بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته
(I wrote this after experiencing Hurricane Charley in Florida 2004)
Weather Reflections & Remembrance of Allah
Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan, Jeanne, Lisa, Karl, etc
And now Hurricane Irene (Aug. 2011)
Hurricane Irene about 11:15 AM EST as a Category 3 hurricane:
Allah, glory be to Him in the highest, has given us brief descriptions of how certain people of ancient times were punished. To the ancient people of Thamud, the Prophet Saalih, peace be upon him, was sent. And to the ‘Ad, Allah, ta’ala sent the Prophet Hud, peace be upon him. We know that both prophets (peace be upon them) carried the same message to their people and Prophet Saalih even warned the Thamud citing the destruction of the ‘Ad. Both their people denied the Last Day. The two nations are always mentioned together throughout the Qur’an, for example in Surat al-Araf, Allah, subhaanahu wa ta’ala advises the Thamud to take warning from the destruction of ‘Ad. This shows that Thamud had detailed information on ‘Ad.
To the Thamud people (We sent) Salih, one of their own brethren: He said: “O my people! worship Allah: ye have no other god but Him” “And remember how He made you inheritors after the ‘Ad people and gave you habitations in the land: ye build for yourselves palaces and castles in (open) plains, and care out homes in the mountains; so bring to remembrance the benefits (ye have received) from Allah, and refrain from evil and mischief on the earth.” (Surat al-Araf: 73-74)
To deny any one of the Pillars of Faith is like denying any other Pillar in that it takes you out of the light of Belief and into the darkness of disbelief. These people, both the Thamud and their predecessors, the ‘Ad (perished nations of Northern Arabia [the Thamud] and Southern Arabia [the ‘Ad]) denied the truth by their sins/transgressions (denial). Allah, glory be to Him, describes to us what happens to those who deny — and here, in Suratal Haaqah it is specifically a reminder to the disbelievers of Makkah during the time of the Prophet, peace be upon him, for the purpose of instilling fear in them.
Allah, subhaanahu wa ta’ala said…
كذبت ثمودُ و عادٌ بِالقارعة
فأما ثمودُ فاهلِكُوا بالطاغية
و أما عادٌ فأُهلكوا بِرِيحٍ صرصرٍ عاتةٍ
سخرها عليهم سبع ليالٍ و ثمانيةَ أيامٍ حُسُوماً
فترى القومَ فيها صرعى كأنهُم أعجازُ نخلٍ خاوِيةٍ
فهل ترى لهُم من باقِيةٍ
The Thamud and the ‘Ad denied the Day of Resurrection. And as for the Thamud, they were destroyed by “at-taaghiyah” – which is a cry, a sound that was so loud, so overwhelming, a sound that broke the barrier of sounds — thereby causing their destruction. [This was the opinion of Qatadah found in Tafseer At-Tabari, 23:571; however, Mujahid said “at-taaghiyah” means their sins, their transgressions which was the denial of the Last Day. In other words, he says that they were destroyed by their denial of the Last Day which was a transgression against Allah.] The strength and power of that sound was more than deafening; it was life-threatening and consequently led to their deaths.
Allah, subhaanahu wa ta’ala, continues: As for the ‘Ad, they were destroyed by
بِرِيحٍ “reehin” — this is the singular form of wind –
صرصرٍ “sarsarin”, an adjective describing “reeh” which is also singular, meaning extremely cold– freezing
عاتة “‘aatiyatin”, another adjective also in agreement with the noun it describes, meaning
severe wind and coldness, surpassing all bounds of wind and cold. So let us put this together: And as far as the ‘Ad, they were destroyed by a severe, cold wind – a storm with such wind force that greatly exceeded the normalcy of sound and coldness. This fact is also corroborated in the hadith which states,
“نصرتُ بالصبا، و أُهلكت عاد بالدبور”
“I (the Prophet, peace be upon him ) was aided by an easterly wind, and the ‘Ad were destroyed by a westerly wind.”
Ibn Abbaas said in explanation of this verse, Allah only sends a wind in a specific measure, and raindrops only come down in specific measures, except for the “day of Nuh” (referring to the Prophet Nuh and the flood) and the “day of the ‘Ad”. Verily, the water on the day of Nuh overflowed its boundaries (as the water in a dam can exceed its boundaries) so there wasn’t any way for them (to escape)– then he recited the ayah,
“إنا لما طغى الماء حملناكم في الجارية”
(This is referring to Nuh from Suratul Haaqah:11
which translates to mean, “Verily, when the water rose beyond its limits, We carried you in the ship”).
And when the wind came it exceeded its limits (of normalcy) so that they had no way (out). Then he recited the ayah “بِرِيحٍ صرصرٍ عاتة as the source of his explanation. [Tafseer At Tabari, 32/29 and it is raised also by AlQortobi and it is also true that it is Ibn Abbass’s view]
BUT, it was not just one day of a bad storm with cold, chilling wind. NO! Then Allah, glory be to Him in the highest, continues His recount of this punishment: “sakharaha ‘alaihim…..” He chose the word “sakhara” which means to overpower, to render helpless/useless, meaning this storm overpowered them for EIGHT DAYS AND SEVEN NIGHTS! Allah imposed this overpowering storm on them for that length of time…. “husuman”…. continuously, without a pause, without a break in the storm. We can’t imagine something like that!
Please allow me to just give you some feeble examples. My aunt’s home is in Melbourne, Florida. At the start of the hurricane season 2004, Hurricane Charley was the first. It was fast moving and traveled along at about 15 miles per hour. We were not close to the eye but still felt some gusts of wind (maybe at 30-40 mph) and some rain,but this lasted for about 3 hours off and on.
By the time Hurricane Frances (the 2nd in the season) hit, I had just returned to Saudi Arabia for a number of weeks, but followed it closely on the news. This storm was twice as large as H. Charley,and hit just south of Melbourne. The eye was so large (about 80 miles across) that it took 8 hours to pass. It was a slow moving storm that crawled along at about 8 miles per hour, meaning it took much longer to pass. So this meant that it took about 24 hours in total to pass over an area, but there was an 8-hour break in the winds and rain when the eye passed over.
Hurricane Ivan (the 3rd of the season), to everyone’s incredulity was even bigger and stronger than H. Frances. It landed far away from Melbourne, but we saw that when it hit the Panhandle (north eastern part of Florida) and Alabama right next to it, the winds were so fierce that the “storm surge” caused such tidal waves that it redefined the coastlines of these two states. The destruction it caused was more than the 2 previous hurricanes. There was a very distinct eye and therefore, a pause (not sure how long this was) in the storm. It continued on up the country causing damage as far north as the state of Pennsylvania. It spun off 5 tornados in one county in Florida and about 60 tornados in another area further north.
Hurricane Jeanne (the 4th of the season and within 6 weeks of Hurricane Charley) just yesterday (Sept 27) was less than H. Ivan, but saw landfall quite near where H. Frances landed and traveled almost the same path, but it traveled at a much faster pace. One newscaster said the temperature had dropped about 15 degrees in just a short period of time and was continuing to drop.
In all of these storms we see how hours of such wind and ran can cause such damage and loss of life. The people are now saying that they are hurricane-weary and the season isn’t over yet (It ends Nov. 30 according to meteorologists’ records and predictions). That is almost another 2 months. Many people who tried to describe the sound of the wind compared it to sound of jet engines up close. Some said it was a deafening roar; others said that it blew so hard that the pressure affected their eyes and ears.
The ‘Ad had horrific, roaring winds that brought with it penetrating cold for 7 nights and 8 days WITHOUT PAUSE! ! ! There was no place for them to go to escape it.
Ibn Mas’ud, Mujahid and other renowned Mufassireen (those who excelled in explaining the Qur’an) held that “husum” also meant unfortunate evil so when we read that last ayah, we understand that this storm lasted for 8 days and 7 nights consecutively and it was unfortunately evil upon them.
The next ayah describes the aftermath: ….
فترى القومَ فيها صرعى كأنهُم أعجازُ نخلٍ خاوِيةٍ
so you see the people thrown down to the ground, toppled over, lying dead, as if they were أعجازُ (‘ajaaz)= palm tree trunks, خاوِيةٍ ruined. So the image we receive of this devastation is that of bodies piled up like so many ruined and dead palm tree trunks, one on top of another.
To quote from the English translation of Tafsir Ibn Kathir, “Ibn Abbas said about the meaning of the word “khaawiyah” – ‘It means ruined.’ Others besides him said, ‘It means dilapidated.’ This means that the wind would cause one of them [a palm tree] to hit the ground, and it will fall down dead on its head. Then its head would shatter and it would remain a lifeless corpse as if it were without branches, motionless.” [Vol. 10, p. 135]
Then, Allah, subhaanahu wa ta’ala, says in finality:
فهل ترى لهُم من باقِيةٍ
AND DO YOU SEE ANY REMAINS OF THEM?
This is a question but please understand that when Allah, glory be to Him, poses a question, it is not a question seeking an answer, but is a question designed to make one think (the disbelievers of the Quraish and other disbelievers) about the seriousness of their transgression. This rhetorical question also implies a warning.
Again quoting from Tafsir Ibn Kathir, “meaning ‘do you find any one of them left or anyone who even attributes himself to being from them? Rather, they are all gone, right down to the last of them, and Allah did not make for them any successors.
[Vol. 10, p. 135]
This was a perfect example for the disbelievers of that time because the Thamud and ‘Ad were from the Arabian Peninsula and some of the ruins of these civilizations remained, especially in Jordan (Madain Saalih), so that the people had some knowledge of these predecessors. As believers, you and I have not only the Qur’an as evidence, but we also have the tools to investigate ancient history which only corroborates what is in the Qur’an (not that we need corroboration). This story is an excellent example for those who take the Qur’an as a reminder. We see signs of His power and might all around us. This series of hurricanes is also an excellent reminder for us to remember Allah often, seek refuge and safety in Him from the evil of all that He has created.
October 4, 2004
O Allah, I ask you for vitality in this life and the one to come. O Allah, I ask You for forgiveness and well-being in my religion, my life, my family, and my wealth. O Allah, cover my faults and set my fears at ease.
O Allah, protect me from before me and from behind me, and on my right and on my left and from above. And I seek refuge in Your Greatness from all attempts to undermine me.
Allahumma, inni as’aluka al aafiyah fid dunya wal aakhirah.
Allahumma inni as’aluka al ‘afwa wal ‘aafiyah fi deeni wa dunyaie, wa ahli wa maali.
Allahumma astur ‘auraati wa aamin raw’aati. Allahumma, ahfathni min baina yadaiya wa min khalfi, wa ‘an yameeni wa ‘an shimaali wa min fauqi.
Wa a’uthu bi athmatika an ughtaal min tah-ti.