The Concept of Hurricanes in Islam

Mankind faces misery and suffering through natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, avalanches, floods, etc.  People of faith believe that these are a consequence of God’s wrath or anger at humans who committed sins. Sometimes this type of reasoning is not valid because many times innocent and pious people also get killed or suffer. Only God (Allah) knows the true reason. Allah says:

 

أَمْ أَمِنتُمْ أَن يُعِيدَكُمْ فِيهِ تَارَةً أُخْرَىٰ فَيُرْسِلَ عَلَيْكُمْ قَاصِفًا مِّنَ الرِّيحِ فَيُغْرِقَكُم بِمَا كَفَرْتُمْ ثُمَّ لَا تَجِدُوا لَكُمْ عَلَيْنَا بِهِ تَبِيعًا

 

“Or do you feel secure that (not) He will send you back into it another time, and send upon you a hurricane of the wind, and drown you because you disbelieved? Then not you will find for you against Us therein an avenger?” (Surah Al-Isra` 17:69)

 

Wind occurs because of horizontal and vertical differences (gradients) in atmospheric pressure. Accordingly, the distribution of winds is closely related to that of pressure. Near the Earth’s surface, winds generally flow around regions of relatively low and high pressure—cyclones and anticyclones, respectively. They rotate counterclockwise around lows in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise around those in the Southern Hemisphere. Similarly, wind systems rotate around the centres of highs in the opposite direction. Allah says:

 

أَيَوَدُّ أَحَدُكُمْ أَن تَكُونَ لَهُ جَنَّةٌ مِّن نَّخِيلٍ وَأَعْنَابٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ لَهُ فِيهَا مِن كُلِّ الثَّمَرَاتِ وَأَصَابَهُ الْكِبَرُ وَلَهُ ذُرِّيَّةٌ ضُعَفَاءُ فَأَصَابَهَا إِعْصَارٌ فِيهِ نَارٌ فَاحْتَرَقَتْ كَذَٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمُ الْآيَاتِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَفَكَّرُونَ

 

“Would like any of you that it be for him a garden, of date-palms and grapevines flowing [from] underneath it the rivers, for him in it of all (kinds) (of) [the] fruits, and strikes him [the] old age and [for] his children (are) weak then falls on it a whirlwind, in it (is) fire then it is burnt. Thus makes clear Allah for you (His) Signs so that you may ponder.” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:266)

 

Mankind faces misery and suffering through natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, avalanches, floods, etc.  People of faith believe that these are a consequence of God’s wrath or anger at humans who committed sins. Sometimes this type of reasoning is not valid because many times innocent and pious people also get killed or suffer. Only God (Allah) knows the true reason. Allah says:

 

أَمْ أَمِنتُم مَّن فِي السَّمَاءِ أَن يُرْسِلَ عَلَيْكُمْ حَاصِبًا فَسَتَعْلَمُونَ كَيْفَ نَذِيرِ

 

“Or do you feel secure (from Him) Who (is) in the heaven, that He will send against you a storm of stones? Then you would know how (was) My warning?” (Surah Al-Mulk 67:17)

 

In meteorology, winds are often referred to according to their strength, and the direction from which the wind is blowing. Short bursts of high speed wind are termed gusts. Strong winds of intermediate duration (around one minute) are termed squalls. Long-duration winds have various names associated with their average strength, such as breeze, gale, storm, hurricane, and typhoon. Allah says:

 

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اذْكُرُوا نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ جَاءَتْكُمْ جُنُودٌ فَأَرْسَلْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ رِيحًا وَجُنُودًا لَّمْ تَرَوْهَا وَكَانَ اللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرًا

 

“O you who believe! Remember (the) Favor (of) Allah upon you when came to you (the) hosts and We sent upon them a wind and hosts not you (could) see them. And Allah is of what you do All-Seer.” (Surah Al-Ahzab 33:9)

 

There are many verses in the Holy Qur’an that speak about the Day of Judgment and the natural events which will take place in the universe to mark that transition. This means the rules of moving winds from one direction to another and the difference of its nature, and this is the most important field in meteorology Science. Sura Al-Waqi’a (The Inevitable) describes this day in these most profound words: Allah says:

 

وَفِي عَادٍ إِذْ أَرْسَلْنَا عَلَيْهِمُ الرِّيحَ الْعَقِيمَ

 

“And in Aad, when We sent against them the wind the barren.” (Surah Adh-Dhariyat 51:41)

 

Allah Almighty says in the Holy Quran:

  • “And as for Aad, they were destroyed by a wind screaming violent.” (Haqqah 69:6)
  • “By the (Winds) Sent Forth One after another (to man’s profit); Which then blow violently. In tempestuous Gusts (Hurricanes),  And scatter (things) far & wide. Then separate them. One from another. Then spread abroad a Message.” (Surat Mursalat 77: 1-5)
  • “Or are ye secure that he will not send you back there in another time and then send upon you a gale of wind (Kaasefan) and drown you for your having disbelieved, so that therein you will not find for yourselves against Us an avenger? ” (Quran 17:69)
  • “So We saved him and those with him by mercy from Us. And We cut off the roots (of) those who denied Our signs, and they were not believers.” (A`raf 7:72)
  • “So (do) not (let) avert you from it (one) who (does) not believe in it and follows his desires, lest you perish.” (Ta-Ha 20:16()
  • “Indeed, We [We] sent upon them a storm of stones, except (the) family (of) Lut, We saved them by dawn.” (Qamar 54:34)
  • “When the great event comes to pass, they will no (soul) entertain falsehood concerning its coming. Abasing (some), exalting (others); when the earth shall be shaken to its depths, and the mountains shall be crumbled to atoms, becoming dust scattered abroad.” (Quran 56:1-6)
  • “Among His Signs is this. That he sends the Winds. As the herald of Glad Tidings, giving you a taste. Of His (Grace, and) Mercy. That the ships may sail. (Majestically) by His Command. And that ye may seek Of His Bounty: in order. That ye may be grateful.” (Surat Rum 30:46)

In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the difference of night and day, and the ships which run upon the sea with that which is of use to men, and the water which Allah sendeth down from the sky, thereby reviving the earth after its death, and dispersing all kinds of beasts therein, and (in) the ordinance of the winds, and the clouds obedient between heaven and earth: are signs (of Allah’s Sovereignty) for people who have sense. Allah says:

 

فَلَمَّا رَأَوْهُ عَارِضًا مُّسْتَقْبِلَ أَوْدِيَتِهِمْ قَالُوا هَٰذَا عَارِضٌ مُّمْطِرُنَا بَلْ هُوَ مَا اسْتَعْجَلْتُم بِهِ رِيحٌ فِيهَا عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ

 

“Then when they saw it (as) a cloud approaching their valleys, they said, “This (is) a cloud bringing us rain.” Nay, it (is) what you were asking it to be haste a wind in it (is) a punishment painful.” (Surah Al-Ahqaf 46:24)

 

In fact, we have already been given the formula for salvation from this great hurricane by our Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) Whoever loves and follows them will attain salvation, and whoever violates their sanctity will drown. Allah says:

 

تُدَمِّرُ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ بِأَمْرِ رَبِّهَا فَأَصْبَحُوا لَا يُرَىٰ إِلَّا مَسَاكِنُهُمْ كَذَٰلِكَ نَجْزِي الْقَوْمَ الْمُجْرِمِينَ

 

“Destroying everything by (the) command (of) its Lord. Then they became (such), not is seen except their dwellings. Thus We recompense the people [the] criminals.” (Surah Al-Ahqaf 46:25)

 

This kind of storms that are special to carry dust, although they are known in Arabia, it’s mentioned how God sends them as torment, that people may remember and fear their Lord. Allah says:

 

أَفَأَمِنتُمْ أَن يَخْسِفَ بِكُمْ جَانِبَ الْبَرِّ أَوْ يُرْسِلَ عَلَيْكُمْ حَاصِبًا ثُمَّ لَا تَجِدُوا لَكُمْ وَكِيلًا

 

“Do you then feel secure that (not) He will cause to swallow you, side (of) the land or send against you a storm of stones? Then not you will find for you a guardian?” (Surah Al-Isra` 17:68)

 

These tragedies cannot be the work of the mechanical processes of the earth but need a designer, and the designer is the Creator Himself. And they must have a purpose, and the purpose is punishment for the transgressors and the aggressors, trial for the pious and honest ones that are caught in the middle and a reminder for the survivors. Unless taken with this regard, humanity will never learn.

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