How can it be explained that the life of the Prophet Nuh (Noah) is narrated as a whole in the Torah but briefly and in bits in the Quran?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

A prophet is a model of man that Allah Almighty is pleased with. He is an exemplary person through which man attains the truth and guidance when he imitates him. A prophet has the attribute of ismah. That is, he will not do and say anything that Allah will not be pleased with. He is under divine control and observation. Both his words and deeds are a torchlight of guidance for people. He orders people what is true, right and good with his attribute of “messengership” and he acts in accordance with them fully with his attribute of “being a slave”.

The most important characteristics of the prophets are that they avoid all kinds of things that will harm their personalities, eliminate their sublimity or demean their humane values, they keep away from sins, and they do not act based on their lust and desires; thus, they are the people chosen for the continuation of humanity.

Therefore, the prophets are the perfect men in terms of their creation, that is, their characteristics or ethics, the most intelligent men in terms of doing deeds, the purest men in terms of controlling their souls and the nicest men in terms of their methods among people. For, they are “best examples" and "best models" for humanity. Therefore, Allah orders people to follow them, to have their ethics and act based on their methods related to everything in life. Allah states the following regarding the issue:

"Those were the (prophets) who received Allah´s guidance: Copy the guidance they received..." (al-Anam, 6/90)

"(O believers!) Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct)..." (al-Ahzab, 33/21)

"They (the prophets mentioned before,) were, in Our sight, truly, of the company of the Elect and the Good." (Sad, 38/47)

As it is seen in the verses above and similar ones, there are nice examples in the prophets and the people who believed with them. For, they are elect and good people as it is stated in verse 47 of the chapter of Sad. What has been mentioned above makes it necessary for a Muslim to obey and follow them, and regard them as examples and models.

Along with the Quran’s description of prophets as examples, models, leaders and guides for humanity, we also see the beliefs of Jews and Christians about prophets in the Quran.

The people of the Book overstepped the limits related to the sublimity of prophets. For, not only did they claim that prophets committed sins, they also slandered that some prophets tried to commit crimes, that they disobeyed Allah by committing sins and that they led other people by committing the biggest sin.

We find many slanders, ugly words and disgraceful things that do not fit prophets in the Torah, which was written and distorted afterwards. One of the prophets that are slandered in the Torah is Hz. Nuh (Noah). The following is stated in the distorted Torah about Hz. Nuh: “When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent.” (Genesis: 9/21)

This belief of Jews and similar ones about prophets are lies and slanders. It is necessary to state that the examples above and others mentioned in the Torah are not only wrong and slanders on the prophets but also slanders on Allah since they were added to the Torah afterwards. To sum up, those fabrications and slanders by Jews on prophets did not exist in the Torah which was sent down to Hz. Musa (Moses) but they were added to the Torah afterwards as a result of distortion. (For prophets’ attribute of ismah, see ar-Razi, Ismatul-Anbiya, Cairo 1986, p. 41-42; Mafatihul Ghayb, III/8)

The comparison of the story of Hz. Nuh in the Quran and the distorted Torah
 
In the Quran, the story of Hz. Nuh is mentioned in detail in the chapters of al-A’raf, Hud, al-Mu’minun, ash-Shuara, al-Qamar and Nuh. It is narrated in chapters 6, 7, and 8 of Genesis in the Torah. When the two resources are compared, we can state the differences between those two stories as follows:
 
a. There are details in the Torah in this story, as it is the case with the other stories of the prophets; issues like the volume of the ship, the wood it was made from, the level the water rose in the deluge, etc. are reported. The Quran mentions only the issues from which lessons need to be taken.
 
b. The Quran mentions Hz. Nuh’s son who was a polytheist and who did not get on the ship; there is no mention of him in the Torah.  
 
c. The Quran does not state that the deluge covered the whole world. It is stated in the Torah that the whole earth was flooded. (In fact, people lived in a certain region of the world at that time; the whole world does not have to be flooded for the people to be destroyed.)
 
d. According to the Torah, those who got on the ship and who were saved from the deluge were Hz. Nuh, his wives, his sons and their wives. It is stated in the Quran that those who got on the ship and who were saved from the deluge were the believers and that they – though the number was small – did not consist of the family of Hz. Nuh only. (Besides, it is stated in the Quran that Hz. Nuh’s wife and one of his sons were not among those who got on the ship and who were saved from the deluge. This information does not exist in the Torah and it is apparently understood from what is narrated in the Torah that all of the relatives of Hz. Nuh were saved.)
 
e. It is stated in the Torah that Allah regretted (having given such a punishment) after the deluge and that He will not create such a deluge again in the world. There is no expression in the Quran stating that Allah regretted having done something like that. Allah is free from regretting.
 
f. It is stated in the Torah that Hz. Nuh sacrificed some animals for Allah because of being saved from the deluge and that when the smell of the meat that was grilled reached Allah and when Allah smelled it, His wrath soothed and He became pleased. The Quran rejects this understanding of Allah in the following verse:  

“It is not their meat nor their blood, that reaches Allah: it is your piety that reaches Him.” (al-Hajj, 22/37)

As it can be understood from this comparison, the stories in the Quran are different from the stories in the Bible in terms of not only purpose but also style and content. (For the references and detailed information, see TDV İslâm Ansiklopedisi, Şâmil İslâm Ansiklopedisi, Nûh aleyhisselam item)

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