All praise is for Allah who is the creator and sustainer of this universe. It is His extreme kindness and favour that He sent messengers and prophets for the guidance of mankind. But when the past nations didn’t obey Divine teachings, they faced torment of Allah. He not only sent messengers but also bestowed them with Divine books and commandments. Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) is the last of all prophets and Quran is the leader of all Divine books. Allah says in Quran:
وَلَقَدْ يَسَّرْنَا الْقُرْآنَ لِلذِّكْرِ فَهَلْ مِن مُّدَّكِرٍ
Meaning: And indeed, We have made the Quran easy for direction and guidance, but is there anyone who will take advice?
For the guidance of mankind, Allah has revealed various kinds of commandments in the Quran. On some occasions, He encourages people to ponder over the creation of universe. Whereas on the other occasions, He diverts their attention towards the countless blessings of Jannah and sometimes warns the people of the torments of the Hell. He gives them hope of attaining His closeness and gnosis and on other occasions warns them of the punishment in the life hereafter. The Quran tells the stories of past nations and punishment of Allah on them and their causes. The purpose of all these stories and warnings is to draw man’s attention towards Allah so that they can succeed in their purpose of life which is to gain closeness and gnosis of Allah.
Warnings in the Quran against Torment of Allah
The purpose of all these warning and glad tidings is to ensure man doesn’t get distracted by Satan and the inciting innerself and gets lost in chasing the worldly desires. Thus, the one who pays heed to the teachings of Quran and the stories of past nations, and tries to do good deeds in order to earn Allah’s consent is indeed the one who finds real success.
Allah says in Quran:
لَقَدْ كَانَ فِي قَصَصِهِمْ عِبْرَةٌ لِّأُوْلِي الْأَلْبَابِ
Meaning: Truly, in their stories there is a lesson of warning for men of understanding. (Yūsuf : 111)
This means that the stories of past nations that Allah has revealed in the Quran are there to act as guidance for the mankind. Allah is the most merciful and kind. He has blessed His creation (in particular mankind) with all sorts of blessings. Even when the man becomes oblivion to his Lord, Allah still continues to bless him with His unlimited bounty.
Allah keeps blessing the man with bounties and awaits for him to turn to Allah even till his last breath. However, at times Allah resorts to tough measures and even punishment. This is similar to parents, they always want the best for their children. When the children don’t listen to them, the parents resort to punishment, but the intent behind that is only their betterment.
Punishment of Allah on Previous Nations in Light of Quran
Allah reveals many stories of past nations who didn’t pay any heed to the guidance of their prophets. And when things got out of control, those nations faced torment of Allah. Allah keeps forgiving His men and gives them plenty of opportunities to correct themselves. However when people don’t listen to Divine teachings and their behaviour leads to collective distortion in the society, this is when torment of Allah befalls upon them.
Allah loves each and every of His men more than the love of 70 mothers put together. So why would Allah punish His men when He loves them so much. But when things go beyond control then Allah descends His torment. Below are some of the stories of the past nations that have been mentioned in Quran:
Torment of Allah on Nation of Prophet Noah
Prophet Noah spent around 950 years preaching his nation and striving to guide them to the path of salvation. However, despite his tireless efforts when his nation didn’t listen to him, they had to face torment of Allah in the form a huge flood that destroyed everything. Not only it rained heavily but water also erupted from the ground that washed away everything with it. Only Prophet Noah, his ark and the people and cattle on the ark remained safe, everything else got destroyed. Because of the great flood, Prophet Noah is also known as Adam II because the world began anew after the great flood.
Torment of Allah on Nation of Prophet Hud
After the nation of Prophet Noah, the people of Aad were a nation who started worshipping idols. When this false practice became prevalent, Allah sent Prophet Hud to guide them to the path of righteousness. Prophet Hud inculcated them to stop the worship of idols and asked them to worship only Allah who is the creator of the universe. He also warned them of the punishment of Allah if didn’t change their course. However, the people of Aad didn’t listen to him and continued with their false practice. As a result they faced torment of Allah. It stopped raining and the farm land turned dry. People were starved of water and other edibles. Prophet Hud asked them to repent in the court of Allah so that they could qualify for Allah’s mercy. However, they refused to do so. Their story is narrated in Quran as:
قَالُواْ يَا هُودُ مَا جِئْتَنَا بِبَيِّنَةٍ وَمَا نَحْنُ بِتَارِكِي آلِهَتِنَا عَن قَوْلِكَ وَمَا نَحْنُ لَكَ بِمُؤْمِنِينَ
Meaning: They said: ‘O Hud, you have not brought us any clear proof. Neither are we going to forsake our gods at your behest, nor are we to believe in you. (Hūd : 53)
Torment of Allah in the Form of Powerful Tornado
Thus Prophet Hud cut ties with them and as a result punishment of Allah descended upon them. Allah says in Quran:
وَتِلْكَ عَادٌ جَحَدُواْ بِآيَاتِ رَبِّهِمْ وَعَصَوْاْ رُسُلَهُ وَاتَّبَعُواْ أَمْرَ كُلِّ جَبَّارٍ عَنِيدٍ ۔ وَأُتْبِعُواْ فِي هَـذِهِ الدُّنْيَا لَعْنَةً وَيَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ أَلاَ إِنَّ عَادًا كَفَرُواْ رَبَّهُمْ أَلاَ بُعْدًا لِّعَادٍ قَوْمِ هُودٍ ۔
Meaning: And these are (the people of) ‘Aad who denied the Revelations of their Lord and disobeyed their Messengers and followed the dictates of every oppressive (and arrogant) enemy of the truth. A curse was set to chase them in this world, and (will chase them) on the Day of Resurrection (as well). Bear in mind that (the people of) ‘Aad denied their Lord. Beware! Far away (from mercy) are the ‘Aad, the people of Hud! (Hūd : 59, 60)
And then a very powerful tornado surrounded them. Allah says in Quran:
فَلَمَّا رَأَوْهُ عَارِضًا مُّسْتَقْبِلَ أَوْدِيَتِهِمْ قَالُوا هَذَا عَارِضٌ مُّمْطِرُنَا بَلْ هُوَ مَا اسْتَعْجَلْتُم بِهِ رِيحٌ فِيهَا عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ
Meaning: So when they saw that (torment) advancing on their valleys like a cloud, they said: ‘This is the cloud that is going to rain upon us.’ (Nay, not that,) rather this (cloud) is that (torment) which you were restlessly seeking to hasten. (This) is the storm in which is (approaching) a grievous punishment. (al-Ahqāf : 24)
Punishment of Allah on Nation of Thamud
Similar to the nation of Aad, the nation of Thamud also went against the commandments of Allah. Allah blessed Prophet Salih with a female camel. Allah had already warned the people about it as it is narrated in Quran:
وَإِلَى ثَمُودَ أَخَاهُمْ صَالِحًا قَالَ يَا قَوْمِ اعْبُدُواْ اللّهَ مَا لَكُم مِّنْ إِلَـهٍ غَيْرُهُ قَدْ جَاءَتْكُم بَيِّنَةٌ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ هَـذِهِ نَاقَةُ اللّهِ لَكُمْ آيَةً فَذَرُوهَا تَأْكُلْ فِي أَرْضِ اللّهِ وَلاَ تَمَسُّوهَا بِسُوءٍ فَيَأْخُذَكُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ
Meaning: And to (the people of) Thamud We (sent) their (kinship) brother Salih. He said: ‘O my people, always worship Allah; you have no other God except He. Indeed, there has come to you from your Lord a clear sign. This she-camel of Allah is a sign for you. So leave her (free) to graze in Allah’s earth, and do not touch her with an evil (intention), or a grievous torment will seize you.’ (al-A‘rāf : 73)
However it is human nature that people turn to insurrection under the influence of the inciting innerself. The nation of Thamud did just what Allah had warned them against. They killed the female camel. As a result they faced torment of Allah. Allah says in Quran:
قَالَ الَّذِينَ اسْتَكْبَرُواْ إِنَّا بِالَّذِي آمَنتُمْ بِهِ كَافِرُونَ ۔ فَعَقَرُواْ النَّاقَةَ وَعَتَوْاْ عَنْ أَمْرِ رَبِّهِمْ وَقَالُواْ يَا صَالِحُ ائْتِنَا بِمَا تَعِدُنَا إِن كُنتَ مِنَ الْمُرْسَلِينَ
Meaning: The arrogant said: ‘No doubt we strongly deny (that) which you have believed in.’ So they killed the she-camel (by hamstringing) and rebelled against the command of their Lord and said: ‘O Salih! Bring upon us that (torment) you have threatened us with if you are (truly) from amongst the Messengers.’ (al-A‘rāf : 76, 77)
Nation of Lot
The people of Lot were involved in sinful acts, in particular homosexuality. Allah sent Prophet Lot to preach the people of Lot to leave sinful acts and follow Divine Commandments. However, they didn’t listen to Prophet Lot. In the end, they face the punishment of Allah. It is narrated in Quran:
وَلُوطًا إِذْ قَالَ لِقَوْمِهِ أَتَأْتُونَ الْفَاحِشَةَ مَا سَبَقَكُم بِهَا مِنْ أَحَدٍ مِّنَ الْعَالَمِينَ ۔ إِنَّكُمْ لَتَأْتُونَ الرِّجَالَ شَهْوَةً مِّن دُونِ النِّسَاءِ بَلْ أَنتُمْ قَوْمٌ مُّسْرِفُونَ ۔ وَمَا كَانَ جَوَابَ قَوْمِهِ إِلاَّ أَن قَالُواْ أَخْرِجُوهُم مِّن قَرْيَتِكُمْ إِنَّهُمْ أُنَاسٌ يَتَطَهَّرُونَ ۔ فَأَنْجَيْنَاهُ وَأَهْلَهُ إِلاَّ امْرَأَتَهُ كَانَتْ مِنَ الْغَابِرِينَ ۔ وَأَمْطَرْنَا عَلَيْهِم مَّطَرًا فَانظُرْ كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الْمُجْرِمِينَ ۔
Meaning: And (likewise We sent) Lut ([Lot] as well) when he said to his people: ‘Do you perpetrate (such) lasciviousness as no people in the world have attempted before you? Verily, you go after men for your lust, leaving the women; you are in truth given to transgression.’ And his people had no reply except that they said: ‘Drive them out of the town; indeed, they seek the utmost purity!’ So We delivered him (Lut [Lot]) and his family, except his wife; she was one of those who stayed on in torment. And We rained on them (stones). See then what was the end of the evildoers! (al-A‘rāf, : 80 – 84)
Nation of Prophet Shuaib
The nation of Prophet Shuaib also faced torment of Allah because they moved away from the religion of Allah. Instead of being grateful to Allah for His countless bounties, they wanted to accumulate more and more wealth. They were known to under weigh when selling items. Prophet Shuaib warned them of the torment of Allah if they didn’t change their course. But they ignored all his warnings. Eventually punishment of Allah befell upon them. Quran says about them:
وَإِلَى مَدْيَنَ أَخَاهُمْ شُعَيْبًا قَالَ يَا قَوْمِ اعْبُدُواْ اللّهَ مَا لَكُم مِّنْ إِلَـهٍ غَيْرُهُ قَدْ جَاءَتْكُم بَيِّنَةٌ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ فَأَوْفُواْ الْكَيْلَ وَالْمِيزَانَ وَلاَ تَبْخَسُواْ النَّاسَ أَشْيَاءَهُمْ وَلاَ تُفْسِدُواْ فِي الْأَرْضِ بَعْدَ إِصْلاَحِهَا ذَلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ
Meaning: And towards Madyan (We sent) their (kinship) brother Shuaib. He said: ‘O my people, always worship Allah; you have no God except He. Indeed, there has come to you from your Lord a clear sign. So give full measure and weight, and do not decrease whilst giving people their things, nor create mischief in the land after reformation (of the living conditions). This is better for you if you believe (in the divine message). (al-A‘rāf : 85)
وَإِلَى مَدْيَنَ أَخَاهُمْ شُعَيْبًا فَقَالَ يَا قَوْمِ اعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ وَارْجُوا الْيَوْمَ الْآخِرَ وَلَا تَعْثَوْا فِي الْأَرْضِ مُفْسِدِينَ ۔ فَكَذَّبُوهُ فَأَخَذَتْهُمُ الرَّجْفَةُ فَأَصْبَحُوا فِي دَارِهِمْ جَاثِمِينَ ۔
Meaning: And (We sent) to Madyan their (kinship) brother Shuaib. So he said: ‘O my people, worship Allah and look forward to the Last Day and do not do mischief in the land.’ Then they rejected Shuaib. So (the torment of) the earthquake seized them (as well), and at dawn they were lying prone (dead) in their houses. (al-‘Ankabūt : 36, 37)
Nation of Prophet Moses (Israelites)
The Israelites also disobeyed religion of Allah. They used to live close to the bank of Red Sea and used to catch fish for their living. Allah had commanded them not to go fising on Saturdays. However, they used to see more fish on Saturdays than usual, so they couldn’t resist and started catching fish on Saturdays. Therefore, torment of Allah befell on them. Their faces were defaced and they turned from humans to monkeys. Their story is narrated in Quran as:
فَلَمَّا عَتَوْاْ عَن مَّا نُهُواْ عَنْهُ قُلْنَا لَهُمْ كُونُواْ قِرَدَةً خَاسِئِينَ
Meaning: Then when they defied (the command to give up) what they were prohibited, We commanded them: ‘Be you apes, despised and detested.’ (al-A‘rāf : 166)
Torments of Allah on previous nations – A lesson
In addition to the aforementioned accounts of past nations, there are numerus stories in the Quran that are a lesson for people to learn from. Even in the torments of Allah on past nations, there is Allah’s mercy hidden in them so that the sequel of disobedience and wrongdoing doesn’t continue. At least, the future generations of those tormented nations can take a lesson from that and obey the commandments of Allah. Abu Huraira narrates that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) said, when Allah created the creations, He wrote on His Throne:
إِنَّ رَحْمَتِي سَبَقَتْ غَضَبِي
Meaning: My mercy has preceded my anger.
As the punishment of parents for their children is meant to make them better human beings, similarly, the torment of Allah on past nations is only meant to act as a lesson for others so that they can live their lives as per the commandments of Allah.
Allah is extremely merciful and kind to His creation. He forgives those who ask for His forgiveness and guide those to the path of righteousness who ask for guidance.
Exception for the Mohammadan Umma
Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) is the most beloved prophet of Allah. He spent all his life praying for his umma. Allah accepted each and every of the Holy Prophet’s request. Allah promised that in contrary to the previous nations, the umma of Prophet Mohammad will not face torments of Allah in this world as it was the case with previous nations. For example some nations had their faces distorted, some turned from humans to monkeys, some faced severe floods and drought etc.
As the Holy Prophet is the last of all prophets. There will be no prophet after Prophet Mohammad. Therefore, after the physical demise of the Holy Prophet, Allah has continued the system of guidance for the Mohammadan umma through perfect Fakirs. This is so that the people continue to obey and follow the religion of Allah and not go astray as the previous nations did.
Moral Decline of our Society
When we look around us today, we find abundance of sinful acts, disobedience to Allah’s commandments and the malpractices of the previous nations that led to torment of Allah upon them. If we ponder over this point, the previous nations faced punishment of Allah for having one or two of the ill habits. However, we have all those malpractices and ill habits within us collectively.
It is indeed due to the Holy Prophet and his extremely exalted status in the court of Allah that we are not subject to the wrath of Allah. Remember! Where on one hand Allah is extremely kind and merciful to His creation. At the same time He is Almighty and Subduer. Allah grants dignity but on the same note, He is the one who also disgraces who He desires.
Because the Mohammadan umma is moving away from Sharia and teachings of the Holy Prophet and Allah, therefore Allah befalls various torments in the form of trials or pandemics to provide an opportunity for them to correct themselves.
The COVID-19 Pandemic
For example, these days the COVID-19 pandemic has spread all over the world and it has crippled the world economy. Hundreds of thousands of people have died as a result of this pandemic and many millions affected. The number of affected people is increasing by the day. Pakistan is no exception to it. People are now assimilating it as a form of torment of Allah. However, everything from Allah Almighty has a reason behind it. Allah wants His men to adopt the path of righteousness.
Today’s society has become very self-centred, people are striving to beat others in the race of accumulating wealth instead of striving to make their lives in hereafter better. Maybe this pandemic is a reckoning for the people to turn towards Allah instead of going after the transitory things of this world. Allah never turns His men away from His court who ask for His forgiveness. In fact, Allah blesses people who repent and ask for His forgiveness even more. It is only our wrongful deeds that result in the punishment of Allah.
We should turn this time of uncertainty into an opportunity to work towards achieving the purpose of our lives. Which is to gain recognition and gnosis of Allah.
Sultan ul Ashiqeen
The gnosis and closeness of Allah is only possible to achieve through the medium of Allah’s beloved i.e. the perfect Fakirs. Sultan ul Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib ur Rehman is the 31st and present Shaikh of the Sarwari Qadri order. He succeeds Sultan ul Faqr VI Sultan Mohammad Asghar Ali in the chain of Sarwari Qadri Saints. Since assuming the responsibility, he has taken revolutionary steps in spreading the message of Faqr to the world. Through his Divine company, he has turned numerous seekers of Allah to seekers of the Truth. Tap below to learn more:
With the grace of Allah, when this pandemic ends, it will bring positive changes that will certainly be good for mankind. As Allah says in Quran:
إِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا
Meaning: Verily, with hardship there is ease. (ash-Sharh : 6)
Indeed every hardship follows ease and good times. May Allah end this pandemic soon. Ameen
What is torment of Allah?
Torment of Allah can be in many forms. On previous nations, torment of Allah was in the form of floods, drought, storms etc. that destroyed those nations. However, it is a promise of Allah to His beloved Prophet, (Prophet Mohammad) that the Mohammadan umma will not face such torments of Allah in this world. Although at times, Allah reminds us through calamities such as pandemics to turn to Allah and strive to make our lives in hereafter better.
Why Allah Punishes People?
Allah loves each and every human being more than the love of 70 mothers put together. So why does Allah punish the people when He loves them so much. This can be explained by the upbringing of children by their parents. From time to time, parents may punish the children if they don’t listen to them to do something wrong. The intent and the purpose behind the punishment is only their training and good upbringing. Similarly, Allah wants His men to follow His commandments so that they succeed in achieving the purpose of their lives. The Satan and innerself are always trying to distract the men and misguide them from the path of righteousness.
This article is an English translation of the Urdu article that appeared in the July 2020 issue of the monthly Sultan ul Faqr Magazine title as گذشتہ اقوام پر آنے والے عذاب Ahsan Ali Sarwari Qadri authored the original article. Waheed Hassan Sarwari Qadri has translated it in English. Tap below to read the original article: