الحمد لله رب العالمين، وصلى الله وسلم على نبينا محمد وعلى آله وأصحابه أجمعين، أما بعد
Ibn al-Qayyim (rahimahullaah) said:
Whoever has awareness of the circumstances of the world and its fundamentals will know that all corruption in its sphere and in its plant and animal life and in the circumstances of its people which have come into being after its creation, have done so due to factors which have necessitated their coming into effect.
The actions of the progeny of Aadam and their opposition to the Messengers do not cease to bring about corruptions for themselves both universally as well as specifically which inflict upon them an array of pains, diseases, illnesses, plagues and withheld rain seasons and droughts, as well as being deprived of the blessings of the earth and its fruits and vegetation. As well as being deprived of their benefit or the complete loss of them; are all affairs successive – some of them ensuing others.
If your knowledge cannot encompass this, then suffice with His saying, The Most High:
ظَهَرَ الْفَسَادُ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِي النَّاسِ
((Corruptions have appeared upon the land and sea due to what the hands of people have earned.)) (Ar-Rūm: 41)
And so relate this aayah upon the circumstances of the world; and correlate between the actual state of affairs and between it. You will see just how predicaments and disorders come to have an effect in fruits and agriculture and in animals at every time. As well as how other correlative and accompanying tribulations occur by way of these tribulations with some following others in close succession.
Every time a people apply oppression and wickedness then their Lord, The Blessed, and Most High, brings about for them from the predicaments and disorders in their sustenance and their fruits and in their climates and their waters and in their bodies and their physical constitutions and in their forms and appearances as well as in their manners from certain deficiencies and predicaments of a nature that their own actions and their oppressions and their wicked ways should necessitate.
For indeed the grains of wheat and other than them used to be bigger than what they are today. Just as the blessing within them too used to be greater, Imaam Ahmad reports with his chain of narration: that there were found in the storehouses of some of the Umayyads bales of wheat the like of date-stones and written on them was:
‘These were cultivated in the days of justice.’
He mentioned this incident in his Musnad after a hadeeth which he reported.
And so the majority of these epidemics and general predicaments are the remnants of punishments which the nations before were punished with. Hence there remained from them a remnant lying in wait, for whoever continues upon the remnant of their actions; as a fair judgment and a just ruling.
The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) indicated this in his saying regarding the epidemic/plague:
((Indeed it is a remnant of punishment or chastisement that was sent upon the Bani Isra-eel [children of Israel].))
Likewise Allaah, The Glorified, and Most High, imposed the wind over a people for seven nights and eight days. He then caused a remnant of it to remain in the world from those very days. In its parallel there is lesson and warning.
For indeed; Allaah, The Glorified, has made the actions of the righteous and the wretched as necessary factors of their own consequences in this world – an inevitability which must necessarily be so.
So He made the abstention of showing goodness and giving the Zakaat and charity as a means of being prevented from the rains of the heavens, hence rainlessness and drought. He made the oppression of the impoverished and the wronging in the weights and measures and the transgressions of the powerful over the weak as a reason for the tyrannies of the sovereigns and the rulers who exercise no mercy when implored for mercy neither do they show compassion when asked for sympathy.
They are in reality the very actions of the citizens which become manifest in the appearances of their rulers. For indeed; Allaah, The Glorified, by His Wisdom and Justice, makes their own actions apparent for the people in models and appearances which befit them. So at times this is realized through rainlessness and drought, and at times through an enemy, and at others by way of brutal and tyrannical rulers, and other times through mass epidemic. Yet at other times it could be through distresses and pains and sorrows that their souls are made to be in the presence of and cannot detach from them. On other occasions it could be by way of being prevented from the blessings of the heavens and the earth, and at times through the devils holding sway over them, inciting them toward the factors constituting punishment in incitement – so as to establish over them the statement (of proof). This is in order that each and every one of them should proceed to that which he was created to carry out.
The intelligent one traverses with his discernment throughout the regions of the world, and hence is a witness to it – and observes the sites that signify the Justice of Allaah as well as His Wisdom. It then becomes clear to him that the Messengers and their relevant followers were upon the path to success; and that the rest of creation is traversing upon the path to destruction, and to the abode of perdition upon which they are seeking to stay.
Allaah is sure to accomplish His purpose, there is none who can defer His ordinance, no one who can repel His affair; and with Allaah lies all ability.
(Taken from: Zaadul Ma’aad vol 4 p.362-364)
 The full hadeeth: on the authority of Usaamah bin Zaid (radhiyallaahu ‘anhumaa) that the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) mentioned the epidemic/plague and said: ((It is a remnant of punishment or chastisement that was sent upon a group from the Bani Isra-eel [children of Israel]. So when it occurs in a land whilst you are in it, then do not exit from it, and when it occurs in a land while you are not in it, then do not descend [enter] upon it.)) Reported by at-Tirmidhee (no.1065) who declared it Hasan Saheeh (soundly authentic). Shaikh al-Albaanee declared it Saheeh (authentic) in his Saheeh Sunan at-Tirmidhee (no.1065) and likewise in his Saheeh al-Jaami’ as-Sagheer (no.3945).