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Japans Tsunami - Natural Fault Lines and Artificial Borders

Japans Tsunami - Natural Fault Lines and Artificial Borders

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Published by Moinul Abu Hamza
Japans Tsunami - Natural Fault Lines and Artificial Borders
Japans Tsunami - Natural Fault Lines and Artificial Borders

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Moinul Abu Hamza on Oct 14, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Japan’s Tsunami – Natural Fault lines and Artificial Borders
The powerful earthquake, which then triggered a tsunami that has befallen the people living near Japan’s north-eastern coast that began on 11
March has resulted in widespread destruction and suffering, which has beenbroadcasted on television screens around the world. The catastrophic consequences of what was named the"Great Eastern Japan Earthquake” has been that more than 12,000 people have died in the disaster, 15,000people missing, thousands are injured, and more than 440,000 people have fled their homes for their own safety.The earthquake had a scale of 9 on the Richter Scale and is one of the worst earthquakes recorded in the last100 years, this in itself bears a great significance. The tsunami caused tides of more than 10 metres high. Wesaw buildings, ships, buses, trucks, and cars being swept away whilst nuclear power stations have had theirsafety compromised leading to sections of Japans water supply becoming polluted, radioactive and thereforeundrinkable.With such an emotive subject it is difficult to try and make sense of it all and yet despite the good will of Muslimsand non-Muslims in raising money for those in need and worldwide sentiment for those suffering, the magnitudeof this event raises broader questions about life, death, mortality, divine will and the metaphysical realm beyondour control. As Muslims we are being questioned on various issues that pertain to our understanding of Islam, sothis article will endeavour to shed some light on the questions that this tsunami has raised and also some that weas Muslims need to explore and think about beyond this article.
A brief look at some ayaat related to natural disasters
There can be no doubt that we will be punished for our misdeeds on Earth and in the Akhira (afterlife) but howdoes this manifest? There are many people who will look at this disaster and form judgements based on moralgrounds, stating that the culture of licentiousness and general decadence of a society is what brought upon usAllah’s (swt) punishment. It is not our place nor is it within our ability to make an external judgement on aperson and speculate which individual is being punished or not, rather it is important to take stock of our ownlives and the situation we live in. Allah (swt) reminds us:
“Whatever disaster afflicteth you, it be by the earning of your own hands, And Allah forgiveth much.”
(Surah As-Shuraa v.30 TMQ)Also in another ayah:
“Destruction appears in the land and sea by the actions of men that they may suffer the consequencesfor some of their misdeeds in order that they may return (to Allah in obedience).”
(Surah Ar-Rum v.41TMQ)These horrific scenes brought to mind the warnings given by Allah (swt) about the Day of Judgement, what willtake place during it, the condition of the Earth and the condition of the people in relation to it:
“When the Earth is shaken in its convulsion. And the Earth throws up her burden. And human beings cryin distress what is the matter with it, on that Day it will declare its information. For that your Lord willhave given her inspiration. On that day will you proceed in companies sorted out to be shown the deedsthat they had done. Then shall anyone who has done an atom’s weight of good see it, and anyone whohas done an atom’s weight of evil will see it.”
(Surah Zilzal v.1-8 TMQ)The Prophet (saw) elaborated on a part of this ayah “on that Day it will declare its information”:
“Verily, its information is that it will testify against every male and female servant, about what they didupon its surface. It will say that he did such and such on such and such day. So this is its information.''
 (At-Tirmidhi)Ibn Abbas (RA) stated about the ayah “for that your Lord will have given her inspiration” that the Earth would begiven permission to speak about good and bad actions we undertook:
“It is apparent that the implied meaning here is that He (swt) will permit it (the Earth)”
So the images of the disaster, chaos and carnage we see on our television screens should remind us of the dayof reckoning and motivate us to work in Allah’s cause as we are reminded that if we do not the Earth itself willbear witness to our misdeeds and our good deeds. Therefore we must tread carefully on this Earth and makeevery step we take nearer to our deaths count for us and ensure that we are doing all we can to gain Allah’s (swt)mercy on the day when we will need it most.
A Sign From Allah (swt) or Arbitrary Occurrence?
Allah (swt) reminds us many times in the Quran of nations that suffered similar disasters. Calamities befell thepeople of Prophet Nuh (as) and the people of Prophet Saleh (as) the Bani Thamud, the people of ProphetShu’aib (as) the Bani Madyan and Prophet Hud (as) to the people Bani ‘Ad, amongst others. All the Prophets(peace be upon them all) called the people to worship Allah, but their respective people rejected their call andwere punished severely. The punishments also came in the form of what one could describe as a ‘naturaldisaster’, whether it was floods, violent storms, violent earthquakes or clouds exploding with thunderbolts. Thedifference is that we know exactly why the calamities occurred and we were told they were punishments in manyayaat and ahadith, whereas with Japans natural disaster, we have no direct knowledge from Allah (swt) of themeaning behind these recent events being a punishment, a mercy or neither on those people.Why this Tsunami and earthquake crippled the financial district of Tokyo specifically or why it wroughtdevastation to the fishing community of Kesennuma; we cannot know for sure. In the last few years there havebeen massive earthquakes, albeit not of the same magnitude, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (2006) and in variouscities of Indonesia such as Jakarta (2009) and most recently at the California-Mexico border three days afterJapan’s Tsunami. Who is to say for sure whether it was a punishment or a mercy and who is to say for surewhether a person was in a state of imaan or not before they died. What we do know is those who have died haveno more time to contemplate on the meaning of this event. But we are still here with the accountability to Allah(swt) on our necks. If someone dies on anything other than imaan after receiving the message of Islam, whetherhe or she dies in a Tsunami or dies in their bed they will be accountable for this. As for a Muslim who dies in aflood, he or she will receive the reward of a shaheed, Rasulullah (saw) said:
"’Whom do you consider a shaheed among you?’ They said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, the one killed in theway of Allah is a shaheed.’ He said: ‘Then the shuhadaa (martyrs) among my Ummah would be few.’ Theysaid: ‘Then who are they, O Messenger of Allah?’ He said: ‘The one killed in the way of Allah is ashaheed, the one who dies in the way of Allah is a shaheed, the one who died in plague is a shaheed, theone who died due to the stomach is a shaheed and the drowned person is a shaheed.’"
[Muslim]It is therefore clear that we as Muslims should take heed of this situation and take lessons from it. If disasters likethis do not make us stop and pay attention and think about our purpose on this Earth, in our ever-distracting lives,what will? These worldly distractions are so aptly mentioned in surah At-Takathur (rivalry in worldly increase)
“The mutual increase diverts you, until you visit the graves. Nay! You shall come to know. Again nay!You shall come to know! Again nay! You shall come to know! Nay! If you knew with a sure knowledge.Verily, you shall see the blazing Fire. And again, you shall see it with certainty of sight. Then on that Dayyou shall be asked about the delights.”
(Surah At-Takathur TMQ)Though the situation may sound morbid, this does not mean we should be fatalistic in our approach when wecontemplate about our responsibilities in life as Muslims. Our Ajal (lifespan) is Qada (predetermined) on us butwe are accountable for the actions we undertake ‘by our own hands’ in seeking Allah’s (swt) pleasure ordispleasure. We must still work to earn money and pay for food so we can eat. We cannot just ‘leave it to Allah’to fulfil our responsibility of praying or fasting, nor can we leave the political work necessary to change the diresituation of this Ummah today.The statements such as ‘we should leave it to Allah (swt) to sort out’ or ‘all we can do is Dua’ to solve ourproblems as an Ummah, as if to absolve ourselves from responsibility, are not only invalid from a Shar’aperspective, it is most often than not belied by our own actions. The effort we make to solve our own problemswhen it comes to earning our Rizq (provisions) or when we try to eat healthy or try to stay fit, when we believe ourlifespan (Ajal) is fixed, is worth thinking about. What kinds of effort should we be making for the revival of thisUmmah? When it comes to our individual lives, we are acutely aware of our need to make the effort when itcomes attending to our families, our Masjids or even when seeking Islamic knowledge and then to leave theresults to Allah’s (swt) will. This is best articulated in the words of Muhammad (saw) inside the Hadith:
One day the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) noticed a 'bedouin' (desert Arab) leaving his camelwithout tying it and he asked the 'bedouin': "Why don`t you tie down your camel?" The 'bedouin'answered, "I put my trust in Allah." The Prophet (peace be upon him) then said, "Tie your camel first,then put your trust in Allah"
(Narrated by Tirmidhi)The aim for us should be to think about our individual lives and its connection to the wider Ummah and to takepractical lessons from Allah’s (swt) signs, and it is with this aim we will Insha-Allah proceed.
To Allah (swt) We Belong and To Him (swt) We Shall Return.
The circumstances leading up to our deaths can be different but we will nevertheless face an abrupt end and allwe will take with us are our deeds and whether we believed in Allah (swt) and in his messenger (saw) or not. Sothe question now arises, how should we as Muslims view death and how should this manifest in the way we liveour lives? The answer to this, in as much as this article can cover, is that living and dying are not what’simportant per se, rather
we live for and
we die on is important. For example dying with imaan(believing in Islam) is an excellent thing, but dying without imaan (kufr) is literally a fate worse than death. As forliving, if one feels alive because he or she owns some property or a massive plasma television or a petrolguzzling 4x4 Jeep but is not taking part in the struggle and worship in the cause of Allah (swt), then we are notalive as we are not fulfilling the purpose of our existence. Our beloved Prophet (saw) said,
"The difference between the one who remembers his Lord and the one who does not is like the differencebetween the living and the dead."
(Al-Bukhari, Kitab ad-Da'awat)So we should be careful of being seduced by what is commonly referred to as 'deceptions of the dunya’ i.e. livingfor the purpose of material gain. Islam is not restricted to individual Ibadaat (worship) and generosity (sadaqah)only but rather our Ibadah covers the broad scope of life’s affairs which applies to the struggle Muslims face asan Ummah. The problems we face consists of the balancing act of sustaining a living in a Halal way for us andour families, and engaging with our brothers and sisters in our communities and giving dawa to change thesituation of this Ummah. We rely on Allah for our Ajal (lifespan) but we must take the responsibility of making ourshort time in the Dunya (Earth) count for something. Though we may not die in such catastrophic circumstanceswe will nevertheless face an abrupt end, and this should motivate us to work for Islam.
The Phenomenal Demolition of Modern Japan’s Districts is Not a Modern Phenomenon.
Allah (swt) has destroyed many affluent nations which regarded themselves modern by their own standards:
“Saw you not how your Lord dealt with the people of `Ad. Iram who had lofty pillars. The like of whichwere not created in the land.”
(Surah Fajr; Verse 6-8 TMQ) In the western civilisation with its modern setting, money has replaced God, technology has replaced God andscience has replaced God. As Muslims we question whether the way our wealth is distributed and transacted is ina way that is pleasing to Allah or displeasing to Allah. Is the technology we have developed used for good or forvanity and exploitation? With scientific progress and all these things, are we using them as a means to gainAllah’s pleasure or are they just for our own comfort.We as Muslims need to look at our mortality and its link to natural disasters on Earth and in our universe from adifferent perspective. Our beloved Prophet (saw) was once asked by a Bedouin about the Hour (day of judgement). He (saw) said,
“It will surely come to pass. What have you prepared for it?”
(Bukhari) Thisstatement sums up how the believer looks at his mortality in relation to natural disasters. As opposed to the non-Muslim’s inane fear of the likelihood of a meteor colliding with the Earth or the awestruck superficiality whenwitnessing a solar eclipse. In contrast, Muhammad (SAW) was enamoured in fear and rushed to supplicate toAllah, seeing the eclipse as a sign of moving closer to the Day of Reckoning.In the civilisations of the past when disaster struck, the people used to cling to their man-made idols in momentsof fear only to realise that they were to no avail. We as Muslims do not believe in clinging onto our possessionsand hoping for the best and yet today we are encouraged to live a life that looks like a man in a pin striped suitprofusely peddling on a bike that is suspended in mid air, i.e. going nowhere fast. Both reactions past andpresent are as primitive and shallow as they have ever been. From the day we were created our organic needsand instincts remain the same, since the ‘human condition’ will never change. The way to evaluate progress ordecline as a nation is not by the change of utensils or devices used for how we prepare food, or what type of

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