The Prophet Noah’s Call To Tawheed
Praise be to Allah.
Peace and blessings be upon Muhammad the final Messenger.
The fundamental belief of a Muslim is to believe in the oneness of Allah (the most high) by this you affirm that there is no other deity worthy of worship expect Allah alone and that the prophet Muhammad ﷺ is the final messenger. This is known as the testimony of faith also referred as the Shahadatayn/Kalimat al-Tawheed.
Tawheed is the foundation of belief, it is what all the other pillars and acts of worship stem from. If you look into the lives of the prophets you would see that their message was to bring people away from shirk (associating partners with Allah) and to enjoin the good and forbid the evil.
The scholars have identified Tawheed into three categories in the same way as you have categories like Aqeedah, Manhaj, Fiqh, etc:
Tawheed al-Ruboobiyyah (Oneness of divine Lordship): which includes belief in the existence of Allah. This means that you affirm that Allah is the one and only true lord. It means to single out Allah in His unique actions such as giving life and death, providing and sustaining His creation.
Tawheed al-Uloohiyyah (Oneness of the Divine nature) or Tawheed al-‘Ibaadah (Oneness of worship): which mean the same thing. It means that you single out Allah alone in all acts of worship, both inwardly and outwardly. Salah, dua, sacrificing a animal other acts of worship are to be directed towards Allah alone without any intermediaries.
Tawheed al-Asma’ wa’l-Sifaat (Oneness of the Divine names and attributes): It means to affirm Allah’s divine names and attributes that He has affirmed for Himself in the Qur’an or through the Prophetic Sunnah.
The Call Of Tawheed And It’s Categories By The Prophet Nooh (alayhis salaam/peace be upon him).
Allah sent Nooh to his people to call them to worship Him alone:
“Indeed, We sent Nooh (Noah) to his people and he said: ‘O my people! Worship Allaah! You have no other Ilaah (God) but Him. (Laa ilaaha ill Allaah: none has the right to be worshipped but Allaah.) Certainly, I fear for you the torment of a Great Day!’”
The people of Nooh used to worship idols, so they transgressed, rebelled and were arrogant:
“And they have said: ‘You shall not leave your gods, nor shall you leave Wadd, nor Suwaa‘, nor Yaghooth, nor Ya‘ooq nor Nasr’ (these are the names of their idols).”
The Prophet ﷺ informed us that:
“These idols were named after some righteous men among Nooh’s people. When these righteous men died, Shaytaan inspired the people to make statues of them, named after them. These statues were placed in their favourite meeting places as reminders of righteousness, and no one of that generation worshiped them. However, when that generation died off, the purpose of the statues was forgotten. The following generation from then on started to worship them.”
[Sahih Al-Bukhari (Eng. Trans.) vol.6, p.414-415, no.442]
The above informs us that the people of Nooh had an issue of Tawheed al-Uloohiyyah – they worshipped others beside Allah. This is a very similar pattern to the message of many other prophets. Whereas they came to stop people associating partners with Allah in worship.
Mankind affirms Tawheed al-Ruboobiyyah as it’s the natural disposition (fitrah) of a human being.
Ibn Qutaybah (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
What is meant by the words (of the hadith), “Every new born is born in a state of fitrah” refers to the covenant that Allah took from them when they were in the loins of their father Adam, “and made them testify concerning themselves (saying): ‘Am I not your Lord?’ They said: ‘Yes’” [Al-A‘raaf 7:172].
Therefore, Tawheed al-Ruboobiyyah has never been the issue, it’s the associating partners with Allah where shirk takes place. Shirk is being the opposite of Tawheed, it’s affirming partners with Allah in all aspects of Tawheed.
Prophet Nooh lived for around 1050 years, 950 of which he spent calling his people to worship Allah alone and to give up idol-worship.
As Allah says:
“And indeed We sent Nooh (Noah) to his people, and he stayed among them a thousand years minus fifty years.”
Even though the people witnessed a Prophet in Nooh (peace be upon him) they rejected his prophet-hood, they didn’t respond to his call nor take heed of his advice.
Rather the people in his society denied him as a prophet, accused him of lying and said that those who followed Nooh were those of the poor and weak understanding.
Allah says the following about this in the Quran:
“The chiefs who disbelieved among his people said: ‘We see you but a man like ourselves, nor do we see any followers of you but the lowest among us and they (too) followed you without thinking. And we do not see in you any merit above us, in fact we think you are liars’”
Yet despite all their abuse and false accusations against Nooh he continued to call his people, treating them kindly, calling them day and night but not many believed except for a few.
Most disbelieved in him and mocked him, they accused him of insanity and tried to stop him conveying the message of Allah. They threatened to stone him if he did not stop:
“They said: ‘If you cease not, O Nooh (Noah). you will surely be among those stoned (to death)’”
Even though most were against him Nooh, did not seize to stop in calling his people despite all the threats and warnings. He continued until he couldn’t bear their injustice, mockery and arrogance. It was then he turned towards Allah and made a supplication.
“He said: ‘O my Lord! Verily, I have called my people night and day (i.e. secretly and openly to accept the doctrine of Islamic Monotheism),
But all my calling added nothing but to (their) flight (from the truth).
And verily, every time I called unto them that You might forgive them, they thrust their fingers into their ears, covered themselves up with their garments, and persisted (in their refusal), and magnified themselves in pride.
Then verily, I called to them openly (aloud).
Then verily, I proclaimed to them in public, and I have appealed to them in private.
I said (to them): Ask forgiveness from your Lord, verily, He is Oft-Forgiving;
He will send rain to you in abundance,
And give you increase in wealth and children, and bestow on you gardens and bestow on you rivers.’ ”[Nooh 71:5-12]
When Nooh despaired of his people’s ever believing, they threatened to kill him and they persecuted him and those who believed with him, he had no choice but to pray against them. He said:
“My Lord! Leave not one of the disbelievers on the earth!
If You leave them, they will mislead Your slaves, and they will beget none but wicked disbelievers”
Allah answered his prayer and destroyed the people of Nooh by drowning them. He commanded Nooh to build a ship of salvation where he and those who believed can ride and be protected:
“And it was revealed to Nooh (Noah): ‘None of your people will believe except those who have believed already. So be not sad because of what they used to do.
And construct the ship under Our Eyes and with Our Revelation, and call not upon Me on behalf of those who did wrong; they are surely to be drowned’”
When Nooh built the ship the signs of the punishment began to appear, water starting springing from the ground and falling from the sky.
Allah commanded Nooh to take onto the ship one pair, male and female, of every living creature and animal, so that they might continue to survive. He also commanded him to take with him his family, except for those among them who disbelieved – who were one of his wives and one of his sons. And Allah also commanded him to take with him those who believed, who were few in number. Allah says :
“And he Nooh said: ‘Embark therein: in the Name of Allaah will be its (moving) course and its (resting) anchorage. Surely, my Lord is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.’
So the ship sailed with them amidst waves like mountains, and Nooh called out to his son, who had separated himself : ‘O my son! Embark with us and be not with the disbelievers.’
The son replied: ‘I will betake myself to some mountain, it will save me from the water.’ Nooh said: ‘This day there is no saviour from the Decree of Allaah except him on whom He has mercy.’ And waves came in between them, so he (the son) was among the drowned”
Then Nooh was seized with compassion for his son, so he asked his Lord to save him from destruction:
“And Nooh called upon his Lord and said, ‘O my Lord! Verily, my son is of my family! And certainly, Your Promise is true, and You are the Most Just of the judges.’
He said: ‘O Nooh! Surely, he is not of your family; verily, his work is unrighteous, so ask not of Me that of which you have no knowledge! I admonish you, lest you should be one of the ignorant’” [Hood 11:45-46]
Above Nooh felt compassionate towards his son and asked Allah to save him but this was rejected as his son was of the disbelievers.
It shows that blood relationships take no claim in Islam if they are upon kufr (disbelief). Hence Allah points out to Nooh that he’s not of your family as his work is of unrighteousness.
Another point to add here is that Tawheed is the most noble branch of knowledge. It was the key and essence of the call of the messengers as Allah says:
“Verily we have sent to every nation a messenger saying worship Allah and avoid the worship of false gods” (An-Nahl 16:36)
Therefore, if Tawheed is the best and most important aspect Islam it’s opposite which is shirk is the worst and the greatest sin in Islam. To the extent if one was to die upon shirk heaven is made haraam for him.
Hence Allah has decreed that the mushrikeen will abide forever in Hell and has told us that He will not forgive them, and He has forbidden Paradise to them.
“Verily, whosoever sets up partners (in worship) with Allaah, then Allaah has forbidden Paradise to him, and the Fire will be his abode. And for the Zaalimoon (polytheists and wrongdoers) there are no helpers”.
When Allah had destroyed the kuffar by drowning, He commanded the earth to swallow up the water and He commanded the sky to withhold its rain. Then the ship came to rest on Mount Joodi in Mosul. The matter was settled and the wrongdoers were destroyed:
“And it was said: ‘O earth! Swallow up your water, and O sky! Withhold (your rain).’ And the water was made to subside and the Decree (of Allah) was fulfilled (i.e. the destruction of the people of Nooh. And it (the ship) rested on (Mount) Judi, and it was said: ‘Away with the people who are Zalimoon (polytheists and wrongdoing)!’”
After the ship had come to rest, Allah commanded Nooh and those who were with him to disembark, encompassed with peace and blessings:
“It was said: ‘O Nooh ! Come down (from the ship) with peace from Us and blessings on you and on the people who are with you (and on some of their offspring), but (there will be other) people to whom We shall grant their pleasures (for a time), but in the end a painful torment will reach them from Us’”
Thus Allah helped Nooh and those who believed with him, and He destroyed those who disbelieved, and made them a lesson for mankind:
“And (remember) Nooh, when he cried (to Us) aforetime. We answered to his invocation and saved him and his family from the great distress.
We helped him against the people who denied Our Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.). Verily, they were a people given to evil. So We drowned them all”
Then Allah ordained Prophet-hood and the Book among the descendants of Nooh and Ibraheem (peace be upon them), as He says:
“And indeed, We sent Nooh (Noah) and Ibraaheem (Abraham), and placed in their offspring Prophethood and Scripture. And among them there are some who are guided; but many of them are Fasiqoon (rebellious, disobedient to Allaah)”
The reason for selecting the story of the Prophet Nooh (peace be upon him) is because he was among his people for 950 years and his message was always Tahweed in addition to many other lessons in his life.
The story of Prophet Nooh (peace be upon him) is a great reminder for us all to understand the importance of Tawheed. That it is the means of entering Jannah and that we are always careful of shirk which is the pathway to abide in Hell for eternity.
May Allah the most high accept this from us all and forgive any shortcomings. May Allah make us of those who live and die upon Tawheed, Ameen.