There is no doubt that there have been no other natural events
in history that have affected people to the extent that earthquakes
have. They can happen anywhere and at any moment. Throughout
the centuries, they have caused many deaths and great material
loss. For this reason, they have been greatly feared. Even the
technology of the twentieth and twentyfirst centuries has been
able to prevent earthquake damage only to a certain extent.
The hadiths of the Prophet (saas) mention that most of
the earthquakes will increase in the End Times. The frequent
occurrence of earthquakes over the last few years is among
the foremost concerns of people throughout the world.
The 1995 earthquake in Kobe serves as an example
to those who like to think that technology will make it possible
to harness nature. It will be remembered that this earthquake
came unexpectedly upon Japan’s largest industrial and
transportation center. In spite of the fact that it only lasted
20 seconds, as Time magazine reported, it caused about 100
billion dollars in damage.10
In the last few years, major earthquakes have
occurred repeatedly and are among the foremost fears of people
around the world. If we look at the data collected by the
American National Earthquake Information Center for 1999,
we find that 20,832 earthquakes happened somewhere in the
world. As a result, an estimated 22,711 persons lost their
All such cases bring to mind what the Prophet
(saas) said 1400 years ago:
Earthquakes, as predicted in the hadiths, are among the
most important signs of the Last Day.
In the Qur’an, there are certain verses
that point out the relation between earthquakes and the End
Times. The 99th Surah is called
Surat az-Zalzala; zalzala means great shaking, or
earthquake. This Surah, composed of eight verses, describes
the violent shaking of the earth and states that, following
it, the Judgment Day will arrive, people will be raised from
the dead, will give account of themselves to Allah, and receive
their just rewards, even for the slightest thing that they
When the earth is convulsed with its quaking
and the earth then disgorges its charges
and man asks, “What is wrong with it?”,
on that Day it will impart all its news
because your Lord has inspired it.
That Day people will emerge segregated to see the results
of their actions.
Whoever does an atom’s weight of good will see it.
Whoever does an atom’s weight of evil will see it.
(Surat az-Zalzala: 1-8)
Disasters affect the whole world. We must learn a lesson
from them and turn to Allah.
10. Time, February 6, 1995, "Economic
11. US Geological Survey National Earthquake Information Center,
"Earthquake Facts and Statistics", 2000, http://www.neic.cr.usgs.gov/neis/eqlists/eqstats.html