Surat Nuh (Noah)
The surah starts with the divine duty that this great Prophet was assigned, “Verily, We sent Nûh (Noah) to his people (saying): ‘Warn your people before there comes to them a painful torment.’” (TMQ, 71:1). Then it moves to describing Prophet Nuh’s life as a person performing Da’wa. Let us examine together the aspects of his missionary work and learn from this Prophet how to have a sense of being protective towards the religion of Allah. Let us learn the art of Da’wa as it should be.
The dedication for Da’wa:
We learn about how a truly dedicated person performs Da’wa, “He said: ‘O my Lord! Verily, I have called to my people night and day.’” (TMQ, 71:5).
Why is night mentioned before day? Do we normally perform Da’wa at night? This ayah tells us that Nuh (AS) used to call to Allah night and day without a break. To him it was a twenty-four-hour mission. However, his people’s denial defiance was so intense, “Yet all my calling led to nothing but (their) flight (from the truth).” (TMQ, 71:6). Nevertheless, he never stopped his call, “And verily, every time I called unto them that You might forgive them…” (TMQ, 71: 7). See the use of the word “every time”. It tells you how persistent he was, “And verily, every time I called unto them that You might forgive them, they thrust their fingers into their ears, covered their faces up with their garments, and persisted (in their refusal), and magnified themselves with pride.” (TMQ, 71:7).
Despite his people’s rejection, Nuh was persistent in performing Da’wa, “‘Then verily, I called to them openly (aloud). Then verily, I proclaimed to them in public, and I have appealed to them in private.’” (TMQ, 71:8-9). It was like he was saying, “I’ve tried all the possible ways; I’ve spoken with them privately; I’ve held conferences to explain my ideas, I’ve addressed them in groups and individually; I’ve tried it all!” However, “none but a few believed with him,” just as it was in surat Hud. According to some scholars only 60 believed with him. Imagine! That is almost one believer every 15 years! What kind of obstinate denial is this? What kind of dedication and persistence in Da’wa is this?
Surat Nuh emphasizes an important aspect of Da’wa: Keep on performing Da’wa even if nobody responds. Take Nuh (AS) as your model.
The art of Da’wa:
The surah continues goes on describing the methods used in of Da’wa, “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.’” (TMQ, 71:10-12).
In these ayahs, Nuh (AS) gives his people glad tidings that, if they respond to Allah’s call, this will be for their own good in this life, not just in the hereafter. It is as if he is telling them, “Don’t you love this world? Aren’t you attached to it? Then ask for Allah’s forgiveness so your lives will flourish.”
Then he tries another method, “What is the matter with you, that [you fear not Allâh (His punishment), and] you hope not for reward (from Allâh)? While He has created you in (different) stages. See you not how Allâh has created the seven heavens one above another, and has made the moon a light therein, and made the sun a lantern?” (TMQ, 71:13-14).
I can almost hear you all saying, “‘This is exactly like surat Al-Mulq, and the importance of knowing Allah and glorifying him so we could call others to him…” Yes; look at the intricate coherence of the surahs! Then what else?
“And Allah has brought you forth from the (dust of) earth. Afterwards He will return you into it (the earth), and bring you forth (again on the Day of Resurrection)?” (TMQ, 71:17-18). This is a reminder of death and the Day of Judgment; the same objective of surat Al-Haqqah. Look again at the intricate coherence. Surat Nuh is giving us a practical account of the meanings discussed in the previous surahs of this part.
The cause of extinction:
Prophet Nuh explains, in his statement, the reason for his people’s denial, “Nûh (Noah) said: ‘My Lord! They have disobeyed me, and followed those whose wealth and children gave them nothing but loss.’” (TMQ, 71:21).
As we can see, the problem is universal; preoccupation with wealth and children. It is the same problem discussed in surat At-Taghabun, “O you who believe! Verily, among your wives and your children there are enemies for you (who may stop you from the obedience of Allah); therefore beware of them!” (TMQ, 64:14).
The surah concludes with a supplication. This is intended to teach us that, for those who perform Da’wa, personal effort and endeavor to achieve their aim should always go hand in hand with supplication and turning to Allah, since He (SWT) is the One who guides us.
“My Lord! Forgive me, and my parents, and whoever enters my home as a believer, and all the believing men and women. And to the Zâlimûn (polytheists, wrong-doers, and disbelievers) grant them naught but destruction!” (TMQ, 71:28). Look how the circle of supplication gets wider as it moves from the believer, to his parents and acquaintances, then to all the believers; men and women. Indeed, a great surah and a great account for anyone performing Da’wa to extract lessons and useful examples.
source Amr Khaled