Noah’s (sws) Age

Question

The Holy Qur'an states that Noah (sws) preached for almost nine and a half centuries. I believe that average life and physical body traits of mankind has always been the same. A difference of five to ten years is understandable. But what the traditions report about the body structure of Awj b. Aunuq seems far beyond the reality. We can deny it because it has not been affirmed by the Holy Qur'an. But the life span of Noah (sws) has been recorded by the Holy Qur'an which cannot be questioned in any condition. Did all of his disciples live such a long life? Were they like us in their heights or was there some difference? I think that Noah (sws) lived almost five thousand years ago. Four or five thousand years have no significance in the long history of the world and the universe. It does not seem reasonable that five thousand years ago man lived as long as one thousand years. The Holy Qur'an does not say any such thing about any other Messenger of God.


Answer

The Noachian time is the prehistoric period. Mawlana Hamid ul Din Farahi holds that gauging the time of Adam to Noah from the pedigrees given in the Bible would not be right. This family tree carries the names of the famous figures only, leaving out many generations in the middle. He believes that these are the names of great leaders of the past. We may find great distance counting to more than hundreds of years between for example two of them. Considering his opinion, speculating the Noachian era becomes improbable. However, we can draw some conclusion in the light of any other reliable sources. But, in my opinion, there have not been found any such evidences that could help us trace down the time of Noah.

The only reliable source within our reach is the Holy Qur'an. It also gives an idea of his life span only. It does not mention any other matter related to his disciples. Chapter four and five of Genesis hint to that such long lives were not usual and there is none after Noah (sws) with that long a life span. We can consider this Biblical statement correct in the light of the Holy Qur'an. But a conclusive statement requires scientific evidences. However, the Qur'anic assertion regarding Noah (sws) is correct that he lived a life of nine hundred and fifty years.

The only source to speculate the body structures of those people are the Israelite traditions. We also find some hints about that which seem to be derived from the same traditions. We would better leave this topic. The external sources do not support such claims. But we cannot deny the prehistoric facts either.

The history shows that the body structure of people of all the times have been the same. Other evidences also suggest this idea. But we cannot negate the Qur'anic statement in the light of these evidences. Believing in the Quranic information we can suggest that generally the people of that time had ages similar to ours. This idea is supported by the Bible. We can consider the long life of Noah (sws) a miracle. We have no certain information about their body size. We may also reject the Israelite narrations in the light of external evidences.

Verses Regarding Compilation of the Quran

High above all is Allah, the King, the Truth! Be not in haste with the Qur'an before its revelation to thee is completed, but say, "O my Lord! Advance me in knowledge." (Q 20:114)

Keeping this verse in consideration I believe that nobody is perfect in the field of knowledge. Accordingly, I seek guidance from the others.

(Translated into English by Abid Mahmood)

About the Author

Talib Mohsin


Mr Talib Mohsin was born in 1959 in the district Pakpattan of Punjab. He received elementary education in his native town. Later on he moved to Lahore and passed his matriculation from the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education Lahore. He joined F.C College Lahore and graduated in 1981. He has his MA in Islamic Studies from the University of Punjab. He joined Mr Ghamidi to learn religious disciplines during early years of his educational career. He is one of the senior students of Mr Ghamidi form whom he learnt Arabic Grammar and major religious disciplines.

He was a major contributor in the establishment of the institutes and other organizations by Mr Ghamidi including Anṣār al-Muslimūn and Al-Mawrid. He worked in Ishrāq, a monthly Urdu journal, from the beginning. He worked as assistant editor of the journal for many years. He has been engaged in research and writing under the auspice of Al-Mawrid and has also been teaching in the Institute.

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