This Surah was revealed at Makkah during the period when opposition to the Prophet had grown to be very strong and active.
- The Prophet Nuh's preaching and submission to Allah after exhausting all his efforts.
- The Prophet Nuh's prayer not to leave any unbeliever on the surface of the earth and Allah granted his prayer.
In this Surah, the story of the Prophet Nuh (Noah) is told to warn the disbelievers of Makkah: "You, O people of Makkah, are adopting towards Muhammad (peace be upon him) the same attitude as the people of the Prophet Noah had adopted towards him; if you do not change this attitude, you too would meet with the same end."
This Surah starts with a brief explanation of how the Prophet Nuh began his mission and what he preached. Then, after suffering hardships and troubles in fulfilling his mission for 950 years, the report that he made to his Rabb is given in vv. 5-20. In it he states how he had been trying to bring his people to the right path and how his people had stubbornly opposed him. After this, the Prophet Nuh prays to Allah, saying: "These people have rejected my invitation: they are blindly following their chiefs, who have devised a tremendous plot of deceit and cunning. Time now has come when these people should be deprived of every grace." This was not an expression of impatience by the Prophet Nuh, but when after having preached his message under extremely trying circumstances for 950 years he became utterly disappointed with his people, he formed the opinion that no chance whatever was left of their coming to the right path. His opinion fully conformed to Allah's own decision.
In the concluding verse, the Prophet Nuh's supplication that he made to Allah when the torment descended, has been recorded. He seeks forgiveness for himself and all the believers, and submits to Allah: "Do not leave any of the disbelievers alive on the earth for they have become utterly devoid of every good; they will not beget any but disbelieving and wicked descendents."