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5 Messages from COVID-19 to Learned, Advanced Human Race

The sad news about COVID-19 and other tragedies invites us all, especially those with advanced degrees of knowledge, to pause, think and reflect over multiple spiritual messages.

The Quran commands us to walk on earth with humility and reverence, and know our place in this vast universe:

{And do not walk on the earth arrogantly. Surely you can neither crack the earth nor stretch to the height of the mountains.} (Al-Israa’ 17:37)

We may have “conquered the land, explored the oceans, and invaded the space”, but we still know very little about the world around us. This – probably – was the first big message that struck mankind in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

📚 Read Also: Coronavirus Pandemic: Tips from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)

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The Coronavirus Alarm

By the time this article is published, billions of people have witnessed a drastic change in their lifestyle. Governments, research institutes, and mega companies have been badly hit by the consequences of this invisible substance. The number of cases affected is still going through an exponential increase in most countries, and the number of lives claimed by this disease is incessantly following through.

While one cannot claim to fully comprehend Allah’s wisdom, we as believers consider it to be a wake-up call and a strong reminder. We are encouraged to connect the dots and examine our spiritual reality in the light of Allah’s Book and teachings.

Misguided Overconfidence

As we rush towards finding a cure for COVID-19, we are concurrently getting a much-needed vaccine for a more subtle infection. As a humanity, our hearts and minds have collectively reached an unprecedented level of heedlessness and forgetfulness about our souls, our morality, and the afterlife. Our generation have become overconfident in technological achievements and luxuries; We got intoxicated with the latest and greatest technologies, from 5G cellular network to Artificial intelligence, smart homes, and automated driving.

This false sense of security resulted in multiple layers of transgressions towards God, towards other human beings and essentially towards ourselves.

Despite all of that, Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala stated in the Quran that He does not punish people immediately due to their sins:

{If Allah were to punish people ˹immediately˺ for what they have committed, He would not have left a single living being on earth. But He delays them for an appointed term. And when their time arrives, then surely Allah is All-Seeing of His servants.} (Fatir 35:45)

But Where Is God’s Mercy?

As Muslims, we firmly believe in Allah’s infinite mercy and wisdom: We call unto Him by His most beautiful names Al-Rahman, Al-Rahim (the compassionate, the merciful) at least 17 times a day. We are enveloped by His compassion since the onset of our creation:

“When Allah completed the creation, he wrote in his book with him upon the throne: Verily, my mercy prevails over my wrath.” [Bukhari & Muslim].

Even amid trials and tribulations, Allah’s actions and decisions  manifest His love for His creations. His messages and warnings reflect His care and love for the holistic wellbeing of mankind. His blessings and enjoyments are meant to be a preview of the paradise for believers. The trials and tribulations that He sends serve as a firm reminder for people to wake up, reflect, and return.  

📚 Read Also: Allah’s Mercy and a World Full of Dangers

Spiritual Messages for the Learned

The sad events of human tragedies – such as the coronavirus pandemic – should invite us all, especially those of us with advanced degrees and achievements in life, to remember that: 

1. Knowledge is a blessing from Allah

Regardless of the degrees that we have earned, and the massive research portfolio that we have acquired, we should attribute this knowledge to Allah SWT. We should declare our ignorance and repeat after the angels:

{Glory be to You! We have no knowledge except what You have taught us. You are truly the All-Knowing, All-Wise.} (Al-Baqarah 2:32)

2. More Knowledge, More Self-Awareness

As you increase in worldly knowledge, make sure that this results in more self-awareness and humility. Submit to Allah SWT by realizing the limits and the bounds of your understanding:

{you ˹O humanity˺ have been given but little knowledge.} (Al-Israa 17:85)

It is clear to us that COVID-19 has shaken our belief in empirical sciences and our reliance on them. Such sciences – by themselves – are not qualified to answer all the questions in the SEEN world, let alone the unseen. As believers, we should submit to the divine revelation of God, without trying to define and interpret matters of spirituality by the narrow mindedness of worldly sciences.

3. Knowledge + Mercy = Benefit

The direct result of increased knowledge and humility is to use science and technology responsibly and wisely. Each and every one of us is given a platform and an opportunity to do good or bad. We should be cognizant about our impact and accompany that knowledge with empathy and mercy.

When Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala described Al-Khidr in Surah Al Kahf, he emphasized these two qualities: 

{There they found a servant of Ours, to whom We had granted mercy from Us and enlightened with knowledge of Our Own.} (Al-Kahf 18:65)

Acquiring knowledge without having mercy creates a dangerous and merciless person who may use such knowledge to destroy himself and to add to the suffering of others. 

4. Never Forget the Hereafter

As believers, we worship Allah SWT by trying our best to make this earth a better place. Meanwhile, we shall keep an eye on the afterlife and never be distracted by our achievements: 

{The life of this world is just like rain We send down from the sky, producing a mixture of plants which humans and animals consume. Then just as the earth looks its best, perfectly beautified, and its people think they have full control over it, there comes to it Our command by night or by day, so We mow it down as if it never flourished yesterday! This is how We make the signs clear for people who reflect.} (Yunus 10:24)

5. Opportunity to Soften Our Hearts

Destruction and turmoil should soften our hearts for more Dhikr, more worship, and more compassion. We should literally remember and reflect that “We belong to Allah, and to Him we shall return”. We should grow the quantity and quality of our prayers, supplication, charity, and activism. This is how we turn a sad event into a blessing and a test into an opportunity.

{We sent messengers before you [Prophet] to many communities and afflicted their people with suffering and hardships, so that they could learn humility.

If only they had learned humility when suffering came from Us! But no, their hearts became hard and Satan made their foul deeds alluring to them.} (Al-An`am 6:42-43)

In what ways did the coronavirus pandemic affect you, and what are the spiritual lessons that you would love the whole world to reflect on?

About Dr. Mohannad Hakeem
Dr. Mohannad Hakeem is an educator, activist, and author who has studied traditionally under multiple scholars in the Muslim world for the past 20 years. He is originally from Lebanon and currently resides in Dearborn, MI, USA, where he has helped establish multiple community initiatives and organizations, with a focus on youth empowerment and education. His most recent book, "The 40 Hadith on Community Service," draws inspiration from the Quran and the Sunnah to provide young Muslims with an "algorithm" for success and excellence in both the worldly life and the afterlife. In his professional career, Dr. Hakeem earned a PhD in Mechanical Engineering. In this role, he has taught several students, conducted research, and authored 80+ patents and technical papers.