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What Would A Muslim Do As NFL Commissioner?

In the fortnight of wall-to-wall media hype dedicated to Super Bowl XLIX, no storyline has gone unturned. From Bill Belichick’s deflated footballs to Tom Brady’s nasal congestion to Marshawn Lynch’s camera shyness, every angle been covered ad nauseam. There are even stories about how it’s not a story that Russell Wilson is starting in the Super Bowl as a Black quarterback.

And occasionally, in the midst of the all the hype, we’ve managed to talk a little bit about who is actually going to win Sunday’s championship game between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks.

Ordinarily, this time of year would be a time of celebration for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. This is when the league that the 55-year-old Goodell oversees stands alone as the shining centerpiece of the sports world, crowns its new champion, and dominates one more Sunday on the calendar before taking a few months off to sit back, count the profits and get ready to do it all over again.

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But thanks in part to one team’s alleged cheating and another team’s tense relationship with the media, the past two weeks for Goodell have been no different than the previous six months: The commissioner is still facing an unrelenting deluge of criticism and second-guessing, his integrity and competency being questioned every day as what was once a dictator-like power grip on the NFL appears to be weakening.

The 2014 season was not a good one for Roger Goodell. His league generated negative press related to domestic violence and sexual assault cases, drug and alcohol abuse, brain injuries and long-term health problems, controversial officiating on the field, controversial conduct off the field, and the inexplicable existence of an NFL-approved racially insensitive nickname for the league’s Washington D.C. franchise.

And that’s not counting the NFL’s quick escape from a potential religious discrimination scandal, which began when Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Husain Abdullah was flagged for an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty after performing the Islamic prostration known as sajdah during a “Monday Night Football” game in late September. The league responded within hours that Abdullah should not have been penalized and saved itself from another public-relations black eye.

As much as the players, coaches, referees, league employees and team owners responsible for the NFL’s incumbent black eyes were publicly taken to task by professional and social media for their behavior this season, Goodell himself has been under the heaviest scrutiny.

In his 48-minute state of the league address on Friday, Goodell admitted this has been a “tough year” for him and for the NFL. The commissioner, however, remains optimistic.

“It’s an opportunity for us to get better,” Goodell said. “It’s an opportunity for us and for our organization to get better, so we’ve all done a lot of soul searching, starting with yours truly. We have taken action.”

Some of Goodell’s critics believe he should be presiding over the NFL with the attitude of an athlete, keeping the players’ best interest top of mind. Others say he should be a pure businessman, making financial growth the league’s primary goal. And others will suggest Goodell be more of a cop, putting law and order above all else.

But what if the NFL commissioner were to instead approach the job through the lens of a deeply religious person? Through the lens of a Muslim?

Using religious principles to guide one’s professional decisions is almost as old as religion itself. But is that a feasible course of action for the leader of the world’s most popular and profitable sports league?

What would a Muslim do as NFL commissioner?

Before answering that question, I hope to make it clear that I am not trying to cast aspersions on Roger Goodell personally, either as a commissioner or as a man of faith (whatever his faith may be). This piece is more about exploring where the values and principles of Islam fit within the culture of today’s NFL.

First things first: I don’t think a Muslim NFL commissioner would allow the Washington D.C. franchise to keep its nickname.

Islam is strongly against all forms of racism and bigotry — as detailed in the Quran (49:13) and in the Prophet Muhammad’s final sermon, most notably — and is also strongly for kindness and compassion. Having a racial slur represent the league in such a prominent fashion, particularly a slur aimed at a group of people who have already been treated horribly in this country’s history, is a non-starter.

And if franchise owner Daniel Snyder keeps up with his ignorant comments meant to defend his team’s choice of nickname, with a different commissioner he might find himself in a similar position as exiled former NBA team owner Donald Sterling.

Player safety would be another high-priority issue for a Muslim NFL commissioner.

While I don’t expect any NFL commissioner sell the old lie that player safety is the league’s first priority — if it really was, they’d change the game to flag football immediately — I would expect a Muslim commissioner to work within the framework of the sport as we know it to make things as safe as possible.

Islam teaches its followers to love your fellow man as if he is your brother. And when it’s your brother’s health on the line, of course it will mean more to you. Therefore, with a Muslim NFL commissioner, I don’t think the league would have any more Thursday night games — a cruel bit of scheduling that forces some teams to play two games in five days — and I think the ongoing discussion about an 18-game regular-season schedule would cease.

Another byproduct of a commissioner’s real commitment to player safety — as well as Islam’s prohibition on gambling — would be an end to the practice of injury reports being released publicly.

Currently, NFL teams are required to release injury reports a few days before their game. And let’s be real: The only reason this is a rule is to cater to the gambling industry. Oddsmakers, bookies, prognosticators and gamblers need to know which players are hurt and to which extent they are hurt in order to make accurate picks and continue pumping money into the system. And as many people realized during another recent NFL scandal — the “Bountygate” case of the New Orleans Saints — NFL teams do pay attention to injury reports and will target the injured area of an opponent’s body.

Requiring teams to hand over sealed injury reports to the league office is a smart and probably necessary policy in the name of protecting players from being taken advantage of by team doctors who have conflicting interests. But there’s no need for those reports to go public. By refusing to consider the desires of gamblers, and by essentially removing targets from players’ bodies, this way of handling injury reports would help reduce injuries and long-term health problems for players and former players.

I also believe other injury-related policies — such as NFL rules regarding chop blocks and helmet-to-helmet hits — would regularly be reviewed by a safety-conscious Muslim commissioner, with the goal being that each athlete can walk away from this organized chaos we call pro football as healthy as possible. And keeping in line with the Islamic value of taking care of our elders as they once took care of us, retired players would also receive greater consideration regarding pensions and post-career health care.

Drugs and alcohol are prohibited by Islam, and yet I don’t think a Muslim NFL commissioner would necessarily impose those values on the league’s players as strictly as some may expect. There is no compulsion in religion, according to Islam, and a commissioner’s duty is not to control the lifestyles that players live off the field. In other words, just because the commissioner conducts himself as a Muslim, that doesn’t mean he can require those he works with to behave as Muslims do. But if players do break league policies or societal laws, they will have to face consequences.

Islam places a high value on qualities such as peacefulness, modesty, generosity, discipline, cleanliness, tolerance and honesty, among others. But a commissioner can only go so far without overstepping professional boundaries.

Would a Muslim NFL commissioner, however, allow the league to continue advertising with alcohol companies and selling alcohol at stadiums?

Ideally, they would not. But honestly, since the commissioner is technically working for each of the league’s 32 franchise ownership entities, it would be a very hard sell to get those owners to give up the tremendous chunk of money that comes with advertising and selling alcohol.

And speaking of gameday atmosphere, what would a Muslim commissioner do (if anything) about NFL cheerleaders? About rude and unruly fans? Would more NFL stadiums have prayer and meditation rooms for religious fans?

The ideal Muslim NFL commissioner would approach contract and collective-bargaining negotiations from a place of fairness and avoid being needlessly greedy. So under this commissioner, is the likelihood greater that the 2011 NFL player lockout or the 2012 NFL referee lockout would not have happened? Would labor peace be more likely with a Muslim NFL commissioner?

There is no question, however, that the hottest of hot-button topics Goodell and the NFL faced in the past year has been domestic violence. The league had dealt with cases of players assaulting women in the past, but often those were handled quickly and relatively quietly. Things changed in 2014.

The case of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was, depending on who you ask, either a shocking eye-opener or a long overdue last straw when it came to football players and domestic violence. Rice, who was caught on video knocking his wife out with a punch and then dragging her unconscious body from the scene, has been vilified by the public and media more than perhaps any athlete since O.J. Simpson. Meanwhile, Goodell’s handling of the Rice case has drawn the kind of negative attention and criticism that transcends the sports page.

And then just when it seemed the Rice story was fading from public consciousness, Minnesota Vikings superstar running back Adrian Peterson was indicted on child-abuse charges for allegedly beating his four-year-old son in an excessive manner. Peterson’s ensuing suspension was more strict and swift than Rice’s punishment — the NFL had learned a lesson, after all — but Goodell and his league were again painted in a negative light.

Domestic violence is also a controversial topic in the Muslim community.

Although there are multiple hadiths quoting the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) on family life and describing him as a gentle husband and father — “The most complete of the believers in faith, is the one with the best character. And the best of you are those who are best to their women,” the Prophet said — there is still a disturbing and persistent culture of domestic abuse in many Muslim-majority countries and communities around the world. And the actions of those abusers support the misconception that Islam encourages domestic violence.

Would a Muslim NFL commissioner have handled the Rice case or the Peterson case any differently than Goodell handled them?

Given the importance that Islam places on justice, I think that if nothing else, Rice’s initial suspension would’ve been longer than two games given the contents of the infamous videotape, even if Rice had not been convicted in a criminal court.

In the aftermath of the Rice and Peterson cases, the NFL began working on a tougher personal conduct policy, which it is now fighting with the NFL players union to implement sooner than later.

“The league’s revised conduct policy was the product of a tremendous amount of analysis and work and is based on input from a broad and diverse group of experts within and outside of football, including current players, former players, and the NFL Players Association,” the NFL said in an official statement last week. “We and the public firmly believe that all NFL personnel should be held accountable to a stronger, more effective conduct policy. Clearly, the union does not share that belief.”

It is an admirable effort that will lead to a better league, Insha’Allah. But I feel that under a commissioner who is following Islamic principles, a tougher conduct policy would’ve already been in place before Rice and Peterson damaged the league’s reputation and deep-pocketed sponsors started questioning their affiliation with the NFL.

Of course, it is unfairly easy to criticize the actions (and inactions) of people who are in high-profile decision-making roles: men like Roger Goodell and Barack Obama, women like Angela Merkel and Stacey Allaster.

We not only have the benefit of hindsight, but we also don’t face the coming-from-all-corners pressure these leaders live with every day.

While it seems everybody with even a casual interest in football is lining up to tell Goodell how to do his job, I don’t think anyone is under the illusion that his job is an easy one.

The commissioner of the NFL must serve the interests of billionaire team owners without alienating millionaire athletes.

The commissioner must manage the egos of rich, talented and confident men and women who are accustomed to getting their way, all while maintaining goodwill with a mostly working-class fan base whose money makes the entire system go ‘round.

The job of NFL commissioner requires an ability to balance justice with fairness, confidence with humility, forgiveness with accountability, patience with ambition, strength with kindness. It is a balancing act that many Muslims have experience in navigating; a job at which I would fully expect the right Muslim to succeed.

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Amaar Abdul-Nasir was born and raised in Seattle, Wash., and received his B.A. in Journalism from Seattle University. A sports writer and editor by trade, Amaar founded UmmahSports.net, which focuses on Muslim athletes and health and fitness in the Muslim community, following his conversion to Islam in 2013.

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The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

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#Life

Mental Health & COVID-19: Light, Guidance, & Much Love | Part 1

Insha’Allah, you and your loved ones are safe & healthy. May Allah swt protect us all from COVID-19, Ya Hafidh, and open the way for our spiritual growth, Ya Fattah Ya Rabb. No doubt, we are living in very challenges times, and many in our community are suffering. As such, my intention for this two-part series is to provide some beneficial perspectives and practical strategies that will make your emotional journey safer & easier, insha’Allah.

And a journey it surely is. We are on a very long hike up a very steep mountain. And we have only two choices about HOW we approach this challenge: unskillfully or skillfully. If we wear flip-flops, and fail to pack water and snacks, we will have a very difficult time reaching the summit. And if we do, we will be in very bad shape. If we wear good socks, sturdy hiking boots, and our backpack is well-stocked, not only are we likely to reach the summit, but reach it in great shape. This is what I want for our beloved community, insha’Allah.

As Muslims, it is crucial to remember that the ultimate summit is the hereafter. Truly, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is our goal and pleasing Him is our aim. Truly, everything we do or fail to do here has an impact there. For many people, this haqq is much more difficult to remember and actualize when their day-to-day challenges are daunting. This is why historically and traditionally, in times of crisis, Muslims have always sought the nasiha of wise elders. Imam Muhasibi, the father of Islamic Psychology, developed this crucial, beautiful science in response to the human needs of his students. Sadly, the loss of these teachings as a widespread living tradition has contributed in large part to the widespread mental-health problems that have been plaguing our community for a very long time, which have now been exacerbated by COVID-19.

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Here’s a good metaphor. The science of nutrition teaches us about our body, the properties of different foods, what to avoid to prevent disease, and the vital nutrients we MUST ingest to attain optimum physical health. Likewise, the science of mental health teaches us about our heart and mind, the impact of specific activities, what to avoid to prevent disease, and the vital psychological nutrients we MUST ingest to attain optimum mental health. Lack of knowledge about Islamic Psychology and the absence of the vital psychological nutrients have taken a huge toll on our community. The stories I hear would probably shock you. They would certainly break your heart. Especially the stories of our young people, who are my top priority. Insha’Allah, the wake-up call of COVID-19 propels us to reclaim en masse this lost part of our spiritual heritage, so we can reclaim our vitality and nobility as the Ummah of Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).

To continue with the metaphor. Working one-on-one with an experienced nutritionist is very different than reading a book about nutrition. With the former, your nutritional program is specifically tailored to your particular problems, challenges, habits, and temperament. The same is true when it comes to mental health. So I must manage your expectations honestly and honorably by saying that it is not possible for me to do in two articles for the general public what I do one-on-one in my private practice as a psychotherapist, life-coach, and spiritual mentor. Truly, there is a palpable, powerful, fitrah-based alchemy that can only happen when two human hearts link-up in real time. That said, in the same way that reading and learning about nutrition is very beneficial, so too reading and learning about mental health, especially now.

Working Skillfully with Difficult Emotions

No doubt, COVID-19 has unleashed a wide range of very difficult emotions. People are struggling with tremendous anxiety, uncertainty, fear, sadness, loneliness, depression, helplessness, hopelessness, anger, frustration, confusion, grief, despair, and in some cases, a full-blown crisis of faith. So let me explain a little bit about emotions and how to work with them skillfully  

One of the foundational principles of cognitive-behavioral psychology is called ‘reframing.’

It is the process of deliberately thinking differently about our situation. Reframing it. The fact is, the lens through which we view our circumstances makes all the difference in the world insofar as how we feel. Thoughts are like the front wheels of the car and feelings are like the back wheels. We must be in the driver seat, steering intentionally. Whichever way the front wheels turn, the back wheels follow. So paying attention to our thoughts moment by moment, and making sure they are aligned with the Qur’an and Sunnah, is crucial. The mind is a like a muscle that MUST be trained through specific exercises, and our tradition is rich in the techniques for doing so. Truly, we must hit the spiritual gym regularly. The heavy lifting of muhasiba (self-reckoning) and muraqaba (mindfulness/meditation) are not optional. If these are not already a consistent part of your spiritual practice, NOW is the time to take them up. You will be so happy you did!

Here’s a good metaphor. If you are a longtime couch potato, even a flight of stairs leaves you huffing and puffing. If you are in good shape, you’re able to jog around the block easily. If you’re in great shape, you’re able to leap over the hurdles like a gazelle. For many, COVID-19 has been like asking a couch potato to run a marathon. So we need to get in the best spiritual shape possible as quickly as possible. To that end:

The Centering Exercise 

Every time you notice that you are feeling sad, anxious, fearful, angry, hopeless, helpless, impatient, frustrated, confused, or depressed, here’s what to do.  

  • Turn off your devices and put them in another room.
  • Close your door and put a “Please do not disturb.” sign on the doorknob. Lay down.
  • Close your eyes. Turn your attention to your heart. Remember the Hadith Qudsi, “Heaven and earth cannot contain me but the heart of my faithful believer is where I reside.” Truly, Allah is closer than our jugular vein. (50:16)
  • Take some slow-deep breaths. On the out-breath, silently recite “La illaha.” On the in-breath, silently recite “il Allah.” After a few minutes, notice the shift in your state. Notice the deep connection between ‘self’ and ‘breath’, not just experientially, but also etymologically. They both derive from the same Arabic root, transliterated nfs.   
  • When you are centered, mentally review what you had been thinking about that gave rise to the difficult emotions.  Then do a ‘search and replace,’ deliberately and intentionally replacing your dark thoughts with the Light of The Qur’an or Hadith. Here is one example: Search: “I’ll never get through this.” Replace: “Allah never burdens a person with more than he is well able to bear.” (2:286)

As individuals, we each have our own particular dark thoughts. NOW is the BEST time to fix them. I lovingly encourage you to get a blank journal, so that each time you do The Centering Exercise, you can make note of what you observed, what you learned about yourself. Write down each dark thought and then write down each Rx of Light from The Qur’an or Sunnah. Having a personal journal gives you a concrete means of reinforcing your new thought patterns. 

We know from our neuroscience that the human brain possesses ‘neuroplasticity’, which is the capacity to be shaped, molded, changed. As such, the more often you do The Centering Exercise, the more your thinking patterns will change. This is how Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) created us, mash’Allah! It’s really quite amazing to realize that the Qur’an we’ve been given provides Light upon Light from The Lord of The Worlds. And the Sunnah is that Light fully actualized to perfection, mash’Allah. The fact is, no matter how dark a room may be, if we light just one candle, it illuminates the space. Mash’Allah!

Parents, once you get the hang of The Centering Exercise, please please teach it to your children! Insha’Allah, make it the new normal in your household, transforming discord and upset into harmony and peace.

Say “Ameen!”

Divine Reminders

Insofar as reframing COVID-19 in the broader sense, I offer you this lens, this Divine Reminder, with much love. May it shift your state from embittered to empowered. My beloved sisters and brothers, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is our Rabb, our Teacher, and COVID-19 is the Test we’ve all been given. Every single human being on the planet. We all woke up one day, walked into the classroom of Life, and got handed a pop quiz. The purpose of which is to show us the places where we weren’t prepared. This is great! Because the trumpet is absolutely going to sound, and we surely want to be ready. As long as we’re breathing, we have time to prepare. This is great!

Say “Ameen!” 

Beloved ones, we have the incredible privilege of being students of The One Who Knows Everything, including The Future and The Unseen.  It is very bad adab to question the teaching methods of our Teacher or to complain that we don’t like the Test.

This was the fatal mistake of Bani Israel that we are reminded 17x/day not to emulate. On the contrary, what we want to be asking ourselves is: “What must I do to pass this Test with flying colors, to ace this Exam?” Our beautiful Qur’an teaches us: “Not without purpose did We create heaven and earth and all between.” (38:27)  This pandemic is not some random event. It has a divine purpose. There is deep meaning in it. 

There is also enormous rahmah in it. Our beautiful Qur’an teaches us: “…My mercy embraces everything.” (7:156) The Divine Physician has dispensed this bitter medicine to heal us. To heal the whole world from its longstanding imbalances and injustices. Surely, it is no accident, the timing of COVID-19 vis-à-vis the murder of George Floyd and the global response it has galvanized.  Surely, every human being wants to and deserves to breathe.

COVID-19 is a wake-up call for the whole world. Ours to do as students is to be fully present in each moment, to practice mindfulness (muraqaba), so we can be deeply receptive to the Lessons we are meant to learn (muhasiba). Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.” (13:11) Beloved ones, NOW is the time for global tawbah (repentance). As the Ummah of Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), this is our Divine Assignment, individually, collectively, institutionally. 

My vision and personal commitment is that we wind up stronger and better-than-ever on the other side of this, insha’Allah. I can say this with great confidence because first and foremost, I know that COVID-19 or no COVID-19, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is not out of business! The presence of The Presence, the power of the Names & Attributes, are as robust as ever. 

We are being summoned to recognize our hubris and turn our hearts in humility toward The One Who Is In Charge, The One Who Calls The Shots, to The One Whose Decree we surrender. Humbly. Readily. Insha’Allah, NOW is the time to actualize the last part of Hadith Jibreel about qadr. The fact is, what’s happening around us is what’s happening, and this is always in the hands of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). HOW we respond to what’s happening is entirely up to us.

What I want for our community is the best possible response, the most skillful and beautiful response, the response that will be of maximum benefit here & hereafter, insha’Allah.

I can also say this with great confidence because time and again, working with Muslim refugees who have been through horrific trauma, I have seen with my own eyes how absolutely amazing human beings are. How resilient. How courageous. How creative. How capable of transforming sorrow into joy, lemons into lemonade, compost into roses. This is what I want for you, my beloved sisters and brothers.

No doubt, on any long and arduous journey, in addition to having the right equipment and supplies, having an experienced trail-guide makes all the difference. There is dangerous terrain you want to avoid, and beautiful vistas you don’t want to miss. In my experience over decades, I have observed that human beings thrive when we are given the right tools and the loving encouragement to master them.  So let me give you now some very practical guidelines to help you navigate skillfully, so you can extract from these precious days of your life what is meaningful & transformational. 

Practical Strategies

When it comes to protecting our physical health from the pandemic, there are certain steps we MUST take. Likewise with our mental health. As such, here are some practical strategies, culled from thousands of pages of research and decades of experience. My focus is on parents, whose job has never been more difficult. And with the new school year right around the corner, this guidance is extremely timely. 

Boundaries: Set clear boundaries regarding where and when devices can be used. This applies to everyone in the household, kids and parents alike. Parents, as your elder who loves you, I am reminding you that YOU are the CEO of your home. YOU are the policy maker. YOU are in charge. NOT your kids or their devices. So take charge!

  • No devices for kids 0-3. These guidelines are from the American Pediatric Association. 
  • No devices at the dinner table* or in the bedrooms.
  • No devices until after Fajr. Better yet, after breakfast.
  • All devices put away 1-2 hours before bedtime. Plugged in in the kitchen to recharge.
  • Limit on-line entertainment and socializing to 1 hour/day MAX.
  • Schedule tech fasts ½ day weekly, and 1-2 full days monthly, on a weekend.
  • An occasional family-time movie is fine on the weekend. Choose something meaningful, uplifting, thought-provoking, heart-opening. Pop some popcorn. Make tea. Engage in a special time afterward to really talk together about your experience. *Getting in the habit of real-time-face-to-face conversations is crucial. If you start when your kids are young, it will lay a strong foundation for their teenage years, when they desperately need wise, trustworthy, caring adults who really know how to listen from the heart.

Nature: Spending time in nature is the very best thing you can do for yourself and with your family. There are reams of data about the stress-reducing effects of being outdoors, especially in the woods. There are also reams of data about the benefits of exercise, not only for physical health, but for mental health. Given all the extra sitting everyone is doing during COVID-19, regular exercise is not optional. 

Furthermore, if your kids are schooling from home and you are working from home, everyone will surely need some breathing room, some physical and emotional space from one another, some time every day in solitude, unplugged from their devices. Spending alone-time in nature is the perfect solution. 

For family-time activities, unplug from your devices and enjoy these delightful experiences. They will engender tremendous awe (khushu’) and deepen your heart-connection with your Rabb, The One Who Created you and all the beauty around you. Subhan’Allah.

  • Take a 15-30 minute family-walk every night after dinner before homework.
  • Go hiking, biking, rollerblading, kayaking, kite-flying, or camping on the weekend.   
  • Set up bird feeders in your yard. Learn their names and identify their songs.
  • Go out nightly to look at the stars. Learn the names of the constellations.
  • Watch as many sunrises & sunsets, moonrises & moonsets as you can. 

As Muslims, our worship is guided by the natural cycles Allah put in place. The sun is our clock. It tells us when to pray. The moon is our calendar. It tells us when the new month begins. Sighting the moon is an act of worship, mash’Allah.

Divine Reminders

Our beautiful Qur’an teaches:“We will show them Our Signs (ayat) in the universe and in their own selves, until it becomes clear to them that this (the Qur’an) is the truth.” (Fussilat 41:53)

In this ayah, we are taught the two beautiful gateways into the sacred: the macrocosm of the universe, and the microcosm of the self. Both of these gateways open into the direct experience of Allah’s presence. 

As Muslims, we have been invited to spend time in this dunya in the company of The One Who is Love (al-Wadud). The One Who is Strength (al-Aziz). The One Who is Peace (as-Salaam). And on & on. What could be more beneficial during this time of crisis? Alas, calling upon our Rabb by His most Beautiful Names, with urgency & sincerity, is one of the Lessons we must learn from COVID-19.  My prayer for our community is that people do not squander the opportunity to connect in a deep, meaningful, intimate way heart-to-heart with Allah because they can’t put their phone down or turn their computer off. Insha’Allah, I will address the subject of digital addiction in the second article, as it plays a huge role when it comes to mental health issues.

Closing Du’a

Ya Habibi Ya Allah. Please grant us oceans of fortitude and mountains of strength Ya Sabur Ya Aziz. May we be dutiful beautiful students who strive with all our might in jihad al akbar to pass this test with flying colors, to ace this exam. May we, the Ummah of Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), love one another like he loves us, and strengthen one another every step of the way. May we wind up stronger and better-than-ever on the other side of COVID-19, reclaiming the standard of Insan Kamil as the Index by which we measure our lives. Ya Dhal Jalali wal Ikram.

Say “Ameen!” 

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