Bushra Nasir, Australia
Today marks exactly three weeks since we in Australia have taken a pause in what was our daily lives. We have settled into our new realities and experienced all the highs and lows associated with these changes.
However, we have not just taken a pause. For some, the past few weeks have felt more like a deep and sudden sinking.
If you really think about it, we were, in reality, coming up for air.
How often did we have a chance to stop and look up, stop and notice, breathe?
How many times did we say to ourselves that we would get to this change or pick up that hobby, take up that skill or simply make time for ourselves? Only to, once again, find ourselves months down the line with nothing taking effect.
We have been given a blessing in disguise.
Through this hardship and sadness, we have been given permission to adjust, but also, to just be; not plan our day around what needs to be done, but what we actually want to do. For the first time, we have all the time in the world and can choose what we want to do; to focus on our health, strive for those in need, look after our elders and the vulnerable and focus on spreading peace and positivity. As the Prophet of Islam, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, so wisely said:
“There are two blessings which many people lose: health and free time for doing good.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)
Although many have faced immense hardships, and for them the blessings may well be in disguise, we must still count them. This new reality has created a shift in our norm. Not only that, it has also challenged many of us to reconsider what we prioritise.
It has also reinforced a view of just how real, solid and powerful our community is. Listening and watching our Imamaa – first from his office and next from the Mubarak Mosque – blessing us with his grace and guidance, has been enormously uplifting in the past few weeks to say the least. This is our north star. It does not matter how much we grow or how much our internal or external world changes, we hold onto the centre ethos of our community. Reassuring his community, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V, may Allah be his Helper, recently reminded us:
“[God] He is the One Who has announced that He will guide those Who make an effort in coming towards Him. He has stated that He will come fast towards those who take even one step towards Him and has said that He will take them into His shelter.”
Human connection is the fabric on which we survive. The number one thing that everyone misses at this time is human interaction. There may be a physical distance between each other, however a real connection between humanity is at an all-time high.
Nevertheless, while we reminisce our physical connections, the spiritual connection we so easily tend to deprive has become the centre of our day-to-day activities. “There has come to you Ramadan, a blessed month which Allah has enjoined you to fast…” said Prophet Muhammadsa. With Ramadan most likely occurring during our days of quarantine, we have been given an experience like never before – to fully devote our days and nights in seeking the blessings of this Holy month.
“And He gave you all that you wanted of Him; and if you try to count the favours of Allah, you will not be able to number them. Verily, man is very unjust, very ungrateful.” (Surah Ibrahim, Ch.14: V.35)
Post-Covid-19 is but a mere distant thought; we will not be just going back to what we knew before. This is a chance to pivot and grow in a million new directions. So let us challenge our new realities. When we can no longer hear the birds singing or see clearer waters, let us not forget this new way of life we experienced.