4. The Ethos Of Prophet Noah


Noah who is called the chief of the Prophets and "saved by Allah" is the son of Lamuch. After being appointed as a Prophet, Noah invited people to worship God but experienced nothing but persecution by people till on the order of God, he made the ark and it started raining.

"And make the ark before Our eyes and (according to) Our revelation" (11:37):

وَاصْنَع الفُلكَ بِأَعْيُنِنا وَوَحيِنا.

"So We opened the gates of the cloud with water pouring down, and We made water to flow in the land in springs." (54:11- 12)

فَفَتَحْنا أَبوابَ السَّماءِ بِمَاءٍ مُنْهَمِرٍ. وَفَجَّرنا الأَرْضَ عُيُونًا.

Noah was commissioned to carry in his ark all the believers and a pair of all thins, and the deluge overtook the unbelievers and even Noah’s son. This story has been elaborated in the books of history.

About Noah’s life-span there are differences of opinion. The late Sheikh Sadooq, in the book, Kamal al-Deen has reported a hadith on the authority of Imam Sadeq: Noah lived for two thousand and five hundred years, with 850 years before ordainment and 950 years after ordainment during which he invited people to worship God and he lived for seven hundred years after the ark landed.

عَنِ الصَّادِقِ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ قَالَ: عَاشَ نُوحٌ عَلَيهِ السَّلامُ أَلْفَى سَنَةٍ وَخَمْسُمِائَة سَنَةٍ، مِنْها ثَمَانُمِائَةٍ وَخَمْسُونَ سَنَةٍ قَبْلَ أَن يُبْعَثَ وَأَلفَ سَنَةٍ إِلا خَمْسينَ عَامًا وَهُوَ في قَوْمِهِ يَدْعُوهُم، وَسَبْعمِائةِ عَامٍ بَعدَ مَا نَزَلَ مِن السَّفِينَةِ وَنَضَبَ الماءِ.

When the angel of death came to Noah, he was in sunlight. After greeting him, the angel of death said: Why are you here? He said to take your soul. Noah said: Will you permit me to go to the shade? The Angel of death said: Yes. Then Noah changed his position saying: O angel of death! What happened to me in life is like the change of position from sunlight to shade, now perform your mission. At this moment his soul was taken and he passed away.

Propagating Divine Mission

"And O my people! I ask you not for wealth in return for it; my reward is only with Allah." (11:29)

وَيَا قَوْمِ لَا أَسْأَلُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ مَالًا ۖ إِنْ أَجْرِيَ إِلَّا عَلَى اللَّهِ

Inviting People To Worship God

"O my people! Serve Allah, you have no god other than Him; surely I fear for you the chastisement of a grievous day." (7:59)

فَقالَ يا قَوْم اعْبُدُوا اللَّه مالَكُمْ مِن إِلهٍ غَيْرُهُ إِنّي أَخافُ عَلَيْكُمْ عَذَابَ يَومٍ عَظيمٍ.

Care For Believers

"And I am not going to drive away those who believe; surely they shall meet their Lord, but I consider you a people who are ignorant." (11:29)

وَمَا أَنا بِطارِدٍ الَّذينَ آمَنُوا إِنَّهُمْ مُلاقُو رَبَّهُم وَلَكِنّي أَرَاكُمْ قَوْمًا تَجْهَلونَ.

Seeking Help From God

"There fore he called upon his Lord: I am overcome, come Thou then to help” (54:10)

فَدَعا رَبَّهُ إِني مَغْلُوبٌ فَانْتَصِرْ.

His Servitude And Thanksgiving

“The Offspring of those whom We bore with Nuh; surely he was a grateful servant." (17:3)

ذُرّيَّةَ مَنْ حَمَلنا مَعَ نُوحٍ إِنَّهُ كَانَ عَبْدًا شَكُورًا.

Praying And Cursing

"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 ought but destruction!" (71:28)

رَبِّ اغْفِرْ لِي وَلِوالديَّ وَلِمَنْ دَخَلَ بَيْتِيَ مُؤمِنًا وَلِلْمُؤمِنِينَ وَالمؤمِنَاتِ وَلا تَزِدِ الظّالِمِينَ إِلا تَبَارًا.

His Moral Advice To His Children

When Noah’s demise drew near, he called his two sons saying: I enjoin you two things and forbid you two other things; I forbid you Idolatry and arrogance and enjoin you "La elaha illa Allah, Sobhan Allah, wa Behamdeh"

وَلَمّا حَضَرَتْ نُوحًا الوَفاةُ: دَعَا ابْنَيهِ، فَقَالَ: آمُركُمَا بِاثْنَتَيْنِ وَأَنْهَاكُمَا عَن اثْنَتَينِ، أَنْهَاكُمَا عَن الشِّركِ وَالْكِبْرِ، وَآمُرُكُمَا بِلا إِله إِلا اللَّه وَسُبْحَانَ اللَّه وَبِحَمْدِهِ.

His Worship

The holy Prophet of Islam said: "Noah observed fast all the days of year except on Idyl-fitr and Idyl-adha days.

قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّه صَلَى اللَّه عَلَيْهِ وَآلهِ: صَامَ نُوحٌ الدَّهرَ إِلا يَومُ عِيدَ الْفُطْر وَيَومُ الأَضْحَى.

His House

Noah used to live in a house made of wool for 1400 years and whenever he was told: Messenger of Allah! How good it was if you would make a house of mud and would take shelter therein, he would answer: I am going to die tomorrow and leave the house. He continued to live in this house till he passed away.

كَانَ نَوحٌ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ في بَيْتٍ مِنْ شَعَرٍ أَلْفًا وَأَربَعُمائةَ سَنَةٍ، فَكُلمَا قِيلَ لَهُ: يَا رَسُولُ اللَّه لَو اتَّخَذْتَ بَيتًا مِن طينٍ تَأَوي إِليْهِ، قَالَ: أَنَا مَيِّتٌ غَدًا وَتَارِكُهُ، فَلَمْ يَزَلْ فيهِ حَتَّى فَارَقَ الدُّنْيا.

His Opinion Of The World

It is reported that Gabriel said to Noah: O you who have lived the longest life among the Prophets! How do you find life? Noah said: The world is like a house with two doors; I entered it from one door and left it from the other.

وَرَوَى أَنَّ جِبْرائيلَ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ قالَ لِنُوحٍ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ: يَا أَطْوَلَ الأَنْبِياءِ عُمْرًا كَيْفَ وَجَدْتَ الدُّنْيا؟ قالَ: كَدارٍ لَها بابانِ، دَخَلْتُ مِن أَحَدِهِما وَخَرَجْتُ مِن الآخَر.

His Thanksgiving

When Noah was Wearing clothes, eating food or drinking water, he thanked God saying: Praise is due to Allah.

It is also reported that Noah would say: In the name of Allah before eating and drinking and praise is due to Allah at the end.

وَ كانَ إِذا لَبِسَ ثَوْبًا أَو أَكَلَ طَعامًا أَو شَرِبَ ماءً شَكَرَ اللَّه تَعالى وَقَالَ: الْحَمْدُ للهِ.

His Days And Nights

It has been reported on the authority of Imam Sadeq that in the mornings and evenings, Noah used to say: O God! I take You as a witness that all days and nights as well as the blessings of religion and world come from you alone, You have no partner, praise is due to You, thanks is due to You so that you will be pleased with me and thanks after being pleased with me. This was Noah’s thanks giving.

عَن أَبى عَبْدِ اللَّه وَأَبي جَعْفَرٍ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ أَنَّ نُوحًا كَانَ إِذا أَصْبَحَ وَأَمْسى قَالَ: اللَّهُمَّ إِنّي أُشْهِدُكَ أَنَّ مَا أَصْبَحَ أَوْ أَمْسى بي مِنْ نِعْمةٍ في دينٍ أَو دُنْيا فَمِنْكَ وَحْدَكَ لا شَريْكَ لَكَ، لَكَ الحَمْد وَلَكَ الشُّكْرُ بِها عَلَيَّ حَتّى تَرْضى وَبَعد الرِّضا. فَهذا كانَ شُكْرُهُ.

Model For Thanksgiving

It has been reported on the authority of Imam Zaynl-A’abideen. That the people have learnt three qualities from three persons: Patience from Job, thanksgiving from Noah and jealousy from the sons of Jacob.

عَنْ عَلِيّ بْنِ الحُسَيْنِ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ قَالَ: أَخَذَ النَّاسُ ثَلاثَةً مِن ثَلاثَةٍ: أَخَذُوا الصَّبْرَ عَنْ أَيُّوبَ وَالشُّكْرَ عَنْ نُوحٍ، وَالحَسَدَ عَن بَني يَعْقُوبَ.

His Appeal To Laa Ilaha Illa Allah

It has been reported on the authority of Imam Reza that when Noah embarked in the Ark, God — Glorified and Honored —, inspired him: O Nuh! If you fear drowning, say a thousand times: La elaha illa Allah, then ask Me for rescue so that I will rescue you and those who believe with you. When they were all placed in the Ark and untied the thick rope of the Ark, a sharp wind started blowing.

Hence, Noah did not have time enough to say a thousand times "La elaha illa Allah". He had only time to say "Laa elaha illa Allah" a hundred times in the Syriac language by which the Ark became calm. Noah said: The words by which God rescued me should not be separated from me. Then, he had those words inscribed on his signet-ring.

عَن الرّضا عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ قَالَ: إِنَّ نُوحًا عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ لَمّا رَكِبَ السَّفينَةَ أَوْحى اللَّه عَزَّ وَجَلَّ إِلَيْهِ: يَا نُوحُ أَنْ خِفْتَ الْغَرْقَ فَهلِّلْني أَلْفًا ثُمَّ سَلْني النَّجاةَ أُنْجِكَ مِن الْغَرْقِ وَمَنْ آمَنَ مَعَك، قالَ: فَلَمَّا اسْتَوى نُوحٌ وَمَنْ مَعَهُ في السَّفينَةِ وَرَفَعَ القَلْسَ عَصَفَتِ الرّيحُ عَلَيْهِم فَلَمْ يَأْمَنْ نُوحٌ الغَرْقَ فَأَعْجَلَتْهُ الرّيحُ فَلَمْ يُدْرِكْ أَنَّ يُهَلّلِ أَلْفَ مَرَّةٍ، فَقَالَ بِالسِّرْيانِيَّةِ:[هلوليا الفا الفا يا ماريا اتقن ] قَالَ: فَاستَوى الْقَلَسُ وَاسْتَمَرَّتِ السَّفِينَةُ فَقَالَ نُوحٌ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ: أَنَّ كَلامًا نَجَّاني اللَّه بِهِ مِنَ الغَرْقِ لَحَقِيقٌ أَنْ لا يُفَارِقَني قَالَ: فَنَقَشَ في خاتَمِهِ ( لا إِله إِلا اللَّه(.

His Lament

It has been reported on the authority of Imam Sadeq that Noah’s name was AbdulGhaffar, meaning servant of the Forgiver but since he lamented and wept over himself, he was named Nuh.

عَنْ أَبِي عَبْد اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ السَّلام: كَانَ اسْمُ نُوحٍ عَلَيْهِ السَّلام عَبْدَ الغَفَّارِ وَإِنَّما سُمِيَ نُوحٌ لأَنْهُ يَنُوحُ عَلى نَفْسِه.

Praying For His Persecutors

The people of Noah attacked him and strangled him to the point that he fainted and when getting up, he said: O God! Forgive me and my people, for they are ignorant.

إِنَّ قَوْمَ نُوحٍ كَانُوا يَبْطِشُونَ بِه فَيَخْنُقُونَهُ حَتّى يُغْشى عَلَيْهِ فَإِذَا أَفَاقَ قَالَ: اللَّهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لي وَلِقَوْمي فَإِنَّهُم لا يَعْلَمُونَ.

His Endurance In Calling People To God

He was sometimes so beaten up by a stick, smashed and left at home that people thought he was dead. But when he came to, he performed Ghusl, came out of home and called people towards God.

وَكَانَ يُضْرَبُ وَيُلفُّ وَيُلْقى في بَيْتِه، يَرَوْنَ إِنَّهُ مَاتَ فَإِذا أَفَاقَ اغْتَسَلَ وَخَرَجَ إِلَيْهِم يَدْعُوهُمْ إِلى اللَّه.

Never Breaks His Promise

The last creature which entered the Ark was a donkey. When the forelegs of the donkey entered the Ark, Satan took hold of its tail not letting its hindlegs enter the Ark. Noah ordered the animal to enter but it could not. Eventually, Noah said: Enter even if Satan is with you. This word slipped from Noah’s tongue and when he said it, Satan entered the Ark with it. Noah said to Satan: O the enemy of God, what made you enter the Ark? Satan said: Did you yourself not say: enter even if Satan is with you? Noah let him go and said nothing.

وَكانَ آخِرُ مَنْ دَخَلَ السَّفينَةَ الحِمَارُ، فَلمَّا دَخَلَ صَدْرَهُ تَعلَّقَ إِبْليسُ بِذَنَبهِ فَلمْ تَرْتَفِعُ رِجْلاهُ، فَجَعَلَ نُوحٍ يَأْمُرُهُ بِالدُّخُولِ فَلا يَسْتَطِيعُ حَتَّى قَالَ: ادْخُلْ وَإِنْ كَانَ الشَّيْطانُ مَعَكَ فَقَالَ: كَلِمَةٌ زَلَّتْ عَلى لِسانِهِ فَلَمَّا قالَها دَخَلَ الشَّيْطانُ مَعَهُ فَقَالَ لَهُ نُوحٌ: مَا أَدْخَلَكَ يا عَدُوَّا اللَّه؟ فَقَالَ أَلَمْ تَقُلْ ادْخُلْ وَإِنْ كَانَ الشَّيْطانُ مَعَكَ؟ فَتَرَكَهُ. أُبَلِّغُكُمْ رِسَالاتِ رَبّي وَأَنَا لَكُمْ ناصِحٌ أَمينٌ.