Al Zalzalah 99: 1 Earthquake

Verse 1

1. when the earth is shaken with its (Final) earthquake

We often see this word in the Quran, so insya Allah, we will remember what it means.

 اذا – When.

It is used to remind people of something important that will without a doubt happen (in the future) which people continuously forget.

Past tense for ‘when’ is Idh/iz ( إِذَ ), and idhaa ( إِذَا ) is future tense.

By saying idhaa ( إِذَا ), Allah has made Judgement Day a reality because He is saying ‘When it happens (for sure in the future)’.

أرض – the earth

Allah informs us about what will happen on the Day of Rising, “When the earth is violently shaken,” convulsing and rocking “with its (final) quake,” flattening all buildings and edifices, the mountains crumble and fall, and the hills are flattened. The earth’s surface becomes like a barren, level plain on which you see neither dip nor gradient.

Taha 20: 105-107

 105. and they ask You concerning the mountains, say; “My Lord will blast them and scatter them as particles of dust.

106. “Then He shall leave it as a level smooth plain.

107. “You will see therein nothing crooked or curved.”

We see earthquake and observe the disaster it causes. Earthquake destroys lives and properties and may collapse the entire city physically and economically. But none of the earthquake we see now will match the final earthquake that will come. And this is Al Zalzalah.


An earthquake is what happens when two blocks of the earth called tectonic plate suddenly slip past one another. The surface where they slip is called the fault or fault plane.

This movement tears apart the surface of the Earth, or crunches it up.  Earthquakes are the breaking and cracking of the rocks inside the continental plates. The breaks happen after stress has built up in the surrounding area. There are usually very few or no quakes when the plates move slowly. Most often, this just means a little shaking for a few seconds, and nothing very serious happens.

When there is a fast movement of the plate, there is a snap. Several times a year, though, somewhere in the world there is enough movement to really shake the earth a lot, and the earthquake is serious enough to knock down buildings. When the buildings fall on people, many people can be killed in a few minutes.

The Richter Scale

The Richter scale rates earthquakes. If an earthquake is rated 1, you can hardly feel it, but an earthquake rated 2 is ten times as strong as an earthquake rated 1, and an earthquake rated 3 is ten times as strong as an earthquake rated 2. Only a few people feel a level 1 earthquake. In a level 2 earthquake, a few people who are resting may feel it, especially if they’re near the top of a tall building. Nearly everyone will feel a level 5 earthquake, and some dishes and windows will break. At level 6, heavy furniture moves around, and many people will feel frightened, but there’s not really much damage. In a level 8 earthquake, many buildings will fall down. 9 and 10 is truly a disaster.

Because most of the Earth is covered by oceans, earthquakes often happen in the ocean. Usually this just shakes the water and people don’t notice. But sometimes the water pulls all together into a huge wave called a tsunami.

Landscape Change

More than buildings collapse when an earthquake hits. The land itself is totally changed. You can see scars across the landscape. Those scars appear when one block of land has moved compared to another. Roads often change their placement. They either become uneven or just crack. Streams can also change course. Sometimes rocks can fall and block the stream. Other times, the land is even lowered in certain areas. When it’s lower, it’s easier for the water to flow in the new direction.

Changes also happen on larger scales. Fault valleys and troughs can be created. These areas have large amounts of fracturing (the fracture zone is large). After the land has opened up, weather begins to act on the area and erosion follows. Slowly, new valleys are created.

The crack happens where the quake starts. Ripples then move out in waves across the plate. Those waves are called seismic waves. Those waves shake everyone up within a specific area. When scientists analyze an earthquake they look at several parts. They find out where the focus is. The focus is the exact point where the earthquake started. It is usually many miles/kilometers below the surface of the Earth. Scientists also look to see where the epicenter was. The epicenter is the point on the surface directly above the focus. When you think about the epicenter, try to remember there is actually a crack in the crust many kilometers below.

 Some of the World’s Largest Earthquakes

Tangshan, China: July 27, 1976 (Magnitude: About 7.5)

A devastating earthquake occurred in eastern China, about 100 miles from Beijing in a coal-mining area where thousands of people worked underground day and night. In the densely populated town of Tangshan, buildings were constructed with heavy masonry but with no special precautions to withstand earthquake shaking. About 240,000 people died.

Bam, Iran Earthquake of 2003

Bam (Persian: بم‎) is a city in and the capital of Bam County, Kerman Province, Iran. The 2003 Bam earthquake was a major earthquake that struck Bam and the surrounding Kerman province of southeastern Iran, The death toll in this tremor reached over 26,000.

Sumatra, Indonesia, Dec. 26, 2004. (Magnitude: About 9.0)

A 9.0 magnitude earthquake — the largest earthquake in 40 years — caused a powerful tsunami in the Indian Ocean that devastated 12 Asian countries. The earthquake’s epicenter was off the west coast of the Indonesian Island of Sumatra. A week later the death toll was estimated at 150,000 — a month later some estimate double that number. Hardest hit were Indonesia (particularly the province of Aceh), Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, and the Maldives. Millions of people lost their homes.

Japan earthquake 2011

A series of earthquakes, followed by an 8.9-magnitude quake and a devastating tsunami caused much loss of life and property in Japan. Entire areas were laid to waste as the 10-feet-high tsunami waves washed over the area.

Following this, a tsunami warning was issued to as many as 50 countries lying in the line of influence of this earthquake. It could be disastrous for the small pacific islands, which could simply drown and get wiped off the map.

Tectonic Plate

Basically, the theory of plate tectonics is that the earth is made up of plates instead of one solid shell. These plates move past each other in four different ways creating mountains, valleys, volcanoes, and other geological features. These four ways of movement past other plates are convergent subduction, convergent collision, transform (sometimes called strike and slip), and divergent.

Convergent subduction is when the plates head towards each other and one plate goes under the other plate. Anchorage, Alaska is near a convergent subduction boundary

Convergent collision is when the plates head towards each other and they crash into each other forcing the land upward. Beijing, China which is near a convergent collision boundary.

Transform boundaries are when the plates slide/grind against each other in a sideways motion along transform faults. As the two plates slide past each other, in a transform boundary, neither plate is added to the boundary, and also neither plate is destroyed. Instead, when these two plates are sliding past each other, massive amounts of energy are built up and eventually this energy must be released. So, the energy is released through earthquakes.

Turkey is on top of a transform boundary. In Turkey, there is the North Anatolian (transform) Fault. The North Anatolian Fault causes lots of earthquakes and is one of the most active faults in the world. Turkey is on a minor plate that is being squeezed westward because the Arabian plate and the Eurasian plate are moving together. The North Anatolian Fault is along the transform boundary between the Eurasian plate and the Anatolian plate and it covers most of Turkey. Turkey is near where the Anatolian plate (Turkey is actually right on part of the Anatolian plate and actually Turkey is part of Anatolia), the Arabian plate, the Eurasian plate, and the African plate all meet which can cause a lot of disruption and earthquakes,

San Diego, California is also a transform boundary. The San Andreas Fault is one of the most famous transform faults and it is also one of the most active. The Pacific plate is moving northwest and lies to the west of the San Andreas Fault and the North American plate lies to the east of the fault. The two plates slide and grind past each other creating much tension. This tension and built up energy is released through minor and major earthquakes and tremors. The San Andreas Fault is over 1,000 miles long.

Divergent is when the plates move away from each other. Reykjavik, Iceland is a divergent boundary. Iceland is one of the few places where a divergent boundary is above sea level. Most divergent boundaries are in the sea and cause volcanic material to be brought to the surface and then it forms a new ocean floor. However, in Iceland, there is a divergent boundary between the North American plate and the Eurasian plate. They are moving away from each other at a rate of about 2 centimeters every year. This causes volcanic material to be brought to the surface in Iceland. There was so much volcanic material being brought to the surface at one point that an island was created/formed (Iceland). So, because of this divergent boundary, Iceland actually has a lot of volcanoes (for example the Eldfell Volcano). On April 14, 2010, the Eyjaföll volcano in Iceland exploded and caused a huge cloud of ash to travel across the UK causing widespread disruption. Iceland also has lots of earthquakes because of this divergent boundary



1. Al Zalzalah 99: 1 – Earthquake

2. Al Zalzalah 99: 2-5

3. Al Zalzalah 99: 6-8


Filed under Al Quran

2 responses to “Al Zalzalah 99: 1 Earthquake

  1. Pingback: Al Zalzalah 99: 6-8 | Lollies Place

  2. Pingback: Al Zalzalah 99: 2-5 | Lollies Place

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