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 timing of the flood, as recorded in the Koran, was set to correspond with the peak of Noah's exasperation for the taunts and jeers, and ultimate rejection, by his fellow man.
"And so he called unto his Lord, saying, 'I am vanquished [they prevail against me]; do Thou [come thou therefore to] succour me!' Then We opened the gates of heaven unto water torrential, and made the earth to gush [break forth] with fountains, and the waters met for a matter decreed [settled decree]." (Koran 54:10-12)However, in the Jewish story we here of no complaints by Noah Also, the timing of the building of the ark and the coming of the flood was on God's timetable not Noah's. We read that simply, one day, God came to Noah and said, "Enter the ark, you and all your household, for you alone I have seen to be righteous before Me in this time." (Genesis 7:1)
The Koran also records how the judgment of the flood came upon the people because they failed to believe Noah.
"But they cried [treated] him lies [as a liar]; so We delivered him, and those with him, in the Ark, and We drowned those who cried lies to Our signs [charged our signs with falsehood]; assuredly they were a blind people." (Koran 7:62)
"And recite to them the story of Noah when he said to his people, 'My people, if my standing here [my abode with you] is grievous to you and my reminding you of the signs of God, in God have I put my trust; so resolve on your affair, with your associates [false gods], then let not your affair be a worry to you, but make decision unto me, and respite me not. Then if you turn your backs, I have not asked you for any wage [reward]; my wage [reward] falls only on God, and I have been commanded to be of those that surrender [of the Muslims].' But they cried him lies [treated him as a liar]; so We delivered [rescued] him, and those with him, in the Ark, and We appointed them as viceroys [survive the others], and We drowned those who cried lies to Our signs [charged our signs with falsehood]; then behold how was the end of them that were warned!" (Koran 10:72-74)
However, the Jewish scriptures instruct us that it was because of the immensity of the people's sins that the flood came. The judgment for the sin of mankind came even before the threat of a flood, or the command to build an ark, was given. "Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. The Lord said, 'I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.'" (Genesis 6:5-8) This was before God approached Noah to tell him what he was going to do. There judgment and punishment had nothing to do with how they treated, and what they thought of, Noah.
In addition to their punishment for not believing Noah, the Koran records that they were also drowned so that they could not later tempt Noah to sin after he began to resettle the Earth.
"And Noah said, 'My Lord, leave not upon the earth of the unbelievers [infidels] even one [single family]. Surely, if Thou leavest them, they will lead Thy servants astray, and will beget none but unbelieving libertines [sinners, infidels]." (Koran 71:27-29)
No such conversation is recorded in the Jewish scriptures and it is unbecoming of a true and loving God to destroy one person because of the weakness of another. No where else do we see God slaying someone for the weakness of another towards sin. Even when the Devil fell, God did not destroy him but let him live until the end of time, even though He knew of the weakness of mankind.
In recording who was saved in the ark, the Koran records that Noah's son and wife were not saved and that they perished in the flood.
"and Noah called to his son, who was standing apart, 'Embark with us, my son, and be thou not with the unbelievers!' He said, 'I will take refuge in a mountain, that shall defend me from the water.' Said he, 'Today there is no defender from God's command but for him on whom He has mercy.' And the waves came between them, and he was among the drowned." (Koran 11:44-45)
"God has struck a similitude [example] for the unbelievers -- the wife of Noah, and the wife of Lot; for they were under two of Our righteous servants, but they betrayed them, so they [their husbands] availed them nothing whatsoever against God; so it was said, 'Enter, you two, the Fire with those who enter.'" (Koran 66:10)
We know that Noah had three sons."Noah was five hundred years old, and Noah became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth." (Genesis 5:32) We know that Noah, his wife, his sons, and his sons' wives all entered the ark. "Then Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons' wives with him entered the ark because of the water of the flood." (Genesis 7:7) Peter also records for us the total number of people who were saved in the ark. "in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water." (1 Peter 3:20-21) Eight people were saved and they include Noah's son (sons) and his wife. Here the Koran is flatly wrong in its assertion and retelling of this story.
Finally, what is most telling about Muhammad's recounting of this story is who is at the center of the story.
"And the people of Noah, when they cried lies to the Messengers [treated their Apostles as imposters], We drowned them, and made them to be a sign to mankind" (Koran 25:39)
At the center of Muhammad's story we find not God and His righteousness and judgment, not the people and their wanton sin, and not the promise of God to spare future generations. Rather we find Noah. Man is at the center of the story. A man that Muhammad describes as himself; one spoken to by God, one unbelieved and threatened by the people, and one whom God defends by destroying his adversaries. The story is told, not to instruct the people, but to bolster Muhammad's position and to warn the people against breaking ranks with Muhammad. In the end, it is a story that serves only to benefit Muhammad.
More to come...