“Drought Grips South Africa,” “SA’s Worst Drought since the 1960s,” “Crops and Cattle Die as Drought Worsens” – these are some of the alarming headlines across the country in the past month. In an effort to deal with and attempt to control the devastation and disaster caused by drought, many scientists are conducting studies to determine the cause of the crisis. While many of them have concluded that “el-nino,” global warming and other such phenomenon are to blame, every Muslim understands that the amount of rain being “just right”, or the scarcity of rain resulting in poverty and famine, or the over abundance of rain resulting in floods, are all in the control of Allah Ta‘ala and subject to His system and command.
The System of Allah Ta‘ala
Allah Ta‘ala has created this world as a place of “cause and effect.” If a person is hungry, consuming food will satiate his hunger. If he is thirsty, drinking will quench his thirst. This cause and effect relationship is not confined to the physical world but also applies to our actions and the conditions that result thereof. Thus, by way of example, if a person joins family ties, he will enjoy blessings in his sustenance and life — as promised in the hadeeth. This cause and effect principle, however, is a double edged sword. If our good actions draw the mercy of Allah Ta‘ala, our evil actions similarly trigger the wrath of Allah Ta‘ala.
Drought in Good Actions
It is the system of Allah Ta‘ala that “drought” in our good actions causes drought in the land. There is a “drought” in the musjid at the time of fajr salaah, there is “drought” in our recitation of the Quraan Majeed, “drought” in our akhlaaq (good character), an extremely severe drought in hayaa (modesty and shame), and, in general, widespread “drought” in other departments of our deen as well.
The Quraan al-Kareem teaches us that all conditions of adversity are, in reality, a result of the sins we ourselves have committed. Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) has specifically mentioned that drought and the lack of rain are caused by dishonest business dealings and not paying one’s zakaat, and that previously unheard of calamities are triggered by people openly perpetrating acts of immorality and shamelessness (Sunan ibni Maajah #4019). If we do experience a little rainfall, it is on account of the mercy of Allah Ta‘ala upon the innocent animals, who otherwise also suffer from the scarcity of water due to our actions.
Openly sinning and advertising our sins is a very effective and rapid way to draw Allah Ta’ala’s punishment. Plastering posters onto giant billboards and distributing flyers are not the only ways of advertising. Nowadays, among the most common ways that evil is advertised, is by indulging in the sin, photographing the event and then posting the photos online for all and sundry to view. This behavior is an indication of the fact that, instead of being ashamed of our sins, we are actually proud and boastful over them and literally invite the world to “marvel” at how we have “excelled” in disobeying and displeasing Allah Ta‘ala – may Allah Ta‘ala protect us.
There is only one way in which we can undo the damage caused thus far – by reconnecting with that Being in whose sole control lie the affairs of the entire universe, Allah Ta‘ala. In order to address the drought in the dunya, we will have to first address the drought we have caused in our deen. If each and every person changes his ways and comes onto deen, the entire community and ultimately, the entire Muslim world will change for the better. Thus we will once more attract the mercy of Allah Ta‘ala. Being at the peak of drought and the beginning of social instability, are we yet so “brave” as to continue sinning, as we currently do, and invite yet more difficulties?
Therefore, we have to turn sincerely to Allah Ta‘ala and encourage others to do the same. The following are some of the most important aspects to focus on:
- Daily sincerely repent for one’s sins and engage in excessive istighfaar
- Perform the five daily salaah regularly. It is waajib for males to perform the salaah with jamaa‘ah in the musjid unless the musjid is very far away.
- Shun all wastage and sin—especially open sin. Among these are the open sins committed in weddings, on social media, etc.
- Adopt hayaa (shame and modesty) in speech and conduct. Muslim sisters especially should adopt hayaa in their dressing. Loose garments which completely cover the body must be adopted.
- Give as much sadaqah as possible as sadaqah protects from calamities.
- Make excessive du‘aa for oneself and the entire Ummah.
It is only by leaving sin that we can stem the flow of difficulties and disasters and open the floodgates of Allah Ta‘ala’s mercy.
To use more than what is necessary is termed israaf. Regarding israaf, Allah Ta‘ala declares, “Verily Allah Ta‘ala does not love the wasters.” (Surah A‘araaf, v31) Among the very great gifts of Allah Ta‘ala is water. To waste water is to literally “flush” the gift of Allah Ta‘ala down the drain. On one occasion, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) asked a person who was performing wudhu, “Why are you wasting water?” The person enquired, “Is there israaf even in wudhu?” Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) replied, “Yes indeed, (do not waste) even if you are at the bank of a river” (Sunan ibni Maajah #425).
Wudhu is a great ‘ibaadah (act of worship). Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) is reported to have said that when a person performs wudhu in the proper manner, all the (minor) sins that were committed are washed off by means of the wudhu. However, among the acts that spoil this great ‘ibaadah and deprive one of the full benefits, is the wasting of water.
It has been very conservatively estimated that, at average, most people use more than six litres of water per wudhu. This is in stark contrast to the amount of water that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) used for his wudhu. ‘Aaisha (radhiyallahu ‘anha) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) used one mudd of water for wudhu and one saa’ for ghusal (Sunan Abi Dawood #92). One mudd amounts to approximately 1.03 litres and one saa’ is approximately 4.1 litres. In other words, we generally use more water for wudhu than Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) used for ghusal. Once Jaabir (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) narrated the saying of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) that one mudd of water suffices for wudhu and one saa’ for ghusal. A person sitting there remarked, “It does not suffice for me.” Jaabir (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) silenced him by saying: “It sufficed for him
A few ways by which we can save water while making wudhu are:
- Make wudhu using a jug rather than the tap.
- If you are using the tap, do not open it completely to “full blast”. Rather open it until the flow is just sufficient for you to make wudhu.
- Close the tap while using the miswaak, making masah, khilaal, etc. Only re-open it when the water is again needed.
- Avoid taking a shower. Use a bucket instead. If the shower is used, open the water to just a little more than a trickle and finish off very quickly.
Q&A: Why Calamties?
Shaikh ‘Abdul Haqq Muhaddith Dehlawi (rahimahullah) narrates:
Delhi was once struck by a very severe drought. People were suffering to the point of not even having basic bread. The ‘Ulama eventually decided that all the people would gather in an open field on an appointed day so that salaatul istisqaa (salaah for rain) could be performed. After the salaah, everybody would repent from their sins and make du‘aa for rain.
On the appointed day all the people gathered outside the city, their faces burning from the heat of the sun. After the salaah, all exerted themselves in du‘aa, crying and begging for rain. To their dismay, however, there was no sign of rain. This continued until the time of ‘asr salaah arrived. As they were begging Allah Ta‘ala in du‘aa, a young traveller walked past the field, leading a camel on which a woman covered in a veil was seated. Seeing the people in distress, he asked them what was going on. He was informed of the severe drought and the people’s du‘aas for rain not being answered. Upon hearing this he went to his camel and lifted his hands in du‘aa. Before he could even lower his hands, the sky filled with clouds and rain began to fall in torrents!
An ‘Aalim went up to the youngster and asked him how he had attained the good fortune of being a person whose du‘aas were instantly answered .The youngster replied, “Seated on the camel is my mother. She has led a life of such purity and chastity, that neither has she ever set eyes on a strange man nor has a strange man ever set his eyes on her. I clutched her shawl and made du‘aa saying, ‘O Rabb of the universe! This is my pious and chaste mother. If her piety and chastity is valued in your sight then shower your rain upon your servants.’ I had not yet put my hands down when the rain began to fall.”
Subhaanallah! This woman’s chastity and purity became the means of the people being relieved of the difficulty. It is time to once again revive hayaa and chastity — chastity in the eyes, ears, tongue, heart and entire body. Allah Ta‘ala will then surely shower down His mercies and blessings in everything.
The Power of Chastity
Question: Why are the Muslims currently undergoing so much of difficulty? Drought and the impending danger of xenophobic attacks are only two of the many calamities Awe face. The future seems very bleak. Is Allah Ta‘ala withholding His favours because we are not appreciating them? How should we express appreciation and gratitude?
Answer: Every condition of ease and prosperity is indeed an invaluable favor and bounty of Allah Ta‘ala. Appreciation and gratitude is the key to not only securing the favours that we currently enjoy, but is also the key to attracting even more favours of Allah Ta‘ala. This is clearly explained in the verse of the Quraan al-Kareem wherein Allah Ta‘ala states, “If you are appreciative, we will most definitely increase you (in favours) and if you are unappreciative then verily my punishment is severe.” (Surah Ebrahim, v7) On the flip side of the coin, this verse explains that ingratitude and the lack of appreciation are the keys to drawing the wrath and punishment of Allah Ta‘ala on ourselves. It is thus imperative that we show gratitude and value every bounty of Allah Ta‘ala.
Gratitude – More than just lip-service
Uttering “Alhamdulillah!” is one form of expressing gratitude. While extremely important and necessary, it, however, is not the sum total of gratitude. It is also important for us to express our gratitude to Allah Ta‘ala by utilizing the bounties He has blessed us with correctly. The time, wealth, health, energy, safety and security which we have been blessed with need to be used and spent in a halaal manner and in halaal avenues only. To use the bounty blessed by Allah Ta‘ala in the disobedience of Allah Ta‘ala is the height of ingratitude.
Similarly, wastage and extravagance are a sign of us not valuing and appreciating the favours of Allah Ta‘ala. The sins of extravagance and wastage are not to be taken lightly. In the Quraan al-Kareem Allah Ta‘ala has branded the people who are wasteful as being the “brothers of the Shayaateen.” In another verse Allah Ta‘ala has clearly announced that he does not love wasteful people.
The functions we attend as well as the holidays we embark on are often, from start to finish, a package of extravagance and sin. If salaah is not totally abandoned on holiday, then it is often delayed and performed after its time has expired. Similarly, performing salaah is often neglected at functions because making wudhu will “undo the hairdo.”
Music, free intermingling of sexes, photography, consumption of haraam food, gross extravagance and indecent dressing are but some of the sins we get involved in, especially when on holiday and in social functions.
A fortune is spent on flowers when people don’t even have flour to eat! Thousands of rands are spent on invitation cards when people don’t even have cardboard for shelter! Such wastage and extravagance invites calamities.
When just a single sin is enough to plunge us into adverse circumstances, imagine the anger and wrath of Allah Ta‘ala when an entire congregation of people blatantly commit a host of sins all together! This is gross ingratitude.
Indeed, the difficulties we face are the result of our actions and our ingratitude for the favours of Allah Ta‘ala.
The way to express gratitude is to glorify Allah Ta‘ala verbally as well as to adhere to His commands and the sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) in our daily lives.
Faqeehul Ummah: Cure for Calamities
Summary of Letter:
Respected Mufti Saaheb
Assalamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh
I am continuously being afflicted by calamities and difficulties. I also have much debts to pay. Is there any cure for this? What should one recite when one is continuously afflicted with problems and difficulties? I have everything I could want. None of my du‘aas have been accepted and it seems as if none of my actions have been accepted. I am faced with problems upon problems.
Summary of Reply:
Assalamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh
The remedy for calamities is the following:
- Sincere taubah (repentance) for all sins
- Making excessive istighfaar (seeking forgiveness) from Allah Ta‘ala
- Fulfilling any outstanding rights of people upon you or asking them for forgiveness. Together with the above, recite much durood shareef. Also give sadaqah (charity).
As far as du‘aa is concerned, the one who says that his du‘aa is not being answered, then in reality Allah Ta‘ala does not accept his du‘aas. Therefore, never make such a statement. Everything has an appointed time by Allah Ta‘ala and only occurs at the time decreed for it. Hence, do not be hasty. Instead you should be convinced that whatever apparent delay there may be in the answering of your du‘aa, it is beneficial for you in some way that is unknown to you.
Furthermore, you should also take into consideration that the acceptance of du‘aas is subject to the conditions being fulfilled. Among the conditions are that one’s earnings, food, drink, clothing, etc. must be halaal and one should make du‘aa with an attentive heart. (Fataawa, vol. 4, pg. 446).