The Story of Nuh and His Conversation with His People

Allah, the Exalted, informs about Prophet Nuh. He was the first Messenger whom Allah sent to the people of the earth who were polytheists involved in worshipping idols. Allah mentions that he (Nuh) said to his people,

﴿إِنَّى لَكُمْ نَذِيرٌ مُّبِينٌ﴾

(I have come to you as a plain warner.) meaning, to openly warn you against facing Allah's punishment if you continue worshipping other than Allah. Thus, Nuh said,

﴿أَن لاَّ تَعْبُدُواْ إِلاَّ اللَّهَ﴾

(That you worship none but Allah;) This can also be seen in his statement,

﴿إِنِّى أَخَافُ عَلَيْكُمْ عَذَابَ يَوْمٍ أَلِيمٍ﴾

(surely, I fear for you the torment of a painful Day.) This means, "If you all continue doing this, then Allah will punish you with a severe punishment in the Hereafter.'' Then Allah says,

﴿فَقَالَ الْمَلأُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ مِن قِوْمِهِ﴾

(The chiefs who disbelieved among his people said;) The word `chiefs' (Al-Mala'u) here means the leaders and the heads of the disbelievers. They said,

﴿مَا نَرَاكَ إِلاَّ بَشَرًا مِّثْلَنَا﴾

(We see you but a man like ourselves,) This means, "You are not an angel. You are only a human being, so how can revelation come to you over us We do not see anyone following you except the lowliest people among us, like the merchants, weavers and similar people. No people of nobility, or rulers among us follow you. These people who follow you are not known for their intelligence, wit, or sharp thinking. Rather, you merely invited them (to this Islam) and they responded to your call and followed you (ignorantly).'' This is the meaning of their statement,

﴿وَمَا نَرَاكَ اتَّبَعَكَ إِلاَّ الَّذِينَ هُمْ أَرَاذِلُنَا بَادِىَ الرَّأْى﴾

(nor do we see any follow you but the meanest among us and they (too) followed you without thinking.) The statement, "without thinking,'' means that they merely followed the first thing that came to their minds. Concerning the statement,

﴿وَمَا نَرَى لَكُمْ عَلَيْنَا مِن فَضْلٍ﴾

(And we do not see in you any merit above us, in fact we think you are liars.) In this they are saying, "We do not see that you ﴿and your followers﴾ have any virtuous status above us in your physical appearance, your character, your provisions, or your condition, since you accepted this (new) religion of yours.''

﴿بَلْ نَظُنُّكُمْ كَـذِبِينَ﴾

s(in fact we think you are liars. ) This means, "We think you are lying about that which you are claiming for yourselves of righteousness, piety, worship and happiness in the abode of the Hereafter when you arrive there.'' This was the response of the disbelievers to Nuh and his followers. This is a proof of their ignorance and their deficiency in knowledge and intelligence. For verily, the truth is not to be rejected because of the lowly status of those who follow it. Verily, the truth is correct in itself, regardless of whether its followers are of low status, or nobility. Actually, the reality concerning which there is no doubt, is that the followers of the truth are the noble ones, even though they may be poor. On the other hand, those who reject the truth are the lowly wretches, even though they may be wealthy. Thus, we see that usually the weakest of people are the ones who follow the truth, while the nobility and high-class people usually are opposed to the truth. This is as Allah says,

﴿وَكَذَلِكَ مَآ أَرْسَلْنَا مِن قَبْلِكَ فِى قَرْيَةٍ مِّن نَّذِيرٍ إِلاَّ قَالَ مُتْرَفُوهَآ إِنَّا وَجَدْنَآ ءَابَآءَنَا عَلَى أُمَّةٍ وَإِنَّا عَلَى ءَاثَـرِهِم مُّقْتَدُونَ ﴾

(And similarly, We sent not a warner before you to any town (people) but the luxurious ones among them said: "We found our fathers following a cerain way and religion, and we will indeed follow their footsteps.'')﴿43:23﴾ When Heraclius, the emperor of Rome, asked Abu Sufyan Sakhr bin Harb about the qualities of the Prophet , he said to him, "Are his followers the noble people, or the weak'' Abu Sufyan said, "They are the weakest of them.'' Then Heraclius said, "They (weak ones) are the followers of the Messengers.'' Concerning their statement,

﴿بَادِىَ الرَّأْى﴾

(without thinking. ) In reality this is not objectionable, or something derogatory, because the truth when it is made clear, does not leave room for second-guessing, or excessive thinking. Rather, it is mandatory that it should be followed and this is the condition of every pious, intelligent person. No one continues doubtfully pondering the truth (after it is made clear) except one who is ignorant and excessively critical. The Messengers - Allah's peace and blessings be upon them all - only delivered what was obvious and clear. Concerning Allah's statement,

﴿وَمَا نَرَى لَكُمْ عَلَيْنَا مِن فَضْلٍ﴾

(And we do not see in you any merit above us,) They did not see this (the virtue of accepting Islam) because they were blind from the truth. They could not see, nor could they hear. Rather, they were wavering in their skepticism. They were wandering blindly in the darknesses of their ignorance. They, in reality, were the slanderers and liars, lowly and despicable. Therefore, in the Hereafter they will be the greatest losers.

﴿قَالَ يقَوْمِ أَرَأَيْتُمْ إِن كُنتُ عَلَى بَيِّنَةٍ مِّن رَّبِّى وَءاتَانِى رَحْمَةً مِّنْ عِندِهِ فَعُمِّيَتْ عَلَيْكُمْ أَنُلْزِمُكُمُوهَا وَأَنتُمْ لَهَا كَـرِهُونَ ﴾

(28. He said: "O my people! Tell me, if I have a clear proof from my Lord, and a mercy (prophethood) has come to me from Him, but that (mercy) has been obscured from your sight. Shall we compel you (to accept) it when you have a strong hatred for it)