The city of Kufa, Iraq, was struck by an earthquake at the time of ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ūd (radiy Allāhu ‘anhu). At once, he announced to the people,
يا أيها الناس إنَّ ربَّكم يستعتبُكم فاعتِبوه
“O people, Allah is asking you to mend your ways, so make those amendments.” 
Following in the footsteps of Ibn Mas’ūd (radiy Allāhu ‘anhu), we, too, must make the most recent earthquakes that have struck the Muslim world a cause for self-searching and adjustment.
In light of the statement above, and more importantly, the nearing of Ramadan, several key messages lend themselves to us.
1 | Don’t assume definite knowledge of Allah’s Qadr in specific events
The commentary across all sectors on the recent earthquakes has laid bare the overly opinionated nature of some who present themselves as being certain.
It is as if they have received revelation from Allah, of Allah’s specific intention for this specific disaster.
However, the rule says:
ليس كلّ من هلكَ عاصياً، ولا كل من نجا تقيّاً
“Not everyone who dies in a disaster was necessarily a sinner, nor is everyone who survives necessarily a saint.”
The plague of ‘Amwās
During the year 18 AH, a plague broke out in the Palestinian city of ‘Amwās.
This epidemic claimed the life of Abu ‘Ubayda Ibn al-Jarrah (radiy Allāhu ‘anhu) – the trustee of this Ummah and one of the ten promised Paradise.
In addition, droves of companions of the Prophet (ﷺ), and thousands of righteous Muslims perished, whilst their non-believing neighbours across the border remained unaffected.
So, to boldly assert with certainty on what Allah’s specific objective was behind a specific disaster is an error.
‘Aad, Thamūd, and Madyan
These three perished civilisations were taken by way of natural disasters. We know for sure that these were divine punishments, as the prophets of those communities communicated this by way of revelation.
Now that revelation has ceased, commentators must steer clear of explaining away specific events as being a punishment or otherwise. Not only is this inaccurate, but it also becomes a cause of doubt.
Muslims may begin to ask,
“If it is a punishment, then what about the hubs of sin across the world that remain unaffected?”
In which case, we would be at fault for fostering this unnecessary doubt!
2 | Be well-behaved towards Allah
No mind will ever encompass the full picture of Allah’s decrees, mercy, or wisdom.
In fact, had all the minds of mankind and jinnkind merged into one mastermind for the purpose of uncovering the true wisdom behind al-Khidr’s killing of the young boy – as mentioned in Surat al-Kahf – they would have failed miserably in doing so.
It was only when revelation lifted the veils that we came to learn of it.
وَأَمَّا ٱلْغُلَـٰمُ فَكَانَ أَبَوَاهُ مُؤْمِنَيْنِ فَخَشِينَآ أَن يُرْهِقَهُمَا طُغْيَـٰنًۭا وَكُفْرًۭا
“And as for the boy, his parents were believers, and we feared that he would pressure them into defiance and disbelief.”
فَأَرَدْنَآ أَن يُبْدِلَهُمَا رَبُّهُمَا خَيْرًۭا مِّنْهُ زَكَوٰةًۭ وَأَقْرَبَ رُحْمًۭا
“So we hoped that their Lord would give them another, more virtuous and caring in his place.” 
At the scene of the killing, however, Mūsa (ʿalayhi al-Salām) was outraged, and our reactions would have been the same.
In fact, had it not been for revelation, the wisdom behind this one event would have remained a mystery until this very day.
However, Allah, at times, wraps heaps of goodness using a thin packaging of ‘evil’, or so we may describe it.
Since our human assessments are hasty and shallow, we must accept the necessity of being well-mannered towards Allah, respectful of His supreme wisdom, and surrender to the reality that says:
وَٱللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ
“Allah knows, and you do not know.” 
3 | Reconcile and mend damaged relationships
The recent events in Turkey and Syria demonstrated in the starkest way how death, at times, does not give its victims any heads-up, and that when it does arrive, no amount of tears will quell the pain of an unresolved fallout between you and another Muslim.
Throughout the course of my short life, I’ve witnessed the deepest displays of love at airports during farewells, and I’ve seen the truest displays of regret at graveyards, and I’ve watched the warmest tears being shed at funeral processions.
All of this happens because of one simple reason: we only realise each other’s value in the end. But there’s no use in things that come late, as it resembles the kiss of apology on the forehead of the deceased.
- For you to offer just one word of appreciation when it is due is far more precious than writing pages of poetic praise when it’s too late;
- To shed a single tear of apology on the shoulder of a brother whom you’ve fallen out with today is far more valuable than a river of tears unleashed over his grave;
- A rose, sister, that you gift to someone you’ve fallen out with whilst she is alive is far more valuable than a bouquet of roses that you place on her grave.
Don’t delay the beautiful things from when they’re due, because that opportunity may never return again.
Take heed of Allah’s instruction,
فَٱتَّقُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ وَأَصْلِحُوا۟ ذَاتَ بَيْنِكُمْ
“So fear Allah and settle the affairs between yourselves.” 
4 | Acknowledge that “man was created weak” 
Not only have the recent events given humanity a glimpse into the power of Allah, they have also exposed the inherent weakness of man.
And in an age where man has been placed at the centre of the universe, this reminder couldn’t have come sooner.
When the command of Allah comes to pass, be it an earthquake, storm, flood, volcanic eruption, or hurricane, notice how every human activity – the boasting, trading, flirting, competing – comes to a grinding halt.
At that hour of disaster, people of all backgrounds – kings and paupers, rich and poor, saint and sinner – lose all control and are rendered into spectators, helpless bystanders, looking on and awaiting the outcome of Allah’s decree upon their lives. All are unable to do anything for themselves or others.
To demonstrate this, the Prophet (ﷺ) once spat in his hand and placed his index finger within his blessed spittle, and said,
قَالَ اللَّهُ ابْنَ آدَمَ أَنَّى تُعْجِزُنِي وَقَدْ خَلَقْتُكَ مِنْ مِثْلِ هَذِهِ حَتَّى إِذَا سَوَّيْتُكَ وَعَدَلْتُكَ مَشَيْتَ بَيْنَ بُرْدَيْنِ وَلِلْأَرْضِ مِنْكَ وَئِيدٌ فَجَمَعْتَ وَمَنَعْتَ حَتَّى إِذَا بَلَغَتْ التَّرَاقِيَ قُلْتَ أَتَصَدَّقُ وَأَنَّى أَوَانُ الصَّدَقَةِ
‘O son of Adam, how can you outrun Me, when I have created you from something like this? But then when I fashioned and formed you, you walk around (haughtily) in your fine clothes, as your weight causes the earth beneath you to make sounds, and you accumulate wealth and withhold from giving, till the rattle of death reaches your throat, and you cry,
‘I want to give in charity!’
“‘But, by then, it is too late for charity.’” 
The young Turk
A man tells the story of how he was kicked out of his apartment days before the earthquake, because he couldn’t pay his landlord the rent that was due.
Days after the earthquake, however, he said:
“Here I am, both me and my landlord, sharing the same tent and sat around the same fire.” 
Therefore, there is truly no room for any of the following remarks:
“I don’t offer apologies.”
“Mind your own business and don’t judge me.”
“I’m free to live my life as I wish.”
“I won’t pardon a penny he owes me.”
And so on and so forth.
After all, you and I are harmed by a fly, killed by a germ, knocked unconscious by sleep, terrorised by thoughts, manipulated by emotions, and brought to our knees by hunger and thirst!
Man is weak, and for those who are not humbled by religion will be educated and humbled by the events of life.
5 | Renew your commitment to Allah
The Turkish woman
A lady is discovered beneath the rubble, and as the rescue team help her crawl out, she tells them with her weak voice that she won’t leave without her Hijab. 
So, what excuse do you have, my righteous mother, aunty, sister, and daughter, and what guarantee do you have, that you will live to witness another day?
Stand firm in the face of demands made by work, society, or family, for the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that tore down the country of this Turkish woman was unable to cause a mere crack in her īmān.
The elderly man
An old man, as he lay flat on his face beneath the rubble, was filmed by his rescuer, saying,
“I need to pray. How can I make Wudū?” 
So what excuse do you have in delaying or missing your Salah? If not now, when?
Are you that confident that the normality of your everyday life will not change? Do you feel that safe living on the land of a King, beneath the sky of a King, and using the limbs loaned to you by a King, to then ignore and disobey that same King?
ءَأَمِنتُم مَّن فِى ٱلسَّمَآءِ أَن يَخْسِفَ بِكُمُ ٱلْأَرْضَ فَإِذَا هِىَ تَمُورُ
“Do you feel secure that the One Who is in Heaven will not cause the Earth to swallow you up as it quakes violently?”
أَمْ أَمِنتُم مَّن فِى ٱلسَّمَآءِ أَن يُرْسِلَ عَلَيْكُمْ حَاصِبًۭا ۖ فَسَتَعْلَمُونَ كَيْفَ نَذِيرِ
“Or do you feel secure that the One Who is in Heaven will not unleash upon you a storm of stones? Only then would you know how serious My warning was!” 
What do you do in a situation when the arrows of an unreachable archer keep falling upon you? You make peace with the archer and befriend him, and so you’re out of harm’s way.
Likewise, if you fear a sudden punishment from Allah, then make peace with Him and draw near to Him, and you’ll be out of harm’s way.
Renew your commitment to Allah, and find safety from Him in Him.
- Khutbah on the Turkey-Syria Earthquakes
- Turkey-Syria Earthquakes: 4 Steps YOU Must Take NOW
- Why did Allah cause the earthquakes and suffering in Turkey and Syria?
 Tafsīr al-Tabārī
 al-Qur’ān, 18:80-81
 al-Qur’ān, 2:216
 al-Qur’ān, 8:1
 al-Qur’ān, 4:28
 Ahmad, on the authority of Bishr Ibn Jahhāsh
 al-Qur’ān, 67:16-17