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COVID-19: Should We Accept This ‘New Normal’?

On March 11th, the World Health Organization declared the global outbreak of COVID-19 a pandemic. It has been a few months since this announcement and many people are falling into their routines of what they describe as their ‘new normal.’ Most people are attributing their idea of ‘new normal’ to online meetings, working and attending school from home, limiting their social interactions, wearing a mask in public places, and washing their hands more frequently. However, as Muslims who are living in this unprecedented time, we must reframe and reconsider our current way of living before we accept this ‘new normal’ with complacency. Moreover, we should not just accept that this pandemic has brought some restrictions to our life and that we have adjusted and are ready to continue living. Rather, as believers, we should reflect on the occurrence of this pandemic and how it has affected so many people. We should reflect on this sign from Allah (SWT) and take this opportunity to grow closer to Him. The world has halted in its path only by the will of Allah (SWT) – the All Powerful.

We should remember that: Allah’s Messenger (SAWS) said, “If Allah wants to do good to somebody, He afflicts him with trials.” [Bukhari].

This is an opportunity to reflect on the power of Allah (SWT) and to take advantage of this time that is trying to everyone in one way or another. More importantly, even though we feel that we have fallen into this new routine during the pandemic where we are comfortable, we should not forget our fellow brothers and sisters. There are people all around the world who are suffering. Close to 11 million people have been infected globally by the virus and about half a million deaths have been reported. People have also lost their jobs and are struggling financially to take care of themselves and their family. Many are struggling with their mental health as they are confined to their homes in difficult situations that could lead to abuse. It has been almost 4 months since the World Health Organization declared the global outbreak of COVID-19 a pandemic and yet, the suffering continues.

Al-Nu’man ibn Bashir reported: The Messenger of Allah (SAWS) said, “The parable of the believers in their affection, mercy, and compassion for each other is that of a body. When any limb aches, the whole body reacts with sleeplessness and fever.” [Bukhari & Muslim]

So, before you blindly accept this idea of ‘new normal’ remember that for many of our brothers and sisters around the world, their situation is far from normal. It is important that we understand the affects that COVID-19 has had and continues to have on people around the world because if we cannot understand this, then we cannot engage in efforts to be better and do our part. Everyone at this point is aware of what is going on in Yemen, and this is just one of the many situations where our fellow brothers and sisters are suffering immensely due to this pandemic. While we accept that everything happens by the will of Allah (SWT), we should not dismiss our role in aiding others. Accepting that this is our ‘new normal’ disregards the suffering. We should always say “alhumdulillah” but at the same time we should be spreading awareness and helping others financially where we can. If we cannot do this, then we can make sincere du’a continuously.

Allah (SWT) tells us in the Qu’ran: “And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided.” [2:186]

Given this, we should be making du’a constantly. Do not normalize the situations that people are in during this pandemic. Do not become jaded at this time. Do not fall into a routine of ‘new normal.’ Instead, accept that the occurrence of this pandemic is not normal and use this as a way to get closer to Allah (SWT). This pandemic should consistently serve as a strong reminder that this life is temporary and a test. Increase your acts of worship, make du’a, think of those in need and take advantage of the blessings in your life before it’s too late.

Recall that the Prophet (SAWS) advised to: “Take benefit of five before five: Your youth before your old age, your health before your sickness, your wealth before your poverty, your free time before you are preoccupied, and your life before your death.” [Narrated by Ibn Abbas and reported by Al Hakim]

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