Spirituality in the Age of Pandemic

Author: Ms. Seen Noon

By the end of last year, we were clueless of what the year 2020 would greet us with. The whole world is fighting for survival in its own way, no matter how rich or poor, no matter if you are young or old, the scare is there. The fear of the pandemic has everyone psychologically, physically, spiritually damaged somehow. Boosting the immune systems, social distancing, sanitizing on frequent basis, self-isolation; you’re pretty familiar with the precautionary drill. The fear, the threat of catching the virus somehow, either by being around a patient, or by coming in contact with an infected grocery item for instance, has started to drive us crazy. Life, as we know it, has taken a 360-degree turn, pushing us towards a quarantine-based life, forcing routine activities to a sudden halt.

Plenty is being said and done to provide us with the necessary guidelines for physical protection, but the need of the hour is to not let go of our psychological and spiritual well-being. The power to NOT give in to fear and panic, staying steady and strong, maintaining our mental health state via prayer and meditation, is required. Of course, our physical fitness and a balanced diet are key milestones in our routine, but the muscles on your body cannot stop you from falling knee-deep in depression or anxiety. If you let your guard down and make way for the shadow of panic and restlessness to accompany you at all times, then your overall health will deteriorate on turbo speed.

Imagine running your car without provision of a power source, or working yourself non-stop without providing your body and mind with the required pause and rest; result would be a crash and collapse! Your car would not keep moving if you don’t keep on filling it up with fuel, and your body, a collection of meat and bones, would collapse if rest or a healthy break is not allowed once in a while. Like, what marathon are we running for? The connection with our creator, the bonding with Almighty, the link joining our well-being with other fellow humans, all of this is missing from our lives. Who knows how long we are going to live?

The quality of our lives needs to be improved, and the only way I see it happening (and you may not agree with me) is through developing a communication link with our creator. Everyone is confined in their homes, either working from home or not, but seriously available for their families after ages. I don’t recall staying at home for this long, being present around kids, attending to their teeny weeny detailed queries, caring for our elders, neighbors, co-workers, a lot of kind-hearted gestures witnessed after the lockdown. The call for prayer announced by our leaders, whichever religion you follow, to beg your Lord of forgiveness, to repent and seek mercy from the creator of mankind in order to combat and eradicate the virus from the face of the earth. I am starting to feel that Allah has gifted us with a new chapter in our lives, to rethink what our purpose in this life has become, the focal point of all our endeavors, our means to the end, all materialistic gains. Our souls are screaming, aching, waiting for us to feed them with the appropriate fuel for nurturing them.

A Hadith goes:

Uqba Ibn Amir narrated:

“I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! What is the means to salvation?’ He said:
‘That you control your tongue, suffice yourself your house, and cry over your sins.'” (Jami’ al-Tirmidhi: 2406)

In these tough and scary times, when everyone of us has his eyes glued to the television screens, staying updated about the corona news, endangering our mental state, our hearts racing every time we head out to fetch groceries, a fear of bringing the virus back home unintentionally haunts us non-stop. You know what, just let go of this fear, stay cautious, but don’t harm your well-being by constantly fretting over what will happen if we are contaminated with it?!

Allah’s messenger guides us to isolate ourselves in the peace of our homes, and to glance over our past and present, analyzing our lives. If its meant to be, then no power on this earth can save you from leaving this world, and if Allah has given you more time, then nothing can harm you, no matter what comes after you. Just clear your head, lie down, and try to establish a connection with the Almighty, attempting to re-align your targets and goals, letting go of all fears and negative thoughts. Become a magnet that attracts positive energy and repels the evil thoughts that come in its way. Live and let live, be aware of how your near and dear ones are doing, keeping your heart and eyes open to fulfil the needs of the needy. The more you talk to Allah, the more you will feel lighthearted and at ease, and the more you realize that there is no better friend than Allah alone.

Allah mentions in the Holy Quran, in Surah Ghafir, Verse 40

‘It is He who shows you His signs and sends down to you from the sky, provision. But none will remember except he who turns back [in repentance].’ (40:13)

All of us are creations of Allah, breathing the fresh air, roaming around in the gardens and rivers so artistically drawn by Him, enjoying the luxuries bestowed upon us by Him, living a life filled with joy and tranquility. These temporary setbacks are a sign from Him to turn back to Him, to steer our boat away from the typhoon and towards the light tower, seeking guidance from Him alone, repenting over our past unintentional sins. Allah is ever so kind, so forgiving, He will eventually send down His blessings, but we should remember the lessons learnt in this age of Corona pandemic. The virus may seem scary, but it has taught us the value of the missing pieces of our life’s puzzle. Let us all open our baskets and take in as much goodness as we can, to distribute later on with the entire human race, deserving rewards in the hereafter in sha Allah.

 

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