Prophet Nuh’s (A.S.) story in Islam shows that he was a noble Messenger, who was surrounded by stubborn disbelievers. Adam’s descendants were following his teachings and holding onto their belief in Allah’s oneness. However, over time, people started straying from the straight path, until mankind was in a state of utter disarray. Noah showed exemplary patience and perseverance in his mission to call the people to the straight path until the Great Flood.
Nuh (A.S) told his people to give up idolatry and warned them of a severe punishment for their disbelief. He urged them to worship Allah, their only God. Noah spoke about the wonders of Allah’s creation. He talked about how days always followed nights and the amazing spaciousness and splendor of the earth. Nuh (A.S) pointed out that man is accountable for his actions and obliged to worship Allah alone. The stubborn people only grew bitter and indignant when Noah warned them about the punishment that lies in wait for polytheists.
How idol worship spread after Adam
After the passing of Adam, righteous generations passed while adhering to Adam’s teachings and worshipping Allah accordingly. Even as some people started to drift away from the truth, there would be upright people among them to remind them of their duties to Allah. However, with time, as the righteous men died, Satan misguided those who had admired them.
Satan led these people astray by motivating them to make statues of the righteous men. The flawed logic behind these statues was that they would serve as a reminder to worship Allah. Over time, people forgot the initial purpose of these statues, and eventually, Satan inspired the people to worship them.
Noah’s preaching to his people
In a Hadith in Sahih Al-Bukhari, we learn that Noah was the very first Messenger Allah sent to humankind. God sent Nuh (A.S) to earth at a time when polytheism and sin were rampant. The qualities of Prophet Nuh were of great benefit, as he faced an immensely challenging task due to the arrogant, stubborn nature of the disbelievers.
Noah warned his people of the painful punishment that lay in store for their disbelief, yet most of them didn’t pay heed. Although he described Satan’s trickery to them and called on them to embrace monotheism during the day and at night, in public and secret, the people fled from the truth to the extent that they would block their ears, according to the story of Prophet Nuh (A.S.) in the Quran, as mentioned in Surah Nuh.
Meanwhile, the people who listened to Noah and answered his call were those who were needy and vulnerable. The elites, who were those who were leaders or possessed power, were highly conceited in terms of their reaction to his preaching and discarded it. The splendid qualities of Prophet Nuh are evident from the fact that he persevered in his mission for 950 years, despite his limited success and the repulsive attitude of the disdainful disbelievers.
Noah finally asks Allah to wipe out the wretched disbelievers
The disbelievers sought to bargain with Noah, insisting that the rich and the poor could not coexist in the same religion. Nuh (A.S.) remained kind and refused to shun the poor people who had embraced the truth. As seen in Surah Hud, Noah was humble in his approach, clearly stating that he didn’t know about the unseen, nor did he claim that he was an angel.
Noah persisted in his Dawah despite all the scorn and taunting he faced. Ultimately, however, he realized that the obstinate polytheists were a lost cause. He understood that they would end up spreading their disbelief far and wide, leading the believers astray, and raising their children as disbelievers. Hence, the vicious cycle wouldn’t stop unless Allah destroyed them. Noah thus supplicated to Allah and asked Him to eradicate all disbelievers from the earth. Allah answered his supplication.
Noah builds the Ark and the Great Flood strikes
Allah commanded Noah to build the ark in preparation for the great flood that would wipe out the disbelievers. Nuh (A.S.) proceeded to build the ark far from the sea and endured much ridicule from the polytheists. They found it bizarre that he was constructing an ark away from any water and laughed at him.
When the construction of the ark concluded, Noah awaited Allah’s command. Then, when the torrential downpour began with water surging from the earth, it was time to board the ark. Allah ordered Noah to enter the ark with his family and the believers. Moreover, Allah instructed him to take a male and female pair of each animal, bird, and insect on board. The disbelievers were in a state of confusion when they saw all the animals boarding the ship.
Prophet Nuh’s wife and oldest son, being disbelievers, did not join him on the ark. His son opted to seek shelter on a high mountain. As the rivers overflowed, the great flood grew more and more intense. The believers remained safe in the ark, having entered it obediently in the name of God. As Allah tells us in Surah Hud, the ark provided safety from gigantic waves that were akin to mountains in size.
When Noah saw his son in a hopeless situation, he asked him to board the ark but to no avail. The son believed he could be safe on top of a mountain. Although Nuh (A.S) told his son that nothing but Allah’s Mercy could save him from the great flood, the son declined and ended up drowning.
The end of the Great Flood
Eventually, upon Allah’s Command, the great flood ceased. The rain halted, sunshine returned, and things were back to normal. Every single one of those who had persisted in disbelief had perished in the devastating flood. Allah had wiped polytheism off the face of the earth. Noah’s fatherly instincts made him ask Allah about his son, as Allah had vowed to save his family.
Allah admonished Noah, telling him that the disbelieving son was not from his family, as he was a transgressor. Indeed, the real family is that of the true believers. In response to Allah’s admonishment, Nuh (A.S.) repented, seeking Allah’s Mercy and Forgiveness.
Noah set the animals, birds, and insects free to roam the earth. Noah and the believers got off the ark, and he prostrated. Finally, when he was on his death bed, Nuh (A.S.) urged his sons to worship Allah alone, and warned them against the association of partners with Allah, and pride, as mentioned in Sahih Al-Bukhari.