By Shaykh Abdul Qayum | 3 May 2024

As we observe the various natural disasters that have been afflicting different parts of the world, from the devastating floods in the Middle East to the earthquakes in Turkey and Morocco, and from the droughts to the excessive rainfall in Africa, it becomes clear that these calamities serve as a wake-up call for humanity to reflect on our actions and turn back to Allah.

In the Holy Qur’an, Allah tells us, “Corruption has appeared throughout the land and sea by reasons of what the hands of people have earned, so that Allah may let them taste part of the consequences of what they have done, and perhaps they will return to righteousness.” (Qur’an 30:41) This verse emphasises the direct connection between human actions and the occurrence of natural disasters.

The link between human action and climate change is an indisputable fact discovered by modern scientists. However, the Qur’an, revealed to our Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) more than 1400 years ago, made the connection in numerous verses at a period when the connection between human action and climate change were not known.

Corruption, as I explained in my sermon, can be divided into two categories: material and spiritual. While material corruption refers to the harm we cause to the environment through industrialisation, excessive fuel consumption, and other detrimental practices, spiritual corruption encompasses the sins and disobedience that have become prevalent in our societies.

Islam, like other religious traditions, teaches that there is a link between the state of the planet and the spiritual degeneration of mankind. Allah sends natural disasters as a warning, as mentioned in the Qur’an, “And We sent not the signs except as a warning.” (Qur’an 17:59) These calamities serve as a reminder for people to realise their deviation from the righteous path and to seek repentance and forgiveness from Allah.

In another powerful verse Allah states:

Then do those who have planned evil deeds feel secure that Allah will not cause the earth to swallow them or that the punishment will not come upon them from where they do not perceive?

(Qur’an 16:45)

This verse highlights the false sense of security that people often have, believing that their wealth and technology can protect them from Allah's punishment. However, as we have witnessed, even the most developed cities and airports can be brought to a standstill by sudden floods or disasters which could not have been comprehended.

It is essential to understand that these disasters are not a sign of cruelty by Allah, but rather a manifestation of His kindness and mercy. As the Qur’an states, “And whatever strikes you of disaster, it is for what your hands have earned, but He pardons much.” (Qur’an 42:30) Allah gives us these signs so that we may turn back to Him, seek His forgiveness, and mend our ways.

In the context of the spiritual perspective on natural disasters, environmental calamities can be likened to a sudden heart attack or stroke that a person may suffer. Just as these health scares serve as a stark warning for individuals to reassess their lifestyle choices and make necessary changes, the increasing frequency and intensity of natural disasters should be viewed as a divine wake-up call for humanity to mend our ways and turn back to Allah.

The concern shown by Prophet Muhammad ﷺ whenever he saw clouds or signs of potential calamity is noteworthy. As narrated by his companion, Um Mad,

I said to the Messenger of Allah , ‘O Messenger of Allah, when people see clouds, they are usually happy and excited that it would rain, while I see that when you see clouds, a sign of concern appears on your face.’ He ﷺ replied, ‘O Um Mad, what guarantee is there that there will be no punishment in it? Verily, some people were punished with a wind. Some people saw the punishment and said, “This cloud will give us rain,” but it was a punishment.

I appeal to everyone to be more mindful of the environment, recognise that there is a connection between our actions and spiritual health with the disasters we see across the planet.

The increasing frequency and intensity of natural disasters should serve as a wake-up call for humanity to reflect on our spiritual state and our relationship with the environment. It is crucial for us to engage in sincere repentance, give up our sins, and work towards being better stewards of the planet that Allah has entrusted us with.

By heeding these warnings and turning back to Allah, we can hope to mitigate the consequences of our actions and seek His mercy and forgiveness. Let us take this opportunity to introspect, change our ways, and strive towards a more harmonious relationship with our Creator and His creation.


Note: The East London Mosque is committed to playing its part in combating climate change and protecting the environment. As an institution guided by Islamic principles, we recognise the importance of environmental stewardship and the urgent need to address the climate crisis.

In line with this commitment, the East London Mosque runs several green initiatives and programmes aimed at reducing our carbon footprint, promoting sustainable practices, and raising awareness about environmental issues within our community.

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