The uncertainty surrounding a constantly evolving situation peeled open layers that would otherwise remain hidden. Realities of the human condition were exposed, some, attracting criticism, but the majority being admirable and praiseworthy. Despite the social distancing, panic buying toilet paper, quarantining, loss of financial security, separation from loved ones, Alhamdulillah, it was not all doom and gloom. Now that is not to devalue the struggles we faced. It was challenging, confronting, unpredictable, and many times, utterly painful. But Allah had our back the whole time. We learnt, and we grew Alhamdulillah. We grew like never before.

Perhaps one of the most difficult things to comprehend was the ‘why.’ In our finite capacities, we will only ever know so much, and that’s okay. Our understanding of calamities may often be tainted. We tend to view them through the lens of our individual experiences that have moulded us into our personalities today. We seek guidance and counsel from the learned and knowledgeable, but there is one fact that becomes our ultimate comfort; Allah is Al-‘Aleem, Al-Hakeem (The All-Knowing, The Wise). And He is Ar-Rahmaan, Al-Wadud (The Most Compassionate, the Most Loving).

 

The ever-present reality is that the Insan is forgetful and weak, in constant need of Allah’s aid, irrespective of the presence of any afflictions. But that does negate the need to search for materialistic, rational solutions. Rather, the need to analyse a problem at a grassroots level and implement practical cures was encouraged by Rasulullah SAW, and the Sahabah RA. Ibn Sina, the influential Persian scientist, known for his contributions to medicine, introduced quarantining. Further, Umar’s (RA) management of the plague of Emmaus was influenced by the Hadith: “If the plague breaks out in a region do not go there, but if you are already there, do not come out of it (Rasulullah SAW, Sahih Bukhari).”

Collectively, we were forced to apply the profound, timeless teaching: “Tie your camel and place your trust in Allah (Tirmidhi).”

Alhamdulillah, for the most part, we did well. Not only did we use our practical faculties to strive in reducing transmission, but the solidarity that stemmed forth of the challenges was awe-inspiring. We actively worked to sustain the sense of togetherness when we could not be in each other’s physical presence. We learnt how to channel our isolation from the broader world into moments of solitude and stillness with our Rabb. Alhamdulillah collectively, we challenged complacency and directed our hope towards Allah.

Dealing with the circumstances at an individual level, Allah taught us many deeply personal lessons. For me, this year stressed the importance of keeping faith in Allah and His wisdom. My Tawakkul should be rooted in knowing that Only He (SWT), in the grand scheme of things, knows how significant or insignificant matters really are. When afflictions do strike, I must remember that the purpose of this life is to perfect us for the next. Bearing that in mind, I cannot undermine the importance of seeking aid from loved ones or trusted individuals, because that for me is part of tying my camel.

What did you learn?