It wouldn’t be wrong to assume that never before has a news story occupied headlines and been given constant coverage on news channels for such a long period of time as has Covid-19.
With the fear of being affected by the pandemic and losing loved ones already lurking the minds of many, another fear has, in recent days, taken us all in its grip: the fear of losing our livelihood. It is said that the global economy is, and will be, taking a huge blow due to the lengthy lockdowns across the world and can supposedly result in 1.6 billion people – nearly half the global workforce – losing their jobs.
The Eurozone has been badly hit, its second largest economy, France, is officially in recession after its GDP contracted by 5.8%; the worst contraction since World War II. Italy followed and saw its GDP shrink by 4.7% which has led to recession. The coronavirus lockdown has had huge effects on the growth of our economies.
In the UK, a Bank of England’s policy maker, Jan Vlieghe, said the UK economy is suffering the fastest and most severe slump in “possibly several centuries”.(The Guardian, 23 April, 2020)
The International Monetary Fund forecasted that the USA will witness an economy shrink close to 6% this year alone. At the same time, unemployment in the USA has rocketed to its highest levels in more than 70 years – millions are without work. (The Guardian, 28 April, 2020)
Governments across the world are trying to keep businesses afloat and employees paid, otherwise the economic hit would have been much worse. However, the coronavirus is far from over and experts forecast further, possibly catastrophic, outcomes for our economy.
Al Hakam has had the good privilege of playing a humble role in keeping the global family of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat closely knit during this precarious time. With repeated media coverage being given and Ahmadis sharing their stories during lockdown, we wish to also highlight an important aspect that can be best understood, especially in the prevailing circumstances.
For many of us, more than ever before, due to being in lockdown and deriving benefit from the blessings of Ramadan, we have touched base with our spiritual and religious duties and are currently undergoing a study of understanding our responsibilities through the Holy Quran, ahadith and writings of the Promised Messiahas.
When one browses the various subjects the Promised Messiah, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas covered in his literature and talks, a recurring theme is always noticed: the need to understand the true value of this life and to prepare for the Hereafter.
The current climate has left everyone clinging on to a fine thread of hope to continue living – a basic instinct of every human – however, as Ahmadi Muslims, it is crucial that we understand the reality of this life and the life to come, especially as the Promised Messiahas repeatedly draws our attention to this.
Addressing his Jamaat, Hazrat Ahmadas says:
“Time is short and there is no telling how long one shall live. Make haste – for twilight will soon descend. Consider over and over what you shall present before God, lest it be deemed so inadequate that it is no more than waste, no more than a foul and defiled offering unfit for presentation before the Royal Court.” (Noah’s Ark, p. 41)
The Promised Messiahas continues:
“How unfortunate is one who places their trust in this short span of life and completely turns away from God and makes use of those things prohibited by God with such impudence as if they were lawful for them.” (Noah’s Ark, p. 114)
He further admonishes his community by saying:
“My dear ones! You have only come to this world for a short while, much of which has already passed. Thus, do not displease your Lord. An earthly government of great might can annihilate you if you displease them. Reflect, how then is it possible for you to escape the wrath of God Almighty?” (Ibid)
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih Vaa also addresses this issue by saying:
“We search for everything in this world and do not give a thought to the Hereafter, whereas if we are to compare, then we find that the reward and punishment of the Hereafter is so vast that a person should remain constantly concerned for it. On the other hand, however, we chase aft er the world – whose significance is not even the same as that of a water droplet in comparison with the ocean.” (Friday Sermon, 7 May 2004)
“It is narrated that a person once came to the Holy Prophetsa and said, ‘Please give me a concise and comprehensive advice.’ The Holy Prophetsa replied, ‘When you stand to offer your prayer, then offer it in the manner of the one who is about to depart this world. Do not utter such statements from your mouth that if asked about it on the Day of Judgment, you are not able to give any clarification. Become completely indifferent to the wealth and property of others.’ (Mishkat, Kitab al-Riqaq, al-Fasl al-Thalith)
“The very first thing mentioned here is that Namaz should be offered as if you are shortly about to depart this world. The fear of leaving this world affects many such people who have done tremendous wrongs in this world so much so that they show great humility at the time of death.” (Ibid)
May Allah enable us to understand our responsibilities – which is of crucial importance – and then set our lives according to the desire of Allah and the guidance issued to us. Amin