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REFLECTIONS ON NATURAL DISASTERS

All praise be to Allah.

The existence of natural disasters such as earthquakes, typhoons, hurricanes etc might lead one to ask Why would God allow such things to happen.

The fact that we do not know the wisdom behind certain things does not mean that wisdom does not exist. We cannot answer such question with a single direct answer. We know God is All-Wise and All-Knowing. Such things are part of the nature of this world. It does not mean God is evil, Nouzabillah.

The natural disasters do lead to much destruction, loss of life, difficulties and sufferings. We must understand that these are the tests of Allah as the world is the place for a believer to be tested.the natural disasters too are ways of the testing believer as to how they will reach and if they keep up with faith in difficult times. We often look at the destruction that comes along with the hurricanes, and rightly so, but they also result in some good. At the physical level, there are environmental benefits, for instance, one of the main purposes of hurricanes is a temperature balance between the poles and the equator, replenish barrier islands, and bring rainfall to areas that need it.

Natural disasters also serve as the reminder of our weaknesses as humans. It tells us what no matter what we do, how fast we hold onto things; this world is temporary as is everything in it. We spend so much on worldly things and forget about God, and if God chooses, He can destroy it in seconds. This should lead us to repent and seek God’s forgiveness. The fear of not knowing what will happen creates a sense of desperation and humbleness before God. It is like the feeling one has while in an airplane and experiences turbulence. At that moment one feels that all they have is God. It should make us turn towards God and not flee from him.
The natural disasters bring with it some good, such as it demonstrates peoples true nature. We may have witnessed many communal and racial benefits that these disasters bring with them.

It gives us all the opportunity to work together as a community. It lets us witness the humanity in all humans. How many times have people helped others in need?

These disasters also remind us of our blessings. Electricity allows us to power our lights, air-conditions, phones, and refrigerators. Normally we take such things for granted but at the time of destruction, we know and value all our blessings. These are blessings that are readily available in our everyday life yet we often take them for granted. Disasters are certainly difficult, scary, and difficult to comprehend. However, just like every other difficulty in life we can choose how we react. There are lessons to be learned. We can reflect on our blessings, life, family, and neighbors. We can observe the beauty of humanity when strangers open their homes for those who are suffering and people putting the needs of strangers before themselves. Natural disasters will eventually pass, but these are bonds and memories of human goodness that will remain forever.

May Allah make us among the Greatful.

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