Earthquake Aftershock

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It was almost 5:00 am and I was still in bed. The steady beep of my alarm clock was a sound I’d been pushing to the back of my head for nearly an hour… a reminder that I needed to get up and pray now. Yet, I was still drifting in and out of sleep. A heavy curtain of darkness clouded my eyes as I feel deeper and deeper into my dreams.

Suddenly, I felt my bed vibrate. My senses which had previously been dulled by sleepiness became acute. At first, I thought I imagined it… after all, I was asleep right? But when the vibrations continued, I realized it was an earthquake.

In a moment of dread, I thought, “Fajr!” I jumped out of bed and ran to the bathroom, my heart throbbing with fear and guilt. I stared at my reflection, wondering whether or not I would have woken up for Fajr had the earthquake not happened. My heart filled with a feeling of dread. I don’t know how long I left the water running.

I finished Salah. Normally, I’d be in a rush to scurry back into bed. But today, I couldn’t.

Even though the earthquake lasted for only a couple of seconds, it left a lasting impression. I was reminded of the all-encompassing power of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). Any moment now, calamity can strike. It could happen years from now or perhaps as soon as you finish reading this sentence. Everything is in Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala)’s hands for as a He says, in Surah Qamar, verse 50, “And Our Command is but a single Word, like the twinkling of an eye.”

The earthquake I’m referring to had a magnitude of only 3.6 on the Richter scale so there was no damage, Alhamdullillah. In fact, no injuries were reported in the areas hit. I can only help but think about the descriptions of earthquakes in the Quran… earthquakes which will lead to the Last Day. In Surah 99, Ayah 1-3, Allah says, “When the earth is shaken to her (utmost) convulsion, And the earth throws up her burdens (from within), And man cries (distressed): ‘What is the matter with her?” SubhanaAllah.

Knowing this, I’m reminded that we should live like we’re dying. What if this earthquake had been the last moment of my life – moment where I was promising myself again and again to wake up after “just 5 more minutes”? And even if it wasn’t, was I the kind of believer that turned to Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) only when I needed Him to lessen my fears? Or, was I the kind of believer that turned to Allah in times of both fear and calm, stress and comfort, sadness and happiness?

These occurrences can really put things into perspective. They are reminders that we should take advantage of every opportunity, every chance, and every second. We’ve got 86400 in every day. What have you done with yours?

I realize that this earthquake didn’t just wake me up for Fajr. It woke me up for so much more. And even though the news didn’t report any aftershocks of this earthquake… I can.

Fatimah Waseem is a student at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at University of Maryland, College Park where she is double majoring in journalism and government and politics, and minoring in international development and conflict management. When she’s not in a classroom, she’s writes for the college newspaper “The Diamondback.” Off campus, she writes for The Muslim Link newspaper, the Maryland, Virginia, and DC area’s premier source for news on Muslim affairs. And when she’s not writing, she has her artist’s pen in hand: her paintbrush. Writing for MYM allows her to take a deep breath, step back, and regain perspective on life!


  1. subhanAllah! what an experience… indeed it is an eye-opener
    may Allah keep us by whatever means, always on siraatul-mustaqim!

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