Salam Dear Aswer,
Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.
Death is a Fact
We are all going to die one day or another; so death is a fact we must all accept.
However, life does not end then; life is eternal either in bliss or in hardship depending on our intentions and deeds.
So disasters claiming the lives of people do not mean that Allah is displeased with all who were affected.
They will be judged according to their intentions on the Day of Judgment, as our Prophet (peace be upon him) has explained, narrated Aisha that Allah’s Apostle said:
An army will invade the Kaaba and when the invaders reach Al-Baida, all the ground will sink and swallow the whole army.” I said, “O Allah’s Apostle! How will they sink into the ground while amongst them will be their markets (the people who worked in business and not invaders) and the people not belonging to them?” The Prophet replied, “All of those people will sink but they will be resurrected and judged according to their intentions. (Al-Bukhari, Book 34, Hadith 329)
How young or how old we are going to die is Allah’s knowledge, some of us die in the cradle and some of old age.
So the one who died young seems to us that he did not live his life properly, but this young soul is actually in happiness with Allah and will continue this way eternally.
Global Climate Change Is a Major Cause of Disasters
How and why people die could be due to what man has created on this earth from pollution or other factors.
Yes, there are disasters, but in this current and past century, disasters are on the increase and scientists are saying that they are no longer natural, they are due to man’s interference in our planet.
Extraction of resources from the earth is leading to industrialization which causes pollution, therefore creating global warming and other natural phenomenon that did not exist in previous centuries.
In the May issue of Journal of Climate, Seager and his colleagues mapped the variability of rains and evaporation. Their attribution analyses showed increased variability in monsoons and other precipitation.
The researchers concluded that these trends,
“no longer natural but a mixed hybrid of [natural] variability and human-induced climate change, will only become more extreme.”
Let’s take Japan, for example: Japan experienced only nine earthquakes between the years 684 AD and 1611 AD, for an average of less than one earthquake per century.
Meanwhile, it had more than fifty earthquakes from 1703 until 2012, with an increasing trend in number of earthquakes per century:
18th Century: 4
19th Century: 8
20th Century: 20
21th Century: 21 and we are only at the beginning of the century
More Man-Made Disasters
You have mentioned thousands of people dying from the Tsunami of 2006 but over a million people have died in the Iraq war due to sanctions and invasion, and the current Syrian conflict claimed the lives of more than 470,000 people.
If we count the consequences from the second and third world wars, the numbers are even higher.
Allah Al-Mighty mentions in the Quran what means:
Evil has become rife on the land and at sea because of men’s deeds; this in order that He may cause them to have a taste of some of their deeds; perhaps they will turn back (from evil). (Quran 30:41)
The early interpretations of the above verse explain that this was revealed due to the war that was taking place between the two superpowers of the time, the Byzantines and the Sassanids.
However, it is, in general, pointing out man’s evil which causes corruption on earth, whether it is through wars, pollution, or moral dissension.
Where is Allah?
Why doesn’t Allah interfere?
That’s because Allah lets us choose the way we desire to live and gave us free will; if we abuse then there will be consequences but if we do what is right then we will live a better life.
It is also the duty of the righteous to stop those who are causing mischief since the result affects everyone.
An-Nu’man bin Bashir said that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
The example of the person abiding by Allah’s order and restrictions in comparison to those who violate them is like the example of those persons who drew lots for their seats in a boat. Some of them got seats in the upper part, and the others in the lower. When the latter needed water, they had to go up to bring water (and that troubled the others), so they said, ‘Let us make a hole in our share of the ship (and get water) saving those who are above us from troubling them.’ So, if the people in the upper part left the others do what they had suggested, all the people of the ship would be destroyed, but if they prevented them, both parties would be safe. (Al-Bukhari, Book 44, Hadith 673)
Also, it is related to believing in Allah and following His commandments, as mentioned in the Quran what is translated as:
Had the people of those towns believed and been God-fearing, We would certainly have opened up to them blessings from the heavens and the earth; but they gave a lie (to their prophets) and so We seized them for their deeds. (Quran 7:96)
So in general, belief in Allah brings blessings while disbelieve bring hardships, some of which could be disasters.
I ask Allah to protect us from calamities and raise us to Him while He is pleased with us. Ameen.
I hope this helps answer your question.
Salam and please keep in touch.
(From AboutIslam’s archives)