English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran (2010)
by Maulana Muhammad Ali
Chapter 11: Hud — Hud (Revealed at Makkah: 10 sections, 123 verses)
Section 4 (Verses 11:36–11:49): History of Noah
وَ اُوۡحِیَ اِلٰی نُوۡحٍ اَنَّہٗ لَنۡ یُّؤۡمِنَ مِنۡ قَوۡمِکَ اِلَّا مَنۡ قَدۡ اٰمَنَ فَلَا تَبۡتَئِسۡ بِمَا کَانُوۡا یَفۡعَلُوۡنَ ﴿ۚۖ۳۶﴾
وَ اصۡنَعِ الۡفُلۡکَ بِاَعۡیُنِنَا وَ وَحۡیِنَا وَ لَا تُخَاطِبۡنِیۡ فِی الَّذِیۡنَ ظَلَمُوۡا ۚ اِنَّہُمۡ مُّغۡرَقُوۡنَ ﴿۳۷﴾
11:37 and make the ark under Our eyes and Our revelation, and do not speak to Me on behalf of those who are unjust. Surely they will be drowned.
وَ یَصۡنَعُ الۡفُلۡکَ ۟ وَ کُلَّمَا مَرَّ عَلَیۡہِ مَلَاٌ مِّنۡ قَوۡمِہٖ سَخِرُوۡا مِنۡہُ ؕ قَالَ اِنۡ تَسۡخَرُوۡا مِنَّا فَاِنَّا نَسۡخَرُ مِنۡکُمۡ کَمَا تَسۡخَرُوۡنَ ﴿ؕ۳۸﴾
11:38 And he began to make the ark. And whenever the chiefs of his people passed by him, they laughed at him. He said: If you laugh at us, surely we, too, laugh at you as you laugh (at us).1
فَسَوۡفَ تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ ۙ مَنۡ یَّاۡتِیۡہِ عَذَابٌ یُّخۡزِیۡہِ وَ یَحِلُّ عَلَیۡہِ عَذَابٌ مُّقِیۡمٌ ﴿۳۹﴾
11:39 So you shall know who it is on whom will come a punishment which will disgrace him, and on whom a lasting punishment will fall.
حَتّٰۤی اِذَا جَآءَ اَمۡرُنَا وَ فَارَ التَّنُّوۡرُ ۙ قُلۡنَا احۡمِلۡ فِیۡہَا مِنۡ کُلٍّ زَوۡجَیۡنِ اثۡنَیۡنِ وَ اَہۡلَکَ اِلَّا مَنۡ سَبَقَ عَلَیۡہِ الۡقَوۡلُ وَ مَنۡ اٰمَنَ ؕ وَ مَاۤ اٰمَنَ مَعَہٗۤ اِلَّا قَلِیۡلٌ ﴿۴۰﴾
11:40 At length when Our command came and water gushed forth from the valley,2 We said: Carry in it two of all things, a pair,3 and your own family — except those against whom the word has already gone forth — and those who believe. And only a few believed with him.
وَ قَالَ ارۡکَبُوۡا فِیۡہَا بِسۡمِ اللّٰہِ مَجۡؔرٖىہَا وَ مُرۡسٰىہَا ؕ اِنَّ رَبِّیۡ لَغَفُوۡرٌ رَّحِیۡمٌ ﴿۴۱﴾
11:41 And he said: Embark in it, in the name of Allah be its sailing and its anchoring. Surely my Lord is Forgiving, Merciful.
وَ ہِیَ تَجۡرِیۡ بِہِمۡ فِیۡ مَوۡجٍ کَالۡجِبَالِ ۟ وَ نَادٰی نُوۡحُۨ ابۡنَہٗ وَ کَانَ فِیۡ مَعۡزِلٍ یّٰـبُنَیَّ ارۡکَبۡ مَّعَنَا وَ لَا تَکُنۡ مَّعَ الۡکٰفِرِیۡنَ ﴿۴۲﴾
11:42 And it moved on with them amid waves like mountains.4 And Noah called out to his son, who was apart: My son, embark with us and do not be with the disbelievers.
قَالَ سَاٰوِیۡۤ اِلٰی جَبَلٍ یَّعۡصِمُنِیۡ مِنَ الۡمَآءِ ؕ قَالَ لَا عَاصِمَ الۡیَوۡمَ مِنۡ اَمۡرِ اللّٰہِ اِلَّا مَنۡ رَّحِمَ ۚ وَ حَالَ بَیۡنَہُمَا الۡمَوۡجُ فَکَانَ مِنَ الۡمُغۡرَقِیۡنَ ﴿۴۳﴾
11:43 He said: I will take refuge on a mountain that will save me from the water. He said: There is none safe today from Allah’s command, but he on whom He has mercy. And a wave intervened between them, so he was among the drowned.
وَ قِیۡلَ یٰۤاَرۡضُ ابۡلَعِیۡ مَآءَکِ وَ یٰسَمَآءُ اَقۡلِعِیۡ وَ غِیۡضَ الۡمَآءُ وَ قُضِیَ الۡاَمۡرُ وَ اسۡتَوَتۡ عَلَی الۡجُوۡدِیِّ وَ قِیۡلَ بُعۡدًا لِّلۡقَوۡمِ الظّٰلِمِیۡنَ ﴿۴۴﴾
11:44 And it was said: O earth, swallow your water, and O cloud, clear away. And the water was made to subside, and the affair was decided, and it rested on the Jūdī,5 and it was said: Away with the wrongdoing people!
وَ نَادٰی نُوۡحٌ رَّبَّہٗ فَقَالَ رَبِّ اِنَّ ابۡنِیۡ مِنۡ اَہۡلِیۡ وَ اِنَّ وَعۡدَکَ الۡحَقُّ وَ اَنۡتَ اَحۡکَمُ الۡحٰکِمِیۡنَ ﴿۴۵﴾
11:45 And Noah cried to his Lord and said: My Lord, surely my son is of my family, and Your promise is true, and You are the most just of the judges.
قَالَ یٰنُوۡحُ اِنَّہٗ لَیۡسَ مِنۡ اَہۡلِکَ ۚ اِنَّہٗ عَمَلٌ غَیۡرُ صَالِحٍ ٭۫ۖ فَلَا تَسۡـَٔلۡنِ مَا لَـیۡسَ لَکَ بِہٖ عِلۡمٌ ؕ اِنِّیۡۤ اَعِظُکَ اَنۡ تَکُوۡنَ مِنَ الۡجٰہِلِیۡنَ ﴿۴۶﴾
11:46 He said: O Noah, he is not of your family; he is (an embodiment of) unrighteous conduct.6 So do not ask of Me that of which you have no knowledge. I admonish you so you may not be of the ignorant ones.
قَالَ رَبِّ اِنِّیۡۤ اَعُوۡذُ بِکَ اَنۡ اَسۡـَٔلَکَ مَا لَـیۡسَ لِیۡ بِہٖ عِلۡمٌ ؕ وَ اِلَّا تَغۡفِرۡ لِیۡ وَ تَرۡحَمۡنِیۡۤ اَکُنۡ مِّنَ الۡخٰسِرِیۡنَ ﴿۴۷﴾
11:47 He said: My Lord, I seek refuge in You from asking of You that of which I have no knowledge. And unless You forgive me and have mercy on me, I shall be among the losers.
قِیۡلَ یٰنُوۡحُ اہۡبِطۡ بِسَلٰمٍ مِّنَّا وَ بَرَکٰتٍ عَلَیۡکَ وَ عَلٰۤی اُمَمٍ مِّمَّنۡ مَّعَکَ ؕ وَ اُمَمٌ سَنُمَتِّعُہُمۡ ثُمَّ یَمَسُّہُمۡ مِّنَّا عَذَابٌ اَلِیۡمٌ ﴿۴۸﴾
11:48 It was said: O Noah, descend with peace from Us and blessing on you and on nations (springing) from those with you. And there are nations whom We afford provisions, then a painful punishment from Us afflicts them.
تِلۡکَ مِنۡ اَنۡۢبَآءِ الۡغَیۡبِ نُوۡحِیۡہَاۤ اِلَیۡکَ ۚ مَا کُنۡتَ تَعۡلَمُہَاۤ اَنۡتَ وَ لَا قَوۡمُکَ مِنۡ قَبۡلِ ہٰذَا ؕۛ فَاصۡبِرۡ ؕۛ اِنَّ الۡعَاقِبَۃَ لِلۡمُتَّقِیۡنَ ﴿٪۴۹﴾
11:49 These are announcements relating to the unseen which We reveal to you; you did not know them — (neither) you nor your people — before this. So be patient. Surely the (good) end is for the dutiful.7
- The laughing of the righteous at the wicked is not to be taken literally. You laugh at a thing to show your contempt for it; just as the disbelieving people showed their contempt for the making of the ark, the believer in Divine promise shows his contempt for their opposition and their plans to destroy him. ↩
- Fār al-tannūr has often been translated as the oven poured forth water or the oven boiled or the earth’s surface boiled up. But the meaning of fāra which suits the context here, is not of boiling, but of water spouting forth, and that of tannūr applicable here is not oven but a place where the water of a valley collects. ↩
- By all things are meant all things needed by Noah, and not all things existing in the world, which was too extensive for Noah to travel over. ↩
- The Quran does not support the story that the deluge covered the whole surface of the earth. On the other hand, it repeatedly speaks of Noah as having been sent to his people, i.e. to a single tribe, and according to the Divine law the punishment must have overtaken his people, who not only rejected the truth, but also sought to destroy Noah and his followers. The mention of the water flowing from the valley also shows that it was only a tract of land that was deluged, and not the entire earth. The taking in of a pair of all things does not mean that Noah had travelled over the whole earth and taken a pair of every living animal wherever it could be found. The order is clearly to take in pairs of all those things that he considered necessary for himself and those who were with him in the ark. The Bible narrative, which speaks of God “bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life,” (Genesis, 6:17), and then makes Noah collect and lodge in an ark a pair of each of the thousands of animals and birds, cannot be accepted. ↩
- The Greek name of this mountain is said to be Gordyoei, being one of those mountains which divide Armenia on the south from Mesopotamia (Iraq). ↩
- When it is meant to speak of a person as the very embodiment of a certain quality, he is designated not as the possessor of that quality, but as that quality itself. In 2:177 it is said, literally, righteousness is the one who believes, the meaning being that such a person is the embodiment of righteousness. ↩
- The announcement relating to the unseen is the fate of the opponents of the Holy Prophet as read in Noah’s history. The words that follow — be patient — are a clear indication, for patient waiting was needed for the fate of the Prophet’s opponents, not for anything relating to Noah’s history. ↩