The adhan being called out in Kuwait asking people to stay at home rather than to “hurry to the prayer,” sent shockwaves throughout the Muslim ummah.
A video depicted the eeriness of the adhan being called out to the motionless desert city. When the muezzin called out the final “Allahu Akbar,” his voice cracked with emotion.
That moment cemented the direness of the COVID-19 situation. The key to us changing our lives with as little discomfort as possible is to accommodate the inevitable. But in contrast to my pain, I felt an immense sense of pride too.
How comforting it is to know that our deen has allowed this concession in these extraordinary times.
We might not know much about this disease; it caught many of us unaware, but what we do know is that the whole world will be changed by this virus. If you’re voluntarily practicing social distancing or on a government lockdown, your daily routine has taken a huge hit.
Your whole family is at home together, yet this definitely doesn’t feel like a vacation. Before we fall into despair watching the numbers of patients rise while cabin fever is peaking in our homes, let’s look at the bigger picture.
Over the coming weeks we will have more time on our hands. And therein lies the greatest opportunity from this crisis. The virus can be a huge growth opportunity for all of us.
Here are five things we can learn from the Coronavirus Pandemic
1 – Practice Being More Resourceful
An estimated 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted globally each year. That is a third of what we produce. While we may not face food shortages, we need to be frugal with what we have as we stay indoors.
Trying to feed a family who are at home and boost their immune systems at the same time can be tricky. Don’t throw anything away. Stale bread becomes breadcrumbs.
Vegetable peelings and bones from the carcass of a roast chicken can be thrown in a pot to make a nourishing immune boosting bone broth. Grilled potato peels are a great wholesome snack that can fill the gap instead of store-bought potato chips.
Situations like these can make you more resourceful with what you have and teaches you that you can’t waste. It might also be the opportune time to teach the family that we need a little to survive and this is one way we can learn to be kinder to the environment.
2 – Appreciate The True Value of Time
This is not an extended vacation. Parents need to work and want their children to stay on track with their schooling. The first few days might feel like there is just not enough time to do everything, but it won’t be long before we will adapt to everyone’s schedule and appreciate that every minute of the day counts.
Either we make it count or we lose that day. Make the hours productive, and use this forced hibernation as a time to produce and create something you can be proud of.
If you have been putting off writing that book, learning to sew, or signing up for that online Madrasah class now is the time to do it. Being productive will help you cope.
3 – Social Distancing Can Mean Better Social Communicating
For some, social distancing might be easy. We are in our homes surrounded by so many human comforts. However, social distancing is not only about staying indoors. but it’s also about reaching out to more people who might be struggling with all of this.
If you have elderly parents who are far away, call them every day to check upon them. Keep your call positive to keep their spirits up. Don’t bombard them with statistics or the news.
Find out if they need anything and perhaps have it delivered. Don’t forget to check up on your friend with anxiety as she might not be coping well. If you have a skill, like teaching then think of having a small class on Zoom to help the neighborhood children. You don’t have to be out there to be of benefit to the people.
4 – Lean Into Your Faith
The one thing that stands out the most from all of this, is no matter how we think we have things under control we don’t.
Faith and putting your trust in Allah is what is going to get us out of this crisis. While some are being racist and hateful to those who they think may have started this pandemic, believers know that what has happened was supposed to happen.
Our lives have steadily been turned upside down in a matter of weeks. Prayers in the masjids has been suspended, but praying at home carries on. We can’t be complacent about this. Make your homes into places of worship and light. Sheikh Hamdi from the Rhoda Masjid in Canada says,
Now, each and every home of every Muslim must become the place where the Angels come, since the Houses of God no longer ring out with His Praise. Our homes must become those magnets for the Angels, or the earth will be in far worse shape than any virus could wreak.”
Stop everything in your home and call your family to prayer. Call the adhan out, call the iqamah and make salah together. Families praying together is what we need during these trying times.
5 – Embrace The True Meaning of Sabr
Many are asking when will all be this over? The experts can’t tell us when, because they don’t know. Despite having all these advancements in technology we have to the face the fact that the world has been brought to its knees with this virus.
We need to stay on our knees in prayer and patience. We need to have sabr without asking when will things return to normal? The essence of beautiful patience is how we conduct ourselves during these trying times. And when we have nowhere to go, all we can do is focus on the moment and bear it beautifully with patience.
In Venice, the water in the canals are clear and blue, for the first time in years, because there is no movement on the water. Our homes have become cocoons of safety. A place where our families gather around the table for every meal instead of when we have time.
There are more conversations around the dinner table. Let’s at least be grateful that we have our family with us. So many are separated from their families because of travel bans and closed borders.
When the time is right we will emerge from these cocoons like butterflies, treading lightly on the earth while still making an impact. Let these hibernations be a time of reflection and let’s re-emerge having the knowledge of what really matters.
Perhaps the greatest lesson we can take from this, we are part of the collective, and we can’t just go back to living the way we did before.