With several vaccines for Covid-19 nearly ready, we finally see light at end of the tunnel and with the benefit of hindsight, I brave to give my verdict about the pandemic. Were Allah’s qualities of Avenger, Dominant and the Slayer expressed more forcefully during this pandemic? Was He less Kind, Generous and Loving? Here are some hard questions to grapple with. Take it as you like cowardice or courage, let’s plan for ‘the new normal.’
I often dodge this question, ‘how can this be a punishment from a Kind God?’ Finally, after eight months I dare to pass judgement about it and the blasé world we live in. I describe the world as blasé because it is mostly indifferent to spiritual realities and many are uninterested in the Divine. However, some people of faith do take spiritual matters seriously. An American Christian leader Dr R T Kendall talking about the pandemic said: “I believe America is under judgement for four reasons: racism, legalised abortions, approval of same-sex marriage and liberalism on pulpits.”
Similarly, a senior Muslim scholar said: “Pakistan is being punished for 3 things: Sectarianism and mutual hatred, rampant corruption and bribery in the government and sexual perversity in the wider society.” These are sins of enormous consequences, the Messenger (peace be upon him) said, “When sexual immorality appears publicly in a society then you will see plagues and sufferings unknown to past generations” (Muwatta Imam Malik). But we must still be cautious since passing judgements about catastrophes involving human suffering demands humility, it’s a complex matter. The spiritual realities are even more complex and Allah knows best.
Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad is a highly respected Scholar, when he was asked about the devastating earthquake in Turkey (1997) he said “The marvellous constancy of this creation, which makes human life possible exists on a condition. The house is well-maintained by the landlord on condition that the tenant pays the rent and the only rent that generous Landlord asks for is that we acknowledge and thank Him. He only asks us for this is for our own benefit.” Since we aren’t paying the rent, the Benevolent Lord is angry. Isn’t it time we paid Him what is his due? Just say thank you, Lord. Alhamdulillah!
Although Allah is the Most Kind, His description also encompasses the Avenger. Rest assured, He states clearly to humanity “I have made kindness my overarching quality”. He also says “Your Lord’s grip is severe, really severe!” So beware!
Allah has beautiful qualities of Kindness, Generosity, Forgiveness, Patience and Graciousness. On the other hand, He is the Dominant, giver of death and the Avenger. He likes to express Himself as He likes, the Quran says, “He does what He pleases.” Furthermore, He has made natural laws, the world runs according to these, once they are in motion, He doesn’t interfere with them but is constantly aware and capable of anything.
The mutation of the Coronavirus in the body of a bat in the remote mountains of Wuhan was an inevitable natural event. But the wet markets in China are a human invention, as is the pervasiveness of air travel, which was one of the main causes of the fast rate of transmission of the pandemic and allowed the virus to spread swiftly throughout the world. So, we humans are responsible for the swift and uncontrollable spread. This pandemic has brought to fore the best of humanity and the worse of humanity. Let’s ensure we pay the Landlord the rent due and say Alhamdulillah for bringing us out of the darkness, insha-allah!