“Let not then this present life deceive you”
Qur'an: Surah Fatir 35:5-6
The world is full of shimmering and glimmering attractions. It is full of things that preoccupy the mind and our time. Time that will never be replaced. It is melting away like ice but still we live wasting it as if it is of no consequence. We see signs all around us that should remind us that like time, life is fading away. We see this reality constantly, but most pay it no mind because they are too busy wasting time and feeding themselves with overindulgences as if this life is all that matters. Spending time going to and fro incognizant of the Giver and Sustainer of Life itself. The One who chooses the day that each human being is born and the One who is fully aware of the die that every human being will die.
We see signs of our eventual demise with every elderly person we see. We feel signs in our bodies as we age and see signs as grey hair begins to replace the beauty and strength of our youth. We are reminded of just how vulnerable we are with the passing of our loved ones and with the death of every celebrity or pop star who we grew up watching and idolizing. Still, people live as if the life of this world is all that matters, as people spend their lives chasing things that the world provides instead of chasing the security and surety that comes with complete and total reliance upon Allah, our Creator and Provider.
Allah says in the Qur'an:
“And the life of this world is nothing but play and amusement. But far better is the house in the hereafter for those who are Al-Muttaqun (the pious). Will you not then understand?”
Surah Al-An’aam 6:32
The recent Corona Pandemic has changed the way the world functions overnight. The world has been shut down. Just last night I went to rent the movie, It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, about the late Mr. Rogers, from a Red Box machine here in Houston, the fourth largest city in the nation, and I was awestruck at how empty the streets in my own neighborhood were. I live in Midtown; the very heart of the city and the streets were eerily vacant. It was just after 11 pm and this part of the city is usually jumping with club goers and restaurants full of people at that time.
It was actually peaceful and as I drove the few blocks back and forth I pondered and reflected on the Mercy of Allah who has saved people from themselves and provided them with the opportunity to spend much needed time with their families. He has provided a period of self-reflection for people who are usually out drinking alcohol and chasing members of the opposite sex who currently have no place to go because clubs and restaurants are shut down until further notice.
Sports venues are empty and the seasons for MLB, NBA, NFL, etc... are at risk of not taking place at all. This will prevent people from attending sporting events and idolizing their favorite athletes. Even the Olympics were postponed. This should be a sign that the things that people spend so much time focusing on in this world are really of little consequence in the big picture of life. Circumstances can change in an instant rendering those things that we waste so much time focusing on, to nothing.
Athletes spend much of their time trying to perfect their game with their God-Given abilities and that is great, but people often idolize them more than the One who gave them their abilities. Concert halls are also closed preventing live performances by musicians and taking focus off them as well and club goers are limited to spending time at home instead of running around showing off their bodies in revealing outfits. Businesses are closed and many people have been laid off from work not knowing when they will be able to go back, if at all. People are worried about how they are going to take care of their families and in fear of this world changing disease that has affected us all.
In an instant the world has been humbled and stopped in it's tracks. People are more conscious about their health and personal hygiene and in the midst of it all people are recognizing how vulnerable we all are. No one is out of reach. No amount of money or title means anything when your health is on the line and when the reality of death has encompassed your thoughts. Your idols no longer matter. A person's favorite athletes, idols, finances, titles, achievements, material possessions, etc.... mean nothing when personal health or the health of one's loved one's is in jeopardy. Priorities change in an instant. The changing or priorities is a Mercy from Allah because it is in times such as this current Pandemic that people are forced to acknowledge how precious life is. Life that we did not ourselves create and life that we have no ability to extend beyond the time allotted to us by our Creator.
Allah says in the Qur'an:
"Say: If your fathers and your sons and your brethren and your spouses and your kinsfolk and property which you have acquired, and the slackness of trade which you fear and dwellings which you like, are dearer to you than Allah(swt) and his Apostle and striving in His way, then wait till Allah (swt) makes manifest His Will; and Allah (swt) does not grace wicked folk with His guidance."
Surah At – Tawbah 9:24
As a Muslim, I realize how important it is to be in constant contact with our Creator. I usually end my personal prayer (Dua) by saying, "Oh Allah, you are my comfort, my peace, and my Protector. I can't make it without you.", and I mean it sincerely every single time. I am comforted in knowing that through my submission to the One who created me, I have no reason to fear. At the same time, I am filled with a healthy awareness which is better defined as an unwavering respect for Allah because I know that the day will come when I will return to Him. Therefore, I strive to live life in submission and obedience to Allah, while living with a fearful curiosity about whether or not I have done enough good in this life to outweigh the wrong I have done. Unlike the Christian concept of, "Once saved always saved", the Islamic concept is to never look upon your circumstances as if you are secure. It is arrogant to do so. Instead, Muslims are guided to live life always striving to do better as if nothing we have done thus far is good enough. This causes the person to live humbly and to maintain constant contact with Allah while being thankful and seeking forgiveness.
During this Corona Outbreak, it is important for us all to use this extremely valuable time to consider where our priorities lie. We should look deep within ourselves in self-reflection to determine whether we are spending more time on things of this world than we are the One who gave us time to spend. Times of difficulty are blessings in disguise. When people lose something, they are humbled. When hungry, people appreciate more. When deprived, people are more thankful for times of ease. When blessed, people should be more thankful and willing to help others in their times of struggle. When facing a health crisis or death, focus on the way we have lived life in this world should become far more important. When faced with the reality of limited time, we should be more conscious about using our time wisely, while more aware of the consequences of our actions in this world and how they will determine our status in the next. May Allah help us to use our time wisely and in obedience to Him and may He have Mercy on us all.
Allah says in the Qur’an:
"Are you pleased with the life of this world (Dunya) rather than the hereafter (Akhirah)? But little is the enjoyment of the life of this world as compared with the Hereafter”
Surah Al-Tawbah 9:38
May Allah accept my efforts and have Mercy on me on the Day of Judgment. Ameen
Without Allah I am nothing, without Allah I am no one.
Author Kenny Bomer