Posted on: 25 Mar 2011
Waking up on the morning of Friday 11th March was like any other day. Reading the news from my phone every morning was something that had become second nature to me and this particular morning was no different....
Japan Earthquake-Lessons to Learn
Waking up on the morning of Friday 11th March was like any other day. Reading the news from my phone every morning was something that had become second nature to me and this particular morning was no different. The headline on the BBC news website, however, was something of the sort that i had not read for some time. A magnitude 8.9 earthquake had struck off the coast of Japan causing a tsunami to come inland. What happened after is embedded in many people's minds through pictures and videos on the TV and internet. The power instilled in the waves by the earthquake was truly of a tremendous nature; cars and homes being swept away in such a manner that , from a distance, one would think of them as being rubbish and waste in the water. As latest videos clips of the tsunami were shown on news channels around the world, we were left amazed by the truly powerful fury unleashed from the under the Pacific that Friday morning and how us human beings, regardless of how 'advanced' we may have become, could do nothing but watch as nature took its course.
Earthquakes are a potent reminder of the power and wrath Almighty Allah can seize us human beings with when we become heedless of his law. Man has been placed on this earth for the purpose of serving his Lord and Creator, Allah. From the first Prophet, Adam (peace be upon him) to the very final Messenger, Mohammad (Peace and Salutations upon him), the message has been the same from Allah, to believe in Him and to serve Him. For people of earlier times, this message was simple and easy to follow. To depend on Allah and to worship Him, for these early believers, was something that was ingrained in them and to go contrary to this was something that many did not do. The changing society around us, however, mostly due to technological advancement over the past 100 years, has made people depend greatly on other things and this has led many to become heedless of Him who is our Creator and Sustainer. With this heedlessness, an unprecedented increase of immorality is occuring which has led to vices becoming widespread and turned virtue into a strange thing. It is at times like these that Allah reminds us with signs of the most powerful nature that removes the facade from in front of our eyes and aims to turn us towards the real purpose of our existence in this world. If we take heed of these signs then salvation is ours. If we do not, then certainly a much greater wrath awaits us.
Allah's Messenger (peace and salutations upon him) informed us of signs of the end of time in the following Tradition. Abu Hurayra (peace be upon him) narrates:
The Prophet, (peace and salutations upon him) said: 'The Hour shall not come until knowledge is taken away, and earthquakes become common, and time is always too short, and trials appear, and killing is widespread, and until wealth becomes so abundant that it is superfluous.' (Bukhari)
When we forget who our Provider is then we are given chance after chance to redeem ourselves through repentance and returning to The Almighty. If we fail to take these chances, then we shall be surely punished for our shortcomings. Allah is Merciful and all of his actions have wisdom in them which sometimes our limited human intellect may not perceive. In the Islamic tradition, he who dies in an earthquake is considered a martyr which in turn is a recompense for his sins in this world. A Hadith in Abu Da'wood states:
'This my Umma is an Umma which receives mercy: for it has no punishment in the akhira. Its punishment is in this dunya: strife, earthquakes, and killing.'
Through natural phenomenon such as Earthquakes and other natural disasters, we are being instructed to return to Allah and take account of ourselves. As the Tradition says 'Call yourselves to account before you yourselves are called to account'.
"We ask Allah subhanahu ta'ala to grant us the gift of tawba, for us here, and for all Muslims.
May He forgive us our weaknesses and our secret faults, and our laziness in serving Him.
May He grant us love and brotherhood for one another, and give us the blessing of common action against what threatens us all.
May He empty our hearts of suspicion and pride, and of the love of dispute, and unite us in the service of Islam and the Muslims."