I may be Covid19 “Positive” but I am “Positive” Nonetheless

I may be Covid19 “Positive” but I am “Positive” Nonetheless

By

Islāmic Lifestyle Solutions

 

وبالقدر خيره وشره من الله تعالى

“…everything khayr (goodness) and sharr (negative) is by the Will of Allāh ”

 

>-Such a simple, yet neglected part of belief-<

It was only yesterday (06/01/2021) that I received my confirmation by SMS stating that I had tested ‘positive’ for Covid19, and as devastating as that news ought to have been, I found myself more concerned about the people close to me, and how they would react to this news. As human beings, we react to information based on our perspective and understanding of what we deem to be of ‘value’ or not. For me, my family and those close to me are held in high esteem, and so my initial concern was more for them, rather than me! The thing is, there is so much to be positive about, even if diagnosed with this deadly virus, yet the moment people contract it, or come near someone who has contracted it, we find ourselves in a state of ‘hopelessness’ and ‘fear’, and as a result, cause more psychological trauma, to ourselves and others, but even worse than that, is the blow dealt to our very belief and creed in the wondrous bounties of Allāh .

Why should I suddenly forget, that amidst such devastation, that God Almighty has gifted me a wonderful life to this point? That He provided me with oxygen for so many years without charge!

Why should I suddenly forget that I have lived a life to this point, and that I have families, friends, a spouse, and children, when so many others do not have people to love and care for them?

Why should I suddenly forget that God Almighty provided me with shelter from the rain, and a place to rest during the day and night?

Why should I suddenly forget that He clothed me when so many others are naked?

Why should I suddenly forget that He allowed me the opportunity to serve my parents, my community, my friends and family?

When we begin eliminating all the reasons we have to be ‘positive’ for the innumerable gifts and favours that God Almighty has bestowed upon us, then the few matters of negativity become inconsequential to compare, yet human beings are such, that we hone in on the negatives and forget the evident positives present before our very eyes, as this verse of the Qur’ān explicates with clarity;

 

وَآتَاكُم مِّن كُلِّ مَا سَأَلْتُمُوهُ ۚ وَإِن تَعُدُّوا نِعْمَتَ اللَّـهِ لَا تُحْصُوهَا ۗ إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ لَظَلُومٌ كَفَّارٌ

And He gave you much of what you seek; and if you enumerate the favours of Allah, you will never be able to count them; indeed man is very unjust, most ungrateful.[1]

 

Aside from the wonderful, tangible gifts and favours of Allāh  upon me, -the likes having grown with the love and care of my parents, having an older sibling, my children, and my wife who continues to care for me during this illness,- there is nothing that I can be more grateful to Allāh Y for, than His granting me a miniscule insight into His glorious Qur’ān and the amazing life of His beloved Messenger k. Take away the barakah (blessing) of the knowledge of the Qur’ān and Sunnah, and I am merely ‘Faheem’, an ordinary Muslim seeking guidance, and for this, I am ever grateful because this sacred knowledge is not only externally rewarding but internally revolutionary and illuminating, and it comes with an insatiable thirst for more.

A simple advice to all who prefer to focus on the negative whilst ignoring the obviously positive,

 

قُلْ يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا عَلَىٰ أَنفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِن رَّحْمَةِ اللَّـهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ

Proclaim (O dear Prophet), “O my slaves, who have wronged themselves, do not lose hope in Allah’s mercy; indeed Allah forgives all sins; indeed He only is the Oft Forgiving, the Most Merciful.”[2]

 

Now, given the circumstances, some people may progress to safeguard what they deem to be of ‘worth’ and to ensure that their precious items are protected at all times, especially when they are faced with the possibility of death.

For a believer however, there is nothing more valuable than the gift of Imān (faith), and if the quest for knowledge has taught me anything, it is that there nothing that deserves greater protection than our faith in God Almighty, nothing! Retrospectively, upon contemplating the variant reactions of people in general, -and Muslims in specific-, what I have noticed consistently since the outbreak of this virus is just how true the message of Islām has proven to be, yet despite this fact, many Muslims seem to be almost oblivious to their Islamic obligation in respect of their faith in the plan and power of God.

Think About it?

Astonishingly, humankind places our collective efforts on outcomes that are not guaranteed, yet the only guarantee in life is that we will die, and even so, the preparations of that inevitability are almost zero in effort. The parable of such an illogical premise is the like the person who knows for a fact that a tsunami is en-route to his / her location and one is guaranteed to be caught in its path, but such a person prefers to, instead, to call up the nearest take-away because he is feeling hungry for a burger knowing well that the meal would never reach his gluttonous gut. Suffice to say that the priorities of such a person would definitely be called into question, yet, everyday, majority of us remain on that exact wavelength and have our priorities confused, and yet fail to acknowledge this logical dilemma.

How many of us actually spend a few minutes each day in the realization that all of our efforts are being channeled towards betterment in this world, and almost no efforts are spared to preparing for the hereafter? If we continue on this trajectory, then the only ‘investments’ we make will be connected to the ‘here and now’, and not the ‘hereafter’, and it is there, in the hereafter that we will have realized the wastage of our efforts, but it will be too late.

“We need to stop placing our trust in the mundane, and rely upon He who possesses the ultimate say!”

Between Arrogance and Ignorance

Unfortunately and yet unsurprisingly, the two dominant views regarding our reaction to Covid19 are located at the extreme end of each spectrum. The first of which may be viewed as an arrogant outlook, whilst the other may be viewed as an ignorant one. For both, the inability to apply correct Islāmic knowledge to the respective scenarios must be recognized as a key factor for our decline in this regard.

Insofar as the arrogant approach is concerned, there are many Muslims who categorically refuse to take any precaution against the virus despite the explicit medical information from healthcare professionals. Having learned no lessons from the story of Iblīs’ arrogance, they ‘judge’ on the external horizons but fail to realize the internal realities and implications of the situation. Alas! The Qur’ān is still schooling us to this day, but even then, our arrogance stands to smog our view to any real inferences that can be drawn therefrom.

This arrogant approach in rejection of any precautionary measures such as face masks, sanitization, social distancing etc. is a flagrant violation of both the intellectual and faith-related tradition located in the books of Islāmic history. Their arrogant stance is “Put your tawakkul (reliance) and faith in Allāh Y and nothing will happen” and sometimes they even say, “Only those with weakened or no Imān (faith) place their trust in these precautions”. The assumptions of such preposterous points may be logically deduced as follows;

Premise 1 – If one places their Tawakkul in Allāh, then Covid19 will never infect you.

Premise 2 – Zayd was infected with Covid19,

Conclusion – Therefore Zayd did not place Tawakkul in Allāh.

The implications of such a wayward argument actually calls into question the faith of the person, when in fact, it is a matter of sheer misunderstanding on the mechanics and dynamics of the premise of Tawakkul. Furthermore, such fallacious thinking causes even instances from the life of the Prophet Muhammad to be questioned!

Frankly, such arrogant statements only stand to corroborate their inability to navigate the Qur’ān and Sunnah with any knowledge at all. Instead, they have become like ‘mockingbirds’ that mimic the statement of others with a shallow understanding of the Islāmic tradition.

To such illogical and uneducated folk, there is no need to delve into textual evidences, as a mere glance into the Sīrah (prophetic biography) purely from logical analyses ought to suffice (if they possess basic logic skills),

  • If Tawakkul in Allāh  was a shallow as the views of such proponents, then, whose Tawakkul in Allāh  was superior to the Prophet Muhammad’s ? Yet He k never once said to the people that there is no need to carry a weapon in fear of the enemies because our tawakkul in God will guide us to victory? Yet he brandished his weapon whenever required! He advised his companions to be geared for the enemies at all times. Will the arrogant question the tawakkul of the Messenger  too?
  • When the Pagan Meccans were oppressing the Muslims, did he k tell them not to fear and that it will all be fine without effort? Or did he teach them how to preserve their faith during times of oppression? Will the arrogant question the tawakkul of the Messenger too?
  • When the disbelievers attempted to assassinate him, did he say to his followers, “Never fear, God is here, they cannot harm me?” or Did Allāh Y teach him that in testing times, humankind must act rationally and make every concerted effort to ensure one’s safety, and then place one’s trust in Allāh ? People of research and insight know exactly which of the aforesaid options panned out. Will the arrogant question the tawakkul of the Messenger too?

Hence, to ignore these well-established facts in order to propagate a series of extremist views is indeed an exhibition of intellectual irresponsibility and stands in contradistinction of the Qur’ānic description of this Ummah as a community that maintains a ‘middle’ ground (2:143). Alas, some people prefer to transgress the limits set by the Qur’ān, thinking that they are following the same Qur’ān.

Being Covid19 Positive Does Not Mean the Person is Radioactive!

This is where the ignorance of many Muslims begin to surface. Should we take precaution? Yes we should! I have clarified this in many prior articles, however, for the benefit of all, the following is an excerpt from the ‘introduction’ of my latest book, “Tawakkul – The Missing Peace in the Journey of Life” to help give some much-needed perspective;

“Tawakkul is not to run into a quarantine zone without taking the requisite safety precautions during times of an epidemic and to then say, “God is with me, therefore, no sickness can infect me”. This is preposterous, as the following narration clarifies,

 

 أَنَّ عُمَرَ بْنَ الْخَطَّابِ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ خَرَجَ إِلَى الشَّأْمِ، فَلَمَّا جَاءَ بِسَرْغَ بَلَغَهُ أَنَّ الْوَبَاءَ وَقَعَ بِالشَّأْمِ فَأَخْبَرَهُ عَبْدُ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنُ عَوْفٍ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ”‏ إِذَا سَمِعْتُمْ بِأَرْضٍ فَلاَ تَقْدَمُوا عَلَيْهِ، وَإِذَا وَقَعَ بِأَرْضٍ وَأَنْتُمْ بِهَا فَلاَ تَخْرُجُوا فِرَارًا مِنْهُ ‏”‏‏.‏ فَرَجَعَ عُمَرُ مِنْ سَرْغَ‏.‏

“Umar bin Al-KhattābE left for Shām[3], and when he reached a placed called Sargh, he came to know that there was an outbreak of an epidemic (possibly of plague) in Shām. Then `Abdur Rahmān bin `Auf E told him that Allāh’s Messenger k said, “If you hear the news of an outbreak of an epidemic (plague) in a certain place, do not enter that place, and if the epidemic falls in a place while you are present in it, do not leave that place to escape from the epidemic.” So `Umar returned from Sargh.[4]

The narration explains that when an epidemic breaks out, people are to exercise common sense. If they are already in an infected area, then they should remain there to quell the spread of infection. If one has not reached a place in which there is an epidemic, then one should refrain from entering such a place as this could result in exposure to the disease. The Prophet Muhammad k did not advise us to assume that since we are believers that no calamity or sickness can ever befall us. Thus, part of tawakkul is to be rational and to take the necessary precautions whilst maintaining that whatever is beyond our control will be taken care of by God Almighty in the best possible way.”[5]

Unfortunately, some Muslims are so fearful of the virus, that even after taking the requisite precautions, their ‘fear’ exhibits their lack of faith in the Will and Decree of God. Yes we must ‘tie our camel’ and then put our trust in Allāh Y, but if we return to find the camel not where we quite left it, even after tying it, then we ‘must’ accept His Will and Decree, as it is therefore indicative that we were never meant to locate it where we left it.

Muslims today seem to either not make an attempt to safeguard themselves from the virus and if infected, and consequently pass on, then people start throwing around titles like “Martyr” etc. but that could not be further from reality.

On the other hand, Muslims who fear death, and who take precautions, also fail to realize that if Allāh Y willed for the virus to befall us, there isn’t a power source in this universe that could prevent it from happening, irrespective of the efforts to social distance etc. So yes, take precaution, but know that trembling at every turn after exercising precaution shows that we are essentially terrified of the Will of God. A wonderful fiqh (prudential) maxim comes to mind, “Certainty prevails over doubt”

Thus, Muslims should not be arrogant to the point of losing our intellectual ability to weigh the scenario, but at the same juncture we should not lose our minds completely by assuming that the only way to prevent exposure to the virus is by precaution. In the end, we are to be at peace with the Decree of Allāh  in knowing that if the entire universe were to combine in order to do a thing that was not decreed by God, that it shall never come to pass, and if the collective power of all human beings were to combine in order to prevent something decreed by God, that too can never occur because all occurrences are solely due to His Divine Decree, and even if we consider an event to be a ‘misfortune’, then that too is by no mere coincidence and must to be regarded as from the Will and Divine Decree of God. This is corroborated clearly in the Qur’ān,

 

مَا أَصَابَ مِن مُّصِيبَةٍ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِ اللَّـهِ ۗ وَمَن يُؤْمِن بِاللَّـهِ يَهْدِ قَلْبَهُ ۚ وَاللَّـهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ

“No misfortune befalls except by Allah’s command; and Allah will guide the heart of whoever accepts faith in Him; and Allah knows all things.”[6]

 

Since when did our fear of death rob us of our sight in the ultimate destination of this mundane life, known better as the Ākhirah (hereafter)? Have we become so immersed in the materialistic ideal of life that we forget our bodies consist of a ‘spirit’ in the form of our soul which too must travel to its abode? All of these inconsistencies in our mentality are exhibitions of our lack of Islāmic insight, and must be corrected swiftly if we are to achieve a ‘positive’ outcome in the next life.

Failure to do so may result in only seeing the negative, thus asserting incorrect notions and ideas into our philosophy of faith, but if we can, somehow train our minds to see the amazing wonders bestowed upon us by our Creator, then we will have been gifted not only with insight, but with earning the pleasure of Allāh with our newly found attitude of gratitude! Some people say that the word ‘positive’ was the most negative word of 2020, but I on the other hand believe that positivity is the inevitable end awaiting those who see beyond the paths (tarīqah) before us, and who see the reality (haqīqah) of the bounties bestowed upon us by Allāh !

A humble appeal for your duas for me and my family during this time, and let us remember all those who are ill with this virus, and let us help them see the positive light too, Inshā Allāh!

Shaykh Faheem

Co-Founder and Head of Da’wah, Media, Education and Publications at Islāmic Lifestyle Solutions

 

[1] Sūrah Ibrāhīm, 14:34

[2] Sūrah Az-Zumar, 39:53

[3] Shām in the prophetic era consisted of Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Greater Syria. Today however ‘Shām’ refers only to Syria.

[4] Al-Bukhārī, Hadīth Number 6973

[5] Tawakkul – The Missing Peace in the Journey of Life, Introduction, Pages 6-7, Published by the Islāmic Lifestyle Solutions in conjunction with Awqaf SA.

[6] Sūrah At-Taghābun, 64:11

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