The 10 Generations between Aadam and Nooh
Fatwa No: 394411

Question

Salam alaykom, this has been bothering alot me for a long time, please help. If there was indeed 10 generations between Adam and Noah as the ahaadith says and considering that all the people on earth got wiped out during the flood - except a few. This would mean that all those people on earth from the time of Adam til Noah lived in the exact same town (town of Noah), they never migrated, since Allâh would not punish a people that were not sent a messenger - in this case Noah. How do we explain archeological finds that predates Abraham by more than 10 generations ( keeping in mind the hadith which says 10 generations between Noah and Abraham) across the whole world and not just in a single town?

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 problem that you have is because of assuming something and then drawing conclusions based on it. The assumptions you mentioned are not correct, because there is no evidence proving it.

Since these assumptions are not confirmed, then the same thing applies to their results and conclusions.

The first of these assumptions: Claiming that it is no person from Adam's descendants migrated and that all of them remained in the vicinity of the land to which Nooh  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention was sent. This is something that cannot be authoritatively denied, nor can it be confirmed (with evidence). So how can we use it as evidence (to prove something) or reach a conclusion based on it?

The second assumption: Claiming that the flood covered the entire earth is also an issue of difference of opinion among the scholars: Has the flood submerged the entire earth, or was it specific to the land on which the people lived where Nooh  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention was sent to them?

The third assumption: The ten centuries between Aadam and Nooh, and between Nooh and Abraham, which were mentioned in the Prophetic narrations: A century does not necessarily mean a thousand years! Ibn Katheer  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said: "If a century means one hundred years -as understood by many people -then there is absolutely a thousand years between them. However, this does not negate the possibility that it can be more than this because Ibn ‘Abbaas  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him restricted that to Islam (i.e., believing people), as there might be other late centuries that were not upon Islam (i.e., were not believers) [..] If a century (Qarn) means a generation of people as in the following verses in which Allah Says (what means):

• {And how many have We destroyed from the generations (Quroon; plural of Qarn) after Noah.} [Quran 17:17]

• {Then We produced after them a generation (Quroon; plural of Qarn) of others.} [Quran 23:31]

• {…and many generations (Quroon; plural of Qarn) between them.} [Quran 25:38]

• {And how many a generation (Quroon; plural of Qarn) before them did We destroy.} [Quran 50:36]

And as in the saying of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ): "The best of generations (Quroon; plural of Qarn) is my generation."

Also, the generations before Nooh  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention lived for a long time; and thus, there were thousands of years between Aadam and Nooh." [End of quote]

The fourth assumption: Making inference by archaeological discoveries and determining how old they are, and linking this with the stories of Prophets; this can only be true if we know exactly the date when each Prophet was sent, and how many years have passed going back in time starting from our time? This is something which we do not claim to know, and we do belie anyone who claims that they authoritatively know it! Allah Says (what means): {Has there not reached you the news of those before you - the people of Noah and 'Aad and Thamud and those after them? No one knows them but Allah. Their messengers brought them clear proofs…} [Quran 14:9]

The verse states that no one knows the Prophets or messengers and the people to whom they were sent and who came after Noah and 'Aad and Thamud; no one knows them except Allah. Al-Baghawi said in his Tafseer: "This refers to the generations after the people of Nooh, ‘Aad and Thamood. It was reported that 'Abdullaah ibn Mas'ood  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him recited this verse and then said: “Genealogists are liars (who claim to trace back lineages back to Abraham and Nooh)." [End of quote]

Ibn Juzay said in his Tafseer: "No one knows them but Allah", refers to their great number, like the Saying of Allah (which means): {…and many generations between them.} [Quran 25:38]" [End of quote]

Here he refers to the Saying of Allah (which means): {And the people of Noah - when they denied the messengers, We drowned them, and We made them for mankind a sign. And We have prepared for the wrongdoers a painful punishment. And [We destroyed] 'Aad and Thamud and the companions of the well and many generations between them.} [Quran 25:37-38]

For more benefit, please refer to Fataawa 381285, 351796 and 339607.

Allah knows best.

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