As the COVID-19 situation continues to unfold around the world, many people are understandably facing high levels of stress. With major changes like travel restrictions, social distancing and stay-at-home measures on top of never ending updates, it’s definitely a lot to take in within such a short period of time.
From the streets to train stations and other mass transit systems, nothing is spared from this global pandemic.
Popular spots that were once filled with crowds are now ghost towns - museums, parks, shopping malls, restaurants and more.
This includes the holy cities of Saudi Arabia where not only activities like congregational prayers are halted but the year-round umrah pilgrimages have been suspended as well. Ramadan is also different this year as we cannot spend time at the mosque or break fast with our family and friends.
With plenty of uncertainties and questions during this period, Ustaz Luqman Hakim Roslan
and Ustaz Khairul Anwar
from Asatizah Youth Network
(AYN) addressed concerns about spiritual guidance, social responsibilities and share steps to get closer to Allah (s.w.t) in their Just Ask! AYN Facebook live session on Muslim SG’s Facebook page
P.S. For those who are unfamiliar, Just Ask! AYN is a weekly talk show hosted by the Asatizah Youth Network
in Singapore and it goes live on Muslim SG’s Facebook page
every Thursday at 9.30pm. The asatizah will discuss important topics that are close to your heart, such as holding on to your faith in times of challenges, strengthening family ties, and maximising this Ramadan that is so special and different.
You can tune into their live sessions to ask questions and interact with asatizah through the comments section. Plus, you'll stand a chance to win exclusive Muslim.Sg merchandise! ?
Follow Muslim SG’s Facebook page
to keep yourself updated on the next episode of Just Ask! AYN ?
Navigating the common question in the face of a challenge
As Muslims, a common question we tend to ask when confronted with difficult challenges and periods of hardships is: Why are we tested?
In Islam, times of trials and tribulations are seen as a test from Allah (s.w.t) and it is important for us to understand this because Allah (s.w.t) tests those who He loves.
In a hadith narrated from Anas bin Malik:
إِذَا أَحَبَّ اللَّهُ قَوْمًا ابْتَلَاهُمْ
“When Allah loves a people He tests them.”
And another hadith narrated by Abu Huraira:
مَنْ يُرِدِ اللَّهُ بِهِ خَيْرًا يُصِبْ مِنْهُ
“If Allah intends good for someone, then he afflicts him with trials.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari)
Allah (s.w.t) only wants the best for us. So, instead of seeing tests as a punishment, we should treat them as pockets of opportunity to express gratitude, exercise patience and remind ourselves of Allah’s power and authority.
When learning how to deal with life’s adversities through Islamic values, look no further than Prophet Ayyub a.s. and Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. Both prophets were given various challenges throughout their life and despite the misfortunes, they handled them with perseverance, integrity and a strong belief in Allah. When faced with a plague that killed tens of thousands of Muslims, the companions of Prophet Muhammad remained optimistic, patient and reflective
Spiritual guidance in facing uncertainty
The beauty of Islam lies in the fact that we can rely on our spirituality to guide us when we’re in the middle of an adversity. When doing so, the first natural step is to remember Allah’s presence in our lives which will help keep our worries at bay and face the problems with patience. You can read this article on the 8 ways to get closer to Allah at home
Narrated by Imam Ahmad:
احْفَظْ اللَّهَ تَجِدْهُ أمامك، تَعَرَّفْ إلَى اللَّهِ فِي الرَّخَاءِ يَعْرِفُك فِي الشِّدَّةِ
“Recognize and acknowledge Allah in times of ease and prosperity, and He will remember you in times of adversity”
And in using spirituality to cope with tough times, it’s always a good idea to strengthen it by reviving our faith through several religious practices. With more time on our hands now, it’s the perfect window to incorporate a few of the activities into our daily routine. One thing we can do is read the Quran. Take some time out of the day to recite the Quran and build a relationship with it. Whether you spend 5 minutes or half an hour on it, starting somewhere is better than not starting at all as there are plenty of benefits of reciting the Quran
Besides that, catching up with friends is another way to revive our faith. Although we’re all in the same boat of self-isolation, we can always connect with those we’re close with and get help from them. From a listening ear and getting encouragement to just having some form of companionship during lonely times, our friends are a great source when it comes to restoring faith.
Turning to online Islamic content also helps with having our faith revived. With plenty of resources out there to choose from, you’ll never run out of options! But if you feel overwhelmed and confused about where to start, you can always check out Muslim.Sg’s list of the best 8 Islamic podcasts
and free online Islamic classes
On top of reviving our faith, seeking mercy from Allah aids in strengthening spirituality as well.
وَأَنِ اسْتَغْفِرُوا رَبَّكُمْ ثُمَّ تُوبُوا إِلَيْهِ يُمَتِّعْكُم مَّتَاعًا حَسَنًا إِلَىٰ أَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّى وَيُؤْتِ كُلَّ ذِي فَضْلٍ فَضْلَهُ ۖ وَإِن تَوَلَّوْا فَإِنِّي أَخَافُ عَلَيْكُمْ عَذَابَ يَوْمٍ كَبِيرٍ
“And (commanding you): “Seek the forgiveness of your Lord, and turn to Him in repentance, that He may grant you good enjoyment, for a term appointed, and bestow His abounding Grace to every owner of grace (i.e. the one who helps and serves needy and deserving, physically and with his wealth, and even with good words). But if you turn away, then I fear for you the torment of a Great Day.” (Surah Hud:3)
What are the practical steps to get close to Allah?
A great way we can foster a close relationship with Allah (s.w.t) is to make plenty of duas. They are a big part of life and a powerful tool for all Muslims especially in the face of calamities. Duas are an opportunity to ask for forgiveness, alleviate stressful situations, and most importantly, a way that Allah will respond to our call. Check out these 5 powerful duas for protection against harm
and 5 beautiful duas for you this Ramadan
There are certain times where duas are more readily answered and they’re known as ‘istijabah’ - a special time where prayers or wishes are more likely to be granted. When a dua is made between the azan and iqamah, the last third of the night and the final hour before every Friday, they are more likely to be answered.
With that being said, duas can still be done anytime and anywhere. Making a silent prayer in your heart is dua too. So, make it a habit to converse with Allah, after all, Allah (s.w.t) says in Surah Ghafir: “Call upon Me; I will respond to you.” (Chapter 40, Verse 60). Beyond making duas, other steps that can be taken to strengthen our bond with Allah are to perform dhikr, solat taubat (prayer for repentance) and solat hajat (prayer of need).
Social responsibilities as religious obligations
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
“The faithful, in their love for one another and in their having mercy for one another and in their kindness toward one another, are like one body; when a member of it ails, all (the parts of) the body call one another (to share the pain) through sleeplessness and fever.” (Muslim)
Islam is all about community and we’re encouraged to look after our brothers and sisters. So as Muslims, we should always do our best to help each other and practice social responsibility.
Under the circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic, staying home and social distancing are some of the things that we should take seriously to protect not only ourselves, but others as well. So make sure you take care of your elderly parents during this pandemic
This also means being honest to healthcare workers about our travel history and health issues during checkups. When we take care of one another, we behave in a way that embodies Islamic values. Read these tips on how to cope with the COVID-19 situation
Credit: Ustaz Zulkarnain Azman’s Facebook page
Right now, many of us are going through changes and upheavals that may have us experiencing high levels of stress. However, in times of doubt and worry we can seek ways to turn to Allah (s.w.t) for reassurance and comfort.
If you want to find out more about seeking God in times of distress, head over to Muslim SG’s Facebook page
where you can watch the full video discussion
and other Just Ask! AYN videos. Also, make sure to stay tuned for AYN Facebook live sessions every Thursday at 9.30pm.