5 Must-Dos During Lockdown for Muslims
Nothing happens in the universe, except by the will, command and decree of Allah. There is divine wisdom in each cataclysm, in every upheaval, and the COVID-19 epoch is indeed no different. As Australians confront the prospect of indefinite lockdown, young Muslims should reflect on the wisdom of our beloved Prophet ﷺ: “There are two great favours of Allah that are undervalued by many people: health and free time” [Sahih al-Bukhari]. With this in mind, the lockdown should be welcomed as an opportunity to revive elements of our faith that the commotion of the pre-COVID era enticed us to neglect.
1. Revive the spirit of family
The home is a blessing from Allah; a place of peace and protection [Quran 16:80]. Embrace the lockdown as an opportunity to illuminate your home with the remembrance of Allah, and surely His mercy and blessing will descend. This is a unique chance to pray each obligatory prayer in congregation, and receive 27 times the reward than individual prayer [Sahih Muslim]. Brothers, call the adhan when prayer time arrives, and notice your home radiate with noor (light). Invite younger siblings to perform the sunnah fasts with you on Monday or Thursday. Childrens’ hearts and minds are malleable and perpetually seeking role models; capitalise on this opportunity to lead by example and nurture their love for Islam.
The immediacy and familiarity of family often deceives us into justifying our impatience with them, and lockdown is likely to exacerbate this. However, Allah loves gentleness, and He rewards for gentleness what is not granted for harshness [Sahih Muslim]. When among family, resist impetuousness in favour of softness and kindness. Most importantly, this is a blessed opportunity to fulfil our obligations to our parents; to honour them and show them mercy [Quran 17: 23-24]. Kiss your parents each morning and night, do not allow them to perform strenuous household tasks, ask your mother to teach you her favourite recipe, and humble your tongue and heart in their presence.
2. Immerse yourself in the wondrousness of nature
One of the few liberties afforded by lockdown is to exercise outside the home. Embark on a walk amongst the greenery of your local park, and know that the glorious and ancestral trees are in prostration to Allah [Quran 22:18]. Leave your ears and hands empty of the manufactured world; instead recite dhikr, allow your skin and senses to unfurl in the wind, sun and rattling leaves, and I assure you that few experiences will evoke such contentment. Nowadays, the fields of mindfulness and ecopsychology are lauded by the secular world for reconnecting man to the natural environment. The Islamic tradition, however, has always embraced the miraculousness of nature and its spiritual presence. Numerous Quranic verses remark on natural phenomena, such as the marvel of mountains and the diversity of flora [Quran 50:7]. The Prophet ﷺ also had a special connection to trees; a particular date-palm moaned and cried when the Ansar built the Prophet ﷺ a pulpit to deliver his sermons, meaning that he would no longer deliver them by the tree [Sahih al-Bukhari].
In contemporary scholarship, the eloquence of Shaykh Hamza is arguably unparalleled. As a personal skeptic of podcasts, believe me when I say that Sacred Text Messages surpasses all expectations. This series is an antidote to modern madness and spiritual deprivation, as Shaykh Hamza returns to sacred sources of knowledge as a guide back to Allah. In Season 1 and 2, he discusses select Quranic verses in their prophetic context and the contemporary relevance of such wisdoms. Season 3 is an exploration of the central tenets of Imam Al-Ghazali’s masterful work ‘Mizan al-Amal’ (The Measure of Actions).
Shaykh Hamza’s delivery is captivating, and has the power to tap into the essence of your very being. He seamlessly transitions from Hadith to Roman adages to anecdotes from his own incredible life, in the quest to grapple with contemporary perils. He ruminates over the contentions of misinformation, racism, collectivism and poisonous habits, to name a few. Prepare to be taken by surprise; on countless occasions I have found myself weak and teary-eyed amid his poignant reflections. A couple of episodes per week is enough to revitalise your spiritual goals and leave you contemplating the beautiful and perplexing essence of life. The podcast can be accessed on Apple podcasts or Spotify for free.
4. Nourish your mind
In the West, spare time is considered a luxury, but lockdown has transformed it into a norm, and bred the ideal conditions for the pathogen of the modern mind: idle media consumption. Muslims should instead embrace this as an opportunity to nourish the intellect and seek Allah’s pleasure, for “whoever travels a path in search of knowledge, Allah will make easy for him a path to Paradise” [Sahih Muslim]. Set aside fifteen minutes after a designated prayer, brew yourself a tea, and recline with a book. Opt for a hard copy if possible, to avoid distraction and rest your eyes from blue screens. The key is to begin by reading topics of interest to you.
My recommendations are below:
For brothers: The Ideal Muslim, or 15 Ways to Increase your Earnings from the Quran and Sunnah
For those interested in:
The Abrahamic faiths: The Choice
History or architecture: Stealing from the Saracens: How Islamic Architecture Shaped Europe
Politics: Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam
Eschatology: The Lives of Man
A longer series: The Revival of the Religious Sciences (Ihya Ulum al-Din)
A shorter read: A Treasury of Al-Ghazali
5. Memorise Allah’s 99 names (Al Asma Ul Husna)
The virtues of learning Allah’s 99 names are many: Allah instructs us to invoke Him by his various names [Quran 7:180], and Paradise is promised to whomever commits his 99 names to memory [Sahih Muslim]. Choose a family member to memorise with, and together each night, contemplate the virtues of a single name and imprint it in your heart. After your obligatory prayers, call upon Allah by the names you have learnt thus far. The Prophet ﷺ warned our ummah, particularly near the end of time, that in order to be saved, “Restrain your tongue, remain at home, and weep for your sins” [Sunan Al-Tirmidhi]. We should therefore appreciate being confined to our homes, as it brings us a step closer to heeding the words of our beloved ﷺ. This is also the prime opportunity to sincerely reflect, feel remorse and repent for our sins. Learn Allah’s names of compassion, and call upon Him for forgiveness: Ar-Raheem (the Most Merciful), Al-Afuww (the Pardoner), Al-Wadood (the Most Loving) and Al-Ghaffar (the Great Forgiver).
Inshā Allāh these 5 must-dos are of benefit to ourselves and our families. In the wake of the hysteria and uncertainty of COVID-19, let it remain firm in our hearts as believers, that there is no greater power than Allah’s power, and that with all difficulty and hardship, comes abundant ease.
Disclaimer: The views, opinions and conclusions presented in these pieces are strictly those of the authors. MYA does not necessarily endorse the personal views of the authors.
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