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Noah (a)

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Noah (a) (Arabic: نوح) was the first Ulu al-'azm prophet. He is the third prophet after Adam (a) and the first prophet, at whose time the punishment of God was sent. By the order of God, Noah (a) built an ark to rescue believers from the flood. The Qur'an mentioned Noah (a) the first prophet who brought religion to humanity. One sura is named after him and because of his long life, he (a) is known as Shaykh al-Anbiya'.

Ninth Son of Adam (a)

According to Islamic traditions, Noah (a) was the ninth generation in descendants of Adam (a). There are different views about the time of his birth. Some believe that he (a) was born when Adam (a) passed away. Some sources consider the birth of Noah (a) 126 years after the demise of Adam (a). According to another report, Noah (a) was born 10 centuries after Adam (a) and based on another report, he (a) was born 1642 years after Adam (a) was fell on the earth. According to a report, Bi-Azar Shirazi mentioned in Bastan-shenasi va jughrafiya-ye qesas-e Qur'an (Archeology and Geography of Qur'nic Accounts) , the place of his birth and life was Mesopotamia, in Kufa.

Based on most historical books such as Tarikh Tabari, Tarikh Ya'qubi, 'Allama Majlisi's Hayat al-qulub, Ibn Kathir's Qisas al-anbiya, Rawandi's Qisas al-anbiya, 'Abd al-Wahhab Najjar's Qisas al-anbiya and others, it seems that there is no reliable historical source which has records about the life of Noah (a) and the information in these books is hadiths attributed to the Prophet (s) and Imams (a), among which there are many conflicts. In some hadiths, the name of Noah (a) is mentioned as " 'Abd al-Ghaffar", " 'Abd al-Malik" and " 'Abd al-'Ali". The reason for naming him as Noah, is his crying and mourning for himself and his mourning for saving and guidance of his people for 500 years. Shaykh Saduq believed that all the names mentioned for Noah (a) are identical and imply the servitude of God, the All-Forgiving, the Sovereign and the Exalted.

The First Ulu al-'Azm Prophet (a)

Prophet Noah (a) is considered the fourth prophet after Adam (a), Seth (a) and Idris (a). Also, according to verse 7 of sura al-Ahzab and verse 13 of sura al-Shura, he (a) was the first Ulu al-'Azm prophet. Many exegetes believe that the five prophets mentioned in the two mentioned verses have great positions, because they are Ulu al-'Azm and brought religions.

Also, there is a disagreement about when Noah (a) was chosen as the prophet. According to the glorious Qur'an, during his prophethood before the the flood, Noah (a) invited and warned people and invited people to worship One God and was very much harassed by disbelievers. According to verse 23 of sura Noah, his people worshipped idols such as Wadd, Suwa', Yaghuth, Ya'uq, and Nasr.

Worldwide Invitation of Noah (a)

According to most Shi'a scholars and hadiths from the Ahl al-Bayt (a), his invitation and prophethood was worldwide. Some Sunni scholars believe that his invitation was not worldwide and he (a) was chosen only for his people. Noah (a) lived in Palestine, Syria and Iraq and was chosen for Chaldea and Assyria.

Similarities with Prophet Muhammad (s)

Prophethood of Noah (a) is very similar to prophethood of the Prophet Muhammad (s). Similar to him, at the beginning of his prophethood, Prophet Muhammad (s) invited people to monotheism in secret. According to the glorious Qur'an, another similarity of them was their day and night efforts for inviting people to worship God and their passion for it. They were both very patient and tolerant against excessive harassments of their people. Additionally, in interpretation of verses 36 to 49 of sura Noah (a), 'Allama Tabataba'i explained disbelievers arguments for rejecting Noah's (a) invitation and mentioned the similarity between Noah's (a) arguments against them with prophet Muhammad's (s) arguments against disbelievers of his time.

Life

The length of Noah's (a) life is one of disputed issues in Noah's (a) life. In verse 14 of sura al-'Ankabut, the glorious Qur'an mentions that Noah (a) lived 950 years before flood, but it did not mention his whole lifespan.

Even with many disagreements about Noah's (a) life, in al-Nur al-mubin fi qisas al-Anbiya' wa al-mursalin, Ni'mat Allah Jaza'iri mentioned that according to most Shi'a reports, Noah (a) lived 2500 years. 'Allama Tabataba'i believed that according to the explicit text of the Qur'an about Noah's (a) life of 950 years before the flood, Noah (a) had a very long life; and, contrary to what some sources mentioned, it was neither a miracle, nor their years were different from the present years. He continues saying that it seems that Noah (a) lived a natural long life; and no reason for impossibility of having a long life is mentioned so far.

In the Qur'an

Prophet Noah (a) is one of 26 prophets whose names are mentioned in the glorious Qur'an. One of the suras of the glorious Qur'an is named after him. His name is also mentioned 43 times in 28 suras of the glorious Qur'an. In the Qur'an, only general issues about the story of Noah (a) are mentioned and there are no details about his life.

The story of Noah (a) is mentioned in some suras in general and with details in some others. In sura al-A'raf, his story is mentioned in verses 59 to 69, in sura Hud, verses 25 to 49, sura al-Mu'minun, verses 23 to 30, sura al-Shu'ara, verses 105 to 122, sura al-Qamar verses 9 to 17 and in details in sura Nuh. General message about the story of Noah (a) in different parts of the glorious Qur'an is as follows:

  • Gradual deviation of human being from his God-given nature and emergence of class differences after Adam (a) and giving Noah (a) the mission
  • Noah's (a) religion and his position among Prophets (a)
  • Noah's (a) forbearance and tolerance against difficulties in his invitation
  • The Life of Noah (a) among his people
  • Building the Ark
  • Coming of the punishment and the flood
  • Story of Noah's (a) son who was drowned
  • Ending the flood and Noah (a) getting off the ark together with his companions

Characteristics of Noah (a)

Differences between Noah's (a) story in the Torah and the glorious Qur'an

According to 'Allama Tabataba'i, there are several differences between the story of Noah (a) in the Torah and the Qur'an:

  • In the Torah, there is no mention of Noah's (a) wife drowning; but, the Torah says that she entered the ark with Noah (a) and some justified it saying that maybe Noah (a) had two wives, one of whom was drowned and another was saved.
  • In the Torah, there is no mention of Noah's son; while, the glorious Qur'an has mentioned his story.
  • In the Torah, there is no mention of those who believed in Noah (a) and only the names of Noah (a), his family, wife and children are mentioned.
  • In the Torah, the life of Noah (a) is mentioned 950 years in total; while, it can be understood from the glorious Qur'an that the period Noah (a) invited people to his religion before the flood was 950 years.

Some of the issues which are mentioned in the Torah but are not mentioned in the Qur'an are the rainbow which reminded Noah (a) about God, sending crow and pigeon to bring the news about subsidence of the flood, features of the ark such as its width, length and height, having three stories, the period of time the flood lasted and the height of water. Some of these issues have been thought impossible such as the rainbow that God pledged by it. 'Allama Tabataba'i said that there are many issues similar to these in narrations about the story of Noah (a) transmitted by the companions of the Prophet (a) and their followers and they seem to be forged.

Moral Characteristics

In Shi'a hadiths, some of Noah's (a) moral characteristics are mentioned such as being a grateful servant who praised God, the Almighty, whenever he (a) put on clothes, ate food or drank water. It is narrated from Imam al-Baqir (a) and Imam al-Sadiq (a) that in the mornings and in the evenings, Noah (a) said: "O God, I take You as witness that any blessing which exists in my religion or in the world in the mornings and in the evenings is from You. You are One and have no partner. Gratitude and praise belongs to You, as much as You are pleased with me".

Also, it is mentioned in many narrations that even though Noah (a) had a long life and that he (a) was known as Shaykh al-Anbiya, when the angel of death approached him to take his soul, he (a) was sitting in the Sun; so, he (a) asked the angel to go to the shadow. The angel of death asked him how was the world to him. Noah (a) answered: "what happened to me in this world was like I go from the sun to the shadow".

The Second Father of Humans

Some believe that Noah (a) is the second father of humans, because all humans today descend from Noah (a), as it is mentioned in verses 77 and 78 of sura al-Saffat, "and made his descendants the survivors, * and left for him a good name among posterity" (37:77 – 78) Some sources interpreted these verses suggesting that all races of human beings living on the earth today are descendants of the three sons of Noah (a); descendants of Ham who live in Africa, descendants of Shem live in the west of Asia and in Europe and descendants of Japheth live in China. However, some scholars including Ibn Kathir believe that the mentioned verses do not include all human beings; but rather, they mean that God placed prophethood among descendants of Noah (a).

Although some sources mention that children of Noah (a) were born after the flood, but Islamic traditions have mentioned children of Noah (a) before the flood. According to different Islamic traditions, Noah (a) had four sons, Shem, Ham, Japheth and Canaan, all of whom except Canaan believed in Noah (a) and went in the ark with Noah (a), but Canaan is that son of Noah (a) who did not believe in his father and was drowned in the sea; about whom, as mentioned in the glorious Qur'an, God told Noah (a) that, "he is not your son". According to hadiths, the progeny of Noah (a) continued through Shem and there were prophets in his progeny who were the links for grace between God and people.

Place of His Burial

There are different hadiths about the place of Noah's (a) burial:

Nahavand in Hamadan province, Iran: According to a research titled "Nuh (a) and Nuhavand", the grave of Noah (a) and the resting place of Noah's (a) Ark are Nahavand.

References

  • The material for this article is mainly taken from نوح in Farsi WikiShia.