Prophet Nuh alaihi salam : Nuh ibn Lamech ibn Methuselah ibn Idris ibn Yared ibn Mahaleel ibn Qeenan ibn Enos ibn Sheeth (Seth) ibn Adam. (Peace be upon them all).
Ibn Jarir mentioned that Noah alaihi salam was born after one hundred and twenty six years of the death of Adam alaihi salam.
Ibn Hibban reported in his book Saheeh on the authority of Abu Umamah that a man asked the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasalam,
O Messenger of Allah, was Adam a Prophet? The Prophet replied, “Yes, a prophet that Allah spoke to.” the man then asked, “Then how much time was there between the two of them?” The Prophet replied, “There was ten Qarn (centuries) between the two of them. (Muslim)
In a hadith narrated by Ibn ‘Abbaas, the Prophet (S) said: “There were ten Qarn between Adam and Noah, all living according to Islam.”
A qarn is a period of time. It can either mean a century or a generation. If it is ten centuries, then we know that is 1,000 years, or a millennium.
If Qarn means generations, as according to how Quran define Qarn is, then it would mean ten generations. Thus that amount of time could be much more than a 1,000 years.
مَّ أَنشَأۡنَا مِنۢ بَعۡدِهِمۡ قَرۡنًا ءَاخَرِينَ
Then, after them, We created another generation (31) Mu’meenoon 23: 31
The people in that time live very long age. Prophet Nuh himself made daawah alone for 950 years! Subhanallah! Compare that to our average age now. Perhaps 60 or 70 or 80.
Allah has created our lifespan shorter now with His great wisdom. Perhaps the world would be overpopulated otherwise? Allah knows best.
The people within the generations were muslims, those who worship the God who created all things. Until after the ten Qarns people began to worship idols and false gods. Thus Allah sent Prophet Nuh alaihi salam as a mercy for His slaves.
Nuh was the first Messenger to be sent upon earth.
After those pious generations, certain incidents happened that led people of the time to gradually worship idols.
In surah Nuh, there are mentiones of their gods.
An Nuh 71: 23
“And they have said: ‘You shall not leave your gods, nor shall you leave Wadd, nor Suwâ’, nor Yaghûth, nor Ya’ûq, nor Nasr (these are the names of their idols). (23)
Ibn Abbas said, “These are the names of the pious people from among them. Following their deaths, Shaytan inspired their people to erect status in the place where they used to sit, and to call them with their names. They did so, however at this point, they were not worshiped until that generation died and the new generation deviated.”
Ibn Jareer said : They were pious people during the period of Adam and Nooh, and they had followers. When they died, tehir followers said, “If we make statues of them, it will be more pleasing to us in worship and will remind us of them.”
So they built statues of them. But when they died and other generations came after them, Iblees approached them saying, Your forefathers used to worship them, and through that worship they got rain. So why don’t you worship them too? And that is how they came to worship them.”
A summary of what Ibn Abu Hateem said
Wadd : He was a pious man who was loved by his people. But when he died, they gathered and remained around his grave in Babylon and were overwhelmed by grief on the death of this man. When Shaytan saw them in this state, he came to them disguised as a man and said, “I saw your grief on the death of this man. So should I make a statue like him which could be erected, thus you may remember him? They answered, “Yes” So he made a statue like him which they erected up their gathering place and they remembered him. When Shaytan noticed their keenness in remembering him, he suggested, “Should I build a statue of him in the homes of everyone of you, so that each one of you could remember him in his home?” They agreed. The Shaytan then made the statue and they laced in their house and the people used it to remember him.
Their children’s generation saw what their fathers did for their remembrance. However when the children came, they had no idea of how their fathers remembered them and so gradually they took them as their god. So the first one to be worshipped besides Allah was Wadd, the idol they named after Wadd himself.”
Al-Bukhari recorded from Ibn `Abbas that he said, “The idols that were among the people of Nuh wound up among the Arabs afterwards. In reference to Wadd, it became the idol of the people of Kalb in the area of Dawmat Al-Jandal. Suwa` became the idol of the people of Hudhayl. Yaghuth became the idol of the people of Murad, then the people of Bani Ghutayf at Al-Juruf in the area of Saba’ worshipped it after them. Ya`uq became the idol of the people of Hamdan. Nasr became the idol of the people of Himyar for the family of Dhu Kala`.
These idols were all named after righteous men from the people of Nuh.
`Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn `Abbas that he said, “These are statues that were worshipped in the time of Nuh.” Ibn Jarir recorded from Muhammad bin Qays that he said concerning Yaghuth, Ya`uq and Nasr, “They were righteous people between the time of Adam and Nuh, and they had followers who used to adhere to their guidance. Then, when they died, their companions who used to follow them said, `If we make images of them, it will increase our desire to perform worship when we remember them.’ So they made images of them. Then, when those people died and other people came after them, Iblis approached them and said, `They (your predecessors) used to worship these statues and they were granted rain by their worship of them.’ Thus, they (the latter people) worshipped them.”
Some lessons you can learn from this
1. Shaytan is very patient and cunning. They took their time to sow the seeds of syirk beautifying it to what seemingly a pious deed.
2. Small deviation may cause the generation to go astray in the future.
3. We must stop syirik from the root.
4. To avoid making images of people and hanging it up for memories.
5. To not exaggerate in praising the pious ones.
6. Prophet Nuh is the first messenger on earth.