Verily, We shall put you to test with some fear, and hunger, and with some loss of wealth, lives, and offspring. And (O Muhammad) convey good tidings to those who are patient, who say, when inflicted by hardship, “Verily we are of God and verily to Him shall we return;” upon them is the blessings of Allah and His mercy. (2:155)
In a shocking twist, on 27th February, 2020, without warning, the country had its first case of COVID-19 (the dreaded corona virus disease) and as at 29th of March, 2020, we have 111 confirmed cases with one death in the country. This triggered a lockdown in certain states in the country, including our dear Kaduna state. With the online and media frenzy buzzing around, people feel their lives flashing before their eyes. I personally have given thought to some of my life choices and I have resolved to make better choices, all thanks to the virus.
Our state is on a lockdown. Movement has been restricted. Places of worship have been closed down and we are in a spiritual dilemma. I am a man of faith and this disease has shaken me beyond description. I have the believe that praying in congregation helps increase my faith and I find my faith diminishing due to praying alone at home. I understand that the measures taken are necessary but I am sad and disturbed all the same. My consolation is the realisation that things happen for a reason and that this is definitely a test from the Almighty, one I intend to pass.
Whatever happens to a muslim is a test, whether it seems good or bad. This disease is no exception. As muslims, we are expected to be guided by the teachings of our religions in all our actions. Our reactions to this disease should also be guided by our religion and Alhamdulillah, there is precedence regarding Islamic teachings on pandemics like these.
My heart is always attached to the haramain. I watch all five daily prayers on YouTube and I am familiar with all the imams in the haramain. Imagine my grief and sorrow when I heard that the haramain has been closed to worshippers. I listened to sheikh Sudais’ announcement regarding the closure of the masjids and the measures taken to limit the spread of COVID-19 and I had mixed feelings. The measures are necessary and practical but sad at the same time. My consolation was the fact that even though dawaf and umrah had been suspended, the five daily prayers still hold and I still watch. I pray for the day Allah will grant me the ability to visit the holy lands. On a separate note, having followed the happenings in the Haramain for several years, I am particularly drawn to the personality of the President of the Haramain. He is one of my best people in the world at the moment. Of course, it helps that he has a melodious recitation.
To those with the belief that the virus is a conspiracy or that it doesn’t exist, my call is that they should rethink their stance and obey the authorities. This would make it easier for us to contain the spread of the virus before it reaches the devastating scale that advanced countries like USA, Italy, Spain and the UK are experiencing. A stitch in time, they say, saves nine.
My prayer is that this COVID-19 situation resolves in the near future and life returns to normal at the soonest. I am hopeful that we would learn from the lessons and be more thankful to the Almighty for all the normal and regular things we take for granted. I for one have done some deep introspection and Insha Allah, I would come out of this, a better person. A more thankful person. A more contented person.