Humans 0 – Volcano 1

952186_wireframe_airliner_5Assalaamu-Alaykum – Peace be Upon you

Well I actually started this post when the Icelandic volcano first erupted in April, but as usual, me being sidetracked into doing other things together with my built-in laziness meant that this post would have been posted long after the volcanic ash cloud was out of the news headlines and people had long forgotten about it.

But no! Just the other day, 17 May 2010, some of the airports in the north-west of Ireland and, Scotland and northern England were again closed due to aircraft being unable to fly in the drifting volcanic ash cloud.

So apart from the apparent billions which the aviation industry has lost and the momentous travel disruption the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull (!!!) has caused to millions of travellers across the world, what else has this event brought us?

Well one could argue that it has once again brought us into thinking along the lines of how limited this human being really is.  It has shown us how little power and control we really have over what is going on around us, and how very little we can do  to regain control in our lives when we are faced with a natural event outside of our control which throws everything up in the air (literally!).

You see, as we have progressed technologically and increased our knowledge of the world around us and pretty much everything we do in our daily lives, we as human beings have become more confident, and maybe even a little arrogant in our own superiority.

We expect the train to be on time, we expect the service in the restaurant to be first class, we expect the broadband to be super-fast  - in short, we expect everything to run like clockwork all the time and have become so engrossed in the world that we have created, we seem to be forgetting how much of a blessing from Allah each and everything is and therefore, we take everything for granted.

So when something like a ‘little ash cloud’ closes down the airspace of Great Britain, something which even the terrorists could not do, we voice complacency and wonder why these million pound planes with no less that Rolls-Royce jet engines, cannot fly through a little volcanic ash…..

For me, its another stark reminder from Allah of a beautiful verse in the Qur’an, found in Surah Rehman, which means ‘The Merciful’.

Anyone who has read Surah Rehman will agree at once that it is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful parts of the already beautiful Qur’an.  In it, Allah recounts His favours towards mankind and after each of His reminders comes the unforgettable verse meaning: ‘Then which of the Blessings of your Lord will you both (jinns and men) deny?’

And in Surah Rehman Allah states:

O assembly of jinns and men! If you have power to pass beyond the zones of the heavens and the earth, then pass (them)! But you will never be able to pass them, except with authority (from Allah)!

Then which of the Blessings of your Lord will you both (jinns and men) deny?

Qur’an [55:33]

As you can see, this verse although revealed over 1400 years ago still has relevance today, and is still up-to-date, just as the rest of the Qur’an.  We are reminded by Allah that everything we do and everything we purport to control is actually a blessing from Allah, and in reality it is not we who are doing, but it is Allah, and in reality it is really not we who are in control, but it is actually Allah.

And the verse is very explicit in its reference to travelling in the heavens.  Even here, Allah is reminding us that we do so because He allows us to, and we can only do as much as he allows us to – not one inch further.   So Rolls-Royce engines or not, it may be that we possess the power, but in grounding those planes, Allah is saying to us that we do not on this occasion have the authority.

Therefore, we may view our position as thus; Allah has given us free reign to live the lives that we live, doing the things that we do, seemingly to be in control, however, in truth, Allah, the Supreme Creator, Sustainer and Provider of all that exists, is actually as it were, ‘pulling the strings’ but in such a way as to make us think that we are actually in control.

It is only when we actually believe in this as a reality, then one starts going down the path of true servitude as a bondsman of Allah.  It is only then  that we start appreciating how truly Great our Creator is because we have now the knowledge that Allah is infinitely powerful and that He could make whatever He wanted to happen in the Universe, but that He has given us this existence, this reality, this opportunity to realise and recognise Him in the deception of the material and technological world around us……

So going back to my original intention for writing this post, I would say it was to illustrate that this control and superiority that we have achieved, has not been due to our greatness but due to the Mercy of Ar-Rahman – The Merciful.  Therefore the assumption that we are in total control is actually a wrong assumption.  And sometimes, when we get a bit arrogant, or when we start making ridiculous claims about our so-called greatness, Allah send just one little ash cloud so that we ask ourselves the question: If we think of ourselves as great and in control, then why is it that we were beaten by just one volcano?

And Allah knows best.

Ma’as-salaam – With Peace

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