Water is a beautiful and amazing bounty of Allah Ta’ala and is the source of life of every living body. Allah Ta’ala says: "It is He (Allah) who sends down water from the sky. From it you drink and from it grows the vegetation on which you send your cattle to pasture". (Surah An Nahl Verse 10)
Apart from it being the primary source of life and existence, water is essential for ritual cleanliness and purity, without which Muslims will be unable to pray and fulfill Islamic obligations.
When rainfall becomes scarce it leads to a short supply of water which leads to a drought.
How Droughts happen
Climatic experts explain that a drought refers to a prolonged period of dry weather and shortage of rainfalls that brings about severe water constraints to the environment. This is turn brings about an imbalance in the ecosystem and food chain affecting plants and animals and humans.
As Muslims we believe that all natural conditions occur with permission and willing of Allah Ta’ala the Master of the Universe and have relevance with the actions of mankind. Good actions bring good conditions and evil actions result in adverse conditions.
Allah Ta’ala says, “Whatever of good reaches you, is from Allah, but whatever of evil befalls you, is from yourself.” (Surah Nisa)
The prevalence of vice and evil in the world is one of the major causes of escalation of natural disasters and adverse weather conditions. In the hadith, frequent droughts have also been cited as a sign of the closeness of Qiyamah. A drought on the land should make us reflect over the drought of good deeds and virtue in our lives and spur us towards good action.
Impact of drought on society
There are three main ways droughts impact lives and communities.
Economic impact: This includes losses in the timber, agricultural, and fisheries. Many of these losses are then passed on to consumers in the form of higher commodity pricing.
Social impact: Possibility of conflict over commodities, fertile land, and water resources. Increased chance of health risks due to poverty and hygiene issues.
Environmental impact: Include reduced air quality, and increased soil erosion and loss in species biodiversity,
Sins and vices that bring drought
Though generally all sins are abominable and draw the wrath of Allah Ta’ala, there are certain sins and vices that bring the onset of droughts and its disastrous effects on a community. Some of the major sins are:
• Immorality and shamelessness – This vice is prevalent throughout the globe and practiced flagrantly by many. Zina, nakedness, fornication, adultery, intermingling of sexes etc. have become so common that people do not regard these serious crimes against the command of Allah Ta’ala any longer.
• Oppression – Non fulfillment and usurping the rights of others, oppressing the elderly, weak and vulnerable, cheating lying fraudulent dealings etc. have also beome widespread in society.
• Non-payment of Zakaat- Withholding of this obligation form the poor and incorrect discharging and calculation to Zakaat is a major factor that leads to droughts. Patymen of zakat to unlawful recipients or avenues is also common.
Remedies and Solutions
• Sincere repentance – Individually and collectively all should in engage in excessive Istighfar and repentance. With repentance invokes the mercy of Allah Ta’ala’s and brings about favourable conditions.
• Express gratitude for water – Constant gratitude and thanksgiving to Allah Ta’ala for His bounties whenever one is drinking or using water. An overlooked aspect of gratitude is to utilise the bounty in the correct manner and reflect over the mercy of Allah Ta’ala for providing such a bounty despite us not deserving it.
• Active Conservation – A conscious effort should be made to save water at every juncture. Leaking pipes and dripping taps etc. should be repaired and water saving appliances should be employed to recycle water that could be used elsewhere etc. Use of sprinklers and hose pipes etc. should be curtailed.
• Salatul Istisqa - This prayer has been specified as a prayer for rain. This prayer is performed when seeking rain from Allah Ta’ala during times of drought.
Method of Istisqa Salah – Salah that is performed for seeking rain:
• The appointed imam will lead the Salah of congregation consisting of two raka'ahs. The timing for the Istisqa Salah is anytime 'nafl' optional prayers are permitted.
• Audible recitation will be conducted in both the rakaats. It is preferred to recite Surah Al-A’laa in the first rakaat, and Surah Al-Ghashiyah in the second
• Thereafter the Imam will deliver a khutba. Following this, the imam will face the qiblah and make fervent dua.
• The imam will also flip his shawl (upper garment, cloak or sheet) – symbolically as a good omen or gesture) to signify the anticipated change from drought to prosperity. The congregation will not flip (or turnover) their sheets. (Mukhtasar Al Quduri, Kitaabul Fiqh Ala Madhahibil Arba'a)
On one occasion Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) asked a person who was performing wudhu, "Why are you wasting water?" The person inquired: "Is there wastage even in wudhu?' Rasulullah (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) replied: "Yes indeed, (do not waste) even if you are at the bank of a river." (Ibn Majah)
The community should invoke Allah Ta’alas mercy for rain and engage in abundant Istighfar and repentance.
Severe water shortages are being experienced in parts of KZN where annual rainfall levels have fallen desperately short. Recent data by SA Weather Services indicates that most of the areas that are affected have been constantly receiving less than average rainfall.
The extended period of abnormally dry weather has caused water shortages and crop damage which will inevitably have a knock on effect on food prices and other basic necessities.
Rivers and boreholes are drying up and with below average rainfall expected. Water authorities have expressed a number of concerns:
* Most rivers were not flowing properly with some completely drying.
* The agriculture sector had been severely affected. Equally so, farm dams established to cater for the livestock are dry or below expected levels.
* Many dams and water schemes implemented by municipalities have been severely affected.
* The dry conditions had increased the province’s susceptibility to runaway veld fires, which lead to fatal fire incidents in affected areas.
Muslims should appreciate the valuable bounty of water and continue to save water in these trying times by using it sparingly and avoiding wastage. Some measures that can be taken to reduce water usage and seek Allah Ta’ala’s mercy for beneficial rain :
1. Utilise water around the home, at work and in Masjids sparingly. Only a fraction of the amount of water that is generally used for Wuzu and bathing is required.
2. Discharging of Zakah that is due. One cause of drought is when a community does not discharge its Zakah.
3. Imams should initiate Salatul Istisqa in the affected areas and the community should engage in abundant dua. Method of Istisqa can be found in Darul Ihsan fanfold on drought downloadable from
4. Avoiding all forms of sins and vice that draw the wrath of Allah Ta’ala upon the community.
5. Performance of 5 daily Salah and all other obligation and rights to wards fellow humans.
6. Abundant and constant Istighfar, repentance and dua should be made to Allah Ta’ala to grant relief and send beneficial rain.
May Allah Ta’ala send beneficial rain to our lands.
Darul Ihsan Centre