Presidents come and go. Trees blossom and later become bare. Mankind goes through phases of fearing Allāh ﷻ and thereafter forgetting Him. Such people are then taught a lesson. The Qurʾān says:
ٱسۡتِكۡبَارٗا فِي ٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَمَكۡرَ ٱلسَّيِّيِٕۚ وَلَا يَحِيقُ ٱلۡمَكۡرُ ٱلسَّيِّئُ إِلَّا بِأَهۡلِهِۦۚ فَهَلۡ يَنظُرُونَ إِلَّا سُنَّتَ ٱلۡأَوَّلِينَۚ فَلَن تَجِدَ لِسُنَّتِ ٱللَّهِ تَبۡدِيلٗاۖ وَلَن تَجِدَ لِسُنَّتِ ٱللَّهِ تَحۡوِيلًا ٤٣
“Because of their showing arrogance in the land and plotting of evil. And the evil plot engulfs none but its own people (who make it). So, they are looking for nothing but the (divine) practice with the earlier people. So, you will never find in Allāh’s practice any change, and you will never find in Allāh’s practice any diversion.”
The next verse convinces the readers to not fall into the errors of the people of the past. It reads:
أَوَ لَمۡ يَسِيرُواْ فِي ٱلۡأَرۡضِ فَيَنظُرُواْ كَيۡفَ كَانَ عَٰقِبَةُ ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبۡلِهِمۡ وَكَانُوٓاْ أَشَدَّ مِنۡهُمۡ قُوَّةٗۚ وَمَا كَانَ ٱللَّهُ لِيُعۡجِزَهُۥ مِن شَيۡءٖ فِي ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَلَا فِي ٱلۡأَرۡضِۚ إِنَّهُۥ كَانَ عَلِيمٗا قَدِيرٗا ٤٤
“Did they not travel in the land and see how the end of those before them was? They were stronger than these in power. Allāh is not such that something in the heavens or the earth can frustrate him. Surely, He is the All-Knowing, All-Powerful.”
To take a closer look at what this means, it is necessary to be familiar with a few foundational truths. Allāh ﷻ says:
ٱللَّهُ وَلِيُّ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ يُخۡرِجُهُم مِّنَ ٱلظُّلُمَٰتِ إِلَى ٱلنُّورِۖ وَٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوٓاْ أَوۡلِيَآؤُهُمُ ٱلطَّٰغُوتُ يُخۡرِجُونَهُم مِّنَ ٱلنُّورِ إِلَى ٱلظُّلُمَٰتِۗ أُوْلَٰٓئِكَ أَصۡحَٰبُ ٱلنَّارِۖ هُمۡ فِيهَا خَٰلِدُونَ ٢٥٧
“Allāh is the walī of those who believe. He brings them out of the depths of darkness into the light. As for those who disbelieve, their friends are the Rebels. They bring them out from the light into the depths of darkness. Those are people of the Fire. There, they will remain forever.”
According to a ḥadīth of al-Bukhārī, the Prophet ﷺ said:
إن الله قال: من عادى لي وليّاً فقد آذنته بالحرب
“Allāh said: ‘Whoever has enmity with a walī of mine, I shall wage war with him.”
Therefore, it can be concluded that Allāh ﷻ will wage war with any group of people who take the believers as their enemies.
In the Qurʾān, after listing examples of previous nations who disobeyed Him, Allāh ﷻ notes how He dealt with them. He says:
فَكُلًّا أَخَذۡنَا بِذَنۢبِهِۦۖ فَمِنۡهُم مَّنۡ أَرۡسَلۡنَا عَلَيۡهِ حَاصِبٗا وَمِنۡهُم مَّنۡ أَخَذَتۡهُ ٱلصَّيۡحَةُ وَمِنۡهُم مَّنۡ خَسَفۡنَا بِهِ ٱلۡأَرۡضَ وَمِنۡهُم مَّنۡ أَغۡرَقۡنَاۚ وَمَا كَانَ ٱللَّهُ لِيَظۡلِمَهُمۡ وَلَٰكِن كَانُوٓاْ أَنفُسَهُمۡ يَظۡلِمُونَ ٤٠
“Thus, We seized each one of them for his sin. So, to some of them, We sent a violent wind; and some of them were seized by a cry; and some of them We made to sink in the earth; and some of them We drowned. And Allāh was not to do injustice to them, but they used to do injustice to their own selves.”
In Sūrat al-Kahf, we are told of a man who rejected the message when it came to him and how his wealth and riches were destroyed in a natural disaster. It would be no wonder, therefore, if even today Allāh ﷻ punishes people who mismanage their wealth – especially if these very people are notorious for unjustly victimising their believing neighbours – by a natural disaster. The Prophet ﷺ said:
وإن النار لا يعذب بها إلا الله
“None but Allāh may punish with fire.”
The lesson to be learnt is that in order to enjoy the blessings of Allāh ﷻ, we must believe in Him and fear His disobedience; otherwise, we shall have to face the music. Allāh ﷻ says:
وَلَوۡ أَنَّ أَهۡلَ ٱلۡقُرَىٰٓ ءَامَنُواْ وَٱتَّقَوۡاْ لَفَتَحۡنَا عَلَيۡهِم بَرَكَٰتٖ مِّنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَلَٰكِن كَذَّبُواْ فَأَخَذۡنَٰهُم بِمَا كَانُواْ يَكۡسِبُونَ ٩٦
“If the people of the towns believed in and feared Allāh, We would have opened for them blessings from the heavens and the earth, but they disbelieved. So, We seized them because of what they used to earn for themselves.”
May Allāh ﷻ make us from those who believe in and fear Him. Āmīn.
 [Fāṭir: 35/43].
 [Fāṭir: 35/44].
 [Al-Baqara: 2/257].
 Al-Bukhārī (6502).
 [Al-ʿAnkabūt: 29/40].
 See [al-Kahf: 18/32-44].
 Al-Bukhārī (2954).
 [Al-Aʿrāf: 7/96].