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Article appeared Friday, October 18th, 2019 in The News Today, Bangladesh

The Revelation (592) yousuf mahbubul Islam, PhD

Nowadays, in this socially connected world, often adult children, relatives or friends do
not like it when parents and/or others discuss or talk about religion. Sometimes after
heated discussions friendships may end or a distance may be created. It would be
relevant to add here that throughout history when apostles discussed or spoke about
religion the local people not only rejected them, but also persecuted them and
sometimes killed them. So, is it wrong or inappropriate to talk about or discuss religion?
Is something wrong with religion itself? Or was something wrong with the apostles?

How can this issue be settled? Let us start with a Verse from the Qur’an that refers to a
historical fact.
“And the people of Noah when they rejected the apostles We drowned them and
We made them as a Sign for mankind; and We have prepared for (all)
wrongdoers a grievous Penalty.” [25.37]

What is the historic fact and the warning in Verse 25.37 about? Why are we being
warned? Can we analyze the parts of the Verse by asking some questions? For
example, why did God drown the people of Noah? After drowning them, what grievous
punishment is God talking about? Why and in what way is the event a Sign for mankind?

There could be other questions as well. For example, is there any scientific evidence
that a worldwide flood did take place? Although there is a disagreement over the exact
dates, research on the Internet {1, 2, 3 and 4} reveals evidence of both flooding over the
entire world as well as remains and signs of the existence of an Ark. In addition to the
Qur’an, the story of Noah and his people, who rejected his earnest call is carried by
other Holy Scriptures {5}. The following Verses demonstrate that even close family
members [66.10] rejected the call of the Noah.
“So the Ark floated with them on the waves (towering) like mountains and Noah
called out to his son who had separated himself (from the rest), "O my son!
Embark with us and be not with the Unbelievers!" The son replied: "I will be take
myself to some mountain: it will save me from the water." Noah said, "This day
nothing can save from the Command of God any but those on whom He has
mercy!" and the waves came between them and the son was among those
overwhelmed in the Flood.” [11.42-11.43]

Chapter 26 of the Qur’an, after the story of how Abraham discovered the reality of God
[26.69 – 26.104] upon questioning the worship of multiple gods, carries the stories
[26.105 – 26.192] of the peoples of at least five other apostles who were destroyed after
their rejection of God. According to Verse 25.37, in addition to the utter premature
destruction on earth, all those destroyed await a grievous punishment of the Fire of Hell
after the Day of Judgment. So, is it important to analyze the Signs of God’s wrath and
workout what disbelief means?

It is a given that each person has his or her own perception of religion. Each of us
perceives the religion at birth or that adopted in our own unique way. We reject the call
to turn to the reality of God when there is a conflict with our own perceptions. However,
is religion about our own perceptions or is it about the reality of God who created each
human being as an individual? Instead of trying to work out the truth, if we simply rely on
and pursue our own perceptions, God asks in the Qur’an:
“Have you seen the one who takes as his god his own desire? Then would you
be responsible for him?” [25.43]

God has given us an individual life and soul [31.28, 29.6, 29.69] so that we acknowledge
and are grateful to Him [16.78, 23.78, 32.9]. If we turn to Him in gratitude and avoid
giving priority to other gods (including self) is He likely to deprive us of the status and
wealth that He has already blessed us with? Would there be any reason to punish us
[4.147]? Let us revisit the story of Noah given in the Qur’an and workout whether the
apostles had anything to gain by inviting us to turn to God?

26.105 “The people of Noah rejected the apostles.”

26.106 “Behold their brother Noah asked them, "Will you not fear (God)?”
Why did Noah ask this question? Can the One who can create an intelligent individual
from nothing also withdraw the blessing of life and if desired punish eternally? Consider
the fact that if God has created each individual for eternal life with Him, what would He
do with those who do not acknowledge His reality? Noah continued to try to convince His
people about his authenticity.

26.107 “I am to you an apostle worthy of all trust:”

26.108 “So fear God and obey me.”

What has obeying the apostle got to do with fearing God? The life and life style of all
apostles presented a way to approach God and achieve the promised eternal bliss with
God. What did Jesus, in fact, imply when he said, “I am the way…” {6} in the Bible?

26.109 “No reward do I ask of you for it: my reward is only from the Lord of
the Worlds:”

26.110 “So fear God and obey me.”

26.111 “They said, "Shall we believe in you when it is the meanest (lowest
class of people) that follow you?”
Does wealth and status confirm belief?

26.112 “He said, "And what do I know as to what they do?”

Only God can confirm what is in the heart of a person.

26.113 “Their account is only with my Lord if you could (but) understand.”

26.114 “I am not one to drive away those who believe.”

The apostle’s job is to help anyone who questions and wishes to establish belief.

26.115 “I am sent only to warn plainly in public.”

26.116 “They said, "If you desist not, O Noah, you shall be stoned (to

26.117 “He said, "O my Lord! Truly my people have rejected me.”

26.118 “Judge then between me and them openly and deliver me and those
of the Believers who are with me.”
26.119 “So we saved him and those with him in the Ark.”

26.120 “Thereafter We drowned those who remained behind.”

26.121 “Verily in this is a Sign: but most of them do not believe.”

26.122 “And verily your Lord is He, the Exalted in Might, Most Merciful.”
{4} Raikes, R. (1966). The Physical Evidence for Noah's Flood. Iraq, 28(1), 52-63. doi:10.2307/4199795