Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim
This Eid certainly seems unique!
There have been many pandemics throughout history, and each has left unique imprints upon the story of humankind.
Human ingenuity has created a technology that is, by definition, unprecedented. We've made it possible to reach people across the globe in seconds. Experientially-speaking, time and space seem to have collapsed. It seems interconnectivity
has made it possible for different people to know each other – which perhaps is one of the reasons Allah created each of us differently (see Surah Hujarat, 13!). And yet, the global dialogue is fractured, with our scholars and intellectuals now voicing concerns over the deleterious effects of social media.
COVID-19 has created an unparalleled experience of its own: a new normal, as it's now being termed.
As we celebrate the end of Ramadan, we are forced to pause. The primary characteristics of Ramadan are the fast and the Qur'an. All-day fasts result in the breakdown of learned habits we've developed over the year (or years). In this
state of fasting, our egos are asked to encounter the Qur'an. As the fast lifts the dross of the material body and quiets the racing mind, the heart is opened so that it may perceive the Qur'an's deep structure. One of those structures is stories. And here we may take solace: there have been many “new normals,” and their own structures are similar. The global stay-at-home policy has been for us a seclusion similar to Hazret-i Yunus' being in the belly of the whale, Hazret-i Yusuf's imprisonment, or Hazret-i
Mariam's wandering the desert to safely birth `Isa. The Qur'an itself was first revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him!), while he was secluded in Cave Hira.
What happens next is what is essential. The revealed events of the Qur'an's righteous and pure had happy endings. Their seclusions bore fruit that continues to nourish us today. As a seed stays secluded until it sprouts to actualize
its purpose to yield fruit, we, as Muslims, must ask ourselves what are the fruits we will yield to the world once this pandemic passes, as it surely will.
Insha'Allah, they will yield our “new normal.” If we believe the Qur'an is God's final message, we, in many ways, are the caretakers of it. We should ask ourselves what it is that we will bring to the world as we emerge out from our
homes as the stay-at-home policies are lifted. The post-Ramadan challenge has always been how to maintain and sustain the health our hearts have found during this blessed month.
Maybe we might maintain it by yielding good fruits to those around us, and not merely keeping them for ourselves.
Eid Mubarak from the staff at IQRA'!