When the tsunami whacked the shores of South East Asia in 2004, it riddled the mind with images that shattered hearts and changed lives forever. The catastrophe is still visible and it is brought to us by the mass media – Cii, Radio Islam, CNN, BBC, SABC, eTV, Sunday Times etc and we are all AWARE! Aware of what? That’s the question – ‘To be or not to be’ in the belief of Allah. We are so oblivious of our own conditions that we have put others in oblivion too.
Are you oblivious to the fact that the world experienced ten natural disasters thus far with COVID-19 reigning supreme in its wake of snatching lives, giving us anxiety fatigue, ‘caution fatigue’, homebound fatigue and continues to shatter lives socially, economically, religiously and politically? Yes, you are oblivious to this fact. You and I are in our little oblivion bubble because we have not taken time to reflect on just one disaster or our lives in the main. The disaster reflected on is one that took place in 2004 only to illustrate that it has become a figment of our imagination because we don’t pay attention to detail. It is really not strange how we forget the recent past – the 2004 tsunami.
Strange as it might sound the facts are shocking. The mass media in 2004 on the tsunami featured articles, opinions, emails and letters to the editors by people who questioned the actions of a merciful Lord such that, many gave up their belief in Allah. It was people of faith in all circumstances who believed that this earthquake in the sea that gave birth to the devastating tsunami was actually the plan of Allah to bring people to realisation. Realisation of Allah! Many people asked the question too: “How can a merciful Lord do this?” Whilst others said: “This is nature’s work and not that of God, so let nature take its course.” The question we should be asking ourselves is: “Why did Allah send this natural disaster?” Today, social media plays a more dynamic and significant role in spreading the word. In fact, social media, is an information tsunami that has destroyed our conscience and filled out empty lives.
Our lives are filled with detail on social media that has given us all a temporal glory to the detriment of caring for our souls. This oblivion we live in will give the powers of the time even more rope to twist the world into a one currency economy, one ideological lifestyle and a one world order to the detriment of our core beliefs. We need to look at this world in all its strangeness now, unpack the facts and make a conscious effort to get out of our little oblivion world. Indulge your mind into past that preceded social media and give thought to how events of the past which the Holy Quran captured are a reflection of our conditions today.
In the events that preceded the flood in the time of Nu’h (A.S) (Noah) what was the spiritual condition of people who were once Muslims but turned to disbelief? History bears testimony to the fact that they worshipped idols which they called ‘gods’. They believed that these ‘gods’ would protect them from evil and provide all their needs. In effect they became cruel and immoral. They asked of Nu’h (A.S) to chase his followers away because they were low class for they claimed they were high class. And so did their intransigence grow until the Ark was built. The command of Allah to fill the ark with a pair of every animal and the rightly guided was fulfilled. Then the deluge began. The result – the believers were saved and the disbelievers were drowned. Can this be an act of nature or a command on nature by the Creator of nature – Allah? This is a command on nature by Allah to show that Allah has created man and jinn only that we worship HIM. When we stray of the right path or when we are among those HE disfavours then Allah sends forth reminders! Clear reminders of HIS majesty so that we can once again redirect our affairs in HIS remembrance.
The people of Hud (A.S) were destroyed with raging windstorms for eight days and seven nights for their disbelief, their vanity and arrogance of their strength. Only Hud (A.S) and the rightly guided were saved and they migrated to Hadramaut (Yemen). Can this be an act of nature or a command on nature by the Creator of nature – Allah? Nay, this is a command of Allah on nature.
The people of Saleh (A.S) – remember how they plotted to kill the unique she camel and Saleh (A.S)? They became evil and arrogant on disbelief and Saleh (A.S) gave them a warning of Allah’s punishment. What did they answer: “Let the punishment come as quick as possible…” They were destroyed by thunderbolts and violent earthquakes. Can this be an act of nature or a command on nature by the Creator of nature – Allah? Nay, this is a command of Allah on nature.
The people of Lut (A.S)! Alas! They were warned about their unnatural ways of sexual behaviours and when they did not heed to guidance they were fired with brimstone from the heavens such that not trace of their civilisations exists. Can this be an act of nature or a command on nature by the Creator of nature – Allah? Nay, this is a command of Allah on nature. With new movements gaining momentum, there has to be a personal position you have or at least know how it affects your reality.
The LBGTQ movement has gained great momentum in the past two decades and it has ushered in a new perspective on how to understand sexual orientation but, it has also brought with it many new social norms that are not congruent with religion, social norms and values we are accustomed to. The natural way of life that we knew are now challenged.
Mankind today is creating a new natural. This new natural is enmeshed with a war economy, social engineering, regime changes, secularism and fast capitalism therefore, religion is seen as ‘the opium of the people’. Like how a drug addict is viewed, so too are followers of religion viewed – addicted and destructive. In this train of religious ‘detoxification’, mankind is weaned into the ruinous belief that all natural disasters are an act of an unmerciful Lord consequently pinning a belief of atheism which has become a fast growing ‘religion’ too. What is natural has become unnatural.
It is natural to believe in one Supreme Being – Allah and to recognise the order HE has put in nature. Therefore, the tsunami is not devastation in isolation of it being just an ‘act of nature’; nay it is a command of Allah on nature. It is clear that today we see the world where it is a market place of sexual immorality, class consciousness, arrogance in the belief of vain glories and idol worship and many evils comparative to the events of the Prophets (A.S) listed above. Therefore, Allah sent HIS punishment to guide rather then destroy.
Life and death is in divine hands of Allah. As Allah commanded Nu’h (A.S) ‘Leave the mount in peace and blessings. A nation will spring from those with you. There will be other nations to whom We will give enjoyment for a long while, and then finally a painful end will overtake them.’(Al-Quran 40:5-6) indicates that Allah wants people to know that life and death is in HIS hands and the natural disasters is what HE commands when people became wayward. Why do we question Allah’s noble ways so much when disaster strikes but, never question Allah’s bounties? Why do we attempt to justify all the evil we do in garbs of virtue? Why do we gamble and use its ‘profits’ (e.g. LOTTO and the likes) for social welfare and legalise all vice in the name of work? Perhaps we fail to realise that Allah is watching and HE knows what is in our hearts. We want to have our own way with life and in doing so we break all HIS commands and Allah brings forth reminders in the form of devastating natural disasters. Strange it is – the survivors all said ‘Thank GOD we alive!’ and those afar exclaimed – ‘Thank GOD it didn’t happen to us!’. When devastation strikes there is no discrimination in its horror.
In all of this we know that the tsunami caused the devastation that took the lives of Muslims, Christians, Hindus and atheists too. It is for Allah to divide us in groups of believers and non believers on the Day of Judgment in the condition we left this world. To quote just one example in thousands: the tsunami took the lives of 26 boys and their teacher reciting the Quran at the beachfront – how will they be raised on the Day of Judgment? Yes, they will, inshallah, be raised reciting Allah’s word on that fateful day. We cannot judge Allah’s grandeur with our understanding of things. We have to submit to Allah because mankind is so weak that in inventing the nuclear bomb he still fails to retrieve that which a fly had taken from his bowl of soup! So we have to brace ourselves with hope that Allah wants us to change our ways to please HIM. Leave judgement in HIS court! It is Allah’s work – our work is to establish salaah, enjoin in good and forbid evil and to invite to the oneness of Allah.
The world is caught in the sun! We are caught in web of seeking answers from scientific means because our iman/faith has come to an ebb. Although we attempt to strengthen our iman and maintain our lifestyles as best as we can according to Islam we are selective in our morality. Therefore, we don’t look at all through the eyes of iman (Faith). The fact that you and I am Muslim, the looking glass should be iman and when this is so we accept the conditions Allah tests our health, wealth and time with conditions that do not please our nafs (desires). It is difficult but, very achievable. The astounding anecdote of a group of widows Sri-Lanka is food for thought.
Prior to the tsunami few women were widowed and were observing their iddat. When the tsunami struck they survived and were rendered homeless. Their concern was how to complete their iddat despite conditions suiting them not observe the iddat they said to the effect: “We have lost everything and we cannot lose the command of Allah also.” In effect, they made the effort to observe their iddat in homes of family and friends. This anecdote was reported by Moulana Shabeer Saloojee of the Al-Imdaad Foundation. Another example recorded the pleas of local Muslims to assist in building the mosque because the local Muslim who lost all said to the effect: “When we look to upkeep the house of Allah, Allah will look after us and would see to our needs.” Amazing – isn’t it?
Happy is he who looks at his own deeds and appoints them as pleaders to his Lord.Hadrat Idrees (Peace be upon him)
The above saying is so fitting in the light of the above events because our deeds are our masters. It is what we take to the grave. Therefore, any natural disaster is not a calamity for a Muslim when his/her deeds are in the favour of Allah. The true calamity would be the unfortunate situation when our books of deeds are presented to us by Allah in our left hand or from behind our backs. This would be the greatest calamity. Oh! Allah You save us from such a situation – Ameen.
We should look at the tsunami and the socio-economic consequences now as an indication of how our lives can change forever in a matter of minutes. We should not be caught napping in the sun therefore, let us take practical steps in changing our current lifestyles to please Allah. Here are a few ways:
- Ensure that family members do some effort of social work – get in touch with local organisations – the work will astound you.
- Visit the sick and make it a habit.
- The local religious and civic work – if it suits your spiritual condition – get involved.
- Have at least one meal together as a family and infuse the discussion of serving others.
- Have a simple meal once a week.
- Encourage our children to pursue careers that are service orientated e.g. firemen, policemen, nurses etc.
- Make meaningful time with your children by teaching them to set life goals, identifying talents and skills so that that they live their lives with strong purpose and passionate intensity.
The above proved its worth in Sri-Lanka after the tsunami. When thousands of children were orphaned, the people in government social services, and local religious civic organisations got them organised so quickly and stopped the intrusion of paedophiles, missionaries with hidden agendas and the likes because they had people in every social, economical and political government department who understood the religious ruling to ensure that the Muslims, Christians and other people of other faiths get their way in saving lives. It saved the day for the orphans not getting adopted into homes not suitable to their religion or enticed into organisations that thrive on human trafficking for illicit games of lust. In essence, the enjoining in good and forbidding evil for the cause of benefitting humanity gives us the edge in the future!
Two scenarios are presented below to get you into a cognisant mindset:
Assuming disaster strikes today in sunny South Africa. What would be our condition in our current state of faith? What would our mental capacity be? Alas! We would be on the brink of self destruction and utter horror. Look at the horror of the recent spate of natural disasters 10 natural disasters in 2020 . These people were living their lives until disaster struck suddenly. It is real cause for concern because it shows our vulnerability and how oblivious we are of reality around us. Ask your friends if they can name just three natural disasters of 2020 besides COVID-19.
Assuming disaster strikes today in sunny South Africa whilst we are striving in the enjoining in good and forbidding evil for the cause of Islam and for the greater good of humanity. We are not splitting hairs on the sighting of the moon. The Ulema/scholars have unity and avoid open slander of each other over the airwaves. Family ties are bonded with great respect. The list is endless. What would our condition be? All praise is for Allah – by and large our condition will be one of acceptance and our patience will be the means of guidance to Islam for all of humanity for the pleasure of Allah.
I think we would be better off in the second situation. What do you think? I pray that we must never see any natural disaster because we are weak. What are you going to do about it? You will have to come out of the oblivion you in or getting in. The oblivion is the awaiting abyss. Your world is on the verge of an infinity you not even aware of. Get out and see the world!