بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
All praise belongs to Allah – The Lord of the Worlds – and Peace and Blessings be upon His Final Messenger and His Beloved, The Chosen One ﷺ.
Know that what is befalling the ummah today, is of Biblical proportions. It is no longer a mere virus – but rather, a pandemic that is visiting almost every house in every city in every country in the entire world. As we are inundated with unfolding information, we have to remain pragmatic. But know that not a blade of grass moves without the Will of Allah عَزَّ وَجَلَّ. We must therefore have utmost trust upon Allah. We need tawakkul – reliance and faith upon Allah, but with it, we need to heed the advice given such as social distancing measures, as the Prophet ﷺ told us to first tie our camel, then have faith upon Allah. Meaning, we must try our best to prevent us from contracting this virus. Conviction needs to be coupled with action, just as hope alone or fear alone, is unbalanced and will lead to ruin.
In lieu of this, the following is some advice about how to deal with this test from Allah spiritually, emotionally, and physically.
The Covid-19 virus seems insignificant in comparison to previous tribulations that had befallen the ummah. Of these, pandemics of both viruses as well as bacteria, such as the “Black Death” which killed an estimated 75-200 million people, have occurred recently.
The Spanish Flu of 1918-1919 was the means of infection of some 500 million to a billion people worldwide in just 18 months – with 50 million deaths within six months. 200,000 people died in the UK alone.
In 1957, the Asian Flu killed some 2 million people worldwide.
As recent as 2009, the Swine Flu pandemic took the lives of some half a million people globally. The current strain of Influenza is still an ongoing pandemic that annually takes the lives of around 650,000 people.
Similarly, we see in the Tareekh of ibn Kathir of times in the Ummah when the masajid were closed due to a pandemic that had affected the Ummah, as well as the plague of Amwas during the time of Sayyidina Umar رضي الله عنه, when he himself turned back to Medina after he heard of a plague breaking out in Damascus. This plague killed many of the Sahabah رضي الله عنهم.
These stats are not meant to make any of us negative; rather, it is intended to place into perspective the current pandemic, and to make us appreciate the fact that we have remained safe from such catastrophic ordeals of the past, Alhamdulillah.
The Source of all Pandemic and Epidemic Diseases
Firstly, know that plagues came about as a result of previous Divine Punishment upon those that did not heed the message of Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala. They have remained within the humanity and every so often, they resurface and infect people, as is mentioned in a hadith in Sahih al-Bukhari. Epidemiologists say that the Coronavirus (an umbrella term for multiple viruses of a specific kind) has been around for a long time. Estimates place four of its organic ancestral lines from 8000 BC to 2400BC, and this correlates with the times of the Bani Isra’il – the people identified as being Divinely Tormented by plague.
Thus, in essence, it is nothing novel but is a remnant of the anger of Allah عَزَّ وَجَلَّ, and we must not consider it insignificant, but remain fearful of Allah, asking His mercy and forgiveness.
Tests are Means of Awakening Taqwa in Us
أَمْ حَسِبْتُمْ أَن تَدْخُلُوا الْجَنَّةَ وَلَمَّا يَأْتِكُم مَّثَلُ الَّذِينَ خَلَوْا مِن قَبْلِكُم ۖ مَّسَّتْهُمُ الْبَأْسَاءُ وَالضَّرَّاءُ وَزُلْزِلُوا حَتَّىٰ يَقُولَ الرَّسُولُ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مَعَهُ مَتَىٰ نَصْرُ اللَّهِ ۗ أَلَا إِنَّ نَصْرَ اللَّهِ قَرِيبٌ
“Or do you think that you will enter Paradise while such [trial] has not yet come to you as came to those who passed on before you? They were touched by poverty and hardship and were shaken until [even their] messenger and those who believed with him said, “When is the help of Allah?” Unquestionably, the help of Allah is near.”
This verse was revealed during the most difficult of times for the early Muslims when they were persecuted at the hands of the vicious and relentless Quraysh. The Companion Khabbab ibn al-Arath رضي الله عنه was dragged onto burning coal and made to lie down on it shirtless while they stood on him and melted the skin off of his back. He then managed to get up and went in that state to the Prophet ﷺ and said: “What have we done wrong that this should happen to us? Why isn’t the help of Allah coming?”
Allah عَزَّ وَجَلَّ replied that, “Unquestionably, the help of Allah is near”.
This demonstrates the fact that we must all be tested before we can be worthy of Jannah. May Allah make all our tests easy upon us, and save us from the trying difficult ones, Ameen.
Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى also says:
وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُم بِشَيْءٍ مِّنَ الْخَوْفِ وَالْجُوعِ وَنَقْصٍ مِّنَ الْأَمْوَالِ وَالْأَنفُسِ وَالثَّمَرَاتِ ۗ وَبَشِّرِ الصَّابِرِينَ
“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient, Who, when disaster strikes them, say, ‘Indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him we will return.’”
Allah عَزَّ وَجَلَّ tests his bondsmen with trials and tribulations in the form of loss of life of his loved ones, a loss of his earnings, his stock and assets, as well as his health and in every other way that a man can be jolted from his complacency and comfort that has come about as a result of materialism.
When we become complacent, indulged in sin, or otherwise “absent”, it is Allah سبحانه و تعالى, that calls us and diverts our attraction to Him in various ways. This is called the Jazb of Allah – or His Divine Attraction. Often, you will feel a strange pull towards ibaadah; a softening of the heart; a sign that the Divine is calling you towards Him!
When we become neglectful of Him in our lives, we lose taqwa. Often translated as “fear of Allah”, “Piety”, or “God-consciousness”, taqwa is more than these three elements and encompasses a complete way of behaviour and perspective that is exclusive to the Mu’min – the True Believer. How often do we hear of people that have started to pray or have become religiously inclined after the passing of a family member? Death reminds us all of our ultimate return to Allah; of our susceptibility and morality; the fact that we are but a quick disease or accident away from death. Consequently, we realise the transient nature of this world and this awakens in us fear of being present in the Court of the Almighty, having to account for our actions, thus propelling us to change our ways.
Taqwa is more than just refraining from Halal and Haram; both of which are clear. What is not clear, are the area in between; the grey matter. Here is where the karahaat – those things which are makruh – and the shubuhaat – those things that are doubtful – remain. The True Believer walks away from such. The Prophet ﷺ encapsulated taqwa in these very words:
“What is halal is clear and what is haram is clear, but between them are certain doubtful things which many people do not know. So, he who guards against doubtful things keeps his religion and his honour blameless. But he who falls into doubtful things falls into that which is unlawful, just as a shepherd who grazes his cattle in the vicinity of a pasture declared prohibited (by the king); he is likely to stray into the pasture. Beware! Every king has a protected pasture and Allah’s protected pasture (involved limits) is that which He has declared unlawful. Verily, there is a piece of flesh in the body, if it is healthy, the whole body is healthy, and if it is corrupt, the whole body is corrupt. Verily, it is the heart.”
All of this call us into being mindful of what we say, what we eat, what we do, and most importantly, what we think; our perspective. Ultimately, taqwa is being conscious of God at all times in our lives. Times that test our resolve, cause us to turn to Allah in prayer as we realise our inability to turn the tide of problems or suffering that we face. We surrender to Allah completely; we cry unto Him and beg Him for forgiveness as we pray to Him to relieve us of our difficulty. In so doing, Allah, in his Infinite Mercy, has awoken His slave from his slumber, who now becomes attached to Him. Such, is the blessing of the trials that Allah places upon His favoured servants.
For the True Believers, Diseases and Plagues are a Source of Mercy
The Mother of the Believers Aisha رضي الله عنها relates that the Prophet said:
“Plague was a punishment which Allah used to send on whom He wished, but Allah made it a blessing for the believers. None (among the believers) remains patient in a land in which plague has broken out and considers that nothing will befall him except what Allah has ordained for him, but that Allah will grant him a reward similar to that of a martyr.”
This, for the believers, is but a rahmah; a mercy. What we must understand from this hadith is that, pandemic diseases for the believers, are rahmah; a mercy. However, what is important here is that, in order to qualify, we must indeed be of the True Believers for the Messenger ﷺ did not say it is a mercy for the Muslims; rather, he ﷺ said it is “rahmatul lil mu’mineen”. A mercy for the Mu’mineen – The True Believers.
Who are the Mu’mineen?
The mu’min is that person who has complete submission to the Will of Allah and has faith firmly established in his heart, i.e. a “faithful Muslim”.
Allah عَزَّ وَجَلَّ differentiates the two in the following verse:
قَالَتِ الْأَعْرَابُ آمَنَّا ۖ قُل لَّمْ تُؤْمِنُوا وَلَـٰكِن قُولُوا أَسْلَمْنَا وَلَمَّا يَدْخُلِ الْإِيمَانُ فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ
“The Arabs of the desert say, “We believe.” Say thou: Ye believe not; but rather say, “We profess Islam;” for the faith (al-iman) hath not yet found its way into your hearts. But if ye obey God and His Apostle, He will not allow you to lose any of your actions, for God is Forgiving, Merciful.”
Thus, It is imperative that we try out utmost to attain iman – true faith. We must not become complacent with the utterance of the shahadah which had made us Muslim.
Throughout the entire Qur’an, the believers are addressed as “those who have attained True Faith”, and not merely “those who became Muslim”. The famous verse of patience in the Qur’an starts by addressing “Those who have attained True Faith”. It is these blessed people that the Qur’an commands to have patience, as Iman goes hand in hand with trials from Allah:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اسْتَعِينُوا بِالصَّبْرِ وَالصَّلَاةِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ۞ وَلَا تَقُولُوا لِمَن يُقْتَلُ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ أَمْوَاتٌ ۚ بَلْ أَحْيَاءٌ وَلَـٰكِن لَّا تَشْعُرُونَ۞ وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُم بِشَيْءٍ مِّنَ الْخَوْفِ وَالْجُوعِ وَنَقْصٍ مِّنَ الْأَمْوَالِ وَالْأَنفُسِ وَالثَّمَرَاتِ ۗ وَبَشِّرِ الصَّابِرِينَ۞ ا لَّذِينَ إِذَا أَصَابَتْهُم مُّصِيبَةٌ قَالُوا إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ۞ أُولَـٰئِكَ عَلَيْهِمْ صَلَوَاتٌ مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ وَرَحْمَةٌ ۖ وَأُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُهْتَدُونَ
“O’ you who have believed [have attained True Iman], seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with the patient. And do not say about those who are killed in the way of Allah, “They are dead.” Rather, they are alive, but you perceive [it] not. And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient, Who, when disaster strikes them, say, “Indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him we will return. Those are the ones upon whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy. And it is those who are the [rightly] guided.”
If we do not pay heed, we will fall into ruin
If, on the other hand, we pay no heed to the stark warning that comes upon us, and go back to our original ways of sin and ignorance straight after a calamity, then we risk the wrath of Allah عَزَّ وَجَلَّ – May Allah protect us from it. Allah says in Surah Zumar:
قُلْ يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا عَلَىٰ أَنفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِن رَّحْمَةِ اللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ ۞ وَأَنِيبُوا إِلَىٰ رَبِّكُمْ وَأَسْلِمُوا لَهُ مِن قَبْلِ أَن يَأْتِيَكُمُ الْعَذَابُ ثُمَّ لَا تُنصَرُونَ
“Say, “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful. And return [in repentance] to your Lord and submit to Him before the punishment comes upon you; then you will not be helped.“
We seek forgiveness first, and secondly, protection from His Divine Punishment and Wrath.
How do we pay heed?
Patience, Prayer, and Duah
We are witnessing mass panic at an alarming level. This is not behaviour that is accepted by an upright community, let alone be considered from the conduct of a Muslim, so why are thousands of Muslims at the forefront of this panic buying? We have become very distant from the perfect teachings of our Messenger ﷺ.
The Prophet ﷺ said, “The real patience is at the first stroke of a calamity.”
Faith, is to take a stand back and think, that no person can forcibly take my share of wealth, or food, except that which Allah has ordained for me.
We must also be careful to not utter a word of complaint during this trial, but to say alhamdulillah! If we unwittingly or recklessly utter any such word, we must seek repentance right away.
During the difficult ordeals of the Prophet ﷺ in Makkah, he once never showed his discomfort to his companions. Numerous examples abide in his seerah, suffice to mention one occasion when, even though the cooking stove was not lit for three successive months in his blessed house, and he ﷺ and his blessed wife lived on dates and water, he ﷺ would go out and meet his Companions with a smiling face! Such was the patience and resolve of the Best of Men, Our Messenger ﷺ. If the Most Beloved of Allah is tried in this manner, then is it inconceivable that we should be tested?
There are over ninety verses in the Qur’an extolling the virtues of sabr – patience. Without patience, it cannot be said that we have submitted. And without submission, can there be Islam?
We saw in the previous verse where Allah tells us to “seek help through patience and prayer”. We must, therefore, pray to Him in abundance; make ample duah and isthighfar and refrain from every complaint of the situation as much as possible. The Prophet ﷺ said: “Supplicate to Allah Almighty and be certain that He will answer your prayer”.
Allah عَزَّ وَجَلَّ has promised those who are patient with Jannah:
أُولَـٰئِكَ يُجْزَوْنَ الْغُرْفَةَ بِمَا صَبَرُوا وَيُلَقَّوْنَ فِيهَا تَحِيَّةً وَسَلَامًا
“Those will be rewarded with the highest place (in Paradise) because of their patience. Therein they shall be met with greetings and the word of peace and respect.”
We should utilize this time for plentiful prayer. Many of us will not have the distractions of work along with its emails and homework. Thus, we should pray as much as possible. Rise up in the golden hour before fajr and pray salah at-tahajjud, even if just four units. This is also an opportunity to makeup for our missed prayers of the past.
Specifically, in our current case, if we are patient and do not act or behave in manners that would disqualify us from being patient, then we saw earlier that the Prophet ﷺ promised the one that passes through a test of plague saying: “Allah will grant him a reward similar to that of a martyr”.
Masnoon Duas That we Must Recite
أَعُوذُ بِكَلِمَاتِ اللهِ التَّامَّاتِ مِنْ شَرِّ مَا خَلَقَ
“I seek refuge in the Perfect Words of Allah from the evil of what He has created.“
- In multiple hadith sources, the Prophet ﷺ has taught us the following duah in his own words:
“Whoever recites it three times in the morning will not be afflicted by any calamity before evening, and whoever recites it three times in the evening will not be overtaken by any calamity before morning.”
بِسْمِ اللهِ الَّذِي لَا يَضُرُّ مَعَ اسْمِهِ شَيْءٌ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا فِي السَّمَاءِ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ
In the Name of Allah, Who with His Name nothing can cause harm in the earth nor in the heavens, and He is the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.
- It is also reported that the Companion Sayyidina Abdullah ibn Umar would read the following duah when leaving his home:
اللهم سَلمِْنيْ وَسَلمْ مِنّيِْ
“Oh Allah keep me safe, and keep others safe from me”
- Sayyidina Anas ibn Malik narrates that the Prophet ﷺ used to say:
اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الْبَرَصِ وَالْجُنُونِ وَالْجُذَامِ، وَمِنْ سَيِّئِ الأَسْقَامِ
“O Allah, I seek refuge in Thee from leprosy, madness, elephantiasis, and evil diseases.”
Firstly, know that the fact that we are aware of the trial taking place around us, is a blessing in itself; we have been given the chance to rectify ourselves before we are taken. So, begin by turning to Allah عَزَّ وَجَلَّ. Through sincere isthighfar, we can hope for His mercy; His mercy that His trials are a mercy for us, and not a punishment, and that we are saved from His Divine Anger.
Make plentiful isthighfar and beg Allah for forgiveness as none of us know if this virus is our departure from this world. Consider it a blessing that we have been given a sign from God to jolt us awake; to call us, to direct us, to attract us unto Him.
The Prophet ﷺ was sinless, yet it is narrated that Sayyidina Ibn ‘Umar رضي الله عنه said: We would count the number of times the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said [the following], in a single gathering, to one hundred times:
رَبِّ اغْفِرْ لِي وَتُبْ عَلَيَّ إنَّكَ أَنْتَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ
“O Lord, forgive me and accept my repentance, for You are the Acceptor of repentance, the Most Merciful”.
On another occasion, Sayyidina Al-Mughirah ibn Shu’bah رضي الله عنه reported: “The Prophet ﷺ would pray until his feet were swollen. It was said to him, “Why do you do this when Allah has forgiven your past and future sins?”
The Prophet ﷺ replied,
أَفَلَا أَكُونُ عَبْدًا شَكُورًا؟
“Shall I not be a grateful servant?”
Gratitude, therefore, is at the heart of forgiveness. Patience and gratitude are two sides of one coin; inseparable. One cannot exist without the other. To be patient, means to be grateful.
Reliance Upon Allah. Be Hopeful and Positive of Allah’s Rahmah
Allah tells us in the Qur’an: “Do not become weak, nor be sad; you will be superior if you are indeed ‘true believers’ (3:139)”.
Earlier we read the verse of the Qur’an wherein Allah says:
“Say, “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful. And return [in repentance] to your Lord and submit to Him before the punishment comes upon you; then you will not be helped.” (al-Zumar, 53).
It was not in the Prophet’s ﷺ nature to cause people to fear; he gave them hope and joy. He said, “Give glad tidings, and do not scare people away. Make things easy, and do not make things difficult”.
The Prophet ﷺ told us something amazing. He said:
“Wondrous is the affair of the believer for there is good for him in every matter and this is not the case with anyone except the believer. If he is happy, then he thanks Allah and thus there is good for him. If he is harmed, then he shows patience and thus there is good for him”.
Allah tells us to rely on Him alone and that He alone is sufficient for us:
قُل لَّن يُصِيبَنَا إِلَّا مَا كَتَبَ اللَّهُ لَنَا هُوَ مَوْلَانَا ۚ وَعَلَى اللَّهِ فَلْيَتَوَكَّلِ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ
“Say, “Never will we be struck except by what Allah has decreed for us; He is our protector.” And upon Allah let the believers rely.”
Recite the Qur’an Abundantly
For if there is anything that can be of immense benefit for our akhirah as well as our dunya, it is the Words of The Almighty. Allah عَزَّ وَجَلَّ has said:
الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَتَطْمَئِنُّ قُلُوبُهُم بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ ۗ أَلَا بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ
“Those who have believed and whose hearts are assured by the remembrance of Allah. Unquestionably, only by the remembrance of Allah do hearts find contentment”.
Move Away from Self Centeredness and Help One Another
When we are tested by Allah, it is a time to show our true resolve; our patience, and our true spirit and integrity. It is not a time to save as much as we can for our own self at the expense of others – which is extremely sinful.
Let go of that extra hoarded food that is stored up and know that if we pass away tonight or tomorrow, how will we answer for the extra food we have hoarded, while 8000 children starve to death in Africa?
If anyone has hoarded any extra food, offer them to your neighbours or those in need. Find out from your local support groups. This is important as one of four reasons that the Bani Isra’il were destroyed was for hoarding food. We must avoid everything that may bring the wrath of Allah upon us.
This is also a chance to participate in voluntary acts of kindness with the intention of forgiveness and reward. Ask your neighbours, particularly the elderly, irrespective of their religion, if they require any assistance with shopping. Our neighbours are our priority and we will be questioned if they suffer while we had the means to be of assistance.
A Time for Change; from Materialism to Taqwa
- Know that This is Divine Attraction – and Act Upon It
When the Kuffar of Makkah did not heed the message of our Prophet ﷺ, he became saddened from his continuous efforts; he would even sit and speak with those that derided him in his absence, such as Walid ibn al-Mughirah, in hopes that he would be guided. But Allah revealed to the Prophet ﷺ that there are only two ways that Allah Jalla Wa ‘ala draws on to Himself. He says:
اللَّهُ يَجْتَبِي إِلَيْهِ مَن يَشَاءُ وَيَهْدِي إِلَيْهِ مَن يُنِيبُ
“Allah attracts towards Himself whomsoever He wills. And He guides towards Himself, one who inclines towards Him”.
Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala placated the Messenger ﷺ and informed him that Iman can only come in one of two ways; either they incline towards the message, or Allah pulls them towards Himself.
This Divine Attraction is a Divine Treasure only for the select slaves of Allah. He choses whom He wants. But with this, also comes a Divine Promise; if one inclines towards Allah, he will not be turned away! Rather, he will be given this treasure.
The Arabic word ijtibaa in the above verse is derived from jabyun which means to pull, attract, or draw. One is either blessed with initial attraction, and then he takes to the path of spirituality, or else he himself inclines towards the Almighty and is then blessed with Divine Attraction, after which he undertakes the road to spiritual enlightenment.
Thus, tests, tribulations, and illnesses are a way that the Almighty pulls, draws and attracts us unto Him, if only we pay heed and not miss it. It is therefore vital that we turn to Him fully. It will not help us if we momentarily turn due to this plague, and then, God willing when this abates, go back to our normal ways! Nay! We need to change our lifestyles so that He is always in our lives – so that it is the start of a pious journey.
- Be Mindful of Allah, and He Will Protect You
The Prophet ﷺ said to Sayyidina Ibn Abbas رضي الله عنه:
“Be mindful of Allah and he will protect you. Be mindful of Allah and you will find him before you. If you ask, ask from Allah. If you seek help, seek help from Allah. Know that if the nations gathered together to benefit you, they will not benefit you unless Allah has decreed it for you. And if the nations gathered together to harm you, they will not harm you unless Allah has decreed it for you. The pens have been lifted and the pages have dried.”
Being mindful of Allah and respecting His boundaries is the road to Taqwa; piety. It is why Allah says:
إِنَّمَا يَخْشَى اللَّهَ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ الْعُلَمَاءُ
Only those fear Allah, from among His servants, who have knowledge.
Piety is spiritual awareness; to control what we utter, what we think, and what we do. One of the greatest blessings in this current ordeal is the fact that we are facing a vast number of shortages on many ends. Scarcities that are teaching us to be frugal where we were wasteful, and careful where we paid no attention. Yet, such practices are nothing short of a normal world that has become very distant in a highly material and consumerist society where half the world dies of hunger, and the other half funds researches in to effective methods of food disposal. This, is the world we inhabit.
Our first world problems are but a tiny speck of realism of the gruesome reality that those on the other side of the globe are living in, or rather, dying in. Millions of lives have been uprooted and millions of families have no choice but to live under a UN donated camp – far away from their assets and belongings that are buried under piles of rocks and bomb shrapnel.
We have much to appreciate. What we need to fear, however, is a test from Allah of similar proportions. We pray that He eases their suffering and saves us from such afflictions, Ya Allah. To that end, we must absolutely and without doubt, make changes in our lifestyles going forward, in fear of a Divine Wrath.
We need to become attached to Allah; to become devoted to His Message. We need to guide our children in this path as well, so that our households become vessels of the Divine Blessing, and not a place for the Shayateen to dwell. As a family during the upcoming and current uncertain isolation period, we have a chance to not only learn to better interact with another, but also to wholly rebuild our family. To set our priorities, goals, and family principles straight. This will be a challenge but at the end of it, we will surely come out a better, stronger, and spiritual family, insha’Allah, each member of which will become beacons of Divine Light and guidance in the footsteps of our Messenger ﷺ, carrying his message forward through our actions and words in our interactions with each other, as well as the Earth itself.
Taqwa, in essence, is to be mindful of every single thing that we do.
What would be the outcome if we continued in our material obsession after this reminder?
- Bring the Messenger ﷺ into Your Lives
Without the Messenger ﷺ in our lives, we cannot call ourselves his follower, nor can we hope to attain True Belief – iman, as Allah, countless times in the Qur’an, has called on us to “Obey Allah and Obey the Messenger”. In order to make this a reality, we must make ourselves and our family attached to the Best of Mankind, the Most Beautiful of Men, and the Beloved of God ﷺ. Start by reading his biography; his blessed seerah must be read regularly and religiously; aspire to read loud in familial circles so everyone may benefit and a spiritual barakah may descend upon the gathering, and upon the house by extension, insha’Allah.
As you read and learn more about the Prophet ﷺ, it is inevitable that your love for him should also increase. This will enable you to emulate his sunnah; small things such as the way he would always start with the right, his eating and drinking habits, his ever cheerful mubarak appearance, the way he would converse, his gait, his choice of foods, as well as the particular duahs he would recite at specific occasions and actions.
Very soon, you will notice the blessing of the sunnah; your dwelling, family, and income, will become blessed, insha’Allah.
The Prophet ﷺ is often called the “Green Prophet” for his love of the Earth. He would speak of his love for the mountains and how they would love him; he would name each of his belongings; his camel, his horse, his shield, and swords, all of them would have unique names. His conservation of water when performing ablution and bathing, for example, is remotely distant from the millions of gallons of water we waste today.
وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا رَحْمَةً لِّلْعَالَمِينَ
“We did not send you but as a mercy to all the nations (21:107).”
May Allah enable us to emulate the ways of his Habeeb ﷺ.
- Tie the Camel First, Then Trust in Allah!
The following advice will not merely be of a hygienic nature, but instead, this advice is spiritually tied; following this advice and similar advices from health professionals and experts is part of the obedience of the Messenger ﷺ who told us to “first tie your camel, then have faith in Allah”, when witnessing a Bedouin man who had left his camel untied and said, “I have faith in Allah!”.
First of all, social distancing measures have been implemented across the globe by numerous governments and authorities, both secular and religious, and it is obligatory to abide by these measures. In fact, we must try to be even more cautious for the sake of the weak and the vulnerable amongst us who may not fair as well as we may cope.
The Prophet ﷺ said “Cleanliness is half of faith”. Thus, always be cautious and mindful of what your hands touch; as this can easily be transferred into our blood stream by merely rubbing our eyes or touching our face.
The Coronavirus can remain on metal surfaces for up to nine days which means every metal surface, for example door handles and rails, or every plastic surface that we touch whose disinfection we know not, must be treated as infected, which means we have to disinfect our hands properly and as soon as we can.
As for the body, prepare it for vigour and strength through masnoon practices and foods such as:
- Ajwa dates. It is related that 7 every morning can cure poison. If you cannot find ajwain, you may have normal dates. The famous nabeedh drink of the Messenger ﷺ is a must! (Soak some dates in a glass of water overnight)
- Black Seed – either the actual seeds, or its oil. Have a spoon of this once per day.
- Try and get plenty of fresh air. The mind loves the greenery. Gardening, as well as brief walks in non-congested and pleasant areas, may help improve emotional, spiritual, psychological, and physical well being. But be mindful of others; that we may unwittingly pass on the invisible virus to others more vulnerable to us. Therefore, keep a safe distance from other people.
- There is advice, though unverified, that keeping the chest and throat area warm and moist with regular hot drinks may help delay symptoms and help overcome it if it is the qadr of Allah that we fall ill. Try honey water, green or lemon tea, or other hot drinks.
- Keep the mind active; take on an online course (seekershub.org has many), read that book you have wanted to but have not had the time, or head to YouTube for some tajweed lessons. Many organisations are offering free online courses for the next 30 days.
Conclusion and Summary
Ultimately, we should focus on how best to reform ourselves in the chance that our limited place on Earth is at an end, for verily, tens of thousands will pass away from this trial. Experts predict, at the very least, some 20,000 deaths in the UK alone. Life, therefore, is very flimsy, and death is but around the corner.
Similarly, we may face a loss of earnings. If not today, most likely tomorrow we will definitely face its impact as the Western economies go into a recession. In such times it is imperative that we refrain from complaining at all, for grievance is antithetical to patience. We must say Alhamdulillah and face what must be faced, as this is the Divine Will that we must submit to. Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala says:
اللَّهُ يَبْسُطُ الرِّزْقَ لِمَن يَشَاءُ وَيَقْدِرُ ۚ وَفَرِحُوا بِالْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا فِي الْآخِرَةِ إِلَّا مَتَاعٌ
“Allah extends provision for whom He wills and restricts [it]. And they rejoice in the worldly life, while the worldly life is not, compared to the Hereafter, except [brief] enjoyment.”
We went from an overview of what is happening now and why it is happening, and have learnt that, indeed, nothing is relatively out of place. The tests of Allah strike all over the Ummah and it so happens to be around here, albeit in a much less severe manner than it has fallen upon others.
We have also learnt that plagues are not necessarily a blessing for the Muslim; that we need to become true believers in hopes of attaining mercy and being protected from Divine Wrath, for if we do not pay heed, we may very well be punished.
In order to pay heed, we must first be patient; patience is paramount. Then, with sabr, we must recognise that ease will come following this ordeal, but that, we must remain grateful. It is chance to seek forgiveness and to draw close to Allah who has manifested His attraction towards us via this tragedy. Thus, if we persevere, this tragedy will become a blessing for us, insha’Allah.
We must also pray salah abundantly; tahajjud, qada, and voluntary salah so that we can make up for a deficit on the day of reckoning.
We must also bring the messenger ﷺ into our lives by reading his seerah and learning about him. This will have a profound effect upon us and our family in multiple perspectives.
Lastly, we must tie our camel; we must take precautionary steps to prevent, as much as possible, becoming infected and infecting others, especially the weak, elderly, and vulnerable amongst us, as well as making sure we do as much as possible in fortifying our bodies with nutrients and Prophetic medicines in order to strengthen us.
Lastly, this virus is not just a viral outbreak; it is a symbol of where we are as a family, as a community, and as a species. I’d like to end here with words from a sister called Leila Stead:
“I cant wait when all of this is a distant memory. When there will be a rise in small businesses because all the entrepreneurs had a moment of stillness and creativity.
And all our children will remember nothing but a time when all the Mums and Dads were at home drawing and playing board games and we remember it as a time we all got to stop and be present.
We will remember a time when our health was our first priority and people used new ways to use fresh produce to feed their families and we were forced to think outside the box and dream up new things and reinvent old ways and for once, even amongst the chaos, there was community; there was a global rise in togetherness. The streets were quiet but our homes were bursting with love.
So to you – I know it is unsettling but let’s focus on the silver lining; we are in this together and there is so much beauty in that.”
فَإِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا
إِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا
“Then, surely with hardship comes ease. Surely, with hardship comes ease.”
May Allah عَزَّ وَجَلَّ forgive all of us, incline us all towards Him so that we may partake of the Divine Treasure, and enlighten all of us with the Prophetic sunnah so that we may follow in the footsteps of the Mercy of the Worlds, the Best of Men, the Most Beautiful, Sayyidina wa Habeebina Muhammad al-Mustafa ﷺ.
And our concluding call, ‘All praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of all the Worlds.
 Taubenberger JK, Morens DM (January 2006). “1918 Influenza: the mother of all pandemics”. Emerging Infectious Diseases. 12 (1): 15–22. doi:10.3201/eid1201.050979. PMC 3291398. PMID 16494711. Archived from the original on 1 October 2009. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
 Q&A: Swine flu. BBC News. 27 April 2009.
 WHO, “WHO Estimate of Respiratory Deaths due to Seasonal Influenza”. https://www.who.int/influenza/surveillance_monitoring/bod/FAQsInfluenzaMortalityEstimate.pdf
 Sahih al-Bukhari, 6974; Ibid., 3473.
 Sahih al-Bukhari, 5734.
 Qur’an, 49:14
 Qur’an: al-Zumar, 53.
 Sahih al-Bukhari 1302
 Sunan al-Tirmidhi
 Sunan Abu Dawud, 1516; Sunan al-Tirmidhi, 3430.
 Sunan Abi Dawud.
 Sahih Muslim.
 Qur’an: al-Tawbah, 51.
 Qur’an: al-Ra’d, 23.
 Qur’an: al-Shu’ara, 13.
 Sunan al-Tirmidhī 2516
 Qur’an: al-Fatir, 28.
 Qur’an: Ra’ad, 26.