The Effects of Sins: Evil upon Land and Sea


I got this from a fellow Muslim sister, Alia, from the DC Green Muslims mailing list.  Found it lovely. Hope you do too.

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Asalaamu ‘Alaikum!

Have you ever wondered why there is so much evil on the earth? Why are there so many environmental problems, so many wars, so many famines and sickness?

From Jan-Aug 2010 alone,

  • Destructive earthquakes (Haiti: 12/01/10- catastrophic magnitude 7.0 earthquake killing almost 300,000 ppl and leaving 1.5mil ppl homeless, one of the WORST earthquakes in history),
  • Droughts (Russia: an estimated 10mil hectares of agricultural land has been devastated by the fires following the worst heatwave in Russian history),
  • Floods (Pakistan: covering 1/5 of the country, leaving more than 1500 ppl dead and 20mil ppl affected, THE WORST in UN history),
  • Heavy rains & landslides (China: Heavy rains have affected more than 300mil ppl and caused $1.7bn in economic losses across the country; more than 2,100 ppl are dead or missing across China due to floods and landslides; 12mil people have been evacuated from their homes nationwide)
  • Famine (Niger: is also suffering from severe food shortages following a prolonged drought. The UN estimated that at least 7mil ppl, more than half the population, are facing starvation in Niger.)
  • Drug war (Mexico: 26/08/10 – 72 bodies found near the US-Mexico border the biggest single discovery since the launch of a drug war four years ago)
  • Civil war (Sudan: 13 aid org’ns have been expelled from Sudan since the ICC issued an arrest warrant for President al-Bashir last year for reporting human rights abuses. The ongoing 7 yr conflict the UN estimates has left 300,000 dead and 2.7mil displaced.)
  • Oil spill: (Gulf of Mexico: up to 79% of the 4.1mil barrels of oil that gushed from the broken well and were not captured directly at the wellhead remained in the Gulf. Many species are currently nesting and reproducing in the area, and an entire generation of hundreds of species could be lost as a result. Countless marine birds could also be affected, as the area is a primary flyway for many species, currently in its peak migratory period. New information also reveals that BP is using 100,000 gallons of dispersants (1/3 of the world’s supply) on the oil, further contaminating the ocean with harmful chemicals. Unfortunately, the true environmental ramifications of this catastrophe won’t be known for years to come. Not only marine life and beaches are affected, but also the health of countless ppl are also at risk
  • War: Israel vs Palestine: 22 day War on Gaza 2008-2009- crowded into a strip of land 40km long and 10km wide, Gaza’s 1.5 million people suffer from widespread poverty, malnutrition and unemployment, a situation only worsened by Israel’s bloodiest assault on the territory in decades. 1,434 Palestinians were killed (235 were combatants, 960 civilians lost their lives, incl 288 children & 121 women. A total of 5,303 Palestinians were injured in the assault (incl 1,606 children and 828 women. About 100,000 Gazans lost their homes in the three-week war; the shooting at medical crews; the use of illegal munitions against a civilian population, including white phosphorus shells; the prevention of the evacuation of wounded; bombing and shelling of schools, hospitals, supply convoys and a UN facility. Israeli death toll: 13, 10 of which were combatants.

to just name a few if you weren’t aware….

It’s because of you. Yes, you. And me, and the rest of man.

Many times when we are struck with a trial or calamity, our first reaction is the thought: “why me?!” Yet the sad fact is that we do not realize these trials are a result of what our own hands have reaped.

Allah azza wa jal says in a monumental ayah for our times:


ظَهَرَ الْفَسَادُ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِي النَّاسِ لِيُذِيقَهُمْ بَعْضَ الَّذِي عَمِلُوا لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ

“Evil has appeared on land and sea because of what the hands of men have earned, that He (Allah) may make them taste a part of that which they have done, in order that they may return”. (30:41)

Allah ta’ala says ‘fasaad’ has become apparent. Fasaad means an imbalance and is the opposite of ‘islaah’ (reformation). Fasaad is when something decays, spoils and it is not as it should be. There are two types of fasaad: tangible evil such as famine, drought, wars and intangible such as bad manners and doing shirk.

This ayah does not only state that evil has appeared on the land, but it includes the land and sea. On the land, there is physical land pollution, drought, earthquakes and vegetation is scarce. There is also an imbalance in the people of the land. Such fasaad is also evident in the sea: the water is polluted, and certain species that live within it are nearing extinction.

How is it that we are the cause of this fasaad? Allah ta’ala says:

بِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِي النَّاسِ


because of what the hands of men have reaped.

The “ba” in the beginning is known as the ‘ba of reason’ or ‘ba of causation’, showing that it is through continuous sinning without repentance, disbelief in Allah and corruption that fasaad has appeared. Abu Al-’Aliyah said: “Whoever disobeys Allah in the earth has corrupted it, because the good condition of the earth and the heavens depends on obedience to Allah.”

Allah ta’ala only mentions the hands of men because most of our deeds are done by our hands and our hands represent action.

This fasaad has appeared:

لِيُذِيقَهُمْ بَعْضَ الَّذِي عَمِلُوا

that He (Allah) may make them taste a part of that which they have done.

The ‘laam’ here is known as ’laam of ‘illah’, of reason. The reason for the appearance of evil is so that we are made to taste and experience what our own hands have reaped.

An interesting part of this ayah is the word بَعْضَba’dha, which means “some” of the consequences. The fasaad on the earth is not a complete retribution of what people have done, rather Allah ta’ala only gives us a taste of the consequence in this dunya. Imagine, everything that is going on around us is only some of what man has done!

May Allah have mercy on Imam Sa’di who said in his tafseer of this ayah:

Then how Exalted and Glorified is Allah! He blessed through His trials and favored by His end results, and if He made the people taste the full consequence of what they earned, not even one creature would remain on the earth.

Allah azza wa jal then ends the ayah,

لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ

in order that they may return.

SubhanAllah, the reason as to why there is fasaad upon this earth is so that we may return to Allah azza wa jal: from wrong actions to right actions, from disobedience to obedience, from imbalance to the balance of the earth.

Islaah, reformation, is a part of tawbah. Allah ta’ala says:

إِلَّا الَّذِينَ تَابُوا وَأَصْلَحُوا

Except those who repent, and do islaah: reformation to good. (4:146)

Take these signs around us as a blessing; how Merciful is Allah to let us see what our own hands have repead so that we may repent! Turn back to Allah and ask for His Forgiveness before it’s too late.

Shaykh ibn al-Uthaymeen rahimahullah beautifully said:

“By Allah, sins effect the security of a land; they effect its ease, its prosperity, its economy; and they effect the hearts of its people. Sins cause alienation between people. Sins cause one Muslim to regard his Muslim brother as if he were upon a religion other than Islam.
But if we sought to rectify ourselves, our families, our neighbors, and those in our areas, and everyone we are able to rectify, if we mutually encouraged good and forbade evil, if we assisted those who do this with wisdom and wise admonition- then it would produce unity and harmony”

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