It has almost been four weeks since the Movement Control Order started. By this time, you have probably read or watched at least one post or video that is asking you to reflect deeply on your life in light of the current situation. Many religious scholars are urging for people to take lessons from the Covid-19 ordeal. They have pointed out that this calamity is a reminder from God and therefore it is imperative for us to turn back to Him and rearrange our priorities so that He becomes number one in our lives as He should be.
The question is, are we taking this seriously ? Have the lessons seeped into our hearts ? Will Covid-19 be a turning point for us or just a period that will pass by and be forgotten once it subsides ?
There is no better time than now to fix and improve ourselves spiritually. We need to take advantage of this unusual circumstance to change our lives for the better. That is the point of the whole ordeal. Yes,it is good to know the details about the virus and how it spreads. Yes, we need to be aware of what can we do to protect ourselves from it. Yes, we should be worried about the economic and social upheaval that result from the pandemic. But if these are all that you and I are thinking about, then we have missed the point. This is not just about the virus, this is about The Creator of the virus and The One who has the absolute power over us. This is not just about how many people survived or have died, this is about The One who decrees who lives and who dies. This is not just about the chaos that results from the virus, this is about The Ultimate Chaos that we will face if we ignore the divine message that is brought by the virus.
“And warn them, [O Muhammad], of the Day of Regret, when the matter will be concluded; and yet they are in a state of heedlessness, and they do not believe” (Quran, 19:39)
“And the intoxication of death will bring the truth, that is what you were trying to avoid. And the Horn will be blown, that is the Day of which warning had been given. And every soul will come forth, with it an angel to drive it [to the Judgement] and an angel to bear witness [to its deeds]. It will be said: Indeed you were in Ghaflah [heedless] of this, now We have removed from you your covering, and sharp is your sight this Day” (Quran, 50:19-22)
All this while, we have been too busy chasing the dunya. We become consumed by it.
“Beautified for people is the love of that which they desire – of women and children, heaps of gold and silver, fine branded horse, and cattle and land. This is the enjoyment of worldly life, but Allah has with Him the best return [i.e. Paradise]” (Quran 3:14)
So now, what should we do ? How do we cure and protect ourselves from heedlessness ?
There are five things that I would like to recommend :
1. Increase the quality of your prayer. Prayer is our direct communication with God. So learn the meaning of what you recite in prayer and take time to do each act of prayer properly.
2. Make time to learn about God and our beautiful religion. Knowledge can transform you. This is something that I have personally experienced. Watch Islamic lectures regularly and try to attend a class or a course at least once a month.
3. Assess your circle of friends and connect with those who can bring you closer to God. Prophet Muhammad S.A.W said “ A person is likely to follow the faith of his friend, so look whom you befriend” (reported by Abu Dawood and Tirmidhi). This is very important. We need to surround ourselves with people who can inspire us to be better Muslims.
4. Commit yourself to a noble cause. When you help others or be involved in a good cause, you become less attached to your worldly desires and more attached to the service of others.
5. Remember death often. When you realize that life is temporary, you will focus on what is permanent.
Promise yourself that you will not let go of this opportunity to renew your faith. Do what you can to get closer to God. Every single step counts.
Allah says : “I am as My servant thinks (expects) I am. I am with him when he mentions Me. If he mentions Me to himself, I mention him to Myself; and if he mentions Me in an assembly, I mention him in an assembly greater than it. If he draws near to Me a hand’s length, I draw near to him an arm’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him running” (Hadith Qudsi, Sahih Al-Bukhari)