So…depending on where in Canada you live, you are likely experiencing some VERY chilling weather right about now. And while we can compare or joke about which province has more extreme weather, one thing is clear: We’re COLD. Some might be experiencing obstacles when trying to get to work or school, some might be facing cancellations of important appointments or events, and others might be at greater risk of falls or other illnesses due to being in closed quarters indoors. And many vulnerable individuals in society, such as those who are homeless face the potential risk of significant adverse consequences like frostbite or even death.
As Muslims, we can use every circumstance to turn to Allah (swt). Extreme weather can completely derail human beings and put a complete halt to our daily functioning even despite advances in technology and development of state-of-the-art systems. At the end of the day, humans can feel completely helpless whether they’re facing the effects of bone-chilling cold or dealing with burning heat. But who controls the weather? For us as Muslims, this is a stark reminder that Allah (swt) is the Lord of the worlds and nothing happens without His command.
It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:
“The Fire complained to its Lord and said: ‘O Lord, parts of me have consumed other parts.’ So He gave it two occasions to exhale, one in winter and one in summer. The intense cold that you feel (in winter) is part of its severe frost (Zamharir) and the intense heat that you feel in summer is part of its hot wind (Samum).”
The word Zamharir is used in the Qur’an to describe the Unbearable Extremely Bitter Cold, which the dwellers of Jannah (Paradise) will never experience, nor will they experience excessive heat.
مُّتَّكِـِٔينَ فِيهَا عَلَى ٱلْأَرَآئِكِ ۖ لَا يَرَوْنَ فِيهَا شَمْسًۭا وَلَا زَمْهَرِيرًۭا
Reclining therein on raised thrones, they will see there neither the excessive heat of the sun, nor the excessive bitter cold, (as in Paradise there is no sun and no moon).
Surah (Chapter) al-Insan (Mankind) [Quran 76:13]
During the challenges that winter brings, let’s take the time to remember the greatness of Allah (swt). We can make duah for Allah (swt) to protect us from the negative effects of extreme weather, and we can make duah to be among those who never experience the excessive bitter cold of hellfire.
Ṣuhayb reported: The Prophet (SAW) said,
“Wondrous is the affair of the believer as there is good for him in every matter, and this is not true for anyone but the believer. If he is pleased, then he thanks Allah and there is good for him. If he is harmed, then he shows patience and there is good for him.”
It’s also an opportunity to show gratitude to Allah (swt) no matter what our circumstance. For most of us, we have a roof over our heads, the ability to turn on heat, wear warm clothes, and even travel around the city in cars equipped with winter tires. These are enormous blessings from our Creator.
And now, think outside your bubble. What can you do to help others who may be struggling? Check in with your fellow Muslims to see how you can support one another. If you’re more comfortable or better equipped to drive in the snow, offer a ride to someone who might be stressed or worried about venturing out. You can organize a fun indoor activity for the children in your neighbourhood. If you have extra winter clothes, donate to your local Muslim food bank. If you have the funds, then purchase blankets, winter coats, gloves, and socks to donate to your local shelters.
Narrated Abu Hurairah: that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “Faith has seventy-some odd doors, the lowest of which is removing something harmful from the road, and its highest is the statement ‘La Ilaha Illallah.'”
The Prophet (saw) said: “Whoever relieves a believer’s distress of the distressful aspects of this world, Allah will rescue him from a difficulty of the difficulties of the Hereafter. Whoever alleviates [the situation of] one in dire straits who cannot repay his debt, Allah will alleviate his lot in both this world and in the Hereafter. Whoever conceals [the faults of] a Muslim, Allah will conceal [his faults] in this life and the Hereafter. (Muslim)
So...we have a choice. We can either spend this season experiencing winter woes and complaining constantly or we can spend this time in wonder and awe of Allah (swt), reflecting on the beauty of His creation and being grateful for His favours.