Fiqh of Disaster: A Synopsis

This book is entitled Fikih Kebencanaan or Fiqh of Disaster. The term ‘fiqh’  here does not only discuss the concrete rulings (al-ahkâm al-far’iyyah) but also include aqidah, shari’a and akhlaq. Therefore, Fiqh in this book is used to describe a broader terminology than the commonly used legal aspect of Islam or Islamic law. In its own tradition, Muhammadiyah uses the word ‘fiqh’ to describe a set of Islamic regulations classified into three level of regulation as follows: first, the basic values (al-qiyâm al-asâsiyyah), the general principles (al-ushûl al-kulliyah) and the concrete rulings (al-ahkâm al-far’iyyah). The collective ijtihad carried out by Muhammadiyah through the works of its Majelis Tarjih and Tajdid are done to explore those three levels.

Bearing the above meaning of fiqh, this book is made available to provide knowledge and understanding about various aspects related to disaster from the Islamic point of view, especially on disaster, how to face and deal with it. The Quran and the Hadits mention ten terminologies on disaster, such as musîbah, balâ’, fitnah, ‘adzâb, fasâd, halâk, tadmîr, tamzîq, iqâb, nâzilah which deserve elaboration in this book.

Some parts of the society are likely to attribute disaster as God’s anger and injustice toward humanity. To understand disaster, this book reminds fellow human being that Allah is the Most Beneficent and Most Merciful (ar-Rahmân and ar-Rahîm), and the Most Wise/Best Judge (al-‘Adl / al-Hakîm). Disaster must be understood as a means of self-correction and part of the test of faith from Allah, the Most Beneficent and Most Merciful.
In the face of disaster, a complete understanding is needed by those getting involved in various activiyties dealing with it. Be they are the individuals, families, society or government, positive thinking (husnuzhzhan) is required, especially towards God. Amongst the interrelated parties, the government is the most responsible and has the highest authority to deal with disaster. Similarly, the society should participate in dealing with disaster relief because its impact is not only experienced by the immediate victim but also by the people around them and even to those reside in far away outside the location.

This book also discusses how disaster relief and management action need to put forward the humanitarian and priority principles on deciding which population is in the dire need of assistance. These humanitarian principles have strong footholds in Islam, both in the Quran and the Hadits. It is stated in the Qur’an, among others, in the verse 13 of the surah al-Hujurat. In the context of disaster, the word li ta’ârafû (“to understand each other”) is not only about knowing each other identity but also bearing the meaning of li ta’âwanû or “to establish relationship to each other positively”. Another word, al-nâs, put human as social being with positive relations with each other. In other words, when facing disaster we have to deal with it based on the spirit of common responsibility to solve common humanitarian problems.

This book also describes the broader concept of humanitarian aid which is not only about giving charity, or aid-giver orientation activities or merely fulfilling the needs of the affected population. Humanitarian-aid orientation should cover empowerment, fulfillment of basic human needs and practice participatory principles in order to reach targeted condition in all humanitarian actions so that the affected community will return to its dignified and stable condition. Six rights of the disaster victims are enumerated in this book, such as the rights to: manage risk, manage vulnerability, get emergency help, have rehabilitation and reconstruction, carry out disaster relief system and be resilient.

In the process of fulfilling those six rights, appropriate access to the aid, which is suitable and in line with the standards is of necessary for assurance. In this case, the Islamic teaching principle as stated in the verse 24 of the surah al-Anfal in the Qur’an that all aids have to carry empowerment spirit and motivation as part of da’wah to enliven (ma yuhyîkum) is at work. Furthermore, it is emphasized that those in needs and the one giving the support/assistance assume to have equal position. That is why relief assistance should neither be used for religious or political propagation or interest, nor as government foreign policy tools.

The final part of this book discusses the practices of ibadah mahdlah/ritual worship in the event of disaster that many times become a matter of confusion and misunderstanding among the community in disaster. Hence, 10 (ten) most common disaster related problems are elaborated namely taharah (ablution), salah and its technicalities, fasting, how to deal with the victims corpse, and how to channel ‘zakah’ fund to the victims. In short, all types of worships during disaster should be carried out based on two general principles such as: simplicity principle (taysîr) and law-modification principle in relation to the situation (taghayyuru al-ahkâm bi taghayyuri al-zamân wa al-makân wa al-ahwâl). In principal, human obligations to God remain inchanged and have to be paid in any situation and with no exception to that of disaster, but Islamic law orders for its simplicity in its practice. Islam does not burden anyone out of their capacity. People are obliged to pay God’s right according to their maximum capability www.kamagrawiki.com during disaster (taqwallâh ‘alaqadri al-istithâ’ah).

Hopefully this book of “Fikih Kebencanaan” will be useful in every effort to deal with and to overcome disaster. Amin ya Mujibas Sailin.

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