Prophet Nuh (Noah) : part 1
Variation on the Birth of Noah
He was Noah Ibn Lamik, Ibn Mitoshilkh, Ibn Enoch, Ibn Yard, Ibn Mahlabeel, Ibn Qinan, Ibn Anoush, Ibn Seth, Ibn Adam the Father of Mankind .
Noahs People – Idolaters
For many generations Noahs people had been worshipping statues that they called gods. They believed that these gods would bring them good, protect them from evil, and provide all their needs.
They gave their idols names such as Waddan, Suwaan, Yaghutha, Yaauga, and Nasran, according to the power they thought these gods possessed.
Allah the Almighty revealed: And they Idolaters have said: “You shall not leave your gods, nor shall you leave Wadd, nor Suwa, nor Yaghuth, nor Yauq nor Nasr (names of the idols). [Surah 71: 23]
Originally these were the names of good people who had lived among them. After their deaths, statues of them were erected to keep their memories alive. After some time, however, people began to worship these statues. Later generations did not even know why they had been erected; they only knew their parents had prayed to them. That is how idol worshipping developed. Since they had no understanding of Allah the Almighty Who would punish them for their evil deeds, they became cruel and immoral.
Into this environment Allah sent Noah with His message to his people. Noah was the only intellectual not caught in the whirlpool of man’s destruction which was caused by polytheism.
Various Hadith describing the Origin of Idolatry
Then Abbas explained: “Following upon the death of those righteous men, Satan inspired their people to erect statues in the places where they used to sit. They did this, but these statues were not worshipped until the coming generations deviated from the right way of life. Then they worshipped them as their idols.”
In his version, Ibn Jarir narrated: “There were righteous people who lived in the period between Adam and Noah and who had followers who held them as models. After their death, their friends who used to emulate them said: If we make statues of them, it will be more pleasing to us in our worship and will remind us of them.
So they built statues of them, and, after they had died and others came after them, Iblis crept into their minds saying: Your forefathers used to worship them, and through that worship they got rain. So they worshipped them.”
Ibn Abi Hatim related this story: “Waddan was a righteous man who was loved by his people. When he died, they withdrew to his grave in the land of Babylonia and were overwhelmed by sadness. When Iblis saw their sorrow caused by his death, he disguised himself in the form of a man saying: I have seen your sorrow because of this mans death; can I make a statue like him which could be put in your meeting place to make you remember him?
They said: Yes.
So he made the statue like him. They put it in their meeting place in order to be reminded of him. When Iblis saw their interest in remembering him, he said: Can I build a statue of him in the home of each one of you so that he would be in everyones house and you could remember him?
Their children learned about and saw what they were doing. They also learned about their remembrance of him, until they took him to be a deity and worshipped him instead of Allah.
So the first to be worshipped instead of Allah was Waddan, the idol which they named thus.”
Noahs Reasoning with his People
Allah in His mercy sent His messenger Noah to guide his people. Noah was an excellent speaker and a very patient man. He pointed out to his people the mysteries of life and the wonders of the universe. He pointed out how the night is regularly followed by the day and that the balance between these opposites was designed by Allah the Almighty for our good. The night gives coolness and rest while the day gives warmth and awakens activity. The sun encourages growth, keeping all plants and animals alive, while the moon and stars assist in the reckoning of time, direction and seasons. He pointed out that the ownership of the heavens and the earth belongs only to the Divine Creator.
Division Among Noahs People
Noahs people were divided into two groups after his warning. His words touched the hearts of the weak, the poor, and the miserable and soothed their wounds with its mercy.
As for the rich, the strong, the mighty and the rulers, they looked upon the warning with cold distrust. They believed they would be better off if things stayed as they were. Therefore, they started their war of words against Noah.
The Disbelievers Arguments
First they accused Noah of being only human like themselves. The chiefs of the disbelievers among his people said: “We see you but a man like ourselves.” He, however, had never said anything other than that. He asserted that, indeed, he was only a human being: Allah had sent a human messenger because the earth was inhabited by humans. If it had been inhabited by angels Allah would have sent an angelic messenger.
The contest between the polytheists and Noah continued. The rulers had thought at first that Noahs call would soon fade on its own. When they found that his call attracted the poor, the helpless, and common laborers, they started to verbally attack and taunt him: You are only followed by the poor, the meek, and the worthless.”
Allah the Almighty told us: “And indeed We sent Noah to his people (and he said): “I have come to you as a pain warner, that you worship none but Allah, surely, I fear for you the torment of a painful Day. The chiefs of the disbelievers among his people said: “We see you but a man like ourselves, nor do we see any follow you but the meanest among us and they (too) followed you without thinking. And we do not see in you any merit above us, in fact, we think you are liars.” [Surah 11: 27]
The Disbelievers Attempt to Bargain
Thus the conflict between Noah and the heads of his people intensified. The disbelievers tried to bargain: “Listen, Noah, if you want us to believe in you, then dismiss your believers. They are meek and poor, while we are elite and rich; no faith can include us both.” Noah listened to the heathens of his community and realized they were being obstinate. However, he was gentle in his response. He explained to his people that he could not dismiss the believers, as they were not his guests but Allahs.
Noah appealed to them: “And 0 my people! I ask of you no wealth for it, my reward is from none but Allah. I am not going to drive away those who have believed. Surely, they are going to meet their Lord, but I see that you are a people that are ignorant. And 0 my people! Who will help me against Allah, if I drove them away? Will you not then give a thought? And I do not say to you that with me are the Treasures of Allah nor that I know the Ghaib (unseen); nor do I say I am an angel, and I do not say of those whom your eyes look down upon that Allah will not bestow any good on them. Allah knows what is in their inner-selves (as regards Belief etc.). In that case, I should, indeed be one of the Zalimeen (wrong-doers, oppressors, etc.). “ [Surah 11: 29-31]