Many Muslims, including such dubious luminaries as Maurice Bucaille and Zakir Naik, claim that the story of Noah and the Flood as related in the Qur'an does not contradict common sense or archaeological evidence as does the Flood story in the Bible. The main reason for this it seems is that the Flood as described in the Qur'an was not the global catastrophe that all Christians have been brought up to believe, but a much more credible LOCAL affair. They thus dismiss the Biblical flood narrative as childishly naive, scoffing (see later for more on "scoffing") at the idea of Noah having to load his Ark with every animal and of a world-wide inundation.
Here is an excerpt from Zakir Naik's book on the subject:
The Biblical description of the flood in Genesis chapter 6, 7 and 8 indicates that the deluge was universal and it destroyed every living thing on earth, except those present with Noah (pbuh) in the ark. The description suggests that the event took place 1656 years after the creation of Adam (pbuh) or 292 years before the birth of Abraham, at a time when Noah (pbuh) was 600 years old. Thus the flood may have occurred in the 21st or 22nd Century B.C.This story of the flood, as given in the Bible, contradicts scientific evidence from archaelogical sources which indicate that the eleventh dynasty in Egypt and the third dynasty in Babylonia were in existence without any break in civilisation and in a manner totally unaffected by any major calamity which may have occurred in the 21st century B.C. This contradicts the Biblical story that the whole world had been immersed in the flood water. In contrast to this, the Qur’anic presentation of the story of Noah and the flood does not conflict with scientific evidence or archaeological data; firstly, the Qur’an does not indicate any specific date or year of the occurance of that event, and secondly, according to the Qur’an the flood was not a universal phenomenon which destroyed complete life on earth. In fact the Qur’an specifically mentions that the flood was a localised event only involving the people of Noah.It is illogical to assume that Prophet Muhummad (pbuh) had borrowed the story of the flood from the Bible and corrected the mistakes before mentioning it in the Qur’an.This all seems very credible until we read the Qur'anic version more closely. For if experience has taught us anything, it's to take with a giant ladle of salt anything Muslim miracle seekers tell us.
So what about 71:26-27 which plainly states that NO-ONE, NOT A SINGLE PERSON will be left alive on Earth?
71:26 And Noah, said: "O my Lord! Leave not of the Unbelievers, a single one on earth!
71:27 "For, if Thou dost leave (any of) them, they will but mislead Thy devotees, and they will breed none but wicked ungrateful ones.
That doesn't sound like a LOCAL flood to me.
Or how about 11:40-42 which says that the waters gushed over the face of the Earth and talks of the waves being the size of mountains and requires Noah's Ark to act as a depository for breeding pairs of EACH animal? LOCAL flood? Hmm...
11:40 [And so it went on] till, when Our judgment came to pass, and waters gushed forth in torrents over the face of the earth, We said [unto noah]: "Place on board of this [ark] one pair of each [kind of animal] of either sex, as well as thy family -except those on whom [Our] sentence has already been passed -and all [others] who have attained to faith!"-for, only a few [of noah's people] shared his faith.
11:42 And it moved on with them into waves that were like mountains. At that [moment] noah cried out to a son of his, who had kept himself aloof [from the others]: "O my dear son! Embark with us, and remain not with those who deny the truth!"
So, just to re-cap: we have
1. Noah asking God to drown ALL the non-believers so that NOT A SINGLE ONE is left on Earth so they can't breed again (a pretty big ask for a LOCAL flood!).
2. We also see Noah being told (just like in the Bible) to load breeding pairs of ALL animals onto the ark (to what purpose if this is a local flood? Wouldn't it be easier simply to restock from an area unaffected by the LOCAL flood? You'd also avoid the inherent risk of having future animal stock forever cursed with genetic problems from the inbreeding necessarily required when you restock from just one breeding pair.)
3. And we have waves the SIZE OF MOUNTAINS.
4. And we have the waters covering the FACE OF THE EARTH.
And we're asked to believe that this story is MORE believable than the errant nonsense in the Bible?
Come on Muslims! Challenge the patronising jerks who feed you this nonsense! Ask your immams to explain.
And if they can't, then ask yourself why. Why might a supposed holy book contain a story so full of holes an intelligent six year-old can see the logical flaws- "Er, Daddy - how big did you say the ark was? And Noah had ALL the animals in his boat....? For HOW long...?"
I'm not for one moment suggesting that a disastrous flood (or two) didn't happen at some stage in our pre-history. Why should there otherwise be so many FLOOD MYTHS. Look at the Gilgamesh flood story, for example. In fact it might be enlightening for any reader who believes the story of Noah to be original and hence divine to google it right now. Go on - I dare you! You'll find disturbing echos of the Biblical/Qur'anic story right down to birds being sent out to test if the waters had receded.
Note: i. Since the Flood and the building of the Ark, we are apparently supposed to regard all ships and boats as signs from God. Did you know that?
54:15 And, indeed, We have caused such [floating vessels] to remain forever a sign [of Our grace unto man]: who, then, is willing to take it to heart?
ii. It's interesting to see how much "scoffing" went on at the time. Look at this, for example:
11:38 And set himself to building the ark; and every time the great ones of his people passed by him, they scoffed at him. He said: "If you are scoffing at us-behold, we are scoffing at you , just as you are scoffing at us.
and then remember how the style of the Qur'an is supposed to be utterly inimitable and perfect. So perfect and inimitable, in fact, that no-one can write a verse like it. Hmm.... (Sorry - doing a bit of scoffing here myself, I've just realised.)