In reading Surah 11, one thing struck me…the flood story is told a little bit differently than in the Bible. In the Torah, the flood narrative includes the telling of Noah’s three sons embarking on the Ark and being saved from the flood. However, in the Quran, it narrates the tale of Noah’s son remaining on land and being drowned by the flood.
Can any of my Muslim friends tell me the significance of this difference in the flood narrative. What do we learn from Noah’s son in this story? Does it remind us that not even sons of prophets are exempt from having to remain faithful to Allah? And does it tell us that if we are more like Noah, having faith in God in the face of doubt and against the popular belief, we will be saved?
While Noah’s son’s story is a sad one, it reminds us that having faith in God like Noah can bring us through adversity. The story also reminds us that God is just, and that if we turn our backs on God and commit evil acts, we may face consequences.
But for me, the act of Noah building the ark is remarkable. Can you imagine having so much faith that you risked being dubbed insane because you listened to God’s command to build a boat that will save you from a devastating flood to punish sinners? Can you imagine that you, some of your family, and animals two by two would be the beginning of God’s “new” creation?
Noah, listening to God, is such a great display of faith that it can inspire us to, like Noah, do great things. I love this quote by Rumi, calling us to live this great faith which can lead to amazing feats.
‘Start a huge, foolish project, like Noah…it makes absolutely no difference what people think of you.’
I hope we all start huge, foolish projects: whether it is a new business, going back to school, a blog, a new relationship, or volunteering. Having faith, like Noah, can transform our lives for the better.
This blog is a mini, foolish project for me. I hope to start my huge foolish project this summer by traveling to every state, listen to the stories of the diversity of world religions in our country, and write a book about interfaith cooperation called 50 Faiths, 50 States. More on this to come (I’d love to hear any feedback on this idea as well)…