Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Contradictions in the Quran: Was Noah Driven Out?

Question: Was Noah Driven Out?
After much dispute between Noah and his people (11:32) and their rejection of his message, Noah is commanded to build the Ark (11:37). Then we read:
Forthwith he (starts) constructing the Ark: Every time that the Chiefs of his people passed by him, they threw ridicule on him. -- Sura 11:38
And then after the Ark is finished the fountains of the earth open up and the flood happens to judge the earth.
In contrast to the above record we find elsewhere:
Before them the people of Noah rejected (their messenger): They rejected Our servant and said, "Here is One possessed!" And he was driven out. -- Sura 54:9
After that the water comes and the Ark is mentioned and comes somehow "out of nowhere"... Anyhow, if he was driven out of the country or out of the area, he obviously couldn't build the Ark where his people would regularly pass by.
On the other hand, if he build the Ark before their very eyes, and was then driven out, how did he get back to the Ark for the flood? This was not a toy ship, he couldn't take that with him while "being driven out" and away from this ship.
Furthermore, it contradicts the record of Noah in the Tora, which is in this respect in harmony with Sura 11 but not with Sura 54.
Answer: As we should agree the question is the Quran from God or not (see in my blog). If the Quran is from God and no single letter has been changed it should come before the bible to verify any story or to find facts. If the Quran is not from God it is a different story. Regarding the two places in Quran one mentioned the Ark (11:32-46) and one did not (54:9-12). God in the Quran repeat the stories of the prophets in different styles some times the story is explicit and sometimes it is short. This is not only for Noah but for other prophets as well. Narration 1: longer story:
11:32 They said: "O Noah! thou hast disputed with us, and (much) hast thou prolonged the dispute with us: now bring upon us what thou threatenest us with, if thou speakest the truth!?"
قَالُواْ يَا نُوحُ قَدْ جَادَلْتَنَا فَأَكْثَرْتَ جِدَالَنَا فَأْتَنِا بِمَا تَعِدُنَا إِن كُنتَ مِنَ الصَّادِقِينَ
11:33 He said: "Truly, Allah will bring it on you if He wills,- and then, ye will not be able to frustrate it!
قَالَ إِنَّمَا يَأْتِيكُم بِهِ اللّهُ إِن شَاء وَمَا أَنتُم بِمُعْجِزِينَ
11:34 "Of no profit will be my counsel to you, much as I desire to give you (good) counsel, if it be that Allah willeth to leave you astray: He is your Lord! and to Him will ye return!"
وَلاَ يَنفَعُكُمْ نُصْحِي إِنْ أَرَدتُّ أَنْ أَنصَحَ لَكُمْ إِن كَانَ اللّهُ يُرِيدُ أَن يُغْوِيَكُمْ هُوَ رَبُّكُمْ وَإِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ
11:35 Or do they say, "He has forged it"? Say: "If I had forged it, on me were my sin! and I am free of the sins of which ye are guilty! أَمْ يَقُولُونَ افْتَرَاهُ قُلْ إِنِ افْتَرَيْتُهُ فَعَلَيَّ إِجْرَامِي وَأَنَاْ بَرِيءٌ مِّمَّا تُجْرَمُونَ
11:36 It was revealed to Noah: "None of thy people will believe except those who have believed already! So grieve no longer over their (evil) deeds. وَأُوحِيَ إِلَى نُوحٍ أَنَّهُ لَن يُؤْمِنَ مِن قَوْمِكَ إِلاَّ مَن قَدْ آمَنَ فَلاَ تَبْتَئِسْ بِمَا كَانُواْ يَفْعَلُونَ
11:37 "But construct an Ark under Our eyes and Our inspiration, and address Me no (further) on behalf of those who are in sin: for they are about to be overwhelmed (in the Flood)."
وَاصْنَعِ الْفُلْكَ بِأَعْيُنِنَا وَوَحْيِنَا وَلاَ تُخَاطِبْنِي فِي الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُواْ إِنَّهُم مُّغْرَقُونَ
11:38 Forthwith he (starts) constructing the Ark: Every time that the chiefs of his people passed by him, they threw ridicule on him. He said: "If ye ridicule us now, we (in our turn) can look down on you with ridicule likewise! وَيَصْنَعُ الْفُلْكَ وَكُلَّمَا مَرَّ عَلَيْهِ مَلأٌ مِّن قَوْمِهِ سَخِرُواْ مِنْهُ قَالَ إِن تَسْخَرُواْ مِنَّا فَإِنَّا نَسْخَرُ مِنكُمْ كَمَا تَسْخَرُونَ
11:39 "But soon will ye know who it is on whom will descend a penalty that will cover them with shame,- on whom will be unloosed a penalty lasting:" فَسَوْفَ تَعْلَمُونَ مَن يَأْتِيهِ عَذَابٌ يُخْزِيهِ وَيَحِلُّ عَلَيْهِ عَذَابٌ مُّقِيمٌ
11:40 At length, behold! there came Our command, and the fountains of the earth gushed forth! We said: "Embark therein, of each kind two, male and female, and your family - except those against whom the word has already gone forth,- and the Believers." but only a few believed with him.
حَتَّى إِذَا جَاء أَمْرُنَا وَفَارَ التَّنُّورُ قُلْنَا احْمِلْ فِيهَا مِن كُلٍّ زَوْجَيْنِ اثْنَيْنِ وَأَهْلَكَ إِلاَّ مَن سَبَقَ عَلَيْهِ الْقَوْلُ وَمَنْ آمَنَ وَمَا آمَنَ مَعَهُ إِلاَّ قَلِيلٌ
11:41 So he said: "Embark ye on the Ark, In the name of Allah, whether it move or be at rest! For my Lord is, be sure, Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful!"
وَقَالَ ارْكَبُواْ فِيهَا بِسْمِ اللّهِ مَجْرَاهَا وَمُرْسَاهَا إِنَّ رَبِّي لَغَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
11:42 So the Ark floated with them on the waves (towering) like mountains, and Noah called out to his son, who had separated himself (from the rest): "O my son! embark with us, and be not with the unbelievers!"
وَهِيَ تَجْرِي بِهِمْ فِي مَوْجٍ كَالْجِبَالِ وَنَادَى نُوحٌ ابْنَهُ وَكَانَ فِي مَعْزِلٍ يَا بُنَيَّ ارْكَب مَّعَنَا وَلاَ تَكُن مَّعَ الْكَافِرِينَ
11:43 The son replied: "I will betake myself to some mountain: it will save me from the water." Noah said: "This day nothing can save, from the command of Allah, any but those on whom He hath mercy! "And the waves came between them, and the son was among those overwhelmed in the Flood.
قَالَ سَآوِي إِلَى جَبَلٍ يَعْصِمُنِي مِنَ الْمَاء قَالَ لاَ عَاصِمَ الْيَوْمَ مِنْ أَمْرِ اللّهِ إِلاَّ مَن رَّحِمَ وَحَالَ بَيْنَهُمَا الْمَوْجُ فَكَانَ مِنَ الْمُغْرَقِينَ
11:44 Then the word went forth: "O earth! swallow up thy water, and O sky! Withhold (thy rain)!" and the water abated, and the matter was ended. The Ark rested on Mount Judi, and the word went forth: "Away with those who do wrong!" وَقِيلَ يَا أَرْضُ ابْلَعِي مَاءكِ وَيَا سَمَاء أَقْلِعِي وَغِيضَ الْمَاء وَقُضِيَ الأَمْرُ وَاسْتَوَتْ عَلَى الْجُودِيِّ وَقِيلَ بُعْداً لِّلْقَوْمِ الظَّالِمِينَ
11:45 And Noah called upon his Lord, and said: "O my Lord! surely my son is of my family! and Thy promise is true, and Thou art the justest of Judges!"
وَنَادَى نُوحٌ رَّبَّهُ فَقَالَ رَبِّ إِنَّ ابُنِي مِنْ أَهْلِي وَإِنَّ وَعْدَكَ الْحَقُّ وَأَنتَ أَحْكَمُ الْحَاكِمِينَ
11:46 He said: "O Noah! He is not of thy family: For his conduct is unrighteous. So ask not of Me that of which thou hast no knowledge! I give thee counsel, lest thou act like the ignorant!"
قَالَ يَا نُوحُ إِنَّهُ لَيْسَ مِنْ أَهْلِكَ إِنَّهُ عَمَلٌ غَيْرُ صَالِحٍ فَلاَ تَسْأَلْنِ مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ إِنِّي أَعِظُكَ أَن تَكُونَ مِنَ الْجَاهِلِينَ

Narration 2: Shorter story:
54:9 Before them the People of Noah rejected (their apostle): they rejected Our servant, and said, "Here is one possessed!", and he was driven out. كَذَّبَتْ قَبْلَهُمْ قَوْمُ نُوحٍ فَكَذَّبُوا عَبْدَنَا وَقَالُوا مَجْنُونٌ وَازْدُجِرَ
54:10 Then he called on his Lord: "I am one overcome: do Thou then help (me)!" فَدَعَا رَبَّهُ أَنِّي مَغْلُوبٌ فَانتَصِرْ
54:11 So We opened the gates of heaven, with water pouring forth. فَفَتَحْنَا أَبْوَابَ السَّمَاء بِمَاء مُّنْهَمِرٍ
54:12 And We caused the earth to gush forth with springs, so the waters met (and rose) to the extent decreed.
وَفَجَّرْنَا الْأَرْضَ عُيُونًا فَالْتَقَى الْمَاء عَلَى أَمْرٍ قَدْ قُدِرَ
In narration 2 God did not speak about his son or the ark but the bottom line: Noah was disbelived and was accused of craziness and God drawned the disbelievers.
Verses collected from translation to Yusuf Ali.