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‘Izzah: Literary Analysis, Islamic Understanding

  • Part One: ‘Izzah – Forgotten Concept, Lost Virtue
  • Part Two: Literary Analysis, Islamic Understanding            
  • Part Three: Following the Path of the People Before Us?
  • Part Four: The Iman Stimulus Package of Epic Proportions
  • Part Five: Conclusion
  • Part One

    The Arabic word ‘izzah is from ayn-zay-zay, which means might, honor, respect, dignity, prestige, fame and glory. It also means to have the upper hand; sometimes ‘izzah is used positively for praise, and sometimes it’s used negatively for arrogance (such as surah Saad ayah 2).

    عز/ العزة

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    ‘Azz/ ‘Izzah

    ‘Azz

    • The root word for I’zzah, Azeez and Uzzah is ‘Azz which means to be or become strong, powerful or/and respected.
    • ‘Azz’ can also mean to overpower/defeat.

    …and He overpowered Me In speech. [Saad 23]

    This is because there is a saying in Arabic من عز بز ‘whoever overpowers will defeat’, due to the other being more powerful in debating and speaking, and this is how he overpowered him in speech.

    ‘Izzah

    • Al ‘Izzah is a state which prevents a person from being overcome. When the Arabs call a land عزاز [‘azaaz’] they mean it is hard, solid, stiff and rigid.
    • Linguistically this term means: might/ power/ standing/ strength/ force/ honour/ glory/ high rank/ fame/ pride.

    In the Qur’aan, ‘Izzah is sometimes mentioned in a praiseworthy sense and at other times it is mentioned in a blameworthy sense as the examples below illustrate:

    ‘But honour, power and Glory belong to Allaah, his Messenger (Muhammad Sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe Wa Sallam), and to the believers’ [Al Munaafiqoon 8]

    ‘Do they seek honour, power and Glory with them? Verily, then to Allâh belongs all honour, power and glory.’ [Al Nisaa 139]

    When ‘Izzah is mentioned with regards to Allah, His Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), and the believers, it’s an everlasting honour, power and glory – it’s the true [haqiqi] ‘Izzah. On the other hand, when ‘Izzah is mentioned with regards to the disbelievers, its used to denote both disgrace and dishonour:

    Nay, those who disbelieve are in false pride and opposition. [Saad 2]

    And when it is said to him, “Fear Allâh”, he is led by arrogance to (more) crime. So enough for Him is Hell, and worst indeed is that place to rest! [Al Baqarah 206]

    And they have taken (for worship) âliha (gods) besides Allâh, that they might give them honour, power, and glory (and also protect them from Allâh’s punishment etc.). [Maryam 81]

    If only man would understand that honour belongs to Allah alone,

    Whosoever desires honour, power, and glory, then to Allâh belongs all honour, power, and glory [Faatir 10]

    (The above was taken from this pdf at IdealMuslimah.com – jazaakiAllahu khairan sis Amatullah)

    Thus, we can see that in general, ‘izzah can be described as honor, dignity, and higher status. Hereafter, we shall use the term interchangeably with ‘honour’ for easier comprehension.

    So:
    ‘Izzah is honour. And what is honour?

    It’s not something tangible that we can see, hear, smell, taste, or touch. Honour is something else, something higher, something far more noble. It is pride and confidence, an aura of strength and serenity. It is a type of knowledge, a type of belief.

    There was a time when any man, woman, or child would rather die than sacrifice their honour. Honour was a sense of pride and dignity people had that came from being absolutely confident and resolute in their beliefs, values, and identity.

    To the Muslim, honour is something which Allah has blessed us with. It’s the knowledge that in humbling ourselves to Him and Him alone, He has raised us above all other creation. It is the knowledge that by fearing Him and seeking reward from Him alone, no one and nothing else on Earth can inspire within us fear or interest in what they have to offer us. It is something which is attained by truly loving, believing, and acting upon the words of Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) when he said:

    Be mindful of Allah, and Allah will protect you. Be mindful of Allah, and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, ask of Allah; if you seek help, seek help of Allah. Know that if the Nation were to gather together to benefit you with anything, it would benefit you only with something that Allah had already prescribed for you, and that if they gather together to harm you with anything, they would harm you only with something Allah had already prescribed for you.

    ‘Izzah is attained by worshipping Allah alone, obeying His commands, avoiding what He has prohibited, and placing our entire reliance upon Him and Him alone. Thus, its loss occurs when we do the opposite: when our emaan weakens, and our tawakkul fades, and we allow into our lives that which Allah hates for us. What kind of ‘izzah can we have when we abandon the very actions which are the cause of this elevated status? How can we have honour of any kind when we humiliate ourselves by neglecting the salaah, replacing the Words of Allah with the Qur’an of the Shaytaan (music), and place more importance in political activism than spiritual strength?

    ‘Izzah is borne of action, and is manifested as attitude. It is an attitude of superiority and of confidence, an attitude which we need to reclaim.

    First of all, we need to recognize that having such an attitude is not a bad thing. Politically incorrect? Sure. And according to the current standards of political correctness, so is the Qur’an and the Sunnah; so is the entire religion of al-Islam. Are we going to deny it? Hide it? In an attempt to bring people closer to Islam, will we prevent them from reading the very source of Truth? No, by Allah! No matter what the people say, this is our Deen, this is al-Islam, and we will never be shy of it. This is the source of our ‘izzah, and we must never forget it.

    Allah has stated repeatedly that He has chosen al-Islam as the only acceptable religion and that the true believers are those whom He has chosen as the khulafaa’ of this Earth.

    The (only) religion with Allah is Islaam, but if they dispute with you, say, “I have submitted myself entirely to Allah.” (3:19 – 20)

    And whoever desires a religion other than Islam, it shall not be accepted from him, and in the hereafter he shall be one of the losers. (3:85)

    So, do not become weak or sad, and you are superior if you are believers. [Al ‘Imran; 139]

    Once this is recognized, then we must go back to what we said in the beginning – this superiority and honour, this ‘izzah, comes only from studying, understanding, and implementing Islam correctly in every sphere of our lives.

    “So whoever hopes to see his Lord and be rewarded by Him, then let him make his worship correct and make it purely and exclusively for Him; and let him not give any share of it to other than Him.” [Surah al-Kahf 18:110].

    If we obey Allah as we are supposed to, we will feel the peace, the tranquility, the strength and the confidence that befits those whom Allah is pleased with. And once Allah is pleased with a people, and He has promised them victory, is there anyone or anything on the face of this earth which could possibly stop them?

    “Say: ‘O Allah. Lord of Power (And Rule), You give power to whom You please, and You strip off power from whom You please: You endow with honor whom You please, and You bring low whom You please: In Your hand is all good. Verily, over all things You have power.’” (3:26).

    Keep an eye out for part 2 by Siraaj – Following the Path of the People Before Us?

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    Zainab bint Younus is a Canadian Muslim woman who writes on Muslim women's issues, gender related injustice in the Muslim community, and Muslim women in Islamic history. She holds a diploma in Islamic Studies from Arees University, a diploma in History of Female Scholarship from Cambridge Islamic College, and has spent the last fifteen years involved in grassroots da'wah. She was also an original founder of MuslimMatters.org.

    14 Comments

    14 Comments

    1. Avatar

      AsimG

      April 6, 2009 at 1:36 AM

      I was waiting and waiting for this to come up, finally at 12:30 right as I was about to get off :P

    2. Avatar

      Ayesha Fatima

      April 6, 2009 at 7:02 AM

      Jazakumallahukhairaa sis.”This ‘izzah, comes only from studying, understanding, and implementing Islam correctly in every sphere of our lives”
      Mashaallah !! Basically we have to back to Quran & Sunnah.Waiting for part 2 .

    3. Avatar

      vindicated

      April 6, 2009 at 10:41 AM

      Jazakallah khair for this beneficial post, it is sad to see Muslims humiliating themselves in order to ‘fit in’ with everyone else. Success lies in believing that success truly lies only with Islam, and not compromising your beliefs!

      Waiting eagerly for the next part.

    4. Avatar

      SaqibSaab

      April 6, 2009 at 11:43 AM

      Jazazkillah khair, AnonyMouse. This brings a newly heightened understanding of saying Allah ‘azza wa jal.

    5. Avatar

      All Praise is for Allah

      April 6, 2009 at 10:21 PM

      Jazakillahu khairan my sister AnonyMouse. I hope to be enlightened by this series.

      This paragraph made me sit up straight in my chair. Alhamdu lillah.

      First of all, we need to recognize that having such an attitude is not a bad thing. Politically incorrect? Sure. And according to the current standards of political correctness, so is the Qur’an and the Sunnah; so is the entire religion of al-Islam. Are we going to deny it? Hide it? In an attempt to bring people closer to Islam, will we prevent them from reading the very source of Truth? No, by Allah! No matter what the people say, this is our Deen, this is al-Islam, and we will never be shy of it. This is the source of our ‘izzah, and we must never forget it.

    6. AnonyMouse

      AnonyMouse

      April 7, 2009 at 12:26 AM

      What? No huge comment war going on here? I’m shocked! And maybe a little disappointed :p
      Khair, insha’Allah everyone is benefiting from it instead of just arguing about it :)

    7. Avatar

      MM Associates

      April 8, 2009 at 1:26 AM

      lol AnonyMouse, I’ve noticed that the literary analysis posts (*cough*) don’t get that many comments :) You know what they say…silence means approval!

      Amatullah

    8. Avatar

      Siraaj

      April 8, 2009 at 7:52 AM

      I’ll go with sister Amatullah on this one – silence is approval =)

    9. Avatar

      Kanika A.

      April 8, 2009 at 10:30 AM

      Jazazkillah khair, AnonyMouse. This brings a newly heightened understanding of saying Allah ‘azza wa jal.

      I second that, that was exactly my first thought ! =)

    10. Pingback: ‘Izzah: Following the Path of the People Before Us? | MuslimMatters.org

    11. Avatar

      Izzah zaineb

      August 10, 2013 at 12:19 PM

      Okay this sort of gave me butterflies in my tummy, as my name is Izzah.

      • Avatar

        Nurul 'Izzah

        August 25, 2016 at 3:44 AM

        Such a WOW sharing. syukran. we all nee ‘izzah in our life. we all need Me

    12. Avatar

      Nurul 'Izzah

      August 25, 2016 at 3:46 AM

      Proud to be born as ‘Izzah Alhamdulillah :)

    13. Pingback: Apalah arti sebuah nama… – izzah-ku.com

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    Torment And Tears: The Emotional Experience of Tawbah

    Have you ever had that moment where, all of a sudden, you remember something that you said or did in the past, the severity of which you only realized later on?

    That sharp inhalation, shortness of breath, the flush of humiliation, the sick lurching in the pit of your stomach as you recall hurtful words, or an action that was so clearly displeasing to Allah… it is a very physical reaction, a recoiling from your own past deeds.

    It may not even be the first time you think about those actions, it may not even be the first time to make istighfaar because of them… but sometimes, it may be the first time that you really and truly feel absolutely sickened at the realization of the gravity of it all. It might not even have been a ‘big deal’ – perhaps it was a cruel joke to a sensitive friend, or not having fulfilled a promise that was important to someone, or betraying a secret that you didn’t think was all that serious.

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    And yet… and yet, at this moment, your memory of that action is stark and gut-wrenching.

    It is a deeply unpleasant feeling.

    It is also a very necessary one.

    The Act of Tawbah

    Tawbah – seeking forgiveness from Allah – is something that we speak about, especially in Ramadan, the month of forgiveness. However, it is also something that we tend to speak about in general terms, or write off as something simple – “Just say astaghfirAllah and don’t do it again.”

    In truth, tawbah is about much more than muttering istighfaar under your breath. It is a process, an emotional experience, one that engages your memory, your soul, and your entire body.

    The first step of tawbah is to recognize the sin – whether seemingly small or severe – and to understand just how wrong it was. Each and every one of our deeds is written in our book of deeds; each and every deed will be presented to us on the Day of Judgment for us to be held accountable for. There are times when we say things so casually that it doesn’t even register to us how we could be affecting the person we’ve spoken to.

    As RasulAllah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) once told A’ishah raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her),

    “You have said a word which would change the sea (i.e. poison or contaminate it) if it were mixed in it.” (Sunan Abi Dawud)

    The second step is to feel true remorse. It’s not enough to rationally acknowledge that action as being sinful; one must feel guilt, remorse, and grief over having committed it.

    Tawbah is to feel that sucker-punch of humiliation and guilt as we recall our sins: not just the mildly awkward ones, like a petty fib or mild infraction, but the genuinely terrible parts of ourselves… ugly lies, vicious jealousy, violations against others’ rights, abuse.

    Some of us may be actual criminals – others of us may seem presentable on the outside, even religious, maybe even spiritual… and yet have violated others in terrible ways. Abuse comes in so many forms, and some of us are perpetrators, not just victims.

    Facing that reality can be a gruesome process. 

    It is a necessary process. Token words, glib recitation of spiritual formulae, those do not constitute tawbah in its entirety. Rather, it is a matter of owning up to our violations, experiencing genuine emotion over them – true humiliation, true regret – and striving not to be that person ever again. 

    Much as we hate to admit it, we have our own fair share of red flags that we create and wave, even before we get into the nasty business of committing the worst of our sins. Tawbah isn’t just feeling bad for those Big Sins – it’s to recognize what led us to them to begin with.

    It requires us to acknowledge our own flaws of character, of the ease with which we fall into certain behaviours, the way we justify the pursuit of our desires, the blindness we have to the worst parts of ourselves. Tawbah is to sit down and face all of it – and then to beg Allah, over and over, not just to forgive us and erase those specific actions, but to change us for the better. 

    This experience is so much more powerful than a mere “I’m sorry,” or “omg, that was awful”; it is an act that embodies our submission to Allah because it requires us to make ourselves incredibly emotionally vulnerable, and in that moment, to experience a deep pain and acknowledge our wrongdoing. It is to hold your heart out to Allah and to beg Him, with every fiber of your being, with tears in your eyes, with a lump in your throat, wracked with regret, to please, please, please forgive you – because without it, without His Mercy and His Forgiveness and His Gentleness and His Love towards us, we have no hope and we will be utterly destroyed.

    Surah Araf Verse 23

    {Rabbanaa thalamnaa anfusanaa, wa illam taghfir lanaa wa tar’hamnaa, lanakunanna mina’l Khaasireen!}

    {Our Lord, we have wronged ourselves, and if You do not forgive us and have mercy upon us, we will surely be among the losers!} (Qur’an 7:23)

    This experience of tawbah is powerful, emotional, and heartbreaking. It is meant to be. It is a reminder to us of how truly dependent we are upon our Lord and our Creator, how nothing else in our lives can give us joy or a sense of peace if He is displeased with us. It is a reminder to us of how deeply we crave His Love, of how desperately we need it, of how His Pleasure is the ultimate goal of our existence.

    Finally, there is the step of resolving never to commit that sin again, to redress the wrongs if possible, and to follow up the bad deed with a good one.

    The vow is one we make to ourselves, asking Allah’s help to uphold it – because we are incapable of doing anything at all without His Permission; the righting of wrongs is what we do to correct our transgression against others’ rights over us, although there are times when we may well be unable to seek another individual’s forgiveness, whether because of distance, death, or otherwise; and the good deeds to undertake as penance are numerous, whether they be sadaqah or increased ‘ebaadah.

    But it doesn’t end there. And it never will.

    Tawbah is not a once-in-a-lifetime event. It is not even a once-a-year event, or once a month, or once a week. It is meant to be a daily experience, a repeated occurrence, in the earliest hours of the morning, in the depths of the last third of the night, during your lunch break or your daily commute or in the middle of a social gathering.

    Tawbah is a lifelong journey, for who amongst us doesn’t commit mistakes and errors every day?

    All we can do is beg of Allah not only for His Forgiveness, but also: {Allahumma ij’alnaa min at-tawwaabeen.} – O Allah, make us amongst those who are constantly engaging in repentance!

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    #Islam

    Moonsighting Gone Wrong, Again.

    Moonsighting is just not working out.

    Atleast not for our community here in the Toronto area. As I speak to my friends in other large (read: fragmented) communities, such as those in the UK, I hear similar tales of confusion, anxiety and horror. The problem in these communities stems from the fact that there are numerous moonsighting organizations in the same area, all following different methodologies for declaring Eid and Ramadan. This naturally results in a catastrophe and Muslims from the same family living in the same city are forced to celebrate the holidays on different days.

    To give you a taste of how (and why) things went wrong in this year’s Ramadan declaration, here’s a summary highlighting the series of events as they unfolded. (Reminder: Ramadan was expected to start on Friday, April 24th or Saturday, April 25th 2020 in North America)

    • Wednesday, April 22, 10: 13 pm EST: Crescent Council of Canada (CC) declares Ramadan to start on Friday, 24th April based on the fact that it received no reports of moonsighting sighting on Wednesday night. This committee follows global moonsighting and it declared Ramadan so early because it was already the 29th of Shaban based on the lunar calendar it follows (for most of North America, the 29th of Shaban was to be on Thursday). So, starting Ramadan on Saturday was simply not an option for the group (as it would have meant observing 31 days of Shaban). Also to note is that this group gives precedence to official declarations from authorities from Muslim-majority countries, even if these declarations conflict predictions of visibility charts and astronomical calculations. It argues that testimony of witnesses takes precedence in the sharia over astronomical data.
    • Thursday, April 23rd, 7:27 pm EST : The Hilal Council of Canada (HC), another committee in the area that follows global sighting, states that there has not been any sighting of the moon in any country, including South and Central America (it is past sunset in most of the Muslim world by now). The committee decides that it will wait till sundown in California to receive the final reports before making a declaration. Confusion starts spreading in the community as one organization has already declared Ramadan while another claims no one in the Muslim world saw the moon. Note that HC does not accept moonsighting reports if they contradict astronomical data.
    • 8:39 pm: Confusion continues. The CC claims that Saudi Arabia, UAE, Malaysia, Turkey and a host of Muslim countries have declared Ramadan. The committee thus feels validated in its original declaration which it made on Wednesday night.
    • 8:48 pm: More confusion: California-based CrescentWatch.org also claims that moonsighting reports from the Middle-East and Africa are all negative. People naturally start wondering how so many countries supposedly declared Ramadan if there were no positive sightings.
    • 9:40 pm: The Hilal Committee of Toronto and Vicinity, the oldest moonsighting group in the city, declares Ramadan to start on Saturday the 25th of April. Since the committee did not receive any positive reports by sunset from areas in its jurisdiction, it declared Ramadan to commence on Saturday. This committee follows local moonsighting and doesn’t rely on reports from the Muslim-world. Two of the three major moonsighting groups in the city have declared Ramadan on different days at this time. Residents are confused whether to fast the next day or pray tarweeh as its almost Isha time.
    • 11:11 pm: The HC finally declares Ramadan to start the next day, i.e. Friday, based on confirmed reports from California. Mosques following the HC advice to pray tarawih – an hour after Isha time had already entered. After an anxiety filled and frustrating evening, residents finally know the positions of the various moonsighting groups in the city. Now they just have to decide which one to follow!
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    This baffling circus of contradictory declarations is nothing new; it has become a yearly occurrence. Last year we saw the exact same series of events unfold and the same confusion spread throughout the community; it is entirely expected that the same will happen again in future years.

    Our leadership has decided that it is acceptable to put the average Muslim through this nerve-racking experience every year. For Eid declarations, the experience is far worse as thousands are often waiting till midnight to decide whether to go work the next day or send their children to school. The stress and anxiety this decision causes for the average person year after year is simply unacceptable.

    Popular advice in these situations has been to ‘follow your local masjid’. However, this idea is impractical for large communities where there are numerous local mosques, all following various opinions. It is also impractical for the thousands who simply don’t frequent the mosque and are not tied to a particular organization. The layperson just wants to know the dates for Ramadan and Eid; it is an undue burden on them to research the strength of various legal opinions just to know when to celebrate a religious holiday with their families.

    Only one way forward: astronomical calculations

    There have been numerous sincere attempts to solve these long-standing problems associated with moonsighting over the past 50 years – all have failed. I have documented in detail these attempts, the reasons for their failure and argued for the only viable solution to this problem: astronomical calculations.

    Since its introduction in 2006, Fiqh Council of North America’s calculations-based lunar calendar has proven to be the definitive solution for communities struggling to resolve the yearly moonsighting debacle. An example of such a resolution is the 2015 agreement by some of the leading mosques in the Chicago area who put aside their differences and united behind FCNA’s calendar. This approach has brought ease and facilitation for the religious practice of thousands of Muslims in that community.

    While the use of calculations has been a minority position in Islam’s legal history, it has a sound basis in the shariah [1] and has been supported by towering figures of the past such as Imam Zakariya al-Ansari and Imam Ramli. Given the challenging circumstances we find ourselves in now, it is incumbent on scholars of today to revisit this position as a means of providing much needed relief to the masses from this lunar quagmire.

    References:

    [1]  From SeekersGuidance: Scholars upholding this can be traced all the way back to the first Islamic century. The textual basis for this opinion is the hadith narrated by al-Bukhari, “When you see it [the new moon of Ramadan] then fast; and when you see it [the new moon of Shawwal], then break the fast. If it is hidden from you (ghumma ‘alaykum) [i.e. if the sky is overcast] then estimate it (fa-qdiru lahu);” (al-Bukhari, hadith no. 1900). The last verb, fa-qdiru, can be validly understood to mean calculation. Of the scholars who held this, are Abu al-‘Abbas b. Surayj (d. 306/918), one of the leading founders of the classical Shafi‘i school, the Shafi‘i scholar and renowned mystic Abu al-Qasim al-Qushayri (d. 465/1072), the leading Shafi‘i judge Taqi al-Din al-Subki (d. 756/1355), the Shafi‘i legal theorist al-Zarkashi (d. 794/1392), the renowned Maliki legal theorist al-Qarafi (d. 684/1285), and some Hanafi scholars. The late Shafi‘i commentator al-Qalyubi (d. 1069/1659) held that all sighting-claims must be rejected if calculations show that a sighting was impossible, stating, “This is manifestly obvious. In such a case, a person may not fast. Opposing this is obstinacy and stubbornness.” See al-Mawsu‘ah al-fiqhiyyah al-kuwaytiyyah, c.v. “Ru’yat al-hilal,” vol. 22, pp. 31-4. The leading scholar of the late Shāfi‘ī school Muhammad al-Ramli (d. 1004/1596) held that the expert astronomer was obliged to follow his own calculation as was the non-astronomer who believed him; this position has been used by some contemporary Shafi’i scholars to state that in the modern world, with its precise calculations, the strongest opinion of the Shafi’i school should be that everyone must follow calculations; see ‘Umar b. al-Habib al-Husayni, Fath al-‘ali fi jam‘ al-khilaf bayna Ibn Hajar wa-Ibn al-Ramli, ed. Shifa’ Hitu (Jeddah: Dar al-Minhaj, 2010), pp. 819-22. See also the fatwa of the Hanafi scholar Dr Salah Abu al-Hajj (http://www.anwarcenter.com/fatwa/معنى-حديث-لا-تصوموا-حتى-تروا-الهلال-ول) last accessed 9/5/2016) which states, after arguing against relying on calculations, “However, the position of [following] calculations is the position of a considerable group of jurists, so it is a respected disagreement in Islamic law, whereby, if a state were to adopt it, it is not rejected, because the judgment of a judge removes disagreement, and the adoption of a state is [as] the judgment of a judge.

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    #Current Affairs

    COVID19: Calling The Conscientious

    Violating borders, scaling every wall and traveling faster than a rumor, COVID19 is now around nearly everywhere. It has reduced nations and societies, low and mighty, to their knees, demoted all preoccupations to insignificance and is threatening to torch everyone in its path.

    The imperial hubris of nations, with and without nuclear weapons has crumbled. Mighty militaries have been reduced to mere spectators. Borders are closed. Markets have tumbled. Even the gods amongst humans – rulers, monarchs, dictators, religious heads, generals, billionaires, movie stars, icons of sports and music –have been forced to recede from the limelight. Neither they are in control nor can they perform. All of them are forced to surrender by an unseen microscopic speck with an insatiable appetite to devour humankind, bit-by-bit, part by part.

    A pre-COVID19 world is now a blurred memory. It was not long ago that we were a different planet and a different people. Neither hand-sanitizers nor masks were precious enough to purchase let alone hoard, or even think about. YouTube was popular but not so much for videos on how to wash hands or what to do when self-quarantined. And, shaking hands were a norm and we used to respond with a “bless you” to our neighbor’s cough or sneeze.

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    That was pre-COVID19.

    Places of worship are already shut down and airports, train stations and shipping ports are shutting down. Boulevards and avenues are eerily silent. Shopping malls and theaters stand abandoned.

    This is post-COVID19.

    Yet, there are flashes of hope and inspiration. Medical professionals and health care workers are fighting to save mankind, a patient a time. Our ill equipped and fatigued hospitals are abodes of our new heroes and true patriots. And no less are trash collectors, grocery workers, truck drivers, postal workers, fruit pickers among others whom we took for granted all along.

    Covid-19 is not just the biggest story of our time, it is the only story.

    Amidst a piercing cacophony of politicians’ press conferences and public interest advisories, we cannot afford to miss out the soft whispers of COVID19.

    It is telling us to pay more attention to the under-estimated meaningful over the hyper-marketed mundane. Its whispers remind us to remember that we are but a mere mortal. We are reminded in the Quran that God made us from a mere speck (40:67).

    Not, too long ago, we seldom had to remind ourselves that we are human. Not too long ago we could afford to be enemies of ourselves. Humans were enemies of humans, fighting and taking life of those considered ‘others’. We fostered division … “them” and “us,” “citizens” and “illegals.” COVID19 has spoken: no more. We stoked exclusion … “black, brown and white,” “conservative and liberal,” and “urban and rural.” COVID19 has spoken: no more.

    In its sweeping trail of destruction, COVID19, is imploring us — harness my power to cause dread in each one of you, across borders, across genders, across races — and unite. COVID19 is challenging us: find a common cause against me. When any of you find an antidote against me, may that be a reason for your coming together, even if right now I have forced you to stay away from each other – six feet part.

    COVID19 is an equal opportunity and a non-discriminating enemy, which will kill no matter how we worship, what we eat, where we live. One touch strikes all with equal precision.

    Today, as we face an existential threat from a mortal molecular foe, we must remind ourselves about what matters most, our humanity and not our race and nationality.

    The truth is that long before COVID19 struck us, we were sick. We spread viruses; hate and bigotry, we held thoughts of xenophobia for those who did not deserve it. We wallowed in bias and built echo chambers. COVID19 exposed all of our pre-COVID19 shortcomings.

    Coronavirus will kill us for a while, but then in the end, we will overpower it. But before that happens, all the human deaths would be in vain if we don’t realize that in a world of such threats, we never needed to have been at each other’s throats.

    In fear and panic, people resort to extreme behavior, it amazes us with their capacity for wisdom and kindness, or stupidity and cruelty. COVID19 is beseeching us to reclaim and regain our humanity of compassion and kindness. It is telling us to come together to fight our common battles. It is forcing us to wash our hands of all sins of our past and then lock our hearts and hands and build a world where meaning must matter more than the mundane.

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    MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

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