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The great Flood: the story from the Quran


Modern reconstruction of Noah's Ark. Schagen (Holland). Photo Jona Lendering.
Two animals in a modern reconstruction of Noah's Ark
The Great Flood: mythological story about a great destruction that once befell the earth. There are several variants; the Biblical version is the most famous. The possibility that there is a historical event behind the story (a local flood in southern Babylonia in the twenty-eighth century BCE) can not be excluded.

Bible Sumer Babylonia Greece Archaeology
Full text Eridu Genesis Atrahasis Ovid
Reconstruction
Gilgameš Hyginus
Quran
Berossus Apollodorus

The story of the Great Flood is told twice in the Quran, in Sura 11 and Sura 71. Here, two versions are offered in the translation by M. H. Shakir. The person speaking is God.

Sura 11 (Hud)

And certainly We sent Nuh to his people: "Surely I am a plain warner for you, that you shall not serve any but Allah, surely I fear for you the punishment of a painful day."

But the chiefs of those who disbelieved from among his people said: "We do not consider you but a mortal like ourselves, and we do not see any have followed you but those who are the meanest of us at first thought and we do not see in you any excellence over us; nay, we deem you liars."

He said: "O my people! Tell me if I have with me clear proof from my Lord, and He has granted me mercy from Himself and it has been made obscure to you; shall we constrain you to accept it while you are averse from it? And, O my people! I ask you not for wealth in return for it; my reward is only with Allah and I am not going to drive away those who believe; surely they shall meet their Lord, but I consider you a people who are ignorant: And, O my people! Who will help me against Allah if I drive them away? Will you not then mind? And I do not say to you that I have the treasures of Allah and I do not know the unseen, nor do I say that I am an angel, nor do I say about those whom your eyes hold in mean estimation that Allah will never grant them any good -Allah knows best what is in their souls- for then most surely I should be of the unjust."

They said: "O Nuh! indeed you have disputed with us and lengthened dispute with us, therefore bring to us what you threaten us with, if you are of the truthful ones."

He said: "Allah only will bring it to you if He please, and you will not escape. And if I intend to give you good advice, my advice will not profit you if Allah intended that He should leave you to go astray. He is your Lord, and to Him shall you be returned."

Or do they say: "He has forged it?" Say: "If I have forged it, on me is my guilt, and I am clear of that of which you are guilty."

And it was revealed to Nuh that none of your people will believe except those who have already believed, therefore do not grieve at what they do. And make the ark before Our eyes and according to Our revelation, and do not speak to Me in respect of those who are unjust; surely they shall be drowned.

And he began to make the ark; and whenever the chiefs from among 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". So shall you know who it is on whom will come a chastisement which will disgrace him, and on whom will lasting chastisement come down.

Until when Our command came and water came forth from the valley, We said: "Carry in it two of all things, a pair, and your own family - except those against whom the word has already gone forth, and those who believe."

And there believed not with him but a few. And he said: "Embark in it, in the name of Allah be its sailing and its anchoring; most surely my Lord is Forgiving, Merciful."

And it moved on with them amid waves like mountains; and Nuh called out to his son, and he was aloof: "O my son! embark with us and be not with the unbelievers.

He said: "I will betake myself for refuge to a mountain that shall protect me from the water."

Nuh said: "There is no protector today from Allah's punishment but He Who has mercy; and a wave intervened between them, so he was of the drowned."

And it was said: "O earth, swallow down your water, and O cloud, clear away", and the water was made to abate and the affair was decided, and the ark rested on the al-Gudi, and it was said: "Away with the unjust people."

And Nuh cried out to his Lord and said: "My Lord! Surely my son is of my family, and Thy promise is surely true, and Thou art the most just of the judges."

He said: "O Nuh! surely he is not of your family; surely he is the doer of other than good deeds, therefore ask not of Me that of which you have no knowledge; surely I admonish you lest you may be of the ignorant."

He said: "My Lord! I seek refuge in Thee from asking Thee that of which I have no knowledge; and if Thou shouldst not forgive me and have mercy on me, I should be of the losers."

It was said: "O Nuh! Descend with peace from Us and blessings on you and on the people from among those who are with you, and there shall be nations whom We will afford provisions, then a painful punishment from Us shall afflict them. These are announcements relating to the unseen which We reveal to you, you did not know them -neither you nor your people- before this; therefore be patient; surely the end is for those who guard against evil."

>> to Sura 71 >>

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Eridu Genesis Atrahasis Gilgameš Bible Berossus Greece Quran
Date 3d millennium BCE c.1640 BCE c.1100 BCE c.1000-500 BCE 278 BCE c.700 BCE? c.600 CE
Revolt ? lesser gods ? giants? monsters? giants -
Hero Ziusudra Atrahasis Ut-napištim Noah Xisuthrus Deucalion Nuh
Country Šuruppuk Šuruppak Šuruppak - Sippar Thessaly -
Destroyer Enlil Enlil Enlil YHWH Enlil Zeus Allah
Warning Vision Dream Indirect order Direct order Dream ? Direct order
Reason Noise? Noise ? Sin, giants ? Sin, giants Sin
Cause Stormflood Rain Stormflood Rain, fountains - Rain, waves "from the valley"
Savior Enki Enki Enki YHWH Enki Prometheus Allah
Period 7 days 7 days 7 days 150/40 days "quickly" 9 days ?
Birds ? ? raven, dove, swallow doves/raven "several" none -
Destination ? - Nimuš Ararat Gordyene Parnassus Al-Gudi
Fate Eternal life Eternal life Eternal life Three sons Eternal life Three grandsons -


Online 2007
Revision: 8 May 2007
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