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Article appeared Friday, February 19th, 2016 in The News Today, Bangladesh

The Revelation (415)

yousuf mahbubul Islam, PhD

While studying history, we often come across stories of civilizations that were completely
destroyed overnight, after having survived and flourished for hundreds of years. These
civilizations or cities were completely destroyed by a calamity that just left some parts of the
buildings standing. Everything else was completely disintegrated, washed away or buried. Are
these stories real or are they fictional? Archeologists often find different types of utensils and
childrens toys that show that the inhabitants were real people much like us. Do we have
anything to learn from the complete destruction of every living person in these cities?
The article at Urban Ghosts {1} discusses nine such cities, some of which were quite advanced
in terms of the types of technologies they used. The article opens with a discussion on the
Empire of the Minoans that existed around 2700 BC, much before the Greeks. The civilization of
these brilliant people was completely destroyed starting at a small town called Akrotiri.
Put simply, the Minoans were brilliant. Arising on Crete around 2,700 BC; they spread
across the Aegean Sea, building towering palaces, three storied buildings, cobbled
roads and establishing Europes first drainage and water systems. While we were still
living in huts, smashing each other across the head with flint axes, the Minoans had
created a highly-sophisticated Empire that would span a thousand years A small,
unimportant trading port, Akrotiri had the misfortune of being at ground zero when the
Thera volcano exploded, detonating with the force of four Krakataus. The town was
instantly swamped with ash. The blast triggered tsunamis that smashed Crete to pieces.
Crops were destroyed, the sun blotted out and the entire Minoan civilization reduced to
ashes. In a single lifetime, an Empire that had lasted sixty generations fell into ruin and
disappeared; its incredible achievements were all but lost to history. {1}
Does such sudden, forceful and complete annihilation beg the question, why? Are such stories
of destruction limited to ancient history only? Plymouth, the capital city of Montserrat, a British
overseas territory in a chain of islands known as the Lesser Antilles, was completely destroyed
by a volcano on July 18, 1995 {2}.
On that fateful day, Soufriere Hills volcano which had lain dormant throughout
recorded history exploded in an eruption of titanic proportions that consumed Plymouth
under 12 meters of mud and rendered the southern half of Montserrat uninhabitable.{2}
Even more recently,
On December 26, 2004 an earthquake, followed by a powerful tsunami killed an
estimated 170,000 people in Aceh province on the Indonesian island Sumatra. The
capital city, Banda Aceh was almost completely swept away by the tsunami. {3}
So such unique events of complete annihilation are still continuing in recent times. Do these and
other similar occurrences pose a question? Why? Why were these advanced and affluent
civilizations and cities subjected to sudden destruction of gigantic proportions after having
flourished a good many generations? The Holy Quran provides an answer for us to evaluate.
Generations before you We destroyed when they did wrong: their Apostles came to
them with Clear Signs but they would not believe! Thus do We requite those who sin!
[10.13]
The subsequent Verse in Chapter 10 completely answers possible questions we may have.
Then We made you heirs in the land after them to see how you would behave! [10.14]
Behave towards whom? The Creator has created a new generation, i.e., another set of unique
people to see our attitude towards Him. He has replaced generations who did wrong and

sinned. Can we run away from the fact that this is much like destroying a poorly performing
product with annoyance and replacing it with a new product line? Would we similarly test a new
product? What would be the test for the human beings who have been given an intelligent life to
live, enjoy and derive satisfaction? Verses from Chapter 100 tell us.
Truly Man is to his Lord ungrateful; And to this (fact), he bears witness (by his deeds);
[100.6 100.7]
How can one prove their ingratitude towards the Creator? As an analogy, when we receive a
gift, we make it a point to express our gratitude by thanking the donor. On the contrary, we think
poorly of people who do not say thanks when they receive a gift. Now, thinking about the
Creator, has He given us any gifts? What could these gifts be? Have we made it a point to show
our gratitude and thank Him for any of the gifts that He has given us so graciously?
To decide on the gifts that the Creator has given us, we can ask some questions. For example,
who has created us? Who has given us the unique personality that we have? Who gives us
children? Who gives us various seasons with the seasonal flowers, fruits and vegetables? Now
about gratitude have we thanked Him for giving us an intelligent life? Do we thank Him when
we are blessed with a birth in the family? As for seasons, do we thank Him at the advent of a
season? Or, rather, do we greet the season itself, as though it (the season) brings the seasonal
flowers, fruits and vegetables? Are we pleased with the season itself rather than the Creator? In
doing so, we effectively prove our ingratitude and disbelief in the Creator. In effect, have we
removed the Creator from our life? And to prove our disbelief, do we credit other things and
devote the time on earth given by the Creator to such things? The next Verse gives an example,
And violent is he in his love of wealth. [10.8]
Rather than being grateful for the Creators gifts and blessings, we are completely immersed,
dominated and distracted by these gifts and blessings demonstrating our ingratitude and
disbelief in the source. In Chapter 15, Allah gives reasons for destroying a city.
By your life, indeed they were, in their intoxication wandering blindly. [15.72]

15.73 But the (mighty) Blast overtook them before morning


15.74 And We turned (the Cities) upside down and rained down on them
brimstones hard as baked clay.
15.75 Behold! In this are Signs for those who by tokens do understand.
Does the way the cities were destroyed not carry a Sign for intelligent human beings?

15.76 And the (cities were) right on the highroad.


These cities were given the best amenities of life they were advanced in technology and
abundant in blessings.

15.77 Behold! In this is a Sign for those who believe!


Should we carry on demonstrating our ingratitude and disbelief?
----------{Notes}:
{1} http://www.urbanghostsmedia.com/2013/10/9-ancient-mythical-civilisations-destroyedovernight/
{2} http://www.urbanghostsmedia.com/2010/03/the-city-that-was-destroyed-by-a-volcano/
{3} https://vorkintheroad.com/2014/05/22/tsunami-tour-banda-aceh/
{4} http://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/2265235-the-purpose-driven-life-what-on-earth-ami-here-for?page=4

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