DAY 17. COVID-19 LOCKDOWN.
The Heifer سورة البقرة
بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.
﴿٢٨٦﴾ لَا يُكَلِّفُ اللَّهُ نَفْسًا إِلَّا وُسْعَهَا ۚ لَهَا مَا كَسَبَتْ وَعَلَيْهَا مَا اكْتَسَبَتْ ۗ رَبَّنَا لَا تُؤَاخِذْنَا إِنْ نَسِينَا أَوْ أَخْطَأْنَا ۚ رَبَّنَا وَلَا تَحْمِلْ عَلَيْنَا إِصْرًا كَمَا حَمَلْتَهُ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِنَا ۚ رَبَّنَا وَلَا تُحَمِّلْنَا مَا لَا طَاقَةَ لَنَا بِهِ ۖ وَاعْفُ عَنَّا وَاغْفِرْ لَنَا وَارْحَمْنَا ۚ أَنْتَ مَوْلَانَا فَانْصُرْنَا عَلَى الْقَوْمِ الْكَافِرِينَ286.
“Allah burdens no soul beyond its capacity. To its credit is what it earns, and against it is what it commits. “Our Lord, do not condemn us if we forget or make a mistake. Our Lord, do not burden us as You have burdened those before us. Our Lord, do not impose on us more than we have the strength to bear; and pardon us, and forgive us, and have mercy on us. You are our Master, so help us against the disbelieving people.”
Today was tough! Tough in the sense that the COVID-19 Stats made me think of the enormity of leaving this world. It is a thought that we had but, it did not strike home so vividly because, deaths were few and far between in relation to the current situation. Furthermore, the thought of the burden of the baggage we carry each day that wear us down and this makes us forgetful of the day we will depart from this temporary world.
Beasts of burden take on the toil of the day and pull heavy loads without complaint yet, man creates more burdens for himself which he cannot bear. This heaviness of thought is generated by the immense number of messages related to difficulties people are facing in these times, especially the poor and destitute. It pained my heart experiencing my comfort because, on other group chats, there were challenges of ‘cook offs’, ‘male chef of the week’ and ‘men at housework’ whilst for the greater majority the chat was about whether there will be a next meal.
All these thoughts played on my mind and it was not just one standard thought on the subject of the burdens we carry however, the one that stood out for me was the one man who would come into our neighbourhood to collect the plastic and can food tins, load it on his trolley and pull it along. At the end of a collection drive, he is dwarfed by the trolley that suffers under the yoke of a huge pile of our waste. The amazing thing is that I never saw him look so distraught and full of despair. Somehow, he had the energy to strut and pull his load from street to street disappearing in the distance to return the next day or two. This man exemplified the fact that no one will carry your burdens but, yourself. For him, it was the load of our garbage which he sold for a meagre sum but, it put bread on the table.
We have this life of ease yet, we carry the burden of gossip, tales and useless activities which gets in the way of self-growth and learning new things. Now, what is profound of this ‘collector’ is that he races to each dustbin bag and unties the knots, opens the bag and takes what he needs, knots the bag again and goes to the next one. He does this again, and again and again…
There is an admiration here of him. He does not tear the bag and leave the contents on the ground. He has that care and excellence in his ‘work’. I think of how we litter places and it becomes a burden for the next person but, we don’t care because our space is clean. This ‘collector’ made the point to me that life is what Allah has given you in the circumstances you are in. I remember greeting him once and his eyes had that sadness but, there was no discontent. Sure, he would want my comfort. However, his body language spoke the following to me: “My life is tough, my burdens are more, help me if you can and I am always grateful.” A coin in his hand made him feel like a rich man but, I felt he was rich too because, his demeanour made me feel the human in me again.
“Allah burdens no soul beyond its capacity. To its credit is what it earns, and against it is what it commits. “Our Lord, do not condemn us if we forget or make a mistake.” His appearance personified this ayah (sign/evidence) from the Holy Quran because his earning was honest and we make the mistake of judging people like him. In general, our judgements are in bad taste and we use examples of people like him as hopeless human beings. However, in the sight of Allah, the High the Great, he is the sage of the age. One would never know. Therefore, look at what lessons are there for you in the people you are made to see. This is such a positive thing to do and you will realise that it is true that Allah does not burden a should more than what it can carry.
It is too much for us to carry the burden of this COVID-19 effects on our souls and become depressed about it. Each person is working himself out of the situation according to his means and abilities and; if he falters with care, he will put himself at risk. It is the opportune time now to race to do good for we are brought face to face with death. Instead of procrastinating on goals begin working on them in some way because you can still say to Allah that you have tried even though you might have missed the mark. How pleasant is that kind of a call to Allah by a servant who is the seeker for redemption? It is very pleasant and that is what we forget.
We forget because the baggage of burdens we carry are unresolved problems we have with people for example or the pain we caused people amongst so many other things. Let go of all this by turning to Allah, the Merciful seeking forgiveness and admitting to missing the mark. In it you will find the inner strength to bounce back, shed the burdens and give yourself another chance because; there are just too many people worst off than you.
Hamlet says “God hath given you one face, and you make yourself another.” (Hamlet, act 3 scene 1) is just so fitting to close this discussion. Allah created you and I in the situation we are in therefore, let’s not make desire that which we cannot fashion or make.