Nuh's flood

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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. (Qur'an, 29:14)

The Prophet Nuh (as) was sent to his people by Allah. They had distanced themselves from the commandments of the Lord and ascribed partners to Him. The Prophet Nuh (as) warned them that they should serve Allah alone and abandon the false worship which they had established in their community. Although the Prophet Nuh (as) called on his people with great eloquence and wisdom, and warned them against the punishment of Allah, they rejected the Prophet and continued to associate partners to Him. At this, Allah told the Prophet Nuh (as) that He would punish the deniers by drowning them. But He also informed His Messenger that His mercy would save the believers, those who embraced true religion and worshipped the One and Only God. The destruction of the people of Nuh and the salvation of the believers is described thus 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. (Qur'an, 7:64)

When the time of punishment came, the water in the ground combined with violent rains to cause a giant flood. (Allah knows best.) It is revealed that before the flood came, Allah spoke to the Prophet Nuh (as):

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." (Qur'an, 23:27)

Apart from those who boarded Prophet Nuh's (as) Ark, the entire tribe was drowned. The dead included the Prophet's son who thought he could escape by seeking shelter on a mountain.

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!" (Qur'an, 11:44)

Compared to the flood accounts contained in Jewish scriptures, and indeed the various cultural beliefs of other peoples, the Qur'anic account, which was revealed by Allah and is the only divine text to have remained uncorrupted, stands as the most reliable of all these accounts. The Torah, a corrupted text, says that this flood was universal and covered the whole world. On the contrary, it appears from the relevant verses that the flood was a regional one and punished not the whole world but only the tribe that rejected the Prophet Nuh (as). Those who were destroyed in it were the people who rejected the message of the Prophet Nuh (as) and persisted in their denial. There is no indication in the Qur'an that the flood was universal. The verses on the subject read:

We sent Nuh to his people: "I am a clear warner to you. Worship none but Allah. I fear for you the punishment of a painful day." (Qur'an, 11:25-26)

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. (Qur'an, 7:64)

So We rescued him and those with him by mercy from Us, and We cut off the last remnant of those who denied Our Signs and were not believers. (Qur'an, 7:72)

As we have seen, we are told in the Qur'an that only the people of the Prophet Nuh (as) were destroyed, not the whole world. The corrected states of the corrupted accounts in Christian and Jewish scriptures in the Qur'an prove that it is, in its entirety, a book sent down by Allah.

Excavations in the region where the flood is believed to have occurred also show that the flood was not a universal event, but a wide-scale disaster that affected part of Mesopotamia.

When the waters subsided, the Ark came to rest. As revealed in the Qur'an, the resting place of the ark was al-Judi. The word "judi" is sometimes taken to mean a particular mountain, although the Arabic word itself means "high place, hill." From that point of view, the word "judi" can refer to the waters reaching only up to a certain height and not to the covering of all the land. In other words, we learn from the Qur'an that the flood did not swallow up all the land and all the mountains on Earth-as is related in Jewish scriptures and other legends-but only one particular region.

Archaeological Evidence for the Flood

According to the archaeological findings, Nuh’s Flood took place on the Mesopotamian Plain, the shape of which was very different to that of today. The present-day limits of the plain are shown with a dotted red line in the above diagram. The wide region beyond that line is known to have been part of the sea at that time.

 

If a natural disaster, sudden migration or war, for example, should result in the destruction of a civilisation, traces of that civilisation are well-protected. The houses people lived in and the objects people used in their daily lives are quickly buried under the earth. These are thus conserved for long periods without being touched by human hands. For students of the past, they provide invaluable clues when they are finally brought to light.

In recent times, the discovery of a large amount of evidence concerning Nuh's Flood has come to the attention of the world's most prominent archaeologists and historians. The Flood, believed to have occurred around 3000 B.C., destroyed an entire civilisation and allowed an entirely new one to be founded in its place. That evidence of the Flood was preserved for thousands of years provides a deterrent to those people who have come after this punishment of the wicked.

Many excavations have been carried out to study the flood, which was localised on and around the Mesopotamian Plains. Digs in the region have encountered traces of a flood in four main cities on the Mesopotamian Plain: Ur, Erech, Kish and Shuruppak. Excavations in these cities have shown that these cities were hit by flooding around 3000 B.C.

The oldest of the remains of the civilisation in the city of Ur-today known as Tell al Muqqayar-date back to 7000 B.C. The city of Ur, one of the oldest human civilisations, was a settlement region in which consecutive civilisations were born and died.

The archaeological discoveries which came from study of Ur unearthed information which clearly informs us that a civilisation there was interrupted by a terrible flood and that new civilisations gradually sprang up in its place. Leonard Woolley led a joint excavation by the British Museum and the University of Pennsylvania in the desert area between Baghdad and the Persian Gulf. Woolley's excavations are described by the German archaeologist Werner Keller as follows:

"The graves of the kings of Ur" - so Woolley, in the exuberance of his delight at discovering them, had dubbed the tombs of Sumerian nobles whose truly regal splendour had been exposed when the spades of the archaeologists attacked a fifty-foot mound south of the temple and found a long row of superimposed graves. The stone vaults were veritable treasure chests, for they were filled with all the costly goblets, wonderfully shaped jugs and vases, bronze tableware, mother of pearl mosaics, lapis lazuli, and silver surrounded these bodies which had mouldered into dust. Harps and lyres rested against the walls…

When after several days some of Woolley's workmen called out to him, "We are on ground level", he let himself down onto the floor of the shaft to satisfy himself. Woolley's first thought was "This is it at last". It was sand, pure sand of a kind that could only have been deposited by water.

They decided to dig on and make the shaft deeper. Deeper and deeper went the spades into the ground: three feet, six feet - still pure mud. Suddenly, at ten feet, the layer of mud stopped as abruptly as it had started. Under this clay deposit of almost ten feet thick, they had struck fresh evidence of human habitation…

The Flood - that was the only possible explanation of this great clay deposit beneath the hill at Ur, which quite clearly separated two epochs of settlement…217

Excavations in the Mesopotamian Plain revealed the presence of a layer of mud and clay at a depth of 2.5 metres (8 feet). This stratum in all probability consisted of clay carried by the waters of the Flood, and is to be found only under the Mesopotamian Plain.

 

Microscopic analysis revealed that this great clay deposit beneath the hill at Ur had accumulated here as a result of a flood, one so large and powerful as to annihilate ancient Sumerian civilisation. The epic of Gilgamesh and the story of Nuh were united in this shaft dug deep under the Mesopotamian desert.

Max Mallowan related the thoughts of Leonard Woolley, who said that such a huge mass of alluvium formed in a single time-slice could only be the result of a huge flood disaster. Woolley also described the flood layer, which separated the Sumerian city of Ur from the city of Al-Ubaid whose inhabitants used painted pottery, as the remains of the Flood.218

These facts demonstrated that the city of Ur was one of those places affected by the Flood. The German archaeologist Werner Keller also described the importance of the excavation in question. He has gone on record to say that the yield of city-remains beneath a muddy layer in the archaeological excavations made in Mesopotamia proves that there was indeed a flood in the region.219

Another Mesopotamian city to bear the traces of the Flood is the "Kish of the Sumerians," the present-day Tall Al-Uhaimer. Ancient Sumerian records describe this city as the "seat of the first postdiluvian dynasty."220

The southern Mesopotamian city of Shuruppak, the present-day Tall Fa'rah, also bears evident traces of the Flood. Archaeological investigations were carried out in this city between 1920 and 1930 by Erich Schmidt of the University of Pennsylvania. These excavations uncovered three layers of habitation which stretched from the late prehistoric period to the 3rd dynasty of Ur (2112-2004 B.C.). The most distinctive finds were ruins of well-built houses along with cuneiform tablets of administrative records and lists of words, indicating a highly developed society already in existence toward the end of the 4th millennium B.C.221

When one examines the opinions of these learned scientists, it is clear that they believe that the evidence which supports the Flood account is overwhelming. According to this opinion, this terrible flood took place in or around 3000-2900 B.C. According to Mallowan's account, 4-5 metres below the earth, Schmidt had reached a yellow soil layer (formed by flood) made up of a mixture of clay and sand. This layer was closer to the plain level than the tumulus profile and it could be observed all around the tumulus. Schmidt defined this layer made up of a mixture of clay and sand, which remained from the time of Ancient Kingdom of Cemdet Nasr, as "a sand with its origins in the river" and associated it with Nuh's Flood.222

In short, the excavations in the city of Shuruppak once again revealed the traces of a flood around 3000-2900 B.C. Together with the other cities, Shuruppak was in all probability struck by the Flood.223

The last settlement containing evidence of being struck by the Flood is the city of Erech, south of Shuruppak. Today, it is known as Tall Al-Warka. As in the other cities, a flood layer was also discovered here. Like the other cities, this flood layer has been dated to 3000-2900 B.C.224

The Euphrates and Tigris rivers divide Mesopotamia from one end to the other. It appears that in the era in question, these two rivers overflowed, together with all other water sources, great and small, combining with rainwater to create an enormous flood. This phenomenon is reported in these terms in the Qur'an:

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. (Qur'an, 54:11-13)

When the clues obtained from the research are evaluated, they indicate that the Flood covered all of the Mesopotamian plains. When we look at the succession of cities-Ur, Erech, Shuruppak and Kish-that bear the traces of the Flood, we see that they all lie in a line. In addition, the geographical structure of the Mesopotamian Plain was very different in around 3000 B.C. compared to its constitution today. At that time, the bed of the River Euphrates was much further to the east than it is today, lying on a line passing through Ur, Erech, Shuruppak and Kish. It therefore appears that the Euphrates burst its banks in this region and destroyed the four cities. (Allah knows best.)

Allah imparted the news of Nuh's Flood in order that it should act as a deterrent for those of that time and a valuable lesson to those who were to come after, people like us. By means of the Prophets and books, He sent guidance to different societies. However, each time the texts which were brought to the people by Allah's Prophets were corrupted from their original forms. Men added cultural, mystical or mythological elements to the true account of the Flood. The Qur'an, because it is from Allah and because He preserves it eternally, is the only source compatible with the archaeological findings of the past. (See Harun Yahya, Perished Nations, Ta - Ha Publishers, 2002)

217. Werner Keller, Und die Bibel hat doch recht (The Bible as History; a Confirmation of the Book of Books) 
(New York: William Morrow: 1964), 25-29. 
218. Max Mallowan, Noah’s Flood Reconsidered (Iraq: XXVI-2: 1964), 70.
219. Keller, Und die Bibel hat doch recht, 23-32.
220. “Kish,” Britannica Micropaedia 6, 893.
221. “Shuruppak,” Britannica Micropaedia 10, 772 
222. Max Mallowan, Early Dynastic Period in Mesopotamia, Cambridge Ancient History 1-2, (Cambridge: 1971), 238.
223. Joseph Campbell, Eastern Mythology, 129.
224. Bilim ve Utopya (Science and Utopia), July 1996, 176. Footnote, 19.

2010-07-03 00:14:03
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