The Prophet Adam (peace be upon him) had left his progeny in a state of social and moral health but gradually they began to forget the teachings of Allah (Arabic word for God). They adopted the wrong path and indulged in corruption and depravity. They became mean, evil-doers and greedy. They cheated and hurt one another. They began to worship idols and forgot to pray to Almighty Allah. The entire society had been split up into different sections and this state of affairs had given birth to oppression and injustice.
The Advent of Prophet Nuh:
Under these circumstances Allah, the Most Merciful, wanted the people to be good again. He sent Nuh (Noah) as His apostle for the reclamation of the depraved humanity dwelling in that part of the earth which is called Iraq in the present era. Those people believed in Allah but they associated other gods with Allah, the Supreme. The priests of these deities exercised great control over all affairs. The people offered sacrifices in the name of their deities to please them. They spent the money lavishly and thus their condition became miserable. The Prophet Nuh (peace be upon him) like other prophets was sincere, pious, patient and trustworthy. He was strong in his will and determination. Angel Gabriel (Jibra'il) conveyed him the teachings from Allah. He was commanded to reform the people who had been led astray by the Satan. He kept on preaching the faith of Allah and directed the people to pray to one God. He advised them to refrain from doing evil deeds. The Holy Qur'an affirms his endeavours to reform his people in the following Verses:
"He (Nuh) said: 0' my people! serve Allah. There is no god other than Him. If you refuse, verily I fear for you chastisement of a grievous day. The Chiefs of his people said: Most certainly we perceive you in clear error. He said: O' my people! There is no error in me but I am an Apostle from the lord of the worlds. I deliver to you the message of my Lord and I counsel you right (7: 59,60)
Again in the following Verses the Prophet Nuh (peace be upon him) warned his people by declaring:
"O' my people! Surely I am a plain warner to you bidding you to serve Allah and be mindful of your duty to Him, and obey me so that He may forgive your faults." (71:2-4)
The Prophet Nuh was opposed: Most of the people did not believe in the Prophet Nuh (peace be upon him). They made fun of him and ridiculed him as a mad man. Whenever he tried to convey the message of Allah to them, they began to thrust their fingers into their ears. They persisted in their infidelity and proudly disdained his counsel to do good deeds. The people were so stubborn under the influence of their minister who they paid no heed to the message of Allah and their aversion rapidly increased. At last, after 950 years of preaching his people to do good deeds, in sheer disgust the Prophet Nuh (peace be upon him) had to cry out:
"My Lord! Leave not upon land any dweller from among the disbelievers. For surely if You leave them, they will lead astray Your servants and will not beget any but immoral ungrateful offspring. My Lord! Forgive me and my parents and him who enters my house believing, and the believing males and females and do not increase the unjust in aught but destruction." (71: 26-28)
Preparation of an Ark:
Consequently Almighty Allah answered the prayer of Prophet Nuh (peace be upon him) by asking him to build an ark (a very big boat). The Prophet Nuh (peace be upon him) knew that Allah planned to drown all those sinners who had rejected His Commandments. He began to build the ark with the help of his followers. They went on working constantly from dawn to dusk. When the boat began to take shape, the disbelievers made fun of them. The transgressors thought that the Prophet Nuh (peace be upon him) and his followers were becoming crazy and were losing their balance of mind. The Holy Qur'an says:
"And he began to build the ark and whenever the chiefs among his people passed by him, they deride him but he said: Though you scoff at us now, we will scoff at you in Hereafter." (11:38)
When the big ark was completed, the sky became cloudy. It started to rain in torrents. The streams became bulging with water. There was water everywhere. The lightning was frightening and the thunder made the hearts pound fast. Everyone was scared and worried except the Prophet Nuh (peace be upon him) and his Followers. The Holy Qur'an gives the description of this terrible deluge in the following Verses:
"So We opened the gates of the heavens with water pouring down and We caused the earth to gush forth its springs, so the water of the heavens and the earth gathered together according to measure already ordained." (54: 11, 12)
The Prophet Nuh (peace be upon trim) called on his family and followers to embark the boat. They came rushing to the ark. There was a special place in the boat for all the animates including human beings and their animals. The ark sailed amid waves like mountains while the streams of water were rising fast and filling many houses with water through the windows and the doors. Many houses collapsed and dashed to the ground. Some of disbeliever tried to swim but in vain. They were in a pathetic condition but they deserved it. The son of Nuh was separated from him because he was an evil-doer. The Prophet Nuh (peace be upon him) prayed to his Lord and said:
"Surely, my son belongs to my family and Your promise is true. Allah said: Surely, he is not of your family. He is of evil conduct, therefore ask not of Me that of which you have no knowledge." (11:45, 46)
In the meantime the water rose higher and higher. The whole area was under the sway of flood and all the disbelievers were drowned. The Prophet Nuh (peace be upon him) and his followers were safe and sound in the ark which was floating without any obstruction of huge waves. Finally the rain stopped and the water abated. The sky became clear.
The Prophet Nuh and his followers Remain Safe: The Prophet Nuh (peace be upon him) and his believers sheltered in a safe place. They built new houses and worked hard in the fields. The next generation which sprang up from the survived believers included God-fearing persons. They worshipped one God and acted according to His teachings. The Prophet Nuh (peace be upon him) lived for about 950 years. After this dreadful destruction the people abstained from committing sins for sometime. Afterwards they began to be loose in their actions.