Pakistani clerics say quake a wake-up call for sinners

2015-10-27 21:06
Pakistani soldiers move an injured child to an ambulance. (Mohammad Sajjad, AP)

Pakistani soldiers move an injured child to an ambulance. (Mohammad Sajjad, AP)

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Islamabad - A religious body of Sunni clerics in Pakistan on Tuesday said the deadly earthquake that struck the region a day earlier was a wake-up call for Muslims to quit sinning.

"Why do quakes come?" asked Maulana Abdul Qudus, a cleric associated with Wafaq-ul-Madaris-al-Arabia organisation, "because when the earth cannot survive under the load of sins, it shakes".

The organisation runs over 12 000 Sunni Islamic seminaries in Pakistan and has thousands of clerics as its members and millions of followers.

A 7.5-magnitude earthquake hit the north western region of Pakistan and parts of Afghanistan on Monday, killing over 350 people and causing a widespread fear in both countries.

"We should thank Allah the Almighty as the country has been saved from any major disaster," a statement issued by the organisation said.

"But we all should seek forgiveness from God and promise not to repeat our sins in the future to avoid such disasters," Qudus said.

"We are pleased at reports that many people are going to mosques after the earthquake. Organising gatherings for collective repentance is the need of the hour," clerics said.

There are many in the conservative Islamic society of Pakistan who endorse the clerics' explanation for earthquakes.

"Well, whatever the reason is. One thing is for sure, disasters result in human suffering and only God can save us from that," said Abid Ali, who holds a master's degree in physics, works for a research organisation and has travelled to Europe twice.

But for a liberal segment of the society and some of the victim families the statement by clerics was too harsh.

"It is like rubbing salt in our wounds," said Jamaluddin Khan, a lecturer at a college in the worse hit town of Swat. "A natural disaster can hit anybody, anywhere."

"These clerics must know that some of prophets, whom they keep in very high esteem, faced disasters like famine, hunger and displacement," said Khan "Would they call it the wrath of God too?"

Read more on:    pakistan  |  religion  |  earthquakes  |  natural disasters

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