Disasters and Calamities

On average, there are about 6,800 natural calamities, including cyclones, wildfires, hurricanes, heatwaves, earthquakes, volcanic eruption and flooding happening every year worldwide. In addition to that died from more than 238,000 people died in global and state-based conflicts last year and the number skyrocketing with the Palestine killings and Ukraine and Soviet wars.

Why so many disasters and calamities sent to the human kind by Allah, the Almighty? As part of our Islamic faith, we believe that all the occurrences of these disasters and calamities are in the hands of Allah. However, for some of us our faith can get shaken during times of trials and hardships. It is during those times though that we should remind ourselves that a believer’s position and rank is raised in front of Allah and that such a hardship may very well be a sign of Allah’s love for the believer. This can help us in maintaining and even strengthening our faith.

The Prophet Muhammad (saw) said: “Great reward comes with great trials. When Allah loves a people, He tests them, and whoever accepts it attains His pleasure, whereas whoever shows discontent with it incurs, His wrath.” The Prophet has provided a message of relief for those who endure difficulties with patience. He also associated greatness of disasters and calamities with higher rewards. Allah has provided an opportunity of high rewards for those who endure these challenges with patience rather than with complaints and ingratitude. And for those who show displeasure and discontent with Allah’s decree end up in a lose-lose situation because not only they have to live through their current suffering but also incur Allah’s wrath for their displeasure and discontent with His decree.

We should also realize that our patience when facing difficulties raises our status in front of Allah, and may lead to the forgiveness of our sins. He says in the Quran: “Only those who are patient shall receive their reward in full, without reckoning.”

Childhood normally means innocence, fun, freedom and love, but in Gaza children speak and understand politics almost from day one. They are vivid example, with incredible bravery and complete trust in God. Palestinian kids have more courage than all of us put together. Palestinians are showing enormous bravery during this moment of horror.

Hence, we should also realize that Allah puts regularly His steadfast believers through trials and tribulations. Some who face difficulties are punished for their sins. “When Allah wants to do good to someone He puts trial on him first,” says the Hadith. Furthermore, if the one who is affected shows displeasure and panic, then it cannot be thought that his calamity is an honour from Allah to raise him in status, because Allah knew that he would not be patient and accept it with contentment. So, in this case it is most likely that it is a requital and punishment.

If the Muslim is a devoted worshipper, obedient and righteous, and there is nothing between him and Allah but true servitude, gratitude, praise, repentance and submission to Him then it is most likely that this calamity is a kind of honour and raising him in status. If they know him to be righteous, then they may give him the glad tidings of raised status before Allah if he is patient in bearing the calamity.

Regarding difficulties, in the following verse Allah compares the situation of the one who is steadfast in his faith and facing difficulties with those who are evil doers and are in a similar situation:

 … if you are suffering hardships then surely, they too are suffering as you are suffering, but you have a hope from Allah for the reward that for which they hope not; and Allah is Ever All-Knowing, All-Wise.

So, a true believer can face his difficulties with a positive state of mind hoping for rewards from Allah and such an attitude can provide true relief and happiness. Besides, if Allah lifts this calamity from the believer and saves him from the torment, then that can double the reward and happiness. Allah says in the Quran:

‘’… and give glad tidings to the patient. Who, when afflicted with calamity, says: “Truly! To Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.’’  

By Bashir Nuckchady