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Are natural disasters punishments

Fatwaa ID: 593



Dear muftian kiraam

A musallee asked:

Are all earthquakes, hurricanes and natural disasters adhab due to sins?
Is there any specific hadeeth about earthquakes occurring due to women dressing immodestly and not doing purdah properly?
If an earthquake occurs in a specific country is it due to the sins of those people specifically or is it due to the ummat’s sins/disobedience
as a whole ?

Ajeeboo wa tujaroo

In the Name of Allaah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salaamu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullaahi wa-barakaatuh.

Allaah Ta’aala alone knows what the purposes are for these natural disasters. It may or may not be a punishment. It is not for us to assume or make statements and blame others. The purpose of such may differ from individual to individual. For some, it may be a means of expiation, while for others it may be a means of elevation. It may be a warning for some and a punishment for others. Irrespective of what it is, it is necessary for each and every person to introspect into his own life and see what he has done wrong. These disasters should serve as reminders for us. They should draw us closer to Allaah Ta’aala, through istighfaar and shukr. If these go by without a change in our life, then we are the real losers.

And Allaah Ta’aala knows best.
Mufti Muajul I. Chowdhury
Darul Iftaa New York

07/23/1444 AH – 02/14/2023 CE | AMG1-2788

وصل اللهم وسلم وبارك على سيدنا محمد وعلى ءاله وصحبه أجمعين

Kindly refer to the following,




I have read many publications on the atrocities in Muslim countries. They all say it is punishment from Allah. How is that conclusion made? Can it not be a test of Allah? Why only punishment? Your comments Mufti Saheb.


In the Name of Allaah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

You enquire regarding whether the various atrocities in predominantly Muslim countries are a punishment from Allaah Ta’aala or a test of their Imaan. No one can make an absolute claim in that regard as nobody knows with certainty the reason behind Allaah’s will in those atrocities. The observations made by people are at most probabilities. It is incorrect to regard the various atrocities as the punishment of Allaah Ta’aala with certainty. The atrocities could probably be a punishment from Him or they could be a test of their Imaan.

However, if people are disobedient to Allaah and openly violating His laws, then the atrocities could probably be a punishment from Him. If people are obedient to Allaah Ta’āla and practice upon Deen, then the atrocities are probably a test of their Imaan.

It would be incorrect to dismiss the atrocities as a test of Imaan while Allaah Ta’āla is being disobeyed and people carry out sinful activities like zinaa (fornication), stealing, injustice, etc.

Reflect upon the following verse:

ظَهَرَ الْفَسَادُ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِي النَّاسِ لِيُذِيقَهُمْ بَعْضَ الَّذِي عَمِلُوا لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ

Translation: Corruption has appeared throughout the land and sea by [reason of] what the hands of people have earned so He may let them taste part of [the consequence of] what they have done that perhaps they will return [to righteousness]. (Surah Ar-Room v.41)

وَلَنُذِيقَنَّهُمْ مِنَ الْعَذَابِ الْأَدْنَى دُونَ الْعَذَابِ الْأَكْبَرِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ

Translation: And we will surely let them taste the nearer punishment short of the greater punishment that perhaps they will repent. (Surah As-Sajdah v.21)

Rasulullaah (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) is reported to have said:

من يعمل سوءا يجز به في الدنيا

Translation: “Whoever does evil, he shall be recompensed in this life.” (Ahmad)

It would also be incorrect to regard the atrocities as punishment from Allaah Ta’āla when He is being obeyed and the laws of Shariah are fulfilled. In such a situation, one should seek refuge in taqdeer and regard the atrocities as a test of one’s Imaan.

Consider the following,

أَحَسِبَ النَّاسُ أَنْ يُتْرَكُوا أَنْ يَقُولُوا آمَنَّا وَهُمْ لَا يُفْتَنُونَ (2) وَلَقَدْ فَتَنَّا الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ فَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا وَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ الْكَاذِبِينَ (3)

Translation: Do the people think that they will be left to say, “We believe” and they will not be tried? But We have certainly tried those before them, and Allah will surely make evident those who are truthful, and He will surely make evident the liars. (Surah Al-‘Ankaboot v.3)

وَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ الْمُنَافِقِينَ

Translation: And Allah will surely make evident those who believe, and He will surely make evident the hypocrites. (Surah Al-‘Ankaboot v.11)

وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُمْ بِشَيْءٍ مِنَ الْخَوْفِ وَالْجُوعِ وَنَقْصٍ مِنَ الْأَمْوَالِ وَالْأَنْفُسِ وَالثَّمَرَاتِ وَبَشِّرِ الصَّابِرِينَ

Translation: 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. (Surah Al-Baqarah v.155)

And Allaah Ta’āla Knows Best

Muajul I. Chowdhury
Student Darul Iftaa
New York, USA

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.


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