We continue in order from the beginning (i.e. Adam/Eve and Qabil/Habil). The next noteworthy prophet in the Taurat is Nuh/Noah/Nouh PBUH), who lived about 1600 years after Adam. Many people in the West find the story of the Prophet Nouh (PBUH) and the flood unbelievable. But sedimentary rocks cover the world. These are formed by the 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? Click here to read the account of Noah (PBUH) in Taurat and Qur’an.
Do We Know Mercy When We See It?
When talking to Westerners about Allah’s Judgment, they often say 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. Since He does not change he was also full of mercy in the days of Noah (PBUH). But Allah destroyed the entire world (apart from Noah and his family) in that judgment. Surah Nuh (Surah 71 – Noah) tells us that:
Because of their sins they were drowned (in the flood), and were made to enter the Fire (of Punishment): and they found- in lieu of God- none to help them.Surah Nuh 71:25
So where was His mercy then? It was in the ark. As the Qur’an tells us:
We (Allah) delivered him (Noah PBUH), and those with him, in the ArkThe Heights 7:64
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.
Is Belief in the Coming Judgment Enough?
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 climbing 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. He 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!The Hud 11: 43
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, that we can be sure to receive Mercy.
The Ark: Noah’s Sign of Allah’s 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 observed Noah building it, the ark 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. 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. He could have reasoned that since he was a good man in other areas perhaps he did not need to build the 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.Genesis 7:16
It was Allah that controlled and managed the one Door unto the ark – not Noah (PBUH). When Judgment 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 confidently that since Allah controlled the door no wind or wave could force it open. They were safe behind the 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. 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 to receive Mercy.
The 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. Once again, by an animal’s death and draining of blood, 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). Then He ‘made a covenant with Noah’ (Genesis 9:8) to never again judge all people with a flood. So, Noah’s sacrifice, which included death and the draining of animals’ blood 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.