RECENTLY Haiti was struck by a devastating earthquake. The sheer destruction caused by this calamity mandated that the entire international community get together to help those affected. Charitable organizations, governmental aid agencies, and relief groups of all types were mobilized for relief operations.
While humanitarian aid poured in from all quarters, one prominent and very senior faith leader from neighboring United States startled everyone by his comments and observations on the tragic event. Reverend Pat Roberson, one of the most famous American televangelists in a TV interview was of the view that the earthquake in Haiti was due to Haitians being a cursed nation!
According to him, when the French had occupied the country, the locals sought to get rid of them by making a pact with the devil, that if he were to aid them in getting rid of the French colonialists they would serve him! According to Robertson, because the Haitians had revolted against the French occupiers and sought the aid of the Devil, this is why God has chosen to send such a devastating earthquake their way. This alleged devilish pact came into being in the year 1888. This interesting observation by a Christian leader of the most highest caliber makes one wonder, whether the majority of Haitians who since then have converted to Christianity have in fact become cursed!
If we were to believe Pat Robertson, then this would be the logical conclusion. He claims that Haitians vowed to serve the devil, and we see that since a century or so the Christian population of Haiti has increased manifolds. Is Pat Robertson in a way pointing a finger at people who adopted his own faith? But we can also see an interesting point here. The people who made the alleged pact, are not the one’s who were struck by this calamity. Those very individuals, assuming that they did enter into such an unholy alliance, are long dead and buried, and the effected of the earthquake are not those very people, but people who were born many many years after them. In fact the Christian Bishop of the city was also killed! Was he also cursed?
In the mind of people like Robertson God punished not the perpetrators of sin, but those who were innocent of the blasphemy. If indeed someone deserved divine wrath, then it should have been those individuals who uttered such blasphemies from their lips, and not the frail and weak men, women and children whose poverty and illiteracy features them not to have a faintest idea about the two hundred year historical past of their country.
But Robertson maintains that these very poor and weak people were condemned by God for deeds of their ancestors! This is the type of God that famous televangelists would have people to believe in, one who didn’t send an earth quake to the actual people who made the pact with the devil, but sent it on generations who came long after them, who were not even there at the time of the pact!
Perhaps the influence on the Reverend came from the Christian idea of the original sin. Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, and because of them every human child ever to come on earth will be tainted with sin! The Haitian forefathers entered a pact, and now their generations are suffering! The problem in accepting this view is that it not only goes against common sense, and principles of justice, but also against the scriptures that the Reverend would swear by.
Common sense and the principles of justice dictate that it is the offender who needs to be penalized and not his descendents who have not committed the offense. There is no court of law in the entire world that would punish someone’s great grandchild for an offense that he i.e. the great grand father committed. In the same way, we read in the Judeo Christian scriptures that the individual committing sin, deserves punishment and not his or her children who are innocent of the act.
“The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.” Ezekiel 18:20
But sadly, some twisted concepts of retribution are abounding among many faith leaders, who instead of healing wounds add salt to them. No wonder, people in the United States are turning away from this type of religion, which casts doubts on the person of God Almighty Himself and where the concept of justice is stretched to one’s wildest imaginations!
Mosques in Haiti remain unscathed by the earthquake
From a Muslim point of view I would also like to clarify those notions such as the one forwarded by Reverend Pat Robertson are not befitting the majesty of God. God Almighty promotes justice. He does not punish those who are not guilty of sin, but only the perpetrators thereof. Moreover, He is merciful and allows people to seek forgiveness, for which wrong conduct of their past life is effaced, provided they sincerely turn in repentance. In the words of the Qur’an:
“Say: “O my Servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of God: for God forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” 39:53
The people of Haiti have suffered. They need relief. Both in material as well as spiritual terms. Along with material relief for the distressed, the Muslim duty is also to give Dawah to the suffering people, for in distress and hardship, the suffering heart turns to God for solace and comfort.
Interestingly, while numerous buildings and structures, including many Churches and places of worship were demolished by the earth quake, all the mosques in Haiti remained untouched and later became places of refuge for the survivors as is evident from this post event video footage.
Is there a message in this unusual phenomenon? Does God want the survivors in Haiti to go to the mosques and come into contact with the Qur’an for relief and solace?
“…for without doubt in the remembrance of God do hearts find satisfaction.” 13:28
Mosques unscathed while other places reduced to rubble in a strong earth quake. Is this a coincidence or is there meaning behind this strange occurrence? I will leave you to contemplate on this yourself.
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