Pakistan Earthquake

The Light (UK), November 2005 Issue (pp. 1–2)

Members have been donating to the collection organized by the U.K. Jamaat for onward trans­mission to our Centre in Lahore for use in relief and aid work to help the victims of this natural calamity. More than 1500 Pounds have been raised.

As happens when such terrible disasters strike, the question was being discussed in the media that if there is a loving God, how can such loss of life and destruction take place? From the Islamic point of view there are several aspects of the matter, which we can only touch on here. It is a loving God Who, at such times, fills our hearts with sympathy and the overwhelming desire to help our fellow-beings, even to help those who otherwise may be our enemies. It is a loving God Who has granted humanity as a whole vast enough resources to go to the aid of those among them who are suffering. Then it is up to mankind to determine whether or not to use those resources for disaster prevention measures and ameliorating the effects of disasters. God gives us an opportunity to exercise and develop our humane qualities.

The occurrence of a disaster is said to make some people question the existence of God. But would they accept the existence of God if no disaster ever took place? If no calamities ever befell, there would be no concept of what a disaster is. No one would be saying: we believe in God because no disasters are taking place, since the very word ‘disaster’ or ‘calamity’ would not exist!

Disasters and catastrophes have to be faced and coped with, whether one does or does not believe in God. Giving up belief in God because disasters occur will not reduce the incidence of such calamities. On the other hand, belief in God provides one with strength to bear a loss and hope for recovery and restoration. In a discussion on television in the aftermath of this earthquake, an atheist said that according to his outlook these events are just a part of the working of natural phenomena. We do not dispute that, but wonder whether this makes him look upon this world as a terrible place, hostile to human beings. A believer in God considers nature to be helping in the progress of man. He knows that God has made everything around him to be on his side, and not against him, provided he walks on the right path. He is certain from his faith that better days are sure to come.

We now put before our readers some verses of the Quran to ponder on this topic.

مَاۤ اَصَابَ مِنۡ مُّصِیۡبَۃٍ فِی الۡاَرۡضِ وَ لَا فِیۡۤ اَنۡفُسِکُمۡ اِلَّا فِیۡ کِتٰبٍ مِّنۡ قَبۡلِ اَنۡ نَّبۡرَاَہَا ؕ اِنَّ ذٰلِکَ عَلَی اللّٰہِ یَسِیۡرٌ ﴿ۚۖ۲۲﴾ لِّکَیۡلَا تَاۡسَوۡا عَلٰی مَا فَاتَکُمۡ وَ لَا تَفۡرَحُوۡا بِمَاۤ اٰتٰىکُمۡ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ لَا یُحِبُّ کُلَّ مُخۡتَالٍ فَخُوۡرِۣ ﴿ۙ۲۳﴾ الَّذِیۡنَ یَبۡخَلُوۡنَ وَ یَاۡمُرُوۡنَ النَّاسَ بِالۡبُخۡلِ ؕ

“No disaster befalls in the earth, or in yourselves, but it is in a book before We bring it into existence — surely that is easy to Allah — so that you grieve not for what has escaped you, nor exult in that which He has given you. And Allah loves not any arrogant boaster, such as are mean and enjoin miserliness on men.” (The Holy Quran, 57:22–24).

The “book” mentioned here is the knowledge of God, and when man acquires knowledge of nature by human efforts the books he compiles are a reflection, however incomplete it may be, of that “book” of Divine decrees. Even books produced by man can, to some extent, give prior knowledge of a disaster.

وَ لَنَبۡلُوَنَّکُمۡ بِشَیۡءٍ مِّنَ الۡخَوۡفِ وَ الۡجُوۡعِ وَ نَقۡصٍ مِّنَ الۡاَمۡوَالِ وَ الۡاَنۡفُسِ وَ الثَّمَرٰتِ ؕ وَ بَشِّرِ الصّٰبِرِیۡنَ ﴿۱۵۵﴾ۙ الَّذِیۡنَ اِذَاۤ اَصَابَتۡہُمۡ مُّصِیۡبَۃٌ ۙ قَالُوۡۤا اِنَّا لِلّٰہِ وَ اِنَّاۤ اِلَیۡہِ رٰجِعُوۡنَ ﴿۱۵۶﴾ؕ

“And We shall certainly try you with something of fear and hunger and loss of property and lives and fruits. And give good news to the patient, who, when a misfortune befalls them, say: Surely we are Allah’s, and to Him we shall return.” (The Holy Quran, 2:155–156).

Islam teaches in these few words that everything we have is on loan from God and eventually returns to its Real Owner.

کُلُّ مَنۡ عَلَیۡہَا فَانٍ ﴿ۚۖ۲۶﴾ وَّ یَبۡقٰی وَجۡہُ رَبِّکَ ذُو الۡجَلٰلِ وَ الۡاِکۡرَامِ ﴿ۚ۲۷﴾

“Everyone on it (the earth) passes away, and there endures forever the person of your Lord, the Lord of glory and honour.” (The Holy Quran, 55:26–27).

Everything is temporary and the one permanent reality is the existence of God Whose glory is manifested in all events.