Can you explain to us regarding the actions of Prophet Noah, his ark and the size of his ark?
Waalaikumussalam wrm. wbt.
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
We will start with the statement of Allah SWT:
وَاصْنَعِ الْفُلْكَ بِأَعْيُنِنَا وَوَحْيِنَا وَلَا تُخَاطِبْنِي فِي الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا ۚ إِنَّهُم مُّغْرَقُونَ
And construct the ship under Our observation and Our inspiration and do not address Me concerning those who have wronged; indeed, they are [to be] drowned."
Surah Hud (37)
In answering this question, we find numerous narrations. Generally, we would like to state that as the following, Allah SWT commanded Prophet Noah to build an ark by planting al-Saj tree first for 20 years. Then, he is to build it using wood from the tree for 40 years. There is an opinion which state it is 100 years and another opinion states it is 400 years.
As for the shape and size of the ark, there are also numerous narrations on this matter, among them are:
- The length is 400 cubits, width 50 cubits and height are 30 cubits.
- Its length is 300 cubits, width 60 cubits and the height are not mentioned.
- Length for the ark is 1200 cubits, width is 60 cubits and height are not mentioned.
- Its length is 400 cubits, width is 30 cubits and height are not mentioned.
The strongest opinion and most scholars agree with the first opinion.
As for the shape of the ark, it is narrated that Gabriel AS taught him to build the ark and Allah commanded the bow of the sip to be shaped like the head of a rooster with bird-like front part. The stern of the ship is shaped like the pygostyle of a rooster. It has three levels nailed with iron nails to strengthened the wood.
The first level is for ferocious animals, creeping animals and lions. The second level is for wild animals and birds. And the third level is for humans. It is said that the total number of the children of Adam or humans who were on the ship was:
- 80 people, half of them men and the other half women.
- There is an opinion which states it was 72 people and the wife and children of Prophet Noah make it to a total of 78 people, half of them men and the rest women.
- There is an opinion which states it was 10 people.
- There are other opinions about it.
They were sailing for 150 days during the flood and dock on 10th Rejab where they stay anchored for a month and departed from the ship on 10th Muharram. They docked on a hill known as al-Judi.
In this matter, we would like to state the statement of Allah SWT:
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 ﴿٤٠﴾ وَقَالَ ارْكَبُوا فِيهَا بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ مَجْرَاهَا وَمُرْسَاهَا ۚ إِنَّ رَبِّي لَغَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ ﴿٤١﴾ وَهِيَ تَجْرِي بِهِمْ فِي مَوْجٍ كَالْجِبَالِ وَنَادَىٰ نُوحٌ ابْنَهُ وَكَانَ فِي مَعْزِلٍ يَا بُنَيَّ ارْكَب مَّعَنَا وَلَا تَكُن مَّعَ الْكَافِرِينَ
[So, it was], until when Our command came and the oven overflowed, We said, "Load upon the ship of each [creature] two mates and your family, except those about whom the word has preceded, and [include] whoever has believed." But none had believed with him, except a few. And [Noah] said, "Embark therein; in the name of Allah is its course and its anchorage. Indeed, my Lord is Forgiving and Merciful." And it sailed with them through waves like mountains, and Noah called to his son who was apart [from them], "O my son, come aboard with us and be not with the disbelievers."
Surah Hud (40-42)
For further explanation, please refer to the following books al-Durru al-Manthur (8/41-76), al-Kasyfu wa al-Bayan (5/167-175), Tafsir Ibnu Abi Hatim (6/2025), Tafsir Ibn Kathir (4/320), Tafsir al-Siraj al-Munir (2/63), Tafsir al-Tabari (15/312-340), Adwa’ al-Bayan and others.
May Allah SWT grant us all understanding. Amin.