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Natural Disasters: Divine Punishment Or Natural Phenomena?


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Poll: Do you believe natural disasters to be caused by divine punishment or by natural phenomena? (Poll for Muslims only) (2 member(s) have cast votes)

Do you believe natural disasters to be caused by divine punishment or by natural phenomena?

  1. Yes, natural disasters are punishments sent by Allah. (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  2. No, natural disasters are not caused by God’s punishment, the passages in the Koran that say so are metaphors. (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  3. Some natural disasters are punishments, others are simply random events. (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  4. My belief on the subject is not covered in any of the above 3 choices (please explain). (2 votes [100.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 100.00%

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#1 TonyJ

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 04:53 PM

According to the Koran, the Thamud people of Northern Arabia were destroyed in an earthquake sent by Allah because they refused to follow the teachings of the Islamic Prophet Salih:

[7.75] Do you know that Salih is sent by his Lord? They said: Surely we are believers in what he has been sent with
[7.76] Those who were haughty said: Surely we are deniers of what you believe in.
[7.77] So they slew the she-camel and revolted against their Lord's commandment, and they said: O Salih! bring us what you threatened us with, if you are one of the apostles.
[7.78] Then the earthquake overtook them, so they became motionless bodies in their abode.


This passage reminds me of a recent News headline where the Ayatolla Kazem Sedighi of Iran made the claim that earthquakes are caused by women who do not cover up properly and/or have extra-marital affairs.

telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/7606145/Extramarital-sex-causes-more-earthquakes-Iranian-cleric-claims.html

So the question is, do you believe that natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, etc. are the results of God unleashing his anger on his minions? Or are they simply natural phenomena caused by the movement of tectonic plates and have no connection with human sins or Allah's wrath?

Please only respond to the poll if you are a Muslim, and if you do choose the fourth answer option, then please do explain why in a post.

#2 Abu Firdaws

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Posted 22 November 2011 - 10:39 PM

According to the Koran, the Thamud people of Northern Arabia were destroyed in an earthquake sent by Allah because they refused to follow the teachings of the Islamic Prophet Salih:
This passage reminds me of a recent News headline where the Ayatolla Kazem Sedighi of Iran made the claim that earthquakes are caused by women who do not cover up properly and/or have extra-marital affairs.

telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/7606145/Extramarital-sex-causes-more-earthquakes-Iranian-cleric-claims.html

So the question is, do you believe that natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, etc. are the results of God unleashing his anger on his minions? Or are they simply natural phenomena caused by the movement of tectonic plates and have no connection with human sins or Allah's wrath?

Please only respond to the poll if you are a Muslim, and if you do choose the fourth answer option, then please do explain why in a post.


We believe that natural disasters can be a form of punishment, yes. But that's not your real question, is it?

#3 the sad clown

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Posted 22 November 2011 - 10:45 PM

Argh! I missed the clause that said (Poll for Muslims only). Please retract one vote from option #4.

#4 mrhyder

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Posted 22 November 2011 - 11:48 PM

Salaam All;

I was thinking about this subject earlier; and was wondering could there be benefits that come from these natural disasters.
Regarding thunderstorms;I think some can say they clean the earth, the winds pollinate, cause crops to grow. It can give water to people who live in dry areas.
Regarding earth quakes..some 'googling' showed that "Earthquakes relieve the tension building between tectonic plates. Thus, a bunch of small earthquakes lessen the chance that a large earthquake will occur along the same boundary. Also, earthquakes (depending on the type) bring up old land to the surface for scientists to study."

But these also cause lots of human lives.. Is Allah swt using these to test us and at the same time created them for earth to self sustain. Wondering what everyone's thoughts are.

#5 TonyJ

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 04:24 PM

We believe that natural disasters can be a form of punishment, yes. But that's not your real question, is it?


Yes that is the question. I am interested in how all religion's deal with the meaning of natural disasters. But Islam is especially interesting because Muslims claim to have a book which is 100% authored by God himself, so there is no room for mistakes.

When books such as the Bible and Koran were authored, humans had no knowldge of tectonic plates or the science behind Earthquakes. So it was only natural that people in those times would attribute natural disasters as forces unleashed by angry gods. The only scientific approach that I know of prior to modern times was that of Aristotle who erroneously theorized that earthquakes may be caused by strong winds under the earth, or something like that.

But now we understand the process by which earthquakes form and can see that some areas are much more prone to recieving earthquakes than other areas, in some areas they pretty much never occur.

Most Christians and Jews have gradually altered their beliefs in their scriptures as more scientific knowledge has come to light. So nowadays many of the stories are considered to be "metaphores" simply because we now know that they cannot be true based on our scientific knowledge (i.e. the Genesis story or Noah's Arc), but in the distant past these "metaphores" were actually believed to be accurate accounts by most people. Muslims however still believe that their book came word for word from God and that it is 100% accurate, which puts them in a more difficult position when certain passages seem illogical based on modern scientific understandings of the natural world. They are in a sense forced to defend positions that seem somewhat illogical to modern minds. But eventually Muslims will have to concede that there are at least some parts of the Koran that are metaphores rather than facts in the same way that Christians and Jews have. Otherwise Islam will not be able to compete in the global marketplace of ideas.

#6 TonyJ

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 04:37 PM

Regarding earth quakes..some 'googling' showed that "Earthquakes relieve the tension building between tectonic plates. Thus, a bunch of small earthquakes lessen the chance that a large earthquake will occur along the same boundary.


That is a really good answer. Because it allows for the scientific knowldge we have about tectonic plates but still gives Allah a certain level of control over them. So in other words when Allah first designed the earth, he designed the system of tectonic plates on purpose as a neccesity, all part of his master plan. And he uses small earthquakes as a method of rejuvenating the Earth, but sometimes, when he gets really angry (as he did with the people of Thamud) he unleashes a really horrible one that will kill people.

So I assume that by this logic, in areas where there are no tectonic plates he will choose some other form of natural disaster to punish people? But there are some parts of the world where virtually no major natural disaters ever occur or not at the magnitude where people lose their lives. Britain for example never gets earthquakes, volcanos, tsunamis, etc. So if God is merciful and fair, then how does he punish the people in those areas?

#7 Younes

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 05:53 PM

Earthquakes are natural phenomena. The earthquake that overtook Thamud was Divinely ordained because their Prophet Salih (pbuh) had warned them that they would face destruction if they did not repent. This does not however mean that God can't use an earthquake as a punishment in the present day. The difference between now and then is that the Thamud (and others) had Prophets (pbut) warning them that this will happen if they didn't turn to God. In the present day, nobody can claim 100% that an earthquake was a punishment because there is no Prophet informing that it is a Divine punishment.

Obviously God can punish people through other means. His punishment is not limited to earthquakes.

#8 the sad clown

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 02:15 AM

But there are some parts of the world where virtually no major natural disaters ever occur or not at the magnitude where people lose their lives. Britain for example never gets earthquakes, volcanos, tsunamis, etc. So if God is merciful and fair, then how does he punish the people in those areas?

Perhaps the British are more righteous than other people, hence the lack of natural disasters :sl: