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Life Lessons – The Answer is Tomorrow | Shaykh Waleed Basyouni

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For many years of my youth, I used to spend the last ten days of Ramadan in Makkah. My favorite sitting spot was on the first floor in the Ottoman construction area between Al-Rukn Al-Yamani and the Hijr, and it was there that I would largely remain during the days and nights I was in the Haram.

One year my regular choice of dwelling was changed when I heard that my teacher, Sh. Ibn Jibreen, was also visiting and was sitting on the third floor. I wanted to pray by him, watch him pray, and hoped that I might find some private moments to ask him questions or listen to answers he gave. Just watching the sheikh was in itself a great opportunity for the student of knowledge. We learned from his manners, the way he carried himself, and how he dealt with others.

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One night a group of young men came up to the Shaikh after Isha and before Taraweeh. They asked the Shaikh if praying Taraweeh in congregation would be better for them, or whether they should go out to the markets to give advice and do some street Da’wah. Unfortunately, during the Taraweeh prayer time, it was very common for unsupervised young girls and boys to go out to the markets to hit on each other, and there were many other improper practices that would prevail during this time. They explained the situation to the Shaikh and the told him that they were not from Makkah and that they had traveled only so they could pray and fast at the Haram. The Shaikh said that he would answer them the next day and to meet him in the same place and at the same time. That was one of longest 24 hours in my life; I could not wait to see what the Shaikh’s answer would be. I started thinking about all the answers he might give and the different ways the Shaikh might say them, but what happened that night was very different than anything I had thought of.

I came early to ensure a spot close to the Shaikh. After Isha, the brothers came and the Shaikh said, “Bismillah, let’s go!”

“Whereto, Shaikhana?” they said.
With his well-known big smile, the Shaikh replied, “To the market together.” That was his answer! Giving Da’wah and advising people could be more beloved to Allah than congregational Qiyam and Taraweeh in Makkah if it was done for the sake of Allah.

Of course I followed them to the market. It was Sooq Al-Layl (the night Sooq), and the brothers were very happy to have the Shaikh with them. At the entrance of the marketplace, the Shaikh noticed a store selling music (cassette tapes), and the Shaikh asked the man in the store to come out. The Shaikh reminded him in a private manner about the prohibition of music and what these songs were calling for. I snuck as close to the Shaikh as I could to watch him and see what he was saying to the man. Among what he said was that Ibn Abbas did not live in Makkah because he was afraid that his sins would be multiplied as the rewards multiply in Makkah due to its holiness and sanctity. “Your store is only 50 meters away from the Haram. Are you ready to meet Allah with such record?” he asked in a kind and concerned tone. After 10 minutes I heard the man shout out to all the people around the area in a voice mixed with tears, “As Allah is my witness, and His Angels, and all of you, I promise that before Fajr I’ll get rid of all these tapes. From now on, I will change my business to a Halal one that sells Qur’an and Islamic lectures and nasheeds.”

The story was in the news the next day. It was a great night and one in which I learned great life lessons that I try to practice until today.

1- Actions speak louder than words. If we want our words to have a real impact, we have to be the first to practice with the people.
2- The real scholars and leaders are the ones who mix with the youth, live amongst them, and are seen with the public, not those who give orders and advice from distance.
3- Naseehah to those you know and you don’t know can have a powerful impact when given with mercy and wisdom.
4- Sometimes we talk about the big things that we cannot change and we do not work on the things that we can change.

If this incident inspired you as did me, share your thoughts and give your comments.

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is Vice President of AlMaghrib Institute and Director of Clear Lake Islamic Center (CLIC). He is a frequent guest speaker at Universities, Conventions, Radio Talk Shows, Television, Interfaith meetings, and community centers nationally and internationally. He is also a member of the North American Imam Federation (NAIF), Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America (AMJA)-Fatwa and Research Committee, Director of Texas Dawah Convention, and Advisor to numerous Islamic Societies/Organizations around the US.Shaykh Waleed Basyouni graduated with a Bachelors in Islamic Sciences from Al-Imam Muhammad University, KSA; did his Masters in Islamic Theology, World Religions and Modern Religious Sects from Al-Imam Muhammad University; and acquired a Doctorate in Theology. He is also an instructor at the American Open University in Alexandria, VA, USA, and serves as, the Imam of Clear Lake Islamic Center, Houston, TX, USA. Shaykh Waleed has Ijaazahs in reciting the Holy Quran and in several books of Hadeeth, awarded by various scholars. He studied with great scholars time such as Shaykh Ibn Baz, Abdul-Razzaq Afify and others.

10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Waleed Rahman

    April 3, 2013 at 10:24 AM

    JazakAllahuKhair, this was really awesome, Alhumdulilah.

  2. Avatar

    Siraaj

    April 3, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    That is one amazing story. Do you know what the reason is Sh Jibreen waited the extra day before taking everyone to the market? Some sort of preparation?

    Siraaj

  3. Avatar

    Hassen

    April 3, 2013 at 7:01 PM

    subhanAllah, this is such a beautiful story masha’Allah. I really appreciate you sharing this with us, Shaykh Waleed.

  4. Avatar

    Umm hadi

    April 3, 2013 at 11:06 PM

    Asalaam a laikum Sheikh, Takabbal minna wa minkum.

    It is an irony that most of the time in life you have all the things right in front of you, but one can see it only if a sense of interest is aroused within the person.

  5. Avatar

    Majid Mirza

    April 4, 2013 at 2:40 AM

    Jazakumullah Khairan Shaykh for sharing such a beautiful and inspiring story. We keep wondering what the barrier to beautiful dawaah is and the biggest barrier is ourself. When we learn to get rid of our ego, humble ourselves and develop a true concern for others like the Rasool (saw) and our Scholars, the impact of our dawaah will change. May Allah reward you and your family – Ameen.

  6. Avatar

    omar malik

    April 5, 2013 at 9:41 AM

    Assalam o Alaikum wrwk

    that was an amazing story but more then that it was an assurance for me that I need to continue to give da’wa. because lot of times I try to work with youth and give da’wa and find it difficult to keep up with other brothers who are simply in their privacy most of the times doing more good deeds then me. however I have to try to do as much good as I can and not drop the da’wa just because I am not able to read as much Quran as them, or memorize etc. because at the end of the day someone has to be out there with the youth mingling and trying to bring them back to Allah SWT

    • Aly Balagamwala | DiscoMaulvi

      Aly Balagamwala | DiscoMaulvi

      April 6, 2013 at 3:12 AM

      WaAlaikum Assalam wa rehmatullahi wa barakatuhu:

      Someone put the importance of dawah to me very nicely. Had the sahaba not considered going out and giving dawah a bigger priority than their individual worship they would have stayed in Makkah and Madinah (where salah is several times better than other places) and none of us (in Pakistan) would be Muslim today.

      The Prophet (SAW) said (meaning of his sayings) that whoever guides to good will get the reward of that good without the person doing that good losing any reward. Therefore, imagine if you went out and got 1 person to pray his 5 daily prayers. You effectively doubled your sawab of daily prayers from 5 to 10. Now multiply this to 100 people. Imagine the rewards.

      However, one thing I have learnt from many of the teachers and shayookh is that alongwith your dawah, you MUST also give some time to establishing that bond with Allah (SWT) through prayer, thru recitation, thru azkar. In fact Shaykh Tawfique Chowdhury, who is CEO of Mercy Mission, told a bunch of us recently prior to launch of Al-Kauthar Karachi that do Dawah and other Islamic work for 10 months then take 2 months off if you have to. Build YOUR connection and renew your sincerity to the religion and the work you are doing.

      WasSalamuAlaikum
      -Aly
      *Comment above is posted in a personal capacity and may not reflect the official views of MuslimMatters or its staff*

  7. Avatar

    Abu Hafsa

    April 15, 2013 at 1:18 AM

    SubhanAllah, Inspirational Story. Its discouraging to hear the condition of the muslims where ever you go. May Allah preserve the shiekh and reward you for sharing this story. Please Continue your series I’m enjoying it.

    Sometimes people and their thought process are so ingrained in doing an act, that its hard for them to see past delusion, the act in actually is haram. When you speak to them, in a kind way, they look at you as if you’re the mad one. In essence turning your into some fanatic when in fact it is them that are committing the crime against Allah, and in turn only oppressing themselves. For every ONE good story, there are too many that dont end in such a beautiful way.

  8. Avatar

    O H

    April 28, 2013 at 2:12 AM

    Allaahu Akbar! May Allaah have mercy on his soul. May this awesome series continue In sha Allaah

  9. Pingback: Links | madiha33's Blog

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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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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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