The Idea Mag - Issue 1 - January 2nd, 2005


Where's Allah When You Need Him?

August 17, 1999 - A 7.4 magnitude earthquake hits Izmit, Turkey 50 miles south of Istanbul; over 17,000 people killed.

December 26, 2003 – A 6.6 magnitude earthquake shudders through Bam, Iran killing over 30,000.

December 26, 2004 – A 9.0 magnitude quake shakes the ocean floor off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia with the resulting tsunami killing over 120,000 people, leaving 5 million homeless, and hundreds of thousands more susceptible to disease.

Over half of the victims of this disaster are children.

The numbers are staggering, so staggering in fact that they are difficult to mentally grasp. But, there is another intriguing number that began to grab my attention when I first heard it. Ninety percent of the victims of these three disasters were Muslim. Please, do not misunderstand me in what I am about to say. I am in no way poking fun or ridiculing the Muslim religion, but think about this with me. Does not the Muslim religion believe that all events that happen are the will of Allah? The logical conclusion of such a belief must be that Allah 'willed' – caused - these earthquakes in Turkey, Iran, and across southern Asia to happen. It was His will, and because He is all-powerful he must have wanted these disasters to occur. After all, why would he cause something that He did not want, since he has the power to stop anything that is against his wishes from happening?

Is this not what the Muslim religion believes? I cannot imagine what it must feel like to get a hold of this belief during a tragedy such as this. The hopelessness and despair that must exist! Allah wanted your mother, father, brother, sister to be killed in such a way. Allah wanted your country devastated and your home destroyed. It was his will. After you have spent your life dedicated to follow Islam’s most stringent guidelines, how do you deal with that?

Then to have the 'infidel', 'Christian' nation of the United States of America come to your aid with US military ships and planes showing up in your country bringing food, medicine, and other supplies. 'Christian' relief organizations like the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and Christian Children’s Fund along with 52 other American relief and charity organizations donating millions of dollars for you aid? How do you grapple with such things? To me, this view of the world leaves much to be desired.

A few days ago while listening to the radio, the host asked a very intriguing question. How could any God cause, allow, or in any way tolerate such a natural disaster as has happened this week? He was a self-proclaimed 'Christian' and so were many of his callers, yet they could not come up with any sort of reason. It was a question that really intrigued me as to the difference between genuine Christianity and the beliefs of Islam. The main difference is that Muslims believe Allah wills and Christians believe that God allows. Muslims don't seem to have any concept of Allah allowing something to happen that would conflict with 'his' desire.

God can allow disasters to happen and in turn bring good out of it. He does not have to, but in His love, many times He does. What if, as a result of these numerous deaths, thousands more realized the despair and hopelessness of following a religion that is blindly leading them to hell? Could that be good thing? Or what if among the thousands dead was a future terrorist that would be responsible for the death of millions of civilians if allow to live out his days? Could we accept that as a good reason? I could go on and on, but I think you get my point.

The problem comes when we try to put God inside the box of our thinking and reasoning. But wait - herein lies the beauty of true Christianity. We don’t have to put God in this box. We hold to a God that is just, loving, and caring. We can trust in His will, in His purposes having faith in what he is doing, even though our puny minds might not be able to 'figure it all out'. What we can know is that God is at work in this world bringing lives and hearts to Him. It is in this that we can find peace and hope. The question I ask is, where is the hope in Islam’s view of the world?

[Interesting note – after filing this article I heard that Americans have donated more on the internet towards the tsunami relief than they did after 9/11. We live in a truly great country.]

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