Self-purification (تزکیة النّفس)
April 24th, 2020
Making the most of lockdown
We looked in our last dars at the precautions that need to be taken at a time of pandemic, such as the Corona pandemic we are currently in the grip of. These include secluding oneself, to a considerable degree, in one’s own home. As the saying goes: Stay at home; Save lives.
As promised, in this lesson we are going to go deeper into what spiritual benefit we can derive from staying at home, in comparative seclusion, at a time of the peril of pandemic.
Obviously, a pandemic that takes tens of thousands of lives is a setback for humankind. It is not something to be thankful for; it is something that one has to face with resolve and steadfastness:
عن سهیب بن سنان، قال قال رسول الله صلی الله علیه و سلّم: عجبًا لامر المومن انّ امره کله خیر و لیس ذالک لاحد الّا للمومن. ان اصابته سرّاء شکر فهو خیرًا له، و ان اصابته ضراء صبر و هو خیر له.
It is an extraordinary thing about a believer that everything works out best for him, and this only applies to a believer. If he has some good fortune, he is thankful, which is for his own good, and if some misfortune befalls him, he is patient, which is also to his own advantage.
Isolation is something that saints have always practised periodically, for meditation, reflection and prayer. This is the meditation cell – خلوتګاه – of Haji Imdadullah, Shaykh of Maulana Thanvi in Thana Bhavan, India
In another Hadith, specifically about plagues or epidemics, the Holy Prophet referred to such plagues as warnings, but in particular as a ‘blessing for believers’. How might we turn this blight of plague into a blessing? It is not a question to which one can give a definitive answer. It varies so much from person to person. Here are some of the things that may be worth reflecting on at this time. The list is in no way comprehensive and MDI would welcome suggestions and additions from students and members of the public:
Waylaid by worldly distractions
اعْلَمُوا أَنَّمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا لَعِبٌ وَلَهْوٌ وَزِينَةٌ وَتَفَاخُرٌ بَيْنَكُمْ وَتَكَاثُرٌ فِي الْأَمْوَالِ وَالْأَوْلَادِ ۖ …… وَمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا إِلَّا مَتَاعُ الْغُرُورِ
Never forget that the life of this world is a game and a passing delight, a show and mutual boasting and trying to outrival each other in riches and children ….. The life of this world is nothing but a means of deception.
The modern world seems as if it has everything worked out. Everything appears to work like clockwork: the stock exchange, the transport system, banking, economy, trade, sporting events, supply and distribution. It seems as if the system is set up, and nothing can go wrong. Then a pandemic appears and shows everything for what it is: ephemeral, transitional, unstable – a passing show.
Everything is in the hands of Allah
وَإِنْ يَمْسَسْكَ اللَّهُ بِضُرٍّ فَلَا كَاشِفَ لَهُ إِلَّا هُوَ ۖ وَإِنْ يُرِدْكَ بِخَيْرٍ فَلَا رَادَّ لِفَضْلِهِ ۚ يُصِيبُ بِهِ مَنْ يَشَاءُ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ ۚ وَهُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ
If Allah inflicts harm on you, no one can remove it but He, and if He intends good for you, no one can withhold His bounty; He grants His bounty to any of His servants whom He will. He is the Most Forgiving, and the Most Merciful.
This false sense of security makes one forget that it is Allah – not us – who is controlling things. The pandemic has served to show us how powerless we really are.
Obsession with development has left a ruined environment
ظَهَرَ الْفَسَادُ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِي النَّاسِ لِيُذِيقَهُم بَعْضَ الَّذِي عَمِلُوا لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ
Corruption has appeared on land and sea because of the evil which man’s hands have done: and so He will make them taste the fruit of some of their doings, so that they may turn back from evil.
Due to the importance that human beings attach to worldly advancement, they have forgotten to pay attention to the cost that all this advancement and development is having on their habitat. This has been one big advantage of coronavirus: due to the lockdowns that have been imposed in most countries, pollution levels in major cities have plummeted.
In an upcoming lesson, we will look further at the lessons we can learn from the Coronavirus plague, with respect to care for our environment, Inshallah.