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December 27, 2004

Subhanallah (Praise be to God)…

When the oceans boil over with a swell (81:6)

When the Sky is cleft asunder; When the Stars are scattered; When the Oceans are suffered to burst forth; And when the Graves are turned upside down;- (Then) shall each soul know what it hath sent forward and (what it hath) kept back. O man, what has seduced you from your Most-Gracious Lord? (82:1-6)

As much as I find fault with modernity for its various problems, modern technology certainly allows us to be informed–especially visually–of events that go on across the world. The earthquake/tsunami that happened yesterday in the Indian Ocean is an mind-blowing event just to listen to–and when one sees the pictures and video of this Sign from God, it is humbling to say the least. Allah mentions this in the Qur’an as well, when He says, “And the creation of the heavens and the earth is greater than the creation of mankind, but most men know not“. In other words, these awesome events that we see in the heavens and in the earth are manifestation of the Might and Augustness of Allah. They’re meant to remind us that our greatest significance is recognizing and appreciating our insignificance before Allah. These events also bring to life some of the Qur’anic stories of people who were destroyed in the past, and helps us to better visualize and internalize those events, and Inshallah (God-willing), to learn from their mistakes. Most importantly, I often feel that these monumental events serve as a prelude or a trailer for the cosmic chain of events that will happen when the Hour arrives. The Makkan Surahs (chapters) of the Qur’an vividly talk about many of the descriptions of the End of Time, as a warning and wakeup call to the reader (as well as to the early Muslims, historically) as to the Grand Reality that awaits us all. This tsunami isn’t even an atom compared to what the scene will be on that Day when we shall return to that Most-Glorious and Most-Merciful Lord.

At the same time, just as the Qur’an follows up passages meant to instill fear in the reader, let us remember that Allah always juxtaposes His Mercy with His Justice. At the risk of reducing God’s Attributes to the point of blasphemy, I would offer that Allah is basically Merciful or Just with His servants. Our lookout should be whether we meet him in a state that would give Him an excuse to be Merciful with us, or we meet him in a state that leaves Him no other choice but to manifest His Justice.

May Allah forgive all those Muslims who passed away in this tragedy. May He give patience to the families of all the people involved, and give guidance to those who see this event (such as us) to internalize, reflect, and make necessary changes in our lives such that He can be Merciful with us when we meet Him.

Side note: the second picture is the destruction around the Bayturrahman Masjid in Indonesia. Note how the area around the masjid is destroyed but the masjid itself is relatively intact.


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  1. Anonymous permalink

    Ameen to the Du’as.
    Whilst reading your entry, this ayaat came to mind:
    Walaikum-As-Salaam Warahmatulah.

  2. Anonymous permalink

    tru dat

  3. Who is Mary Ann Koury-Danner?
    Is she a Sufi Woman in America?

  4. the book is a translation of Ibn `Ata’illah al-Sikandari’s text on the subject
    dunno if she’s a Muslim or not…

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