Was the Flood in the time of Sayyiduna Nuh alayhis salaam a global event?

flood of nuh

Question:

Was the Flood in the time of Sayyiduna Nuh alayhis salaam a global event?

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

Pondering over the geographical location of such a catastrophic event is of less concern.  A Muslim should rather be concerned of the causes and the lessons learned from such events.

Allah Ta’ālā describes the scene at the time of the flood of Nūh ʿalayhis salām in the following manner:

Then We opened the gates of the heaven with rain pouring down.  And caused the earth to burst with springs, and the waters met for a matter already predestined.  And We carried him on a [construction of] planks and nails, Sailing under Our observation as reward for he who had been denied.  And We left it as a sign, so is there any who will remember?  And how [severe] were My punishment and warning.  And We have certainly made the Qur’an easy for remembrance, so is there any who will remember?(Qur’ān 54:11-17)

What brought about such a punishment from Allah Ta’ālā? Allah Taʿālā answers this Himself:

So each We seized for his sin; and among them were those upon whom We sent a storm of stones, and among them were those who were seized by the blast [from the sky], and among them were those whom We caused the earth to swallow, and among them were those whom We drowned. And Allah would not have wronged them, but it was they who were wronging themselves. (Qur’ān 29:40)

Oppression, vice and wrongdoings are the primary causes of such catastrophes.  The entire world is plunged into misery from East to West because of the gross tyrannies and evil occurring on land.  A Muslim should do all he can in his capacity to curb evil and restore justice and virtue on Earth.

Nevertheless, the Qur’ān has not decisively stated the whereabouts of the flood.  Thus, there is a difference of opinion among the exegetes (Mufassirūn).  Ibn Kathīr[1] raḥimahullah was of the opinion that the flood was a global catastrophic event.  While Ibn ʿAṭiyyah[2] raḥimahullah believed it was rather a regional catastrophic event.

It is also possible that the event occurred on a Supercontinent with the only humans being the people of Nūh ʿalayhis salām.  Hence, not engulfing the entire Earth but where life was found.[3]

And Allah Ta’ālā Knows Best

Mufti Faraz Adam al-Mahmudi,
www.darulfiqh.com

 

Concurred by,
Mufti Faisal ibn Abdul Hameed al-Mahmudi
www.fatwa.ca

 


[1]  وَقَوْلُهُ: {وَهِيَ تَجْرِي بِهِمْ فِي مَوْجٍ كَالْجِبَالِ} أَيِ: السَّفِينَةُ سَائِرَةٌ بِهِمْ عَلَى وَجْهِ الْمَاءِ، الَّذِي قَدْ طَبَّق جَمِيعَ الْأَرْضِ(تفسير ابن كثير ج 4 ص 323 دار طيبة)

[2]  وقوله فَكَذَّبُوهُ الآية، إخبار من الله عز وجل عن حال قوم نوح المكذبين له، وفي ضمن ذلك الإخبار توعد للكفار بمحمد صلى الله عليه وسلم وضرب المثال لهم، أي أنتم بحال هؤلاء من التكذيب فسيكونون بحالهم من النقمة والتعذيب، والْفُلْكِ: السفينة، والمفسرون وأهل الآثار مجمعون على أن سفينة نوح كانت واحدة، والْفُلْكِ لفظ الواحد منه ولفظ الجمع مستو وليس به وقد مضى شرح هذا في الأعراف، وخَلائِفَ حمع خليفة، وقوله فَانْظُرْ مخاطبة للنبي صلى الله عليه وسلم يشاركه في معناها جميع الخلق، وفي هذه الآية أنه أغرق جميع من كذب بآيات الله التي جاء بها نوح، وهي مقتضية أيضا أنه أنذرهم فكانوا منذرين، فلو كانوا جميع أهل الأرض كما قال بعض الناس لاستوى نوح ومحمد صلى الله عليه وسلم في البعث إلى أهل الأرض، ويرد ذلك قول النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم: «أعطيت خمسا لم يعطهن أحد قبلي» الحديث. ويترجح بهذا النظر أن بعثة نوح والغرق إنما كان في أهل صقع لا في أهل جميع الأرض. (تفسير ابن عطية ج 3 ص 133 دار الكتب)

[3] http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/earth/surface_and_interior/supercontinent

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