Story of Nuh (AS) Collected

Bismillah. This is a collection of the story of Nuh (AS) directly from the the Quran and the Sahihayn with minimal tafsir unless noted in brackets. Everything is from the Quran unless a footnote specifies it to be from a hadith.


Long after Adam (AS), there were pious men who became famous: Wadd, Suwa’, Yaghuth, Ya’uq, and Nasr. Their people created statues of them to remember and honor them. Over the generations, the purpose of the statues was forgotten, and people started worshiping them. [1]

As a result, Allah chose to send the first messenger in the history of mankind, and He selected a man called Nuh. He revealed to Nuh, “Warn your people before a terrible punishment destroys them.”

Nuh (AS) did not want his people to be punished, so he took this responsibility very seriously, ultimately spending 950 years preaching to them. [Allah prolonged his life to a miraculous extent.]


Nuh (AS) spent all his time preaching to his people, saying, “I am a clear and trustworthy warner that you should worship one God alone. So, listen to me. If you do that, Allah will forgive your mistakes and save you from the coming punishment.”

He preached to them night and day, first preaching to them privately, then publicly, then both at the same time. But, his dawah only increased them in stubbornness.

They said, “You are only a man like us, so we think you are a liar. Also, should we believe in you while only the lowest class of people follow you?”

He responded to them, “What do I know about what they used to do? Their reward is with Allah, and it is not my job to divide the believers. I am just a messenger and warner.”

Nuh preached to his people, “Seek forgiveness from Allah, and he will send the sky down with rain and increase you in wealth and children. How can you not worship Allah alone when He is the one who created you and the heavens and the earth?”

The leaders said to their people, “Do not leave your gods: Wadd or Suwa’ or Yaghuth and Ya’uq and Nasr. This man only wants to control you. There is no evidence from our forefathers for what he is saying. Most likely, he is just possessed or mad,” and they misguided many of them.

When he continued preaching and they were fed up, they said to Nuh (AS), “If you do not stop this Nuh, we will stone you. You have argued too much with us. Bring us this punishment you promise if you wish.”

Very few people believed in him despite how long he preached to them, and even his wife and his son were disbelievers.


Having preached to them for 950 years, Nuh (AS) spoke to Allah and said, “My Lord, I called my people day and night. I told them to seek your forgiveness and that you would forgive them. But, they did not listen to me and have denied me. So, separate me and those who believe in me from the disbelievers.”

“My Lord, do not leave a single home of the disbelievers standing on earth. If you leave them, they will only misguide your servants and give birth to more sinners and disbelievers.”

“My Lord, forgive me, my parents, whoever enters my house as a believer, and all the believers, but only enhance the disbelievers in destruction.”


Allah revealed to Nuh (AS), “None of the disbelievers of your people will believe now, so do not be dismayed by what they do. Build the ship with my instructions under my eye, and do not ask me about the disbelievers. They deserve to be drowned.”

He started constructing the ship, and whenever the disbelievers passed by him, they mocked him and laughed at him. He said, “Mock all you want, we will soon be the ones to mock you.”

When the rain started, the water began to rise, and the oven overflowed with water, Allah said to Nuh (AS), “Board the ship with whoever believes in you and your family and also bring every pair on the ship with you.”

He and his few followers boarded the ship and said according to God’s instructions, “In the name of Allah is its course and its anchorage. Indeed, our Lord is Forgiving and Merciful. We thank the one who saved us from the wrongdoing people.”

The ship sailed through waves as tall as mountains. Nuh (AS) called his son who had not climbed the ship, “My son, come with us and do not be with the disbelievers!”

His son said, “I will climb this mountain instead; it will save me from the water.”

Nuh said, “There is no savior today from Allah’s decree except His mercy!”

But, a wave separated them, and his son drowned. Nuh (AS) called out to Allah, “Allahumma, my son is from my family, and your promise is always true!”

The ship sailed under the protection of Allah, and Nuh (AS) said after the disbelievers were all destroyed, following God’s instructions, “My Lord, let me land at a blessed landing place, and You are the best to accommodate [us].”

It was said, “O earth, swallow your water, and O sky, withhold [your rain].” The water subsided, and the ship landed on Judi. Then, it was said, “Away with the disbelieving people.”


About Nuh (AS)’s son, Allah said, “Nuh, he was not part of your family. His actions were not pious. Do not ask me about things that are beyond your understanding.”

Nuh (AS) said, “My Lord, I seek refuge in You from asking that of which I have no knowledge. And unless You forgive me and have mercy upon me, I will be among the losers.”

Allah said, “Nuh, disembark the ship with my security and blessings on you and on many nations that will follow you. But, other nations, we will give them temporary enjoyment before a painful punishment.”

That is how Allah saved Nuh (AS) on the laden ship, made his descendants the survivors, and made it a sign for all the generations after him.

Then, Allah left a good reputation for him, “Peace be upon Nuh,” in every generation and society. That is how Allah rewards those who do good.

Then, Allah said, “Descendants of those we saved with Nuh, know that he was a grateful servant.” (Quran 17:3)


Question: Was Nuh (AS)’s flood local or global?

The Quran does not specify whether the flood was local or global. But, there are strong indications in the Quran that all of humanity (or at least most of it) was destroyed in the flood. There are three pieces of evidence for this:

  1. Nuh (AS) says ⟪Do not leave a single house of the disbelievers on earth⟫. Although this could be interpreted as ⟪on [this] land⟫, that is a stretch.
  2. Allah refers to humanity as ⟪Children of those we saved with Nuh⟫ and says ⟪We made his descendants the survivors⟫ indicating that everyone other than his descendants were destroyed.
  3. Allah says ⟪Peace be upon Nuh in the worlds⟫ indicating that Nuh (AS)’s effect applied to all of humanity which is why he is praised in all of humanity. This is proven by the fact that almost every civilization has the story of the flood in different forms.

This indication that all of humanity was destroyed in the flood except the believers can be interpreted in two ways: 1) the flood was global or 2) the flood was local but most of humanity lived in that locality.

The second interpretation is stronger due to revelation, logic, and science.

As for revelation and logic, Allah said ⟪We did not send prophets except in the language of his people.⟫ (14:4) and ⟪And never would We punish until We sent a messenger.⟫ (17:15)

If the flood was global and humans lived globally, it would destroy people who had not received Nuh (AS)’s message, and there is no indication or real possibility of him travelling the whole world. If the flood was global and humans did not live globally, the global nature would be useless.

As for science, all geological evidence goes against the possibility of a global flood.

So, it is more likely that the flood was local but most of humanity lived in that locality.

Question: Did Nuh (AS) take a pair of every animal on his ship?

Another evidence used for the idea of a global flood is that Nuh (AS) took a pair of every animal on his ship.

However, there is no strong evidence for this in the Quran except that Allah said to Nuh (AS) when the floodwater started rising and the oven overflowed ⟪bring every pair on the ship with you.⟫

In the Book of Genesis in the Bible, it is reported: ⟪The Lord then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. Take with you seven pairs of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and one pair of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, and also seven pairs of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth. Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.”⟫ (Genesis 7)

Allah’s narrative in the Quran intentionally contradicts this view. In the Bible, God allegedly told Noah to climb his ship seven days before the rain even started. In the Quran, God told Nuh (AS) to climb the ship ⟪when the oven overflowed⟫ along with ⟪every pair⟫. So, this command to take “every pair” is not meant to be something as longwinded as the Bible’s details make it out to be.

What is more likely is that this means either a pair of domestic animals or different types of seeds or plants. This would explain the short timeframe in which he was supposed to do this. It also fits with the view that Nuh (AS) lived in the only human civilization at the time: it would make sense to take the agriculture they developed and animals they domesticated instead of letting them be destroyed forever.

And Allah knows best.

  1. This is the view of Ibn Abbas (RA) reported in Sahih Bukhari.

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