Earthquakes – A Natural Phenomenon

Earthquakes are caused by movements within the Earth’s crust. Seismic waves travel through the Earth’s rocks and cause a sudden shaking of the ground. Normally, the tectonic plates are always in motion. However, they often get stuck on the edges. When the pressure on that edge overpowers the friction, they slip and cause a sudden release of energy in waves that travel through the earth’s crust. This is the reason for the trembling we feel during an earthquake.

The Islamic Viewpoint

The above scientific explanation does not differ from the Islamic view; rather, the scientific explanation is incomplete. The only feasible way all of this ensues is by the command of Allah, and no other. Verily, if Allah commands the ground to quake, so it shall.  

We know earthquakes take place due to the seismic waves travelling in the earth’s crust, solely because it is the command of Allah. What many do not contemplate is why Allah demands that the ground should shake. Why is it that when the end is nigh, a great earthquake will destroy the earth and everything in it?

This is because these earthquakes are a warning from Allah, reminding us that the end of times is not far; rather, it is inevitable. Allah sends so many little and big warnings to wake humanity from its state of lassitude. Allah says in the Quran: “And we sent not the signs, except to warn.” (Al-Israa, 17:59)

Yet we continue to be so busy in our arrogance and ignorance, not acknowledging the word of Allah. What is the value of our sheer mundaneness in front of Allah’s divine transcendence? If Allah willed, He would turn the universe into rubble faster than the eye can blink. So many nations before us were destroyed for causing corruption and disobeying the word of Allah.

Earthquakes in the Quran

Allah mentions in the Quran: “He (Allah) hath power to send calamities on you, from above and below, or to cover you with confusion in party strife, giving you a taste of mutual vengeance – each from the other.” (Al-An’am, 6:65)

Unquestionably, Allah is all-knowing, all-wise. Surely Allah has limitless and immeasurable power and infinite knowledge. Every breath we take, and every step we take are from the mercy of our Lord, indeed. 

Allah says in the Quran: “If only they had behaved according to the Torah, the Gospel, and what has (now) been sent down to them from their Lord (the Quran), they would surely have gotten provision from above them and from underneath their feet.” (Al-Maidah 5:66)

Even after numerous warnings, those who chose a life of corruption, sin, disbelief and rejected the word of Allah when it was brought to them by the prophets, will be subject to severe punishment similar to those before them. Many destructions of nations began with the event of an earthquake. Undoubtedly, any nation that was destroyed by the command of Allah had been sent countless warnings prior to its demolition.

Allah mentions this in the Quran: “So We punished each for his sins, of them were some on whom We sent a violent wind with showers of stones [as on the people of Lut (Lot) (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)], and of them were some who were overtaken by torment awful cry, [as the nation of Prophet Saleh (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and the people of Prophet Shu‘ayb (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)], and of them were some whom We caused the earth to swallow [as Qarun (Korah)], and of them were some whom We drowned [as the people of Nuh (Noah) (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and Fir‘aun (Pharaoh) and his people]. It was not Allah Who wronged them, but they wronged themselves.” (Al-‘Ankabut, 29:40)

A Sign of the Day of Judgement

When the Day of Judgement is near, earthquakes will become very recurrent. A hadith narrated by Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) states: “The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: ‘The hour (end of the world) will not be established until (religious) knowledge will be taken away, earthquakes will become very frequent, time will pass quickly, afflictions will appear, murders will increase, and money will overflow amongst you.’” (Hadith 146, Chapter 17, Bukhari)

Another similar hadith narrated by Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) is as follows: “The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: ‘Oh Allah! Bless our Sham (Syria) and Yemen!’ The people responded: ‘Our Najd as well.’ The Prophet (peace be upon him) again repeated: ‘Oh Allah! Bless our Sham (Syria) and Yemen!’ The people again said: ‘Our Najd as well.’ On that, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: ‘There will appear earthquakes and afflictions, and from there will come out the side of the head of Satan.’” (Hadith 147, Chapter 17, Bukhari)

These hadiths prove the very significant connection between the end of times and earthquakes. Earthquakes are also amongst the minor signs of the Day of Judgment, along with fires and landslides. The number of earthquakes has already grown immensely. Perhaps other signs of the Day of Judgement have also been met.

On the Day of Judgement, when the trumpet is blown and the world begins to end, a massive earthquake will take place. This earthquake will cause incalculable damage, which will lead to the destruction of earth. With that, Allah will cause the universe to destruct, as preparations for our trials begin. Allah says in the Quran: “Oh mankind! Fear your Lord. Lo! the earthquake of the Hour (last hour) is a tremendous thing.” (Al-Hajj, 22:1, Quran)

These verses indicate that there will be a series of major landslides, accompanied by earthquakes and a fire that will drive people to their place of assembly.   

The Prophetic Prayer

Abul Yusr (may Allah be pleased with him) mentioned a prayer that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to read for protection from earthquakes and other dangerous trials: “The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) used to supplicate: ‘Oh Allah, I seek refuge in Thee from my house falling on me, I seek refuge in Thee from falling into an abyss, I seek refuge in Thee from drowning, burning, and decrepitude. I seek refuge in Thee from the devil harming me at the time of my death, I seek refuge in Thee from dying in Thy path while retreating, and I seek refuge in Thee from dying of the sting of a poisonous creature.’” (Hadith 137, Book 8, Sunan Abi-Dawood – 1552)


In conclusion, earthquakes should be viewed as an imperative warning from Allah to humankind, and not solitarily as a natural disaster. They should be remembered as warnings that have and will increase during the end of days, thus becoming more widespread. Earthquakes do tend to bring a sense of terror and fear with them. Therefore, the final earthquake that will destroy the earth will surely be of the same nature. Perhaps it will be the most substantial of them all. At last, earthquakes should also be perceived as a punishment from Allah and a reminder to reconnect with Islam.

May Allah guide us toward the correct path and make us not of those who went astray. May Allah protect us all and save us from the hellfire.