The Andaman and Nicobar recently experienced cyclonic storm due to Cyclone Asani. Such natural calamities more often than not visit human habitations. People do make preparations to ‘deal with any situation’ in response to the forecast by the Meteorological Department, and when the calamity hits the region, they take rescue measures. But they scarcely see through the message these calamities intend to convey and take heed from such warnings. They dismiss them as an “act of nature” and continue in their old ways if they are saved from the calamity.
The monstrous storm and the howling of its wind can make a person introspect and evaluate the purpose of their life. What kind of life am I leading? Are my actions and deeds genuinely aimed at pleasing the Creator? Are they in accordance with His commandments?
God sends calamities as a warning to remind people that they still have an opportunity to change for the better. The Qur’ān (10:22) presents a picturesque scene: “It is He who enables you to travel on land and sea until, when you are in ships and they sail with them by a good wind and they rejoice therein, there comes a storm wind and the waves come upon them from everywhere and they assume that they are surrounded, supplicating God, sincere to Him in religion, ‘If You should save us from this, we will surely be among the thankful’.”
But the thankless forget that they had supplicated to God and break the word given to Him. The Qur’ān (10:23) records their thanklessness: “But when He saves them, at once they commit injustice upon the earth without right.”
The fact remains that natural calamities are not accidental occurrences. They occur by the decree of the Lord Creator. The Qur’ān (45:5) avers: “And in His directing of the winds are signs for a people who reason.”
God gives ample opportunity to the people for making a change. But what if one remains thankless and rejects God’s message or warning sent in the form of a calamity. If so happens, the punishment of God descends. The Qur’ān reminds us of some historical punishments like the flood of Noah, the winds of ‘Aad, and the thunderbolt of Thamud. God also sent upon them the flood, locusts, lice, frogs, and blood as distinct signs. But they continued to reject the truth and thus the Divine chastisement destroyed them.
The Qur’ān (41:16-17) tells us why God punished those who rejected God’s message: “So We sent upon them a screaming wind during days of misfortune to make them taste the punishment of disgrace in the worldly life…. And as for Thamud, We guided them, but they preferred blindness over guidance, so the thunderbolt of humiliating punishment seized them for what they used to earn.”
May God help and guide us to reflect upon His Message and may He save us from His punishment.