December 2012 catastrophe is being predicted as possible end of some nations in the form of complete elimination from the earth surface. Let us analyze this prediction in the light of Quran.
We have already seen in my article “ Types of Prophet-hood and Criteria of Punishment” that Quran has mentioned three types of prophets: those who are ‘Rasool and Nabi combined; who are only ‘Rasool’; and who are ‘Nabi’ only. The criteria of punishment for non-believers of each type of prophets is also different. Regarding non-believers of ‘Nabi’, sura al-araf states:
“And We sent to no city a ‘Nabi ‘[who was denied/ disobeyed] except that We seized its people with poverty and hardship that they might humble themselves [to Allah]. Then We exchanged in place of the bad [condition], good, until they increased [and prospered] and said, "Our fathers [also] were touched with hardship and ease." So We seized them (again)suddenly while they did not perceive” (al-araf-94,95).
It is clear from these verses that disobedient/ non-believers of a ‘Nabi’ are not physically eliminated from the earth surface completely; though they are punished with poverty and hardships periodically, if they continue with their disobedience/ ‘kufr’.
But non-believers/ disobedients of a ‘Rasool’ are eliminated completely. That is why we see that ummah of each of Hazrat Noah, Lut, Saleh, Hud, Shuaib (as) was eliminated, when the ummah opted disobedience to their respective ‘Rasool’; the ummah of Hazrat Yunus was forgiven only because of repentance.
Regarding non-believers of ‘ Rasool’ and Nabi’ combined, the same criteria of punishment as applied to non-believers of ‘Nabi’ is applied. That is why we see that ‘ummah’ of Hazrat Ibrahim (as); Hazrat Isa (as) [ both were Rasool-Nabi combined] were not eliminated though they disbelieved in their respective prophet.
We have also seen in article ‘Difference between ‘resalat’ and ‘nabuwwat’ that a ‘Nabi’s ‘nabuwwat’ applies to a nation whereas a ‘Rasool’s ‘resalat’ applies to an ummah which may consist of more than one nations. However ‘nabuwwat’ of a Nabi who is ‘rasool’ and ‘Nabi’ combined, applies to whole ummah which may consist of more than one nations. It may be noted our Nabi (saw) is also ‘Nabi’ and ‘Rasool’ combined.
“Say, [Muhammad (saw)], "O mankind, indeed I am the ‘Rasool’ of Allah to you all, [from Him] to whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. There is no deity except Him; He gives life and causes death." So believe in Allah and ‘Rasool’, the unlettered ‘Nabi (saw), who believes in Allah and His words, and follow him that you may be guided” (al-araf-158).
This verse calls our prophet as ‘rasool’ and ‘nabi’. In this verse whole mankind is being directed to believe in our Nabi (saw); it means our Nabi’s (saw) ‘nabuwwat’ is universal and applies to all nations of this world.
It may be noted that a nation to whom ‘nabuwwat’ of a ‘nabi’ is applied may consist of a single tribe residing in a single city or it may be a nation residing in many cities. Above mentioned Sura al-araf-94-95 (stating about criteria of punishment for nation of a ‘nabi’) states about a single city. That single city may be accommodating whole nation to which ‘nabuwwat’ of the ‘nabi’ applies OR that city may be accommodating only a portion of that nation. If the city accommodates only a portion of the nation, the same criteria of punishment would also apply to other cities accommodating other portions of that nation. In other words, the criteria of punishment described in al-araf-94-95, in fact, applies to whole nation.
As our Nabi’s (saw) ‘nabuwwat’ is universal and applies to all nations of this world, the criteria of punishment for non-believing/ disobedient nations (described in al-araf-94-95, stated above) applies to all nations to whom ‘nabuwwat’ of our Nabi (saw) applies. In other words, not a single non-believing/ disobedient nation can be completely eliminated from the earth surface though they may be punished with hardships and afflictions. History also endorses this view that no civilized nation in this world has been vanished from earth surface physically and completely since the advent of our Nabi (saw) or Jesus (as) [both granted with universal 'nabuwwat'] though a nation may be eliminated partially or shifted to other areas or lose their identity by merging into other nations. However nations/tribes living in non-civilized manner like tribes living in jungles may be physically and completely vanished because the criteria of punishment described in al-araf-94-95 does not apply to un-civilized tribes/nations, as may be inferred from the fact that the criteria states about people living in 'qarya' which means town/city/village (all these are units of civilized society).
Therefore we may conclude that predicted Dec. 2012 catastrophe is not likely to eliminate any civilized, non-believing/disobedient nation completely from earth surface, though such nation may be punished with severe hardships and afflictions including partial elimination.No civilized nation living on earth surface can be vanished physically and completely till the end of this world.