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Spiritual Lessons from Natural Disasters

Part 1 | Part 2

Natural disasters should prompt us to contemplate and reflect to see what lessons we can derive from them.

A person whose heart is still alive can find in each and every incident a reminder and a message that draws him/her closer to the truth and gets him/her back on the right track. Some of these lessons and insights are:

The limitless power of God

Formidable hurricanes attract our attention to the unlimited extent of the divine power and the exceptional execution of this power. When God wills for something to happen, He just commands “Be”, and it will be right away.

The earth will quake, the wind will storm, and the rivers and the oceans will flood; everything that Allah wants to move will move and everything that Allah wants to stay still will stay still.

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On the other hand, this shall open the eyes of humans to their limits and weaknesses. Humans are becoming so haughty and arrogant about their power and the little knowledge that they possess.

True, we are able to do many things in the universe: we landed on the moon and are trying to reach other planets; we made amazing scientific discoveries and technological advances; yet, we still stand helpless in front of these natural disasters.

Although the path of the hurricane was known in advance, nothing could be done to divert it, let alone stop it. Allah reminds us in His divine book:

{And of all the knowledge, you (mankind) have not been given but a little.} (Al-Israa’ 17:85)

Science is limited

Secular scientists used to say that with science, man was able to defeat, suppress and subjugate the nature and the whole universe, but this is not true.

Man was able to subjugate parts of this nature and universe according to the laws of subjugation that Allah has placed in the universe. But the fact remains that this nature and universe are stronger than man who stands helpless and powerless in front of many of its aspects.

`Imam Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, the great companion of Prophet Muhammad (peace and the blessings be upon him) used to say:

“How helpless is the child of Adam. A small bug can hurt him; he could be killed if he chokes and finds no help; and his body would stink if he sweats.”

The pain of a small bug’ sting can make you restless. And nowadays we know that a very tiny microbe or virus that cannot even be seen by the naked eye can kill man. This is how weak man is, as Allah said in His divine book: {And man was indeed created weak.} (An-Nisaa’ 4:28)

So, through these disasters, humans should realize their real power as compared to the power of Allah, their real knowledge as compared to the knowledge of Allah and their real capabilities as compared the capabilities of Allah Almighty.

The value of this life

These disasters also show us the real value of this dunya, this worldly life over which people fight and kill one another; people get attached to it so strongly that they are willing to be enemies of one another for its sake. It is a temporary and transient life that has no lasting or tangible value whatsoever except when used as investment for the Akhirah (the hereafter), the really eternal, everlasting life.

A man can be safe in his house and all of a sudden he is taken from this life by one of these disasters without any advance notice or warning. All of a sudden he is dead. In seconds, it is all over.

That is the true value of this dunya. People think that death is far from them; however, it is very close, even closer to than the garments that they wear. Allah says in His divine book:

{And the matter of the Hour (of Doom) is not but as a twinkling of the eye or even nearer. Truly Allah is able to do all things.} (An-Nahl 16:77)


* This article is from archive.