Majlis Irfan: Natural Disasters

The Ahmadiyya Gazette, June 1994

Majlis Irfan: Questions Answered by Khalifatul Masih IV Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad

Question:

Huzoor, a very disturbing factor about natural disasters and the cause of fatal ailments like droughts and floods - which are not man-made. I mean that man is not responsible for them. Please explain?

Answer:

I understand your point. First of all, you must understand the philosophy of natural disasters, as understood by human beings, is just an incomplete story. The true story reaches far behind in history. The true story extends to millions of years of man's evolution or in various stages. When you are trying to understand that they are not useless and meaningless, they have played a very important role in the history of human development or development of life. And they have been a blessing in disguise as far as progress goes. So whether you understand a local disaster in the context of human values or not, if you look back in the history of evolution of life you can understand easily that these disasters are a part of the general scheme of things under which the whole is created. And they have fair part and they are not meaningless.

So for the sake of a larger interest, smaller individual interests are always sacrificed. This is the principle. So because these disasters play an importance in the scheme of things and in the stream of evolution of life and progress of life so they cannot just be discarded as meaningless just because some individuals suffer. The general philosophy behind these disasters could be also be understood when you study the phenomena of life and death, as fixed against each other. At each step in life millions of individuals are sacrificed. For each period billions of potentials of life are sacrificed. And again, in the entire universe you see millions of species and untold number of individuals in various living forms, and what is the ultimate purpose? If you understand the scheme of things they are made to serve human beings, and they only play a role to ultimately serve the ecology which is required by human workers. And all this is a part of a scheme, so a number is sacrificed for the sake of quality, that is the essence, the meaning. So if billions and billions of lives are sacrificed for human beings because they are superior; so if qualities are to be added to the qualities of human beings are to be tested or put to test, some of the sacrifices are quite justified for that grand scheme of things.

Now this is the general purpose and the general phenomena as I understand. But apart from that when you apply the situation of disasters to human context, you will then understand that every disaster was avoidable or at least could be mitigated to a very grave degree if human beings were moral, or moral elements and the standard of morality and humanity was up the mark, which is attempted to be created by everyday work. So because human beings lost their purpose, lost their direction and bearing. So after all this billions of years of service to mankind and all that has gone into their creation, you the person, do they deserve to be wiped out. The answer, if you look at everything that God has done in relation of mankind will be, after all this, mankind has lost the purpose of creation and has become more of a adversary in nature than human. Then if the entire mankind is wiped out it is justifies. You believe exactly in the same manner in your own creation. Don't you? If you want to paint or try to draw a picture of a man and instead a monkey is formed (like children usually do, they try to make cows but instead snakes are created). You know, there are such differences within the creation of poor artists. But sometimes it is the fault of the creation. It is a property made and it gets deformed. What do you do with that? You wipe it out. So, Allah has every right to wipe out all humanity if humanity does not serve the purpose of creation. So these small droughts are just small punishment, out of all proportion small, only to sieve us out to what we truly deserve. This is why the Holy Quran tells us that if Allah has punished human beings for what they do, Allah would not have left any dark part on the earth.

So philosophy even by the Holy Quran is this that if Allah had decided to punish human beings for what they have committed, Allah would have wiped out the whole life on earth.

Apparently, there is a dilemma because crime is committed by human beings and poor animals are wiped out for nothing. But when you follow what I say then this verse is very clear in its meaning and there is no other meaning attributable to it than what I have already said: That the purpose of creation of other species of life were not just the creation in itself. They were created for mankind. So if man lose justification, then all that has been created must go out along with him. All must go. Nothing should be there. This is exactly what the Holy Quran says in Surah Nahl.

And if Allah were to punish men for their wrongdoing. He would not leave therein a living creature, but He gives them respite till an appointed term, and when their term is come, they cannot remain behind a single hour, nor can they go ahead of it. (16:62)

The meaning is that if Allah were to bring to justice to mankind for their transgression, Allah would not have left any species of life on earth. The punishment is meted out for mankind and what is wiped out? Every species of life. It only holds good in the explanation for which I have already given out; which is that the purpose of their creation was to serve mankind. So when that mankind ceases to deserve that mastery over the rest of the creation, that creation would go along.