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The great Flood: the story from the Quran

Nets in a modern reconstruction of Noah's Ark. Schagen (Holland). Photo Jona Lendering.
 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
Gilgameš Hyginus
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 71 (Nuh)

Surely We sent Nuh to his people, saying: "Warn your people before there come upon them a painful chastisement."

He said: "O my people! Surely I am a plain warner to you that you should serve Allah and be careful of (your duty to) Him and obey me. He will forgive you some of your faults and grant you a delay to an appointed term; surely the term of Allah when it comes is not postponed; did you but know!"

He said: "O my Lord! surely I have called my people by night and by day! But my call has only made them flee the more, and whenever I have called them that Thou mayest forgive them, they put their fingers in their ears, cover themselves with their garments, and persist and are puffed up with pride. Then surely I called to them aloud, then surely I spoke to them in public and I spoke to them in secret.Then I said, 'Ask forgiveness of your Lord, surely He is the most Forgiving.He will send down upon you the cloud, pouring down abundance of rain, and help you with wealth and sons, and make for you gardens, and make for you rivers. What is the matter with you that you fear not the greatness of Allah? And indeed He has created you through various grades: do you not see how Allah has created the seven heavens - one above another, and made the moon therein a light, and made the sun a lamp? And Allah has made you grow out of the earth as a growth. Then He returns you to it, then will He bring you forth a new bringing forth. And Allah has made for you the earth a wide expanse, that you may go along therein in wide paths.'"

Nuh said: "My Lord! Surely they have disobeyed me and followed him whose wealth and children have added to him nothing but loss. And they have planned a very great plan. And they say: 'By no means leave your gods, nor leave [the gods] Wadd, nor Suwa; nor Yaghus, and Yauq and Nasr.' And indeed they have led astray many, and do not increase the unjust in aught but error."

 Because of their wrongs they were drowned, then made to enter fire, so they did not find any helpers besides Allah.

And Nuh said: "My Lord! Leave not upon the land any dweller from among the unbelievers, for surely if Thou leave them they will lead astray Thy servants, and will not beget any but immoral, ungrateful children. My Lord! Forgive me and my parents and him who enters my house believing, and the believing men and the believing women; and do not increase the unjust in aught but destruction!"

>> to Sura 11 >>, the online home of Ancient Warfare magazine

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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