We sent Nuh to his people and he remained among them for fifty short of a thousand years; yet the Flood engulfed them while they were wrongdoers. (Surat al-‘Ankabut, 14)
The Prophet Nuh (as) spent many years advising the people to whom he was sent as a prophet to put an end to ascribing partners to Allah and to abandon their improper behavior. Even though he warned his people about the wrath of Allah several times, they still did not believe the Prophet Nuh (as) and continued in their polytheism. At this, Allah told the Prophet Nuh (as) that He would punish those who denied Him by drowning them, but that believers would be saved. The destruction of the people of Nuh and the salvation of those who believed is described as follows in the Qur’an:
But they denied him so We rescued him and those with him in the Ark. And We drowned the people who denied Our signs. They were a blind people. Surat al-A‘raf, 64)
The events that took place when the time for Allah’s promised punishment came are described thus:
So when Our command came, and water bubbled up from the earth, We said, “Load into it a pair of every species, and your family – except for those against whom the Word was preordained – and all who believe.” But those who believed with him were only few. (Surah Hud, 40)
The beginning of the punishment is described as when “water bubbled up from the earth.” The Arabic word translated as “tannoor” is “alttannooru.” This describes a kind of oven made by digging a hole in the ground, and therefore refers to the volcanic fire inside a mountain. (Allah knows the truth.) The Arabic word “wafara” in the verse means “burned strongly, produced bubbles, boiled up, boiled over, produced a foam.” Therefore, the reference in the verse would seem to be to the flowing, molten lava in the mountain.
In another verse, the time for the Prophet Nuh (as) to board the Ark is described as “when water bubbles up from the earth” in another verse. This may also be a reference to hot steam or smoke rising from a volcano immediately before an eruption:
We revealed to him: “Build the ship under Our supervision and as We reveal. When Our command comes and water bubbles up from the earth, load into it a pair of every species, and your family – except for those among them against whom the word has already gone ahead. And do not address Me concerning those who do wrong. They shall be drowned. (Surat al-Muminun, 27)
The molten lava flowing in the wake of the eruption may have caused the ice on the mountain to melt; intense steam caused by the combination of heat and cold as the molten lava flowed into the sea may have given rise to intense rains. Flooding was the result of these phenomena, and sources of water on land may also have overflowed as a consequence of the severe rains: (Allah knows the truth.)
So We opened the gates of heaven with torrential water and made the earth burst forth with gushing springs. And the waters met together in a way which was decreed. We bore him on a planked and well-caulked ship, (Surat al-Qamar, 11-13)
Apart from those who boarded the Prophet Nuh’s (as) Ark were drowned, including the prophet’s son who imagined he could escape by seeking refuge on a mountain nearby:
It sailed with them through mountainous waves, and Nuh called out to his son, who had kept himself apart, “My son! Come on board with us. Do not stay with the unbelievers!” He said, “I will take refuge on a mountain; It will protect me from the flood.” He said, “There is no protection from Allah’s command today except for those He has mercy on.” The waves surged in between them and he was among the drowned. (Surah Hud, 42-43)
When the floodwaters finally receded, the Ark settled on al-Judi as stated in the Qur’an, meaning a very high place:
It was said, “Earth, swallow up your water!” and, ‘Heaven, hold back your rain!” And the water subsided and the affair was concluded and the Ark came to land on al-Judi. And it was said, “Away with the people of the wrongdoers!” (Surah Hud, 44)
When the mountains shortly after stopped churning forth lava, the waters resumed their former equilibrium as the air cooled down and withdrew back underground; some of it may also have risen into the air as water vapor. The water level returned to normal. Allah’s command to the earth to “swallow!” and to the sky to “hold back!” revealed in the Qur’an, summarized this very concisely. The Arabic word “belea,” which appears in the verse in the form “iblaAAee,” means “swallow up and eliminate, pull back.” The reference to the earth swallowing up its water notes the formation of subterranean water sources as the water on the surface retreats underground again. The Arabic verb "aklaa," which takes the form "aqliAAee" in the verse, means “the dispersal of clouds, rain stopping, or abandoning a matter or course of action.” The description is thus in a way, the cooling down of the air as lava stops flowing, the stopping of rain as a result of the water vapor level in the air returning to normal, and the dispersing of the remaining water vapor in the clouds into the air. (Allah knows the truth.)
This chain of events, in complete agreement with the scientific facts, is indicated in the wisest possible terms in the Qur’an. It is just one of the proofs that the Qur’an, which contains such information, comprising many branches of science, such as geography, geology and meteorology, is in complete harmony with science.