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Appendix 1: The Preaching Mission of Noah (sws)
Dr. Shehzad Saleem

The various stages of the Rasūl Noah’s preaching mission are very compactly set forth in a brief sūrah of the Qur’ān: Sūrah Nūh. A short analysis of this preaching mission follows.

Noah (sws) began his preaching by warning his nation about the basic truths. The underlined words in clear simple terms state the three-point agenda that formed the crux of Noah’s message. These three points, in fact, are the basis of propagation and preaching of all the Prophets of Allah. Noah (sws) explicitly told his nation that they would be given a certain amount of time to mend their ways. If they did not do so, they would be destroyed.

[O Prophet! just as We have sent forth you], We had sent forth Noah as a Rasūl to his people [with the directive]: ‘Warn your people before there comes to them a grievous penalty’. He said: ‘O my People! I am to you a warner, clear and open. [I call upon you] to serve Allah and remain within the limits set by him and obey me. [I inform you that as a result of this] the Almighty shall forgive your [previous] sins, and shall give you respite till an appointed time. Verily, the time appointed by Allah, when it comes, cannot be put off. Would that you understood this!’ (71:1-4)

The Prophets of Allah invest all their time and effort in trying to warn their people of the punishment they would encounter if they do not mend their ways. In this regard, the Prophet Noah (sws) had the distinction of warning his people for an extremely long period: almost a millennium. His earnest calls should have melted their hearts and stirred their souls, had they responded properly. However, the more he called them, the more they ran away from him. The following verses portray the reaction of the leaders of Noah’s people and spells out the basic reason for their denial: pride and arrogance:

[He kept on calling them to this message but they did not pay any heed until at last] he said: ‘O Lord! day and night I have called my people but my calls have only added to their aversion. And whenever I called upon them [to show repentance] so that You [O Lord!] may forgive them, they thrust their fingers in their ears and drew their cloaks over them and persisted in their denial and bore themselves with insolent pride.’ (71:5-7)

The sūrah goes on to show that after sometime Noah (sws), seeing the denial of his people, augmented his crusade and launched an extensive effort to beseech his nation: for a true preacher does not get frustrated at the obstinacy of his people; in fact, the more they evade his calls, the more he increases his pitch; and the more hostility they show to him, the more gracious he becomes.

Then I openly called them and then appealed to them in public and beseeched them in private: ‘Seek forgiveness from your Lord’ I said. ‘Indeed, He is ever Forgiving. [As a consequence] He shall send down on you abundant rain from the heavens and shall strengthen you with wealth and sons and shall make for you gardens and shall bring forth for you springs of water.’ (71:8-12)

Once the truth had been unveiled to his addressees. They were scolded and reprimanded and were told that their fate was at hand. It can be seen from the following verses that the earnest pleadings of Noah (sws) have given way to stern words of rebuke. A nation is often misled by its wealth and riches in the time of respite allotted to it by the Almighty according to His laws. They consider this period of reprieve as eternal and often cite it as a testimony of their own rectitude. The people of Noah (sws) too had become deeply engrossed in their misdeeds. The sūrah prods them to stop misunderstanding the purpose of the freedom given to them by Allah’s majesty and grace; They must be mindful of the precious time they are loosing and if they continue to be indifferent, the Almighty shall decide their fate once and for all. The verses state the reason why these people, who consider the Day of Judgement as something unlikely, must remain mindful of His grace and majesty mentioned in the previous verse: if the Almighty has shown such a profound display of His power and grandeur in creating man, He can easily create him a second time.

What has come upon you that you do not fear the majesty of your Lord, for He has made you in gradual stages in various moulds. [We said] ‘See you not how God has made seven heavens one above the other? And made the moon a light therein and the sun a lamp? And Allah has grown you from the earth in such an elaborate way and to the earth He will return you and then He will suddenly bring you forth from it without any effort. And Allah has spread out the earth for you as a spreading that you may walk in its spacious passes [that lie between the mountains]. (71:13-20)

As soon as Noah’s propagation mission reached its culmination, he renounced his people and dissociated himself from them so that they could be punished:

Noah said: ‘O Lord! they have disobeyed me and followed those [leaders of theirs] whose wealth and children only added to their ruin and they contrived great schemes and said: “Abandon not these Gods of yours whatsoever and abandon not [this] Wadd nor Suwaa; and neither Yaguth nor Ya‘uq nor Nasr.” And [in this manner] they misled many. And [now, O Lord!] only increase these wrong-doers in further error.’(71:15 -24)

In the final phase, his nation’s fate was decided and they were wiped out as a nation:

And because of their misdeeds they were drowned and then were cast into a great Fire. Then they found none to help them against Allah.  (25)

The verses also refer to the punishment of the Hereafter that will be encountered by them wherein they would be cast in Hell. The punishment of the next world has been stated in the past tense to show its certainty.

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