Sabahat Ali, Missionary
Eid is here, and 2 billion stomachs are aflutter with the butterflies of anticipation after remaining empty from dawn to dusk for 30 days.
But this Ramadan, the satans were chained on an entirely new level. One of the lexiconic meanings of “Shaitan” (satan) refer to the heads of certain foul or ugly plants or organisms. The word Shaitan is also used for harmful foreign bodies of a physical nature in the Holy Quran. (Surah Al-Mulk, Ch.67: V.6)
“In its wider sense, the word has also come to be used about anything which is harmful, injurious and likely to cause suffering.” (Dictionary of the Holy Quran, M.G Farid, pp. 442)
And in the world of the harmful this year, the microscopic Covid-19 was the ironic elephant in the room, and boy, was it ever chained.
This year, for the first time in a generation, the virus showed us a physical demonstration of both the benefits of chaining our satans, and the sheer absurdities of letting them loose. In the spiritual world, because we cannot with our eyes see the immediate dangers of freeing our satans, we are prone to sin.
But how repulsed did we feel when we watched, aghast, videos of people blatantly refusing to observe social distancing? Here was a Shaitan – a physical virus – which the whole world had come together to chain. And because we could see it in all of its menacing anti-glory, we locked it up and threw away the key. Anyone who dared to leave it loose by not wearing a mask or observe social distancing was suddenly looked upon as a threat to everyone.
It’s curious, isn’t it? At first, when the hazards that Covid-19 posed weren’t well known, our guard was down. However, as our knowledge and understanding of its perils dawned upon us, we began racing desperately to the local store. Why? To chain this satan before it chained us.
What was just another whisper in the news only months before suddenly demanded preventive action.
So what changed?
It was our certainty that the virus is truly a formidable foe; harmful, debilitating, and even lethal, that brought about a revolutionary change within us.
As world governments begin to creak open the doors of economy and normalcy, many are asking whether we’re better off continuing to keep this satan chained for good – why start shaking hands again when it poses a risk? Why not keep the mask policy and continue mandating clean hands before and after every interaction or place we visit?
And so, as we emerge from this blessed month of Ramadan, there’s a critical question that Covid-19 begs of us:
Why not keep up the spiritual measures we took during this month to chain our satans? After all, if we knew sin to be a poison, and were as certain about it as we are the novel Coronavirus, would be ever put our lips to this chalice again?
So how do we keep our satans chained for the next 11 months?
The Promised Messiahas brilliantly posits:
“Do you not run out quickly from a room whose roof is about to fall? Is there anyone who would not jump out of his bed upon finding a snake in it, or run out of a room in which a fire has broken out? Then why do you do this; why do you run away from all these harmful things, but do not run away from the sins to which I have drawn attention? The only answer that a wise person can give after thinking is that there is a difference of certainty in the two cases. In the matter of sins, the knowledge of most people is defective.” (Essence of Islam, Vol. II, Ch.7)
Our certainty in God Almighty paired with the conviction that sin is a poison are the shackles that keep our satans locked away. So this Eid, why not throw away the key once and for all?