The year 2020 has been surreal – it’s like being attacked by a swamp of bees. They are coming from all sides and we really don’t know which one to hit first; regardless of prevention we have been bitten physically, socially and financially. We have been brought to our knees to say the least. With all the advancements in technology, we are blatantly face to face with our limitations and the power of Al-Qadir, the one who has power over all.
This year has been different. Much different than we ever anticipated. The loss of lives, loss of jobs, the hysteria and the depression has left us feeling devastated, deprived, lost to say the least. To top it off, the closing down of mosques in many countries around the world was a big blow for the Muslims, and the closing down of Kaaba even worse. It added to the sadness lurking in the air. A major privilege is taken away from us, something we never thought we can lose.
The amazing part though is the paradigm shift, the coping mechanism that came into action almost immediately. People are sad and terrified but when I look at how quickly we all adapted it blows my mind away. Schools jumped up almost immediately and redesigned their whole system; so much of information has become available; so many businesses have gone online; expo centres turned into patient care facilities in a matter of days. Sure, there is a gaping hole where human touch should have been, and a lot of people have had major setbacks. But we all came in line; in goods and in bads, we all adapted. And I am in awe of the human ability to cope, and to come out and help those who are unable to. I have never heard of people praying in their houses in Jamah before; it’s a product of this pandemic, I have never seen people reaching out to others as now; it’s like empathy has grown ten folds. People understand each other’s pain much more, because they are going through it themselves. It’s sad but I guess “we needed a reset” memes are not so off beam after all.
The thing is, it’s a principal of Allah to create things in opposite; for every bad there is good, for every dark there is a light, and for every set back there is hope. How could we appreciate the good things if there was nothing to compare it with? How would a person stand out as “good” if we didn’t know anything otherwise? It is the comparison that brings things into perspective. If there was no loss, will there be any appreciation of gain?
With all the suffering around we need to understand the immense wisdom of Allah. It is what gives the perspective in the end. The test is there to teach us something, that is the purpose of any test, right? What is it that we have learnt?
With Dhul-Hijjah approaching and many of us who planned to go on Hajj disheartened, here are a few insights which may make you feel better and drive you to do good in other ways. We are all here to learn, and if this pandemic doesn’t teach us a thing or two, what will?
Husn-az-zann-billah – having best thoughts about Allah
I know things are hard, even unbearable for some of us, but one thing we should never lose sight of is how much Allah loves each and every one of us. Yes, these are difficult times but He never leaves our side, not even for a moment. The thing to keep in mind is Allah doesn’t want to give us pain. This pain is trying to teach us something, and we just need to figure out what. No successful person can claim to have succeeded without any failure.
When we look at the Seerah of the Prophet (sa), we find many such examples. Could Allah not make his life easy? Yes he could; but the lessons the Prophet (sa) learnt, and then we learnt from him, are irreplaceable and couldn’t have been found any other way. Covid-19 has made us better equipped to understand what constant fear of losing lives, financial insecurity and failing support systems look like. The Prophet (sa) was faced with all of that plus physical persecution. But the one thing he never gave up was his blind trust in Allah and his belief in Tauheed.
The narrowing down of option led him to migrate, when doors to many new options opened. Options, he could not have imagined in his hometown. Could he have conquered Makkah if Allah hadn’t pushed him out of there? He had absolute trust in Allah and, just like him, we need to have faith in the grand plan. We need to close our eyes sometimes and hand all our worries to Allah (swt).
Tawakkal and having the best Zann (supposition) about Allah is the biggest Ibadah this Dhul-Hijjah. The doors of Kaaba are closed for us as they were closed to the Prophet (sa) once. We need to do exactly what he did, that is, go with the flow and have full faith in the decisions of Allah (swt). Full unwavering trust in His absolute wisdom. That is the only way out, the test and the savior; the coping mechanism and the hope. Knowing that there is Allah on the other side of the tunnel.
And He provides for him from (sources) he never could imagine. And if any one puts his trust in Allah, sufficient is (Allah) for him. For Allah will surely accomplish his purpose: verily, for all things has Allah appointed a due proportion. (65:3)
Necessity is the mother of invention they say. And we all have proved it right. We have creatively reorganized our lives in a manner which was unheard of last year! The educational sector, the health sector, and the food industry have completely changed their operations. If you can’t get a thing one way, try going around it they say. What is the next best plan? Plan B? There has to be one right? Remember when Prophet (sa) was migrating, and was scared to be followed, they changed the route. What’s our route to approaching Dhul-Hijjah?
Virtual Trips to the Sacred Mosques/Educational Cartoons
Now that Hajj is not possible, we have to do something staying at home. But instead of feeling unmotivated and useless, how about we plan a virtual trip to the Haram with the kids? Watch documentaries and discuss. I remember there was an animation with the name of “The Story of Prophet Ibraheem”, my kids would watch it day and night! It not only increased them in their knowledge but in their love of the Prophets also.
Play dress up
After the movies, if they are inspired, maybe take mama’s extra dupattas and try on Ihraam.
Story time is the classic no fail plan. Kids love it and we can really work our way through the important points.
Read Part 2 here
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