The global outbreak of the coronavirus has prompted professionals and students around the world to embrace remote work and digital learning, while most aspects of our daily lives have been disrupted. Families are isolating in their homes and working parents are shouldering much of the responsibility for their children’s education. Young or old, people around the globe have taken a pause to consider these pressing circumstances and how to navigate life’s current challenges. “What new responsibilities has COVID-19 brought?” is one of the questions many of us are having to ask these days.
In light of the current circumstances, it is of utmost importance for every individual to reconsider their priorities and responsibilities and rethink their lifestyle. Ask yourself: has your lifestyle been appropriate till now? Have your priorities changed? Are you shouldering new responsibilities, undertaking unfamiliar tasks, and tackling new challenges?
These challenging times may be the time to be honest with yourself, re-consider your daily habits, and re-organize your priorities.
More importantly, stay optimistic and don’t lose faith in God. Instead, focus on the opportunity that this pandemic presents to be reborn in line with the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), as narrated by Anas bin Malik: “Whoever falls ill for three days will be free of sin as on the day his mother bore him.”
In other words, we should follow in the footsteps of our Prophet, who was both affectionate and kind. When the Prophet’s wife, Aisha, was asked: “What did the Prophet do in his house?”, she replied: “He did what you would do in your house. He mended sandals and patched garments and sewed. He used to keep himself busy serving his family and when it was time for prayer, he would go pray; and I never saw him lay a hand on a woman or a servant.”
We must ask ourselves: are we happy and also generous? Are we sharing the burden with our family members? Are we taking part in raising and educating our children? Are we providing other forms of support for our family?
In this regard, it is important when helping family members, whether immediate relatives or not, that we remember the Prophet’s hadith: "The believers in their mutual kindness, compassion and sympathy are just like one body. When one of the limbs suffers, the whole body responds to it with wakefulness and fever”.
That said, spouses in particular have a responsibility to cooperate with and assist each other in handling tasks and duties, in line with the true meaning of marriage in Islam, as per the noble Quranic verse (21) in Surah Al-Rum: "He created spouses from among yourselves for you to live with in tranquility: He ordained love and kindness between you.”
In other words, the Prophet is inviting us to reflect on those words and to follow in his footsteps. May God protect people around the world and accept our repentance.
Sarah Zahran is a Research Fellow at the College of Islamic Studies at Hamad Bin Khalifa University.
In line with its mission to advance positive transformation at home while having a global impact, Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) has participated as a partner at WISH 2020.
Efforts to design a fairer, more inclusive and sustainable post-COVID humanity provide the foundations for a new program launched by the College of Islamic Studies (CIS) at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU).