In 25:37 it is said that messengers were sent to the people of Nuh. But from the name of the people (Nuh people) it follows that there was only one Nuh.

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.25:37

Were many messengers sent to the people of Nuh, or was only Nuh sent? And if there were many messengers, why is the people called the Nuh people in the Quran?

  • 1
    Because a plural can be used for one person. See here for a related question. Also because denying one messenger is equal to denying them all.
    – UmH
    Sep 8, 2022 at 15:47
  • It should be clear that denying the revelation of Allah means denying the teaching of all his messengers, so denying the teachings Nuh came with could be regarded as such.
    – Medi1Saif
    Sep 9, 2022 at 7:42

1 Answer 1


As stated in the comments the mufassireen agreed on the fact that denying the message of one single messenger is equal to denying all of them therefore plural was used in the verse instead of singular, even if Nuh () only is meant, as he was the only messenger sent to them.

Here some evidences from Tafssir:

Most common tafssirs

Imam al-Qurtubi said:

وقوم نوح لما كذبوا الرسل ذكر الجنس والمراد نوح وحده ; لأنه لم يكن في ذلك الوقت رسول إليهم إلا نوح وحده ; فنوح إنما بعث بلا إله إلا الله ، وبالإيمان بما ينزل الله ، فلما كذبوه كان في ذلك تكذيب لكل من بعث بعده بهذه الكلمة .
وقيل : إن من كذب رسولا فقد كذب جميع الرسل ; لأنهم لا يفرق بينهم في الإيمان ، ولأنه ما من نبي إلا يصدق سائر أنبياء الله ، فمن كذب منهم نبيا فقد كذب كل من صدقه من النبيين . (Source)
And the people of Noah - when they denied the messengers, the entire group was mentioned while the meaning is Nuh alone; Because at that time there was no messenger to them except for Nuh alone ; So Nuh was only sent with no god but Allah (Laa ilaha illa Allah), and by believing in what Allah sends down, so when they denied him, it was a denial of everyone who was sent after him with this word.
And it was also said: Whoever denied a messenger has denied all the messengers. Because they do not differentiate between them in faith, and because there is no prophet who does not believe the rest of Allah’s prophets, so whoever denied a prophet, he denied all of the prophets who believed this prophet.

While at-Tabari basically just mentioned that Nuh was the only messenger to them (see here). While ibn Kathir added an introduction to explain the topic (source):

يقول تعالى متوعداً من كذّب رسولَه محمداً ، صلوات الله وسلامه عليه ، من مشركي قومه ومن خالفه ، ومحذرهم من عقابه وأليم عذابه ، مما أحله بالأمم الماضية المكذبين لرسله ، فبدأ بذكر موسى ، عليه السلام ، وأنه ابتعثه وجعل معه أخاه هارون وزيرا ، أي : نبيًّا مُوَازرا ومؤيداً وناصراً ، فكذبهما فرعون وجنوده ،
The Almighty says, threatening those who denied His Messenger Muhammad, may Allahs prayers and peace be upon him, from the polytheists of his people and those who oppose him, and warning them of his punishment and the most painful of his torment, which he made lawful for the past nations who denied his messengers. As a supporter, supporter, and helper, Pharaoh and his soldiers denied them.
ف { دَمَّرَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلِلْكَافِرِينَ أَمْثَالُهَا }
Then ... Allah destroyed [everything] over them, and for the disbelievers is something comparable. (47:10)
وكذلك فعلَ بقوم نوح حين كذّبوا رسوله نوحاً ، عليه السلام ، ومن كذب برسول فقد كذب بجميع الرسل ؛ إذ لا فرق بين رسول ورسول ، ولو فرض أن الله بعث إليهم كل رسول فإنهم كانوا يكذبونه
The same was done with the people of Nuh when they denied his messenger Nuh, peace be upon him. Whoever denied one of the messengers has denied all of them. Because there is no difference between one messenger and another, and if it were assumed that Allah sent every messenger to them, they would have denied him.
ولهذا قال : { وَقَوْمَ نُوحٍ لَمَّا كَذَّبُوا الرُّسُلَ } ، ولم يبعث إليهم إلا نوح فقط ، وقد لبث فيهم ألف سنة إلا خمسين عاماً ، يدعوهم إلى الله ، ويحذرهم نقَمه ، فما آمن معه إلا قليل . ولهذا أغرقهم الله جميعا ، ولم يَبق منهم أحد ، ولم يبق على وجه الأرض من بني آدم سوى أصحاب السفينة فقط .
That's why He said: {And the people of Noah, when they denied the Messengers}, while he sent to them only Nuh, and he stayed among them a thousand years except fifty years, reminding them of Allah, and warning them of his vengeance, but only a few believed with him. That is why Allah drowned them all, and none of them remained, and only the owners of the ship remained on the face of the earth from the children of Adam.

Early tafssirs from 2nd to 5th hijri century

Note that early mufassirs such as Muqatil ibn Sulayman (see here) -2nd hijri century- and al-Faraa' (see here) -3rd hijri century- also didn't expand an explanation as a-Tabari did later.

While al-Maturidi -4th hijri century like a-Tabari- expanded a bit more saying:

جائز أن يكون قوله : { لما كذبوا الرسل } [ أراد به ] نوحا خاصة لأنه ذكر قوم نوح . فإن كان ذلك ففيه دلالة جواز تسمية الواحد باسم الجماعة ، وجائز أن يكون نوح دعاهم إلى الإيمان [ بالله تعالى ] وبجميع الرسل ، فكذبوه ، وكذبوا الرسل جميعا ، والله أعلم .(Source)
It is possible that in his saying: {when they denied the messengers} [he meant] Nuh specifically because he mentioned Nuh’s people. If this is the case, then it indicates the permissibility of naming one person by the name of the group (plural), and it is possible that Nuh called them to believe in [Allah the Almighty] and all the Messengers, but they denied him, and they denied all the Messengers, and God knows best.

Al-Bagahawi -5th hijri century- as usual was short in explanation:

{ وقوم نوح لما كذبوا الرسل } أي : الرسول ، ومن كذب رسولاً واحداً فقد كذب جميع الرسل ، فلذلك ذكر بلفظ الجمع . (source)
{And the people of Noah, when they belied the messengers} means: the messenger, and whoever denied one messenger he has denied all the messengers, that's why it was mentioned in the plural.

Contemporary tafssir

Sheikh at-Taher ben Ashur explained in his at-Tahrir wa at-Tanwir before reminding the reader that the story of the people of Nuh was mentioned in surat al-A'araaf and Hud:

وجعل قوم نوح مكذِّبين الرسل مع أنهم كذّبوا رسولاً واحداً لأنهم استندوا في تكذيبهم رسولهم إلى إحالة أن يرسل الله بشراً لأنهم قالوا : { ما هذا إلا بشر مثلكم يريد أن يتفضّل عليكم ولو شاء الله لأنزل ملائكة ما سمعنا بهذا في آبائنا الأولين } [ المؤمنون : 24 ] فكان تكذيبهم مستلزماً تكذيب عموم الرسل ، ولأنهم أول من كذَّب رسولهم ، فكانوا قدوة للمكذبين من بعدهم .(Source)
And the people of Nuh were said (declared) to have denied the Messengers even though they denied one Messenger because they relied in their denial of their Messenger to a referral that Allah sends a human being because they said:
{This is not but a man like yourselves who wishes to take precedence over you; and if Allah had willed [to send a messenger], He would have sent down angels. We have not heard of this among our forefathers (23:24)}.. So their denial necessitated the denial of all the Messengers, and because they were the first to deny their Messenger, so they set an example for the deniers after them.

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