Islamic Perspective on Coping with Natural Disasters
By Hashim Msusa
The occurrence of natural disasters, such as cyclones, earthquakes, floods, and droughts are events that are beyond human control. These disasters bring about destruction, loss of lives and properties, and displacement of people. This is the reality Malawi has gone through. People have died, properties destroyed, human settlements in shambles living many displaced.
In times of disaster, we find ourselves helpless and devastated. In such trying times, faith in Allah Almighty serves as a source of comfort and guidance. Looking at the magnitude of devastation and destruction caused by Cyclone Freddy, Discover Islam examines the perspective of Islam on coping with natural disasters such as Cyclone Freddy.
Islam teaches faith in God Almighty even in the face of adversity. One may wonder about having faith even as disastrous, tragic, and catastrophic as it has happened with Cyclone Freddy. Yes, because everything that happens in this world and Malawi in particular is a part of God’s plan, and there is a reason behind every event.
Therefore, the first step that human beings should take in coping with natural disasters is to seek solace in their faith and submit themselves to God Almighty’s will. Allah Almighty is Merciful, and even in the face of calamities, He provides opportunities for growth and learning. As a nation Cyclone Freddy provided us with a lesson. Its syllabus has been felt by everyone.
When disasters happen, we are encouraged to turn to God Almighty for help, guidance, and strength. We are taught to engage in supplication and seek God’s protection from harm. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) is reported to have said, “Allah’s mercy is more significant than his wrath. Therefore, we are taught to seek God’s mercy and forgiveness during times of hardship.
As examined by Discover Islam, the Islamic perspective on coping with natural disasters there is a need to take practical steps to mitigate the impact of the disaster. Human beings are encouraged to prepare for disasters by taking necessary precautions where possible. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) taught an individual who wanted to leave his camel without protection and said, ‘Tie your camel and trust in Allah.”
People are encouraged to help those affected by the disaster. Charity is a fundamental aspect of Islam. Therefore, we are urged to give generously to those in need. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) said, “The best charity is that given in the time of adversity when the donor is in need himself. Helping others during times of difficulty is a way of showing gratitude to God Almighty and seeking His reward.
Patience and perseverance are important aspects of coping with natural disasters. We should be patient during times of hardship and trust in God’s wisdom. The Qur’an states, “ And we will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits but give good tidings to the patient.” (2:155)
The above verse emphasizes the importance of patience and perseverance during difficult times and assures humanity that their steadfastness will be rewarded. In addition to patience, we are also taught to have hope and optimism in the face of disaster. Allah Almighty says in the Noble, “Indeed, with hardship, there is ease.” (94:5)