So we all are collectively in the midst of an ongoing crisis. Many countries are going into lockdown and to control the pandemic there is advice to avoid gatherings and to keep “social distancing”.
While this all is to bring things under control, nobody is sure how long this all is going to last. There is a lot of confusion, uncertainty and even fear and panic. And rightly so for all that keeps flashing on our TV and phone screens. And I am sure increased seclusion and reduced social interaction is very likely adding to anxiety and hysteria and even in some cases leading to depression.
So what’s a person to do in all this? To keep mentally and physically fit and to just keep sane!
Just like everything else in life, I thought to look back at our deen. How as a Muslim can I better cope better in these times?
Read on to find out how I am coping with the current situation from an Islamic and a personal perspective.
Switch off the TV. Limit your time online.
Whether you like it or not but I feel media has played a huge role in creating an atmosphere of fear and also in fuelling panic and hysteria. And I will be brutally honest and say we don’t need to know about all those stats out there. It’s not a cricket match. Being glued to news all the time does nothing but raise anxiety levels. Unplug and limit your screen time.
Pick up the phone to check on family & friends.
One of the hardest challenge for many of us has been “social distancing”. Schools, universities and various work places have been shut down have been shut down. Plus there are various recommendations of social gatherings not exceeding 10 and in some places not exceeding 2 people. Even though it’s an important measure in preventing and slowing the transmission of virus, it has without a doubt added to feelings of loneliness, anxiety and depression. In such circumstances it’s important to have meaningful interaction with family and friends via texts or phone calls, video chats to keep loneliness creeping up on you or your loved ones. Research indicates that hearing a loved one’s voice or having a good chat with a good friend over the phone helps in alleviating low mood.
Assess your circumstances & make most of it
With most people working or studying from home, without any commuting to do, many people invariably have more time on their hands. Whilst for many others it’s meant having to deal with more work than ever before. Instead of letting all this time slip by or moan and whine over all the extra work you have on your hands now, stand back and assess how you can make this all work in your favour. For those of you have that time and mentally feel up to it, use that time to further your skills and knowledge. There are many online institutes offering their courses for free for this particular time. Which brings me to the next point.
Spend your time in gaining beneficial knowledge.
There have been many messages going around painting a doomsday scenario around the current situation. It’s definitely given rise to some panic while others have downright slipped in to panic. If we don’t take the time to study and benefit from real knowledge, every thing we see out there will get to us
Allah الله سبحانه وتعالى says in the Qur’an:
وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُمْ بِشَيْءٍ مِّنَ الْخَوفْ وَالْجُوعِ وَنَقْصٍ مِّنَ الأَمَوَالِ وَالأنفُسِ وَالثَّمَرَاتِ وَبَشِّرِ الصَّابِرِينَ
We will certainly test you with something of fear and hunger, and loss of wealth and lives and fruits (earnings); but give glad tidings to the patientQur’an 2:155
Allah does say that He WILL test us. It’s through tests like these we are able to prove our worth as believers and raise in status with Him. How do we know what’s expected of us? Only by getting to know what’s been said to us in the Quran.
Learn from history
I have been reading up on the stories of the Prophets and the Sahaba and Sahabiyat (Peace and mercy be upon them all). What they went through on personal and communal levels is nothing compared to what we are experiencing. I hope the shut down makes us reflect deeply not only on their stories but also makes us realize the plight of our brothers and sisters in war torn regions of the world. Our quarantine/lockdown is nothing in comparison but I hope it makes us grateful for many things which we usually take for granted.
Seek assistance and protection through dua and dhikr
I often tell my children making certain dua and dhikr is like making a shield around ourselves from all the harm and evil in the world. The worst of that harm is whispering of the devil which can make us feel anxious, depressed or feel in adequate. When we say dua and dhikr, we fortify our heart against him. Besides when we mention Allah and seek His assistance through reciting Qur’an or just making dua, we are certainly surrounded by angels and we can feel the calm of it in our hearts. So make the habit of always keeping your tongue moist in dhikr of Allah.
Don’t panic over things you can’t control
There’s a lot of uncertainty for sure. It’s a pandemic and from the looks of it the virus is spreading very fast. We see all the headlines about people getting infected and then dying. It’s sure to make many anxious and even panic. But that anxiety does nothing but build up more stress and stress physiologically makes us more vulnerable to contracting any disease.
So what’s a person to do?
Take all the precautions and leave the rest on the Allah الله سبحانه وتعالى
Nothing. I repeat, NOTHING in the world has the power to harm you if it’s not been ordained by Him. Do all that you can to fortify yourself mentally, spiritually and physically but ultimately place all your trust in Allah.
Some parting advice:
- Sleep well. It not only boosts your immunity but a well rested body is better able to process various emotions.
- Eat healthy wholesome foods to support your immunity and also your emotional and mental well being.
- Stay active. Go for a walk around the neighbourhood or just jump around the house. Physical activity also boosts activity of feel good hormones.
- Think well
- To avoid panic, plan ahead.
- Start a hobby that helps you stay calm and makes you feel good
Remember as a Muslim we look for good in all situations!
I am sure many of us are confused and questioning why does The Creator allows such suffering, disease and death in the world, I assure you everything has a bigger unfathomable reason behind it.
Suhaib reported that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said:
Strange are the ways of a believer for there is good in every affair of his and this is not the case with anyone else except in the case of a believer for if he has an occasion to feel delight, he thanks (God), thus there is a good for him in it, and if he gets into trouble and shows resignation (and endures it patiently), there is a good for him in it.Sahih Muslim 2999
In another narration narrated by Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri and Abu Huraira:
Narrated by Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri and Abu Huraira:Sahih al-Bukhari 5641, 5642
“No fatigue, nor disease, nor sorrow, nor sadness, nor hurt, nor distress befalls a Muslim, even if it were the prick he receives from a thorn, but that Allah expiates some of his sins for that.”
I hope this article and all the things in it gave you some reassurance and brought you some much needed comfort. Let me know in the comments below how you are trying to make most of the situation. Don’t forget to share ahead with family and friends.
This article was written in collaboration with Javeria at 21st Century Pakistani Girl.