[undated, before March 17]
From the Resident Alim’s Desk
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Stay Calm & Be Smart
I pray this message reaches all of you in the best of health and spirits. We are currently undergoing some very difficult times and are facing unprecedented uncertainties due to the Coronavirus; and so I felt a duty to send a message to the entire community to ensure that we are following the prescriptions that Islam has set out for us; and in-sha Allah together we can overcome these tests.
There are two points of emphasis that I want to focus on: Staying Calm and Being Smart.
With the constant news cycles and un-ending messages on social media about the virus; we naturally find ourselves in a constant state of anxiety and fear. When Islam encourages us to stay calm, it is not through the lens of taking this virus lightly. No, not at all; rather we need to be following the advice of the experts who are telling us that we need to exercise extreme caution and take the necessary steps to ensure that the virus does not spread out of control.
When Islam talks about staying calm, it is a calmness which is a byproduct of our faith. We have been promised by Allah SWT that He will test us from the beginning of our lives till the end. These tests will come in different forms and today its form is the coronavirus. Don’t forget Allah SWT is still in control and wants to see how we respond to these tests. The way we correctly use our faith to ensure we pass this and all other tests is by Being Smart.
There are numerous ways in which we can demonstrate that we are being smart in how we handle this test and hence proving the value of our faith:
1. Follow the advice of the experts: Besides looking after our personal hygiene and avoiding others if we are sick (things we should have always been doing), one of the most important pieces of advice we are being given is to practice social distancing. Social distancing is a conscious effort to reduce social interaction with the intention of stopping or slowing down the spread of this virus. In this regard mosques, schools, libraries, museums…etc. have all been temporarily closed.
We need to make sure that we are following social distancing in our personal lives. If you know of mosques or Imambarghas which are still open, please do not attend. If you know of a family holding a religious gathering or Nazr, please do not attend. The measure of one’s faith is not displayed by the attendance in these gatherings; rather it is displayed by acting according to the prescriptions of the intellect and being smart.
2. Do not hoard: Sadly, with the increase in anxiety and fear we have seen a rise in hoarding of consumer products. Lines are out the door, shelves are empty and even fights have broken out in super-markets. This form of behavior goes against the teachings of Islam. Imam Ali AS is reported to have said: “There is no good in any act of hoarding that brings loss to the people and inflates the prices for them” (Mustradrak al-Wasail vol. 13 p. 274)
Go buy what you need and maybe a bit extra in case of illness or if someone else is in need; but there is absolutely no need to hoard. Let’s put our trust in Allah SWT that if we act smartly and use our faith correctly, He will soon lead us out of this difficulty and trial.
3. Personal and familial spiritual growth: We always say that if we had more free time we would engage in more spiritual exercises. Well, now with everything being closed, time is at our disposal. Let’s try a few of the points below; individually and as a family to maximize the benefits available in this month of Rajab.
Pray Salat in congregation at home
Read and reflect on the Holy Qur’an. For example we can read in a circle the way we do at mosque in the Month of Ramadhan with the translation
Read du’as as often as possible: The best du’as are those taught to us by the Holy Household (as). For example, Dua Number 7 from Saheefah Sajjadiyyah has been suggested by Ayatullah Khamenei. Ayatullah Mazahiri has suggested Dua Mujeer, Yastasheer, and Mashlool.
Pick an Islamic book to read individually or as a family. Good books can be found on this link:
Watch an Islamic movie or series as a family. Good movies or series can be found on this link:
4. Call to check on the well-being of others: Part of the difficulty of social distancing is that we lose the personal touch of seeing each other at mosques and homes. However, the responsibility of looking after one another does not stop even with this current recommendation. Please call someone you have been thinking of, message someone you haven’t heard from in a while and make sure they are okay. If you find someone is stuck at home and in need, the mosque has volunteers who are ready to help, please reach out to the management for more information.
5. Pray for our Imam AS: Many of us feel strange that we lack that personal contact with others during this period, though we are fortunate that we have phones, video chats, social media…etc. This moment is a good time to empathize with the Imam of our time – who wants to be with us but due to our own actions he cannot join us yet. Pray for him, earnestly, for this health and safety and that Allah SWT returns him back to us soon.
With lots of Du’a for all of you and asking for the same:
Sheikh Jaffer H. Jaffer
Rajab 1441/March 2020