بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ
Natural Disasters;Time To Open Our Eyes
Why are there so many earthquakes?
Many countries have had earthquakes, such as Nepal, Turkey, Mexico, Taiwan, Japan, etc. And the most recent one in Nepal were almost 2000 lives have been claimed. Does this mean anything (from an Islamic point of view)?
First of all, one has to reaffirm in one’s mind and heart that whatever happens, whether good or bad in appearance, is according to the Wish of Allah (S.W.T).
Praise be to Allah (S.W.T) and peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah, and upon his family, companions, and those who follow his guidance. He creates and decrees whatever signs He wills, to frighten His slaves and remind them of their obligations and duties towards Him, and to warn them against associating anything in worship with Him, going against His commands and doing that which He has forbidden. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an:
“And We sent not the signs except to warn” [Al-Israa’ 17:59]
Undoubtedly the earthquakes that are happening these days are among the signs which Allah uses to frighten His slaves. All the earthquakes and other things which happen and cause harm and injury to people are because of sins, as Allah says):
“And whatever of misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned. And He pardons much” [Al-Shoora 42:30]
What Muslims and others who are accountable and of sound mind must do is repent to Allah, adhere firmly to His Religion and avoid all that He has forbidden of sin, so that they may be safe and attain salvation from all evils in this world and the next, and so that Allah will ward off from them all harm, and bless them with all good.
Our response when there is an earthquake or some other sign such as an eclipse, strong winds or floods, should be to hasten to repent to Allah and pray to Him for safety, and to remember Him much and seek His forgiveness, as the Prophet (S.A.) said when there was an eclipse:
“If you see anything like that, hasten to remember Him, call on Him and seek His forgiveness.”
(Al-Bukhaari (2/30) and Muslim (2/628)).
A little reflection on the Qur’anic passages relating stories of the past Prophets will show that God almighty has never chastised a people unless He had first sent a Messenger to them who would convey onto them the message of truth and warned them of their evildoings. It is only after the people had opposed and willfully rejected their Prophet, Divine chastisement befell them as a natural consequence of their doings and not as an arbitrary act of God. The Qur’an has pointed out this Divine law of chastisement or retribution at a number of places. For example, in surah Bani Israel (17:15), Allah almighty says:
“And, We would never chastise [any community for the wrong they may do] ere We have sent an apostle [to them].”
The second aspect of the Divine law of chastisement is that it has always differentiated between the believers and the opponents of God’s Prophets. It has always befallen the opponents of the Prophets and not a single example from the Holy Qur’an can be quoted where a believer would have fallen prey to such a chastisement. This fact has been described in the Qur’an at a number of places. For example, in surah Hud (11:94), Allah almighty, after narrating the story of the Prophet Shu‘ayb (AS), declared:
“And so, when Our judgment came to pass, by Our grace We saved Shu‘ayb and those who shared his faith, whereas the blast [of Our punishment] overtook those who had been bent on evildoing: and then they lay lifeless, in their very homes, on the ground.”
Thus, according to the Qur’an, Allah’s chastisement befell a people when they turned against their Prophet and willfully rejected the message of truth, and, secondly, it befell only the opponents of the Prophet without harming the believers.