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A mother carries her son in Uiya village, in northern-central Gorkha district, on April 29. Hungry and desperate villagers rushed toward relief helicopters in remote areas of Nepal, begging to be airlifted to safety, four days after a monster earthquake killed more than 5,000 people. (Photo: Sajjad Hussain, AFP/Getty Images)
A mother carries her son in Uiya village, in northern-central Gorkha district, on April 29. Hungry and desperate villagers rushed toward relief helicopters in remote areas of Nepal, begging to be airlifted to safety, four days after a monster earthquake killed more than 5,000 people. (Photo: Sajjad Hussain, AFP/Getty Images)

Nepal: Understanding Tragedy and Lending a Helping Hand

On April 25th, 2015, an earthquake struck Nepal just before noon local time followed by nearly two dozen aftershocks, including a magnitude-6.6 aftershock an hour afterwards. Hospitals were overflowing with injuries, homes were damaged, phone lines were jammed, and roads had gaping cracks running along them.

Dozens of people were reported to have been killed in neighboring China and India as well. According to the National Emergency Operation Centre, thousands of people are now known to have died in this massive earthquake, hitting Nepal with a vengeance.

Every once in a while, mankind experiences a natural disaster which takes place in different forms such as flooding, hurricane, or earthquake.  There are several things what we should do (to the best of our ability) when we witness a natural disaster taking place.

Recognize the Glory and Power of Allah (swt)

The wisdom of Allah (swt) is great and we will never be able to fully understand the wisdom behind His every will.  However, we can reflect on the events happening around us and deduce the following: in the midst of the materialistic luxuries and the advancements in technology and civilizations, man has come to believe that they have power and that they are capable of almost anything.  With the advancements in science and medicine, many people have forgotten God and have resorted to  science for guidance. It is unfortunate that for many, it takes such calamities to make us reflect on the power and lofty attributes of Allah (swt).  “Subhanallah!” (Glory be to God) That is the immediate reaction and words that we must utter when we witness and experience the manifestation of the great majesty and ability of Allah (swt).  Such recognition is a wake-up call for us and serves as reminder in our everyday lives that we must return to Allah and rely on Him in our daily issues and struggles.

Do Istighfaar for Sins

When people experience such tragic disasters, they often question”‘Why?” There are various scientific explanations as to why natural disasters occur, however the underlying facts point towards “how,” they happen and not “why” they happen. The answer to “why” and “when” and even to “how” in reality remains with the Almighty. However, a possible answer to “why” has been revealed in the Holy Quran:

“(Corruption and) Mischief has appeared on land and sea because of what the hands of men have earned, that He (Allah) may give them a taste of some of their deeds in order that they may turn back (from evil).” [Quran 30:41]

Every person during such times should turn towards Allah (swt) with humbleness, faith, and genuine repentance. According to the shariah, (Islamic law) common and open disobedience of Allah (swt) is one of the many reasons for the cause of calamities like earthquakes. When the land is overloaded with the disobedience of Allah (swt), earthquakes from beneath and violent storms from above are commonplace. This is a good opportunity to seek repentance by admitting to our sins and making change in our lives.  It is also an opportunity for us to express thanks and gratitude for our health and well-being as we have not been afflicted with that particular tragedy.

A Prayer for The Afflicted

Our beloved Prophet (s) has commanded us to support and help the victims of calamities, whether they be Muslims or otherwise. The best and the most valuable support and help are to make prayers. Dua is a very powerful and potent means, which is available to each and every one of us, the one with worldly resources as well as the one without. Hence, one should sincerely pray for the well-being of the victims. One should pray that Allah (swt) gives them strength, patience and comfort and that He protects and guides them through these critical times and provide rapid recovery from their physical, mental and spiritual afflictions. Only Allah (swt) has the ability to provide the desires asked for in the above prayers.

Provide Humanitarian Aid and Donate

Everyone is aware of the devastation that natural disasters bring with them. Many lose lives, hundreds of thousands lose relatives, entire communities are wiped out and countless buildings and properties are destroyed. Thousands, even millions are left homeless, having lost everything they once owned, living under open skies with nothing to eat and cover themselves with. Even after the calamity has subsided, the death toll continues to rise. The need of the situation demands that we donate everything that is in our possession, even if that means undergoing hardships ourselves. However, since Allah (swt) has blessed us with adequate wealth,we know that we can donate sufficiently without having to undergo such troubles. We should spend abundantly and generously, as generously as Allah (swt) has provided for us. Remember, whatever we will spend, we will do so from that which Allah (swt) has loaned us. It is His sustenance we will be spending to relieve His creation.

The Prophet (s) has mentioned: “Truly sadaqah (charity) extinguishes the wrath of Allah (swt) and saves from an evil death.”

Local and international agencies have initiated various relief efforts to alleviate the suffering and damage in Nepal following the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit the country of 27.8 million. Hospitals in the capital city of Kathmandu, approximately 50 miles from the epicenter of the earthquake, have been overwhelmed with patients requiring medical attention. The immediate needs include food, water, shelter, and medication.

The National Emergency Coordination Center reports some 5,238 people have been confirmed dead as of Wednesday, April 29 with an additional 10,348 injured. Assistance platforms have been made available to individuals worldwide with Facebook setting up an initial donation platform that allows users to donate directly to the International Medical Corps. National organizations including the American Red Cross and Islamic Relief USA have also taken action to establish relief efforts following the earthquake that is the worst Nepal has suffered in 81 years. Paypal has assembled a listing of all relief organizations on their website allowing donors to choose the organization of their choice with ease, and all fees are waived when donating through this campaign.

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For more information on the efforts of some of the top-supporting organizations assisting in relief efforts, click on any of the links below:

Doctors Without Borders

Charity: Water

Save the Children

About Jerrmein Abu Shahba

Jerrmein, originally from Egypt and guided by the grace of Allah (SWT) to the truth path of AhlulBayt (AS), obtained her bachelors degree in Biology and masters in Chemistry. She contributed as a writer in the past for the Islamic Insights, AIM, Muslims4peace, and Voice of Unity magazines. Jerrmein volunteers as an editor for the al-Islam.org website, and translates Islamic literature.

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