By Madiny Darries
There is little doubt that 2020 is a year that most people would rather forget.
It is easy to focus on the negative as it has been such a difficult year: so much death, hunger and poverty, job losses, business losses, homelessness and of course, the politicians did not disappoint proving their inability yet again to serve the best interests of the people.
First, we need to understand “The law of reciprocity”.
This law basically states that every positive action begets a positive reaction.
Within every event there is a positive and a negative aspect. We have a choice as to how we respond to the event.
How often have we heard of a horrific experience that happens to someone and that person emerges from this overwhelming negative experience completely transformed.
The person responds in a way that is unexpected: forgiving the perpetrator and using that experience to serve humanity and to do good.
This is the power of the Law of Reciprocity.
Within the context of this pandemic that the world is currently experiencing we have only one choice and that is to apply the Law of Reciprocity.
Never before in the contemporary world have people witnessed the fragility of humanity with all its technological advancements and intellectual achievements.
Our arrogance, self-importance, wealth, material possessions and self-righteousness are mere nothingness in this infinite creation.
Often things happen in our lives that we do not understand such as a tragedy or sudden hardship.
As believers we know that nothing happens without reason and nothing happens outside the Will (subjected to the Laws) of Allah (God).
We are tested in this world through our free will.
We can choose to be grateful or ungrateful, choose the path of morality and goodness or the path of immorality and wrongful actions.
Every tribulation is a test. Whether this virus is natural or manufactured is immaterial.
What is important to understand is that everything is an outcome of Allah’s Will.
Our purpose in life is to be tested. So how did we as individuals and as a collective respond to this test?
At the individual level, were we generous and responsive to helping and assisting, and collectively did we sow chaos and undermine the humanitarian effort of some governments or did we create little miracles like many of the charitable and humanitarian organizations?
As the saying goes: “Do not waste a good crisis”.
How did you respond? This is the test. Allah tells us in the noble Qur’an:
And behold, with every hardship comes ease; (94:05).
Verily, with every hardship comes ease! (94:06).
After every hardship and trial comes ease and comfort. It is emphasised twice in these two verses.
This pandemic will end. This virus will weaken and become like the regular flu or may even completely disappear.
There will be no “new normal”. Ease will prevail.
We are told this by our Lord, Our Sustainer and Protector. “Nay, but Allah is your Lord Supreme and His is the best of succour” (3:150).
Many of us lost loved ones this year.
Good people – people in service of God and humanity.
Fathers, mothers, doctors, healthcare workers, brothers, sisters, activists, bread earners – their deaths were not punishment but salvation.
We know where they are, we know the space they occupy.
We must celebrate their lives, their goodness and remember them fondly. Remember what they stood for so that we can be reminded of what is good, for they are with their Lord.
The Qur’an says: “Every human being is bound to taste death; and We test you [all] through the bad and good [things of life] by way of trial: and unto Us you all must return” (21:35).
Death is an inevitability as Allah tells us: “He has created death as well as life, so that He might put you to a test [and thus show] which of you is best in conduct, and [make you realize that] He alone is almighty, truly forgiving” (67:02).
Again, how did we respond: were we generous, were we helpful, did we serve others?
Through this pandemic and like all adversity we are provided an opportunity to do good, to be tested.
To accept Allah’s Will, to understand the reasons and transform both as individuals and as a collective.
Allah tells us that some of these tribulations will be experienced by all: the bad as well as the good.
“And beware of that temptation to evil which does not befall only those among you whom are bent on denying the truth, to the exclusion of others and know that Allah is severe in retribution” (8:25).
So good people will also face the same tribulations as the wrongdoers and this pandemic is a case in point.
Through this pandemic Allah is sending us a clear message.
This is a reminder of the need to do good, to change our ways, and an opportunity to do good.
He has taken from us many good people.
Let us rise to the occasion.
Let us as believers and as humanity accept His offer of salvation.
Madiny Darries is a social activist residing in South Africa.