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The Ark - The Story of Our Prophet Noah

By: Kamal al-Syyed
Translated by: Jasim al-Rasheed


When we climb certain mountains and hills, we will find seashells on their tops and at the bottom. Thus, we understand that water covered these places at one time.

People and mountain climbers see shells on heights in many parts of the world, such as Iraq, Iran, India, Egypt, Syria, China, America, etc.

The archeologists found wooden tablets on the top of Ararat Mountain. The tablets date back to 25OO before the birth of our prophet Jesus Christ (A. S.). Some of the archeologists believe that the tablets belong to the Ark of our prophet Noah (A. S.).

In the year 1951, a team of archeologists found a wooden tablet on the top of Qaf Mountain.

There is an ancient writing on the tablet. After a year of study, the archeologists concluded that this small wooden tablet belonged to the Ark of Noah (A. S.).

What is the story of that Ark? What is the story of the flood? What is the story of our prophet Noah (A. S.)?

People were one community. They led a simple life. They farmed their land and hunted animals.

Days and years passed. The strong made use of their strength. Thus, they oppressed their weak brothers.

The weak were afraid of the strong. So they submitted to them and were satisfied with a life of abasement and enslavement.

Pagan beliefs spread during the lifetime of our prophet Noah (A. S.). Corruption became public. Simple people were afraid of the strong. The strong worshipped idols.

At that time, perhaps over four thousand years ago, our prophet Noah (A. S.) lived in the land of the two rivers (Tigris and Euphrates).

Our prophet Noah noticed that his people led a life full of corruption and deviation from the truth. The strong deprived the weak of their rights. The rich persecuted the poor and forced them to work day and night. When the poor wanted to free themselves and their families, the rich used to hit and torture them. The rich wanted to enslave the poor.

People forgot to worship Allah, the One and Only. They worshipped idols they made of stone. They thought that the idols would bestow upon them, send down rain to them, protect them from dangerous thunderbolts, grant them good, and drive misfortunes away from them.

People made the idols with their own hands and put them on the bank of the river Euphrates. They called the idols Wadd, Sawa', Yaghuth, Ya'uq, and Nasr. They worshipped them and bowed to them.

Our prophet Noah was sad when he saw his people prostrating to those idols. Noah looked at the sky. He prayed to his Lord to save his people from that ignorance.

Allah, our Lord, chose Noah and sent him to the people to teach them how to worship Allah, the One and Only.

Call To Allah's Oneness

One day the people heard Noah say:

"People, I'm Allah's messenger for you. Allah created you. He bestows upon you. Ask Him for forgiveness. He'll forgive you. He sends down rain to you. He makes your land green. He gives you sons and daughters. Why do you worship idols? Why do you turn away from worshipping Allah, the One and Only?

"Look at the wide sky full of stars! Look at the moon and sun! Think of death! Why do people die?

"You've made idols of stone. You've called them Wadd, Sawa', Yaghuth, Ya'uq, and Nasr.

"Do you think that the idols bestow upon you give you children, and sent down rain to you? Do you think that they protect you from thunderbolts and floods? If not, why don't you worship Allah?"

The people looked at each other and asked one another: "Why does this carpenter (Noah) abuse our idols? Why does he insult Wadd, Sawa', Yaghuth, Ya'uq, and Nasr?"

The strong bore malice against Noah. They hated his call and words. For Noah summoned them to justice and brotherhood. He wanted his people to live freely. He wanted to prevent the rich and strong from enslaving poor, oppressed people.

For this reason, people hated Noah. Concerning him, they said: "Noah's mad. He's a mere poor carpenter. If he were Allah's messenger, he'd have the treasures of the earth. Why doesn't Allah send us an angel? Why does He send us a person like us?

"Noah's lower in rank than us. We've more money, children, and power than he has."

The weak were afraid of the strong. They thought that the strong were right. They thought that the gods supported the strong and gave them power.

Thus, simple people turned away from Noah. They put their fingers into their ears so as not to hear his words. They did not follow Noah. For they thought that the gods would be angry with them, and that the strong would be indignant with them.

These were the people's thoughts. Few people believed in Noah's words.

Some poor men and woman came to Noah. They listened to his words. So their hearts were full of belief in Allah the One and only

Such people were very poor and oppressed. They were afraid of the punishment of the rich masters and rude tyrants.

For this reason, Noah went on summoning his people to worship Allah and to refrain from worshipping idols.

He summoned them to do that day and night, secretly and openly. However, few people believed Noah. They were poor and oppressed.

Our prophet Noah felt pity for his people. He wanted to guide them to the right path. He wanted them to lead a peaceful life. He wanted to prevent the strong from persecuting the weak. He wanted them to be good people. He ordered the young to respect the old. He ordered the old to feel pity for the young.

People worshipped idols. So they refused to accept Noah's call to Allah's Oneness. They mocked Noah, for he was a poor carpenter.

The rich thought that they were better than Noah, for they had more money, children, and power than him.

One day the unbelievers came to our prophet Noah and said to him: "We won't follow you, for only the poor have followed you. If you dismissed them, we would believe and follow you."

Noah said to them: "I won't dismiss them. Dismissing them is a bad deed. Allah hates such a deed. I won't dismiss the believers."

Noah added: "Why do you think that the poor are base? They are our brothers. All people are equal."

The unbelievers said to Noah (A. S.): "You're a liar. We won't believe you. If you were Allah's messenger, you would have more riches than us and the treasures of the earth would be yours. "

They added: "Why don't Allah send us a person other than you'? You're a poor person!"

Noah said to them: "People, don't accuse Allah's messenger of lying. Surely Allah will punish you for that. "

The unbeliever said to him: "You dispute with us very much. If you are truthful, then let Allah punish us. We're not afraid of your threats. For you are a liar."

However, Noah went on summoning his people to worship Allah, the One and Only. Hundreds of years passed. People died. Babies were born. They became grown?ups. They were also unbelievers. They prostrated to idols and did not worship Allah.

Did you know how many years the summons of our prophet Noah (A. S.) last'? It lasted 95O years.

Noah became an old man but he was still strong. He was not afraid of the unbelievers.

The unbelievers hit Noah many times. He was almost died. They plotted against him many time, for they wanted to kill him.

Noah's wife was an unbeliever. She spied on him and the believers who came to visit him. Many times, Noah summoned his people to follow him. He advised and preached to them. However, all his efforts went in vain.

They mocked him. Noah loved his people. He wanted to guide them. So he wept for them. He wept for their bad fate, for they would die unbelievers.

One day, Noah was in his house. An old man leaning on a rod came to Noah. His little grandson accompanied him.

The old man said to his grandson: "Grandson, look at that old man. He's mad. Beware of him. For he'll deceive you. Don't stop worshipping the idols Wadd, Sawa', Yaghuth, Ya'uq, and Nasr.

The boy took his grandfather's rod, walked to Noah and hit him on the head!

Prophet Noah became sad. However, he was patient as he had been before.

Noah thought that his people would believe in Allah, the One and Only, the Creator of life, people, trees, rivers, etc.

Noah lived in this way. His wife opposed him. She supported the unbelievers.

Noah had children. They all believed him except one of them. This son pretended to believe but he was an unbeliever. He did not believe in Allah, the Most High.

The Curse

An angel came down from the sky and said to our prophet Noah: "No matter how much you summon your people, they would not believe in Allah. Don't tire yourself for them, for they're a cursed people."

At that time, Noah raised his two hands towards the sky. He asked Allah to purify the earth from the wickedness of unbelievers.

In this connection, he said:
"And Noah, said: "O my Lord! Leave not of the Unbelievers, a single one on earth! For surely if Thou leave them they will lead astray Thy servants, and will not beget any but immoral, ungrateful (children)." Koran, 71, 26-27.

The Ark

Allah, the Glorified, inspired prophet Noah to make a big Ark. Noah (A.S.) had refrained from summoning his people, for he summoned them for 95O years but no one believed him. The unbelievers asked each other: "Why has Noah kept silent? Why doesn't he summon them to believe in Allah'? Has anyone seen him?"

Noah chose a place outside the village to build a big Ark.

Noah was a skillful carpenter. He had to gather big pieces of wood.

The believers came to help the Prophet with his work. They gathered dried trees and date-palms. They made boards of different sizes.

It was difficult to build the Ark because it was big.

Noah made a Ark with three floors. The Ark was 2OO m. long, 7O m. wide, and 25 m. high.

The unbelievers did not leave Noah alone. They came to the place of his work. They mocked the Prophet and the believers.

Noah was busy making the Ark. Some believers brought boards; some believers nailed the Ark; some believers pitched it.

The unbelievers mocked Noah and the believers, saying: "Look at those mad persons! They're making an Ark in the desert!"

One of the unbelievers said: "Oh, look! That's Noah. He has become insane! "

Another unbeliever said: "He's a skillful carpenter but he has made. He's cunning. Perhaps, he wants to build a large palace."

Another unbeliever shouted: "Noah, what are you doing? Where's the sea?"

The unbelievers laughed, and then one of them made fun of Noah: "Noah, don't forget the sails. The waves will be rough and the wind will be strong!"

The unbelievers laughed at Noah and mocked him.

Noah said to the unbelievers: "Some day, we'll mock you as you are mocking, us!"

Building the Ark was difficult. It required lots of patience.

Noah wanted to build a big Ark. For he wanted to save the believers and the animals from the flood.

Allah, our Lord, wanted to purify the earth from wickedness, oppression, and sins. For this reason, He inspired His messenger Noah (A. S.) to make an Ark to save the good believers.

Allah decided to destroy the unbelievers, for they did not want justice.

It took Noah and the believers many years to build the Ark. They worked quickly and eagerly. However, it took them eighty years to build the Ark.

The Ark was great. Its task was great, too. Noah built it to save both the believers and the animals.

Thus, Noah and the believers spared no effort to complete the Ark.

The unbelievers made fun of the Prophet and the believers. They accused them of madness and lowliness. They attacked and persecuted them. However, the believers were full of hope, for they thought that Allah would purify the earth from oppression, aggression, and wickedness. The believers were hopeful because they thought that the flood would purify the earth from sins and crimes, and that the earth would be very clean and pure. So they would lead a life of peace and tranquility. Moreover, their children would live in a safe, tranquil society.

So, the believers bore the abuses of the unbelievers and the hardships of the work of building the great Ark.

Waiting

After eighty?years of continuous work, prophet Noah and the believers finished building the Ark.

The Ark was ready. It had been pitched, and sails had been hoisted.

The believers came to the Ark and looked at it. They thought that it would carry them to a better life and save them from tyranny and oppression.

The Ark had three floors -- the bottom floor, the middle floor, and the top floor.

All the three floors were supplied with small windows in the forecastle of the Ark. The wheelhouse was in the middle floor.

The Ark was ready. Noah and the believers were waiting for the decision of Allah, the Glorified.

The unbelievers harmed the believers very much. They mocked and tortured them.

An old woman with her little daughter came to Noah. She asked him about Salvation Day: "When will Allah save us from the wickedness of the unbelievers?"

Our prophet Noah did not know the time of the Salvation Day. So he looked at the sky. Indeed only Allah knew that day.

At that moment, an angel came down from the sky. He said to our prophet Noah: "When water gushes from the house of the old woman the time of the flood will be close."

Noah said to the old woman: "Allah's specified a sign for the Salvation Day. He has inspired me that water will gush from your house. The water will be like a fountain. This will be the sign of the Salvation Day. "

The old woman rejoiced at this miracle. The little girl smiled at this hope.

The believers went to the old woman's house every day. They looked at the place of the water, but there was no water. Our prophet Noah also went there. However, the water had not gushed yet.

Water Flowed Out

One day, the sky became over clouded. It got very dark.

Noah was looking at the sky waiting for Allah's order.

The unbelievers increased their oppression and corruption. They killed people and robed their houses. They did evil deeds. Wickedness increased day by day.

The little girl came running to Noah and said to him: "The water has flowed out!" So our prophet Noah went there quickly. Allah was truthful in his promise. The water was like a fountain. The water was flowing out with force.

The old woman was bewildered, not knowing what to do.

The believers went to the old woman's house to look at Allah's sign. Some of them looked at the water in astonishment. Some of them were looking at the sky. They all were weeping for joy.

The sky was full of dark clouds.

Day was as dark as night.

Our prophet Noah ordered his followers: "Come on. Let's go to the Ark!

Noah and his followers went outside the village. The Ark was at its place waiting for the believers.

Noah ordered the believers to embark the Ark.

Suddenly, lightning flashed in the sky. Thunder boomed strongly. It was raining heavily. The believers, both men and women, were embarking the Ark one by one. Noah's children came except one of them.

Noah's wife did not come. She was an unbeliever. She did not believe in the message of her husband.

Then Allah ordered our prophet Noah to embark some animals in pairs.

So prophet Noah put the big animals on the top floor and the birds on the bottom floor.

The Flood

Water gushed from mountains and valleys. The rain was heavy. The wind blew strongly. Lightning flashed in space. Thunder boomed in the sky.

The land was full of gushing fountains. The sky was pouring rain like rivers.

All the animals were made to enter the Ark. The believers stood on the middle floor looking at the great flood through the windows.

The water descended from the tops of the mountains. The valleys became rivers full of water. The rain fell heavily. The wind blew strongly.

The unbelievers escaped from the village, for they still did not believe in Noah's words.

The Drowning Son

Noah was still waiting for his son to come. He thought that his son was a believer.

The earth was like a sea full of rough waves.

Noah looked at the village to see his son. He saw him swimming towards the mountains.

Noah shouted at the top of his voice: "Son, come to me! Son, come to the Ark!"

The son shouted: "No! I'll go to that mountain. It'll protect me from the rain.

In the midst of the wind, the waves, and the rain, our prophet Noah shouted again at the top of his voice: "Son, come with us! There's nothing to protect you from drowning!"

Noah wanted his son to understand that there was nothing to protect him from Allah's decree. He wanted him to understand that the flood would cover hills and mountains. For Allah decided to purify the earth from wickedness.

Noah shouted to his son for the third time. However, a strong wave came and covered his son.

Noah thought that his son was a believer. Allah had promised Noah that He would save his family except his wife. So Noah looked at the sky and said: "My Lord, surely my son is of my family, and Your promise is surely true, and You are the most just of the judges."

Allah, the Glorified, inspired Noah and said to him: "O Noah, he is not of your family. Surely he is (the doer of) other than good deeds. Therefore ask not of Me that of which you have no knowledge."

Noah understood that his son was an unbeliever, and that he did not believe in Allah and the message of his father, the Prophet (A. S.).

Noah asked Allah for forgiveness: "My Lord, I seek refuge in You from asking You that of which I have no knowledge. And if You do not forgive me and have mercy on me, I shall be of the losers."

The waves swallowed up everything. The destructive flood covered all things. The Ark moved. It floated on the water.

Noah said: "Its sailing and its anchoring is by Allah's name (will)."

The Ark made its way through the waves. The earth was like a great sea. There was nothing except water and the tops of mountains.

The rain went on falling heavily. Water was gushing from the earth. Days passed, but it was still raining heavily. The wind became stronger. The waves were rougher. They were as high as the mountains.

Forty days passed. However, it was raining heavily. The Ark was making its way through the waves which were as high as the mountains.

Noah and the believers prayed to Allah to have mercy on them and save them.

The Sacred Words

The angel came down to the Prophet and the believers with the Sacred Words. Noah wrote those words on a small tablet to protect the Ark from sinking into the flood.

At that time people wrote in the ancient Semitic language.

Noah wrote the following Sacred Words on the tablet:
My Lord and Helper, help me through Your favor and mercy.
(Help me) for the sake of these Sacred Names: Mohammed, Alia, Shabur, Shabir, and Fatima. They are all great and honorable. The world is standing for them. Help me for these names. Only You can guide me to the straight path.
Noah hung the tablet on the front part of the Ark. The believers considered carefully the Sacred Names of the persons who were not born yet. They were of Noah's progeny.

The Ark went on making its way through the rough waves of the sea. It headed for the North.

The rain went on falling heavily. The believers were praying to Allah to save them from the great flood.

After forty days, it stopped raining. The clouds dispersed gradually. The sun rose. A beautiful rainbow appeared in the horizon. The rainbow was colorful. It had green, blue, red, orange, and violet. The colors were beautiful. They made the believers hopeful.

Prophet Noah released a crow. The crow flew high in the sky. It turned in space, and then it returned, for it found no land to sit on.

Then Noah released a white pigeon. The pigeon set off. It flew over the water till it disappeared.

After awhile, the pigeon came back. It was carrying an olive?tree twig in its pink beak.

Noah and the believers rejoiced at that. The flood ended. Thus Allah protected the believers from the wickedness of the unbelievers.

Then Noah released the same pigeon. The pigeon flew into the sky and did not return.

Noah knew that the pigeon found land to settle no.

So the Ark headed for the North. Then it anchored on the top of Mount Judi .

Allah, the Glorified, ordered the sky and the earth: "O earth, swallow down your water, and O cloud, clear away; and the water was made to abate."

It stopped raining. The earth swallowed up its water. The level of water abated day by day.

The mountains, and the hills appeared. Some valleys were still full of water.

Allah inspired Noah: "O Noah, descend with peace from us and blessings on you and on the people from among those who are with you."

Noah and the believers left the Ark. They descended from the mountain.

The earth became clean and pure. The believers returned to their life. They were a small society. However, the society was free from the unbelievers. It believed in Allah and His Apostle.

Life came back to the earth. The believing society led a peaceful life. There was neither oppressor nor oppressed one.

There was neither thief nor wrong?doer. Thus, Our prophet Noah and the believers led a life of peace.

Noah lived a long life. His age was very advanced, for he summoned his people to believe in Allah for 95O years.

How old was Noah when Allah sent him to his people? How long did he live after the flood? No body knows that. However, he lived a long life.

Noah was sitting in the sun when the angel of death came to him. The angel of death asked him: "You've lived a long life. What's your opinion of life?"

Noah rose, sat in the shade, and said: "My life in this world was as this movement from the sunshine to this shade."

Noah closed his eyes. He carried out his message and saved people from destruction.

Noah Supplicated To Allah Through Sacred Names

In July 195O, some Russian archeologists looked for ruins in the Qaf Valley. They found old pieces of wood scattered about. This urged them to drill deeper in the ground. So they found other fossil pieces of wood.

The archeologists found an oblong piece of wood. The piece was 14 inches long and 1O inches wide. The archeologists were astonished to see the piece of wood. For the piece of wood was unchanged. It was not decayed and scattered as the other pieces of wood were.

In 1952, the archeologists discovered that the piece of wood belonged to the Ark of the prophet Noah (A. S.), and that the other pieces of wood belonged to the body of Noah's Ark.

The historians mentioned that the Ark of Noah (A.S.) anchored on the top of Mount Qaf. Some letters were written on the piece of wood. The letters dated back to an ancient language.

So the Russian government formed a team of archeologists in 1953. The team included seven professionals in ancient languages.

They are as follows:
  1. Sula Nouf, Professor of Languages, Moscow University.
  2. Ifahan Khnyo, a scholar in ancient languages, Lolohan College, China.
  3. Mishanin Lo, manager of ancient monuments.
  4. Tanmol Gorf, Professor of Languages, Kivzo College.
  5. Day Rakn, Professor of ancient monuments, Linin Institute.
  6. Im Ahmed Kolad, manager of general excavations and discoveries.
  7. Major Kolotov, Head of Stalin University.
After an eight?month study, the above?mentioned linguists concluded that the piece of wood belonged to Noah's Ark. They also concluded that the prophet Noah (A. S.) had nailed it on the front part of his Ark to protect it from the flood.

The letters on this piece of wood were written in a Semitic language. The British scholar, Ef Max, Professor of ancient languages at Manchester University, has translated the letters into English as follows:
O my Lord and Helper, help me through Your favor and mercy.

(Help me) for the sake of these names: Mohammed, Alia, Shabur, Shabir, and Fatima.

They are all great and honorable. The world is standing for them. Help me through their names.

Only You can guide me to the straight path.
The foregoing scholars were astonished at the greatness of the above?mentioned five names and the rank of their owners with Allah, the Most High. Noah (A. S.) supplicated to Allah through these names.

However, no one of them knew the reason why the piece of wood did not decay despite being there for thousands of years. It is worth mentioning that this piece of wood is now in the Moscow Museum. (Al-Takamul fi al-Islam, vol. 7.)

Prophet Mohammed (S. A. W.) said: "My family is like Noah's Ark. Whoever embarked on it was saved. Whoever missed it drowned."
In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.

Surely We sent Nuh to his people, saying: Warn your people before there come upon them a painful chastisement.

He said: O my people! Surely I am a plain warner to you:

That you should serve Allah and be careful of (your duty to) Him and obey me:

He will forgive you some of your faults and grant you a delay to an appointed term; surely the term of Allah when it comes is not postponed; did you but know!

He said: O my Lord! surely I have called my people by night and by day!

But my call has only made them flee the more:

And whenever I have called them that Thou mayest forgive them, they put their fingers in their ears, cover themselves with their garments, and persist and are puffed up with pride:

Then surely I called to them aloud:

Then surely I spoke to them in public and I spoke to them in secret:

Then I said, Ask forgiveness of your Lord, surely He is the most Forgiving:

He will send down upon you the cloud, pouring down abundance of rain:

And help you with wealth and sons, and make for you gardens, and make for you rivers.

What is the matter with you that you fear not the greatness of Allah?

And indeed He has created you through various grades:

Do you not see how Allah has created the seven heavens, one above another,

And made the moon therein a light, and made the sun a lamp?

And Allah has made you grow out of the earth as a growth:

Then He returns you to it, then will He bring you forth a (new) bringing forth:

And Allah has made for you the earth a wide expanse,

That you may go along therein in wide paths.

Nuh said: My Lord! Surely they have disobeyed me and followed him whose wealth and children have added to him nothing but loss.

And they have planned a very great plan.

And they say: By no means leave your gods, nor leave Wadd, nor Sawa'; nor Yaghuth, and Ya'uq and Nasr.

And indeed they have led astray many, and do not increase the unjust in aught but error.

Because of their wrongs they were drowned, then made to enter fire, so they did not find any helpers besides Allah.

And Nuh said: My Lord! Leave not upon the land any dweller from among the unbelievers:

For surely if Thou leave them they will lead astray Thy servants, and will not beget any but immoral, ungrateful (children)

My Lord! Forgive me and my parents and him who enters my house believing, and the believing men and the believing women; and do not increase the unjust in aught but destruction!

Koran, 71, 1-28