An idea being circulated nowadays by atheists and the ignorant is that all the difficulties and disasters that are befalling the Muslims, from floods to drought to earthquakes to diseases, are natural occurrences that has nothing to do with God, religion, or the sins people commit. This claim contradicts the nature of the creation and the way of Allah in the universe.
One quick look at some verses of the Quran would reveal that Allah, throughout the history of mankind, had sent down severe punishment, and in various forms, upon the nations that disobeyed Him and rejected and fought His prophets.
He said in the Quran, what translated means,
وَضَرَبَ اللّهُ مَثَلاً قَرْيَةً كَانَتْ آمِنَةً مُّطْمَئِنَّةً يَأْتِيهَا رِزْقُهَا رَغَدًا مِّن كُلِّ مَكَانٍ فَكَفَرَتْ بِأَنْعُمِ اللّهِ فَأَذَاقَهَا اللّهُ لِبَاسَ الْجُوعِ وَالْخَوْفِ بِمَا كَانُواْ يَصْنَعُونَ
Allah sets forth a Parable: A city enjoying security and quiet, abundantly supplied with sustenance from every place. Yet was it ungrateful for the favors of Allah. So Allah made it taste of hunger and terror (in extremes) (closing in on it) like a garment (from every side), because of the (evil) which (its people) wrought. [16:112],
He also said,
وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا فِي قَرْيَةٍ مِّن نَّبِيٍّ إِلاَّ أَخَذْنَا أَهْلَهَا بِالْبَأْسَاء وَالضَّرَّاء لَعَلَّهُمْ يَضَّرَّعُونَ
Whenever We sent a prophet to a town, We took up its people in suffering and adversity, in order that they might learn humility. [7:94],
وَكَم مِّن قَرْيَةٍ أَهْلَكْنَاهَا فَجَاءهَا بَأْسُنَا بَيَاتًا أَوْ هُمْ قَآئِلُونَ
How many towns have We destroyed (for their sins)? Our punishment took them suddenly by night or while they slept for their afternoon rest.[7:4],
وَلَقَدْ أَهْلَكْنَا الْقُرُونَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَمَّا ظَلَمُواْ وَجَاءتْهُمْ رُسُلُهُم بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ
وَمَا كَانُواْ لِيُؤْمِنُواْ كَذَلِكَ نَجْزِي الْقَوْمَ الْمُجْرِمِينَ
Generations before you We destroyed when they did wrong: Their Apostles came to them with Clear Signs, but they would not believe! Thus do We requite those who sin! [10:13],
وَكَمْ أَهْلَكْنَا مِنَ الْقُرُونِ مِن بَعْدِ نُوحٍ وَكَفَى بِرَبِّكَ بِذُنُوبِ عِبَادِهِ خَبِيرًَا بَصِيرًا
How many generations have We destroyed after Noah? And enough is thy Lord to note and see the sins of His servants. [17:17].
Allah also said regarding Prophet Noah,
قَالَ أَلَمْ نُرَبِّكَ فِينَا وَلِيدًا وَلَبِثْتَ فِينَا مِنْ عُمُرِكَ سِنِينَ
وَفَعَلْتَ فَعْلَتَكَ الَّتِي فَعَلْتَ وَأَنتَ مِنَ الْكَافِرِينَ
قَالَ فَعَلْتُهَا إِذًا وَأَنَا مِنَ الضَّالِّينَ
فَفَرَرْتُ مِنكُمْ لَمَّا خِفْتُكُمْ فَوَهَبَ لِي رَبِّي حُكْمًا وَجَعَلَنِي مِنَ الْمُرْسَلِينَ
He said, “O my Lord! Truly my people have rejected me.” Judge Thou, then, between me and them openly, and deliver me and those of the Believers who are with me. “So We delivered him and those with him, in the Ark filled (with all creatures). Thereafter We drowned those Who remained behind. Verily in this is a Sign: But most of them do not believe.” [26:17-21],
and regarding the people of Prophet Hud,
قَالُوا سَوَاء عَلَيْنَا أَوَعَظْتَ أَمْ لَمْ تَكُن مِّنَ الْوَاعِظِينَ
إِنْ هَذَا إِلَّا خُلُقُ الْأَوَّلِينَ
وَمَا نَحْنُ بِمُعَذَّبِينَ
فَكَذَّبُوهُ فَأَهْلَكْنَاهُمْ إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَةً وَمَا كَانَ أَكْثَرُهُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ
It is the same to us whether thou admonish us or be not among (our) admonishers! This is no other than a customary device of the ancients, And we are not the ones to receive Pains and Penalties! So they rejected him, and We destroyed them. Verily in this is a Sign: But most of them do not believe.[26:136-139],
and regarding the people of prophet Saleh when they killed the camel which was his miracle,
فَعَقَرُوهَا فَأَصْبَحُوا نَادِمِينَ
فَأَخَذَهُمُ الْعَذَابُ إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَةً وَمَا كَانَ أَكْثَرُهُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ
But they hamstrung her: Then did they become full of regrets. But the Penalty seized them. Verily in this there is a Sign: But most of them do not believe.[26:157-158],
and regarding the people of Prophet Lut,
إِلَّا عَجُوزًا فِي الْغَابِرِينَ
ثُمَّ دَمَّرْنَا الْآخَرِينَ
وَأَمْطَرْنَا عَلَيْهِم مَّطَرًا فَسَاء مَطَرُ الْمُنذَرِينَ
إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَةً وَمَا كَانَ أَكْثَرُهُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ
So We delivered him and his family, all Except an old woman who lingered behind. But the rest We destroyed utterly. We rained down on them a shower (of brimstone): and evil was the shower on those who were admonished (but heeded not)! Verily in this is a Sign: But most of them do not believe. [26:171-174].
Allah also said,
وَكَمْ أَهْلَكْنَا مِن قَرْيَةٍ بَطِرَتْ مَعِيشَتَهَا فَتِلْكَ مَسَاكِنُهُمْ لَمْ تُسْكَن مِّن بَعْدِهِمْ
إِلَّا قَلِيلًا وَكُنَّا نَحْنُ الْوَارِثِينَ
And how many populations We destroyed, which exulted in their life (of ease and plenty)! Now those habitations of theirs, after them, are deserted, all but a (miserable) few! And We are their heirs! [28:58],
وَإِن مَّن قَرْيَةٍ إِلاَّ نَحْنُ مُهْلِكُوهَا قَبْلَ يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ أَوْ مُعَذِّبُوهَا عَذَابًا شَدِيدًا
كَانَ ذَلِك فِي الْكِتَابِ مَسْطُورًا
There is not a population but We shall destroy it before the Day of Judgment or punish it with a dreadful Penalty: That is written in the (eternal) Record. [17:58],
فَكَأَيِّن مِّن قَرْيَةٍ أَهْلَكْنَاهَا وَهِيَ ظَالِمَةٌ فَهِيَ خَاوِيَةٌ عَلَى عُرُوشِهَا
وَبِئْرٍ مُّعَطَّلَةٍ وَقَصْرٍ مَّشِيدٍ
How many populations have We destroyed, which were given to wrongdoing? They tumbled down on their roofs. And how many wells are lying idle and neglected, and castles lofty and well built? [22:45],
وَإِذَا أَرَدْنَا أَن نُّهْلِكَ قَرْيَةً أَمَرْنَا مُتْرَفِيهَا فَفَسَقُواْ فِيهَا فَحَقَّ عَلَيْهَا
الْقَوْلُ فَدَمَّرْنَاهَا تَدْمِيرًا
When We decide to destroy a population,We (first) send a definite order to those among them who are given the good things of this life and yet transgress; so that the word is proved true against them: Then (it is) We destroy them utterly. [17:16].
These are but a few examples from the Quran of how Allah had exercised His Wrath upon those who rejected Him and His messages and waged war against His followers.
A person may then ask:
Then why is Allah allowing those atheists and the Christians and Jews live in prosperity?
Why doesn’t He punish them for their sins and for rejecting the true religion?
The answer is that this is the wisdom of Allah and His way of doing things.
Those disbelievers sometimes do good deeds and Allah may reward them by giving them peace and prosperity in this life, but in the Hereafter they will have nothing but eternal punishment in Hellfire.
Or it may be that Allah allows the disbelievers to prosper and grow stronger and become more arrogant and commit more sins and acts of aggression, and hence, He would punish them even more in the Hereafter, as He has said, what translated means,
وَأُمْلِي لَهُمْ إِنَّ كَيْدِي مَتِينٌ
And I will grant them a respite. Verily, my plan is strong.[68:45].
Allah may also punish the disbelievers in this life even though we may not notice this punishment. We may call Western civilizations advanced and prosperous and say that the people live a better life than many Muslims do.
But careful examination of western societies will prove the contrary. There are astronomical numbers of crimes committed in this so-called “developed world,” from murder, robbery, rape, alcohol and drug abuse, etc.
A high percentage of families break up every year, and many babies are born out of wedlock. Sexually-transmitted diseases are deadlier and more widespread than ever. Racism against minorities still exist, and still as deadly in many cases as it had been decades ago.
A person may then ask:
But some of these things and other types of disasters do occur in the Muslim world, so why is that?
The answer is that we need to take a closer look at these Muslim countries.
The laws of Allah are not applied and are replaced with the law of man. Many Muslims visit the graves and pray for the dead to help them and fulfill their wishes. Some Muslims consider many of the companions of the Prophet to be sinners and disbelievers and curse them, and others accuse ‘Aaishah, the Prophet’s wife, may Allah be pleased with her, of having committed adultery. Some groups of Muslims claim that some men had reached a status higher than that of mankind and that they now control many aspects of the universe. Alcohol is sold in public in many Muslim countries, and Riba (usury) is widely considered as permissible.
Furthermore, some Muslim writers ridicule Islam in their books and articles, and Muslim governments protect them under the claim of free speech. On the other hand, when Islamic writers defend the religion of Allah, they are accused of advocating violence and disunity among the people, and are considered as security risks.
Many Muslims today are Muslims only by name, no obligatory worship is observed.
With all these improprieties, it does appear that we are indeed away from the religion of Allah, and that we indeed deserve His punishment.
Allah has said,
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِن تَنصُرُوا اللَّهَ يَنصُرْكُمْ وَيُثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَكُمْ
O you who believe, if you render Allah victorious, He shall render you victorious and establish your feet firmly.[47:7]