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.