Noah and Abraham’s Mission
Noah stayed with his people and exhorted them to goodness for 950 years – but they rejected Noah’s exhortation, and the Deluge overtook them – Abraham invited his people to abstain from idolatry and to the worship of the only true God and they disbelieved and were punished – When one disbeliever people are caused to perish, Allah raises another one in its place.
﴿14﴾ وَلَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَآ نُوحاً إِلَي قَوْمِهِ فَلَبِثَ فِيهِمْ أَلْفَ سَنَةٍ إِلاَّ خَمْسِينَ عَاماً فَأَخَذَهُمُ الطُّوفَانُ وَهُمْ ظَالِمُونَ
﴿15﴾ فَأَنجَيْنَاهُ وَأَصْحَابَ السَّفِينَةِ وَجَعَلْنَاهَآ ءَايَةً لّـِلْعَالَمِينَ
14.“ And certainly We sent Noah to his people, so he remained among them a thousand years save fifty years. And the deluge overtook them while they were unjust.”
15.“ So we delivered him and the Companions of the Ark. And We made it a sign for all peoples.”
Propagation and training need patience and resistance. This holy verse shows the resistance of Noah (a.s.) and obstinacy of people.
However, since the previous verses had some statements about the general trial of people, from here on the verses contain some discussions about the hard trials of the former divine prophets and their peoples that how they were under the pressure and hurt of their enemies, and how they applied considerable patience that finally they gained victory. This was
both consolation for the companions of the holy Prophet of Islam (p.b.u.h.), who were under the harsh pressure of the powerful enemies of Islam in Mecca, and a threat for the enemies that they should be careful of the painful end of their lifetime.
At first, it begins from the first arch-prophet, i.e. Noah (a.s.), and in some short sentences it explains that part of his life that is more suitable with the condition of the Muslims of that day. It says:
among them a thousand years save fifty years. …”
All days and nights Noah was busy teaching and inviting people to Monotheism. During this long time, that is 950 years, using the opportunity both in private and among public, Noah called them toward Allah and he did not become tired from this constant effort, and he did not let weakness and intermission come to him. Yet, they did not believe save a small group (about eighty people as history narrates), that is, every twelve years one person.
Therefore, O Prophet! you should not get tired in the way of invitation toward the truth and struggle against deviations, because your program comparing that of Noah is very easy.
Now behold that how the end of this cruel and obstinate group of people was. The verse continues saying:
And thus the length of their disgraceful life ended and their castles, palaces, and dead bodies were buried under the waves of flood.
The application of ‘a thousand years save fifty years’ in the verse, while it could say 950 years from the beginning, refers to the greatness and length of this time, because the figure ‘one thousand’ which is used in the form of ‘a thousand years’ for
‘the length of the time of propagation’ is counted a very enormous figure:
The apparent of the above verse shows that this amount was not the whole lifetime of Noah, though the present Torah has mentioned this figure for the entire lifetime of Noah, (Torah, Genesis, chapter 9), but he lived another length of time after Flood either, and according to some commentators this time was three hundred years.
Of course, this long lifetime comparing the usual life times of our age is very long and it does not seem natural. It is probable that the length of lifetime in those days was different from that of today. Some documents indicate that, in principle, the people of Noah had a long lifetime and, in this course, Noah had also been extraordinary. However, this shows that the man’s structure lets him have a long lifetime.
The studies of the scientists show today that man’s lifetime has not a fix and determined restriction. Some people consider it as limited to 120 years, or less and more than that which is completely baseless, and with the change of conditions it may vary.
Now, by some experiences, scientists could prolong the lifetime of some plants, or some other living creatures, to twelve times of their ordinary lifetime, and in some instances, if you do not wonder, to nine hundred times. If they succeed they can increase the man’s lifetime with the same criterion, and man may live thousands of years. (You may refer to the book: “Mahdī ’Inqlābī-yi- Buzurg)
By the way, it must be noted that the Arabic word /tufān/ originally means any event that surrounds man. (It derives from Tawāf). Then it has been used for abundant water, or a strong flood which covers a vast land and overtakes it, and also it has been used for any thing that is severe, much, and
stretched, irrespective of wind, fire, and water. Sometimes it has also been used in the sense of severe darkness of the night. (Mufradāt by Rāqib and ‘Amid Dictionary).
It is interesting that the holy verse says: /wa hum zālimūn/ (while they were unjust) which means: at the time of the occurrence of the flood, they were going on their injustice. This indicates that if they had left this deed and became regretful with going to Allah, they would not have been involved in such an evil fate.
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Then, in the next verse, it adds:
And We made it a sign for all peoples.”
It was made a sign for all peoples and it means that it is a gazing-stock for all people until the Hereafter Day, because the event of the Ark separated the line of the believers from disbelievers and distinguished the righteous ones from the guilty ones, in order to prove that Noah was truthful in his statement, and his people were infidels.
By the way, the pronoun in the Arabic phrase: /ja‘alnāhā/ refers to the Arc.
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