We continue on in chronological order from the beginning (i.e. Adam/Eve and Qabil/Habil) and our next noteworthy prophet in the Taurat is Noah (PBUH), who lived about 1600 years after Adam. Many people in the West find the story of the Prophet Noah (PBUH) and the flood unbelievable. But the world is covered with sedimentary rock, which is formed by depositing of sediment during a flood. So we do have physical evidence of this flood, but what was Noah’s sign that we should pay attention to? Please click here to read the account of Noah (PBUH) in Taurat and Qur’an.
Missing vs. Receiving Mercy
When I talk to Westerners about Allah’s Judgment, the reply I often get is something like, “I’m not too worried about Judgment because He is so merciful I do not think He will really judge me”. It is this account of Noah (PBUH) that caused me to really question that reasoning. Yes, Allah is merciful, and since He does not change he was also full of mercy in the days of Noah (PBUH). Yet the entire world (apart from Noah and his family) was destroyed in that judgment. So where was His mercy then? It was in the ark. As Ayah 64 in Al-Araf told us:
We (Allah) delivered him (Noah PBUH), and those with him, in the Ark
Allah in His Mercy, using the prophet Noah (PBUH), provided an ark that was available for anybody. Anyone could have entered that ark and received mercy and safety. The problem was almost all people responded to the message in unbelief. They mocked Noah (PBUH) and did not believe in the coming Judgment. If only they had entered the ark they would have escaped the Judgment.
The passage in the Holy Qur’an also tells us that one of Noah’s sons did believe in Allah and the coming Judgment. The very fact that he was trying to climb a mountain shows that he was trying to escape the judgment of Allah (thus he must have believed in Allah and the Judgment). But again there was a problem. He did not combine his belief with submission and chose instead to decide to work out his own way to escape the Judgment. But his father told him:
This day nothing can save, from the command of Allah, any but those on whom He hath mercy!
This son needed the Mercy of Allah, not his own efforts to escape the Judgment. His efforts to climb a mountain were futile. So the result for him was exactly the same as with those who mocked the Prophet Noah (PBUH) – death by drowning. If only he had entered the ark he would also have escaped from the Judgment. From this we can know that merely a belief in Allah and Judgment is not enough to escape it. In fact it is in submitting to the Mercy that Allah provides, rather than our own ideas, where we can be sure we will receive Mercy. This is Noah’s sign to us – the ark. It was a public Sign of Allah’s Judgment as well as His means of Mercy and escape. While everyone could watch it being built it was that ‘clear sign’ of both coming Judgment and available Mercy. But it shows that His mercy is only attainable through the provision that He has established.
So why did Noah find the Mercy of Allah? The Taurat repeats several times the phrase
And Noah did all that the LORD commanded him
I find that I tend to do what I understand, or what I like, or what I agree with. I am sure that Noah (PBUH) must have had many questions in his mind about Allah’s warning of a coming flood and his command to build such a big ark on land. I am sure he could have reasoned that since he was a good man in other areas he perhaps did not need to pay attention to building this ark. But he did ‘all‘ that was commanded – not just what his father had told him, not what he understood, not what he was comfortable with, and not even what made sense to him. This is a great example for us to follow.
The Door for salvation
The Taurat also tells us that after Noah, his family, and the animals entered the ark that
Then the Lord shut him in.
It was Allah that controlled and managed the one Door unto the ark – not Noah (PBUH). When Judgment came and the waters came, no amount of banging on the ark from the people outside could move Noah to open the door. Allah controlled that one door. But at the same time those on the inside could rest in confidence that since Allah controlled the door that no wind or wave could force it open. They were safe in door of Allah’s care and Mercy.
Since Allah does not change this also would apply to us today. All the prophets warn that there is another coming Judgment – and this one by fire – but the sign of Noah (PBUH) assures us that along with His Judgment He will offer Mercy. But we should look for his ‘ark’ with one door that will guarantee receiving Mercy.
Sacrifice of the Prophets
The Taurat also tells us that Noah (PBUH):
built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. (Genesis 8:20)
This fits the pattern of Adam/Eve and Qabil/Habil of sacrificing animals. This means, once again, that by an animal’s death and draining of blood was how the Prophet Noah (PBUH) prayed to, and was accepted by, Allah. In fact the Taurat says that just after this sacrifice Allah ‘blessed Noah and his sons’ (Genesis 9:1) and ‘made a covenant with Noah’ (Genesis 9:8) to never again judge all people with a flood. So it seems that the sacrifice, death, and the draining of the blood of an animal by Noah was crucial in his worship of Allah. How important is this? We continue our survey through the Prophets of the Taurat, with Lot/Lut next.