Inna lilLahi wa inna ilaiHi raji’un! (To God we belong, and to Him is our return!) May Allah protect us from Coronavirus (aka COVID-19), the scare of which (more than the disease itself) has become THE global pandemic, the Next Level of epidemic.
Sometimes we wonder the inexplicable happenings around us, such as this Coronavirus, whether natural or contrived. Many tragic events occur, called TRIALS in religion, which really test our faith. Sometimes some of these tragedies are plainly inexplicable, but sometimes they come around to explain themselves. People who are deep in faith do not question, or try to rationalise, these happenings.
Allah the Most High has said in the Holy Qur’an in Sura Ankabut (Chapter of The Spider) 29:2 “Do the people think they will be left to [just] say ‘We Believe’ and they will not be tried?”
He further says in Sura Baqara (Chapter of The Cow) 2:155-157 “Be sure we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives or the fruits of your toil, but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere.” (155). He, exalted be His Name, continues: “Who say, when afflicted with calamity, ‘inna lilLahi wa inna ilaiHi raji’un!’ (To God we belong, and to Him is our return).” (156). And then He concludes: “They are those on whom descend blessings from God, and Mercy, and they are the ones that receive guidance.” (157).
So may Allah count us among them that persevere in the face of this calamity.
I believe in self-isolation and social distancing and quarantining. In fact, with this “Theory of Quarantine”, every Muslim is now basking in the glow of pride (situated within our traditional humility) that our Prophet Muhammad (upon who be peace) had directly addressed this very matter almost 1,440 years ago: “If you hear of an outbreak of plague in a land, do not enter it. If the plague breaks out in a place while you are in it, do not leave that place.” (Reported by Bukhari).
Dr. Craig Considine (@CraigCons), Professor at Rice University in the United States and an author on Christian-Muslim relations, has tweeted that particular Hadith as well as many similar ones. However, the main Western ideologues (political, scientific and philosophical) are still awaited to acknowledge this advancement of Islam, fourteen centuries down the lane of history.
Now, I also believe in the hygiene of the washing of hands – in fact, I do that five times a day. Only that I now add soap. I believe in the face mask. I believe in everything that has been recommended by experts to ward off COVID-19 (and may Allah protect us all). And yes, it was the Prophet himself who told me to so do. He had said, 14 centuries ago: “Wisdom is the lost property of the believer. Let him claim it wherever he finds it.” (Reported by Tirmidhi).
This Hadith, in fact, was the gear that gingered and triggered Muslim scholars to go all out in research towards innovations in medicine, science and technology; borrowing from all cultures and mixing with their original thoughts. Meaning, knowledge is not a closed shop; and the Chinese of today have adapted and adopted this ‘lost property’ thesis to the letter, and to their advantage.
And so back to COVID-19: One of the more interesting and trending recommendations is: “Increase in spirituality.” This is a very interesting advice coming, as it is, from almost ultra-secular Western societies. So people are seeking out their pastors (whom they had abandoned decades ago). More yoga is reported, more of every bit of reaching out to that Higher Being!
Giving is part of spirituality in the face of calamity – Prophet Muhammad, upon whom be peace, has said, almost a millennium and a half ago: “Give charity without delay, for it stands in the way of calamity.” (Reported by Tirmidhi). He added that: “Sadaqa extinguishes sins as water extinguishes fire. Sadaqa appeases Allah’s anger and averts evil. And even a smile in your brother’s face is sadaqa.”
In Kano in the 1990s, there was this wealthy philanthropist, Alhaji Shehu Hadejia, generally referred to as Baba Mairuwa (Father of Water), who used to supply water, free of charge, using his tanker trucks, to many areas of the metropolis. It was said, and Allah knows best, that when armed robbers one night visited his home in Fagge with the intent to rob, and learnt whose house they were in, they apologised and left without taking anything.
And many people have no idea hows and whys of the staying power of Aliko Dangote’s enormous wealth. In my opinion, it is the charity of his mother, Hajiya Mariya Sanusi Dantata, the ultimate philanthropist. She feeds thousands every blessed day. She was known as ‘Family Support’ in 1990s Kano. When she gave out her poor-due (Zakat in Arabic), which amounted to hundreds of millions of Naira (perhaps in billions today), the immediate economy instantly became rejuvenated. Hajiya would go to hospitals and give to the patients and the staff; to schools to give to the pupils and the teachers; to villages to give to the real grassroots poor; to neighbourhood homes almost everywhere in town.
There could be many of these people in other states, uncelebrated and unsung. These are the do-gooders, the peace makers, and the defacto government to the underprivileged. If other wealthy people would do as much in all the parts of this country, there would be no poverty, no hunger, no malnutrition, no deprivation, and no calls for revolution. If the wealthy would help the poor, Allah will look at us with Mercy.
And so, to ward off evils and calamities of these times (such as COVID-19), let us wash our hands, observe social distancing, avoid unnecessary travels, avoid crowds, and be more spiritual. Yes, and giving is part of being spiritual. There is no better time than now to give. Give!
Sadaka maganin masifa.