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Article appeared Friday, October 25th, 2019 in The News Today, Bangladesh

The Revelation (593) yousuf mahbubul Islam, PhD


Can the fine buildings that we live in, the technology that we use or the wealth that we
have amassed ensure or promote eternal life, in other words, prevent or even delay our
death? We find that not only people with best of health suddenly die without any notice,
but also cities or populations are completely destroyed with what is called a natural
disaster.
“A natural disaster is a sudden event that causes widespread destruction, major
collateral damage or loss of life, brought about by forces other than the acts of
human beings. A natural disaster might be caused by earthquakes, flooding,
volcanic eruptions, landslides, hurricanes, etc. To be classified as a disaster, it
will have profound environmental effect and/or human loss and frequently incurs
financial loss.” {1}

The Wikipedia page List of natural disasters by death toll {1} lists the top ten worse
disasters, even those since the year 1900. The estimated death toll at the1931 China
floods is between 1 million to 4 million {1} while the most recent listed disaster in 2019 is
Cyclone Idai where 1303 people lost their life in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. In
the face of such disasters can the strong buildings, technology or/and wealth prevent the
arrival of death? So, are such disasters random events or are they Acts of God?

We are all destined to die one day. Death through a natural disaster, however, would
imply a premature death. So the question is, why a premature death? On the Internet
there is debate {2, 3} essentially trying to show that natural disasters are not really “Acts
of God”. Should we analyze this with further questions and decide for ourselves? Is this
because premature death would indicate the wrath of God and His Decision to withdraw
the blessings of the earthly life for the people involved? Would it indicate that He is so
displeased that He shows His Decision by giving premature and a violent or
dishonorable death? Is it that we don’t want to admit that we are being punished?

To finally decide, we need to take into consideration some basic facts. If we accept that
God has created each individual, what does it imply? If He has taken the trouble to
create each person’s DNA, creates and sustains each human being, created all the
systems in the universe, it must be for a reason – His own reason. At a bare minimum
this would be that He wants to be known – known for who He is, our sole Creator,
Sustainer, Benefactor and Judge. If we want to be grateful, it is He we should be grateful
to. If we have a problem, it is He we should approach. If we should fear, it is He alone
that we should fear. If instead we fear other things, are ungrateful and arrogant, and give
priority to other things, we have in fact failed to recognize and acknowledge God on
basis of the question "who He is". If we deny turning to Him after repeated urging from a
messenger of God, i.e., one who reminds about God and His Judgment, what
should/could He do?

This is what the prophets mentioned in the Holy Scriptures warned about – an
immediate calamity and a future eternal punishment of the Fire of Hell. One such
prophet was Hud{4}, mentioned in the Holy Qur’an. He lived among a people called
‘Ad{5}.
26.123 “The `Ad (people) rejected the apostles.
It seems that a number of messengers through the ages invited the ‘Ad descendants. So
God waited patiently for the ‘Ad people to turn to Him and establish belief. Finally,

26.124 “Behold their brother Hud said to them, "Will you not fear (God)?””
As the punishment of God is a terrible and swift thing, he asked them to fear Him.

26.125 “I am to you an apostle worthy of all trust.”


Hud was someone who lived among them and was known to be trustworthy. He
accordingly reminded the ‘Ad people of his track record.

26.126 “So fear God and obey me.”

26.127 “No reward do I ask of you for it: my reward is only from the Lord of
the Worlds.”
The first “world” [34.1] is the one that we are currently living in. The second world is the
Hereafter that will be part of our permanent life – life after the Day of Judgment.

26.128 “Do you build a landmark on every high place to amuse


yourselves?”
The ‘Ad prided themselves in the fine buildings that they built. They were extremely
powerful and wealthy and they built countless buildings and monuments to show their
power. However, their wealth ultimately proved to be their failure, as they became
arrogant and forsook God and began to adopt idols for worship, including three
idols named Samd, Samud and Hara {4}. So, Hud offered them a logical question:

26.129 “And do you get for yourselves fine buildings in the hope of living in
it (forever)?”

26.130 “And when you exert your strong hand do you do it like men of
absolute power?”
Even the atheist poet Shelley wrote the poem Ozymandias {6} to show that the rule of
cruel and arrogant rulers must also come to an end.
“Shelley's poem encapsulates metaphorically the outcome of such tyrannical
wielding of power - no leader, King, despot, dictator or ruler can overcome time.
Overall, this sonnet paints a picture of an egotistical character who thought
himself without rival but who was cruel to his people.” {6}

26.131 “Now fear God and obey me.”

26.132 “Yes, fear Him Who has bestowed on you freely all that you know.”
It is God that has given you all the blessings!

26.133 “Freely has He bestowed on you cattle and sons.”

26.134 “And Gardens and Springs.”

26.135 “Truly I fear for you the Penalty of a Great Day.”


Hud points out the impending punishment after the Day of Judgment.
26.136 “They replied, "It is the same to us whether you admonish us or be
not among (our) admonishers!”

26.137 “This is no other than a customary device of the ancients.”


Previous prophets had also brought the same message.

26.138 “And we are not the ones to receive Pains and Penalties!”
They denied the accountability of the Day of Judgment and the possibility of eternal life
in Hell afterwards. So God gave them a premature and dishonorable death on earth.

26.139 “So they rejected him and We destroyed them: verily in this is a
Sign: but most of them do not believe.”

26.140 “And verily your Lord is He, the Exalted in Might, the Most Merciful.”
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{Notes}:
{1} https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_natural_disasters_by_death_toll
{2} https://www.debate.org/opinions/are-natural-disasters-acts-of-god
{3} https://lightbearers.org/blog/natural-disasters-an-act-of-god/
{4} https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hud_(prophet)
{5} https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E2%80%98Ad
{6} https://owlcation.com/humanities/Analysis-of-Poem-Ozymandias-by-Percy-Bysshe-Shelley