All people on Earth descendants of Nooh (Noah)
Fatwa No: 339607

  • Fatwa Date:9-2-2017 - Jumaadaa Al-Oula 13, 1438
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Question

Assalaamu alaykum. I was just wondering about someing that I cannot make sense of. In the Quran, 37:77 says that the generations of people only came from Noah, but 17:3 says that the generations came from Noah and from the people on the ark who were saved. If someone could explain, please, then that would be great. May Allaah reward you.

Answer

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

The first verse states that the descendants of Nooh (Noah) are those who remained after the deluge. Ibn Katheer said in his Tafseer (exegesis), regarding the verse (which means): {And We made his descendants those remaining [on the earth].} [Quran 37:77] Ali ibn Abi Talhah said that Ibn ‘Abbaas said, “It is only the offspring of Nooh that remained.”

Sa’eed ibn Abi ‘Aroobah reported from Qataadah regarding the verse: {And We made his descendants those remaining [on the earth].} that all the people are from the descendants of Nooh, may Allah exalt his mention.

At-Tirmithi, Ibn Jareer and Ibn Abi Haatim reported that Sa’eed ibn Basheer narrated from Qataadah, from Al-Hasan, from Samurah, that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said regarding the verse: {And We made his descendants those remaining [on the earth]}; i.e. Saam, Haam and Yaafith.

There is no contradiction between the first verse and the second one. The second verse addresses the Children of Israel, who are the descendants of Saam, son of Nooh, and he was with his father on the ship. Ibn 'Aashoor pointed this out in At-Tahreer wat-Tanweer, as he said:

Know that in the choice of describing them as the descendants of those whom Allah carried [in the ship] with Nooh, may Allah exalt his mention, there are great meanings of reminder, prompting, and insinuation, because the Children of Israel were from the offspring of Saam (Biblical Shem), the son of Nooh, and he was among the people on board the ship. Allah deliberately did not say 'the offspring of Nooh', even though they were his offspring, in order to mention the bounty of saving their origins from drowning at the same time.

Allah knows best.

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