:28–31, 11:42, 23:23, 26:105–106, 26:108, 26:110, 71:1–3, 71:8–20
  • Challenges for Noah: 7:60–61, 10:71, 11:27, 11:32, 14:9, 23:24–26, 25:37, 26:105, 26:111–113, 26:116–118, 38:12, 40:5, 50:12, 53:52, 54:9–10, 66:10, 71:6–7, 71:21–24, 71:26–27
  • "The Thankful" Noah: 17:3
  • Noah's wishes granted: 21:76–77, 26:119, 37:75, 54:11–12
  • God destroyed Noah's people: 7:64, 9:70, 10:73, 11:37, 11:43–44, 11:89, 23:27, 25:37, 26:120, 29:14, 37:82, 40:31, 51:46, 53:52, 54:11–12, 71:25
  • Noah was saved on the Ark: 7:64, 10:73, 11:37–38, 11:40–44, 11:48, 23:27–29, 26:119, 29:15, 37:76, 54:13–15, 69:11
  • Appraisal for Noah: 17:3, 37:78–81, 66:10

See also


  1. ^ a b Hughes, Thomas Patrick (1995). Dictionary of Islam : being a cyclopaedia of the doctrines, rites, ceremonies, and customs, together with the technical and theological terms of the Muhammadan religion (Reprint ed.). New Delhi: Asian Educational Services. p. 435.  
  2. ^ a b c d e Stories of the Prophets, Ibn Kathir, Noah
  3. ^ Lalljee, compiled by Yousuf N. (1981). Know your Islam (3rd ed. ed.). New York: Taknike Tarsile Quran. p. 73.  
  4. ^ chief, John L. Esposito, editor in (2004). The Oxford dictionary of Islam (Paperback. ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 236.  
  5. ^ Quran 71:1–28
  6. ^ Qur'an 17:3
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Lives of the Prophets, Leila Azzam, Noah and The Ark
  8. ^ Qur'an 7:59
  9. ^ Quran 11:27
  10. ^ Quran 11:29
  11. ^ Quran 11:31
  12. ^ Quran 71:6
  13. ^ Quran 71:7
  14. ^ Quran 71:9
  15. ^ Quran 71:11
  16. ^ Quran 71:12
  17. ^ Qur'an 11:36
  18. ^ Lives of the Prophets, Leila Azzam, Noah and the Ark
  19. ^ a b Quran 17:3
  20. ^ Quran 37:75–79
  21. ^ Quran 3:33
  22. ^ Quran 4:163, Quran 26:105–107
  23. ^ Quran 11:25, Quran 29:14, Quran 71:1–5
  24. ^ Quran 23:23
  25. ^ Quran 7:59–64, Quran 11:26, Quran 26:105–110
  26. ^ Quran 11:35–41
  27. ^ Quran 7:64
  28. ^ Quran 11:44
  29. ^ Quran 57:26
  30. ^ Quran 66:10 (Translated by Yusuf Ali)
  31. ^ Quran 66:11
  32. ^ Quran 11:42
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