When the Covid-19 virus began to spread throughout Texas, it had been only six months since I had recited the Shahadah. Just as I would assume that most recent reverts feel, I was excited to have a Masjid full of friends that I could now call my brothers, and I was excited to learn as much about Islam as I possibly could, as quickly as I could. Then, suddenly, the Masjid was closed, and my thirst for knowledge was now denied the best resource that I had for furthering my understanding of Islam. Initially, I was depressed by this development. I knew that taking the Shahadah was not like flipping a switch, I would not instantly become a good Muslim. I needed guidance. And, I was fortunate to discover Guidance College, and all of the knowledgeable instructors on their staff. This allowed me to continue my Islamic studies, and even better, I now had a more structured learning environment.
But, the closing of the Masjids was not the only test that was presented by the Covid-19 virus. Seemingly overnight, we could no longer access our preferred dining options, we could no longer freely gather to socialize with others, and we could no longer travel to visit family. Again, my initial reaction to this development was depression. Then an interesting thing happened. I realized that my new faith provided me with the tools that I needed to face this adversity, and it provided great incentive for facing this adversity with patience and strength. I had recently read of the various hardships that the Companions of the Prophet faced. And I knew that the challenges presented by Covid-19 were nothing in comparison to what they had faced.
With Allah foremost in my mind, I knew that not only would I persevere, but my faith provided me with a newfound ability to see the blessings that I had previously been blind to. For example, I knew that I now had more time to spend with my mother, and to practice the sunnah by helping her to the best of my abilities. I now had more time to take hikes in nature, and to truly appreciate the beauty of Allah’s creation. And, I came to realize, Allah has chosen to provide all of us with this great opportunity to show patience, thus allowing us to fulfill a portion of the sunnah which we only get the opportunity to fulfill in such trying times. If we can learn to say alhamdulillah for being chosen to receive such opportunities, we will surely benefit, if not in this life, then in the hereafter. As, Allah has said:
“Those will be rewarded with the highest place in Paradise because of their patience. Therein they shall be met with greetings and the word of peace and respect” (Surah Al-Furqan, 75).
We should also gain strength from the knowledge that Allah is with us through these most trying of times. For Allah has said: “Surely, Allah is with those who are As-Sabirun (the patient)” (Surah Al-Anfal, 46).
And, one last lesson that was really reinforced by the covid-19 pandemic is that Allah alone knows what tomorrow will bring. With this in mind, I am saddened to share the news that, as I was working on this article, I learned of the death of Dr. Nasir Syed, the Chairman of the Board of the Masjid that I attend (MCECC in San Antonio). I only knew him for a short time, but I know that he was an extremely generous man. May Allah accept his deeds and forgive his sins, shower him with His Rahman, and grant him Jannatul Firdaus, Ameen.
This reminded me of one last passage from the Quran that I would like to share: “Verily, Allah! With Him Alone is the knowledge of the Hour, He sends down the rain, and knows that which is in the wombs. No person knows what he will earn tomorrow, and no person knows in what land he will die. Verily, Allah is All-Knower, All-Aware” (Surah Luqman, 34).