After Prophet Aadam (AS), the human society had become corruptive and evil. Most of the people did not think much about Allah and there was much immorality spread throughout the earth. They worshipped and served strange gods gave in to the evils of Satan, and therefore Allah sent Prophet Nuh (AS) to guide them. Prophet Nuh (AS) was a very well-spoken, wise and tolerant person.
"We sent Nuh to his people. He said: "O my people! Pray Allah! you have no other god but Him. I fear for you the punishment of a dreadful day!" (Qur'an 7:59).
The people of Nuh (AS) dwelt in that part of earth, which is now Iraq . He invited his people towards Allah but they turned their faces away from him. He warned them with the wrath of Allah, but they turned a deaf ear to his warning. He even tried to convince them to do good deeds for a well-earned reward from Allah, but they would not hear him. The leaders of his people said: "Ah! We see thee evidently wandering (in mind)." (Qur'an 7:60). They said: "If thou desist not, O Nuh! You shall be stoned (to death)." (Qur'an 26:116).
With a lot of patience and determination, Prophet Nuh (AS) continued his mission of guiding his people. He used the best means to preach for the mission of his Prophet hood among the people and whenever needed he invited people to his call. He drew their attention to the mysteries of the universe and the wonders of the world. He used to tell them that these dark nights, the heavens, the moon, the dazzling sun, the earth, the flowing rivers and the streams are all indicating the signs of His Greatness - Allah.
People tortured Prophet Nuh (AS)
A small group of people accepted his Prophet hood, but others did not and instead decided to torture him. Prophet Nuh (AS) lived and preached for hundreds of years and bore all the hardships and difficulties from the hands of his people with courage. When Prophet Nuh (AS) realized that the people had become hopeless and there was no use of giving them any reasoning, his patience exhausted, and Nuh (AS) said: "O my Lord! Leave not of the Unbelievers a single one on earth! For if You do leave (any of) them they will mislead Your devotees and they will breed none but wicked ungrateful ones." (Qur'an 71:26-27)
It was revealed to Nuh (AS): "None of your people will believe except those who have believed already! So grieve no longer over their (evil) deeds. But construct an Ark under Our eyes and Our inspiration, and address Me no (further) on behalf of those who are in sin: for they are about to be overwhelmed (in the flood)." (Qur'an 11:36-37)
Prophet Nuh (AS) in order to accomplish this divine task selected a place outside the town and started his work of building the Ark. People started scoffing and ridiculing him. Forthwith he (starts) constructing the Ark : Every time that the chiefs of his people passed by him, they threw ridicule on him. He said: "If you ridicule us now, we (in our turn) can look down on you with ridicule likewise." (Qur'an 11:38)
The Ark was made by the command of Allah
Prophet Nuh (AS) paid no heed to their mocking and sarcastic remarks, but instead got himself busy in making the ark and waited for a next command from Allah. Almighty Allah then sent his revelation: At length behold! There came Our command and the fountains of the earth gushed forth! We said: "Board therein of each kind, two male and female and your family - except those against whom the word has already gone forth - and the believers. But only a few believed with him." (Qur'an 11:40)
Then suddenly it started raining heavily and streams of water erupted from the ground. The hillocks became submerged under water. Water spread everywhere covering the deserted places and the mountains. Prophet Nuh (AS) proceeded towards the ark and took all those about whom Allah had ordained him inside the ark. "So We opened the gates of heaven with water pouring forth. And We caused the earth to gush forth with springs so the waters met (and rose) to the extent decreed. But We bore him on an ( Ark ) made of broad planks and caulked with palm- fiber: She floats under our eyes (and care): a recompense to one who had been rejected (with scorn)! And We have left this as a Sign (for all time): then is there any that will receive warning?" (Qur'an 54:11-15)
The ark, then, under the command of Allah, started floating on the surface of the water. The devastating flood water in its rage started embracing the infidels in its fold and serving the graveyards for them and the foams of flood water served as their shrouds. Prophet Nuh (AS) saw his son, Kan'an, who had not embraced the faith dashing against the waves and was finding ways and means to save his life.
The parental love of Prophet Nuh (AS) aroused and he showed sign of agony on his face. He shouted at his son in the hope that perhaps he may embrace faith. He said, "O dear son! Where are you going? Nothing can save you today. Embrace faith and come to the ark so that you may be saved. Board this ark and do not remain among the rebels."
Prophet Nuh (AS) and his ungrateful son
So the Ark floated with them on the waves (towering) like mountains and Nuh (AS) called out to his son who had separated himself (from the rest): "O my son! embark with us and be not with the unbelievers!" (Qur'an 11:42) The father's last minute preaching did not make any effect on his son Kan'an. The son replied: "I will betake myself to some mountain: it will save me from the water." Nuh (AS) said: "This day nothing can save you from the command of Allah, any but those on whom He has mercy!" (Qur'an 11:43)
And Nuh (AS) called upon his Lord and said: "O my Lord! Surely my son is of my family! and Your promise is true and You are the best of Judges!" He said: "O Nuh! He is not of your family: For his conduct is wrong. So ask not of Me that of which you have no knowledge! I give you counsel lest you act like the ignorant!" Nuh (AS) said: "O my Lord! I do seek refuge with You lest I ask You for that of which I have no knowledge. And unless You forgive me and have Mercy on me I should indeed be lost!" (Qur'an 11:45-47)
And at that moment a huge wave came between Prophet Nuh (AS) and his son. When Allah's wrath reached its height and all had perished, it stopped raining, and the earth swallowed all the water. Then the word went forth: "O earth! swallow up the water and O sky! Withhold (the rain)!" and the water abated and the matter was ended. The Ark rested on Mount Judi and the word went forth: "Away with those who do wrong!" (Qur'an 11:44)
The word came: "O Nuh! Come down (from the Ark ) with peace from Us and blessing on you and on some of the peoples (who will spring) from those with you: but (there will be other) people to whom We shall grant their pleasures (for a time) but in the end will a grievous penalty reach them from Us." (Qur'an 11:48) Prophet Nuh (AS) was commanded to alight himself on the ground with his people and start their life afresh under the blessings and beneficence of Allah.