What will you learn from the COVID-19 pandemic?

People ask me, how can we begin to understand the Divine plan for the creation of COVID-19? As a student of the Quran, I reply by saying there is total wisdom in all of Allah’s plans – whether we can comprehend them or not. A mutation took place in a single virus somewhere far away some time ago in an animal that we will not be certain of. It has brought the world economy to its knees, left Politicians panicking, Doctors fearful and Scientists bewildered. We see societies in despair, feeling helpless and in perhaps most cases, hopeless. What lessons can we learn in this time of isolation and under-employment? Below, I present five passages from The Majestic Quran that provide comfort in these trying times.

Purpose of creation:

This crisis has demonstrated how materialistic our society is becoming. We overvalue our worldly pursuits; we have become workaholic’s consumed by work. COVID-19 is a reminder that you were not created for work only. Our true work is to worship our Lord, our King and God! It is to care for each other and to benefit one another. Allah says “Continue reminding, the reminder benefits the believers. I created Jinn and Human beings only to worship Me. I don’t want any sustenance from them nor for them to feed Me. Allah is surely the Sustainer, the Superpower and strong. The wrongdoers will have the punishment like their ancestors, so they shouldn’t ask Me to hasten it” (Ad-Dhariyat: 55-59).

Life has a purpose:

COVID-19 reminds us of the fragility and shortness of life. Through this, those who reflect deeply will begin to acknowledge the gifts of our wonderful Lord, the giver of life. This is one way that will enable you and will be able to keep your ego in check. It is reminding us that no matter how great we think we are, we’re dependent on the All-Mighty Lord. Allah says “Did you reckon We created you without a purpose and you wouldn’t be returned to Us? How exalted is Allah, the True King! There is no god beside Him, Lord of the Honoured Throne. Whoever calls on another god for which he has no proof along with Allah, his account rests with His Lord. The disbelievers never succeed” (Al-Muminun: 115-117).

Maintaining family ties:

We are mindful of our family and relatives. In our previous busy lives, we may have neglected our loved ones. Another lesson is to strengthen our family unit. Through our father and mother, COVID-19 is forcing us back into our houses, so we can rebuild relationships in our homes. This is also showing us how connected we must be, whether, in Wuhan or Westminster, our humanity is universal. It’s telling us that the borders that we have put up have little stopping power, this virus doesn’t require a passport. Allah reminds us “People be mindful of your Lord, He created you from a single person and created his partner from him, and then from the pair, He spread countless men and women throughout the world. Be mindful of Allah in Whose name you make demands from each other, beware of breaking blood-relationships. Allah watches over you” (An-Nisa: 1).

Coping with life’s tests:

We are reminded to be patient, not to panic. Staying calm, waiting for the storm to end. It’s beyond anyone’s control, it’s happened many times in history and will pass, so rest assure there is an end to COVID-19. This is a time of reflection and understanding, what good have we done, what wrong have we done? Is there a lesson we can learn from our mistakes? This may become a new beginning. Allah instructs us “Believers find strength through patience and prayer – Allah is with those who are patient. Do not speak irreverently about those who were killed fighting in Allah’s way, that they are “dead”; rather, they are living, though you do not sense it. We will certainly test you: with fear, hunger, loss of wealth, health and harvests. Give good news to those who are patient and who, when they are struck by misfortune, softly say: “We belong to Allah and are returning to Him”. These are the ones who shall be blessed and kindly treated by their Lord; they are the guided” (Al-Baqara: 153-157).

Gain after strain:

The verse below was revealed for the consolation of the Messenger (peace be upon him) when he was facing tough times, it’s in a tone that displays friendship and love. The surah expresses the incredibly elevated position of the Messenger (peace be upon him). Despite this honour, he (peace be upon him) is told to strive enthusiastically in Allah’s worship. This is a powerful reassurance that after every difficulty, there is always ease. COVID-19 reminds us that life is cyclical, hardship is followed by ease, so COVID-19 is just a phase in this cycle. We do not need to panic; it shall pass soon, Insha Allah. Allah reminds us “Didn’t We expand your chest, and lifted your burden, which weighed down your back. We raised high your honour. Indeed, every hardship follows ease, indeed, every hardship follows ease. Once you have finished your daily tasks carry on seeking your Lord passionately in worship” (Al-Inshirah).