Solitude or Isolation ?

May 05, 2020

"Not a leaf falls but He knows it" - Quran 6:59

It's been a while since the onset of this pandemic. And truth be told, most of us still feel the pangs of this prolonged period of social isolation/distancing from time to time. What showed up more than a month ago as an unexpected, undesirable inconvenience disrupting our plans and schedules, causing mass hysteria, uncertainty and stress has persisted far beyond what we expected. 

Now after more than a week into ramadan, it is evident that this time things are remarkably different and will perhaps be remembered for years to come. Despite the disappointment and depravation we may experience because of everything we are missing out on, the reality remains that this is the exact thing Allah (swt) chose for us in this blessed month of mercy. Allah, the most gracious and the most merciful, It is His command, His decree... for us.

"They plan and Allah plans and Allah is the best of the planners" - Quran 8:30

We can choose to see it is a punishment or as a blessing. While we may never be able to fully comprehend the wisdom behind the circumstances, we can trust Allah and remain patient. And while doing so observe what is happening.

The Prophet (ﷺ) said in a Hadith Qudsi, "Allah says: 'I am just as My slave thinks I am..." 

Could this perhaps be the biggest blessing we could have ever asked for? I think it is.  Let us think of what has transpired in this time. 

Allah extended His mercy to help each and every one of us prepare in a deep, meaningful way, well in advance for this unique ramadan. The companions of the Prophet(pbuh) would prepare themselves spiritually for months before the onset of Ramadan. Pandemic turned our lives upside down and prepared us for this month of forgiveness in a strange and remarkable way. 

The sudden slowing down, the removal of all the distractions, and the looming uncertainty made us all confront our true reality. We were all caught up on Who really is in control.

In uncertain times, we tend to look for what is certain, what is absolute. In these desperate times, we had to set our eyes and hearts on 'The As-Samad - The eternal, The Absolute' : The One who does not depend on anyone but everyone depends on Him. 

This pandemic made us pause like never before and question things we seldom take notice of. What is really keeping us busy?

It made us turn back to Allah. He allowed us to experience 'Khashya' - Humility which is perhaps the biggest blessing. Our heedless hearts found peace in humble submission again.  

During the lockdown, we finally had the time to ponder over things for long enough.  Allah eliminated the option to step away/distract, exit and escape. We have been forced to do the inner work and assess where we really stand? And perhaps more importantly where are we headed? For the vast majority of us, this work is too painful to pursue when things are going well. 

But isn't a believers everyday personal struggle to purify himself/herself and practice 'Taqwa' (God consciousness). Everyday realize that we need His guidance and His help to do good, to remain thankful and do things only for His sake. 

We all had an epiphany of our own, making sense of something unique to us which will perhaps change us for good. Inshallah. 

I realized how busy we can get despite what we perceive about our own lives. The constant rush and the pull of this world distracts us from what really matters, the basic fundamentals of our life. Even the 'good' actions without the conscious renewal of intention can slowly become 'routine', devoid of the mention of our Lord. Devoid of blessing. 

This period of lockdown had us all question, how are we really spending our days? What is taking precedence in our life? What is really occupying our minds and hearts? Is it really good for us? Is it necessary? Does it truly benefit?

Ramadan for most of us is a time to spiritually connect back to our purpose and Allah (swt), make amends and course correct. It is a time to 'reset'. How amazing is Allah who primed us in advance to make the most out of it. 

Allah has indeed created the perfect conditions to bless us with His mercy. He knows what will help us the most. He knows what we really suffer from and He sent the perfect remedy in the form of a pandemic.

In an effort to escape the physical disease, He made us familiar with the diseases of our heart. We got locked away inside our homes, safe from the virus outside but we still had to confront the diseases housed in our hearts, perhaps for far too long. Allah-hu-Akbar

Allah has given us the gift of solitude not the curse of isolation. 

These moments of solitude are a gift from Allah to travel inwards. To address the real enemy, we have a chance to rectify and emerge back strong and faithful.

We have a chance to find true personal strength. Build up from wherever we are in spiritual stamina seeking His help everyday. 

Perhaps it is time we discover that while we love the community, we can still be strong in the absence of it. We don't need the suggestions and obligations of community to love and worship Allah(swt). 

It was always 'Allah and I' individually and it will be 'Allah and I' after this life. He has removed the barriers for us to wholeheartedly submit back to Him, to stand before Him knowing that He sees us. We have a chance to forget about the whole world and let our hearts find rest in His worship... making the most out of the solitude that He exclusively gifted us. 

What a gift.




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