Natural disasters and calamities have been there through time immemorial. No matter how strong the infrastructure humans build or numerable precautions one takes, natural calamity is inevitable. The destructive floods in Pakistan, earthquakes in Turkey and Syria and Tropical Cyclone in the Solomon Islands are among the many recent natural disasters.
These calamities can strike anyone at any time irrespective of location, religion or other demographics. For some, these incidents are mere unfortunate events, making them sad and complaining about nature.
In our last post, we talked about Islamic Quotes on Nature & The Concept of Nature in Islam and today, here we will discuss how should Muslims deal with natural disasters.
What do Natural Disasters mean for Muslims?
In the light of the Holy Quran and Sunnah, for a Believer natural disaster means either/or:
- Natural calamities are punishment from Allah SWT for the disbelievers or those who transgress the boundaries set by Allah SWT. As mentioned in the Holy Quran, the nation of Nuh A.S, Lut A.S, Bani Israel and for others, it was a punishment.
Here is a Hadith of Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings upon Him) that also states the calamity as a means of punishment:
- The second view is that natural disasters are a warning for sinners to abandon their sins.
- And thirdly, natural disasters can be tests for believers. If they are patient, it’s a means of earning Allah’s pleasure and attaining paradise.
It’s important to note here that as some might perceive, natural disasters are not specifically for the disobedient people. The pious and innocent people too are part of the calamity. For these people, depending on their level of trust in Allah (tawakkal) and patience, Allah will reward them for their affliction.
The Holy Quran narrates the incident of Prophet Yunus (AS). When the tribe of Yunus AS saw the torment of Allah SWT approaching them, they immediately sought forgiveness and Allah SWT took away His torment. The Holy Quran states:
“Was there any town (community) that believed (after seeing the punishment), and its faith (at that moment) saved it (from the punishment)? (The answer is none,) except for the people of Yunus (Jonah); when they believed, We removed from them the torment of disgrace in the life of the (present) world and permitted them to enjoy for a while. (Yunus 10:98 )”
How Should Muslims Deal with Natural Disasters?
Muslims have the role model of Prophets who guided us to deal with calamities as they all suffered many hardships.
Learning from them and their behaviors, here we will discuss ways in which we too can positively deal with such disasters in the light of Hadith, the Holy Quran and gems of wisdom from the pious.
1-Trust in Allah
As Muslims, we believe that Allah is the controller of everything, and nothing can happen without His permission. So, we should put our trust in Allah and accept that whatever happens is for our own good. As indeed, Allah is the best of planners.
On another place in the Holy Quran, it stresses the benefit of being dutiful to Allah SWT:
2- Be Prepared
Natural disasters can strike anytime, anywhere. Therefore, it is important to be prepared for them. We should always keep emergency supplies such as food, water, and first-aid kits in our homes. It is also important to have an evacuation plan in place. Teach your kids about who to contact, where to go and how to handle different chaotic situations.
3- Help Others
In times of natural disasters, it is important to help others in need. We should volunteer our time and resources to help those who are affected by the disaster. We can donate money, clothes, and other essential items to relief organizations.
Patience is a virtue that is greatly valued in Islam. When faced with natural disasters, we should remain patient and not lose hope. We should remember that Allah is testing us, and our patience and faith will be rewarded in this life or in the hereafter.
Quran again mentions the virtue of being Patient (Sabirun)
5-Seek Refuge in Allah
In such testing times, we should seek refuge in Allah and ask for His protection. We should recite supplications and Quranic verses that will provide us with comfort and solace. Here are some Ya Allah Quotes & Duas In English that can be used.
6- Repent to Allah SWT
As evident from the following verse of the Holy Quran, we should seek Astigfaar (Repentance) from Allah SWT repeatedly.
And again it says:
7 – Take Care of the Environment
Islam teaches us to take care of the environment and not to harm it. We should be responsible citizens and take steps to reduce the impact of natural disasters by reducing our carbon footprint and practicing sustainable living.
8 – Spread Awareness
We should spread awareness about natural disasters and how to prepare for them. We should educate others about the importance of being prepared and the steps they can take to minimize the impact of natural disasters.
9- Duas for Protection
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) taught us many Duas (Supplication) for protection including:
As Muslims, we believe that everything that happens in this world is under the control of Allah, and there is wisdom behind every event.
So, when we face a natural disaster, we should approach it with faith and patience. We should trust in Allah, be prepared, help others, maintain patience, seek refuge in Allah, take care of the environment, and spread awareness.
By doing so, we can minimize the impact of natural disasters and help those who are affected by them.
Q. What is the Islamic perspective on disaster?
Disaster in Islam has multi-facets. It can also be viewed as means of punishment from Allah SWT as evident from the Holy Quran. Previous nations of Prophet Nuh A.S and Hud A.S and others were wiped away as they rejected Allah and his apostle message.
However, disaster is also a trial for testing mankind on how they react; therefore, if a believer remains steadfast and has Tawakkal (trust in God), he/she will get closer to God. But if a person complains and blames Allah for the loss then that trial has moved the person away from Allah.
Q. What does Islam say about environmental issues?
The Holy Quran mentions the term Khalifa or vicegerents for humans. Muslims have the duty to take care of the planet Earth as we are its guardians. For this matter, all environmental issues should be taken care of without negligence. For example, recycling, not wasting water, avoiding pollution and much more as Muslims will be held accountable by Allah SWT for these actions.
Q. What is the Islamic prayer for natural disaster?
Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings upon Him) have taught us this dua:
Allah humma‘h fathny min bayne yaday wa min khalfi, wa‘an yameeny wa ‘an shimaly, wa min fawqi, wa a’uthu bi ‘athamatika an ughtala min tahty
“O Allah protect me from my front, behind me, from my right and my left, and from above me, and I seek refuge in Your Magnificence from being taken unaware from beneath me.” [Ibn Majah]
Q. What Quran says about calamity?
Allah SWT says in the Holy Quran: “And whatever misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned. And He pardons much” [ash-Shoora 42:30].
Allah SWT wants to raise the status of the believer due to patience, so He tests him with calamity. It is important to note here that calamities befell the Prophets and the righteous, and because of their patience, they are blessed in the world and Akhirah too.