Will you explain the destruction of children and animals in the nations that are destroyed?

Details of the Question

- Will you explain the destruction of children and animals in the nations that are destroyed by deluge?

- As it is known, it is often mentioned in the Quran that the nations that go beyond bounds are destroyed. This preoccupies my mind: There are also innocent children and animals in the nations destroyed by deluge as a penalty. Should their destruction in deluge be regarded as throwing the baby out with the bathwater?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The answer to this question can be viewed through the answers given by Badiuzzaman Said Nursi to similar questions:

Third Question:  What is the reason for this disaster, which arises from the wrongdoing of a few individuals, occurring to a degree generally throughout the country?

The Answer:  The general disaster results from the wrongdoing of the majority: most people in effect participate in the actions of those tyrannical individuals by supporting them either actively or morally or in some connection.

Fourth Question:  Since this disaster of an earthquake results from wrongdoing and is atonement for sins, why are the innocent and those not at fault struck by it? How does Divine justice permit this?

The answer, again in regard to its meaning:  Since this matter concerns the mystery of Divine Determining, we refer you to the Risale-i Nur and here only say this:

وَاتَّقُوا فِتْنَةً لاَ تُصِيبَنَّ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا مِنْكُمْ خَاصَّةً That is, "And fear tumult or oppression, which affects not in particular only those of you who do wrong."

The meaning of the above verse is as follows: this world is a field of trial and examination, and a place of striving where man is accountable for his actions. Accountability and examination require that reality remains veiled so that through competition and striving the Abu Bakrs may rise to the highest of the high and the Abu Jahls may enter among the lowest of the low.

If the innocent remained untouched by such disasters, the Abu Jahl’s would submit just like the Abu Bakr’s, and the door of spiritual and moral progress through striving would be closed and the mystery of accountability spoiled.

Since Divine wisdom requires that oppressed and oppressor are together afflicted by disaster, what then is the share of the wretched oppressed of Divine mercy and justice?

It was said in reply to this question:

For them, there is a manifestation of mercy within the wrath and anger in the disaster. For, just as the transient property of the innocent becomes like alms and gains permanence, the relatively little and temporary difficulty and torment is a form of martyrdom for them which also gains for their transient lives a permanent life. The earthquake earns for them a huge, perpetual profit, so for them is an instance of Divine mercy within the wrath.” (see Sözler, p. 172-173)

To sum up, it is understood from the explanations above that when Allah destroys a group, the innocent people there receive their share from that misfortune. That both the oppressors and the oppressed receive their shares from the same misfortune is a necessity of the mystery of testing.  

If the unbelievers and oppressors were destroyed in an earthquake or another disaster and their believing and innocent neighbors were not destroyed, the mystery of testing would be spoiled; in that case, both good people and bad people would believe and obey Allah.

However, what is meant by testing is to discriminate between the conceited people who sacrifice their minds and hearts for their souls and the humble people who sacrifice their souls and desires for the sake of the truth coming from Allah. Therefore, both the oppressors and the oppressed die together in disasters. However, in the second life, the oppressors go to Hell and the oppressed go to Paradise; thus, divine justice is realized.    

Great rewards by the mercy of Allah Almighty are in question in those misfortunes. For, the transient property of the innocent becomes like alms and gains permanence, the relatively little and temporary difficulty and torment is a form of martyrdom for them which also gains for their transient lives a permanent life.

It is not a small reward to gain a great and eternal bliss in return for a little and temporary difficulty in this world. Those who oppress or those who cause those misfortunes to come will definitely suffer for what they did in the hereafter truly though not in this world. Therefore, justice will be realized.

Those who were harmed because of those oppressors will get their rights from those oppressors; in addition, they will be granted endless boons in the eternal realm by Allah’s grace and mercy since they were hit by this misfortune though they were innocent and sinless. When those who suffered from such disasters though they were sinless will be asked about their state in the hereafter, they will say, "We have received great rewards in return for little difficulty and we saw that the oppressors were punished truly; we are very glad." 

The spirits of animals will remain in Paradise eternally; they will receive rewards from endless mercy due to the hardships they suffered.

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