Was Noah’s Flood a Local Disaster?

Those who deny the existence of Noah’s Flood say that the existence of a world-wide flood as evidence for these claims is impossible. They also argue that such a flood has not been realized in order to be a reason for their denial.

However, in the Qur’an, the only holy book that Allah has revealed and has not been tampered with, the Flood phenomenon is told much differently than the Flood legends mentioned in the Torah and various cultures. Falsified Torah, which constitutes the first five books of the Old Testament, says that this flood is universal and covers the whole world. However, such information is not given in the Qur’an, on the contrary, it is known that the Flood was local and didn’t cover the whole world, Noah Tribe, which was warned and scared by Noah, was punished.

This difference can easily be seen when we look at the Flood descriptions in the Torah and Qur’an. The Torah, which has been subjected to various distortions and attachments in history, explains the beginning of Flood as follows:

And the Lord saw that the evil of man was great in the earth, and every imagination of his heart was only evil all the time. And the Lord regretted that He had made man upon the earth, and He became grieved in His heart. And the Lord said, “I will blot out man, whom I created, from upon the face of the earth, from man to cattle to creeping thing, to the fowl of the heavens, for I regret that I made them. But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. (Genesis, 6:5-8)

However, it is reported in the Qur’an that only the Noah Tribe was destroyed, not the whole world. Just like as Hud (Hud Surah, 50) sent to Ad Tribe or Salih (Hud Surah, 61) sent to Semud Tribe, and other prophets, Noah too was sent only his tribe and the Flood destroyed only the Noah’s Tribe:

We sent Noah to his people, “I am to you a clear warner.” “That you shall worship none but God. I fear for you the agony of a painful Day.” (Hud Surah, 25-26)

Those who are punished were the people who did not listen to the warnings of Noah and rebel against him. The verses in this subject are explained with a certain expression:

But they called him a liar. So We saved him and those with him in the Ark, and We drowned those who rejected Our revelations. They were blind people. (al-A’raf Surah, 64)

So We saved him and those with him, by mercy from Us, and We cut off the roots of those who rejected Our revelations and were not believers. (al-A’raf Surah, 72)

Moreover, in the Qur’an, Allah reveals that no people will be destroyed unless an prophet is sent to them. For destruction, a person who will warn them must be sent to those people and they must deny his warnings. In al-Qasas Surah, Allah says:

Your Lord never destroys cities without first sending a messenger in their midst, reciting to them Our revelations. And We never destroy the cities, unless their people are wrongdoers. (al-Qasas Surah, 59)

It is reported in the Qur’an that a people who are not sent warnings to will not be destroyed. Hz. Noah was sent to his people only. For this reason, Allah didn’t destroy the tribes which was not sent a warning to but only the tribe of Noah.

These statements in the Qur’an reveal that the Noah’s Flood does not cover the whole world but is a regional disaster. In addition, the excavations made in the archeological area that Flood thought to have taken place – and which we will examine soon – show that the Flood was not a universal phenomenon that covers the whole world, but a very wide disaster that affects a part of Mesopotamia.

The Qur’an reports that the ship was grounded on “Judi”. This word, which means fertile, mundane place, is very important for the flood researchers because it indicates that the flood was a regional and the place where the ship stopped was not a very high mountain like Mount Ararat. The Judi should be a place that can be resided in after the flood, suitable for agriculture, where there are water basins and all kinds of settlement conditions.

Have all the animals taken aboard?

The Bible interpreters believe that Noah took all the animal species on the earth aboard and that the animal generation survived the extinction thanks to Noah. According to this belief, all the animals on earth have been collected and placed on board.

Those who defend this claim are of course in very difficult in many respects. Of course, it is not possible to answer questions such as how the animal species aboard were fed, how they are stacked on board, how they are isolated from each other. Moreover, it is also a matter of curiosity how animals special to other continents were collected; like mammals in the poles, kangaroo in Australia or the bison in America. There are also questions such as how snails, scorpions, poisonous ones and wild animals, which are extremely dangerous to human beings, are captured and how they can live up during the Flood beyond their natural environment.

However, these are explanations in the distorted Torah that cannot be explained. In the Qur’an, there is no explanation that all animal species on the earth have been taken to the ship.

As we have already mentioned, the flood was occurred in a certain region. For this reason, animals taken aboard should be those living in the area where the tribe of Noah was located.

But it is clear that it is not possible even to bring together all animal species living in that region alone. It is difficult to imagine that Noah and a few of the believers (Hud Surah, 40), who were mentioned to be very few, gathered couples from hundreds of animal species around them. It is impossible even collecting the insect species in the area where they live; moreover, by finding both male and females! Because of this, it can be thought that these animals were domestic animals who can be captured easily and protected and who benefit people. According to this, Noah may have taken cows, sheep, horses, chickens, roosters, camels and similar animals to the ship. These are the basic animals that are necessary for a life to be newly established in the region which has lost its vitality due to flood.

The important point is: One of the wisdoms of the commandment of Allah to gather the animals which was given to Noah may be the gathering of animals that are necessary for the new life to be established after the Flood, not protecting the species of animals. Because the flood is local, the extinction of the animals cannot be the issue. After all, from time to time, animals from other regions will migrate to this region and bring the region back to its original vitality. What is important is the life to be established in the region immediately after the Flood, and the gathered animals should basically be gathered for this purpose.

How much Water Has Risen?

Another controversy about the flood is that if the waters do rose up to cover the mountains. As it is known, in the Qur’an, it is reported that the ship landed on “Judi” after the Flood. The word “Judi” is sometimes taken as a special mountain name, whereas in Arabic it means “high ground-top”. Therefore, it should not be overlooked that in the Qur’an, the “Judi” could have been used to describe that the ship was sitting in a high place, not as a special mountain name. It can also be deduced from this meaning of the word of the Judi that the waters have reached a certain height, but have not yet ascended to the level of the great mountains. In other words, the Flood didn’t swallow all the earth and all the mountains of the earth, as described in the Torah, but only a certain region.


And it was said, “O earth, swallow your waters,” and “O heaven, clear up.” And the waters receded, and the event was concluded, and it settled on Judi, and it was proclaimed: “Away with the wicked people.” (Hud Surah, 44)

The traditional Qur’an commentators have pointed out that the word “Judi” could be a mountain name, and they were looking for a mountain named Judi. Moving from here, they said that they could be in Hijaz, Palestine and northern Mesopotamia. And recent history-commentators thought that this word was not a special name, but a kind of name meaning “any mountain”.

The word “Judi”, which refers to the place where the ship is sitting, means “abundant place” if it is accepted as an adjective, not a private name. Understanding this word with this meaning rather than a place name is more suitable for the Qur’an, Noah prays like this regarding the landing place: “And say, “My Lord, land me with a blessed landing, as you are the best of transporters.” (al-Mu’minun Surah 29)

“O heaven, clear up.” And the waters receded, and the event was concluded, and it settled on Judi. (Hud Surah, 44)

The dictionary meaning of the Judi word comes in the meaning of CVD root “fertile, good place”. Judi word is ratio adjective of CUD root. At that case, the meaning of “fertile, good place” strengthens and it becomes integrates with “munzelen mübareken” pray. Two verses complement each other. In other words, the ship of Noah was brought down to a fertile and productive place where they could cultivate and feed their animals after the flood. When these two verses are considered together, it is understood that the Judi word is not a place or mountain specific name, but rather an ratio adjective. It is understood from this that there may be any elevation in the inner plain of the southern part of the Mesopotamian plain.

Tens of mountains and hills referred to as “Judi” are located many places such as Mesopotamia, Iran and Turkey. Rather than seeking a mountain with a Judi name, the general statement in the Qur’an is better suited to search for the “elevation, which is fertile, a good place”, with its meaning derived from the root of “CVD”.

The Place of Noah’s Flood

Mesopotamian Plain is shown as the place where Noah’s Flood takes place. The oldest and most developed civilizations known in history have been established in this region. In addition, this region is located in the middle of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, geographically is a suitable ground for a large flood. One of the reasons that increased the influence of the flood was probably the fact that the beds of these two rivers overflown and affected the region.

A second reason for the acceptance of this region as the place of Flood is historical. In the records of many civilizations in the region, a large number of documents describing a Flood of the same period were uncovered. These civilizations, witnessing the destruction of Noah Tribe, must have felt the need to write the historical record of the form and consequences of this catastrophe. It is also known that the majority of the myths about Flood originated in Mesopotamia. Most importantly, they are archeological findings. They show that there is indeed a great flood in this area. This water flood, as we shall elaborate in detail, has caused the civilization in the region to pause for a period of time. Clear indications of this kind of big disaster are excavated from underground in the excavations.

According to the excavations in the region of Mesopotamia, this region has faced many floods and catastrophes due to overflow of Tigris and Euphrates. For example, a year at the time of Ibbis, the ruler of the great Ur city in the southern part of Mesopotamia around 2000 BC, is defined as “after a flood that destroys the borders between the sky and the earth.” One year in Babylon Hammurabi’s time in 1700 BC is defined as “the collapse of the city of Esnunna”.

During the reign of Nabumukinapal in the 10th century BC, there was a flood in the city of Babylon. Significant floods took place in the region in the 7th, 8th, 10th, 11th and 12th centuries. In the 19th, 1930 and 1954 in the twentieth century, this has also happened. It seems clear that the region is always open to a flood disaster, and it is obviously possible to destroy a whole tribe by a large-scale flood, as mentioned in the Qur’an.


Noah said, “My Lord, they have defied me, and followed him whose wealth and children increase him only in perdition.” And they schemed outrageous schemes. And they said, “Do not give up your gods; do not give up Wadd, nor Souwa, nor Yaghoos, and Yaooq, and Nassr. They have misled many, so do not increase the wrongdoers except in confusion.” (Nuh Surah, 21-24)

It was understood that Noah lived in Mesopotamia and that the flood took place in this place after the names Vedd, Suva, Yeugus, Ye’uk and Nesr represented the so-called deities of the Mesopotamian tribes and these names symbolize the sun, moon and stars. (Maria Höfner, “Die vorislamische Religionen Arabiens” Die Religionen Altsyriens, Altarabiens und der Mandaer, von Hartmut Gese, Maria Höfner, Kurt Rudolph, Sututgart 1970)

When it was understood that the flood was occurred in Mesopotamia as a result of archaeological investigations, it became clear that the idols mentioned above and the pagan communities who worshiped them also lived here. When Noah warns these pagan societies, it is understood that a great part of his life has passed through this region and that the flood has taken place here.

Archeological Proofs of the Flood

It is quite remarkable that the traces of many of the tribes that have been destroyed in the are reported in the Qur’an. It is understood from archaeological evidence that the more sudden the disappearance of a tribe is, the more likely it is the discovery of that occurs.

If civilizations suddenly destroyed – which could be a natural catastrophe, a sudden migration or a result of war – the traces of this civilization are much better protected. The houses in which people live and the goods they use in daily life are buried under the soil in a short time. Thus, they are preserved for a long time without human touch and offer important clues about life in the past after they are found.

It is at this point that many evidences about the Noah’s Flood are being revealed today. The Flood, thought to have been around 3000 BC, destroyed an entire civilization and replaced it with an entirely new civilization. Thus, the Flood’s clear proofs have been preserved for thousands of years to be a sign for us.

There are many excavations made to investigate the Flood which took hold of the Mesopotamian Plain. During the excavations in the region, traces regarding a flood that may be occurred at four major cities. These cities are Ur, Uruk, Kish and Shuruppak, which are important cities of the Mesopotamian Plain. The excavations in these cities show that all of them have been exposed to a flood around 3000 BC. Let’s discuss the excavations made in Ur first.

The earliest of the civilization remains that were found in excavations made in the city of Ur, now called Tel-El Muhayer, stretch back to 7000 BC. Ur city, which is one of the places where people first established civilization, has become a settlement area where many civilizations came and went subsequently.

The archaeological findings revealed in excavations in the city of Ur show that civilization here has been cut off as a result of a massive flood disaster and that later on new civilizations have begun to take shape again. The first person who made excavations in this area is R. H.

Hall from British Museum. Leonard Woolley, who took over the task of conducting the excavation after Hall, also chaired an excavation jointly conducted by the British Museum and the University of Pennsylvania. Excavations conducted by Woolley and created a great sensation around the world continued from 1922 to 1934.

Sir Woolley’s excavations took place in the middle of the desert between Baghdad and the Gulf of Basra. The first founders of the city of Ur were the ones who came from North Mesopotamia and gave them the name “Ubaidian”. Detailed excavations have been initiated to obtain information about this community. In Reader’s Digest magazine, Woolley’s excavations are described as follows:

A very important find was revealed in the excavated area while going deeper; This was the grave of the kings of Ur city. The researchers found many legendary works of art in this cemetery where the Sumerian kings and nobles were buried. Helmets, swords, musical instruments, artworks made of gold and precious stones. There were other things that were far more important than these; Historical records of clay tablets pressed with a high technique, with astonishing mastery and skill.

The researchers found letters bearing the same names in the list of kings in Ur, even among them the name of the person who founded Ur’s first royal family. Woolley thought that the cemetery had been used before the first Ur Dynasty. Due to this reason, Woolley deducted that an advanced civilization had been existed before the first dynasty.

After thorough examination of the evidence, Woolley decided to dig deeper into the bottom of the tombs. Workers began to dug a few meters deep into the mudbricks and started to excavate pottery. “And then suddenly everything stopped.” That’s what Woolley wrote. “No bowl, no pot, no ash, only clean mud that water brings.”

Woolley continued the excavations, passing through a clean clay layer of about two-and-a-half meters deep, and then the workers suddenly found sandstone tools and pottery made by people of the age which were called by the historians to be the latest Stone Age culture. When the mud was thoroughly cleaned, a civilization remained under it appeared. This situation showed that a large flood of water hit the area. The microscopic analysis also showed that a thick layer of clean chunks had been piled up here by a large flood that destroyed the ancient Sumerian civilization. The epic of Gilgamesh and the story of Noah were united in a common source in a well dug in the desert of Mesopotamia.

Max Mallowan was also quoting Leonard Woolley’s thoughts on the excavation:

Woolley stated that such a mass of clay formed in a single time period could only be the result of a massive flood disaster; and described the flood layer separating Sumerian Ur and the town established by the people who used Al-Ubaid’s colored pots as the remains of the legendary flood.

This shows that one of the places affected by Flood is Ur town. The German archaeologist Werner Keller described the importance of the excavation as follows: “Finding city ruins under a clayey layer in archeological excavations in Mesopotamia proved that there was a flood in this region.”