Japan Quake: A Reflection


“Mee! Mee! Come & watch!”, my mum called from the hall. I knew she was watching the news. I also knew full well that they were showing footage from Japan.

“No! Why would I want to watch that?”, I replied but dragged my feet out of the room anyway to accompany my mum. I allowed my eyes to glance at the television for only 3 seconds before they started to water.

Yes, I am miles away from Japan. Yes, its true that I do not have any friends or family members in Japan. But the very fact that pictures & videos have been so easily accessible is because of this: Allah wants me to take a lesson from it, no matter where I am. The news, pictures and videos have reached me to wake me up from my slumber.

When I was younger and sat in class listening to the Ustazah speak about events of the Last Day, my puerile mind wondered how the mountains could burst & scatter like dust and how water could reach the heights of buildings. Some part of me actually wanted to see it. As I grew older, I realized that if you were still alive when it happened, you were pretty much doomed.

I’m not going to lie. When I watched “2012”, I must have been the only person sobbing as if I was watching a documentary instead. I came out of the theater with my eyes & nose red from crying. The sheer terror of the people, the thin line between survival & death, the images of buildings toppling as if they were Lego toys – all these made my heart tremble and remind me over and over again that this world does not belong to us. Although we have inhabited it for countless of years, no matter how many preparations we make to deal with a disaster, we are always taken aback by the magnitude and force of it.

In Surah al-A’raf,

97. Did the people of the towns then feel secure against the coming of Our Punishment by night while they are asleep?
98. Or, did the people of the towns then feel secure against the coming of Our Punishment in the forenoon while they play?
99. Did they then feel secure against the Plan of Allah? None feels secure from the Plan of Allah except the people who are the losers.

Ya Allah! How misguided I have been! How snug & ungrateful I am for my comfortable & secure life! Why did I complain that my pillow was too hard or too soft, when thousands in Japan and across the globe do not even have a home to return to? How indulgent was I to forgo charity only to save for the next gadget when thousands won’t ever find their favourite mug or framed photograph of their parents in the debris? Why did I cling so tightly to my material possessions and take my family for granted when thousands don’t even know whether their father or brother or niece is still alive?

Despite seeing clear signs such as these, why then am I negligent in my remembrance of Allah and in my salawaat upon the Prophet SAW? Verily, the biggest losers are not those who have lost homes or family members. The losers are people like me who continue with life as if disaster will never strike me, as if Judgment Day is not approaching, as if my sins and deeds and words and thoughts will not be accounted for. Astaghfirullah!

Surah Yunus:

6: Verily, in the alternation of the Night and the Day, and in all that Allah has created, in the heavens and the earth, are Signs for those who fear Him.

7: Those who rest not their hope on their meeting with Us, but are pleased and satisfied with the life of the present, and those who heed not Our Signs –

8: Their abode is the Fire, because of the (evil) they earned.

How many more disasters will it take, of what magnitude, before I truly repent? How long will this feeling last – a week? 3 days? 10 more minutes? Before I start planning for a holiday next year, or saving for the new iPad2, or engaging in the futile Harry Potter vs Twilight debate?

May Allah help us all to learn a lesson or two from the events that have happened, and even in the seemingly ‘little’ events of everyday. May He help the Japanese and all who are affected by this catastrophe pick up the pieces and rebuild their lives.


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