Praise be to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah, and upon his family, companions, and those who follow his guidance.
Allah is the All-Wise, All-Knowing in all that He wills and decrees, and He is the All-Wise, All-Knowing in all that He legislates and commands. He creates and decrees whatever signs He wills, to frighten His slaves and remind them of their obligations and duties towards Him, and to warn them against associating anything in worship with Him, going against His commands and doing that which He has forbidden. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And We sent not the signs except to warn.” [al-Israa’ 17:59]
“We will show them Our Signs in the universe, and in their own selves, until it becomes manifest to them that this (the Qur’an) is the truth. Is it not sufficient in regard to your Lord that He is a Witness over all things?” [Fussilat 41:53]
“Say: ‘He has power to send torment on you from above or from under your feet, or to cover you with confusion in party strife, and make you to taste the violence of one another.’” [al-An’aam 6:65]
Al-Bukhari narrated in his Saheeh from Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allah radhiAllahu ‘anhu that when this ayah (6: 65) was revealed, the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “A’oodhu bi wajhika (I seek refuge in Your Face).”
Undoubtedly the earthquakes that are happening these days are among the signs which Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala uses to frighten His slaves. All the earthquakes and other things which happen and cause harm and injury to people are because of shirk and sins, as Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says (interpretation of the meanings):
“And whatever of misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned. And He pardons much.” [al-Shoora 42:30]
“Whatever of good reaches you, is from Allah, but whatever of evil befalls you, is from yourself.” [an-Nisaa’ 4:79]
What Muslims and others who are accountable and of sound mind must do is repent to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, adhere firmly to His Religion and avoid all that He has forbidden of Shirk and sin, so that they may be safe and attain salvation from all evils in this world and the next, and so that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala will ward off from them all harm, and bless them with all good. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And if the people of the towns had believed and had the Taqwaa (piety), certainly, We should have opened for them blessings from the heaven and the earth, but they belied (the Messengers). So We took them (with punishment) for what they used to earn (polytheism and crimes).” [al-A’raaf 7:96]
Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said, “Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala sometimes gives the earth permission to breathe, which is when major earthquakes happen; this makes people feel scared, so they repent, give up sins, pray to Allah and feel regret [for their sins]. When there had been an earthquake, some of the Salaf said: your Lord is warning you. When Madinah was struck by an earthquake, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (radhiAllahu ‘anhu) addressed the people and said: if there is another earthquake, I will not stay here with you.”
Our response when there is an earthquake or some other sign such as an eclipse, strong winds or floods, should be to hasten to repent to Allah and pray to Him for safety, and to remember Him much and seek His forgiveness, as the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said when there was an eclipse, “If you see anything like that, hasten to remember Him, call on Him and seek His forgiveness.” [Part of an agreed-upon hadeeth narrated by al-Bukhaari (2/30) and Muslim (2/628)]
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is the One Whom we ask to reform the affairs of all the Muslims and to bless them with proper understanding of Islam and help them to adhere steadfastly to it and repent to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala from all their sins. We ask Him to reform all those who are in authority over the Muslims’ affairs and to support the Truth and eradicate falsehood through them, and to help them to rule the people according to the laws of Shari’ah, and to protect them and all the Muslims from misguidance and temptation and the tricks of the Shaytaan, for He is Able to do all that.
May the blessings and peace of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad, and upon his family and companions, and those who follow them in truth until the Day of Resurrection.
Abd al-‘Azeez ibn ‘Abd-Allah ibn Baaz (may Allah have mercy on him).