Allah the Exalted has said in Surat al-Ghafir (40:81-85)
He shows you His Signs,
so which of Allah’s Signs do you deny?
Have they not travelled in the land
and seen the final fate of those before them?
They were more numerous than them and greater in strength
and left more and deeper traces on earth,
but what they earned was of no use to them.
When their Messengers brought them the Clear Signs,
they exulted in the knowledge they had
and then were engulfed by the very things they mocked.
When they saw Our violent force,
they said, ‘We have iman in Allah alone
and reject what we associated with Him.’
But when they saw Our violent force
their iman was of no use to them.
That is the pattern Allah has always followed with His slaves.
Then and there the kafirun were lost.
Careful reflection on the Noble Qur’an leaves the Mumin with a very clear understanding that in this world all sensory things, if we are to gain wisdom, are to be recognised as meanings. Allah the Exalted makes it clear throughout the whole Qur’an that the Dunya is a zone of sensory experience, perception and event, and all of these indicate meanings. There are Signs. There are Reminders. Equally, Allah in His generosity informs the Mumin that in the Akhira, that is the Unseen world, we will be in the realm of meanings, but the meanings will be experienced by us as sensory – gardens underneath which rivers flow, terrible consuming fire and earthquake. It is in the light of this dual understanding that the Mumin regards the Hajj at ‘Arafat as no less than a tremendous reminder of the Day of Gathering. That is why the Rasul, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, declared, ‘Hajj is ‘Arafat.’ The accomplishment of Hajj is to have reflected, if only for some moments, while standing on the Plain of ‘Arafat.
Imam al-Ghazali, may Allah be pleased with him, applies this wisdom when he explains to the Mumin that when confronted with the hungry lion he is filled with fear, then, having established that, he reminds the Mumin that a more terrifying lion is even closer to him, coming up from behind him, ready to pounce, and that is the terrible moment of his Reckoning on the Last Day.
The matter is clearly stated in Surat Ash-Shams (91:1-15)
By the sun and its morning brightness,
and the moon when it follows it,
and the day when it displays it,
and the night when it conceals it
and the sky and what erected it
and the earth and what extended it.
and the self and what proportioned it
and inspired it with depravity or taqwa,
he who purifies it has succeeded,
he who covers it up has failed.
Thamud denied in their excessive tyranny –
when the worst of them rushed ahead,
and the Messenger of Allah had said to them,
‘This is the she-camel of Allah, so let her drink!’
But they denied him and they hamstrung her,
so their Lord crushed them for their sin
and flattened them.
And He does not fear the consequences.
Look at the first half of this Sura, Ayats 1-10. Sun, moon, day, night, sky, earth, and the self with its positive and negative capacities. Both the whole cosmic event and the individual that finds itself flung into that event are in fact confronting in every place and at every time the majesty and beauty of Allah, glory be to Him. The second half of the Sura informs us of two things. A Messenger of Allah gave guidance. Thamud denied that guidance. To deny the guidance meant he had denied the Messenger. The denial and the action that followed are not to be separated. The action is preceded by the niyat. The inner denial becomes an outward act of denial. It is this terrible reality of the nature of what it means to be a living human being that is here exposed. A major theme of the Divine Revelation is that we are responsible. It is also that all the signs were there in the earth and sky, thus allowing no excuse. Now look at the last part of the Sura, the second half of Ayat 14, and Ayat 15 itself.
so their Lord crushed them for their sin
and flattened them.
And He does not fear the consequences.
That second half of Ayat 14 indicates that Allah the Exalted, in destroying them, did so because of their disobedience. This must be understood carefully and in full light of Tawhid. We have already learned that in His Book, when Allah the Exalted has indicated by His name of Rabb that He is indicating His Lordship over the universe, that is specifically His sustaining and activating power by which He governs things and events by an intricate weaving of laws whose activities represent this Lordship. Allah here says, ‘So their Lord crushed them,’ and the term He uses is ‘Rabbuhum’. Look carefully. Their Lord crushed them for their sin. It means from this, that in the unified field of earthly existence it was a wrong action, inspired by denial, that brought about the action of Allah. It then says, ‘and flattened them.’ This means that the earth in obedience to its natural energies given to it through the creation of event, destroyed them.
Here, Allah takes us to the very limits of what we may understand. He privileges the Mumin to an insight into the working of creation, and the connectedness of man’s actions and niyat as part of the creation, and the awesome reality that in it, by His Signs, He, glory be to Him, manifests in every moment, so that the flattening of the earth is also a manifestation of Divine Justice. Then see how Allah in His Glory nevertheless does not permit us to make association with Him. He declares: ‘And He does not fear the consequences.’ This is the completion of Tawhid. And with it, Allah, having raised the veil for an instant to guide the Mumin, then drops it again lest he commit Shirk. Rasul, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, declared of Allah, glory be to Him, ‘He sends people to the Fire and He does not care. He sends people to the Garden and He does not care.’ Allah is above anything that may be associated with Him.
As everyone now knows, an earthquake under the Indian Ocean, through its convulsions sent out a vast tidal wave, sometimes reaching speeds of 200 miles an hour, causing it to surge over the shores of Sumatra, Thailand, Sri Lanka and even as far as Somalia. We all know of the havoc that the tidal wave wreaked on these Asian shores and of the high toll it took on human lives. This matter leaves us with two understandings, which it is incumbent on us as Muslims to take to ourselves. One is the meaning of such a disaster. The other is what it has taught us about the behaviour of both those who survive and those who observed it from a distance. Perhaps the most distressing aspect of the event, and I mean more profoundly terrible even than the great human cost of lives has been the failure of the Muslims in their public pronouncements, in their material response to the event, and in their abandonment of the Deen which has followed from it. Since this event was a manifestation of the power of Allah, glory be to Him, and since this was an event of awesome death and destruction, it was incumbent on the Muslims to explain to the world that there is nothing that happens on the earth that is not a manifestation of Allah’s power, Allah’s judgment, and Allah’s mercy.
Kafir media, in their continuing desperate attempt to make sense of a world apparently at the mercy of natural cosmic phenomena, were anxious to show that there still existed the stoic pagan courage in the face of meaningless chaos which would make men ‘come together’ in a proof of humanism.
The human ‘rallying’ was almost entirely a matter of unprecedented donations whipped up in the media orgy that indulged in a mixture of a fear of nature, and a pretence that the donations of the masses represented a human bonding. Nowhere was the Muslim voice raised to re‑define the event and speak clearly – say, this is not a meaningless natural disaster, this is a punishment from Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. An event of this magnitude clearly indicates that there is something seriously wrong with the people in these places, and that prior to this event there must be discernable among them, as with Thamud and his people, first a denial of Divine authority, and secondly the disgraceful actions that follow from that denial. Let us look first at the epicentre of the flood’s impact. Aceh. Here there is an evidence against them both before the event as well as a greater proof against them in what happened after the event.
The first thing to be known about Aceh is also something as Muslims we must be reminded of about Indonesia. Indonesia, as we know, has a vast Muslim population strung across thousands of Islands over thousands of miles. As befitted the terrain, the Muslims governed themselves with a series of Sultanates which allowed the culture to order itself in civic and financial affairs in a realistic manner.
The Dutch were in Europe the effective force which smashed the land-based christian monarchies and replaced them with protestant-atheist republics governed by the Money-power of usury banking. With a ruthlessness for which they have never been called to account, they set about in Indonesia to use the same tactics which they had applied to the European monarchies, England and then France. With the advent of World War II, Bankism was in full evolutionary flower. So at the cost of a mass slaughter the new Bank Masters from the USA imposed their dictatorship. The kafir forces simply took over the massive wealth of Indonesia, and without shame handed over vast Corporate holdings to Chinese entrepreneurs. As a result of these traumas the Indonesians inherited two contradictory energies. One: they were a great Muslim nation. Two: the practical need for local governance had been shattered, leaving the Sultans merely decorative puppets despite holding a mailed-fist passively at their sides, a constant threat to the Money-power.
Kissinger, one of the Bankists’ recognised ideologues, announced their new policy. Indonesia, he said, was too big! It had to be broken up into small functional democracies. In obedience to this plan, the oil moguls brought from Sweden an Aceh native. Local Swedish Muslims later confirmed that they had never set eyes on him in their social life. He suddenly appeared in Aceh, claiming that Aceh, because of its past fame as a centre of Islamic learning, should become an independent Islamic state. Within the shortest time, arms were being smuggled into Aceh. These arms were not, certainly at the beginning, coming from Wahhabi extremists, but were according to Indonesian Intelligence from American military equipment. The capture of Aceh by the commodities wing of Bankist power would be a prelude to a terrible internal chaos that would lead to the dismemberment of Muslim Indonesia.
The first significant response to the flood by America was to rush an aircraft-carrier to be anchored off-shore. Soon their military personnel were swarming over the province. As is always the case nowadays, with the military comes a significant Intelligence personnel. While the media blitz of compassion and horror continued, with the endless repetition of identical video shots, in the background the real game was being played out. Soon there was a military presence in Sri Lanka, for whoever could orchestrate the programmation of the Tamil Tigers held a powerful card that could be offered to India once they were able to say they could help resolve the conflict. Confirmation of all this came when the Indian government wisely called a halt to exterior Aid, saying they could handle this crisis themselves. Once Indonesian Intelligence had alerted Jakarta, the government wisely put a cordon-sanitaire around the so-called Aid‑workers in Sumatra. Jean-Christophe Rufin has expounded this theme in detail in his book ‘The Humanitarian Trap’. Its subtitle is ‘When humanitarian Aid replaces war’ (‘Le Piège Humanitaire’, Poche Pluriel).
If the epicentre was in the political crisis zone of Aceh, the greater Asian littoral that was affected was one unified social phenomenon, one of the most corrupt human scandals of our decadent times. Again and again we were assailed with sympathetic exclamations of how tourism was what the people depended on, and how without it they were penniless. The truth of the matter is that if it were not for tourism, many of these places would have been deserted tropical beaches. Indeed, one of the destroyed beaches had been made into an alluring film showing how the idyllic holiday beach fronted hippie communities and a lethal mafia of drug cultivation. These so-called ‘tourists’ – what were they DOING there? Thousands of Thais and Sri Lankans had been dragged from their villages and towns to serve in the bars, nightclubs and hotels that annually received their Jumbo-loads of Europe and America’s middle-income industrial slave population. Two weeks’ capitalist reward. Everything permitted. No questions asked. No tiresome age‑limits to sexual pleasure. They were predators, and the local slave population they were dependent on, in their own way were predators too. How many Thai mothers dreaded that their sons or daughters might go to Phuket in search of work? It is the tourist industry that is evil. Look where the wealth goes – not into the hands of the locals, but into Corporation banks. It is an industry which has, as well as gaining enormous wealth for corporation capitalism, done more than anything to destroy the social reality and culture of people from Morocco to Chile.
Another evidence of the moral confusion and bankruptcy of both the survivors and the self-styled rescuers lay in the nauseating display of ‘inter‑faith’ pseudo-services of worship. Muslims were dragged out to stand under massive gold buddha statues, with confused catholics, glad at last to have something to do. It was intolerable.
Meanwhile, the orgy of humanist ‘compassion’ continued in the money-markets. The disaster gave an ironic opportunity for the Arab terrorist. Millions of dollars were flying across the world, utterly unquestioned, protected by the magical phrase ‘Tsunami Disaster Fund’.
The real image of the aftermath and the ill-named rescue operation was the chilling sight of two world-class criminals surveying the damage. The Secretary-General of the United Nations gazed helplessly into the middle-distance, muttering compassion in an inaudible voice. It was possible only to catch phrases of what he said. ‘…worst I have seen … need enormous sums of money … governments must help!’ Behind him stood the sinister figure of the head of the World Bank, an explicable grin on his face. One of his entourage was heard by Indonesian Intelligence to exclaim gleefully, ‘There’s more money in this than in the Iraq War!’
A man came to the Rasul, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and said, ‘Oh Messenger of Allah, I have come into some wealth, what should I do with it?’ The Messenger answered, ‘Spend it on your family.’ The man said, ‘I have done that. There is more.’ The Messenger replied, ‘Then spend it on your neighbour.’ The man said, ‘I have done that, there is more.’ The Messenger responded, ‘Then spend it on your next neighbour.’ Again the man said, ‘I have done that. There is more.’ At this the Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, became angry, and turned away from the man, distressed at his failure to understand.
Muslims in South Africa and Botswana were busy gathering money to send donations to the other side of the world, while right next to the them there is poverty, there is malnutrition, and most importantly of all there is an urgent need for Da’wa activity. In Lesotho a 14-year-old boy was recently jailed for ten years for stealing a loaf of bread. At the same time, the King of Lesotho was featured in a glossy magazine having a gourmet lunch prepared at his palace. It is the height of ignorance and folly to be involved in an Aid operation of which neither the cause nor the effect has been understood. In Surat az-Zilzal – The Earthquake (99:1-9), Allah the Exalted declares:
In the name of Allah, All-Merciful, Most Merciful
When the earth is convulsed with its quaking
and the earth then disgorges its charges
and man asks, ‘What is wrong with it?’,
on that Day it will impart all its news
because your Lord has inspired it.
That Day people will emerge segregated
to see the results of their actions.
Whoever does an atom’s weight of good will see it.
Whoever does an atom’s weight of evil will see it.
It is unsure whether this is a Makkan or a Madinan Sura. It of course refers to that earthquake which will herald the Day of Reckoning. Significantly, its last two Ayats have a specific reference to two men who lived in Madinah. Yet again, Allah brings together a confrontation between the ultimate cosmic event, the destruction of the whole world, and the destinies of two men in the city of Madinah who got it wrong.
Ibn ‘Atiyya says that Zilzal means movement, but Allah, glory be to Him, says, ‘Zilzalaha’, and this is convulsion.
and man asks, ‘What is wrong with it?’
Ibn ‘Atiyya says, ‘This is an expression of amazement from the danger that man sees. The majority of the Muffasirin say that by man here is meant, the kafir. That is because he sees what he cannot imagine or believe. However, some of the very early Muffasirin said that it referred to both Mumin and kafir.
It will impart all its news
At-Tabari and others say that this is a metaphorical expression. This refers to the ‘Amr of Allah – the Command of Allah.’
That Day people will emerge segregated
to see the results of their actions.
Allah here informs that whoever does an action, whether a little or a lot, will see it. Aisha, radiallahu ‘anha, said in a Hadith: ‘Oh Rasulullah, did you see the good – bir – that Abdullah ibn Judán did to his family? He also fed the hungry. Is there a reward for this?’ He said: ‘No. Not once did he say: “My Lord, forgive me my faults on the Day of Judgment.”’ Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam called this Ayat ‘Ayatul-fadd’. The Ayat of Rescue. Ibn ‘Atiyya continues
‘Whoever does an atom’s weight of good will see it.
Whoever does an atom’s weight of evil will see it.’
This Surat was revealed when Abu Bakr ate with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. Abu Bakr turned from his food and began to weep. The Messenger asked, “Why are you crying?” He replied: “Oh Messenger of Allah, will I asked about an atom’s weight?” The Messenger of Allah replied: “Oh Abu Bakr, have you seen anything on the earth that you despise? You may have done many atoms of wrong action on earth, but Allah will turn it to good in the Akhira.”’
Note how in the telling of this, Ibn ‘Atiyya has indicated that the Messenger, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, separated the act of despising from the wrong actions. In other words, since Abu Bakr had never despised anything, he was safe with Allah from his many atoms of wrong action. In the Diwan of our Shaykh, Sayyidi Muhammad ibn al-Habib, may Allah be merciful to him, says, ‘Beware lest you despise the lowest atom, for it is compounded by the Hayyu and Qayyum.’ Ibn ‘Atiyya continues:
‘An-Naqqash said: “They said, ‘There were two men in al‑Madinah, one of them never bothered about the small and insignificant things that he did. He thought that he would not be questioned about the insignificant. Another man desired to give sadaqa. He could not find any except simple folk, so he did not bother to give any.’” The Ayah was revealed on account of them. This was as if to say – to the one who gave and did not value the insignificant, he should give, and to the reluctant one, he should hand over, despite his reluctance.’
We ask Allah to protect us from despising even the lowest atom. We ask Allah to give us a clear guidance to make us aware of the Muslims’ needs that lie right in front of us.