This is presented in the middle of the story to affirm the story itself. It is as if Allah, the Exalted, is saying to Muhammad, "Or do these obstinate disbelievers say that he fabricated this and invented it himself''
(Say: "If I have fabricated it, upon me be my crimes...'') This means: such sin would be mine alone.
(but I am innocent of (all) those crimes which you commit.) This story is not invented, or fabricated falsely. Because he (the Prophet) knows better the punishment of Allah for one who lies on Allah.
(36. And it was revealed to Nuh: "None of your people will believe except those who have believed already. So be not sad because of what they used to do.) (37. "And construct the ship under Our Eyes and with Our revelation, and address Me not on behalf of those who did wrong; they are surely to be drowned.'') (38. And as he was constructing the ship, whenever the chiefs of his people passed by him, they mocked at him. He said: "If you mock at us, so do we mock at you likewise for your mocking.'') (39. "And you will know who it is on whom will come a torment that will cover him with disgrace and on whom will fall a lasting torment.'')
Allah, the Exalted, sent revelation to Nuh when his people hastened the vengeance and punishment of Allah upon themselves. Then, Nuh supplicated against them, as Allah mentioned, when He said;
(My Lord! Leave not one of the disbelievers inhabiting the earth!)(71:26) And he said,
(Then he invoked his Lord (saying): "I have been overcome, so help (me)!'')(54:10) At this point Allah revealed to him,
(None of your people will believe except those who have believed already.) Therefore, do not grieve over them and do not be concerned with their affair.
(And construct the ship.) The word Fulk here means ship.
(under Our Eyes) This means under Our vision.
(and with Our revelation,) This means, "We will teach you (Nuh) what to do.''
(and address Me not on behalf of those who did wrong; they are surely to be drowned.) Muhammad bin Ishaq mentioned from the Tawrah, "Allah commanded him (Nuh) to make it (the ship) from Indian oak wood. Then He commanded him to make its length eighty cubits and its width fifty cubits. Allah then commanded him to coat its interior and exterior with tar and to make it with a slanted bow to part the water (as it sailed). Its height was thirty cubits into the sky. It had three levels and each level was ten cubits high. The lowest level was for the animals, both tame and wild, the second level was for the human beings and the highest level was for the birds. Its door was in the center of it and it had a cover on top of it that covered the entire ship. Concerning Allah's statement,
(And as he was constructing the ship, whenever the chiefs of his people passed by him, they mocked at him.) This means that they teased him and rejected his threat that they would drown (in the forthcoming flood).
(He said: "If you mock at us, so do we mock at you likewise...'') This is a severe threat and a serious warning.
(who it is on whom will come a torment that will cover him with disgrace) This means that it (the torment) will humiliate him in this life.
(and on whom will fall a lasting torment.) that is continuous and everlasting.
(40. (So it was) till when Our command came and the oven gushed forth (water like fountains from the earth). We said: "Embark therein, of each kind two (male and female), and your family -- except him against whom the Word has already gone forth -- and those who believe. And none believed with him, except a few.'')
This was the promise of Allah to Nuh , when the command of Allah came, the rain was continuous and there was a severe storm which did not slacken or subside, as Allah said,
(So We opened the gates of the heaven with water pouring forth. And We caused springs to gush forth from the earth. So the waters (of the heaven and the earth) met for a matter predestined. And We carried him on a (ship) made of planks and nails. Floating under Our Eyes: a reward for him who had been rejected!) (54:11-14) In reference to Allah's statement,
(and the oven gushed forth.) It is related from Ibn `Abbas that he said, "At-Tannur is the face of the earth.'' This verse means that the face of the earth became gushing water springs. This continued until the water gushed forth from the Tananir, which are places of fire. Therefore, water even gushed from the places where fire normally would be. This is the opinion of the majority of the Salaf (predecessors) and the scholars of the Khalaf (later generations). At this point, Allah commanded Nuh to select one pair from every kind of creature possessing a soul, and load them on the ship. Some said that this included other creatures as well, such as pairs of plants, male and female. It has also been said that the first of the birds to enter the ship was the parrot, and the last of the animals to enter was the donkey. Concerning Allah's statement,
(and your family -- except him against whom the Word has already gone forth) This means, "Load your family upon the ship.'' This is referring to the members of his household and his relatives, except him against whom the Word has already gone forth, for they did not believe in Allah. Among them was the son of Nuh, Yam, who went in hermitage. Among them was the wife of Nuh who was a disbeliever in Allah and His Messenger. Concerning Allah's statement,
(and those who believe.) from your people.
(And none believed with him, except a few.) This means that only a very small number believed, even after the long period of time that he (Nuh) was among them -- nine hundred and fifty years. It is reported from Ibn `Abbas that he said, "They were eighty people including their women.''
(41. And he said: "Embark therein: in the Name of Allah will be its (moving) course and its (resting) anchorage. Surely, my Lord is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.'') (42. So it (the ship) sailed with them amidst waves like mountains, and Nuh called out to his son, who had separated himself (apart): "O my son! Embark with us and be not with the disbelievers.'') (43. The son replied: "I will betake myself to some mountain, it will save me from the water.'' Nuh said: "This day there is no savior from the decree of Allah except him on whom He has mercy.'' And waves came in between them, so he (the son) was among the drowned.)
Allah, the Exalted, says concerning Nuh, that he said to those whom he was commanded to carry them with him in the ship,
(Embark therein: in the Name of Allah will be its (moving) course and its (resting) anchorage.) This means that its sailing upon the surface of the water, the end of its journeying and its anchoring, would all be with the Name of Allah. Abu Raja' Al-`Utaridi recited it, (بِسْمِ اللهِ مُجرِيهَا ومُرْسِيهَا) "In the Name of Allah, Who will be the One Who moves its course, and rests its anchor.'' Allah, the Exalted, said,
(And when you have embarked on the ship, you and whoever is with you, then say: "All the praises and thanks are to Allah, Who has saved us from the people who are wrongdoers. And say: "My Lord! Cause me to land at a blessed landing place, for You are the Best of those who bring to land.'') (23:28-29) For this reason, it is preferred to mention the Name of Allah (Bismillah) at the beginning of all affairs. The Name of Allah should be mentioned when boarding a ship, or when mounting an animal. This is as Allah, the Exalted, says,
(And Who has created all the pairs and has appointed for you ships and cattle on which you ride, in order that you may mount on their backs.) (43:12-13) This practice (mentioning Allah's Name) has been encouraged in the Sunnah and is considered a preferred act. A discussion concerning this is forthcoming in the explanation of Surat Az-Zukhruf (43), if Allah wills. In reference to Allah's statement,
(Surely, my Lord is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.) Such statement is suitable while mentioning (His) vengeance upon the disbelievers by drowning all of them. Therefore, he (Nuh) mentions that His Lord is Oft Forgiving, Most Merciful. This is similar to Allah's statement,
(Surely, your Lord is swift in retribution, and certainly He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.) (7:167) He also says,
(But verily, your Lord is full of forgiveness for mankind in spite of their wrongdoing. And verily, your Lord is (also) severe in punishment.) (13:6) Likewise, there are many other verses that combine Allah's mercy and His vengeance. Concerning Allah's statement,
(So it sailed with them amidst waves like mountains,) This means that the ship sailed with them upon the surface of the water, which had completely covered the earth until it encompassed the tops of the mountains and even rose over them by a height of fifteen cubits. It was also said that the waves rose over the mountains by a height of eighty miles. Yet, this ship continued to move upon the water, sailing by the permission of Allah. It moved under His shade, His help, His protection and His blessing. This is as Allah, the Exalted, said,
(Verily, when the water rose beyond its limits, We carried you in the ship. That We might make it an admonition for you and it might be retained by the retaining ears.) (69:11-12) Allah also said,
(And We carried him on a (ship) made of planks and nails, floating under Our Eyes: a reward for him who had been rejected! And indeed, We have left this as a sign. Then is there any that will remember (or receive admonition)) (54:13-15)
Allah continues the story, saying,
(and Nuh called out to his son,) This was the fourth son of Nuh. His name was Yam and he was a disbeliever. His father, Nuh, called him at the time of boarding the ship, that he might believe and embark with them. If he did so, he would be saved from drowning like the other disbelievers.
(The son replied: "I will betake myself to some mountain, it will save me from the water.'') He believed, in his ignorance, that the flood would not reach the tops of the mountains and that if he clung to the top of a mountain, he would be saved from drowning. His father, Nuh, said to him,
(This day there is no savior from the decree of Allah except him on whom He has mercy.) This means that nothing will be saved today from the command of Allah.
(And waves came in between them, so he (the son) was among the drowned.)
(44. And it was said: "O earth! Swallow up your water, and O sky! Withhold (your rain).'' And the water was made to subside and the decree was fulfilled. And it rested on (Mount) Judi, and it was said: "Away with the people who are wrongdoing!'')
Allah, the Exalted, informs that when the people of the earth were all drowned, except for the people on the ship, He commanded the earth to swallow its water, which had sprang from it and gathered upon it. Then He commanded the sky to cease raining.
(And the water was made to subside) This means that it (the water) began to decrease.
(and the decree was fulfilled.) This means that all of those who disbelieved in Allah were removed from the people of the earth. Not a single one of them remained upon the earth.
(And it (the ship) rested) This is referring to the ship and those who were in it.
(on (Mount) Judi.) Mujahid said, "Judi is a mountain in Al-Jazirah (Northwest Mesopotamia) where the mountains sought to tower above each other on the day of the drowning. On that day of destruction, all the mountains sought to be higher (to avoid being overcome by the water). However, this mountain (Judi) humbled itself for Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, and therefore it was not drowned. This is why Nuh's ship anchored upon it.'' Qatadah said, "The ship rested upon it (Mount Judi) for a month before they (the people) came down from it. '' Qatadah also said, "Allah made Nuh's ship remain on Mount Judi in the land of Al-Jazirah, as a lesson and a sign.'' Even the early generations of this Ummah saw it. How many ships are there that have come after it and have been destroyed and became dust
(and it was said: "Away with the people who are wrongdoing!'') means destruction and loss for them. The term "away with'' here implies being far away from the mercy of Allah. For verily, they were destroyed to the last of them, and none of them survived.
(45. And Nuh called upon his Lord and said, "O my Lord! Verily, my son is of my family! And certainly, Your promise is true, and You are the Most Just of the judges.'') (46. He said: "O Nuh! Surely, he is not of your family; verily, his work is unrighteous, so ask not of Me that of which you have no knowledge! I admonish you, lest you should be one of the ignorant.'') (47. Nuh said: "O my Lord! I seek refuge with You from asking You that of which I have no knowledge. And unless You forgive me and have mercy on me, I would indeed be one of the losers.'')