This is a continuation of a multi-post article. You can read the first post here. You can also find the previous post here. This is also part of a larger series called "The Koran from a Christian perspective." You can find other posts in this series here.The Koran introduces Noah to us saying,
"Indeed, We sent Noah to his people, and he tarried among them a thousand years, all but fifty; so the Flood seized them, while they were evildoers." (Koran 29:13)While Noah did live to be nine hundred and fifty years old, only six hundred of those years did he live with the rest of mankind before they were destroyed in the flood. "Now Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of water came upon the earth... Noah lived three hundred and fifty years after the flood. So all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years, and he died." (Genesis 7:6, 9:28-29) While it is possible that the Koran meant his total life span was nine hundred and fifty years, the syntax of the sentence seems to indicate he lived that long before the flood.
Noah, prior to the flood, was a preacher of righteousness. The Koran records,
"He said, 'O my people, I am unto you a clear [plain-spoken] warner, saying, "Serve God, and fear Him, and obey you me, and He will forgive you your sins" (Koran 71:2-4)We have no account, in the Jewish scriptures, of what Noah preached. In fact, Peter alone tells us he was a preacher. "[God] did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly." (2 Peter 2:5) What is interesting in the Koranic scripture is the demand by Noah to be believed and obeyed as a prerequisite to the forgiveness of sins. No where in the Jewish scripture do we see a true prophet of God demanding obedience to themselves as proof of a person's fidelity towards God. However, in the Koran, we see this claim over and over again, as if Muhammad is trying to ensure the obedience of the people to himself by claiming that all the prophets before him required the same fealty. The reality is that the prophets of the Jewish scriptures saw themselves as messengers of God and sought to being people into obedience to God not to themselves.
The Koran depicts Noah as being vengeful of those who mocked him during the time it took him to build the ark.
"So he was making the Ark; and whenever a council of his people passed by him they scoffed [laughed] at him, He said, 'If you scoff [laugh] at us, we shall surely scoff [laugh] at you.’" (Koran 11:40)However, we have no evidence from the scriptures that Noah took any offence at the jeers and mocking of those who did not believe, nor that he was expectant of, or looked forward to, their punishment for their unbelief. In fact, we have no recorded account of Noah speaking to the people or the people responding to Noah at all. There is no recorded evidence of the people mocking or ridiculing Noah for his obedience to God. Furthermore, it would be unseemly for a preacher of righteousness to delight in the knowledge that, in the end, it would be him scoffing at them and their misfortune.
The Koran makes Noah a preacher before he started building the ark. The decision to build the ark came latter when Noah complained that the people did not believe him and cried "Lies!" to his message. The ark was a way for Noah to escape and to be delivered from the unbelievers and their threats.
"My Lord, my people have cried me lies [treat me as a liar], so give true deliverance [decision] between me and them, and deliver [rescue] me and the believers [faithful] that are with me. So We delivered [saved] him, and those with him, in the laden ship, then afterwards We drowned the rest." (Koran 26:117-120)
"He said, 'O my Lord, help me, for that they cry me lies [against their charge of imposture].' Then We said [revealed] to him, 'Make thou the Ark under Our eyes and as We reveal, and then, when Our command comes and the Oven boils [surface of the earth boils up], insert [carry] in it two of every kind and thy, family -- except for him against whom the word already [sentence] has been spoken; and address [plead with] Me not concerning those who have done evil; they shall be drowned." (Koran 23:26-28)However, the scripture makes clear that judgment came upon the people, not because they disbelieved Noah, but because they were evil and had filled their land with violence. The building of the ark was not an after thought when the people started crying "Lies!" to Noah, but was part of the plan from the beginning as a means of saving the remnant of the righteous on Earth. "Then God said to Noah, 'The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth. Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood; you shall make the ark with rooms, and shall cover it inside and out with pitch." (Genesis 6:13-15)
Repeatedly, through Muhammad's retelling of Jewish stories, especially those of the prophets, we see the themes of the people crying "Lies!" to the prophet's message and God punishing them for their unbelief. In fact, this often takes the center stage of the story. It is as if Muhammad is trying to prove he is a prophet because of all the people who were crying "Lies!" to his message, just like in the past, as well as trying to scare the people into obedience to him by the threat of punishment which he claims has always come upon those who disbelieved the prophets.
It is also interesting that, in Muhammad's story, God tells Noah not to pray for the lost nor to bring their plight before God. God was done with them, He had no further use or care for them, and He didn't want to hear about them or be bothered with them any longer. Noah was to leave them to their judgment and not to pity them, show them any compassion, or plead for their forgiveness before God. This is quite a different God from the God of David who said, "For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon You." (Psalms 86:5)
More to come...