Scholar Ibn Battal said: The emergence of earthquakes and signs are threats from Allah to people. Allah (may He be Exalted) says: "And We sent not the signs except to warn, and to make them afraid (of destruction)." [Surat Al Isra': 59]. 
Qatadah said: Allah (may He be Exalted) frightens people of whatever signs He wants perhaps they may take a lesson, a heed, remember, and return to Him. It was mentioned to us that Kufa quivered in the time of Ibn Mas`ud, thereupon he said: "O people, your Lord asks you to seek forgiveness, so do it." 
Abu Moses (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said when the sun eclipsed: "These signs which Allah sends do not occur because of the life or death of somebody, but Allah frightens with them His Servants." 
It was reported in the Hadith of Abu Bakrah (may Allah be pleased with him): "The sun and the moon are two signs amongst the signs of Allah and they do not eclipse because of the death of someone but Allah frightens His devotees with them." 
Al Hafizh ibn Hajar said:
As for his saying "frightens": It is a reply to those who claim that solar eclipse is regular and does not advance or defer because if the matter is as they describe, that will not be intimidation but will be like ebb and flow in the sea.
Some people thought that scientific calculations and the causes about which specialists speak mean that there is no wisdom beyond that which is an obvious mistake and corrupt belief.
Ibn Daqiq Al `Eid said: The Prophet's saying: "Allah frightens His Devotees with" is a reference that a person should feel fear at the fall of supreme changes.
People who study calculations have mentioned normal causes for solar eclipse and perhaps people may think that these causes contradict the Prophet's saying: "Allah frightens His Devotees with them" and that belief is corrupt because Allah (Glory be to Him) has some actions that run according to the normal causes and actions that run out these causes because His Power rules every reason and cause, so He cuts reasons from their causes as He likes.
When the people who understand this fact and know that Allah has ultimate power see something weird, they fear because they believe that Allah can do whatever He wants as He wants. That may include that there are some actions may run according to the normal causes until Allah wills to change them. Therefore, when the wind blew, the face of the Prophet (peace be upon him) would change and he kept moving in and out for fear that the wind would be like the destructive wind of `Ad.
The meaning of this speech is to know that the reasons which the people of calculations mentioned about the reason of the solar eclipse does not contradict the fact that it is frightening to the servants of Allah. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said that speech because the solar eclipse happened in the time of his son's death, so people said: It eclipsed because of the death of Ibrahim. And the Prophet (peace be upon him) wanted to refute this claim. 
Thus, we say in regard to earthquakes that the reasons which geologists mention do not contradict the fact that it is a cause for frightening people of Allah's Punishment, Wrath, and Revenge.
* The proof that these earthquakes and others signs from Allah to frighten people and warn them against Allah's Punishment and Wrath is the Hadith that was reported from Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) who narrated: "Whenever a strong wind blew, anxiety appeared on the face of the Prophet (peace be upon him) (fearing that wind might be a sign of Allah's Wrath)." 
Al Hafizh ibn Hajar said: When the blow of strong wind entails severe fear that leads to submission and returning to Allah, earthquakes are more effective in frightening people, and narrations proved that frequent earthquakes are one of the portents of the Hour. 
`A'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated: "When the Prophet (peace be upon him) saw a cloud in the sky, he would walk to and fro in agitation, go out and come in, and the color of his face would change, and if it rained, he would feel relaxed." So, `A'ishah knew that state of his. So the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: I do not know (I am afraid), it may be similar to what happened to some people referred to in the Holy Qur'an in the following Verse: "Then when they saw it as a dense cloud coming towards their valleys, they said, 'This is a cloud bringing us rain!' Nay, but, it is that (torment) which you were asking to be hastened a wind wherein is severe torment."[Surat Al Ahqaf: 24]." 
The Hadith reminds the people of the destruction that took place in the previous nations and warns the people to follow their track for fear of having the same consequence. 
* Ponder over with me the conditions of hearts when earthquakes and signs take place, they are full of fear and horror after the discovery of harm, it sends a signal to Muslims to follow the way of fear and hope.
Earthquakes may be a kind of wrath and revenge of the disbelievers:
It should be noted that sins which destroyed previous nations are divided into two types:
A- Showing stubbornness to Messengers and denying their messages.
B- Extravagance in lewdness and sins.
As for the first section:
Allah destroys the people of this section and torture them as He did with the people of Noah, `Ad, Thamud, Lut, Jethro, and people of the like.
Allah (Glory be to Him) says: "So, We punished each (of them) for his sins; of them were some on whom We sent Hâsib (a violent wind with shower of stones) [as on the people of Lût (Lot)], and of them were some who were overtaken by As-Saihah [torment - awful cry. (as Thamûd or Shu'aib's people)], and of them were some whom We caused the earth to swallow [as Qârûn (Korah)], and of them were some whom We drowned [as the people of Nûh (Noah], or Fir'aun (Pharaoh) and his people]. It was not Allâh Who wronged them, but they wronged themselves." [Surat Al `Ankabut: 40].
The second section:
They are inflicted by famines, disasters, diseases, differences, earthquakes, and others which would lead to death or not; and the torture of this Islamic nation from this type because Allah does not eradicate them or destroy them as He does with previous nations, but He tortures them with different kinds of afflictions; and we shall speak later about torturing Muslims with earthquakes and afflictions in the world.
The torture of Allah and His Punishment to nations do not include only one type but the law of Allah is to diversify it to different types. The punishment may be a thunderbolt, drowning, flood, destructive wind, sinking, famine, rise of prices, diseases, oppression, stirring seditions between people, deformation, or stoning.
All these are punishment and torture from Allah that are being sent to whomever He wants to discipline or deter, and these types have been mentioned in the Qur'an and the Sunnah.
All that is important is those people who were destroyed before us by earthquakes and here are some examples:
* The destruction of Thamud, the people of Salih with the shake, earthquake, and the cry:
Allah (Glory be to Him) narrated to us in His Glorious Book about the destruction of Thamud when they disbelieved their Prophet, Salih, who was sent to them and killed the she-camel:
Allah says: "So the earthquake seized them, and they lay (dead), prostrate in their homes." [Surat Al A`raf: 78].
Allah says: "And As-Saihah (torment - awful cry) overtook the wrong-doers, so they lay (dead), prostrate in their homes." [Surat Hud: 67].
Allah says: "But As-Saihah (torment - awful cry) overtook them in the early morning (of the fourth day of their promised punishment days)." [Surat Al Hijr: 83].
Allah says: "so the torment overtook them." [Surat Ash-Shu`ara': 158].
Allah says: "Then see how was the end of their plot! Verily, We destroyed them and their nation, all together." [Surat An-Naml: 51].
Allah says: "so the Sâ'iqah (a destructive awful cry, torment, hit, a thunderbolt) of disgracing torment seized them because of what they used to earn." [Surat Fussilat: 17].
Allah says: "Verily, We sent against them a single Saîhah (torment - awful cry), and they became like the stubble of a fold-builder." [Surat Al Qamr: 31].
Allah says: "So their Lord destroyed them because of their sin, and made them equal in destruction (i.e. all grades of people, rich and poor, strong and weak, etc.)!" [Surat Ash-Shams: 14].
The summary of what the commentators mentioned is: When they disbelieved Salih, killed the she-camel, and rushed the torment, Prophet Salih said to them: "So he said: "Enjoy yourselves in your homes for three days."" [Surat Hud: 65].
However, they did not believe him and when the night came, they tried to kill him as they did with the she-camel: "They said: Swear one to another by Allâh that we shall make a secret night attack on him and his household." [Surat An-Naml: 49] which means that we shall lock him with his family then we kill him and deny our relationship with the matter if his guardians asked us for retaliation, therefore they said: "And thereafter we will surely say to his near relatives: We witnessed not the destruction of his household, and verily, we are telling the truth." [Surat An-Naml: 49].
Allah (Glory be to Him) says: "So they plotted a plot, and We plotted a plot, while they perceived not. *Then see how was the end of their plot! Verily, We destroyed them and their nation, all together. *These are their houses in utter ruin, for they did wrong. Verily, in this is indeed an Ayâh (a lesson or a sign) for a people who know. *And We saved those who believed, and used to fear Allâh, and keep their duty to Him." [Surat An-Naml: 50 - 53].
Allah sent stones on those people who wanted to kill Salih and those stones caused them to be destructed before their people.
The faces of the people of Thamud were turned yellow due to the warning of Salih. When the night came, they called one another: One day of the warning was passed. In the next morning, their faces turned into red, and when the night came, they called one another: Two days passed. In the next morning, their faces turned into black, and when it was the night they said: The three days of warning have passed.
When it was the next morning, they waited for the torment which they were promised. They did not know when and how and from which direction the torment was coming. When the sun rose, the cry came to them from the sky and a strong shake from underneath which made souls to come out, movements to stop, and voices to keep silent for the sound of the truth; they remained just corpses in their home without souls and without movement.
Allah says: "became as if they had never dwelt there (in their homes)." [Surat Hud: 68]; as if they did not live therein in abundance, sustenance, and luxury: "As if they had never lived there. No doubt! Verily, Thamûd disbelieved in their Lord. So away with Thamûd!" [Surat Hud: 68], fate called upon them with this statement. 
The point of the story is:
Despite their destruction came from the sky, they were inflicted by the shake from underneath. 
* The destruction of the people of Shu`ayb (Jethro) with the quake, the cry, and the cry of the day of the cloud:
Thus Allah narrated to us in the Glorious Qur'an about how He destroyed the people of Madyan when they belied Prophet Jethro after he had advised them and conveyed to them what he was commanded to convey to them.
Then he asked the victory of his Lord over his people who denied, disbelieved, and disobeyed him then the punishment inflicted them, and what a punishment it was.
Allah (may He be Exalted) says: "So the earthquake seized them, and they lay (dead), prostrate in their homes." [Surat Al A`raf: 78].
Allah (Glory be to Him) mentioned in Surat Al A`raf that the quake took them, caused their souls to go out, made their animals like inanimate, and left their bodies still without senses, souls, or movements.
Allah inflicted them with different kinds of punishments when they attributed to Allah ugly attributes; He sent to them a severe shake that stilled all their movements, a great cry that abated their voices, and a cloud from which sparks were fallen all over. However, Allah narrated about them in each Surah with words suitable to the context.
1- In the context of Surat Al A`raf, they frightened the Prophet of Allah and his companions and threatened them to go out of their village or to go back to their religion. Thereupon, Allah says: "So the earthquake seized them, and they lay (dead), prostrate in their homes." [Surat Al A`raf: 78]. So, He met their threat with earthquake and fear with fear which was appropriate for the context.
2- As for Surat Hud, He mentioned that the cry inflicted them and left them corpses in their homes because they said to the Prophet of Allah as a matter of sarcasm, mockery, and underestimation: "Does your Salât (prayer) command that we give up what our fathers used to worship, or that we give up doing what we like with our property? Verily, you are the forbearer, right-minded!" (They said this sarcastically)." [Surat Hud: 87]. So, it was appropriate to mention the cry which was a deter to say such false speech which they directed to the honorable Prophet, so a cry and a quake inflicted them to shut them up.
3- As in Surat of Ash-Shu`ra', He mentioned that the torment of the Day of the shadow inflicted them in response to the torment which they asked for. They said: "They said: You are only of those bewitched! * You are but a human being like us and verily, we think that you are one of the liars! * So cause pieces of the heaven to fall on us, if you are of the truthful! * He said: My Lord is the Best Knower of what you do." [Surat Ash-Shu`ara': 185 - 188].
Allah (may He be Exalted) who is All-Hearing, All-Knowing said: "But they denied him, so the torment of the day of shadow (a gloomy cloud) seized them. Indeed, that was the torment of a Great Day." [Surat Ash-Shu`ara': 189].
They said that they were inflicted by a severe heat and Allah stopped the blowing of air for seven days, so no water of shade could protect them. Then they fled to the wilderness to escape heat and they found a cloud and thought to take it as a shelter from heat, but when they stood underneath, it cast them with sparks and fireballs then the earth shook, and a cry from the sky came to take away their souls.
Thereafter, Allah rescued Jethro and those who believed with him by his mercy as He says: "And when Our Commandment came, We saved Shu`ayb and those who believed with him by a Mercy from Us. And As-Sayhah (torment - awful cry) seized the wrong-doers, and they lay (dead), prostrate in their homes. * As if they had never lived there! So away with Madyan (Midian) as away with Thamûd! (All these nations were destroyed)." [Surat Hud: 94 - 95].
Thus, earthquakes could be punishment from Allah (may He be Exalted). `Umar ibn `Abdul-`Aziz (may Allah bestow mercy on his soul) said: "Shaking the earth is a kind of punishment which Allah inflicts His Servants with." 
* The same ruling goes on the swallow of the earth to its people  as Allah narrated about Korah: "So We caused the earth to swallow him and his dwelling place." [Surat Al Qasas: 81].
Sheikh `Abdullah At-Talidy said: "This swallow has happened more than once in our time in all countries around the globe, moreover every some months we see swallow of the earth in some places such as what happened to Agadir city in morocco which had witnessed one of the worst swallows in the human history in 1380 AH because the lwedness, play, and obscenity that spread in that city, therefore Allah inflicted them with that great swallow and that terrible earthquake. 
Earthquakes may be torment, purification, and mercy for Muslims in the world:
The Most truthful Prophet who did not utter from his whims told us that this nation was given mercy and it will not be punished in the Hereafter but its punishment will be only in the world represented in trials, earthquakes, and killing.
Abu Musa (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "This people of mine is one to which mercy is shown. It will have no punishment in the next world, but its punishment in this world will be trials, earthquakes and being killed."
Scholar Al Qary said: "Muslims are retributed by their bad actions in the world through ordeals, diseases, and all kinds of afflictions as reported in Allah's Saying: "Whosoever works evil, will have the recompense thereof." [Surat An-Nisa': 123].
Earthquakes may come as affliction to the people who die as a result of demolition, Allah (may He be Exalted) says: "And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Sâbirûn (the patient). * "Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: Truly! To Allâh we belong and truly, to Him we shall return. * They are those on whom are the Salawât (i.e. who are blessed and will be forgiven) from their Lord, and (they are those who receive His) Mercy, and it is they who are the guided ones." [Surat Al Baqarah: 154 - 156].
Hadiths reported from the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) indicated that people who die as a result of demolition will be a martyr.
1- Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "Martyrs are of five types: One who dies of plague, one who dies of an abdominal disease, one who dies of drowning, one who is buried alive (and) dies and one who is killed in Allah's Cause."
Ibn At-Tin said: "All these types of deaths are severe and Allah granted them to the nation of Muhammad (peace be upon him) to expiate their sins and raise their rewards to the grades of martyrs." 
2- Jabir ibn `Atik reported: "Martyrs are seven besides killing in the cause of Allah, and mentioned of them: The one who dies under demolition."
* These earthquakes remind us of the day of the great earthquake:
"on the Day of Resurrection, about which there is no doubt."[Surat An-Nisa': 87].
"The Day of grief and regrets, when the case has been decided, while (now) they are in a state of carelessness, and they believe not."[Surat Maryam: 39].
"The Day that is drawing near (i.e. the Day of Resurrection), when the hearts will be choking the throats."[Surat Ghafir: 18].
"The Day when (all) mankind will stand before the Lord of the 'Alamîn (mankind, jinn and all that exists)." [Surat Al Mutaffifin: 6].
It is the day of the earthquake, the day of the quake
That great destuction which will inflict the earth, mountains, sky, stars, the sun, and the moon.
The earth shall be shaken and undermined, mountains shall walk and destroyed, seas shall be blown up and heated, the sky shall crack and fall, the sun shall be folded and wane away, the moon shall be eclipsed, and the light of stars shall be off and fly away in the sky randomly.
If worldly earthquakes destroy many of our basic needs in life and leave behind terrible losses, what about shaking the entire earth as a whole!
This earthquake will end the actions of human beings, so no one shall be able to complete his shortage, help another, or save another.
"O mankind! Fear your Lord and be dutiful to Him! Verily, the earthquake of the Hour (of Judgement) is a terrible thing. * The Day you shall see it, every nursing mother will forget her nursling, and every pregnant one will drop her load, and you shall see mankind as in a drunken state, yet they will not be drunken, but severe will be the Torment of Allâh." [Surat Hajj: 1 - 2].
By Allah, it is a terrible day."When the earth will be shaken with a terrible shake. * And the mountains will be powdered to dust, So that they will become floating dust particles."[Surat Al Waqi`ah: 4 - 6].
"On the Day when the earth and the mountains will be in violent shake, and the mountains will be a heap of sand poured out." [Surat Al Muzzammil: 14] the solid mountains will turn into powder.
Take a lesson, O pompous,
On the day of Resurrection the sky shall fall down
the daytime sun shall be folded and brought near
as if it walks on the heads of people
The stars shall fall down and scatter
and shall be off after they had been lightened
Seas shall be blown up out of fear
and you see them like hell boiling
Mountains shall be rooted out
and you see them walking like clouds
the pregnant she-camels shall be neglected
homes shall be abandoned
animals shall be gathered on the Day of Recompense
and shall ask the angels whereto they should walk
The pious Muslims shall marry
horis with beautiful hairs
The buried alive girls shall be asked about their conditions
and for what reason they had been killed easily
The Ever-Great shall fold the sky by His Right Hand
like we do with a book when we close its papers
The sheets shall be spread and fly
and many secrets of Muslims shall be revealed
The sky shall be rooted out
and you see the orbits of the sky rotate
When the hell is heated up,
you shall find its effect of sinners
Gardens shall be decorated and applied perfume
for people who suffered afflictions but observed patience
the fetus shall be hanged with his mother
for fear of retaliation and his heart is in panic
this is the condition of the fetus,
what about those people who had insisted on sins for years?! 
Verily, the provision of salvation in that terrible situation is piety: "Fear your Lord and be dutiful to Him! Verily, the earthquake of the Hour (of Judgment) is a terrible thing."[Surat Hajj: 1].
Piety will be the shield against the danger of that great day.
The best comment on that was the statement of Talq ibn Habib, the Follower who said: When the trial befalls, take a shield in piety. People asked: What is piety? He said: To obey Allah according to the way of Allah, seeking the reward of Allah, and to leave out Allah's Obedience according to the way of Allah for fear of the punishment of Allah.
It was said to Abu Ad-Darda' one day: Your companions say poetry but you did not say poetry one day. Thereupon he said:
A person wishes to have his needs
but Allah does what He wills
then a man shall say my money
but the fear of Allah is the best thing he ever benefited
This is the piety which Allah commanded to follow to take a shield against the shake of the Hour because it is terrible!
 Al Kawakib Ad-Darary of Al Karmany (6/124).
 Tafsir Ibn Kathir (3/ 48).
 Al Bukhari (1059) and Muslim (912). (24).
 Al Bukhari 1048.
 Fathul-Bary 2/624.
 Ihkam Al Ahkam Sharh `Umdat Al Ahkam (1/ 349 - 350)
 Al Bukhari 1034.
 Fathul-Bary 2/605.
 Al Bukhari 3206 and Muslim 899 (15).
 Fathul-Bary 6/348.
 See Fathul-Bary 6/619.
 Al Bidayah wa An-Nihayah of Ibn Kathir 1/128 - 129.
 Lisan Al `Arab Letters R. G. F.
 Al Bidayah wa An-Nihayah of Ibn Kathir 1/176 - 178.
 Hilyat Al Awliya' of Abu Nu`aym 5/ 304 - 305 and see P. 56.
 Lisan Al `Arab Letters KH. S. F.
 Asbab Halak Al Umam (The causes of nations destruction) P. 108 - 109.
 An authentic Hadith, reported by Abu Dawud 4278, Ahmad 4/410, 418, and Al Hakim 4/444 who said: Of authentic chain of transmission, and Adh-Dhahaby agreed to his judgment on the Hadith. Al Hafizh ibn Hajar graded its chain of transmission as good in Badhl Al Ma`un, and Al Albany graded it as authentic in As-Silsilah As-Sahihah 959.
 `Awn Al Ma`bud 11/ 359.
 Al Bukhari 2829 and Muslim 1914 (164).
Al Qary said in Al Mirqah (2/ 303): The meaning is those who are killed by plague, by a disease in the belly, those who die from drowning, and those who die due to a demolition. Sharh An-Nawawy 13/63.
 Fathul-Bary 6/348.
 An authentic Hadith. Reported by Abu Dawud 3111, An-Nasa'y 1/261 Sharh An-Nawawy 13/63, and Al Hakim 1/352 who graded it as authentic and Adh-Dhahaby agreed to his judgment on the Hadith, and Al Albany graded it as authentic in Ahkam Al Jana'iz P. 40.
 Al Hafizh ibn Hajar said in Fathul-Bary 2/ 619: The wisdom of the eclipse is comparison between the worldly action and the punishment that will happen on the day of Recompense to the sinners. I said: Earthquakes also are signs for the terrible earthquake.
 At-Tadhkirah of Al Qurtuby, P. 214.
 An authentic narration: Reported by Ibn Al Mubarak in Zuhd (asceticism) P. 473 and Abu Nu`aym in Al Hilyah 3/64 and Ibn Abu Shaybah in Al Musannaf 10405, 17009; and its chain of transmission is authentic as Al Albany said in Takhrij Al Iman of ibn Abu Shaybah 99.
Al Hafizh Ibn Al Qayyim said in the Tabuk Message, P. 28: This is the best statement said about the definition of piety.
 Reported by Abu Nu`aym in Hilyat Al Awliya' 1/225.
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