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Earthquakes, Cyclones, Floods, Tsunami... Why?


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Earthquakes  4arthquake_road-477x314.jpg



                    Cyclones  1cyclone.jpg



Floods   2.jpg


                      Tsunami  3Tsunami-Trujillo-Flickr.png






Scientific study of earthquakes state the course as; “Earthquakes result from a build up of stresses within rocks until strained to fracturing point in the earths crust. Plate tectonic movements generate the major proportion of all earthquakes; as two plates move past each other, they can become jammed and deformed, and earthquakes occur when they spring free.” (Hutchinson Encyclopedia P. 286).


Those individuals who believe in the scientific study only will regard unnatural events to be the work of nature. However, those who believe that the earth and heavens belong to Allah will realise that the movements of the earth mentioned in the scientific study has to have a controller who controls  and commands such movements in the earth.


An intelligent person will look beyond the scientific veil placed over such tragedies and look towards the true reason of such movements of the earth that create such devastation and turmoil.


We need not to look far, but just ponder over the verses of the Qur’ãn and Ahãdith which clearly explain the reasons for such unnatural disasters.


Allah Ta’ãla states;

“And when We would destroy a township We send a commandment to its folk who live at ease, and afterwards they commit abomination therein, and so the word is established upon them, and We annihilate it with complete annihilation.”

(Surah Bani Israeel V. 16).



It is not the way of Allah to destroy a nation whilst they are righteous and doing good deeds. Allah Ta’ãla states;

“And your Rabb did not destroy townships tyrannously while their folk were doing right.”

(SurahHud V. 117).



Referring to the punishment of the tribe of Thamood and Madyan Allah Ta’ãla states;

“So the earthquake seized them, and morning found them prostrate in their dwelling place.” Surah A’raaf V. 78 & 91).



Describing the punishment of the people of Loot (A.S.) Allah Ta’ãla states;

“So when Our commandment came to pass We overthrew (the township) and rained upon it stone of clay, one after the other.” Surah Hood V.82).


“And we made plain the case to him, that the root of them (who did wrong) was to be cut at early morn.” (Surah Hijr V.66).


These are just a few of the many verses wherein mention is made of how previous transgressors were punished by means of earthquakes.


Further light is shed in the Ahãdith of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) as to the reasons of such events.


Ibn Abi Dunya narrates a Hadith in which he m e n t i o n s t h a t a n earthquake took place during the time of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).


The Prophet of Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) placed his hand over the earth and said; “Settle down, it is not time yet” Referring to the Day of Qiyãmah.


Thereafter addressing his Companions he said; “Your Rabb wants that you turn towards Him, hence turn t o w a r d s H i m ( i . e . Taubah).” (Al Jawãbul Kãfi...P. 42).


An earthquake also took place in the year 20AH during the time of Sayyidinah Umar (R.A.).


Addressing the people Sayyidinah Umar (R.A.) said; “O people! The only reason for the earthquake is that you have committed a new sin. By Allah if the earth shakes again, I shall not live in this area.” (Al Jawãbul Kãfi...P. 42).


Sayyidinah Anas bin Mãlik (R.A.) narrates that he and another person asked Sayyidinah A’isha (R.A.) with regards the reason of earthquakes.


To which she replied;

“When people commit adultery as if it were Halãl, drink alcohol in abundance and use musical instruments; Allah becomes ashamed and commands the earth to shake. If the people make Taubah, fine, otherwise buildings will be toppled over them.” She was then asked if it was as a punishment. She replied; “Advice and Mercy for the believers but punishment for the Kuffãr.” (Al JawãbulKãfi...P. 41).


The above narration clearly indicates that the purpose of earthquakes is to punish some and a lesson of advice to others. For the believers it is a sign for them to come out of their slumber and turn towards their Creator. 


This is exactly what the Prophet of Allah (Sallallahu A l a i h i W a s a l l a m ) elaborated towards when addressing his companions that; “Your Rabb wants that you turn towards Him, hence turn towards Him (i.e. Taubah).”


The question arises what should Muslims do on such occasions.


The following are a few steps that should be adhered to;


1. To recite ‘Innãlillãhi Wa’’innã Ilaihi Rãjioon’, which was g r a n t e d t o t h i s Ummah at the time of hearing disturbing news.


2. Turn towards Allah in r e p e n t a n c e a n d obedience. This will protect society from the anger of Allah.


3. E a c h i n d i v i d u a l should ponder over the wrath of Allah, when seeing the devastation that takes place. Fear Allah and make a pledge not to displease Him.




Islamic Tarbiyah Academy

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Having just experienced an earthquake last night in the East Midlands and with similar tremors occurring in other parts of the world recently, we would like to share with you an editorial of the respected Shaykh-ul-Hadīth, Shaykh Mawlānā Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh which appeared in the monthly journal 'Riyādul Jannah' after the earthquake that occurred in February 2008 in the UK.


Why Earthquakes Occur
by Shaykh Mawlānā Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh


At 12:56am on 27th February the UK was shaken by an earthquake of a significant enough magnitude to make the headlines. Buildings shuddered, furniture shook, and people were woken from their sleep. By morning, everyone was talking about it.


The largest earthquake to strike the UK in over 25 years was regarded by most people as no more than an exciting incident. Their curiosity was satisfied by scientific explanations, and there their interest ended. They did not see the shaking of the earth beneath their feet as an opportunity to learn valuable lessons.


The question we need to ask is: ‘Why do earthquakes occur?’


We can learn a lot about the world around us by using the ‘aql (intellect) that Allāh ta‘ālā has given us. ‘Aql, however, has its inherent limitations, and as believers we should not remain content with the often incomplete picture of events that it can present. Where ‘aql reaches its limits, wahy (Revelation) takes over. As Muslims, we should turn to the teachings of our beloved Nabī Muhammad sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam to understand the significance of the recent earthquake.


Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam has declared the cause of earthquakes to be disobedience to Allāh ta‘ālā exceeding limits. Whatever the scientific explanation may be – and there is no need to reject or ignore scientific explanations – Allāh ta‘ālā made the earth shake. Allāh ta‘ālā uses physical agencies to bring about physical events in the universe, e.g. a child is born as a result of the union of its parents, yet Allāh ta‘ālā is the Originator; He gives children via the agency of the parents. Allāh ta‘ālā may cause an earthquake to occur through the means of huge stresses building up at fault lines in the earth’s crust or, if he wishes, without it. But, in either case, it is Allāh ta‘ālā Who causes earthquakes.


Allāh ta‘ālā first causes small earthquakes, like the 5.2 quake felt in the UK, which do not result in any major harm. They do, however, affect the hearts of people, causing a moment of fear, awe and a sense of one’s mortality. These minor earthquakes can be described as wake-up calls from Allāh ta‘ālā, inviting His servants to take stock of their lives and turn to Him in repentance. In this way, they are a mercy from Him. It is reported that on the occasion of an earthquake occurring in the time of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam he turned to the Sahābah radhiyallāhu ‘anhum and said: ‘Your Rabb wants you to turn to Him in repentance, so repent.’

Allāh ta‘ālā states in the Glorious Qur’ān:



Calamities have appeared on land and sea because of what the hands of men have earned, that Allāh may make them taste a part of what they have done, in order that they may turn back. (30:41)


When people do not heed these warnings and continue to disobey Allāh ta‘ālā, He may repeat the wake-up calls of magnitude 4 or 5 before suddenly unleashing a magnitude 8 quake, resulting in Qiyāmah-like scenes. Whole localities are razed to the ground, as if they had never existed. And these things are not hypothetical, they are happening now, in our lifetime.


Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam foretold that as Qiyāmah nears, earthquakes will become more frequent, a prediction we are seeing come true with our very eyes. The reason for the increase in earthquakes foretold by Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam is an increase in disobedience to Allāh ta‘ālā.


When, as a result of excessive disobedience, a large earthquake occurs anywhere, the Qur’ānic principle is that everyone, good and bad, is afflicted.



And beware of a scourge that will not afflict the wrongdoers among you only... (8:25)



Everyone suffers: people die or suffer bereavement, injury, fear, financial loss, anxiety and depression etc. The victims of a catastrophic earthquake can be divided into four groups:



1. Good people who die. They are classified as shuhadā (martyrs) and will enter Jannah. Their suffering will be a means of elevating their status in Jannah.


2. Bad people who die. Due to their disobedient and unrepentant ways they will be destined for Jahannam. Their suffering will be a punishment.


3. Good people who survive. The calamity is a test for them. By remaining patient and content with taqdīr and the Will of Allāh ta‘ālā they will be rewarded with closeness to Him.


4. Bad people who survive. The calamity is a warning and admonition for them to repent and change their ways.


What we need to do


1. Accept that the earthquake was a result of disobedience to Allāh ta‘ālā. Each individual should think: ‘Out of all the disobedient people, I am top of the list. It was because of me that the earthquake struck.’


2. Thereafter, make tawbah and istighfār with sincerity.


3. When the earth quakes, so does the heart. Treat it as an opportunity to rectify your life. Make use of the fear that developed in your heart. Think: ‘I commit many sins; what if the earth had split and swallowed me up? Allāh ta‘ālā has saved me. O Allāh, forgive me.’


4. Give sadaqah. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam said:



adaqah extinguishes the anger of the Rabb and prevents an evil death.’ (


5. Having experienced the disturbing effects of a small earthquake, try to imagine Qiyāmah. What will the mighty earthquakes of Qiyāmah and the Resurrection be like?


It is very serious that the land we live on shook; it means that so much disobedience is taking place on it that Allāh ta‘ālā is displeased. We must turn to Allāh ta‘ālā and do tawbah, istighfār and rectify our lives. We should also have concern in this regard for those around us. May Allāh ta‘ālā make this earthquake a mercy for us and may it prompt us to change our lives for the better. Āmīn.


© Riyādul Jannah

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Earthquake – A Wake-Up Call

By Hadrat Mawlānā Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh


With the recent earthquake and the resulting carnage, the point we need to consider is that although we are well away from the epicentre, safe and sound, what do we need to do? Is it just another news headline and topic of conversation or does it hold deeper significance to us as Muslims. At this point it is worth pondering upon the fact that Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam has mentioned that as Qiyāmah nears, earthquakes will become more and more frequent.


We have seen this prophecy coming true as time has passed. In the past earthquakes were rare and therefore shocking. Nowadays, being much more common, much thought is not given towards them save when the earthquake causes a humanitarian disaster. In the past it was very difficult to imagine an era in which natural disasters would regularly hit the headlines. Yet here we are today, every so often there is news of an earthquake, tsunami or a natural disaster of some nature having struck some part of the world. There is frequent news of people dying, children becoming orphans, starvation, lack of food supplies, loss of basic amenities and homelessness.


For everything that happens in the world there is a cause. Causes are of two types: external and internal (worldly and spiritual). For example, when someone catches the flu or a cold, the external cause for this could have been stepping out in the cold inadequately dressed or standing in the rain for a long period of time. The internal cause could have been sins which had been perpetrated. Similarly, scientists explain the external cause of an earthquake to be the movement of tectonic plates or gaseous activity beneath the earth’s surface. Not refuting this, when we refer to the teachings of our Allāh and his beloved Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam we find that the cause for earthquakes is the disobedience of Allāh ta‘ālā exceeding limits.


Calamities have appeared on land and sea because of what the hands of men have earned, that Allāh may make them taste a part of what they have done, in order that they may turn back. (30:41)


So, being that sins are the cause for such disasters, the primary thing we must do is repent. In such instances, when the Might and Power of Allāh ta‘ālā manifest themselves with such catastrophic effect, we should take heed from the warning. We should take this as a sign from Allāh ta‘ālā warning us of our sinful way; if we are to continue sinning then it is possible that He may also send a calamity upon us. Therefore, the first thing that we should do is accept that such catastrophes are due to my disobedience and then make tawbah and istighfār with sincerity.


Remember, in this calamity others have suffered and we have been safeguarded; we should use this as a means of guidance for us. We should think to ourselves that we are not performing salāh, paying zakāh, etc; we are indulged in evils such as drugs, alcohol, adultery, oppression, backbiting, etc. What if due to my sins the earth splits open and I fall inside.


We should also spend in the path of Allāh ta‘ālā. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam  has said:


adaqah extinguishes the anger of your Lord and protects against an evil death. (At-Tirmidhī)


Spending in charity will not only bring reward from Allāh ta‘ālā for helping his creation but will also ensure that his anger, caused by our disobediences, will be cooled. Even though the earthquake may have struck in another country we must remember that the entire world is the same to Allāh ta‘ālā. Borders and nationalities are man-made; to Allāh ta‘ālā, we are all dwellers of the same earth. An earthquake in one part of the world means that Allāh ta‘ālā is angry, and not necessarily with only those who were directly affected. So we too must do our bit to try and cool the anger by repenting and then assisting through du‘ā and financial help.


Finally, we should also use this opportunity to ponder upon the Day of Reckoning. If an earthquake lasting around a minute can cause such devastation, then what will be the earthquake of the Last Hour be like. That earthquake will be so severe that not only will tall buildings collapse, but the sun will lose its brightness, mountains will become rubble, and this entire world will come to an end.


O mankind, fear your Lord. Indeed the quake of the (destined) Hour is something terrible. The day you will see it, every suckling female will forget that which she suckles, and every female having pregnancy shall abort her foetus, and you will see people as if they are drunk, while they are not drunk, but Allāh’s torment is (so) severe. (22:1-2)

The Striking Event! What is the Striking Event? And what may let you know what the Striking Event is? (It will happen) on a day when people will be like scattered moths, and the mountains will be like carded wool. (101:1-5)

When the earth will be jolted with a terrible jolt; and the mountains will be crumbled a thorough crumbling, until they will become dust, scattered in the air. (56:4-6)


On the occurrence of this devastating disaster, our appeal is for everyone to repent and turn towards Allāh ta‘ālā, spend in the path of Allāh ta‘ālā through charity and ponder upon the last day and make this earthquake a wake-up call for us.


© Riyādul Jannah (Vol. 19 No. 2, Feb 2010)

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I have read many publications on the atrocities in Muslim countries. They all say it is punishment from Allah. How is that conclusion made? Can it not be a test of Allah? Why only punishment? Your comments Mufti Saheb.




In the Name of Allaah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.


You enquire regarding whether the various atrocities in predominantly Muslim countries are a punishment from Allaah Ta’aala or a test of their Imaan. No one can make an absolute claim in that regard as nobody knows with certainty the reason behind Allaah’s will in those atrocities. The observations made by people are at most probabilities. It is incorrect to regard the various atrocities as the punishment of Allaah Ta’aala with certainty. The atrocities could probably be a punishment from Him or they could be a test of their Imaan.


However, if people are disobedient to Allaah and openly violating His laws, then the atrocities could probably be a punishment from Him. If people are obedient to Allaah Ta’āla and practice upon Deen, then the atrocities are probably a test of their Imaan.


It would be incorrect to dismiss the atrocities as a test of Imaan while Allaah Ta’āla is being disobeyed and people carry out sinful activities like zinaa (fornication), stealing, injustice, etc.


Reflect upon the following verse:


ظَهَرَ الْفَسَادُ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِي النَّاسِ لِيُذِيقَهُمْ بَعْضَ الَّذِي عَمِلُوا لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ

Translation: Corruption has appeared throughout the land and sea by [reason of] what the hands of people have earned so He may let them taste part of [the consequence of] what they have done that perhaps they will return [to righteousness]. (Surah Ar-Room v.41)


وَلَنُذِيقَنَّهُمْ مِنَ الْعَذَابِ الْأَدْنَى دُونَ الْعَذَابِ الْأَكْبَرِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ

Translation: And we will surely let them taste the nearer punishment short of the greater punishment that perhaps they will repent. (Surah As-Sajdah v.21)


Rasulullaah (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) is reported to have said:

من يعمل سوءا يجز به في الدنيا

Translation: “Whoever does evil, he shall be recompensed in this life.” (Ahmad) 1


It would also be incorrect to regard the atrocities as punishment from Allaah Ta’āla when He is being obeyed and the laws of Shariah are fulfilled. In such a situation, one should seek refuge in taqdeer and regard the atrocities as a test of one’s Imaan.


 Consider the following,


أَحَسِبَ النَّاسُ أَنْ يُتْرَكُوا أَنْ يَقُولُوا آمَنَّا وَهُمْ لَا يُفْتَنُونَ (2) وَلَقَدْ فَتَنَّا الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ فَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا وَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ الْكَاذِبِينَ (3)

Translation: Do the people think that they will be left to say, "We believe" and they will not be tried? But We have certainly tried those before them, and Allah will surely make evident those who are truthful, and He will surely make evident the liars. (Surah Al-‘Ankaboot v.3)


وَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ الْمُنَافِقِينَ

Translation: And Allah will surely make evident those who believe, and He will surely make evident the hypocrites. (Surah Al-‘Ankaboot v.11)


وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُمْ بِشَيْءٍ مِنَ الْخَوْفِ وَالْجُوعِ وَنَقْصٍ مِنَ الْأَمْوَالِ وَالْأَنْفُسِ وَالثَّمَرَاتِ وَبَشِّرِ الصَّابِرِينَ

Translation: And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient. (Surah Al-Baqarah v.155)



And Allaah Ta’āla Knows Best

Muajul I. Chowdhury


Student Darul Iftaa

New York, USA


Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

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Why is there Suffering in the World?

Q. I have a question regarding sufferings.

People in general suffer, some a lot some not at all regardless of their religion. What is the reason behind these sufferings? Is it sins?
In so many books it is said Allah is most merciful most kind and most loving yet we don’t see his love and mercy.

My question is what is the reason and how do we make it stop?
A. The first thing to understand is that this world is only the stepping stone to our true abode which is the hereafter. This world is our place for trial and examination. In this world we understand that the higher the qualification, the harder the exam.
Our test in this world is not for qualifications or for degrees. It is for eternal life in gardens of paradise. It is for the supreme success. How can such a test be easy? Study the life of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam and you will find that no one went through greater tests and trials than him. Did Allah not have mercy on him?
In the Quran, Allah tells us, “Indeed Allah has purchased your lives and wealth in exchange for Jannah.” This means that everything we are and everything we have is at the ready to be sacrificed in the attainment of Jannah.
You may have come across children, whose parents have given them everything, yet their ingratitude is of a level that they say, “My parents have done nothing for me.” The child sees only the negative and his eyes have become blind to the many sacrifices and privileges his parents have afforded him.
It is similar when we say that we do not see Allah’s mercy. In the Qur’aan, Allah tells us, “If Allah had to punish man in accordance to his sins, then not a creature would be left living on the earth (due to the punishment due).” It is Allah’s mercy that he affords the creation grace. It is Allah’s mercy that despite our sins, we may eat and drink and breath. The Nabi of Allah Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam informed us, “The first favour of Allah that we will be questioned about on the Day of Judgement will be, “Have I not given you a sound body and quenched your thirst with cold water?” These are great favours of Allah upon us but how many of the creation are thankful.
There is another aspect that we must consider. Allah has created this world as a  place of means, a place of cause and effect and, by and large, Allah allows it to run its own course. A person who wants to do good is able to do good. A person who wants to do evil is able to do evil. The judgement and consequence is not in this world but in the hereafter. When people cause suffering and when greed and hatred cause war, genocide, looting and rape, do we blame Allah? No, the blame is on the wrongdoers. When governments usurp their countries wealth and leave the population in want and desperation, the blame is on them.
Allah Ta’ala asks us in the Qur’an, “Why would Allah punish you if you are grateful and believing?” 
If the Ummah will en masse turn to Allah, then Allah will divinely intervene to change their condition for the better. But if they continue to live as they please then Allah will leave them to their own devices. 
And Allah Ta’ala Knows Best

Mufti Moosa Salie

Mufti Ismaeel Bassa

(The answer hereby given is specifically based on the question asked and should be read together with the question asked. Islamic rulings on this Q&A newsletter are answered in accordance to the Hanafi Fiqh unless otherwise stated.)
Fatwa Department
Jamiatul Ulama (KZN) 
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