It is obligatory to ponder upon the punishments that were afflicted on the previous nations

Allaah (The Most High) promise to punish the Faasiqeen [rebellious, disobedient people] just as it happened to those before them–(punishments) by way of [خَسف—swallowed by the earth]; [ نَسف– wind blast]; [ريح—wind] and destruction, and punished for inattentiveness (to Allaah’s commandments and prohibitions) and heedlessness. [1] Allaah (The Most High):

أَفَأَمِنَ ٱلَّذِينَ مَكَرُواْ ٱلسَّيِّـَٔاتِ أَن يَخۡسِفَ ٱللَّهُ بِہِمُ ٱلۡأَرۡضَ أَوۡ يَأۡتِيَهُمُ ٱلۡعَذَابُ مِنۡ حَيۡثُ لَا يَشۡعُرُونَ

أَوۡ يَأۡخُذَهُمۡ فِى تَقَلُّبِهِمۡ فَمَا هُم بِمُعۡجِزِينَ

أَوۡ يَأۡخُذَهُمۡ عَلَىٰ تَخَوُّفٍ۬ فَإِنَّ رَبَّكُمۡ لَرَءُوفٌ۬ رَّحِيمٌ

”Do then those who devise evil plots feel secure that Allah will not sink them into the earth, or that the torment will not seize them from directions they perceive not? Or that He may catch them in the midst of their going to and fro (in their jobs), so that there be no escape for them (from Allah’s Punishment)? Or that He may catch them with gradual wasting (of their wealth and health). Truly! Your Lord is indeed full of Kindness, Most Merciful?” [16:45-47]

Allaah (The Most High) said:

أَفَأَمِنَ أَهۡلُ ٱلۡقُرَىٰٓ أَن يَأۡتِيَہُم بَأۡسُنَا بَيَـٰتً۬ا وَهُمۡ نَآٮِٕمُونَ

أَوَأَمِنَ أَهۡلُ ٱلۡقُرَىٰٓ أَن يَأۡتِيَهُم بَأۡسُنَا ضُحً۬ى وَهُمۡ يَلۡعَبُونَ

أَفَأَمِنُواْ مَڪۡرَ ٱللَّهِ‌ۚ فَلَا يَأۡمَنُ مَڪۡرَ ٱللَّهِ إِلَّا ٱلۡقَوۡمُ ٱلۡخَـٰسِرُونَ

”Did the people of the towns then feel secure against the coming of Our Punishment by night while they are asleep? Or, did the people of the towns then feel secure against the coming of Our Punishment in the forenoon while they play? Did they then feel secure against the Plan of Allah. None feels secure from the Plan of Allah except the people who are the losers. [7:97-99]

Allaah (The Most High) said:

مِّمَّا خَطِيٓـَٔـٰتِہِمۡ أُغۡرِقُواْ فَأُدۡخِلُواْ نَارً۬ا

‘’Because of their sins they were drowned.’’ [71:25]

 

And Allaah (The Most High) said:

فَلَمَّآ ءَاسَفُونَا ٱنتَقَمۡنَا مِنۡهُمۡ فَأَغۡرَقۡنَـٰهُمۡ أَجۡمَعِينَ

”So when they angered Us, We punished them, and drowned them all.’’ [43:55]

 

O Slaves of Allaah! Indeed Allaah is [الْجَبَّار –The Exalted and All Mighty Compeller]; [الْقَوِيُّ -The One Perfect In Strength]; [الْوَاحِدُ –The One and Only (Who has no partner in His Names, Attributes and Actions and Allaah alone deserves to be worshipped) etc] and Allaah is [الْقَهَّار -The Overwhelming Subduer Who is Never Overcome]. Allaah shows the slaves signs and punishments by way of which they can reflect and contemplate; so that they may return to obedience and not remain in their misguidance and heedlessness.

How much wisdom is there regarding the afflictions with which Allaah afflicts some of the slaves and not others!? And from that wisdom–and Allaah knows best–is so that they serve as a lesson for those who are present concerning (the affair of those who) have preceded; and so that they may take heed concerning what has already gone by and prepare themselves for what is to come.

Allaah’s admonitions and reprimands are of various types: sometimes it is by way of drowning, just as the people of Nooh were destroyed through drowning; sometimes it is by way of winds, just as Allaah destroyed the people of Ad by way of that; sometimes it is by way of (severe torment- destructive loud thunder bolts), just as Allaah destroyed Thamood by way of that (i.e. thunderbolts followed by an earthquake); sometimes is it by way of turning their houses upside down just as Allaah destroyed the people of Lut by way of that; sometimes is it by way of a violent wind with shower of stones just as Allaah destroy shu’aib’s people by way of that. [2] And sometimes it is by way of enemies who are given the upper hand, just as Allaah gave a people who had extreme strength in war fare the upper hand over Bani Israa’eel. [3]

Allaah (Glorified and Exalted Be He) commanded us to reflect upon, saying:

قُلِ ٱنظُرُواْ مَاذَا فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ‌ۚ وَمَا تُغۡنِى ٱلۡأَيَـٰتُ وَٱلنُّذُرُ عَن قَوۡمٍ۬ لَّا يُؤۡمِنُونَ

فَهَلۡ يَنتَظِرُونَ إِلَّا مِثۡلَ أَيَّامِ ٱلَّذِينَ خَلَوۡاْ مِن قَبۡلِهِمۡ‌ۚ قُلۡ فَٱنتَظِرُوٓاْ إِنِّى مَعَكُم مِّنَ ٱلۡمُنتَظِرِينَ

ثُمَّ نُنَجِّى رُسُلَنَا وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ‌ۚ كَذَٲلِكَ حَقًّا عَلَيۡنَا نُنجِ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ

Say: “Behold all that is in the heavens and the earth,” but neither Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) nor warners benefit those who believe not. Then do they wait for (anything) save for (destruction) like the days of the men who passed away before them? Say: “Wait then, I am (too) with you among those who wait.” Then (in the end) We save Our Messengers and those who believe! Thus it is incumbent upon Us to save the believers. [10:101-103]

O slaves of Allaah! However with great sorrow, these calamities, miseries, admonitions and wars that we see here and there and hear about, are in reality a chastisement from Allaah upon His slaves, so that they may return (to Allaah in repentance and obedience) and seek rescue and delieverance from Allaah. Allaah (The Most High) said: [فَلَوۡلَآ إِذۡ جَآءَهُم بَأۡسُنَا تَضَرَّعُواْ ] ‘’When Our Torment reached them, why then did they not believe with humility?’’ Meaning: Did they humble themselves when our Torment reached them? [وَلَـٰكِن قَسَتۡ قُلُوبُہُمۡ وَزَيَّنَ لَهُمُ ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنُ مَا ڪَانُواْ يَعۡمَلُونَ ] ‘’But their hearts became hardened, and Shaitan (Satan) made fair-seeming to them that which they used to do.’’ [6:43]

Therefore O slaves of Allaah! Indeed it is a calamity that these afflictions have reached many people but they still remain upon what they are upon. They have neither turned away from their sins nor repent to Allaah (Glorified and Exalted Be He). The one who stays away from the congregational prayer has not ceased doing so; the who does not pay attention to his children and their upbringing has not ceased doing so and has not woken up; the one who eats usury and engages in forbidden dealings is still not paying attention and turning away (from his sin). This is the case with regards to all other acts of disobedience and major sins. The people remain upon their misguidance and increase in it-neither being reminded nor learning lessons.

[Abridged and slightly paraphrased: Source: عقوبات الله المتنوعة وأسبابُهاpages 16-20]

To be continued..In-Shaa-Alaah

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Footnotes in booklet:

[1] Imaam Ibnul Qayyim (rahimahullaah) said, ‘’From the punishments for sins are (the following): Indeed it causes blessings to cease and brings about punishment. A blessing does not cease from a slave and punishment does not befall a slave except due to sin; just as Ali Ibn Abee Taalib (radiyallaahu-anhu) said: A calamity does not descend except due to sin and a calamity is not removed except due to repentance. And indeed Allaah (Glorified and Exalted Be He said:

[وَمَآ أَصَـٰبَڪُم مِّن مُّصِيبَةٍ۬ فَبِمَا كَسَبَتۡ أَيۡدِيكُمۡ وَيَعۡفُواْ عَن كَثِيرٍ۬] And whatever of misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned. And He pardons much.’’ [42:30]

And Allaah (The Most High) said: [ذَٲلِكَ بِأَنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَمۡ يَكُ مُغَيِّرً۬ا نِّعۡمَةً أَنۡعَمَهَا عَلَىٰ قَوۡمٍ حَتَّىٰ يُغَيِّرُواْ مَا بِأَنفُسِہِمۡ‌ۙ] ‘’ That is so because Allah will never change a grace which He has bestowed on a people until they change what is in their ownselves.‘’ [8:53]

So Allaah (The Most High) informed (us) that He does not replace the blessing He bestows on any individual unless the person changes his/her own state of affairs-by replacing obedience to Allaah with disobedience; replacing gratefulness to Allaah with ungratefulness; replacing the means to Allaah’s Pleasure with the means leading to Allaah’s Displeasure. When a person changes, Allaah changes his state of affairs as an exact recompense (according to his evil crimes). [وَمَا رَبُّكَ بِظَلَّـٰمٍ۬ لِّلۡعَبِيدِ] ‘’And your Lord is not at all unjust to (His) slaves.’’ [41:46] If he (the person) replaces obedience with disobedience, Allaah replaces his state of wellbeing with punishment and his state of honour with humiliation.

[2]Allaah (Glorified and Exalted Be He) said:

فَكُلاًّ أَخَذۡنَا بِذَنۢبِهِۦ‌ۖ فَمِنۡهُم مَّنۡ أَرۡسَلۡنَا عَلَيۡهِ حَاصِبً۬ا وَمِنۡهُم مَّنۡ أَخَذَتۡهُ ٱلصَّيۡحَةُ وَمِنۡهُم مَّنۡ خَسَفۡنَا بِهِ ٱلۡأَرۡضَ وَمِنۡهُم مَّنۡ أَغۡرَقۡنَا‌ۚ وَمَا ڪَانَ ٱللَّهُ لِيَظۡلِمَهُمۡ وَلَـٰكِن ڪَانُوٓاْ أَنفُسَهُمۡ يَظۡلِمُونَ

‘’So We punished each (of them) for his sins, of them were some on whom We sent Hasiban (a violent wind with shower of stones) [as the people of Lout (Lot)], and of them were some who were overtaken by As-Saihah [torment – awful cry, etc. (as Thamud or Shu’aib’s people)], and of them were some whom We caused the earth to swallow [as Qarun (Korah)], and of them were some whom We drowned [as the people of Nuh (Noah), or Fir’aun (Pharaoh) and his people]. It was not Allah Who wronged them, but they wronged themselves.’’ [29:40]

 

[3]Allaah (Glorified and Exalted Be He) said: [فَإِذَا جَآءَ وَعۡدُ أُولَٮٰهُمَا بَعَثۡنَا عَلَيۡڪُمۡ عِبَادً۬ا لَّنَآ أُوْلِى بَأۡسٍ۬ شَدِيدٍ۬ فَجَاسُواْ خِلَـٰلَ ٱلدِّيَارِ‌ۚ وَكَانَ وَعۡدً۬ا مَّفۡعُولاً۬  ]

‘’So, when the promise came for the first of the two, We sent against you slaves of Ours given to terrible warfare. They entered the very innermost parts of your homes. And it was a promise (completely) fulfilled.’’ [17:5]