بسم لله الرحمان الرحيم
In the name of Almighty God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. All praise be to God, the lord and cherisher of all creation. We give him our praise, we seek his guidance, and we ask his forgiveness, and we seek refuge in Him from the evil within ourselves and in our deeds. No one whom God guides can be misguided, and no one whom God allows to go astray can be guided. I bear witness that there is nothing worthy of worship except Almighty God, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the slave and messenger of God.
In my last sermon, I began my God's Prophets series by talking about our father, prophet Adam, peace be upon him. This week, insha'Allah, I will continue with the next two prophets, prophet Idris, and prophet Nuh (also known in English as Enoch, and Noah), peace be upon them both.
Not much is known about prophet Idris, from the Qur'an and Sunnah. We know he came several generations after Adam, peace be upon him. He is only mentioned in four ayahs or verses from the Qur'an. Allah (swt) mentions him in Suraat Al Maryam or the Chapter of Mary, mother of Jesus Christ. In verses 56 and 57, Allah says, " And mention in the Book, Idris, verily, he was a man of truth, and a prophet". Then Allah (swt) mentions him again in Suraat Al Anbiya or the Chapter of The Prophets. In verses 85 and 86 Allah (swt) says, "And remember Isma'il, Idris and Dhul Kifl. All were from among the patient. And we admitted them to our mercy. Verily they were of the righteous." Also there are a couple hadiths that refer to Idris (as). It is narrated by Abbas bin Malik in the collection of Bukhari, that the prophet, in describing Al Miraj, or his miraculous ascent into the heavens, said, "The gate was opened, and when I went over the fourth heaven, there I saw Idris. Gabriel said (to me), 'This is Idris; pay him your greetings.' So I greeted him and he returned the greeting to me and said, 'You are welcomed, O pious brother and pious Prophet." Not much can be understood thru these sources alone about exactly who Idris or what he did, however there are traditions that relate some information about him. According to the work of Sheikh Ibn Kathir, Idris was born in Babylon or present day Iraq, and that he was of the 5th generation after Adam, peace be upon him. He was believer in tawheed, or the absolute oneness of God. He called his people to the way of Allah, but most didn't listen to him. At some point, Idris moved to Egypt where he continued his mission. There he called the people to Allah, instructing them to pray, fast, give from there wealth to the poor. This was most likely right around the very beginning of the Egyptian civilization. It is also said that he was the first to develop written language.
In some other traditions it is said that he made an ascension to Heaven, similar to Al Miraj of prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, and that the area where he returned to Earth was in Giza, where the great pyramids now stand. We can speculate a lot about nabi Idris (as), but what we can be fairly sure of is he called people to Allah and most of them did not listen. The fact that this happened only 5 generations after Adam (as) illustrates how easily people can be led astray from the path of righteousness, Siraatul Mustaqeem. As Allah says he was righteous man, and was chosen by Allah to be among His Anbiya, or prophets.
A few generations after prophet Idris (as), came another great prophet of God. This one we know much more about. He is so well known amongst not only Muslims but also the ahl al kitab, or the people of the Book, that there have even been movies made about him. This of course is prophet Nuh, or Noah, peace be upon him. It is related in the collection of Bukhari that the prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said that between Adam and Nuh, was ten centuries, or in other words 1,000 years. In his day, the people of Nuh worshipped many gods. Idolatry was in full swing by this time in human history. Allah even mentions the names of their idols in the Qur'an. They were Waddan, Suwa'an, Yaghutha, Ya'auga, and Nasran. Originally these were actually people who lived among them. They were considered to be great men of their society. They were the George Washingtons, and Benjamin Franklins, and Abraham Lincolns of their day and nation. After they had died, statues were erected in their honor. Later on however, people began to actually worship these statues, and as many generations passed, they even forgot the "reality" of who these people were; all they knew was their parents prayed to them and invoked them, so they did the same.
This was the foundation of shirk, or idolatry. Originally the intention behind making those statues was relatively innocent, but shaitan had his ways of deceiving them into invoking these statues and remembering them instead of Allah (swt).
Nuh, was a man living amongst these people, who did not fall for the farce. It is said that he was an excellent speaker and a very patient man. Allah (swt) says in the Qur'an, "Indeed We sent Noah to his people (he said): "I have come to you as a plain Warner that you worship none but Allah, surely, I fear for you the torment of a painful Day." the chiefs of the disbelievers among his people said: "We see you but a man like ourselves, nor do we see any follow you but the meanest among us and they too followed you without thinking. And we do not see in you any merit above us, in fact we think you are liars." (CH 11:25-27).
This was a to become a trend amongst all the prophets that would come throughout history, that the leaders of their people would not only reject his warnings, but mock him and accuse him of lying.
Eventually the disbelievers tried to negotiate with him. They pointed out the fact that the majority of Noah's believers were poor and meek. They insisted that Noah dismiss them, as they did not feel that it was proper for people of their status to associate with such people. They insisted that no faith could include them both as equals. Noah, being the patient man that he was, responded in a gentle, but firm manner, and Allah (swt) relates what he said in the Qur'an. It says, "O my people! I ask of you no wealth for it, my reward is from none but Allah. I am not going to drive away those who have believed. Surely, they are going to meet their Lord, but I see that you are a people that are ignorant. O my people! Who will help me against Allah, if I drove them away? Will you not then give a thought? And I do not say to you that with me are the Treasures of Allah nor that I know the unseen, nor do I say I am an angel, and I do not say of those whom your eyes look down upon that Allah will not bestow any good on them. Allah knows what is in their inner selves (regards to Belief). In that case, I should, indeed be one of the Zalimeen (wrongdoers, oppressors etc)."
(Ch 11:29-31 Quran)
Allah (swt) also then relates the reaction of the kufar in the Qur'an. "They said: "O Noah! You have disputed with us and much have you prolonged the dispute with us, now bring upon us what you threaten us with, if you are of the truthful." He said: "Only Allah will bring it (the punishment)on you, if He will, and then you will escape not. And my advice will not profit you, even if I wish to give you counsel, if Allah's Will is to keep you astray. He is your Lord! And to Him you shall return."
(Ch 11:32-34 Quran)
The war of ideologies continued for some time. Noah kept patient, calling them to the path of Allah. But, it was no use. The mere mention of the name of Allah, made their skin crawl and they would stuff their fingers in their hears when they heard Noah's preaching. Allah (swt) relates a dua that Noah made, in the Qur'an. Noah said, "O my Lord! Verily, I have called my people night and day (secretly and openly to accept the doctrine of Islamic Monotheism), but all my calling added nothing but to their flight from the truth. Verily! Every time I called unto them that You might forgive them, they thrust their fingers into their ears, covered themselves up with their garments, and persisted (in their refusal), and magnified themselves in pride. Then verily, I called to them openly (aloud); then verily, I proclaimed to them in public, and I have appealed to them in private, I said to them: 'Ask forgiveness from your Lord, Verily, He is Oft Forgiving; He will send rain to you in abundance, and give you increase in wealth and children, and bestow on you gardens and bestow on you rivers."
Noah continued on this mission for 950 years. Allah says in the Qur’an "Indeed We sent Noah to his people and he stayed among them a thousand less fifty years (inviting them to believe in the Oneness of Allah (Monotheism) and discard the false gods and other deities)."
(Ch 29:14 Qumran)
Eventually, Allah (swt) revealed to Noah, that no more would believe. And then Noah invoked Allah, "My Lord! Leave not one of the disbelievers on the earth. If you leave them, they will mislead Your slaves and they will beget none but wicked disbelievers." (Ch 71:27 Quran)
It was then that Allah (swt) revealed to Noah, the news of the flood; that all of the kafiroon, or disbelievers were going to be drown in a massive flood. Allah then commanded Noah to build a ship. Allah (swt) said, "And construct the ship under Our Eyes and with Our Inspiration and address Me not on behalf of those who did wrong; they are surely to be drowned."
(Ch 11:37 Quran)
Noah began collecting tools and wood, and chose a spot outside the city to start building. The people walked by and laughed and mocked at Noah. Allah (swt) relates in the Qur'an, "As he was constructing the ship, whenever the chiefs of his people passed by him, they made a mockery of him. He said : "If you mock at us, so do we mock at you likewise for your mocking. And you will know who it is on whom will come a torment that will cover him with disgrace and on whom will fall a lasting torment." (Ch 11:38-39 Quran)
After completing the ship, Noah sat and waited for Allah's command. Allah (swt) says in the Qur'an, "So it was till then there came Our Command and the oven gushed forth (water like fountains from the earth). We said: "Embark therein, of each kind two (male and female), and your family, except him against whom the Word has already gone forth, and those who believe." And none believed him except a few." (Ch 11:40 Quran)
Soon the water began to rush forth, starting from the oven in Noah's house. The water poured from the skies and gushed from every crack in the Earth. Allah (swt) relates the story in the Qur'an in these words, "He (Noah) said: "Embark therein, in the Name of Allah will be its moving course and its resting anchorage. Surely, my Lord is Oft Forgiving, most Merciful." so it (the ship) sailed with them amidst the waves like mountains, and Noah called out to his son, who had separated himself (apart), "O my son! Embark with us and be not with the disbelievers." The son replied, "I will betake myself to a mountain, it will save me from the water." Noah said: "This day there is no savior from the Decree of Allah except him on whom He has mercy." And a wave came in between them so he (the son) was among the drowned.
It was (then) said: "O Earth! Swallow up your water, and O sky! Withhold (your rain)." The water was diminished (made to subside) and the Decree (of Allah) was fulfilled (the destruction of the people of Noah). And it (the ship) rested on Mount Judi, and it was said: "Away with the people who are Zalimeen (polytheists, and wrongdoing)!"
Noah called upon his Lord and said, "O my Lord! Verily, my son is of my family! Certainly, Your Promise is true, and You are the Most Just of the judges." HE said: "O Noah! Surely, he is not of your family; verily, his work is unrighteous, so ask not of Me that of which you have no knowledge! I admonish you, lest you be one of the ignorant."
Noah said: "O my Lord! I seek refuge with You from asking You that of which I have no knowledge. And unless You forgive me and have Mercy on me, I would indeed be one of the losers."
It was said: "O Noah! Come down (from the ship) with peace from Us and blessings on you and on the people who are with you(and on some of their offspring), but (there will be other) people to whom We shall grant their pleasures (for a time), but in the end a painful torment will reach them from Us." (Ch 11:41-48 Quran)
And so, this was the destruction of the people of Nuh. These verse really indicate how truly evil idolatry is. For all of us, our families are probably the dearest things to us in this world, and no doubt, Allah (swt) has made it clear throughout the Qur'an that one of our primary duties in this life is to serve our families. However these verses show us how truly horrible shirk is. When Noah pleaded for his some to Allah, Allah responded by saying that, "He is not your son!". No doubt Noah was heartbroken, like any of us would be, but none the less shirk is unforgivable.
So, what can we learn from these prophets, Idris and Nuh, (ahs)? I would say that the stories of these two prophets are perfect illustrations of the nature, beginnings, and severity of shirk. Their stories show us where shirk came from and how people gradually but swiftly moved away from tawheed, or pure monotheism very early in our history. Their stories show us how easily shirk can creep into our lives. How it comes to us through seemingly innocent things, like statues, or pictures, or science, or tombs al khabool, or charms and amulets. Like I always say, shaitan is evil, not stupid. The stories of these prophets show us how truly helpless we really are without Allah. Before his death, prophet Noah, peace be upon him, gave some advise to his sons, the progeny that would repopulate the Earth; advise that I feel is the best words to end with. It is recorded in the collection of Bukhari, that Abdullah ibn Amru ibn Al narrated that the prophet, peace and blessings be upon him said, "When the death of the Messenger of Allah Noah approached, he admonished his sons: 'Indeed I would give you far reaching advice, commanding you to do 2 things, and warning you against doing 2 things as well. I charge you to believe that there is no god but Allah and that if the seven heavens and the seven earths were put on one side of a scale and the words "there is no god but Allah" were put on the other, the latter would outweigh the former. I warn you against associating partners with Allah and against pride."
...And Allah Knows Best...