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IRSYAD AL-FATWA SERIES 399: COVERING ONE’S EARS DURING LIGHTNING AND THUNDER IS ONE OF THE SIGNS OF A HYPOCRITE

399

Question:

Assalamualaikum Dr I once heard a prohibition of covering one’s ears during lightning and thunder. It is said that this act is the actions of a hypocrite. Is this claim true?

Answer:

Waalaikumussalam wbt,

Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the many countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.

Al-Quran al-Karim is a holy book revealed to the Prophet PBUH in Arabic. With the beauty and perfection of the language, grammar and word arrangements, it depicts the perfect speech of Allah SWT. Al-Quran is the main source of rulings for the Muslim ummah.

Allah SWT states:

قُرْآنًا عَرَبِيًّا غَيْرَ ذِي عِوَجٍ لَّعَلَّهُمْ يَتَّقُونَ

“[It is] an Arabic Qur'an, without any deviance that they might become righteous.”

Surah al-Zumar (28)

Furthermore, in it are numerous examples of parables and comparisons as lessons and warnings in explaining a certain matter clearly.

Allah SWT states:

وَلَقَدْ ضَرَبْنَا لِلنَّاسِ فِي هَـٰذَا الْقُرْآنِ مِن كُلِّ مَثَلٍ لَّعَلَّهُمْ يَتَذَكَّرُونَ

“And We have certainly presented for the people in this Qur'an from every [kind of] example - that they might remember.”

Surah al-Zumar (27)

Dr Wahbah Zuhaili in his commentary said that indeed, al-Quran is the honoured and noble words of Allah SWT. It is filled with the perfection of the Arabic uslub and meaning as well as the brilliant explanation that is impossible to be replicated by any creation, not even one verse of it. (See al-Tafsir al-Munir, 1/29)

Examples of Parables in the Quran

There are numerous parables stated in the Holy Quran, such as a verse in surah al-Baqarah. Allah SWT give parables to the hypocrites for their attribute and characteristic.

Allah SWT states:

مَثَلُهُمْ كَمَثَلِ الَّذِي اسْتَوْقَدَ نَارًا فَلَمَّا أَضَاءَتْ مَا حَوْلَهُ ذَهَبَ اللَّـهُ بِنُورِهِمْ وَتَرَكَهُمْ فِي ظُلُمَاتٍ لَّا يُبْصِرُونَ

“Their example is that of one who kindled a fire, but when it illuminated what was around him, Allah took away their light and left them in darkness [so] they could not see.”

Surah al-Baqarah (17)

In commenting on the above verse, Imam Ibn Kathir said Allah SWT depicts the parable of the hypocrites. They express their belief of the truth at one time but turns away from it at other times. Their hearts are always in disbelief and never firm in belief. (See Tafsir Ibnu Kathir, 1/189)

Dr Wahbah Zuhaili state in his commentary that the characteristic of a hypocrite is that they are blessed with the light of faith in their hearts like fire lighting them. Then, they turned towards disbelief akin to the fire extinguished by Allah SWT leaving them in darkness. (See al-Tafsir al-Munir, 1/93).

Furthermore, in another verse, Allah SWT gave another parable of those who call the disbelievers towards Islam is just like a shepherd calling for his flock that do not understand his words.

Allah SWT states:

وَمَثَلُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا كَمَثَلِ الَّذِي يَنْعِقُ بِمَا لَا يَسْمَعُ إِلَّا دُعَاءً وَنِدَاءً

“The example of those who disbelieve is like that of one who shouts at what hears nothing but calls and cries cattle or sheep - deaf, dumb and blind, so they do not understand.”

Surah al-Baqarah (171)

Syeikh al-Maraghi said the above verse is a comparison of the disbelievers who believe in the belief of their ancestors. They did not analyse the message conveyed to them regarding the evidences of the truth. They are akin to the flock of animals commanded by a shepherd. (See Tafsir al-Maraghi, 2/46)

Moreover, Dr Wahbah Zuhaili cited the opinion of Imam al-Qurtubi where he said Allah SWT compares the disbelievers who are called towards the truth and faith by the Prophet PBUH is just like a shepherd calling to his goats and camels. However, the animals are only able to hear the shepherd’s call without understanding the call. (See al-Tafsir al-Munir, 2/74)

This shows that one of the approaches the Quran uses in explaining certain matters clearly is by using parables or comparisons and examples. Moreover, this proves the greatness of Allah SWT creating the Quran as a miracle and guidance for all mankind.

The Parable of Covering One’s Ears

Coming back to the above question, the act of covering one’s ears when he hears the sound of thunder is a parable of the action of the hypocrite. This is narrated in the statement of Allah SWT:

أَوْ كَصَيِّبٍ مِّنَ السَّمَاءِ فِيهِ ظُلُمَاتٌ وَرَعْدٌ وَبَرْقٌ يَجْعَلُونَ أَصَابِعَهُمْ فِي آذَانِهِم مِّنَ الصَّوَاعِقِ حَذَرَ الْمَوْتِ ۚ وَاللَّـهُ مُحِيطٌ بِالْكَافِرِينَ 

“Or [it is] like a rainstorm from the sky within which is darkness, thunder and lightning. They put their fingers in their ears against the thunderclaps in dread of death. But Allah is encompassing of the disbelievers.”

Surah al-Baqarah (19)

Imam al-Qurtubi in commenting on the verse (يَجْعَلُونَ أَصَابِعَهُمْ فِي آذَانِهِم) said they stick their fingers into their ears, refusing to listen to the Quran nor believe in it as well as rejecting the revelation conveyed to them by the Prophet Muhammad PBUH. (See Tafsir al-Qurtubi, 1/218-219)

Dr Wahbah Zuhaili in his commentary state that the verse explains the feelings of anxiety and worry. And the Quran told them about the divine guidance but they turn away from it. Their situation is depicted as people who are facing heavy rain followed by the frightening storm and thunder. In the darkness, they struggle to find their way. (See al-Tafsi al-Munir, 1/92)

Thus, it can be understood that the verse explains the situation of the hypocrites who hate and are afraid to listen to the Quran as the same as the situation of a person covering his ears when he hears the sound of loud thunder.

Conclusion

According to the question and explanation of scholars, here we conclude the act of covering one’s ears when he hears the sound of thunder because he is scared of it is not considered as the action of the hypocrites. The reason is the verse is a parable for the hypocrites who refuses to listen to the warnings and content of the holy Quran. This is a reflex reaction of a person when he hears a loud sound of thunder.

Thus, it is best when a person hears the sound of thunder to recite the following supplication:

يُسَبِّحُ الرَّعْدُ بِحَمْدِهِ وَالْمَلَائِكَةُ مِنْ خِيفَتِهِ سُبْحَانَ الَّذِي

“Glory be to him whose praise the thunderclap sings and the angels glorify in awe of him”. He used to say, then, that the thunder-clap is a stern warning for the dwellers of earth.”

Sahih al-Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad (724)

Furthermore, you can also refer to the article IRSYAD AL HADITH SERIES 402: SUPPLICATION DURING LIGHTNING AND THUNDER for more information.

May Allah SWT bless us with the right understanding in understanding His commandments and grant us guidance in performing worship with sincerity for His sake only. Amin.

Wallahua’lam.


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