Is it true that during the great flood in the time of Prophet Noah AS, all mankind is destroyed?
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
The great flood during the time of Prophet Noah AS has been detailed clearly in the Quran, where all humans and animals are destroyed with the exception of humans and animals who are on board in Prophet Noah’s ark and are saved from the flood by Allah SWT.
There are a few surahs that explained this incident. Here, we include several narrations of this incident in the Quran:
First: In Surah al-Syu’aara, Allah SWT states:
فَأَنجَيۡنَٰهُ وَمَن مَّعَهُۥ فِي ٱلۡفُلۡكِ ٱلۡمَشۡحُونِ ١١٩ ثُمَّ أَغۡرَقۡنَا بَعۡدُ ٱلۡبَاقِينَ 120
“So, We saved him and those with him in the laden ship. Then We drowned thereafter the remaining ones.”
Surah al-Syu’aara (119-120)
Second: In Surah Hud. Allah SWT states:
حَتَّىٰٓ إِذَا جَآءَ أَمۡرُنَا وَفَارَ ٱلتَّنُّورُ قُلۡنَا ٱحۡمِلۡ فِيهَا مِن كُلّٖ زَوۡجَيۡنِ ٱثۡنَيۡنِ وَأَهۡلَكَ إِلَّا مَن سَبَقَ عَلَيۡهِ ٱلۡقَوۡلُ وَمَنۡ ءَامَنَۚ وَمَآ ءَامَنَ مَعَهُۥٓ إِلَّا قَلِيل
“[So it was], until when Our command came and the oven overflowed, We said, "Load upon the ship of each [creature] two mates and your family, except those about whom the word has preceded, and [include] whoever has believed." But none had believed with him, except a few.”
Surah Hud (40)
Third: In Surah Yunus. Allah SWT states:
فَكَذَّبُوهُ فَنَجَّيۡنَٰهُ وَمَن مَّعَهُۥ فِي ٱلۡفُلۡكِ وَجَعَلۡنَٰهُمۡ خَلَٰٓئِفَ وَأَغۡرَقۡنَا ٱلَّذِينَ كَذَّبُواْ بَِٔايَٰتِنَاۖ فَٱنظُرۡ كَيۡفَ كَانَ عَٰقِبَةُ ٱلۡمُنذَرِينَ
“And they denied him, so We saved him and those with him in the ship and made them successors, and We drowned those who denied Our signs. Then see how was the end of those who were warned.”
Surah Yunus (73)
Fourth: In Surah al-Saffaat. Allah SWT states:
وَجَعَلۡنَا ذُرِّيَّتَهُۥ هُمُ ٱلۡبَاقِينَ ٧٧ وَتَرَكۡنَا عَلَيۡهِ فِي ٱلۡأٓخِرِينَ ٧٨ سَلَٰمٌ عَلَىٰ نُوحٖ فِي ٱلۡعَٰلَمِينَ ٧٩ إِنَّا كَذَٰلِكَ نَجۡزِي ٱلۡمُحۡسِنِينَ ٨٠ إِنَّهُۥ مِنۡ عِبَادِنَا ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ ٨١
“And We made his descendants those remaining [on the earth]. And left for him [favorable mention] among later generations: "Peace upon Noah among the worlds." Indeed, We thus reward the doers of good. Indeed, he was of Our believing servants.”
Surah al-Saffaat (77-81)
We include the following commentaries of the mufassirun (scholars in tafseer) for the above verses of the Quran:
- Al-Imam Ibn Kathir (w.774H) Rahimahullah explained the following in his commentaries: “Ali bin Abi Talhah narrated from Ibn Abbas R.Anhuma: “Nothing remains after the great flood except the offspring of the Prophet Noah AS.” (See Tafsir Al-Quran Al-‘Azhim. Dar al-Taybah, 7/22)
- The same is stated by Qatadah Rahimahullah: “All of mankind is from the offspring of the Prophet Noah AS.” (See Tafsir Al-Quran Al-‘Azhim. Dar al-Taybah, 7/22)
- The followers of the Prophet Noah AS did not have any ancestry of their own (died of the flood or are not remained). The only human descendants after the great flood is the children of the Prophet Noah AS from his children; Saam, Haam and Yaafith. (See Ibn Kathir. Al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah. Dar al-Ihya’ al-Turath al-’Arabi, 1/130)
- Ibn ‘Asyour Rahimahullah wrote the commentaries of the above verses stating: “Dhomir (pronoun) for the word هُمُ الْبَاقِينَ is in the form of al-Hasr (specification of something), which means there is nothing that remains among humans except those Allah SWT has saved along with the Prophet Noah in his ark and then they give birth to mankind today. Furthermore, the only offspring of Adam left are the people saved in the Prophet Noah AS’s ark and none of them give birth with the exception of the three children of the Prophet Noah AS (Saam, Haam and Yaafith).” (See Al-Tahrir wa al-Tanwir. Al-Dar al-Tunisiyyah li al-Nashr, 23/47)
- Al-‘Allamah al-Syeikh al-Amin al-Syanqiti Rahimahullah also stated in his commentaries that the children together with the Prophet Noah AS passed away with the exception of the offspring of Prophet Noah AS. (See Adhwa’ al-Bayan, 3/13)
As for the duration of the great flood, through our research, we found that it happened for 150 days. We include the narration from al-Imam Ibn Kathir (w.774H) Rahimahullah in his book al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah: “‘Ilba’ bin Ahmar narrated from Ikrimah, while he narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas R.Anhuma, he said: The people together with Noah in his ark are 80 men with their families and they are on board for 150 days…”
The same is stated by Qatadah Rahimahullah where he said: “They aboard the ark on the tenth day of Rejab and set sail for 150 days and anchored on mount al-Judiyy for a month. They finally disembark the ark on the tenth day of Muharram and Ibn Jarir al-Tabari narrated by narration which is attributed to the Prophet PBUH (marfu’) that they were fasting at the time.” (See al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah. Dar Hajr, 1/272-273)
Regarding the issue of the destruction of mankind, some scholars hold the opinion that the great flood did not affect all mankind, which means not all humans and animals are affected by the flood. However, this opinion is general (umum) in compared to the majority of the scholars (jumhur), in which they referred to evidences which are more specific (khusus). They (the minority opinion) only referred to a general verse of the Quran that states:
وَمَا كُنَّا مُعَذِّبِينَ حَتَّىٰ نَبۡعَثَ رَسُولا
“And never would We punish until We sent a messenger.”
Surah al-Isra’ (15)
According to the above discussion, in our opinion the great flood in the time of Prophet Noah AS destroyed everyone with the exception of the followers of the Prophet Noah AS in his ark.
However, this is not the matter that we should really focused on. We should take lessons from the punishment of Allah SWT towards people who disobey the messenger that has bent sent to them. The wisdom from this incident is for us to uphold and obey everything that the prophets have taught especially following their commandments and avoiding their prohibitions.
May Allah SWT bless us with guidance in our lives and we pray that every one of us will be able to receive mardhatillah. Amin.