What is the Punishment of God?

May 2, 2007 § 10 Comments

Have you ever contemplated thunder? Its booming rolls and rumbles which emit from the Heavens, splitting the sky and shaking the Earth. Last night during ‘isha prayer I felt the startling reminder of Allah’s punishment when a series of rumbles appeared from the sky. My children immediately ran into the living room teary-eyed where they found me prostrating. The children crowded around me on the ground trembling and followed suit – though pointed in nearly every direction except the qibla – and I wondered if this was a natural inclination or if they were simply afraid, confused and perhaps unwittingly following what they saw their father – who presents a sense of protection, security and safety – doing?

So after I put the children back to bed, I decided to put some time into studying the Qur’an before I went to sleep. What I found was that in the ‘general index’ of the Muhammad Asad translation of the Qur’an (2004 edition) on page 1159 are references to the “thunderbolt of” Allah. The references point to various ayat which mention the thunderbolt of Allah (2:55, 4:153, 13:13 and 41:13; 17). Each verse points to the punishment of Allah such as that which was inflicted on the Jews for saying to Musa (a.s.),

“Show us Allah in public,” (4:153)

Likewise, the people of ‘Ad and Thamud received punishment which is described as the thunderbolt of Allah saying,

“But if they turn away, say thou: “I have warned you of a stunning Punishment (as of thunder and lightning) like that which (overtook) the ‘Ad and the Thamud!”” (41:13)

As I read over the places in the Qur’an where this Punishment was mentioned I wondered, is this punishment not the same as what we today call ‘natural disaster’? This thought moved me to consider and question the number of natural disasters we have faced in recent years. Haven’t we here in the U.S. faced a number of floods, forest fires, mass murders, etc., things we had absolutely no control over and are now part of the forgotten past?

In at-torat (Torah), az-zabur (The Psalms), al-injil (Gospels) and al-qur’an (The Koran), we are told of whole civilizations that were wiped from existence because of their misdeeds and disobediance. Are we in the U.S. like the people of Thamud? Like Thamud are we enjoying the unbridled freedoms which American politicians use to taunt and pander people world-wide?

“And in the Thamud (was another Sign): Behold, they were told, “Enjoy (your brief day) for a little while!”” (51:43)

Have we abused these freedoms? If so we need to recognize our own folly and wrong doing as a people – and stop pointing the finger at others – then perhaps we may save ourselves from further tragedy or even imminent threat of catastrophic proportions, one that is currently gaining fame due to a former United States, Vice President. Maybe, just maybe, if we address our own ills before trying to correct others we may prevent the Thunderbolt of Allah, unlike the people of ‘Ad,

“But they rebelled against their Lord’s decree, and so the thunderbolt overtook them even while they gazed;” (51:44)

As a final thought, I would like to ask anyone reading this article to say a prayer for your people, whomever they might be. Say a prayer for them, beseech God for them guidance in their worldly affairs. And beseech for us (humanity) Justice. Because what we need in this world is Justice and the only way we will receive Justice is by God’s Mercy.


§ 10 Responses to What is the Punishment of God?

  • Hakim says:

    as-salaamu ‘alaikum

    Thank you for your comment,

    “Our prayer then, should be for all people.”

    Indeed, our prayers should be for humanity.

  • JDsg says:

    Salaam ‘alaikum.

    I enjoyed your post over at Street Prophets, but too many of the comments over there are off-putting for me. I keep reading them and my reaction is “Astaghfirullah, astaghfirullah…” Too much bida

    Ironically, just after I read that post yesterday morning when you mentioned the thunderstorm, we had a big thunderstorm blow through here as well. 🙂

  • ~W~ says:

    30:41 Corruption has appeared on land and in the sea as an outcome of what men’s hands have wrought, that He (God) may give them a taste of some of their deeds, in order that they may turn back.

    Pollution and destruction of resources like trees and all that has led to changes in the ecological systems of the earth. We are violating the Earth and the physical laws God has designed for a good life and we are seeing the consequences of our actions. It is good to pray, but we have to also take appropriate measures to be good to the Earth. We have to turn back.

  • Asalaamu alaikum, brother. We recently had a crazy thunderstorm storm here in Houston and I woke up at 3 a.m. to weather I’ve never seen before – almost continuous lightning and loud thunder that rolled across the sky, getting louder and quieter as each part of the storm passed through.

    When I hear thunder I always think of the verse from Al Rad: “Nay, thunder repeateth His praises, and so do the angels, with awe: He flingeth the loud-voiced thunder-bolts, and therewith He striketh whomsoever He will..yet these (are the men) who (dare to) dispute about Allah, with the strength of His power (supreme)!”

  • Hakim says:

    as-salaamu ‘alaikum

    “It is good to pray, but we have to also take appropriate measures to be good to the Earth.”

    You are right but today there is no Khalif and the Muslims are virtually powerless politically. Which presents a formidable test for the Muslims of the World. Allah has given man a specific role within His Creation:

    ” It is He who has appointed you guardians in the earth, and has raised some of you in rank above others, that He may try you in what He has given you. Surely your Lord is swift in reckoning; and surely He is All-Forgiving, All-Compassionate.” (6:165)

    So the question is although there is not a “Muslim Khalif” who is currently the principle Guardian of the Earth? President Bush??? 😮

  • […] Abdullah presents What is the Punishment of God? posted at Hakim Abdullah. Hakim contemplates the similarities between the recent disasters in the […]

  • James says:

    Looking at the past six years George W Bush is our punishment. We let a base fool get into office. We placed a hopeless incompetent, a failure at everything he ever did, into the White House. We let a nere-do-well scion of GH Bush make decisions for the greatest power the world ever seen because we thought he would “be fun to have a beer with.” And the USA has been beaten by an iron rod. Our most good name has been dragged through the mud, our judicial system has been perverted and our young men and women have been slaughtered as sacrifice to heathen gods. The Buddhists have a term called “mindfulness” maybe there is an Islamic equivalent. Mindfulness is being aware of and paying attention to the moment in which we find ourselves. The voters of 2000 and 2004 were not being mindful when they cast their ballots. The voters were easily distracted by nonsense “issues” like Al Gore sighing at one of Bush’s idiotic points. Al Gore got slagged because he was “wooden”, “boring”, wore earth tones, etc. Somehow the Corporate Media never got around to Bush’s negatives. And when Gore “lost” Florida the public, thoroughly bored with the process, let the five Republican Supreme Court Judges pick George W Bush as the 43rd president of the USA. Pick a deadly sin and the election of 2000 covers it nicely.

    The major sin though is sloth. The electorate was lazy; we didn’t bother to find out the true story of G. W. Bush. All one had to do was Google “Molly Ivans.” Molly had the goods on “shrub” for ages. And when the man who finished second in the popular vote was proclaimed President we failed to follow the example of the Ukrainians. We flipped the channel on the TV to see who would win “American Idol.”

    As we all know one sin always leads to more sins and those sins become worse in quantity and quality. Sloth leads to September the 11th. Our Wrath from September 11th leads to Iraq, and that war lead to a thousand and one other evils. Due to the sin of sloth the USA is now drenched in an Ocean of blood. What is truly sickening is that up to a third of the electorate in the USA STILL doesn’t get this. If you doubt this, you didn’t watch or hear about the South Carolina Republican debate. All the seven deadly sins were proudly displayed in that little forum.

    So yes, let us pray to Allah the most just and compassionate but let us also be mindful. Democracy demands participation- get involved. Join a discussion group, volunteer for a NGO, pick up a phone and badger your MP or Congresscritter. Ben Franklin said it best “God helps those who help themselves.” Turn off Big Brother and get involved. Take a page from the Ukrainians and let the powers that be that you’re out there and more than willing to make your voices heard.

  • James says:

    last sentance should read :Take a page from the Ukrainians and let the powers that be know that you’re out there and more than willing to make your voices heard.

  • Hakim says:


    “Looking at the past six years George W Bush is our punishment.”

    We Americans did that to ourselves. But honestly, its not like we have much variety in presidential candidates.

  • Shielded says:

    I am a first-time reader and commenter.
    This was a very interesting post!
    It is so true that our children pick up on our moods and fears and joys and faith! What an awesome task we have to guide them by our example and posture!

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