The Islamic Teachings Concerning Earthquakes, By Imam Murtadha Gusau
In The Name Of Allah, The Most Kind And The Most Merciful
All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad (Peace be upon him), is His Servant and Messenger.
Dear Brothers and Sisters! Although Nigeria is not located within the major seismic zones of the world; over the years, several minor earthquakes have been experienced in some parts of the country. The first widely reported occurrence of an Earth tremor in Nigeria was in 1933. Other events were reported in 1939, 1964, 1984, 1990, 1994, 1997, 2000 and 2006. The intensities of these events ranged from III to VI based on the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale. Of these events, only the 1984, 1990, 1994 and 2000 events were instrumentally recorded. They had body wave magnitudes ranging from 4.3 to 4.5, local magnitudes between 3.7 and 4.2, and surface wave magnitudes of 3.7 to 3.9. When these events occurred, there were no functional seismological observatories in Nigeria. However, that has now changed with the establishment of a seismographic network managed by the Centre for Geodesy and Geodynamics (CGG), Toro, Nigeria. Presently, the network has four operational stations equipped with 24-bit 4-channel recorders and broadband 30-second seismometers. Efforts are being made to establish more stations and migrate to real-time collection of seismic data using the general packet radio service (GPRS) technology as well as automatic location of events. Remote sensing, geological and geophysical studies have revealed the presence of a NNE-SSW trending Ifewara-Zungeru fault zone which has been shown to be linked with the Atlantic fracture system. The dynamics of the Atlantic fracture zones have been suggested to be responsible for the seismic activities experienced in the areas.
Respected Servants of Allah! Just yesterday, a powerful earthquake has rocked the city of Sapporo in northern Japan killing at least four people, just hours after large parts of the south of the country were battered by the biggest typhoon to hit in 25 years.
The Magnitude 6.7 quake struck 70 miles south of Sapporo on the island of Hokkaido shortly after 7pm BST (3am Thursday local time), according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).
Local government officials are reporting that a 82-year-old man has died after falling down the stairs in his home during the earthquake, and have confirmed that three more people passed away following the devastating tremor. Another 33 people are still missing.
But public broadcaster NHK said that six people were found in cardiopulmonary arrest, a term commonly used in Japan before death is formally confirmed, and authorities expect the death toll to further rise as rescuers searched houses buried by landslides. A further 120 people were injured, with at least 10 being taken to hospital.
Japanese TV showed damaged buildings and quoted police as saying some people had been trapped in collapsed structures.
The tremor, which lasted for about 20 seconds, triggered a landslide which covered homes in the rural town of Atsuma trapping residents inside.
Aerial footage showed scenes of devastation, with mounds of reddish earth and toppled trees piled up at the edge of green fields, and the collapsed remains of what appeared to be houses or barns could be seen scattered around.
Other scenes from the southeastern part of Sapporo showed crumbled roads and mud flowing onto a main street.
Fellow Nigerians! Sincerely speaking, in the past 24 hours only, there are 119 earthquakes or it’s sign that took place worldwide. It happened in places like: New Zealand, Mexico, Alaska, California, France, Greece, Peru, Japan, Indonesia, Turkey, Romania, Ecuador, Russia, Norway, Azerbaijan, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Iran, Fiji Region, Switzerland, Oklahoma etc.
My Respected people! Firstly, I want you to have the fear and consciousness of Allah, the Most High, and to ponder over events that happen around you. Learn lessons from them and remember, for the intelligent one among us is he who remembers and takes admonition.
The topic of this article today is on the big, powerful, strong, thunderous sound that look like or sound like a ‘tremor’, or a sign of an ‘earthquake’, which hit Abuja city and it’s environs yesterday, here in Nigeria.
Fellow Nigerians! The earthquakes in the world use to cause thousands of people to die, causes loss of wealth and properties, and forces people to seek refuge outside of their dwellings, being without their home and their wealth, and without food and drink. The earthquakes used to turn security into fear, richness into poverty, causes joined families to depart, and turns life into death. Without doubt, in it is a lesson for those who take lessons and a reminder for those who remember, so that they may return to their Lord and their Creator, Allah.
The Truthful, the Chosen one, As-Sadiq al-Mustafah, Muhammad, (Peace be upon him), has informed us that a multitude of earthquakes is a sign of the proximity of the Hour. He informed us that they would be many at the end of the time.
Imam Ahmad relates in a Hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him), that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said:
“The Hour will not happen until (Beneficial) knowledge is taken out, time passes quickly, earthquakes increase in number, fitan (tribulations) appear, and al-harj increases in number.” It was said, “What is al-harj, O Messenger of Allah?” He said: “Al-qatl, Al-qatl (killing, killing).”
A lot of what is mentioned in this Hadith has already materialised. Happenings of earthquakes and the like from other destructive and disastrous events are the greatest evidence of the astonishing power of Allah, the Most High. Earthquakes are from among the soldiers of Allah, the Exalted, subjected to His order. He, the Most Just, causes fear in the hearts of those whom He wills, teaches lessons to whom He wills and punishes whom He wills. Allah the Most High says:
“And none can know the forces of your Lord, except He.” [Qur’an, 74:31]
And He says:
“For to Allah belong the forces of the heavens and the earth.” [Qur’an, 48:7]
Respected Brothers and Sisters! If this Ummah (Nation) leaves Allah’s Shari’ah (law), ignores the religion of Allah, the Most High, and follows Shaitan (Devil/Satan), Allah will subjugate it to His armies, which no one knows except He. From among these armies are the earthquakes. Allah the Almighty says:
“Such is the Seizure of your Lord when He seizes the towns while they are doing wrong. Verily, His Seizure is painful and severe.” [Qur’an, 11:102]
And He says:
“When We decide to destroy a town, We (first) send a definite order (to obey Allah and be righteous) to those among them who are given the good things of this life. Then, they transgress therein, and thus the word (of torment) is justified against (them). Then we destroy it with complete destruction.” [Qur’an, 17:16]
Allah, the Most High, with earthquakes makes clear to His servants a plain reality, that the kingdom of the heavens and the earth is in His Hands and that He is the Irresistible and Dominant over His servants.
Some people may be astonished by what the West has from the materialistic power, from various weapons, aircraft carriers, bombs, missiles, satellites, different technologies etc., and they forget that Allah, the Most Merciful, allowed that piece of land to move and shake, being able to shake the force of the West, East, South and the North. Everything is in His Hands, He has power over all things, and no one in the Heavens and the Earth can weaken Him, Allah, the Most High. Appearance of the earthquakes therefore points us to a different reality that may be absent in the minds of some people, especially those who are busy with this world and who are servants of materialism.
The earthquakes also reminds us of the Day of Judgment. The Day when all of the Earth will shake, and not only one part of it. Allah the Almighty says:
“O mankind! Fear your Lord and be dutiful to Him! Verily, the earthquake of the Hour is a terrible thing. The Day you shall see it, every nursing mother will forget her nursling, and every pregnant one shall drop her load, and you shall see mankind as in a drunken state. Yet they will not be drunken, but the Torment of Allah will be severe.” [Qur’an, 22:1-2]
Think for yourselves, historically, what is left after the earthquakes, from destroyed buildings and houses, deaths of thousands, and families seeking refuge outside of their homes. What state is that in which everyone is running away, caring about nothing? So what do you think of the Day of Judgment? Allah the Almighty says:
“That Day shall a man flee from his own brother, and from his mother and his father, and from his wife and his children.” [Qur’an, 80:34-36]
And He says:
“On the day (when the first blowing of the Trumpet is blown), the earth and the mountains will shake violently.” [Qur’an, 79:6]
Allah, the Most High, warns His servants with the earthquakes to learn a lesson and be admonished, and to be ready and prepare themselves for the Day of sorting out, the day of the great earthquake, that will shake all of the earth.
Allah has placed in this universe Sunan, ways, fixed and manifest laws, neither do they change nor are they replaceable. He does not have any kinship with anyone, He is the sole Creator and Ruler, and He will question and hold accountable everyone, including Prophets and Messengers. Allah the Most High says:
“Then surely, We shall question those to whom it (the Book) was sent and We shall question the Messengers.” [Qur’an, 7:6]
From among the established Sunan of Allah is that He does not send punishment except due to sin and He does not remove it except after repentance. Allah the Most High says:
“Whatever misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned.” [Qur’an, 42:30]
And Allah, The Mighty and Majestic, says:
“Evil and mischief have appeared on land and sea because of what the hands of men have earned, that Allah may make them taste a part of that which they have done, in order that they may return (by repenting to Allah).” [Qur’an, 30:41]
Every disaster and every calamity that befalls the people is due to their sins and wrongdoing. So know, servants of Allah, what wrongdoing does to its doers.
What has taken Adam and Hauwa’ (Eve) from Jannah (Paradise) except wrongdoing, and what Has drowned all of the people on the earth at the time of Prophet Nuh (Noah), to the point that water reached the peak of mountains, except wrongdoing?
Who is it who sent the furious violent wind upon the people of Aad, so that they were seen lying overthrown and destroyed, as if they were hollow trunks of palm-trees? Who is it who sent the awful cry upon the people of Thamud until it cut their hearts inside their bodies, and they all fell dead without exception? Who lifted the villages of the people of Prophet Lut (Lot) till the angels heard barking of their dogs, then turned them upside down, and then rained upon them a rain of stones?
That is the immediate punishment for wrongdoing: drowning, fire, earthquakes, destructive floods, strong wind, landslides, hurricanes, destruction, famine, poverty, hunger, disunity, insecurity, raging wind… etc.
“And the torment of the hereafter is far more severe and more lasting.” [Qur’an, 20:127]
Do we not take admonition and lesson? Allah, the Most High, says:
“Did We not destroy the ancients? So shall We make the later generations to follow them. Thus do We deal with the mujrimun (Criminals and Sinners). Woe that Day to the deniers (of the Day of Resurrection)!” [Qur’an, 77:16-19]
Respected Brothers and Sisters! The thunderous sound of Abuja and it’s environs is just a warning from Allah, the Most Beneficent, not only to the people of that city alone, but rather to the Muslims and humanity in general, in all lands – that they may return to their Lord and the teachings of their religion. Otherwise a punishment will come upon them. Allah, the Most High, says:
“So We seized each of them for his sins.” [Qur’an, 29:40]
Many of the Muslims today have gathered many sins. We see those who delay and neglect prayers, eat haram (that which is forbidden), deal with riba (interest), do not fulfil their trusts, neglecting their families, order the evil and forbid the good. Those who indulge in free-mixing and display of awrah, those who indulge in homosexuality, lesbianism, fornication and adultery, listening to haram music and songs, those who indulge in killing human beings for rituals, those who indulge in terror acts and those who have abandoned the Qur’an and Sunnah. All these exist in our society. Let us fear Allah and preserve what we have from the blessings, for wrongdoing removes blessings, rather it changes it to a curse. And let us be warned of an evil end, for Allah gives us a chance but is not neglectful. What has happened to the previous nations and some of the current ones will happen to us if we obey the Shaitan (Satan/Devil) and go far from the path of the Most Merciful. These are the Sunan and ways of Allah that will never change. Allah the Almighty says:
“Or do you feel secure that He, Who is over the Heaven (Allah), will not cause the earth to sink with you, then behold it shakes (as in an earthquakes)? Or do you feel secure that He, Who is over the heaven, will not send against you a violent whirlwind? Then you shall know how (terrible) was My Warning.” [Qur’an, 67:16-17]
Let us pause and ask ourselves what has been the tangible impact on us since we have heard and seen this very heavy thunderous sound, and what it has left from the mighty and scary destruction that makes the hearts bleed. The happy one is one who learns from the calamity of others, and the sad one is by whom these calamities pass while he takes no lesson from them.
Just recently, the sun and moon eclipsed, then followed the floods, then the strong wind, and then the earthquakes happened in some parts of the world. The people are still as they were before, you see no change. You do not see people going back to the path of Allah and you do not see any crowds in Mosques. It is unfortunate that the explanation offered for these events is that they are normal natural disasters, and that they do not link it to what happens to people due to their wrongdoing. Theirs is clearly wallahi an incorrect interpretation. Allah the Most High says:
“And We sent not the signs except to warn, and to make them afraid (of destruction).” [Qur’an, 17:59]
Fellow Nigerians! Wallahil Azim, the happening of many earthquakes is among the minor signs of the Day of Judgement. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“The Hour will not happen until knowledge will be uplifted and many earthquakes will take place.” [Bukhari]
Also, among the signs of the Hour is the occurrence of three major landslides. The Prophet when mentioning the ten signs of the Day of Judgement said:
“… and three major landslides, one in the East, one in the West and one in the Arabic peninsula…” [Muslim]
The earthquakes and other signs in this universe are a lesson for the believer. Allah frightens his slaves with such occurrences so a Muslim should take heed and repent, and fear that what happened to others could have happened to him because of his sins.
Besides, among other lessons that a Muslim learns from such an incident is that, in the eyes of Allah the creation will have no value when they disobey Him [He would careless if they are destroyed or vanish] and should remember by the occurrence of such earthquakes the horror of the Day of Judgement and the destruction that the whole universe will undergo.
Earthquakes are one of the great signs of Allah in this universe, with which He tests His slaves as a reminder or to instil fear of Him or as a punishment. Man must remember, when the signs occur, his weakness, incapability, humble status before Allah and his need of Him, so he turns to Allah, may He be exalted and glorified, in supplication, beseeching and humility, in the hope that Allah will lift this great distress from the people. Allah the Almighty says:
“Do you feel secure that He, Who is over the heaven (Allah), will not cause the earth to sink with you, then behold it shakes (as in an earthquakes)? Or do you feel secure that He, Who is over the heaven (Allah), will not send against you a violent whirlwind? Then you shall know how (terrible) has been My Warning?”
And He says:
“Verily, We sent (Messengers) to many nations before you (O Muhammad). And We seized them with extreme poverty (or loss in wealth) and loss in health with calamities so that they might believe with humility. When Our Torment reached them, why then did they not believe with humility? But their hearts became hardened, and Shaitan (Satan/Devil) made fair-seeming to them that which they used to do. So, when they forgot (the warning) with which they had been reminded, We opened to them the gates of every (pleasant) thing, until in the midst of their enjoyment in that which they were given, all of a sudden, We took them to punishment, and lo! They were plunged into destruction with deep regrets and sorrows.” [Surah al-An’am]
Shaykh Bin Baz (May Allah have mercy on him) said:
“What must be done at the time of an earthquake or other calamity, or an eclipse, strong wind or flood is to repent to Allah, may He be glorified, and to beseech Him and ask Him for well-being, and to remember Him a great deal and ask Him for forgiveness, as the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said at the time of an eclipse:
“When you see that, then turn to remembrance of Allah and call upon Him and ask for His forgiveness.”
It is also mustahabb to show compassion to the poor and needy, and to give charity to them, because the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“Show mercy, you will be shown mercy.” [Narrated by Ahmad]
And he said:
“Those who show mercy will be shown mercy by the Most Merciful. Show mercy to those who are on earth and the One Who is in heaven will show mercy to you.” [Narrated by Al-Tirmidhi]
Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“The one who does not show mercy will not be shown mercy.” [Narrated by Bukhari]
It was related from Umar Bin Abdul Aziz (May Allah have mercy on him) that:
“He used to write to his emirs when earthquakes took place, telling them to give charity.”
One of the means of being safe and sound from all evils is for those in authority and the leaders to hasten to restrain the foolish people and compel them to adhere to the truth, and to implement the laws among them, and to enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil, as Allah the Most High says:
“The believers, men and women, are Auliya (helpers, supporters, friends and protectors) of one another, they enjoin (on the people) Al-Ma’ruf, and forbid (people) from Al-Munkar; they perform As-Salah and give the Zakah, and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah will have His Mercy on them. Surely Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.” [Surah Al-Tawbah, 9:71]
“Verily, Allah will help those who help His (Cause). Truly, Allah is All-Strong, All-Mighty. Those (Leaders) who, if We give them power in the land, (they) order for Iqamatus-Salah. [i.e. to perform the five compulsory congregational Salah (prayers) (the males in Mosques)], to pay the Zakah and they enjoin Al-Ma’ruf, and forbid Al-Munkar. And with Allah rests the end of (all) matters (of creatures).” [Surah Al-Hajj, 22:40-41]
“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 (sources) he never could imagine. And whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him. Verily, Allah will accomplish his purpose. Indeed Allah has set a measure for all things.” [Surah Al-Talaq, 65:2-3]
Fellow Nigerians! Remember, the earthquakes that we experience in this world today are just a pre-runner to the earthquake of the end of time. The earthquakes are one of the signs of Allah and their coming are absolutely in Allah’s control. Even with all the technology available in the world today, the geologists and all the scientists are not able to point out where and when is the next earthquake going to strike! Allah Alone knows where and when his punishment is going to come.
It is the Mercy of Allah that the earth is stable and we are able to build and live on it in peace. But mankind seldom appreciates and thanks Allah for these and all the other blessings. It is only when we experience the wrath of Allah’s revenge, that we begin to call on Him to help us. And no sooner than He stops the torment, we go back to our ignorant ways of invoking and thanking other gods along with Allah. The same earth which is calm and stable today, can with one command and order of Allah, sink mankind and everything he builds on it, in a matter of minutes!!
Earthquakes are a sign amongst the signs of Allah, and all power to bring or stop earthquakes are in the control of no one else but Allah Alone!
May Allah save you and us all from the torment of the Final Day. May Allah guide you and us all to the Straight Path of Islam. May Allah guide you and us all to the Sirat al-Mustaqim. Ameen.
And whatever written of truth and benefit is only due to Allah’s assistance and guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah alone knows best and He is the only source of strength.
All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our Noble Messenger, Muhammad, (Peace be upon him), and upon his family, his Companions and his true followers.
Your Brother: Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, from Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached through: firstname.lastname@example.org or +2348038289761.