Story of 'Awj ibn 'Unuq is fabricated
Fatwa No: 308872

  • Fatwa Date:1-1-2016 - Rabee' Al-Awwal 21, 1437
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Question

Could you tell me anything about the longest living man, named 'Auj bin Anak, who was born in the life span of Noah, peace be upon him‚ and died at the hands of Moses, peace be upon him, because of his disobedience?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

What was reported on 'Awj is a lie and has no basis; this is contrary to the texts that stipulate that all the disbelievers were destroyed at the time of Nooh (Noah)  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention as Allaah says (what means): {So We saved him and those with him in the laden ship. Then We drowned thereafter the remaining ones.} [Quran 119-120] Allaah also says (what means): {And Nooh said, “My Lord, do not leave upon the earth from among the disbelievers an inhabitant.} [Quran 71:26]

Ibn Katheer  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said:

It means that Allaah did not leave a single one of them on the face of the earth. So, how is it that some interpreters of the Quran claim that 'Awj ibn 'Unuq (and it was said ibn 'Inaaq) lived from before Nooh until the time of Moosa (Moses), and they said, 'He was a mighty, stubborn, rebellious disbeliever.' They also said that he was born from an illicit relationship as his mother 'Unuq bint Aadam gave birth to him due to fornication; that he was very tall, to the point that he took fish from the bottom of the sea [by stretching his hand] and grilled it by [stretching his hands up to] the sun; and that he asked Nooh, who was in the ship, 'What is this small container that you have?' and that he mocked him. They stated that he was three thousand three hundred and thirty-three and two-thirds cubits tall; and they mentioned other nonsense. Were it not that this story was mentioned in many books of Tafseer and history, we would not have reported it because it is base, void, and unfounded, and it is contradictory to reason and to Islamic texts:

Being contrary to reason: How can it be justified that Allaah destroyed the son of Nooh because he did not believe, while his father was the Prophet of the nation and the leader of the believers, whereas Allaah [according to these stories] did not destroy 'Awj ibn 'Unuq, who was more of a tyrant, as they said? And how is it that Allaah did not have mercy on any one of them [as He destroyed them all] while he left this mighty, stubborn, unjust infidel; a rebellious devil, as they said?

As regards being contrary to texts: Allaah says (what means): {Then We drowned the others} [Quran 26:66]; and Allaah also says on the tongue of Nooh (what means): {"My Lord, do not leave upon the earth from among the disbelievers an inhabitant.} [Quran 71:26]

In addition to this, his height, which they mentioned, is contradictory to what was reported in Saheeh Al-Bukhari and Saheeh Muslim, where the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said, 'Allaah created Aadam and his height was sixty cubits. Then people have been decreasing in stature since Aadam's creation.' This is the text from the infallible, truthful and trustworthy Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) who does not speak of his whims but it is only a Revelation revealed; that the creation have been diminishing in size until now, i.e. people were decreasing in height since Aadam until the day that he informed us about it, and so on until the Day of Resurrection.

This implies that there was no one among the offspring of Aadam who was taller than him [than Aadam], so how can this interpretation be ignored? And instead they take the sayings of infidel liars from the people of the Book, who changed the revealed Books of Allaah, distorted them, and misinterpreted them. So what would you think about what they report by themselves or which they are trusted with while they are liars and traitors. May Allaah curse them until the Day of Resurrection. So, I think that this news about 'Awj ibn 'Unuq is nothing but a lie from their dissolute people and liars who were the enemies of the prophets; Allaah knows best.” [End of quote]

Ibn Al-Qayyim  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said:

One of the things by which the hadeeth is known to be fabricated is that when there is correct evidence that the hadeeth is void, such as the lengthy hadeeth on 'Awj ibn 'Unuq, whose fabricator intended to blasphemy the sayings of the Prophets, because they have the courage to invent such information. This hadeeth states, 'His height was three thousand three hundred and thirty-three and two-thirds cubits tall,' and that when Nooh frightened him of drowning, 'Unuq told him, ‘Take me in your container;' that the flood did not reach his heel; that he crossed the sea and the sea only reached to his waist; that he took the fish from the bottom of the sea [by stretching his hand] and grilled it by [stretching his hands up to] the sun; and that he pulled up a great rock the size of the army of Moosa and wanted to hit them with it and then Allaah made it surround his neck.

It is not surprising how such a liar had the courage to lie on Allaah, but the surprise is about those who report such a hadeeth in the books of Tafseer and knowledge without clarifying that it is fabricated, and 'Unuq was not from the progeny of Nooh, as Allaah says (what means): {And We made his descendants those remaining [on the earth].} [Quran 37:77]; so Allaah informed us that all those who remained on the surface of the earth were from the progeny of Nooh; hence, even if 'Awj would have existed, he would not have lived after Nooh.

Also, the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said, 'Allaah created Aadam and his height was sixty cubits. Then people have been decreasing in stature since Aadam's creation.'” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]" [End of quote]

Allaah knows best.

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