Maulana Wahiduddin Khan I Concept of Hereafter
When a train is about to leave a station, the guard blows a whistle. The purpose of this whistle is to warn people of the train’s impending departure, so that anyone still on the platform can come and take his seat on the train. But there are two ways of interpreting this whistle. If it is considered to be just a noise, it will have no meaning. But if it is considered to be an alarm, then it fits into place and takes on its proper meaning.
The same is true of natural disasters. They too can be looked at from two different angles. Our planet is at various times afflicted by drought, earthquakes, hurricanes and other such calamities. Some philosophers look at these disasters as meaningless events and simply label them as “natural phenomena” or “natural disasters”.
Prophets, however, look at the same events from a different point of view. They look at them as a source of admonition and instruction. Looked at in this way, natural disasters become intensely meaningful. They become nature’s warning system, telling us of what is to come.
God’s prophets have explained these events as a preview in miniature of the great calamity that will befall man on the Day of Resurrection. They are a reminder that we are all heading for a dire day – one on which God will appear in all His power and glory. Every mortal man will be brought before Him in an absolutely destitute and helpless state. Man will want to flee, but there will be nowhere for him to take refuge. He will cry out for help, but there will be no one to come to his rescue. The very events which happen on a small scale in this world will occur on a grand scale when God raises man from the dead. These calamities are a reminder of what will befall us on that day. Then, the veil will be entirely lifted, and reality exposed in total form. In this world it is partially lifted when some calamity afflicts us, so that we can gain a glimpse of reality before its total manifestation.
Wise is the one who considers such calamities as a warning given by nature rather than a senseless evil. One who interprets them as nature’s alarm system will humble himself before the Lord and set about mending his ways. If they are looked at as a sign of the evil of nature, on the other hand, then they will only induce confusion and contumacy. And there is a world of difference between these two forms of mentality. The former leads one towards heaven, while the latter brings one closer to hell fire.