Responding to Disasters According to Islamic Shari’a

Cianjur Earthquake (photo:

By: Imaam Yakhsyallah Mansur

Let us meditate on the word of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala in Surah Al-An’am [6], verse 65:

قُلۡ هُوَ ٱلۡقَادِرُ عَلَىٰٓ أَنْ يَّبۡعَثَ عَلَيۡكُمۡ عَذَابً۬ا مِّن فَوۡقِكُمۡ أَوۡ مِن تَحۡتِ أَرۡجُلِكُمۡ أَوۡ يَلۡبِسَكُمۡ شِيَعً۬ا وَيُذِيقَ بَعۡضَكُم بَأۡسَ بَعۡضٍ‌ۗ ٱنظُرۡ كَيۡفَ نُصَرِّفُ ٱلۡأَيَـٰتِ لَعَلَّهُمۡ يَفۡقَهُونَ (الانعام [٦]: ٦٥)

“Say: It is He who has the power to send punishment upon you, from above you or from under your feet or He mixes you up in groups (opposites) and feels for some of you the ferocity of others. Pay attention, how We bring successive signs of Our greatness, so that they understand (it).”

Regarding the explanation of the verse above, in the brief interpretation of the Ministry of Religion of the Republic of Indonesia it is explained, Allah Almighty saves people from calamities and disasters. Allah Ta’ala is also the Almighty to afflict whoever He wills.

Disasters from above, such as: hailstones, storms, thunder that thundered, including viruses that spread in the air and others. While calamities from below take the form of: liquefaction, earthquakes, flash floods, landslides, uncontrolled inflation, rampant crime, and others.

While the meaning of يَلۡبِسَكُمۡ شِيَعً۬ا is the division of the people, it could be because of political battles and power struggles that give rise to mutual hatred, bringing down one another and oppressing fellow human beings.

Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala sends it all down so that humans return to the right path, do repentance nasuha and surrender themselves to Allah, the Creator and Ruler of the universe.

Only Allah Ta’ala, the only Essence, where humans depend, return, and surrender.

Believers should realize that the essence of all events that occur in the universe, whether in the form of gifts or calamities, are all with the permission and will of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, as His words:

مَآ أَصَابَ مِن مُّصِيبَةٍ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِ ٱللَّهِ ۗ … (التغابن [٦٣]: ١١)

“No calamity befalls a person except by Allah’s permission…” (Surah At-Taghabun [63]: 11)

However, in the view of Islam, disasters that occur are the result of human mistakes and sins.

وَما أَصابَكُمْ مِنْ مُصِيبَةٍ فَبِما كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِيكُمْ وَيَعْفُوا عَنْ كَثِيرٍ (الشورى [٤٢]: ٣٠)

“And all the calamity that befalls you is due to what your hands have done. And Allah forgives many (of your mistakes).” (Surah Asy-Syuuraa [42]: 30)

Therefore, we should not blame God’s decree, hate destiny, and blame others. The best attitude of a believer in the face of adversity is: istighfar, muhasabah and taking wisdom.

Beristighfar, asking forgiveness from Him, may Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala forgive all our mistakes and sins, replace the disaster with a better, more blessed and useful gift, and make us all closer to Him.

During the time when Rasulullah Shallallahu Alaihi Wasalam was in Medina, there was an earthquake. He also put his hand to the earth, saying: “Calm down (O earth), because your time has not yet come.” Then, the Prophet turned his face to his companions and said, “Indeed, your Lord is really reprimanding you, so pay attention to His rebuke.”

After that, there was another earthquake during the time of Caliph Umar bin Khattab Radhiyallahu anhu. Then Umar remembered the words of the Prophet sallallaahu alaihi wasalam, which means, “Indeed, your Lord is rebuking you, so do good deeds so that Allah is pleased with you!”

Umar also reminded the Muslims to stay away from immorality and repent immediately. In fact, disaster is Allah’s verses to show His power, if humans no longer want to care about His rules.

Ibnul Qoyyim in the book “Al-Jawab Al-Kafy” reveals, “Sometimes Allah shakes the earth with great shocks, creates fear, so that humans return and submit to Allah, leave disobedience and regret their mistakes.”

During the time of Caliph Umar bin Abdul Aziz, another earthquake occurred. Then, he immediately sent a letter to all the mayors of the country, “Indeed this earthquake is a rebuke from Allah to His servants, and I ordered the whole country to leave on a certain day, so whoever has wealth, let him give charity.”

Say what Prophet Adam Alaihi Salam said when he was expelled from heaven:

,..ربَّنَا ظَلَمْنَا أَنفُسَنَا وَإِن لَّمْ تَغْفِرْ لَنَا وَتَرْحَمْنَا لَنَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ (الاعراف[٧] : ٢٣)

“Our Lord, we have wronged ourselves, and if You do not forgive us and have mercy on us, surely we will surely be among the losers.” (Surah Al-A’raf [7]: 23)

And also say, what Prophet Noah Alaihi Salam said:

,…وَإِلَّا تَغْفِرْ لِى وَتَرْحَمْنِىٓ أَكُن مِّنَ ٱلْخَٰسِرِينَ (هود [١١]: ٤٧)

“And if You do not forgive me, and (not) have mercy on me, I will surely be among the losers.” (Surah Hud [11]: 43)

Also the prayer of Prophet Yunus Alaihi Salam:

,…لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا أَنْتَ سُبْحَانَكَ إِنِّي كُنْتُ مِنَ الظَّالِمِينَ (الانبياء[٢١] : ٨٧)

“There is no god but You (O Allah), verily I am one of the wrongdoers.” (Surah Al-Anbiya ‘[21]: 87)

Furthermore, when a disaster occurs, a believer must be able to take lessons, learn valuable lessons from every event, as a provision for pursuing the next life.

Disasters come, in fact so that humans realize that they are creatures that are very weak and destitute before Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala. So, there is nothing to be proud of, nothing to be proud of.

Dr. Aid Al-Qarni in his famous book, Laa Tahzan, said that calamities and disasters were sent down to humans, to show that only Allah is the Almighty. Allah is Al-Jabbar, He does things according to His will, cannot be regulated, cannot be intervened by His creatures.

However, Allah is also Ar-Rahman and Ar-Rahim, Most Gracious and Most Merciful to all of his servants. Together with the disaster, Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala bestows compassion, in the form of kafarah (sin eraser) for believers.

Aid Al-Qarni quoted the statement of Imam Al-Ghazali who stated, if someone knew the wisdom, enjoyment and reward that Allah Ta’ala has provided for those affected by disaster, humans would undoubtedly face it patiently, calmly and be pleased with all the destiny that was assigned to them.

May Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala give strength, fortitude, patience and ease to our brothers and sisters who are stricken by misfortune, have mercy and forgive all the sins of the Muslims who died in disaster.

May Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala protect us from all calamities, protect us from all calamities, and give us strength and space to be able to help our brothers and sisters who are in trouble. (T/RE1)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)