Noah in Islam

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  • نُوح
  • Noah
A depiction of Noah and the ark in a Mughal miniature from the 16th century
Known forNoah's Ark
ChildrenSam, Ham, Yam and Yafith

Noah, also known as Nuh (Arabic: نُوحٌ, romanizedNūḥ),[1] is recognized in Islam as a prophet and messenger of God. He is one of the Ulu'l azm prophets.[2] Noah's mission was to warn his people, who were plunged in idol worshipping. God charged Noah with the duty of preaching to his people, advising them to abandon idolatry and to worship only God and to live good and pure lives.[3] Although he preached the Message of God with zeal, his people refused to mend their ways, leading to building the Ark and the Deluge, the Great Flood. In Islamic tradition, it is disputed whether the Great Flood was a global or a local one.[4] Noah's preaching and prophethood spanned 950 years according to the Quran,[5] Ahadith and Tafsir.[6]

In the Quran[edit]

Cudi Dağı in Southeast Turkey, as viewed from Şırnak


Noah is praised by God in the Quran, which shows his great status amongst the prophets. In the Quran 17:3, God states: "He was indeed a grateful servant."[7] Also, from the Qur'an which states:

Indeed, Noah cried out to Us, and how excellent are We in responding!
We delivered him and his family from the great distress,
and made his descendants the sole survivors.
And We blessed him ˹with honourable mention˺ among later generations:
“Peace be upon Noah among all peoples.”

And also in the Quran 3:33, it states: "Indeed, Allah chose Adam, Noah, the family of Abraham, and the family of ’Imrân above all people ˹of their time˺.[8]


The Quran states that Noah was inspired by God, like other prophets such as Ibrāhīm (Abraham), Ismā'īl (Ishmael), Ishaq (Isaac), Ya'qub (Jacob), Isa (Jesus), Ilyas (Elijah), Ayyub (Job), Harun (Aaron), Yunus (Jonah), Dawud (David) and Muhammad, and that he was a faithful messenger. Noah had firm belief in the oneness of God, and preached Islam (literally "submission," meaning submission to God).[9][10]

He continuously warned the people of the painful doom that was coming and asked them to accept one God instead of worshipping idols such as Wadd, Suwa', Yaghuth, Ya'uq and Nasr.[11][non-primary source needed] He called the people to serve God, and said that nobody but God could save them.[12] He said that the time of the deluge was appointed and could not be delayed, and that the people had to submit to God.[13][non-primary source needed]

God commanded Noah to build a ship, the Ark, and as he was building it, the chieftains passed him and mocked him. Upon its completion, the ship is said to be loaded with pairs of every animal, and Noah's household,[14] and a group of believers who did submit to God. The people who denied the message of Noah, including one of his own sons, drowned.[15][non-primary source needed] The final resting place of the ship was referred to as "Al-Jūdiyy"[16][non-primary source needed] or a "Munzalanm-Mubārakan" (Arabic: مُنْزَلًا مُّبَارَكًا, romanizedPlace-of-Landing Blessed).[17][non-primary source needed] Noah is called a grateful servant.[7][18] Both Noah and Abraham were taught the prophethood and the scripture.[19][non-primary source needed] According to a Shia tafsir (exegesis), God commanded Noah to take all species that he needed on the ship. The commentary by Prophetic descendants explains the verse to mean eight animals.[20][21]

Traditional narrative in Islam[edit]

According to Islam, he was a prophet, sent to warn mankind of that region and his people to change their ways. He conveyed the message for over 950 years. Islamic literature recounts that in the Generations of Adam, many men and women continued to follow Adam's original teachings, worshiping God alone and remaining righteous. Among Adam's descendants there were many brave and pious men, greatly loved and revered by their respective communities. Exegesis goes on to narrate that, upon the death of these elders, people felt enormous grief and some felt prompted to make statues of these people in remembrance of them. Then gradually, through the generations many forgot what such statues were for and began to worship them, (as the Shaytan (Satan) slowly deceived each generation) along with many other idols. In order to guide the people, God appointed Noah with the duty of being the next prophet to humanity.[22]

Early preaching[edit]

According to Islamic belief, Noah began preaching to his people both verbally and by example. He would praise God consistently and he urged his people to do the same, warning his tribe of the punishment they would face if they did not mend their ignorant ways. The Qur'an states that Noah repeatedly told his people:

“O my people! Worship Allah—you have no other god except Him. I truly fear for you the torment of a tremendous Day.”

Early on, a few were moved by Noah's words but the powerful and wealthy members of the tribe refused to hear his call. The unbelievers at the time were impelled to rebel by various evil motives. Firstly, they were extremely envious and jealous of men superior to them in any way.[23][non-primary source needed] Secondly, the people were ignorant of the weak and lowly, who were frequently superior intellectually, morally and spiritually.[22] As a result of their ignorance, they were arrogant and mocked all who they felt were inferior to them. Saying "Shall we believe in you, when the inferior follow you?"[24] Noah responded: "Their account is only with my Lord, if you could (but) know."[25] When Noah preached the faith of God to them, all they did was revile the messenger, abuse the message and call the whole warning a lie.[22] He then went on to explain the Message in greater depth, ensuring them that it was not a message of destruction but it was a message with the mercy from God, and that their acts would lead to destruction if they did not accept the faith. He questioned them, asking why they would not accept what would benefit them in the near future.[22] Noah went onto further, and told his community that he asked of no reward from them, telling them his only reward would be from God. But his people threatened him with being stoned.[26]


As time passed, Noah became firmer in his preaching.[22] When the unbelievers began insulting those who accepted God's message, believing that Noah would send those faithful away to attract the wealthy unbelievers, Noah revealed that they - the arrogant and ignorant rich - were the wicked and sinful ones.[27] His people accused him of being soothsayer[28] or diviner. Noah declared that he was by no means a mere fortune-teller, pretending to reveal secrets which are not worth revealing. Noah also denied accusations claiming he was an angel, always maintaining that he was a human messenger. When the people refused to acknowledge their sinfulness Noah told them that it was not Noah, but God that would punish them - however God pleased.[22]


The Quran states that Noah prayed to God,[29] telling him that his preaching only made his people disbelieve further.[30][non-primary source needed] Noah told God how they had closed their minds to accepting the message, so that the light of the truth should not affect their thinking.[31][non-primary source needed] Noah told God how he had used all the resources of the classical preacher, conveying the message both in public places and with individuals in private.[32][non-primary source needed] Noah spoke of how he had told the people the rewards they would receive if they became righteous, namely that God would supply plentiful rain[33][non-primary source needed] as a blessing, and that God would also guarantee them an increase in children and wealth.[34][non-primary source needed]

Building of the Ark[edit]

According to the Quran, one day, Noah received a revelation from God, in which he was told that no one would believe the message now aside from those who have already submitted to God.[35][non-primary source needed] Noah's frustration at the defiance of his people led him to ask God to not leave even one sinner from the people he was sent to; not the whole earth like in the Bible.[29] Although there is no proof that God accepted his prayer[36][non-primary source needed] (as there are many examples of accepted prayers, such as in case of Yunus,[37][non-primary source needed] Lut (Lot),[38][non-primary source needed] Suleyman (Solomon)[39][non-primary source needed] etc., even Noah's prayer in some other shape was accepted[40][non-primary source needed]), God decreed that a terrible flood would come (and yet, Qur'an doesn't say it came to cover whole Earth) and He ordered Noah to build a ship (Fulk) which would save him and the believers from this dreadful calamity.[41] Ever obedient to God's instructions, Noah went out in search of material with which to build the vessel. When Noah began building the Ark, the people who saw him at work laughed at him even more than before. Their conclusion was that he was surely a madman – they could not find any other reason why a man would build a huge vessel when no sea or river was nearby.[29] Although Noah was now very old, the aged patriarch continued to work tirelessly until, at last, the Ship was finished.


Little is known of Noah's personal history before his call to prophecy. However, Ibn Kathir records him to have been the son of Lamech and grandson of Methuselah,[29] one of the patriarchs from the Generations of Adam. Noah was neither the leader of the tribe nor a very rich man but, even before being called to prophecy, he worshiped God faithfully and was, in the words of the Qur'an, "a devotee most grateful".[42][non-primary source needed]

Noah was married to a woman whose name is not mentioned in the Quran. Some Islamic historians such as Al-Tabari have suggested that the name of Noah's wife was Umzarah bint Barakil but this cannot be confirmed. Most Muslims simply call her by her midrashic name Naamah.[citation needed]

The Quran states that Noah's wife was not a believer with him so she did not join him. The sons of Noah are not expressly mentioned in the Qur'an, except for the fact that one of the sons was among the people who did not follow his own father, not among the believers and thus was washed away in the flood.[43] Also the Qur'an indicates a great calamity, enough to have destroyed Noah's people, but to have saved him and his generations to come.[44][non-primary source needed] Noah's wife (Naamah) is referred to in the Qur'an as an evil woman. When God emphasizes upon the notion that everyone is for themselves on the Day of Judgement and that marital relations will not be to your aid when the judgement takes place, the Qur'an says:

Allah sets forth an example for the disbelievers: the wife of Noah and the wife of Lot. Each was married to one of Our righteous servants, yet betrayed them. So their husbands were of no benefit to them against Allah whatsoever. Both were told, “Enter the Fire, along with the others!”

In contrast, the wife of the Pharaoh of the Exodus, Asiya, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, are referred to as among the best of women. This adds to the notion that, on the Last Day, everyone will be judged according to their own deeds.[45][non-primary source needed] The "Stories of The Prophets" explain that the son who declined to embark[46][non-primary source needed] was a non-believer.

In culture[edit]

Searches for Noah's Ark[edit]

Searches for Noah's Ark' have been reported since antiquity, as ancient scholars sought to affirm the historicity of the Genesis flood narrative by citing accounts of relics recovered from the Ark.[47]: 43–47 [48] With the emergence of biblical archaeology in the 19th century, the potential of a formal search attracted interest in alleged discoveries and hoaxes. By the 1940s, expeditions were being organized to follow up on these apparent leads.[49]} This modern search movement has been informally called "arkeology".[50]

In 2020, the young Earth creationist group the Institute for Creation Research acknowledged that, despite many expeditions, Noah's Ark had not been found and is unlikely to be found.[51] Many of the supposed findings and methods used in the search are regarded as pseudoscience and pseudoarchaeology by geologists and archaeologists.[52][53]: 581–582 [54]: 72–75 [55]


Ashure or "Noah's pudding"

There is a Turkish dessert in remembrance of Noah, which is called Ashure or "Noah's pudding". It is made out of grains, nuts, and dried and fresh fruits. These are believed to be the few ingredients left on the ark, used by Noah and his family to celebrate the end of the flood.[56]


A claimed mausoleum of Noah in Cizre, southeast Turkey, near Cudi Dağı

There are several sites that are claimed to be the Tomb of Noah:

References in the Quran[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hughes, Thomas Patrick (1995). Dictionary of Islam : being a cyclopaedia of the doctrines, rites, ceremonies, and customs, together with the technical and theological terms of the Muhammadan religion (Reprint ed.). New Delhi: Asian Educational Services. p. 435. ISBN 9788120606722.
  2. ^ NÛH - TDV İslâm Ansiklopedisi (in Turkish).
  3. ^ Lalljee, compiled by Yousuf N. (1981). Know your Islam (3rd ed.). New York: Taknike Tarsile Quran. p. 73. ISBN 9780940368026.
  4. ^ Stephen J. Vicchio (2008), Biblical Figures in the Islamic Faith, Wipf and Stock Publishers, p. 94, ISBN 978-1-556-35304-8
  5. ^ Khan, Saniyasnain (2014). The Quran Explorer for Kids. Goodword Books. ISBN 978-8-1789-8907-5.
  6. ^ "How Long Did Noah (peace be upon him) live?". Retrieved 23 September 2023.
  7. ^ a b Quran 17:3
  8. ^ Quran 3:33
  9. ^ Quran 4:163, 26:105-107
  10. ^ Tafsir Ibn Kathir 4:163
  11. ^ Quran 11:25, 29:14, 71:1-5
  12. ^ Quran 23:23
  13. ^ Quran 7:59-64, 11:26, 26:105-110
  14. ^ Quran 11:35-41, Tafsir Ibn Kathir 11:40
  15. ^ Quran 7:64
  16. ^ Quran 11:44
  17. ^ Quran 23:23-30
  18. ^ Tafsir Ibn Kathir 17:3
  19. ^ Quran 57:26
  20. ^ Quran 11:40
  21. ^ Tafsir Bahrani
  22. ^ a b c d e f Lives of the Prophets, Leila Azzam, Noah and The Ark
  23. ^ Quran 11:27
  24. ^ Tafsir Ibn Kathir 26:111
  25. ^ Tafsir Ibn Kathir 26:113
  26. ^ Quran 26:116, Tafsir Ibn Kathir 26:116
  27. ^ Quran 11:29
  28. ^ Quran 11:31
  29. ^ a b c d Stories of the Prophets, Ibn Kathir, Noah
  30. ^ Quran 71:6
  31. ^ Quran 71:7
  32. ^ Quran 71:9
  33. ^ Quran 71:11
  34. ^ Quran 71:12
  35. ^ Qur'an 11:36
  36. ^ Qur'an 71:26
  37. ^ Qur'an 21:87
  38. ^ Qur'an 26:168
  39. ^ Qur'an 38:35
  40. ^ Qur'an 54:10
  41. ^ Lives of the Prophets, Leila Azzam, Noah and the Ark
  42. ^ Qur'an 17:3
  43. ^ Kathir, Ibn. "Story of Nuh (Noah), The -". Archived from the original on 23 October 2012. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  44. ^ Quran 37:75-77
  45. ^ Quran 66:11
  46. ^ Quran 11:42
  47. ^ Josephus, Titus Flavius (1961) [circa 93-94 CE]. Jewish Antiquities, Books I-IV. Josephus. Vol. IV. Translated by Thackeray, H. St. J. London: William Heinemann. Retrieved 9 February 2021.
  48. ^ Faustus of Byzantium (1985). "Concerning Yakob (James) of Mcbin (Nisibis).". P'awstos Buzand's History of the Armenians. Translated by Bedrosian, Robert. Retrieved 10 February 2021.
  49. ^ "Russia: Suspicion On The Mount". Time. 25 April 1949. Archived from the original on 2 March 2021. Retrieved 8 February 2021.
  50. ^ Montgomery, John Warwick (7 January 1972). "Arkeology 1971". Christianity Today. Vol. XVI, no. 7. pp. 50–51. Retrieved 21 February 2021.
  51. ^ Thomas, Brian (September 2020). "Did Someone Really Find Noah's Ark?". Acts & Facts. Vol. 49, no. 9. Dallas: Institute for Creation Research. p. 20. Archived from the original on 21 September 2020. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  52. ^ Cline, Eric H. (30 September 2007). "Raiders of the faux ark". Boston Globe. Archived from the original on 28 February 2021. Retrieved 15 February 2021.
  53. ^ Feder, Kenneth L. (1996). "Pseudo-Archaeology". In Fagan, Brian M.; Beck, Charlotte; Michaels, George; Scarre, Chris; Silberman, Neil Asher (eds.). The Oxford Companion to Archaeology. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195076184. Retrieved 14 February 2021.
  54. ^ Cline, Eric H. (2009). Biblical Archaeology: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0199741076. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
  55. ^ Feder, Kenneth L. (2010). Encyclopedia of Dubious Archaeology: From Atlantis to the Walam Olum. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO. p. 196. ISBN 978-0313379192. Retrieved 15 February 2021.
  56. ^ Liz Miles (14 July 2016), Celebrating Islamic Festivals, Raintree, p. 12, ISBN 978-1-4062-9774-4

External links[edit]