In two separate articles12, Mr. Katz has pointed out a few contradictions in the Qur’anic narrative of the story of Noah (pbuh). Mr. Katz’s objections are based on Al-Anbiaa 21: 76, Hu’d 11: 27, 38, 40, 42 – 43, 45, 46 Al-Aa`raaf 7: 64, Al-Tehreem 66: 10, Al-Saaffaat 37: 77 and Al-Qamar 54: 9.
In the following article, we shall consider the objections raised by Mr. Katz in detail.
The “Family” of Noah (pbuh) — The First and the Second Objections
Mr. Katz’s first objection relates to the Qur’anic declaration that God saved Noah’s family from the flood. In Al-Anbiaa 21: 76, the Qur’an says that God saved Noah’s family. Yet in Hu’d 11: 42 – 43, Noah’s son perished with those who were drowned.
Al-Anbiaa 21: 76 reads as:
وَنُوحًا إِذْ نَادَىٰ مِن قَبْلُ فَاسْتَجَبْنَا لَهُ فَنَجَّيْنَاهُ وَأَهْلَهُ مِنَ الْكَرْبِ الْعَظِيمِ
And [We bestowed our guidance upon] Noah. When he called out, before this, and We answered his prayer and saved him and his family from the great calamity.
While Hu’d 11: 42 – 43 says:
وَهِيَ تَجْرِي بِهِمْ فِي مَوْجٍ كَالْجِبَالِ وَنَادَىٰ نُوحٌ ابْنَهُ وَكَانَ فِي مَعْزِلٍ يَا بُنَيَّ ارْكَب مَّعَنَا وَلَا تَكُن مَّعَ الْكَافِرِينَ ﴿٤٢﴾ قَالَ سَآوِي إِلَىٰ جَبَلٍ يَعْصِمُنِي مِنَ الْمَاءِ ۚ قَالَ لَا عَاصِمَ الْيَوْمَ مِنْ أَمْرِ اللَّـهِ إِلَّا مَن رَّحِمَ ۚ وَحَالَ بَيْنَهُمَا الْمَوْجُ فَكَانَ مِنَ الْمُغْرَقِينَ
And as the ark moved on with them amid [huge] mountain-like waves, Noah (pbuh) cried out to his son, who stood at a side: ‘Embark with us, my son. Do not remain with the unbelievers’. He replied: ‘I shall seek refuge in a mountain, which will protect me from the flood’. Noah (pbuh) cried: ‘None shall be secure today from the judgment of God, but those who deserve His mercy’. And thereupon the billows rolled between them, and Noah’s son was, thus, among those who drowned.
However, according to Mr. Katz, the Qur’an has itself given an explanation for this contradiction in verse 46 of Surah Hu’d. The verse reads as:
قَالَ يَا نُوحُ إِنَّهُ لَيْسَ مِنْ أَهْلِكَ ۖ إِنَّهُ عَمَلٌ غَيْرُ صَالِحٍ ۖ فَلَا تَسْأَلْنِ مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ ۖ إِنِّي أَعِظُكَ أَن تَكُونَ مِنَ الْجَاهِلِينَ
God said: O Noah, he is not your family, Indeed his deeds are not pious. Therefore, do not ask Me of which you do not know, I admonish you that you should not be one of ignorant.
Mr. Katz writes:
So, we see that this problem is solved by “divine exclusion” and the Qur’an even admits that this can be something rather difficult to comprehend for normal human beings, even for the prophet of God, Noah.
It is certainly possible to disinherit sons or otherwise to deny them the legal status of a son, but it is impossible even for God that a biological son looses the property of being the seed of his father.
Another related problem is that of Noah’s wife. Mr. Katz writes:
The inclusion / exclusion dynamics are rather complex in this story. In Sura 66:10, Noah’s wife is assigned to Hell, and Yusuf Ali’s commentary implies she perished in the flood.
The verse referred to by Mr. Katz (Al-Tehreem 66: 10) reads as:
ضَرَبَ اللَّـهُ مَثَلًا لِّلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا امْرَأَتَ نُوحٍ وَامْرَأَتَ لُوطٍ ۖ كَانَتَا تَحْتَ عَبْدَيْنِ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا صَالِحَيْنِ فَخَانَتَاهُمَا فَلَمْ يُغْنِيَا عَنْهُمَا مِنَ اللَّـهِ شَيْئًا وَقِيلَ ادْخُلَا النَّارَ مَعَ الدَّاخِلِينَ
God gives the example of Noah’s wife and Lot’s wife for those who have rejected. They were both married to our pious servants, but they deceived their husbands. Thus, both their husbands could not save them from God and they were told: “Enter the Hellfire with those who deserve to enter it”.
Thus, Mr. Katz’s first objection is that the declaration of the Qur’an of saving Noah’s family (Al-Anbiaa 21: 42 – 43) contradicts with both the latter verses in which it is informed that Noah’s son and wife were among those who were punished.
Mr. Katz’s second objection relates to the identity of the people who believed Noah (pbuh). According to Mr. Katz, the implication of two separate Qur’anic statements, in this respect is also contradictory. The verses pertinent to this objection are reproduced below.
Al-Saaffaat 37: 75 – 77 reads as:
وَلَقَدْ نَادَانَا نُوحٌ فَلَنِعْمَ الْمُجِيبُونَ ﴿٧٥﴾ وَنَجَّيْنَاهُ وَأَهْلَهُ مِنَ الْكَرْبِ الْعَظِيمِ ﴿٧٦﴾ وَجَعَلْنَا ذُرِّيَّتَهُ هُمُ الْبَاقِينَ ﴿٧٧﴾
Noah prayed to Us and his prayers were graciously answered. We delivered him and his family from the great calamity and made his descendents the survivors.
While, Hu’d 11: 27 reads as:
فَقَالَ الْمَلَأُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِن قَوْمِهِ مَا نَرَاكَ إِلَّا بَشَرًا مِّثْلَنَا وَمَا نَرَاكَ اتَّبَعَكَ إِلَّا الَّذِينَ هُمْ أَرَاذِلُنَا بَادِيَ الرَّأْيِ وَمَا نَرَىٰ لَكُمْ عَلَيْنَا مِن فَضْلٍ بَلْ نَظُنُّكُمْ كَاذِبِينَ
The unbelieving elders of his people said: ‘We see you as but a mortal like ourselves. Nor can we see you being followed by any but the lowliest of our men, those who are rash and undiscerning. We see nothing superior to ourselves in you. Indeed we think that you people are lying.
According to Mr. Katz, this verse clearly implies that there were people other than the immediate family of Noah (pbuh), who had believed with him. Mr. Katz writes:
It is clear that Noah found some who believed his message and followed him. That the unbelievers call the believers “mean” and “immature” is to be expected as angry rhetoric. But it cannot be denied that he had some followers, apart from his immediate family (which would not create this reaction, given that it is expected that the family follows the head of the family).
The fact that people other than the immediate family of Noah (pbuh) believed in him, according to Mr. Katz, is further supported by Al-Aa`raaf 7: 64. The verse reads as:
فَكَذَّبُوهُ فَأَنجَيْنَاهُ وَالَّذِينَ مَعَهُ فِي الْفُلْكِ وَأَغْرَقْنَا الَّذِينَ كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِنَا ۚ إِنَّهُمْ كَانُوا قَوْمًا عَمِينَ
They rejected him. So We saved him and all who were with him in the ark and drowned those who rejected our revelations. Indeed they were a blind people.
Regarding this verse, Mr. Katz writes:
Those “in the Ark” are contrasted with (i.e. are the opposite of) those “who rejected”, i.e. they are those who believed. It is not as clear as 11:27, but it is pointing in the same direction.
Then again in Hu’d 11: 40, the Qur’an clearly tells us that there were indeed a few others, besides the family of Noah (pbuh) who believed in him. The verse reads as:
حَتَّىٰ إِذَا جَاءَ أَمْرُنَا وَفَارَ التَّنُّورُ قُلْنَا احْمِلْ فِيهَا مِن كُلٍّ زَوْجَيْنِ اثْنَيْنِ وَأَهْلَكَ إِلَّا مَن سَبَقَ عَلَيْهِ الْقَوْلُ وَمَنْ آمَنَ ۚ وَمَا آمَنَ مَعَهُ إِلَّا قَلِيلٌ
Till Our decision was implemented and water welled out from the oven. We said to Noah: ‘Take into the ark a pair from every species, your family, except those against whom a word has already been passed and those who believe. But none except a very few believed with him.
Mr. Katz writes about this verse:
Here again, we read of “a few believed with him”, but why are they seemingly not saved according to Sura 37:77?
Thus, Mr. Katz’s second objection is that the verses of the Qur’an which give the identity of those who were saved with Noah (pbuh) are contradictory. At one instance, the Qur’an has identified them as Noah’s family, while in the other two verses (and also in the Torah), the Qur’anic verses imply that they included others as well.
The first and the second objection raised by Mr. Katz is actually based on the usage of the Arabic words “أهل” (i.e. ‘Ahl‘) and “ذرية” (i.e. ‘Zurriyyah‘), generally, translated as ‘family’ and ‘progeny’ or ‘descendents’ respectively. However, the two words are used in the Arabic language in a much wider sense than to merely imply one’s biological ‘family’ or ‘descendents’. The Arabic-English dictionary ‘Al-Mawrid’ explains the word “أهل” as:
أهل: أقرباء : relatives, relations, kin, kinsfolk, kindred, kinsmen, kith and kin, folks, people; family; household
أهل: أهال، أهلون، سكان : inhabitants, residents; natives, nationals, citizens; population
أهل كذا: أعضاء، خماعة : people, men, members (of a group, class, occupation, etc.)
أهل كذا: أتباع : followers, adherents
أهل كذا: أصحاب : possessors, owners, holders
أهل كذا: أسياد : masters
أهل البيت: أهل الذار: سكانه، أسرة : household, family
(أهل البيت: أسرة الرسول (ص : the family of the Prophet
أهل الخبرة : experts, people of experience, specialists, authorities
أهل الذمة : free non-Muslims enjoying Muslim protection
أهل الرجل : wife
أهل السنة : the Sunnites, the Sunnis
أهل الفكر : intelligentsia
أهل الكتاب : the people of the Book, Christians and the Jews
أهل الكهف : Seven Sleepers of the Ephesus
The word ‘Ahl‘, as should be clear from the above citation, is also commonly used in the meaning of ‘people’; ‘members (of a group)’, ‘followers’; ‘adherents’ etc. Moreover, it is generally held by most of the linguists that when the word is used with reference to a prophet of God, it generally implies the group of his followers, rather than his biological family. ‘Aqrab al-Mawaarid‘, while explaining the word “Ahl” writes:
*أهل *الرجل: عشيرته وذوو قرباه ج أهلون وأهال و آهال و أهلات و أهَلات. يقال “رجعوا إلى أهاليهم” بزيادة الياء و (أهل الرجل) زوجته و (أهل كل النبي) أمته و (أهل البلد و البيت) سكانه و (أهل الأمر) و لاته و (أهل المذهب) من يدين به و (أهل الوبر) سكان الخيام و (أهل المدر و الحضر) سكان الأبنية.
*Ahl* When the word is with reference to a man, it implies his family and those who have close relations with him; the plural of this word is ‘Ahloon‘, ‘Ahaal‘, ‘Aahaal‘, ‘Ahlaat‘ and ‘Ahalaat‘. Sometimes a ‘ya‘ is added to its plural, as it is said: “Raja`oo ilaa Ahaaleehim” (They returned to their families). In “Ahl al-Rajul” the word refers to ‘wife’; in “Ahl kull nabiyin” (i.e. Ahl of every prophet), the word refers to the group of the prophet’s followers; in “Ahl al-Balad” or “Ahl Al-Bayet” the word refers to the inhabitants; in “Ahl al-Amr” the word refers to the person who is in charge [of the affairs]; in “Ahl al-Madhab” the word refers to people who ascribe to the same religion; in “Ahl al-Waber” the word refers to the people who live in tents; in “Ahl al-Madr wa al-Hadhar” the word refers to the people who live in buildings.
The Qur’an, in a few of its verses, has clearly used the word “Ahl” in its wider implication, not restricted to the biological family of the prophet. For instance, in the phrases “Ahl al-Kitaab“, “Ahl al-Balad“, “Ahl Madian” the word is clearly not used to imply a ‘family’. We present below a few verses, which would further substantiate the wider implication of the word. Maryam 19: 54 – 55 reads as:
وَاذْكُرْ فِي الْكِتَابِ إِسْمَاعِيلَ ۚ إِنَّهُ كَانَ صَادِقَ الْوَعْدِ وَكَانَ رَسُولًا نَّبِيًّا ﴿٥٤﴾ وَكَانَ يَأْمُرُ أَهْلَهُ بِالصَّلَاةِ وَالزَّكَاةِ وَكَانَ عِندَ رَبِّهِ مَرْضِيًّا
N. J. Dawood has correctly translated this verse as:
And in the Book you shall tell of Ishmael: he, too, was a man of his word, an apostle and a prophet. He enjoined prayer and almsgiving on his people, and his Lord was pleased with him.
It should be noted that the phrase ‘Ahlahoo‘ in this verse refers to ‘the people’ or ‘the followers’ of the prophet. Not merely his biological family. Obviously, the prophet would not enjoin prayer on his biological family only, but on all his followers. The word is used in exactly the same connotation in Ta’ Ha’ 20: 132, with reference to the Prophet (pbuh) as well.
Exactly like the word “أهل” , the word “ذرية” (i.e. ‘Zurriyyah‘) is also used in the Arabic language in a wider sense to imply the followers of a person. For instance, in Al-Kahaf 18: 50, the Qur’an says:
وَإِذْ قُلْنَا لِلْمَلَائِكَةِ اسْجُدُوا لِآدَمَ فَسَجَدُوا إِلَّا إِبْلِيسَ كَانَ مِنَ الْجِنِّ فَفَسَقَ عَنْ أَمْرِ رَبِّهِ ۗ أَفَتَتَّخِذُونَهُ وَذُرِّيَّتَهُ أَوْلِيَاءَ مِن دُونِي وَهُمْ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ ۚ بِئْسَ لِلظَّالِمِينَ بَدَلًا
And when We said to the angels to prostrate before Adam, they all prostrated, except Iblis — he was a Jinn — thus he disobeyed his Lord. Will you still hold him and his offspring as your masters, rather than Me, when they are actually your enemies? And indeed evil is the substitute chosen by the transgressors.
In this verse, it is clear that the word ‘offspring’ does not imply the biological offspring of Iblis, but the ideological offspring.
In view of the above explanation and references, we can safely derive that the words ‘Ahl‘ and ‘Zurriyyah‘ in the Arabic language are used in a much wider connotation than mere biological family. These words are also used to imply followers and adherents of a person. Furthermore, by using these words in this wider connotation, the Qur’an has also clarified that in the eyes of God, a person’s true family consists of those who truly respect and follow him.
This usage of the words descendants, progeny, children, family etc. is not specific to the Qur’an. These words are used in the same implication in the Bible as well. Galatians 3: 6 – 7 reads as:
Consider Abraham: “He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham.
While addressing the Israelites, John reports Jesus (pbuh) as having said:
“I know you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are ready to kill me, because you have no room for my word. I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you do what you have heard from your father.” “Abraham is our father,” they answered. “If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would do the things Abraham did. As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. You are doing the things your own father does.” “We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him.” (John 8: 37 – 44)
Paul, in a few of his addresses is also reported to have implied the same.
The above clarification regarding the implication and connotation of the words ‘Ahl‘ and ‘Zurriyyah‘ should adequately answer Mr. Katz’s first and second objections.
Mr. Katz had written:
It is certainly possible to disinherit sons or otherwise to deny them the legal status of a son, but it is impossible even for God that a biological son looses the property of being the seed of his father
I really do not know what is and is not possible for God to do, for God has not exhaustively informed me about it, but I do think that the above explanation would adequately establish that in the referred verses, the words ‘Ahl‘ and ‘Zurriyyah‘ refer to the ideological family of Noah (pbuh), in exactly the same way as in the cited verses of Galatians, the true believers have been called the ‘children’ of Abraham and as in the referred verses of John, the Israelites have been called the family of the devil, because of their devil-like deeds.
To summarize, the first and the second objections and their respective answers are:
The First Objection: The declaration of the Qur’an of saving Noah’s family (Al-Anbiaa 21: 42 – 43) contradicts with both Hu’d 11: 42 – 43 and Al-Tehreem 66: 10 in which it is informed that Noah’s son and wife were among those who were punished. The Answer: The word “أهل” (i.e. ‘Ahl‘) in Al-Anbiaa 21: 42 – 43, Hu’d 11: 46 and “ذرية” (i.e. ‘Zurriyyah‘) in Al-Saaffaat 37: 75 – 77, are used in a wider connotation to imply the ‘followers’ or ‘adherents’ of Noah (pbuh). Thus, if Noah’s son and wife were not his followers or adherents, they would obviously have been left behind.
The Second Objection: At some instances (Al-Anbiaa 21: 76, Al-Saaffaat 37: 75 – 77), the Qur’an has identified those who were saved as Noah’s family, while in the other two verses (Hu’d 11: 27 and 40) and also in the Torah, the Qur’anic verses imply that they included others as well. The Answer: As has been clarified above, the Qur’an in both these instances implies that the group of the followers of Noah (pbuh), whether consisting of his family members or those not related with him, was saved. There is absolutely no contradiction in the two verses.
A Scientific Error — The Third Objection
The third objection raised by Mr. Katz is that the dialogue between Noah (pbuh) and his son, as has been reported by the Qur’an is not possible in the particular environment in which the Qur’an has reported it to have taken place. The environment in which the referred conversation took place, as reported by Hu’d 11: 42 – 43 is:
And as the ark moved on with them amid [huge] mountain-like waves, Noah (pbuh) cried out to his son…
Mr. Katz writes:
This whole conversation in 11:42-43 is impossible in the way it is reported. If you ever have been at sea when the waves are towering like mountains then you know how loud it is. Conversation, even when shouting is absolutely impossible. Note, it does not say that the water was already as deep as a mountain is high (but with a calm surface), it specifically speaks of waves, which means that there have to be strong winds to produce these waves. And that is always very loud. Also, the Ark, a big ship was already afloat, i.e. “out on the water”, while Noah’s son seems during this conversation to be standing on the dry land in a distance allowing conversation (even if there were no noise around), and not swimming in the water and struggling with the waves. This is physically impossible for any normal landscape imaginable. After all this was not in a haven build for regular docking of ships.
Mr. Katz further writes:
Muhammad was a son of the desert, not acquainted very well with large amounts of water as at an ocean. That might explain why this story is narrated in such an unrealistic way.
Before an explanation is given against the objection raised by Mr. Katz, I would like to clarify a few things:
Firstly, the phrase ‘mountain-like waves’ is obviously used in a figurative sense, rather than a literal sense. It simply implies that the water had started rising and high waves had started forming in it.
Secondly, the environment depicted by the Qur’an is that of a rapidly rising flood, not that of a rough sea or ocean, as Mr. Katz has interpreted. There is a tremendous difference between the two environments. Sea-water, while in high tide, has a lot of noise and roar in it, probably because of the depth of the sea as well as because of the density of the sea-water. The case of flood-water is different. In fact, after reading Mr. Katz objections, I asked one of my acquaintances who had lived through fifteen to twenty feet floods in his village (there is no dearth of such people in Pakistan, where floods are a common feature after a healthy rain season) about oral communication while in a flood and was told that, generally, there is not much noise in flood water, on the contrary, it seems that such an environment amplifies the sound and also creates a lot of echoing effects.
Thirdly, the Arabic word “قاَلَ” (i.e. “Qaala“), generally translated as: “He said”, does not necessarily imply oral or verbal communication. It can be used for sign language, as is clearly evidenced by Maryam 19: 26. Thus, the referred exchange between Noah (pbuh) and his son could have taken place by waving and signs. Words may also have been uttered, as reported by the Qur’an, but the communication may primarily have been through signs.
Even if we completely disregard all these points and, for the sake of this discussion, take all the premises on which Mr. Katz has based his objections, to be correct, the point remains that Mr. Katz, seems to be pretty rash in drawing the “scientific error” objection from the information given in the Qur’an. To make his “scientific error” objection “scientifically” considerable, Mr. Katz should first inform us about the exact distance at which oral communication becomes scientifically impossible between two individuals, who are speaking/shouting at a specific pitch of voice, in an environment of rough waters of a specific intensity. Once this information is established, Mr. Katz should then establish that according to the referred verse of the Qur’an:
The distance between the two communicating points was more than the distance in which communication is possible, at the ‘specified’ pitch of voice and intensity of the roughness of the waters; or
The pitch of voice at which communication was carried-out is below the prescribed pitch for communication between the two points situated at the specified distance and intensity of rough waters; or
The intensity of the rough waters was much more than one which allows communication between the two points at the ‘specified’ distance and pitch of voice.
I am sure Mr. Katz would agree that without the above-stated exact information, considering the Qur’anic narrative to be scientifically incorrect would be no different than to consider the statement: “We communicated in whispers” to be scientifically incorrect. It would definitely be expected of every prudent person to determine the distance between the two points and the pitch of the ‘whispers’, before declaring the scientific impossibility of the communication through whispers, between any two points. I am sure that Mr. Katz would also agree that without the prior determination of all these variables, any one who considers the statement “we communicated in whispers” to be ‘scientifically incorrect’, needs appropriate training in the “scientific method”.
Going Forth of the “Word” — The Fourth Objection
The fourth objection raised by Mr. Katz is that in Hu’d 11: 40 (given above), the Qur’an has said:
Take into the ark a pair from every species, your family, except those against whom a word has already been passed and those who believe.
while in Hu’d 11: 42 – 43 (also given above), Noah calls out to his son to save himself. This according to Mr. Katz, clearly implies that:
So, he [that is Noah’s son] was not one “against whom the word has already gone forth” since then Noah would not have called him in disobedience to Allah’s command.
This objection is based on an absolutely incorrect interpretation of the phrase “word has already gone forth”. The Arabic phrase: “مَن سَبَقَ عَلَيْهِ الْقَوْلُ” (generally translated as “against whom the word has already gone forth”), implies against whom the ‘Word’ has already been fulfilled. This is the same usage of the word “word”, which I have already explained in detail in my article “Do the Errors in the Bible Prove that the Qur’an is not From God?“. The phrase does not necessitate that Noah (pbuh) was already communicated the names of those who were to be left behind. On the contrary, the phrase only implies that only those shall be left behind, who according to the decrees (i.e. the ‘word’ sent forth) of God, deserve to be left behind. Keeping this aspect in consideration, N. J. Dawood has more correctly translated this verse as:
…except for those already doomed.
i.e. except for those about whose doom, God has already decided.
Was Noah (pbuh) Driven Out — The Fifth Objection
The fifth objection raised by Mr. Katz, as given in a different article, is that according to Al-Qamar 54: 9 Noah was driven out of the land, while according to the narrative of Hu’d when Noah was constructing the ark, his people would pass by him quite regularly.
Al-Qamar 54: 9 reads as:
كَذَّبَتْ قَبْلَهُمْ قَوْمُ نُوحٍ فَكَذَّبُوا عَبْدَنَا وَقَالُوا مَجْنُونٌ وَازْدُجِرَ
Yusuf Ali has translated this verse (which is noted by Mr. Katz) as:
Before them the people of Noah rejected (their messenger): They rejected Our servant and said, “Here is One possessed!” And he was driven out.
On the contrary, the implication of Hu’d 11: 38 is that Noah (pbuh) was still living among his people when he started building the ark. Hu’d 11: 38 reads as:
وَيَصْنَعُ الْفُلْكَ وَكُلَّمَا مَرَّ عَلَيْهِ مَلَأٌ مِّن قَوْمِهِ سَخِرُوا مِنْهُ ۚ قَالَ إِن تَسْخَرُوا مِنَّا فَإِنَّا نَسْخَرُ مِنكُمْ كَمَا تَسْخَرُونَ
And he started building the ark. And whenever the leaders of his people passed by him. they mocked at him. He said: ‘If you mock us [today], then surely [soon] we shall mock you, just as you mock [us].
Regarding the information provided by these two verses, Mr. Katz writes:
… if he was driven out of the country or out of the area, he obviously couldn’t build the Ark where his people would regularly pass by.
On the other hand, if he build the Ark before their very eyes, and was then driven out, how did he get back to the Ark for the flood? This was not a toy ship, he couldn’t take that with him while “being driven out” and away from this ship.
Furthermore, it contradicts the record of Noah in the Tora, which is in this respect in harmony with Sura 11 but not with Sura 54.
This objection is primarily based on an incorrect translation of the referred verse, the Arabic word “وَازْدُجِرَ” which Yusuf Ali has translated as: “he was driven out”, actually implies “he was badly scolded/rebuked/reprimanded/reproached”. These meanings of the words are so well known that there seems to be absolutely no need for any citations. Every authentic dictionary of the Arabic language bears witness to this fact.
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