Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Session 5: Prophet Nuh (A.S)

This week in halaqah, we learned about Prophet Nuh (A.S). Below are the notes from our halaqah. The information was gathered from a lecture by Sheikh Shady Al-Suleiman as well as from Ibn Kathir. There are many important lessons to learn from the story of Prophet Nuh (A.S). The most obvious lesson is the importance of giving da'wah. Prophet Nuh preached and gave da'wah to his people day and night for 950 years! It is reported that in 950 years, he gathered 80 followers. What was important to Allah was not the number of followers that Nuh gathered; rather, it was the hard work and effort that Prophet Nuh put into his da'wah. Let this be a lesson for us all inshallah when we try to give da'wah to others. Do not become discouraged or expect others to listen to you right away. Prophet Nuh never despaired in his 950 years of preaching. Feel free to read the content below to learn more about Prophet Nuh inshallah.

·      Ibn Abbas narrated that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: "The period between Adam and Noah was ten centuries." (Sahih Bukhari, Noah was born 1056 years after Adam's creation (or after he left the Garden of Eden)
·      At the time of Nuh, he was the only Muslim-- he was the only one worshipping Allah. Everyone besided Nuh was a mushrik. Society went from being all Muslim to no Muslims
·      Idris is the father of the grandfather of Nuh. Nuh is Idris’s 4th grandson
·      He is from the top 5 prophets and messengers

·       Noah's People - Idolaters
For many generations Noah's 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, Suwa'an, Yaghutha, Ya'auga, and Nasran. 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 sometime, 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.

·      Noah's 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 were 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. Therefore, he explained to this people, there cannot have been more than one deity. He clarified to them how the devil had deceived them for so long and that the time had come for this deceit to stop. Noah spoke to them of Allah's glorification of man, how HE had created him and provided him with sustenance and the blessings of a mind. He told them that idol
worshipping was a suffocating injustice to the mind. He warned them not to worship anyone but Allah and described the terrible punishment Allah would give out if they continued in their evil ways.
·      He called people to Allah day and night, individually and in groups. He put so much effort into da’wa for 950 years. He called them to leave their worship and worship Allah. He said “Oh my people; I am a warner to you. Follow Allah before punishment befalls you.”

Division Among Noah's People
The people listened to him in silence. His words were a shock to their stagnating minds as it is a shock to a person who is asleep under a wall which is about to fall and who is vigorously awakened. This person may be alarmed and may even become angry although the aim was to save him.
Noah's 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."' (Ch 11:27 Quran)
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 Noah's 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:
"Indeed We sent Noah to his people (he said): "I have come to you as a plain Warner that you worship none but Allah, surely, I fear for you the torment of a painful Day." the chiefs of the disbeliveers 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." (CH 11:25-27).

The Disbelievers Attempt to Bargain
Thus the conflict between Noah and the heads of his people intensified. The disbeliveers tried to bargain: "Listen Noah, if you want us to believe in you, then dismiss your believers. They are meek and poor, while 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 Allah's. Noah appealed to them:

"O 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. O 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 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 (regards to Belief). In that case, I should, indeed be one of the Zalimeen (wrongdoers, oppressors etc)." (Ch 11:29-31 Quran)
Noah refuted the arguments of the disbelievers with the noble knowledge of the prophets. It is the logic of intellect that rids itself of personal pride and interests.

The Disbelievers Remain Ignorant
The rulers were tired of Noah's arguments. Allah the Exalted related their attitude:
They said: "O Noah! You have disputed with us and much have you prolonged the dispute with us, now bring upon us what you threaten us with, if you are of the truthful." He said: "Only Allah will bring it (the punishment)on you, if He will, and then you will escape not. And my advice will not profit you, even if I wish to give you counsel, if Allah's Will is to keep you astray. He is your Lord! And to Him you shall return." (Ch 11:32-34 Quran)

The battle continued; the arguments between the disbeliveers and Noah became prolonged. When all the refutations of the disbeliveers collapsed and they had no more to say, they began to be rude and insulted Allah's prophet:

“The leaders of his people said: "Verily, we see you in plain error." (Ch 7:60 Quran)

Noah responded in the manner of the prophets:
"O my people! There is no error in me, but I am a Messenger from the Lord of the Alamin
(mankind, jinn and all that exists)! I convey unto you the Messages of my Lord and give sincere advice to you. And I know from Allah what you know not." (CH 7:61-62 Quran)
Noah continued appealing to his people to believe in Allah hour after hour, day after day year after year. He admonished his people and called them to Allah day and night, in secret and openly. HE gave them examples, explained Allah's signs and illustrated Allah's ability in the formation of His creatures. But whenever he called them to Allah, they ran away from him. Whenever he urged them to ask Allah to forgive them, they put their fingers in their ears and became too proud to listen to the truth.

The Length of Noah’s Preaching
·      Nuh said to Allah, “Oh my Lord, I called my people during the day and night and my call to them only made them run away from me. ” The people covered their ears and didn’t want to listen to Nuh. He did this for 950 years (trying to call people to Allah nonstop). For us, even 9 minutes of giving dawah seems like a long time. 950 years is how long he called people to Islam. He lived much longer than that (up to 1300 years).
It happened that every passing generation admonished the succeeding one not to believe Noah and to wage war against him. the father used to teach his child about the matter that was between himself and Noah and counsel him to reject his call when he reached adulthood. Their natural disposition rejected believing and following the truth. Noah saw that the number of believers was not increasing, while that of the disbeliveers was. He was sad for his people, but he never reached the point of despair.
·      It’s been narrated that in the 950 years of calling people to Islam, Nuh only gathered 80 followers. Another hadith says only 10; but the maximum number narrated 80. 950 years he preached and never gave up.
·      This is an example for us: When you do dawa, don’t expect everyone to accept Islam and follow Islam overnight. It’s not about the numbers-- it’s about your duty- the work that you do for Allah and for Islam

Nuh Prays for the Disbeliever’s End
·      Nuh continued his dawa until Allah revealed to him a revelation that was the last dawa of Nuh
·      Allah revealed a revelation to Nuh that said ” Oh Nuh, no one besides the ones who are believers will become a believer anymore.” He was telling Nuh that no one was going to follow him except those 80 people who were believers. It was time for him to stop wasting his effort;
·      Nuh made a duaa on his people: Nuh said “Oh Allah, do not keep a kaafir on the surface of this Earth.” He made duaa to destroy the kaafireen. Allah accepted his duaa and destroyed the kaafireen.

Nuh Builds the Arc
·      Allah had instructed Nuh to build an arc in the middle of the desert. Usually, an arc is built next to the water so that it can go somewhere. He started to build the ship with the guidance of Jibrael. Jibrael guided Nuh and taught him how to build the arc. Nuh had no experience with building anything or putting wood together. He continued building for 100 years.
·      Noah chose a place outside the city, far from the sea. HE collected wood and tools and began to day and night to build the ark. The people's mockery continued: "O Noah! Does carpentry appeal to you more than prophethood? Why are you building an ark so far from the sea? Are you going to drag it to the water or is the wind going to carry it for you?" Noah replied: "You will come to know who will be put to shame and suffer."
·      At the time, there weren’t a lot of trees. Nuh would have to plant trees, wait for them to grow and then use the timber to build the arc. He worked on it until it was a massive arc.
·      Its narrated that the arc was 300 arms length; the arms length of Adam-- which means it was 1000 metres long (about 1 km). And it was about 200 metres wide, and 100 metres high. The arc had 3 storeys and 3 gates; one gate for each storey. The arc was a closed arc. Allah had told Nuh that it was going to rain so close the arc. Allah said “And we had lifted this arc as a sign as a miracle until the day of judgement.” And this arc, till this day exists. A part of the arc have been found in Turkey.
·      Nuh built the ship with nails and timber; Allah told him how to us the nails. Jibrael showed him how to do it.
·      Allah told Nuh, I am going to give you a sign; when I give you the sign, take yourself, your family and your followers and a male and female of each animal and take them to the arc.

The Flood Begins
·      The terrible day arrived when the oven at Noah's house overflowed. This was the sign from Allah that he was waiting for. Noah hurried to open the ark and summon the believers. He also took with him a pair, male and female, of every type of animal,bird and insect. Seeing him taking these creatures to the ark, the people laughed loudly: "Noah must have gone out of his head! What is he going to do with the animals?"
The Number of Believers
·      Noah's wife was not a believer with him so she did not join him; neither did one of Noah's sons, who was secretly a disbeliever but had pretended faith in front of Noah. Likewise most of the people were disbeliveers and did not go on board.
·      The scholars hold different opinions on the number of those who were with Noah on the ship. IbnAbbas stated that there were 80 believers while Ka ab al Ahbar held that there were 72 believers. Others claimed that there were 10 believers with Noah.
·      He had 4 sons: Ham, Sam, Yafith, Kan’an. 3 of his sons were believers, Kanan was a disbeliever. Kanan said don’t worry, I’ll protect myself by going to a high mountain. Nuh insisted that he become a believed but Kanan refused. Allah took him with the rest of the disbelievers.

Time in the Arc
·      In the arc, the animals were on one side and humans on the other. They stayed in the arc for 6 months. Allah ordered his punishment to come down. It wasn’t a normal rain that came down. He opened the gates of heaven and big explosions of water came down. Water also exploded from the ground and the waters from the sky and the ground collided. The water covered the tops of mountains. It was not only in the Arabian Peninsula-- water covered the whole world. Allah describes the arc as waving over mountains. Subhanallah, when Allah wants to destroy a nation, he will do it in his way. Nuh and his believers stayed in the ship for 6 months.
·      Allah ordered Nuh to make duaa to land on a good land. Allah protected Nuh and his followers for 6 months. Then Allah ordered the ground to swallow up the water (“Oh ground, swallow the water”) but Nuh didn’t know about this. Everyday Nuh would send a bird outside. The bird would come back wet so Nuh knew that it hadn’t stopped raining. One day, the bird came back with a leaf from an olive tree. Nuh realized the leaf was drying. He sent the bird a few days later and the bird came back with his feet muddy so Nuh knew that the land was dry.

The Believers Disembark
·      Noah released the birds, and the beats which scattered over the earth. After that the believers disembarked. Noah put his forehead to the ground in prostration. The survivors kindled a fire and sat around it. Lighting a fire had been prohibited on board so as not to ignite the ship's wood and burn it up. None of them had eaten hot food during the entire period of the floor. Following the disembarkation there was a day of fasting in thanks to Allah.
·      The arc landed on a mountain called Joodee which is in Turkey. Nuh came out of the arc with his 80 followers and the animals. These were the only 80 people on the face of the Earth.
·      Allah made it so that the followers could not have any more descendants; no more children-- Except Nuh and his family. This is why Nuh is called the second Adam because all the descendants go back to him.
·      Nuhs sons:
-       From Sam: come the Arabs and the Jews (Bani Israel); They were white with a bit of darkness in them
-       From Ham: come mostly Africans; They were dark with a bit of whiteness
-       From Yafith: come mostly people from Eastern Europe and Russia; They were blonde and red
·      Allah says in the Quran: “And we made the descendants of Nuh the everlasting descendants.” Everyone goes back to Nuh.
·      Nuh lived 350 years after the flood and was a righteous servant of Allah. He worshipped Allah constantly; He fasted everyday except the Eid days.

Noah's Death
·      The Quran draws the curtain on Noah's story. We do not know how his affairs with his people continued. All we know or can ascertain is that on his deathbed he requested his son to worship Allah alone, Noah then passed away. Abdullah Ibn Amr Ibn Al as narrated that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: "When the death of the Messenger of Allah Noah approached, he admonished his sons: 'Indeed I would give you far reaching advice, commanding you to do two things, and warning you against doing two things as well. I charge you to believe that there is no god but Allah and that if the seven heavens and the seven earths were put on one side of a scale and the words "there is no god but Allah" were put on the other, the latter would outweigh the former. I warn you against associating partners with Allah and against pride." (Sahih al Bukhari)

·      Some traditions said that his grave is in the Scared Mosque in Mecca, while others said that he was buried in Baalabak, a city in Iraq.

·      This story shows us a great example of the importance of da’wah and to never give up. 

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