The importance of understanding the wisdom behind calamities occuring in the world and to take heed from such occurences spiritually and morally
Junaid Ahmad Waraich, Missionary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat
The world has enormously progressed and mankind has achieved new heights of development in every sphere of life. Name any field of progress where humans have not left their mark. Especially in the last two centuries, the extraordinary advancement in science and technology has revolutionised peoples’ lives and their standard of living has greatly improved.
This material expansion also had a significant impact on the mindsets and attitudes of the people. The peace and joys of modern-day comfort, instead of bringing the dwellers of the earth much closer to their Creator, furthered them away from Him. Instead of being grateful and courteous to God for what He has granted them, they transgressed and placed their faiths in worldly leaders and scientific remedies.
Then the year 2020 dawned upon us and a virus (COVID-19), having a diameter of merely 60-140 nanometres, caused havoc across the globe. In spite of all the survival instincts of man and advancement in the field of medicine, the world has come to a halt and brought to its knees.
The scientists are trying to develop a vaccine and the governments are recommending certain precautionary measures for the safety of their citizens against the virus. However, the pandemic of coronavirus is not stopping for now and it is affecting every class of people in the world. Those who felt invincible and thought that nothing could harm them, are now fearful.
The trends are shifting. Even the ways in which people greeted each other are changing. One of the most influential and powerful of men, President of the United States of America, Donald Trump declared Sunday a “National Day of Prayer” and stated on Twitter, “No matter where you may be, I encourage you to turn towards prayer in an act of faith …”
Beyond any doubt, people are afraid of physical death from the novel coronavirus and in the meantime, experts are busy finding a physical cure for the virus which has paralysed even the superpowers.
However, pressing priority should also be given to reflect and recognise the rising numbers of spiritual deaths, which happened over the course of human advancements. Only then will they come to know the root cause of an epidemic or any other catastrophe that befalls a people as a warning and a reminder from Allah the Almighty.
Over a century ago, the Messiah and the Mahdi of the age, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas of Qadian drew the attention of the world towards the spiritual remedies for the ills and ailments being experienced by mankind due to the transgression and disregard of their Creator.
Highlighting the reason behind the wrath of God Almighty and the signs indicating his appearance, the Promised Messiahas states:
“Those days are near, indeed they are at the door, when the world shall witness the spectacle of a doomsday. Not only the earthquakes, but other terrible calamities will also appear, some from heaven and some from earth. This will occur because mankind has abandoned the worship of their God, and have fallen upon materialism with all their heart, all their resolve, and all their thoughts.
“Had I not come, these calamities might have been delayed a little, but with my coming, the hidden designs of God’s wrath that had remained hidden for a long time, have been manifested as God said:
وَ مَا کُنَّا مُعَذِّبِیۡنَ حَتّٰی نَبۡعَثَ رَسُوۡلًا
[We never punish until We have sent a Messenger]. Those who repent shall find security and those who fear before the calamity overtakes them will be shown mercy.” (The Philosophy of Divine Revelation, p. 327 [English Translation of Haqiqatul Wahi])
The Promised Messiahas came to rescue the world from the pits of darkness and evil. He showed countless divine signs vouchsafed to him from God Almighty to prove his truthfulness, but most of the people neither paid heed, nor reformed themselves. Thus, in light of revelations received from God Almighty, he predicted plagues, epidemics, wars, earthquakes and floods, such that are being experienced by the world to this day.
The present pandemic of coronavirus might be another way of turning mankind’s attention towards God Almighty because explaining the word “ta‘un” [plague], the Promised Messiahas states:
“As a matter of fact, the word ta‘un is the name of death. Those harmful diseases which result in death are called ta‘un in the lexicon. It is a very broad word according to the lexicon. It is quite possible that this time, it occurs in another form or it outbreaks in a similar manner with much more severity. The revelation of Allah the Almighty also states the words:
افطر و اصوم
“[I shall break the fast and I shall fast (again)], meaning that as it is permissible to eat and drink during the breaking of a fast, there will be a time when the plague will continue to devour people, and there will be another period of time which will be peaceful, this being the state of fasting …
انی مع الرسول اقوم۔ افطر و اصوم۔ لن ابرح الارض الی الوقت المعلوم۔
“[I shall stand with My messenger and shall break the fast and also observe it. I shall not depart from this land till a determined time.] People are quick to formulate an opinion for their peace and comfort. [They say] that it was like a disease, so it left. How [could it be considered] a sign or an admonishment? Hence, they console themselves through similar ideas. In reality, the word ta‘un is a very broad term. Plague [means] death by all those diseases which circulate after a period of time. For instance, smallpox, pleurisy, fever, tumors, vomit and coma [etc.] are included in all of these diseases.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 10, p. 287)
On the other hand, the Promised Messiahas called the attention of people towards the real cure when the great epidemic of plague hit the subcontinent in accordance with prophecies of God. He stated:
“As far as I can understand, the cure to this impending universal death is only possible through the refinement of faith and enlightenment of belief. The earth cannot cure it as this plague is not a worldly thing. It is from the heavens and none can stop it. It is:
رِجْزٌ مِّنَ السَّمَاءِ
[Punishment from the heavens.]
“It has appeared as a sign of torment in the times of the earlier prophets as well. Hence, the only remedy for it is to raise one’s faith to the highest level. Reunite with Allah the Almighty before it strikes. Seek forgiveness, repent and engage in prayers. There is no medicine for this [disease of the plague]. A medicine could cure it if it was a disease, however in reality it is a divine torment and heavenly wrath. What remedy is there except for righteousness?
“Be aware that if an entire household possesses a single righteous person, Allah the Almighty shall safeguard their complete family. In fact, if their righteousness has reached the highest level, then they can act as an intercessor for their neighborhood as well. Though a righteous person enters paradise whenever they pass away, but at a time when this death is a manifestation of divine wrath and has appeared as a sign upon this earth, my heart does not testify that a righteous person would pass away by this disgraceful death. A righteous one would surely be saved.
“I have repeatedly expressed to my Jamaat that they must not rely merely on [verbal claim] of Bai‘at. Salvation cannot be attained until they realise its reality. The one who is satisfied upon the shell deprives themselves from the kernel. The nobility of a saint does not benefit a disciple if they do not act by themselves. If a doctor gives a prescription to someone and they place it in a box, then it would never prove beneficial for them; they would have only taken benefit by using the prescription from which they deprived themselves. Study [the book] Kishti-e-Nuh [Noah’s Ark] over and over again and adapt yourselves according to its [directions].
قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَن زَكَّاهَا
“[Surely, he prospers who augments it]. Ordinarily, thousands of thieves, adulterers, drunkards and crooks claim to belong to the Ummah of the Holy Prophetsa, but are they [truly his Ummah] in reality? Certainly not. Only that person belongs to his Ummah who follows his teachings in their entirety.
“The [present] plague epidemic has not come as a disease. It has only appeared to reform people. You should not correct yourselves from [fear of] its chastisement, but instead, reform yourselves for the sake of Allah the Almighty so that you stay free of Shirk [attributing partners to Allah].
“Certain people raise the objection that the plague only takes the lives of the poor. It is another kind of helplessness. Instead of learning a lesson, they object. Several others say that it is a mere disease, therefore it has nothing to do with worship, fasting, good and bad deeds and that one should get it treated from doctors. Hence, recklessness has gone beyond imagination.
“However, the plague is a mirror of God through which He shall manifest Himself. Beware that Allah the Almighty has not given the plague the name of mercy so that the one who dies from it be considered a martyr. This age is full of threats. It has occurred as a sign. It will dissipate after distinguishing between a believer and a non-believer. Its name is ÑÌÒ [punishment] and it has been called a torment in my revelation. It has been mentioned in the Holy Quran 1,300 years ago from today that:
اَخۡرَجۡنَا لَہُمۡ دَآبَّۃً مِّنَ الۡاَرۡضِ تُکَلِّمُہُمۡ۔۔۔۔۔۔
“[We shall bring forth for them a germ out of the earth, which shall wound them (Surah al-Naml, Ch.27: V.83)]. Meaning, that in the age of transgression and wrongdoing, people’s faith in God would become like child’s play. At that time, We [Allah] shall bring forth a germ, which will bite them.
“Thus, this [plague] is a sign of the wrath of Allah the Almighty. It is necessary upon every individual to strive for their salvation in order to save themselves from it.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 2, pp. 541-542)
The Messiahas of Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, laid the foundation of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam on 23 March 1889 and established that divine Jamaat which was instilled with the true spirit of Islam.
Currently, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V, may Allah be his Helper, is spreading the same message of the Promised Messiahas to the world and advising mankind to reform themselves.
Recently, Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa addressed all the Ahmadis in particular and the rest of the world in general, and said:
“Allah the Almighty knows better how much this [coronavirus] pandemic will spread and to what extent it will go; what His decree is. But if this disease is being manifested due to the wrath of Allah the Almighty, as we have seen since the time of the Promised Messiah, peace be upon him, that pestilences, diseases, earthquakes, storms, etc. have spread a lot, then to be saved from the negative effects of Allah the Almighty’s decree, it is all the more critically essential to turn towards Allah the Almighty and every Ahmadi, in these days, should pay special attention towards prayers and enhancing their spiritual condition.
“We should also pray for the world at large that Allah may guide them.
“May Allah the Almighty enable the world to recognise Him, instead of becoming completely engrossed in worldly pursuits and forgetting God Almighty, Who created them.” (Friday Sermon, 6 March 2020)
Hence, worldly progress and scientific developments are insufficient to save humanity from both the physical and spiritual evils prevailing the earth and it has been proven once again through the spread of a microscopic virus, which is devouring mankind and causing chaos on an unprecedented scale.
Certainly, the cautionary advice and spiritual remedy presented by the Promised Messiahas more than a hundred years ago is proving beneficial for Ahmadis and is influential for every individual inhabiting planet Earth. The Promised Messiahas stated:
“Do you reckon that you will be safe from these earthquakes, or that you can save yourselves by your own machinations? Absolutely not. All human works will come to an end that day. Do not imagine that America etc. were hit hard by severe earthquakes while your country remains safe from them. Rather, I see that perhaps you will encounter greater adversity than them.
“O Europe! You are not safe! And O Asia! Neither are you secure! And O the dwellers of Islands! No artificial ‘god’ will come to your aid.
“I see cities falling and habitations in ruin. That One and Unique God remained silent for a long time. Abominations were committed before His eyes and still, He remained silent. But now He shall reveal His countenance in an awe-striking manner. Let him who has ears hear that the Hour is not far. I strived to bring everyone under the protection of God, but the ordained decrees had to be fulfilled.
“I say it truly that this country’s turn is also drawing near. The age of Noah[as] shall appear before your eyes, and you will witness with your own eyes the incident of the land of Lot[as]. But God is slow to wrath. Repent so that you are shown mercy. He who abandons God is a worm, not a man; and he who does not fear Him is dead, not alive.” (The Philosophy of Divine Revelation, pp. 327-328 [English Translation of Haqiqatul Wahi])