Nimrod, the one who built the huge Tower at Babylon: “Allah struck at the foundation of their building, and then the roof fell down upon them…”

Allāh, the Most High, stated in the Qur’ān (An-Nahl:26):

[arabic-font]قَدْ مَكَرَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ فَأَتَى اللَّهُ بُنْيَانَهُم مِّنَ الْقَوَاعِدِ فَخَرَّ عَلَيْهِمُ السَّقْفُ مِن فَوْقِهِمْ وَأَتَاهُمُ الْعَذَابُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لَا يَشْعُرُونَ[/arabic-font]

 

Those before them indeed plotted, but Allah struck at the foundation of their building, and then the roof fell down upon them, from above them, and the torment overtook them from directions they did not perceive.

A latter day impression of the Tower of Babylon.

Imām ash-Shinqītī stated in Adwā al-Bayān in his tafseer of Surat al-Hijr that Ibn Hajr Al-Asqalānī (d. 852H) said: “The scholars of tafseer and narrations mention that the intent of this verse is that Nimrood Ibn Kan’ān built a mighty tower in Babylon; and it is said its height reached 5000 cubits – and Allāh collapsed it over them.”

Note: 5000 cubits equates to 2286 meters or 7500 feet – and Allah knows best. The Book of Jubilees, also referred to as the Lesser Genesis and regarded as canonical by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church as well as Beta Israel (Ethiopian Jews) mentions the tower’s height as being 5433 cubits and 2 palms which equates to 2484 meters or 8150 feet. In Genesis itself it states “its top [is] in the sky” (v, 4).

In the Hebrew and Christian tradition, Nimrod is considered the leader of the people who built the Tower of Babel (Babylon/Bābil) in the land of Mesopotamia. 

Babylon lies in the centre of modern-day Iraq, and the story of the city of Babylon is recorded in Genesis 11:1–9.  The scholars of Quranic tafseer have stated that this is the same Nimrod who debated Ibrāhīm (S) in the verse (Al-Baqarah: 258):

 

[arabic-font]أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِي حَاجَّ إِبْرَاهِيمَ فِي رَبِّهِ أَنْ آتَاهُ اللَّهُ الْمُلْكَ إِذْ قَالَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ رَبِّيَ الَّذِي يُحْيِي وَيُمِيتُ قَالَ أَنَا أُحْيِي وَأُمِيتُ ۖ قَالَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْتِي بِالشَّمْسِ مِنَ الْمَشْرِقِ فَأْتِ بِهَا مِنَ الْمَغْرِبِ فَبُهِتَ الَّذِي كَفَرَ ۗ وَاللَّهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ[/arabic-font]

 

“Have you not considered the one who argued with Abraham about his Lord merely because Allah had given him kingship? When Abraham said, “My Lord is the one who gives life and causes death,” he (the king) said, “I give life and cause death.” So Abraham said, “Indeed, Allah brings up the sun from the east, so bring it up from the west.” So the disbeliever was overwhelmed [by astonishment], and Allah does not guide the wrongdoing people.”

 

In the Bible (Genesis 10), Nimrod is described as the son of Cush, grandson of Ham, and great-grandson of Noah; and as “a mighty one in the earth”, i.e. A mighty tyrant. 

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