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Coronavirus and Gratitude for Blessings

Coronavirus and Gratitude for Blessings


All praise be to Allah, The Exalted, for His countless blessings and inestimable bounties. Praise be to Him as many times as the number of His slaves who stand before Him in prayer. Praise be to Allah and Glory be to Him. None is worthy of worship but Him, and He is The Most Great.

Undoubtedly, what the world has witnessed and what we have experienced firsthand in the past months - and what we are all still experiencing - is a serious affliction, acute distress, and terrible tribulation.

However, there is no doubt that there are great wisdoms and purposes for such affliction, and some of them may be the following ones:

Prompting People to Return to Allah and Humble Themselves Before Him:

An affliction serves as a reminder for the disbelievers, the polytheists, and the heedless and lax believers, perchance the disbelievers should believe, the sinners should repent and seek forgiveness, and the believers should earnestly humble themselves before Allah, The Exalted. He Says (what means): {And We have already sent [messengers] to nations before you, [O Muhammad]; then We seized them with poverty and hardship that perhaps they might humble themselves [to Us].} [Quran 6:42-43]

Distinguishing between the Believers and Hypocrites:

When afflictions befall a believer, they boost his certainty in Allah, The Exalted, nurture his faith in Him, and increase his knowledge of Him and submission to Him, as he perceives His Power and the effects of His Greatness, and accordingly his faith and steadfastness increase.

Conversely, a hypocrite only perceives the negative side of the affliction. As a result, he has bad expectations of Allah, The Exalted, and this fuels his hatred for religion, nurtures his discontent with Allah, The Exalted, and further alienates him from his Lord.

This is exactly what transpired in the Battle of Al-Ahzaab, where the hypocrites and those in whose hearts was disease said (what means): {“Allah and His Messenger did not promise us except delusion.”} [Quran 33:12]

On the contrary, the believers said (what means): {“This is what Allah and His Messenger had promised us, and Allah and His Messenger spoke the truth.”} [Quran 33:22]



Recognizing the Power and Greatness of Allah:

What has been happening indicates the overwhelming Power of Allah, His astounding Greatness, and that He exclusively administrates the affairs of His creation and changes the conditions of people in the blink of an eye, confining them to their homes, evacuating their streets, bringing production at their factories to a halt, disrupting the realization of their interests, destroying their economy, exposing (the fragility of) their civilization, and causing them to fall in terror and fear after savoring security and tranquility.

His decree is not hindered by their huge armies, mighty military machine, impressive economic power, or fake civilization, and He does not need earthquakes, striking calamities, thunderous blasts, nor stones descending from the sky. Rather, a tiny creature that is invisible to the naked eye suffices. Allah, The Exalted, Says (what means): {… And none knows the soldiers of your Lord except Him. And mention of the Fire is not but a reminder to humanity.} [Quran 74:31]

Perceiving the Blessings and Expressing Gratitude for Them:

One of the greatest benefits of this pandemic and affliction is that it urges us to have a moment of self-reflection to recognize the blessings that Allah, The Exalted, bestows upon us, and to be conscious of them in order to express gratitude to Him for them. The blessings are preserved by gratitude; if a person fails to show gratitude for them, he will be deprived of them.

We were relishing countless blessings, which we did not perceive as blessings to begin with, and accordingly failed to express gratitude to Allah, The Exalted, for them, and this affliction befell us to remind us of them.

You used to go to work and go back home every day, and you did not perceive it as a blessing. Some people rather used to grumble, dodge going to work, find excuses, and wish they would stay at home! When we were forced to stay at home, we realized the blessing of Allah, The Exalted, conferred upon us.

We used to meet, shake hands, and our sins would be shed, or embrace to foster mutual love, and visit one another to nurture our affection for each other. Many people perceived such things as ‘normal’ life activities and did not view them as blessings, but everything changed in a heartbeat and we are left with social distancing, isolation, and loneliness.

Our children used to go to school in peace and return home while we were assured of their safety, but we did not perceive this as a blessing.

We even perceived open mosques as ‘normal’, and visited them whenever we wished, but we did not view as blessings visiting mosques, sitting in them, waiting for the prayer, reciting supplications between Athaan (call to prayer) and Iqaamah (second call to prayer), nor staying therein to recite the Quran and Thikr! Some people even indifferently abandoned mosques and failed to attend the prayer or visit them regularly. As a result, the doors of mosques were closed in our faces for a while so that we should recognize this blessing and appreciate such bounty, return to the mosques, and visit them regularly for fear that they should be closed again, but this time for good.

Recognizing The Blessing of the Quran

The fact that paper copies of the Quran were removed from mosques in some countries (to reduce contagion) reminds us of another blessing bestowed upon us by Allah, The Exalted, that required our gratitude. We used to have unrestricted access to the Quran for whomever wished to recite it, and the copies of the Quran were within the reach of the worshipers (in mosques). When people forsook the Quran, they were deprived of this blessing and they were distanced from it. This reminds us of how the Quran will be raised and taken away one night at the end of time and not one verse of it will be left in written copies of the Quran nor preserved in people’s hearts!

At-Tabaraani narrated in Al-Mu‘jam Al-Kabeer on the authority of Ibn Mas‘ood, may Allah be pleased with him, that he said: “Verily, this Quran will be taken away!” It was said to him, “O Abu ‘Abd Ar-Rahmaan! How can it be taken away while we have preserved it in our hearts and our Mus-hafs?” He said: “One night it will be taken away, and not one verse of it will remain in a person’s heart or in a Mus-haf; in the morning people will wake up like animals!” Then, he, may Allah be pleased with him, recited the verse that reads (what means): {And if We willed, We could surely do away with that which We revealed to you. Then you would not find for yourself concerning it an advocate against Us.} [Quran 17:86]

This statement was authentically attributed to Ibn Mas‘ood, may Allah be pleased with him, and the report was classified as authentic by Ibn Hajar, Al-Haythami and Al-Albaani. It takes the ruling of Marfoo‘ Hadeeth (directly attributed to the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) because it addresses a matter that is not subject to personal opinion, as the scholars said.

This report and that frightening and perilous future event prompts a sincere Muslim to hasten to assign greater care and attention to the Book of Allah, by learning, memorizing, reciting, and pondering over it before it is taken away for good. It also urges him to appreciate all the blessings bestowed upon him, and hasten to express the due gratitude for them before he is deprived of them.

Hastening to Good-Doing:

The Last Hour will be preceded by serious Fitnah (trials) and horrendous events that urge a Muslim to hasten to good-doing and be prompt in embracing all virtues, as enjoined by the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) for fear that he might be overtaken by such Fitnah. He  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “Be prompt in doing good deeds (before you are overtaken) by afflictions which would be like parts of the dark night. During this period of affliction, a man would be a believer in the morning and a disbeliever in the evening or he would be a believer in the evening and a disbeliever in the morning, and he would sell his faith for a worldly gain.” [Muslim]

We ask Allah to make us steadfast in adhering to His religion, and to shield us against Fitnah, epidemics, afflictions, and tribulations, the visible and the hidden thereof.

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