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The Islamic Stance On Calamities

Khutbah delivered at An Nur Mosque, Christchurch on Friday 4th March 2011 by Sheikh Mohammed Amir, Chairman, New Zealand Ulama Board After The Devastating Christchurch Earthquake

'Allah has foreordained the fate of all creatures, written down their impacts and deeds, portioned out between them their livelihood and wealth and created death and life that He may test them which of them is best in deed. Indeed, belief in Allah's decree and preordainment is one of the pillars of faith. Nothing happens in this universe except by His will.'


All praise is due to Allah, may peace and blessings be upon the Messenger, his household and companions. Fellow Muslims! Fear Allah as he should be feared, for fear of Allah brings more blessings and prevents afflictions.

Dear Muslims! Allah has foreordained the fate of all creatures, written down their impacts and deeds, portioned out between them their livelihood and wealth and created death and life that He may test them which of them is best in deed. Indeed, belief in Allah's decree and preordainment is one of the pillars of faith. Nothing happens in this universe except by His will.

This life is full of misfortune and sorrow. It is destined to be a place of hardships and trouble. Trials and tribulations are as inevitable in this life as cold and heat. Allah says,

 

"And certainly We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to those who are patient."

(Al Baqarah: 155)

"Pre-destination is a test by which the truthful ones are distinguished from untruthful ones. Allah says, "Do people think that they will be left alone because they say, 'We believe,' and will not be tested."

(Al 'Ankaboot: 2).

 

The human soul does not become pure except through trials, and it is during tribulations that real men are known. Ibn Al Jawzie said,"Whoever wants to have everlasting peace and well-being with no affliction does not understand the meaning of Allah's commandments, nor does he perceive the meaning of submission to Allah. Every soul (either believing or disbelieving) shall inevitably taste suffering in this world, for this life is based on hardships. Man lives between comfort and suffering. Prophet Adam, for instance, had the angels prostrated before him and yet was soon after expelled from paradise. A believer is afflicted with trials in order to refine him, not to punish him. He is tested in ease as well as in hardship. Allah says,

 

"And We tried them with good (blessings) and evil (calamities) in order that they might turn (to Allah's obedience)."

(Al- A'raaf: 168).

 

Muslims in faith! Something undesirable may sometimes have a pleasant result, while something seemingly desirable may turn out to have an unpleasant and detestable result. Do not therefore feel that harmful things cannot come to you through hardship. Allah says,

 

"...And it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows, and you do not know"

(Al-Baqarah: 216).

 

Prepare yourself mentally for afflictions before they occur so as to make their occurrence light on you. Do not be worried because of tribulations, for they have their limits, and watch what you utter during your hard times for many a word has ruined its utterer. A resolute Muslim stands firm during hardships, his heart does not change and he does not complain. Console yourself whenever afflicted with a promise of reward from Allah.

Brothers & Sisters in Islam! Be patient over afflictions, they will soon be removed from you. the patient ones are being recompensed with good rewards. Allah says,

 

"And those who are patient, we will certainly pay them a reward in proportion to the best of what they used to do."

(Al-Anaam: 96).

 

The reward of the patient ones will be doubled for their patience and Allah will be with them, remove their afflictions and make them pleased.

O afflicted one! Your Lord does not deny you what you want except what is better than that, He does not test you but for your well-being and He does not subject you to tribulations but to purify you. He tries His slaves with pleasure as he blesses them with calamity. Do not therefore waste your time thinking over what has already been guaranteed for you. As long as one is still alive his provision will no doubt come to him. Allah says,

 

"And no (moving) living creature is there on earth but its provision is due from Allah."

(Hood: 6).

 

Further, if Allah - out of His wisdom - closes a door against you, He opens out of His mercy a door better for you than the closed one. It is by afflictions that righteous and understanding people are increased in rank and reward. Sa'd bin Abee Waqqaas said:

 

I said, "O Messenger of Allah, who are the most afflicted of all people?" He replied, "The Prophets, then the righteous people,then those who are nearest to them in perfection and those who are nearest to them. Man is tested according to his religiosity; if he is strong religiously, his test is increased and if he is weak in religion, his test is reduced And a believer will be tested until he walks on the earth sinless [i.e. his sins have been erased by series of afflictions that he endured.]"

(Al-Bukhaarie).

 

Fellow Muslims! Prophet Adam laboured along difficult paths beset with affliction; Prophet Ibraahiem was thrown into a blazing fire; Isma'iel was laid down for slaughter; Yoonus was swallowed by a whale; Prophet Ayyoob suffered from a severe illness; Yoosuf was sold for a small price, thrown into a well and wrongfully jailed, and Muhammad suffered different kinds of injury. You also are in path of calamities moving, for the life does not give pleasure only to anyone. The Prophet said,

 

"If Allah wants to do good to somebody, He afflicts him with trials.

(Al-Bukhaarie).

 

Real trial, dear brothers and sisters, is the trial in one's religion and whatever trial besides that is regarded as well being, for it raises one in the rank and erases ones sins. Also all comforts that do not bring one closer to Allah is a tribulation. Do not therefore grieve over what you miss in worldly materials, for worldly pleasure begets pain and disobedience. Aboo Dardaa' said,

 

"Of the insignificance of this world to Allah is that He is not disobeyed except in it, while what is with Him cannot be obtained except by abstaining from it. Engage yourself in what will benefit you more. Keep away from what is in peoples' hands you will be the wealthiest of them; do not lose hope in Allah's mercy lest you are disgraced; always remember Allah's favour on you and drive away your distress by being pleased with Allah's decree, for however long the night may be, it will be followed by the dawn. Supplicate to Allah. He will give you relief and if you are patient Allah will provide a way out for you. Ponder over the story of Prophet Ya'qoob who lost a son for a long period and yet did not lose hope of relief from the Almighty One, but rather said, "Maybe Allah will bring them all (back) to me."

 

Dear brothers & sisters! It is only Allah who deserves all praise and is capable of attending to all complaints. It is only Him you must beseech to remove your misfortunes. Pray to Him during the night with submission and humbleness and request Him to make your affairs easy for you. He says,

 

"Is it not He who responds to the distressed one when he calls Him"

(An Naml: 62).

 

Put your trust in the all-powerful Lord and take refuge with Him with a humble heart, He will open the doors of His mercy for you.Fudayl Ibn 'Iyaadh said,

 

"If you lose hope in all people and you do not ask anything from them, your Lord will give you all that you want."

 

Whoever leaves his affairs to the hands of Allah will achieve what he aspires: Always recite the prayer of Prophet Yoonus:

 

"None has the right to worshipped except You (O Allah) Glorified (and exalted) are You (above all that they associate with You) Truly I have been of the wrong doers.

" (Al Anbiyaa': 87).

 

If your provision seems delayed, do a lot of Istighfaar, for misdeeds necessitate punishment; and if it does not seem that your supplications are having any impact, then examine yourself, for it may be that you have not been sincere in your repentance. Endeavour also, to give charity to the needy, for charity prevents and removes affliction. However, if your affliction is removed, give a lot of thanks and praise to your Lord and know that a false sense of safety is a big trial. Allah says,

 

"Say: Nothing shall ever happen to us except what Allah has ordained for us. He is our Lord and Protector, and in Allah let the believers put their trust"

(At-Tawbah: 51).

 

Dear Muslims! No condition is permanent. Fortunate is he who is always God-conscious. Fear Allah in any condition you may find yourself. You can do nothing to prevent what has been destined to happen as you do nothing to attain what has not been pre-ordained. The ability to choose and control is with Allah alone and His choice for His slave is better for him than his choice for himself. Daawood Ibn Sulaimaan said,

 

"Three things indicate the piety of a believer; his trust in Allah in what he has not attained; his satisfaction with whatever he has attained and his patience over what he has missed."

 

Allah is the All-Wise, All-Knowing in all that He wills and decrees, and He is the All-Wise, All-Knowing in all that He legislates and commands. He creates and decrees whatever signs He wills, to frighten His slaves and remind them of their obligations and duties towards Him, and to warn them against associating anything in worship with Him, going against His commands and doing that which He has forbidden. Allah says:

 

"And We sent not the signs except to warn"

[al-Israa' 17:59]

"We will show them Our Signs in the universe, and in their own selves, until it becomes manifest to them that this (the Qur'an) is the truth. Is it not sufficient in regard to your Lord that He is a Witness over all things?"

[Fussilat 41:53]

 

Allaamah Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

 

"Allah sometimes gives the earth permission to breathe, which is when major earthquakes happen; this makes people feel scared, so they repent, give up sins, pray to Allah and feel regret [for their sins]. When there had been an earthquake, some of the Salaf said: your Lord is warning you. When Madeenah was struck by an earthquake, 'Umar ibn al-Khattaab addressed the people and said: if there is another earthquake, I will not stay here with you."

 

And there are many similar reports from the Salaf.

Our response when there is an earthquake or some other sign such as an eclipse, strong winds or floods, should be to hasten to repent to Allah and pray to Him for safety, and to remember Him much and seek His forgiveness, as the Prophet (pbuh) said when there was an eclipse:

 

"If you see anything like that, hasten to remember Him, call on Him and seek His forgiveness."

(Al- Bukhaari (2/30) and Muslim (2/628)).

 

It is also mustahabb (recommended, encouraged) to show compassion to the poor and needy, and to give charity to them, because the Prophet said:

 

"Show mercy, you will be shown mercy."

(Narrated by Imaam Ahmad, 2/165).

"Those who are merciful will be shown mercy by the Most Merciful. Have mercy on those who are on earth, and the One Who is in heaven will show mercy to you."

(Narrated by Abu Dawood (13/285), al-Tirmidhi (6/43)).

"Whoever does not show mercy will not be shown mercy."

(Narrated by al-Bukhaari (5/75), Muslim (4/1809)).

 

It was reported that when there was an earthquake, 'Umar ibn 'Abd al-'Azeez R.A would write to his governors telling them to give in charity.

Allah Azza Wa Jall says:

 

"And whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty). And He will provide him from (such sources) he could never imagine. And whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him."

[al-Talaaq 65:2-3]

 

And there are many aayaat on this topic.

The Prophet said:

 

"Whoever meets the need of his brother, Allah will meet his needs."

(Agreed upon; al-Bukhaari, 3/98; Muslim, 4/1996).

 

And there are many aayaat on this topic.

And he ( peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

 

"Whoever relieves a believer of some of the distress of this world, Allah will relieve him of some of the distress of the Day of Resurrection. Whoever makes things easier for one who is suffering hardship, Allah will make things easier for him in this world and in the Hereafter. Whoever conceals a Muslim's faults, Allah will conceal his faults in this world and in the Hereafter. Allah will help a person so long as he helps his brother."

(Narrated by Muslim, 4/2074).

 

Allah is the One Whom we ask to reform the affairs of all the people and to bless them with proper understanding and help them to adhere steadfastly to it and repent to Allah from all their sins.

This Page Last Updated 2/04/2011 16:02