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Noah’s Ark – Another Viewpoint

58 The Review of Religions – June 2004 In a recent television programme a well known presenter discussed the Bible story of Noah’s Ark. the presenter travelled to the Mount Ararat in Eastern Turkey where the ancient Ark was supposed to have landed after the floods subsided. The discussion that followed the programme included some archaeologists and scientists. They discussed the story of the deluge and the building of a giant boat that saved Noah(as), his family and the pairs of animals of all kinds from drowning and ultimate destruc- tion. They doubted the occurrence of such a flood that could engulf the entire earth. Some even doubted the existence of a person named Noah and whether he could build a boat of the size of Titanic just with planks of wood. By a strange coincidence, despite their differences, that three major religions of the world – Judaism, Christianity and Islam believe in the existence of a prophet of God who was called Noah( a s ). They all believe that he built an Ark. They all believe in an enormous flood that played havoc but that Noah( a s ) and his companions escaped in their Ark. The prophet Noah( a s ) is mentioned in at least eight chapters of the Muslim scripture – the Qur’ a n1. One chapter is even named ‘Noah’. The story in the Qur’an is a simple one. It tells us that God chose a man called Noah to convey His message to the people. The message was basically to stop worshipping idols and return to the One Tr u e God and follow the revealed guidance. Some of his people who were considered to be rather lowly accepted his message whereas all the others rejected it. Those who rejected the message were warned about the dire consequences of rejection. A destructive flood was predicted that would destroy the non- Noah’s Ark – Another Viewpoint By Latif Qureshi 59 Noah’s Ark – Another Viewpoint The Review of Religions – June 2004 believers. Those who believed in the message of Noah ( a s ) w e r e promised safety. They were commanded to build an Ark. They were mocked by their fellow men while they were busy building the Ark. Eventually the appointed time did come and the prediction of the prophet Noah( a s ) was proved to be correct. He, his family and believers along with their needed animal escaped the destruction that befell all others. The Holy Qur’an states: And We sent Noah to his people, and he said, ‘Truly I am a plain Warner to you that you worship none but Allah. Indeed I fear for you the punishment of a grievous day. ’ The chiefs of his people, who disbelieved, replied, ‘We see in thee nothing but a man like ourselves, and we see that none have followed thee but those who, to all outward appearance, are the meanest of us. And we do not see in you any superiority over us; nay, we believe you to be liars. ( C h . 11 : V s . 2 6 – 2 8 ) Till, when Our command came and the fountains of the earth gushed forth, We said, ‘Embark therein two of every kind, male and female, and thy family, except those against whom the word has already gone forth, and those who believe.’ And there did not believe and live with him except a few. And he said, ‘Embark therein. In the name of Allah be its course and its mooring. My Lord is a s s u redly Most Forg i v i n g , Merciful.’ And it moved along with them on waves like mountains. And Noah cried unto his son, while he was keeping apart, ‘O my son, embark with us and be not with the disbelievers.’ He replied, ‘I shall soon betake myself to a mountain which will shelter me from the water.’ He said, ‘There is no shelter for anyone this day, f rom the decree of Allah, excepting those to whom He shows mercy.’ And the wave came in between the two; so he was among the drowned. And it was said, ‘O earth, 60 Noah’s Ark – Another Viewpoint The Review of Religions – June 2004 swallow thy water, and O sky, cease raining.’ And the water was made to subside and the matter was ended. And the Ark came to rest on al-Judi. And it was said, ‘Cursed be the wrongdoing people.’ (Ch.11: Vs.41-45) Unlike the Holy Bible, the Holy Qur’an does not specify that the male and female of all species were accommodated in the Ark nor does it make any exaggerated claim about the size of the Ark. The Holy Qur’an, nevertheless, points to the lesson that mankind must learn from this deluge that those who do not believe in the message of a Warner, have to face the consequence of their disbelief and the punishment about which they had been warned soon overtakes them. Nothing is left of them. So although others may doubt that such prophets ever existed, history loses all trace of such people to whom they were sent. Although this may seem a story and every one has a right to question its truth, there is one thing about it that makes it seem genuine. This story is repeated time and again. Every time when a people or nation becomes corrupted a man is appointed by God to guide them into the right path. But initially, very few people accept the message delivered by him. Majority of those who do accept him are usually young, poor and lowly. His sincerity and sanity is always questioned. He and his followers are always tortured and ridiculed. His efforts are looked upon with suspicion. The powerful men of the land oppose him with all their might. Yet these appointed messengers are always successful. Their message slowly gains wide acceptance and those opposed to them are eventually overcome and destroyed. After Noah ( a s ) similar events occurred at the time of A b r a h a m( a s ). Moses ( a s ), Jesus C h r i s t( a s ) and the Prophet Muhammad(sa) of Islam. This story has a special lesson for 61 Noah’s Ark – Another Viewpoint The Review of Religions – June 2004 our age because a similar person appeared less than a hundred years ago in the spirit of all the prophets of God2. He was a devout follower of the Holy Prophet of Islam ( s a ) and also claimed to be a prophet of God. He said that he was the Promised M e s s i a h( a s ) and the reformer awaited by all the major religions of the world. He invited the whole mankind to the ways of the God. True to the old tradition only a few people – young, poor and lowly accepted his message initially. He was however, given the glad tiding that his message would reach and be accepted in the far corners of the earth. He appeared as a witness of the bounty of God on the human race because the Mighty God revealed Himself to mankind through repeated revelations to him. He became a bearer of glad tidings for the human race because those who accepted his message were promised ultimate s u c c e s s . He was also a warner because he warned the human race about dire calamities that awaited them if they rejected him. He also built an Ark. This time it was in the shape of a book and he named it ‘Noah’s Ark’3. This book contains the teachings of the Qur’an by following which all the human race can achieve salvation. At the time of the writing of this book, the Indian subcontinent was about to descent in the grip of a severe pestilence in the form of a plague epidemic. This epidemic played havoc in India and claimed more than 10 million lives. However, there was no trace of the plague when the prophecy of a severe pestilence was recorded in the Promised Messiah’s( a s ) B r a h e e n Ahmadiyya. He proclaimed that any person within his four walls and following the teachings in his book would not die from plague. It appeared that following these teachings was a more effective protection against the plague epidemic compared to the inoculation offered by the British Indian government of the time. People in large number 62 Noah’s Ark – Another Viewpoint The Review of Religions – June 2004 joined his community during the time of the epidemic and escaped death. He also predicted many other important events including the world wars and the fall of the Russian empire. His name was Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) and like all other prophets of God, he was a human being. He, finally at an age of 73 years, passed away in 1908 leaving behind a thriving community that carries on his mission of saving the mankind to this day. His message has already reached the far corners of earth and circulates round the globe twenty-four hours a day through a worldwide television network. He is the Noah of our age. We do not need to look for his Ark at the heights of Mount Ararat. We also do not need the help of any archaeologists or scientist to discover him. We only need a guiding vision and a clear conscience to recognise him. Bibliography: • ‘The Holy Qur’ a n ’ : Chapters:3 verse 36, 7 verses 60-65, 10:72-74, 11 : 2 6 – 5 0 , 23:24-30, 26:106-123, 54:10- 16 and 71:2-29. • Ahmad, The Guided One: by Iain Adamson. • Kishtie Nuh (Urdu) by Ahmad, Mirza Ghulam.

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