Interpretation of Sura Hud - Verses 39-41
39. " So you shall know soon to whom a Penalty(that)will confound him comes, and upon whom there shall fall a lasting Penalty. "
The meaning of the punishment which is modified by the term/ yuxzihi/ is the devastating worldly punishment, i. e. their being drowned which would humiliate and belittle them, whilst the meaning of the term/ 'a abun muqim/ is the punishment to be imposed on the Day of Resurrection. The verse says:
" So you shall know soon to whom a Penalty(that)will confound him comes, and upon whom there shall fall a lasting Penalty. "
In some Islamic narrations, one reads that forty years prior to the appearance of the storm, a type of disease had spread among the women of the People of Noah which had prevented them from giving birth to children. This event, in fact, marked the beginning of their punishment.
Noah's Ark, undoubtedly, was not an ordinary ship and its manufacture in those days with the technology of the time was not easily accomplished. It was a large vessel which, in addition to the believers, accommodated pairs of an extremely wide variety of animals, it also carried a large amount of food supplies for the human passengers, as well as food for the animals which was unprecedented for that time. In particular, this ship had to be safely navigated through a sea that covered the entire world with mountain- sized waves and still remain intact. In their commentaries, some Qur'an commentators have expressed their admiration for the magnitude of the ship. Refer to the comments of Majma'- ul- Bayan for further information.
40. "(Thus it was)till, when Our Command came, and the oven gushed forth( water)! We said: "Embark therein, of each kind a pair, and your family(apart from your wife and a son)except for those him against whom the Word has already passed and whoever believed. But there believed not with him but a few. "
The Onset of the Flood:
In the previous verses, we noted how Noah and the true believers became occupied in building the Ark of Salvation and, while subjected to all kinds of difficulties and sarcasms of the arrogant unbelieving majority, they prepared themselves for the flood. Here, the Qur'an expounds upon the third highlight or the climax of the story which relates to the punishment inflicted upon this oppressive nation. First of all, it says that this situation continued until Allah's command was issued and the dawning of the divine punishment appeared, and waters of the earth gushed forth. The verse says:
"(Thus it was)till, when Our Command came, and the oven gushed forth(water)! ..."
Those people who were inattentive and unaware probably noticed the bubbling water in their wells, but, as usual, they did not heed these Divine warnings much less try to understand their meaning. They probably did not pay any attention to it at all to see if a cataclysm was about to occur, and maybe to at least entertain the possibility that Noah's warnings might be real.
At this time, the Command was issued to Noah that he should put a pair of each animal on the Ark so that they would not be exterminated in the flood. And that he, his family, except those for whom word had already had been marked for their punishment, and the believers should board the Ark of Salvation. However few were those who had believed in him. The verse says:
"... We said: "Embark therein, of each kind a pair, and your family(apart from your wife and a son)except for those him against whom the Word has already passed- and whoever believed. But there believed not with him but a few. "
This verse, on the one hand, refers to the wife of Noah and his son 'Kan'an', who, deviating from the path of belief and being in collaboration with the sinners, had broken off their relationship with Noah and were not entitled to embark on the Ark.
On the other hand, it refers to the limited success that Noah(a.s.)had had in persuading people to follow his way of life during his long years of continuous struggle that had resulted in getting only a small number of believers.
41. " And he(Noah)said: 'Embark in it! In Allah's Name shall be its sailing and its berthing. Verily my Lord is the Forgiving, the Merciful. '"
Noah assembled his relatives and companions quickly and as the time of the devastating storm and the striking Punishment approached, he ordered them to embark in the name of Allah and to remember Allah both when the Ark was in motion or standing still for He is the All Forgiving, the All Compassionate. The verse says:
" And he(Noah)said: 'Embark in it! In Allah's Name shall be its sailing and its berthing. Verily my Lord is the Forgiving, the Merciful. '"
Owing to His blessings, Allah had made these instruments available to you, His faithful servants, and because of His forgiveness, He may pardon your offences.
Adopted from the book : "The Light of the Holy Qur'an; Interpretation of Surah Hud" by : "Sayyid Kamal Faghih Imani and a Group of Muslim Scholars"
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