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Virus, Lockdown & Ramaḍān

By Shaykh al-Ḥadīth Hadhrat Maulana Abdul Raheem Sahib (Ḥafiẓahullāh)

Viruses have come and gone, and no doubt they will come in future. But this current virus seems somewhat different. Particularly in the sense and manner in which it has been politicised.

It swept the globe a year ago, and there still appears no sign of its end. One Ramaḍān passed in this state, and now another Ramaḍān has come. Allāh alone knows what the future holds.

What we do understand is that this virus has affected our lives in 4 ways:

1) Physically,
2) Mentally,
3) Socially,
4) Spiritually.

Physically, for those trapped in their own homes, it has taken its toll. Working from home, long hours spent sitting at desks, lack of exercise and fresh air, relying on fast food and takeaways, many have gained weight or have felt their health deteriorate in other ways.

Mentally, fear has crept in, people have become so scared of catching Covid that the fear of it has taken a greater toll than the virus itself. Fear is the killer. Depression is rife. Financial struggle, with mounting bills and looming debts alongside loss of jobs and incomes, and the pressure to provide for family has strained the mental health of many. Arguments between spouses, divorces taking place and families torn apart.

Socially, consecutive lockdowns and long periods of isolation have led to a lack of interaction among family and friends. People seem scared to meet anyone, even those who have lost family members. Relatives no longer do ta’ziyat. Let alone visit, people are not even giving their condolences over the phone. As though Coronavirus could catch them via a phone call.

The whole structure of our social life has been affected and turned upside down.

Spiritually, we have suffered immensely. Our spiritual practices and actions are so deeply tied to the masājid that when they are closed, people struggle to practice or turn to the Creator. Although some have benefitted by praying at home with family and thereby getting closer to Allāh, most have suffered.

Ramaḍān is around the corner, let us hope that there is no lockdown in Ramaḍān so that we can rectify ourselves and regain our health in all four aspects.

Physically, through fasting we may reduce our rate of consumption and bring our diets into balance. The Tarāwīḥ prayer will provide through it’s rukū and sujūd a means of exercise. Our physical health will be restored by fasting and Tarāwīḥ, in shā Allāh.

Mentally, the fear which has struck us needs to be eliminated. We need to perfect our tawakkul. We need to remember that Allah is the Creator of the universe and He is the Sustainer. He has full control of everything. When we have Him, then why should we fear?  In Ramaḍān, we must improve our mental health and fight off depression by turning to Allāh.

In shā Allāh, better physical and mental health will lead to a stronger and healthier immune system, and then the virus’ effects will be eliminated or at least reduced.

Socially, Ramaḍān is a time for spending upon one another, a time for helping the poor and the needy, and a time for being charitable. When we cook food, we should think of our neighbours, like the ḥadīth says, “…add a little bit of gravy.” Help your neighbours; send food to your neighbours. Think of your family and friends and increase your interaction with them.

Spiritually, through tilawat, dhikrullah, salah, sabr and shukr, we must remove spiritual weakness. Let us hope our masājid are open and we can pray our ṣalawāt, our Jumu’ah, and our full 20 rak’ah of Tarāwīḥ in the masājid and in congregation. This is what will increase our spiritual strength.

We need to prepare for Ramaḍān from now. May Allāh grant us the strength and ability to get ready for Ramaḍān.

Spend the month of Sha’bān with some increase in your Ịbādāt. Undertake nafil fasts. Increase your recitation of Qur’an. Engage more frequently in dhikr and istighfār. May Allāh grant us all tawfīq and be pleased. Āmīn.

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