By Dr. Ahmad Al-Khalidi
To recognize the real suffering and hard task Prophet Noah (peace be upon him) experienced during his call and mission to his people, it is necessary to study his very utterances, words, phrases, prayers, complaints and pleas through the actual dialogue with his people and with his Lord (Exalted be He).
However, to attain the complete picture, it is necessary to refer to other verses in the Qur’an as references to Prophet Noah’s mission which are scattered throughout the Qur’an, besides, there is an entire chapter carrying his name ‘Noah’. Here’s the dialogue from Surat Ash-Shu`araa’ (the 26th chapter of the Qur’an):
The people of Noah rejected the messengers.
Behold, their brother Noah said to them: “Will you not fear (Allah)?
“I am to you a messenger worthy of all trust
“So fear Allah, and obey me
“No reward do I ask of you for it: my reward is only from the Lord of the Worlds:
“So fear Allah, and obey me.
They said: “Shall we believe in you when it is the meanest that follow you?”
He said: “And what do I know as to what they do?
Their account is only with my Lord, if you could (but) understand.
“I am not one to drive away those who believe.”
“I am sent only to warn plainly in public.”
They said: “If you desist not, O Noah! You shall be stoned (to death).”
He said: “O my Lord! truly my people have rejected me.
Judge you, then, between me and them openly, and deliver me and those of the believers who are with me.”
So We delivered him and those with him, in the Ark filled (with all creatures).
Thereafter We drowned those who remained behind.
Verily in this is a Sign: but most of them do not believe.
And verily thy Lord is He, the Exalted in Might and Mercy. (Ash-Shu`araa’ 26:105-122)
Mercy and Wisdom
Throughout this Qur’anic dialogue between Noah and Allah on one side and between him and his people on the other side, it is quite clear that though Noah was addressing arrogant people, he patiently called them with honesty, mercy and wisdom. He introduced himself to his folk as a Messenger from Allah and called them to fear Allah, pray for repentance and obey him.
“I am to you a messenger worthy of all trust. So fear Allah, and obey me” (Ash-Shu`araa’ 26:107-108)
Ingratitude and Disobedience
However, Noah’s people disbelieved him and disbelieving one messenger means disbelieving all messengers of Allah as stated by Al-Sa`di (1998) who says that all the messengers agreed to one call and to the same news; hence disbelieving one of them means rejecting the whole truth they all come with. “The people of Noah rejected the messengers.” (Ash-Shu`araa’ 26:105)
Noah Did not Look for Reward from His Folk
Had Prophet Noah been looking for wealth, he would have asked his people reward for preaching and guidance; however, he did not ask them for any reward simply because he is a Messenger and the Messenger’s reward is only from Allah. His main goal was to make his people believe in the Oneness of the Creator and to quit worshipping the idols such as Wadd, Suwa’, Yaghuth, Ya`uq and Nasr. “
No reward do I ask of you for it: my reward is only from the Lord of the Worlds.” (Ash-Shu`araa’ 26:109)
Prophet Noah went on and on preaching his folk and advising them throughout 950 years to fear their Lord and follow his religion. “So fear Allah, and obey me.” (Ash-Shu`araa’ 26:110)