A Rise in Earthquakes

No other natural event affects people as strongly as earthquakes, for they can happen anywhere and at any moment. Throughout history, they have caused many deaths and great material loss. For this reason, they are greatly feared. Even modern technology has been able to prevent earthquake-related damage only to a certain extent.

The 1995 earthquake in Kobe serves as an example to those who mistakenly think that technology will one day harness nature. This earthquake caused massive and unexpected damage to Japan's largest industrial and transportation center. Although it only lasted 20 seconds, as Time reported, it caused about $100 billion worth of damage.23

 

The Hour [Last Day] will not be established until ... earthquakes will be very frequent. (Sahih Bukhari)

 

 

There are two great events before the Day of Judgment ... and then years of earthquakes. (Ramuz al-Ahadith, p.187, no.2)

 

 

The days when you can find no homes to shelter you, or animals to carry you, have come close. Earthquakes will demolish your houses. (Muhammad ibn `Abd al-Rasul Barzanji, Al-Isha`ah li Ashrat as-Sa`ah, p. 146)

 

 

There will be disagreements and frequent earthquakes. (Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Rasul Barzanji, Al-Isha'ah li-Ashrat al-Sa'ah, p. 166)

 

In the last few years, major earthquakes have occurred repeatedly and are among the foremost fears of people. According to the data collected by the American National Earthquake Information Center for 1999, we find that 20,832 earthquakes took place and killed an estimated 22,711 people.24

(Left) A 1995 earthquake reduced Kobe to rubble.
(Right) The destruction caused by the Kobe and Mexico earthquakes.

When past figures are examined, we see that the number of earthquakes was quite low. According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reports, the number of earthquakes with a magnitude of 5.0 or greater on the Richter scale that took place during the 400 years between 1556-1975 was only 110; between 1980-2003, the number of earthquakes with a magnitude of 6.5 or greater on the Richter scale was 1,685.25 These figures reveal that the number of earthquakes had increased by the beginning of the year Hijri 1400.

The Qur'an contains certain verses that point out the relation between earthquakes and the End Times. Surat al-Zilzal, the Chapter of the Great Shaking (earthquake), is composed of eight verses that describe the ground's violent shaking. It further states that this seismic activity will be followed by the Day of Judgment, the Resurrection, and everyone being called to account for their deeds by God, Who then will reward or punish them according to His absolute justice:

When Earth is convulsed with its quaking, and then disgorges its charges, and man asks: "What is wrong with it?" On that Day, it will impart all of its news, because your Lord has inspired it. On 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 al-Zilzal, 99:1-8)

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23. "Economic Aftershock," Time, February 6, 1995.
2 4. "Earthquake Facts and Statistics," US Geological Survey National Earthquake Information Center, 2000. Online at: www.neic.cr.usgs.gov/neis/eqlists/eqstats.html and www.neic.cr.usgs.gov/neis/bulletin/1999_stats.html.
2 5. U.S. Geological Survey. Online at: http://neic.cr.usgs.gov:1711/neis/eqlists/.

 

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