By Dr. Muhammad Hafizullah
“We sent messages to nations before you, and We inflicted upon them famine and hardship that they might abase themselves. If only they had abased themselves when Our calamity struck! But their hearts had grown hard, and Satan made their deeds appear attractive to them. When they forgot what they had been asked to remember, We opened wide to them the gates of all good things; until, delighted with what they were given, we seized them suddenly, and behold, they were in utter despair. The last remnant of these wrong doers was brought to an end. Praise be to God, Lord of the worlds!" (Al Quran 6: 42-45)
"As we left the house in emergency, we were three and now I am alone - totally on my own!" Faheem had tears rolling down his cheeks. "I lost my elderly mother and a young sister in the water and I have no idea where they are?" "We spent two nights and two days on the top of our old house with water everywhere, no access to food and potable water; no communication with relatives and friends, we had very little hope of survival," told Mr Qayyum, a clerk in a private firm - his pale colour, swollen eyes and grim looks revealed his state of mind. Another relative of his went through the same ordeal along with young children and an old mother. "I had loaned some money to build this house, which is now reduced to a heap of mud: we will never own a house and more importantly how do we return the loan - especially with no source of income?" lamented Hameed seeing all his earning reduced to nothing without any hope for the future.
The country is hit by a calamity- the proportions we still have to evaluate. The losses of today in material may be estimated in some physical terms but the irreplaceable loss of precious human lives can never be calculated. The loss of hope for the future with loss of sources of income - like business, shops, fields and transport is most depressing. Shattering of dreams and dying of plans of tomorrow is indeed very painful. When it rained, it did not rain but it poured! The clouds busted and people could not recollect witnessing such torrential rains before. The elders had heard of a flood in 1929 but nobody had any recollections of such a devastating flood, when literally the gates opened and the mighty water inundated vast areas at her will. People watched everything in disbelief and sheer helplessness. The administration was in disarray and incredulous. Whereas hundreds of helicopters and thousands of boats were required, the government machinery did not even have a score at their disposal. As a result the majority of affectees were left to their own - struggling for their life - as usual!
People stranded in different towns inundated with floods have many stories to share. Many are still marooned in remote areas, where bridges gave way to the unkind waves of the unprecedented floods. Their communication came to naught depriving them of edibles, water and medical help. The hotels on river banks in Swat gave way like house of cards. Buildings - boasting of glorious past hosting thousands of guests from all over the country, very humbly submitted to the ferocious waves. Human lives were lost for no superior aim or purpose. Crops ready for the produce submerged under water never to raise their heads again. Thousands of trees could not face the fury of floods and had to flow along with water. The precious asset of the poor - their valuable animals and poultry, all was washed away without any tell tales.
Only in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa more than twelve hundred precious lives were lost and equal number are seriously injured. The number of people exposed to most unhealthy environment and predisposed to numerous infections will never be known. More than one hundred and fifty thousand villages have been wiped out totally. Millions of houses have been damaged and half of them completely demolished. Such was the fury of flood that it did not give people any response time. They did not have enough time to pick up their belongings and vacate their houses.
"Why has this happened and why did it affect us so adversely?" is the question asked by millions of people. Nobody has the perfect answer! Some blame it on global warming and other on the lack of dams. What could be more unfortunate that even at this hour of misery and loss the nation is divided? There is evident lack of trust. Many suspect that there are people at helm of affairs who would rather siphon of the aid to their personal accounts - leaving these miserable unsupported. Of the foreign countries that are willing to help us, most are hesitant to trust our hierarchy. More disturbingly, even the local population prefers to contribute on their own, in their own way resulting in total lack of coordination.
How many a town We destroyed! Our wrath came upon it as they slumbered at night or they reposed by day. Their only plea, as Our wrath fell upon them, was to say; 'We were indeed wicked'. (Al Quran 7: 4-5)
Is this not very strong admonition from Him? There is no denying that it is indeed a big warning from Allah Subhanu Taala. We have to understand this and shape our lives accordingly. We have to submit to Him, tender our heartfelt apologies, appeal to His unlimited kindness and seek forgiveness. Individual acts are punished individually and may be forgiven. But when nations as a whole commit crimes and break His devised rules, then there is no forgiveness. The history is replete with examples of such nations punished by wind, water, sound and stones. We have now entered into the errands of history where we are being punished by innumerable ways and at such a high scale. What is the answer - guidance can be sought from the following verses of Sura Luqman:
"My son, even if it were the weight of a mustard seed upon a rock, or in the heavens or on earth God shall bring it light. God is All-Experienced and All-Perceptive.
"My son, perform the prayer, command to virtue and forbid evil and bear with patience whatever befalls you. This is a course of action upright and prudent.
"Do not turn away your cheek from people in contempt and do not walk merrily upon the earth: God loves not every swaggering snob. Let your walk be modest and keep your voice low: the ugliest of sound is the braying of an ass" (Al Quran 31:16-20).