As I write this I am socially distancing due to Covid-19. Covid-19 has been the scariest event of my lifetime. As a Virus it has been the perfect storm.  It affects every body system, and is very unpredictable. I like things in life that are predictable.   While this pandemic has been raging I have been watching sermons, and cats on You Tube to distract myself. The only real comfort has been knowing that Allah is in charge and nothing happens without His permission. During this difficult time I have tried to do whatever the doctors and scientists say to do. So I have been at home with plenty of time to reflect on the world situation. 

When Allah gives a Test, He promises ease after, Alhamdullilah. That promise has given me hope for the future after Covid-19 is under control worldwide. When a Test (in the form of calamity) comes on us we can deal with it in two ways. We can be positive and trust Allah, or we can complain, and be sad and afraid. 

When a Test comes it is very important to find out what ‘Lesson(s)’ we can learn from it and what good we can get out of it. In the case of this pandemic there are many good things we can get out of it if we try and look for them. Because we are staying home more and avoiding crowds, we have more time to spend with our families. I have been spending time with my daughter and grandchildren. They were infected by Covid-19 and, Subanallah, they recovered. Now, we have been spending time together outside using proper precautions. We go to a park with a lake. There is a small Alligator that lives there. All we are allowed to do is observe the Alligator because in my state of Florida, USA it is illegal to feed these kind of animals. But he is quite interesting!

Using this time to reconnect with family is so important. You can never know what Allah’s plan is and having special moments with family are important to create happy memories. It has been beautiful being able to visit without all the daily obligations. 

Many knowledgeable Imams have given extra time and have been providing religious Sermons. Indeed, these were the learning opportunities to strengthen our Eeman to hear those sermons on You Tube, television and radio. Listening to them shows appreciation for their time and effort and helps all of us. Dr. Zakir Naik has done a wonderful video on Covid-19. He made the excellent point that “we should watch our tongues and be very careful when giving information.” He warns us that: “it is important to give the most recent and scientific information we have available when discussing Covid-19. Allah is pleased when we guard our tongues, speak kindly, and truthfully.” I have found this to be especially hard because of all the confusion around what is and isn’t happening with it, and how quickly it mutates.  I listen to our Dr. Fauci for my information. 

By the time you read this I will have gotten my Covid-19 vaccine. Alhamdullilah, it is available to me. In America the Government is supplying the vaccines. You have to call in and a nurse evaluates you. Then you get an appointment to go in.  So far it has been a very efficient system. I believe in the saying “Trust Allah, but tie your camel.”(Hadith narrated by al-Timidhi) Taking the vaccine is the equivalent of tying my camel. I am doing everything possible to protect myself and leaving the outcome in the mercy of Allah. 

I have had a chance to read books I’ve been meaning to. The most important of course is the holy Quran. I have started a new habit of using a devotion book daily.  The book I use is very simple. It provides a few verses of the Quran and a Hadith with a very short commentary. I try to do this after Fajr prayers with my morning tea or coffee. It has been a wonderful way to order my day and focus on Allah.

I live very close to a small lake and sometimes I walk down and sit by it. I think about Allah and His mercy, or go over challenges I am facing and try to work out a solution. Nature is a beautiful way to clear your mind. 

Another positive thing that can be done, is assisting the sick and elderly with daily tasks, like: picking up food, and medicines so that the elderly does not have to go outside! The sisters at the Masjid of our community are doing this. All any of us have to do is let a sister in the Masjid know we need something and someone will step up and help. Most religious organizations of all faiths are doing this in my city.  It is nice to know you are not alone.  

All the above things are positive actions that can help keep our mood up and our faith strong. However, there are additional things we should be doing like wearing masks, and washing our hands regularly. These things help us but they also help others as well by protecting them. Allah wants us to take care of our neighbors and friends. Taking proper precautions could literally save someone’s life. Allah says, “If we save a life it is as though we have saved the world” (Surah 5, Ayah 32). 

During difficult Tests or Calamities it is easy to allow ourselves to develop negative habits and attitudes. I find myself eating, sleeping, and watching senseless television shows. Sometimes I get bored at home, or dislike my mask and become depressed at how life has changed. This negative way of thinking can affect our relationship with Allah, The Almighty Creator! We can improve the relationship by making prayer and worshiping. We can refrain from wasting time that could be spent in more helpful activities. Allowing ourselves to become sad, and unhappy can cause us to be unkind to our friends and loved ones. I find when I start becoming sad I look around and see all the blessings I have! I don’t have everything I want, but I have more than a lot of people! My health isn’t perfect, but I enjoy better health than a lot of Seniors of my age. A lot of people in the US lost their jobs, I have been able to work the whole time and Allah has protected me from Covid-19. 

When we face the Tests/ Calamities they should be used to strengthen our character. That can be done by us through practicing the positive things and refusing to engage in the negative ones. We must practice and encourage Positive Thinking. Every day we must pray to Allah SWT to increase our patience, strength and faith. We should be certain that after a Test comes ease, and if not in this life then in the afterlife. No matter what your religion, age or education is, if we do these things life will be much better, no matter what circumstances we are in. 

As I am finishing this I think of you with affection and mention you all in my prayers. We must always remember, no matter what the circumstances are: “Allah is sufficient for me.”

By:Katherine E Stephens:A revert to Islam and a local from Jacksonville, State of Florida, USA. She is 58, and works as an Administrative Secretary at a medical clinic for drug addicts. Email:katherine.stephens@ctcprograms.com

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