Question: Hazrat Nuh (a.s.) was commanded by the Almighty to build an ark and Allah informed him that water would spread all over the surface of the earth and the infidels will drown, but his women and sons will remain safe. One of his sons Canaan, did not care for his teachings our account of his idolatry and did not board the ark. At last he drowned in the flood. During this Hazrat Nuh (a.s.) supplicated his Lord and said:
My Lord! Surely my son is of my family, and Thy promise is surely true…1
The Almighty Allah addressed him in the following four sentences: What is the aim of those sentences?
1. He is not of your family — why?
2. He is the doer of other than good deeds — why?
3. Ask not of Me that of which you have no knowledge — why?
4. I admonish you lest you may be of the ignorant.2
Question: What was Nuh (a.s.) ignorant of?
Answer: The first sentence “He is not of your family” does not denote that he is not your biological son because it was absolutely true that he was the biological son of Nuh (a.s.) and was born from his loins. Rather the implication is that he is not your spiritual son.
Because the son has to be like the father physically as well as spiritually. But the son of Nuh (a.s.) was not so. Because his spiritual relationship with his father had been severed. The second sentence implies that he did not have a good character because his character was so unrighteous that he was evil personified.
And in the third sentence when it is said: Do not ask Me of that which you do not know. It implies that one should derive conclusions from that which one does not know.
Now as for the fourth point: What Nuh (a.s.) was ignorant of?
And the Almighty Allah had informed him of this. It was that he was thinking that the Almighty had promised that He would save his son unconditionally but later he realized that this promise was for those people who had not severed their spiritual relationship with Nuh (a.s.).