What kind of Allah…..

Whyohwhy_1………is this that allows for such destruction?  Why did the MOST
BENEFICIENT and the MOST MERCIFUL Creator will this Tsunami? 

questions for us to reflect on.  What is the Islamic explanation for
this disaster?  How do we as believers make sense of this event?
Here are some interesting questions via Arts & Letters Daily:

In the Telegraph:

In temples, mosques, churches and
synagogues across the globe, clerics are being called upon to explain:
How could a benevolent God visit such horror on ordinary people?

of diverse faiths described the destruction as part of god’s plan,
proof of his power and punishment for human sins.

“This is an expression of God’s great ire with the world,” Israeli chief rabbi Shlomo Amar said.

Harikrishna Shastri, a priest of New Delhi’s Birla temple said the
disaster was caused by a “huge amount of pent-up man-made evil on
and driven by the positions of the planets.

Abdul Razak, a Muslim cleric and vice president of Malaysia’s Islamic
opposition party, Parti Islam se-Malaysia, said the disaster was a
reminder from god that “he created the world and can destroy the world”.


Somehow these explanations are not satisfactory to me…..

In the Guardian:

Certainly the giant
waves generated by the quake made no attempt to differentiate between
the religions of those whom it made its victims. Hindus were swept away
in India, Muslims were carried off in Indonesia, Buddhists in Thailand.
Visiting Christians and Jews received no special treatment either. This
poses no problem for the scientific belief system. Here, it says, was a
mindless natural event, which destroyed Muslim and Hindu alike.


non-scientific belief system, especially one that is based on any kind
of notion of a divine order, has some explaining to do, however. What
God sanctions an earthquake? What God protects against it? Why does the
quake strike these places and these peoples and not others? What kind
of order is it that decrees that a person who went to sleep by the edge
of the ocean on Christmas night should wake up the next morning
engulfed by the waves, struggling for life?

The Sydney Morning Hearld says:

If the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune are at play and
the deaths caused by the tsunami are a cosmic payback in the form
of karma, does that offer a solution, albeit a philosophical one,
to the problem of evil? I think not. For how can children, some as
young as a few months, who had not yet lived their lives, deserve
to be punished so cruelly for their past sins – especially when
they have not been offered the promised divine opportunity to atone
for those sins through another life?

Even if solutions are forthcoming to these philosophical
conundrums, humanely speaking they make little sense. Perhaps that
is why some people remain sceptical about the presence of any
divine providence ruling over us.

A compromise solution, between secular scepticism and a
psychological need for the sacred, was offered by the Greek
philosopher Epicurus. Although believing in gods, he claimed these
divine beings would not want to diminish their heavenly happiness
by mingling in the sordid affairs of mortals. For Epicurus, the
gods were not crazy but simply indifferent to both human joys and
sorrows. When it comes to social or natural evils, we are all

But if natural disasters are merely random events caused by the
uncaring and blind forces of nature, does this offer us any comfort
or meaning in the face of the apocalyptic events on Boxing Day?

So why, oh why did this happen?  How to make sense of it all?

16 thoughts on “What kind of Allah…..

  1. I’ve always took it that it has nothing to do with punishment or anger. Things that we view as “negative” are not in themselves negative, we denote that meaning upon them…
    One of the main things I think we as humans fail at has to do with out inability to see the bigger picture/what is ghayb or unseen/ etc. We want insta-explanations and instant satisfaction.
    What it boils down to is– we aren’t going to know why it happened, and we’re most likely not going to find out if such a tragedy was, in an unseen way, possibly a positive thing.
    In other words– Musa and Al-Khidr (making any sense?)

  2. Man, I believe, has freewill. I do not look for God’s message in drive-by shootings, random acts of violence, or war. The planet too is a living thing, and thus, has free will within the bounds of physical laws. God did not cause this event, a series of natural occurances did. Look for God in the hope that remains, the outpouring of aid and generosity, in the acts of ordinary people performing extraordinary service. You will find her there.

  3. I too find the explanations at the beginning of your post unsatisfactory. As a liberal rabbi, I cannot in any way justify the idea that G-d directly desired, planned and executed the death and destruction of the earthquake and subsequent tsunamis.
    One answer from a liberal understanding of Judaism is that articulated by Rabbi Harold Kushner, author of the famous book, “When Bad Things Happen to Good People.” An exerpt from that book reads, “We could bear any burden if we thought there was a meaning to what we were doing. Have I made it harder for people to accept their illnesses, their misfortunes, their family tragedies by telling them that they are not sent by God as part of some master plan of His?
    Let me suggest that the bad things that happen to us in our lives do not have a meaning when they happen to us. They do not happen for any good reason which would cause us to accept them willingly. But we can give them a meaning. We can redeem these tragedies from senselessness by imposing meaning on them.”
    You can read more from Rabbi Kushner and more on Jewish attitudes on suufering at http://myjewishlearning.com/ideas_belief/sufferingevil/Suffering_Solutions_TO/Suffering_Modern_Responses/Suffering_When_Kushner.htm
    I hope this helps.

  4. I’m with you, and with 1rabbi, in my inability to understand the tsunami as something sent by God.
    The world is filled with beauty, and the world is filled with suffering, and both can take my breath away. I think all we can do is look for God in the ways we respond to the tragedy, and in the ways we interact with one another.

  5. “And We will most certainly try you with somewhat of fear and hunger and loss of property and lives and fruits; and give good news to the patient; Who, when a misfortune befalls them, say: Surely we are Allah’s and to Him we shall surely return. Those are they on whom are blessings and mercy from their Lord, and those are the followers of the right course.” (al-Baqarah, 155-7)

  6. I think from Jews, Christians, and Moslems point of view this disaster should be from the God according to the Bible and Koran. As we can see that the previous nations were destroyed with the same kind of catastrophes as mentioned in the Bible. For example, the nation of Noah was destroyed by the same flood when they rejected the teachings of Prophet Noah and continue in their mischief. Therefore, for Jews, Christians, and Moslems who believe in the One God who created all the creations and sent down Prophets to guide his creations, will definitely believe in this that Tsunami was the punishment of God. Obviously, the present time nations have the same shortcomings which were present in those perished nations. Therefore, the fear is that if the present time nations do not repent of their awful acts then indeed they will see the same consequences as suffered by the previous nations. This will also affect good people as well who are living side by side with them. However, good people will have their reward from God and will enter the paradise.

  7. Hi,
    I’ve pretty much attempted to answer that question in my blog a while ago, so I’ll quote it here:

    Some people think it’s really mean and cynical for God to make such a horrible disaster happen at a time most people would be celebrating; but I think it’s meant for us to learn how to set our priorities right. I don’t think I’d be able to go out and have fun without thinking about all the survivors who need help and are crying for their loved ones. I hope most of my friends held back on the usual New Year’s Eve splurging and saved some money for donations.

    I think it’s also God’s way of telling us to expect the unexpected. When a worse disaster strikes in the future, we’ll be thankful for this painful lesson.


  8. here’s a thought. maybe things happen and there is no meaning. maybe we must struggle to survive regardless of what happens in nature. we the living are no better than those who died. we’re just lucky. everyday is a gift and one day it will run out for each of us.

  9. “In the Name of Allah,most gracious most merciful,” 21. And verily, We will make them taste of the near torment (i.e. the torment in the life of this world,i.e. disasters, calamities) prior to the supreme torment (in the Hereafter), in order that they may (repent and) return (i.e. accept Islam). [Surat 32. As-Sajdah, 32:21] Indeed, this great disaster was from Allah and only Allah knows the reason. This must be a lesson for the whole world to repent to Allah and accept Islam even for those muslims who dont live their lives by the Quran and sunnah. The heartbreaking thing when something like happens is, man crys,”O God, why me, why this happend to me.” And when they are ok living live they don’t know God. When they see things happend in other places…they say,”Its Mother nature.” Taking God away from the picture. May Allah guide them to Islam and may Allah forgive and help our muslim brothers and sisters who suffered. Amiin. p.s We dont know the reason but we know it happend by Allah’s permission and power. We must repent to Allah bfore this happends to us whereever we live. Mankind must return to His Creator and stop killing himself over money and land.

  10. Momin, if this was a message from Allah to convince the world to convert to Islam, why did Allah reduce the Muslim population in Indonesia by 90’000?

  11. Salam,
    Man has the choice between good and evil, that is the extreme honour God has given to mankind, to choose God and elevate our spiritual selves, striving to get closer to Allah. But there is also danger in this, and we must assume the consequences. In the Quran it says that Allah asked the sky and the earth if they wanted to take on this responsibility, but they refused, fearing the idea of being able to disobey their Creator. So we were given the choice and we chose. Because of this free will we have more capacities to act, to think than other creatures of God’s creation, and we are accountable for the way we use these. The problem is that many people think that they are totally free, and will never be held to accountable for what they have done. They are arrogant, and careless, and spread evil. We too, muslims sometimes are arrogant and careless,and spread evil but the difference is that we know better than to do so. I think the suffering, the hardships are a way for Allah to test our faith in Him, but it is also a taste of the evil we ourselves have spread, so that we realize what we have done and come bak repentent to our Lord.
    Ghostdog, I do not pretend to know the cause of this terrible disaster, and I do not believe the extermination of 90 000 muslims, or hindus,…is a sign for us to convert to religion.
    Catastrophes reach all nations and religions at one time or the other. Wether it is punishment or a test, we must do what we can to help the suffering, and continue praying Allah.

  12. There are environmental factors as well. This is a part of the world where tidal waves are known to happen, but the original environment of the area (the way God made it) was designed to live more or less in peace with the ocean. Deforestation and destruction of the coral reefs left the land defenseless against the forces of nature. One reported I read suggested that if the tsunami had happened as little as 50 years ago, the death toll would have been nowhere near as great.
    The environment was changed in the pursuit of money (to develop shrimp farms and beach resorts), then when nature takes its course, people want to get angry at God.
    It is a tragedy that so many lives were lost, but God can teach us something from it if we look at the whole picture.

  13. Indonesia: ruminations on ruminations

    I’m not sure if the sort of ruminations which have appeared since the past weekend’s earthquake / tsunami disaster appear after every such disaster. But the whole idea of “how God can allow such a thing” is something which has been periodically asked…

  14. what happends is all goood thats what allah wants us to do he is testing us its not his fault.

  15. Assalamu alaikum wrwb,
    In the name of Allah the most Merciful, the Most Kind.There are several points that we should keep in our mind to understand this issue:
    1. First of all, Allah did not make this world a permanent world. This is a temporary world and everything here has a time limit. When its times comes it will die, come to an end and finish. Neither the good things of this world are forever, nor the bad things eternal. We are here for a short time and we are being.
    2. Allah has placed a physical law and a moral law in this universe. Allah allows suffering to occur when one or more of these laws are broken. The physical law is based on cause and effect. Sickness comes if one does not take care of oneأ¢â‚â„¢s health or is exposed to infections. A car accident occurs when one is not alert, or drives in a careless manner, or if the cars are not checked, roads and freeways are not made and kept in right shape, or the traffic laws are not right or not properly enforced. Study of causes and effects is very important to facilitate safeguards. Even here we should keep in mind that Allah often saves us and He does not let us suffer from every negligence. How many times it happens that we are not careful and still we reach safely to our destinations. The way people drive in some cities, it is a miracle that more accidents do not happen and more people do not suffer
    3. Suffering can also be a test and trial for some people. Allah allows some people to suffer in order to test their patience and steadfastness. Even Allahأ¢â‚â„¢s Prophets and Messengers were made to suffer. Prophet Ayyub is mentioned in the Qurأ¢â‚â„¢an as a Prophet who was very patient. Good people sometimes suffer but their sufferings heal others and bring goodness to their communities. People learn lessons from their good examples. Martyrs die for their faith, soldiers give their lives for their nations and this brings liberation and freedom for their people.
    4. Allah sometimes allows some people to suffer to test others, how they react to them. When you see a person who is sick, poor and needy, then you are tested by Allah. Allah is there with that suffering person to test your charity and your faith
    So to summarize, we can say that sufferings occur to teach us that we must adhere to Allahأ¢â‚â„¢s natural and moral laws. It is sometimes to punish those who violate Allahأ¢â‚â„¢s natural or moral laws. It is to test our faith in Allah and to test our commitment to human values and charity. Whenever we encounter suffering we should ask ourselves, أ¢â‚إ“Have we broken any law of Allah?أ¢â‚? Let us study the cause of the problem and use the corrective methods. أ¢â‚إ“Could it be a punishment?أ¢â‚? Let us repent and ask forgiveness and reform our ways. أ¢â‚إ“Could it be a test and trial for us?أ¢â‚? Let us work hard to pass this test.
    5.when evil exceeds in the world and the good people are also silnt over it allowing it to happen, not keeping in mind their foremost duty of enjoining good and forbidding bad, then they too become a victim for these disasters
    Believers face the sufferings with prayers, repentance and good deeds.
    May Allah guide us all

Comments are closed.