Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim said: “And for a believer, in every moment, there shall be two migrations. One to God through love and obedience, relying on Him, submitting to Him, having hope in Him, and fearing Him. And the other to the prophet (SAAW) in following his actions and movements or status, the inner or outer, in the way that it matches the Sharia.”[1]

The Imam was probably referring to the hadith of the prophet (SAAW) where he said: “So whoever emigrated for Allah and His Apostle, then his emigration was for Allah and His Apostle.[2] In this hadith, the prophet (SAAW) spoke about the actual physical migration between Makkah and Medinah. Yet, in another Hadith, the prophet (SAAW) said that such migration has came to an end after the conquering of Makkah; “There is no emigration after the conquest (of Makkah).[3] So here, we are talking about an act of journeying to Allah and His messenger that should at least start by keeping away from causing harm to others. The prophet (SAAW) said: “A Muslim is the one from whose tongue and hands the Muslims are safe; and a Muhajir (Emigrant) is the one who refrains from what Allah has forbidden.[4]

For a year and a half of enduring the devastation of COVID 19, we witnessed many of the blessings that we previously took for granted, diminish, and fade away from us. Visitations with friends and family, traveling, classroom education, shopping in stores with shortages of basic items, and even our congregational prayers were all affected by it, either coming to a complete halt or changed in the ways that were always normal and familiar. So now, as we are trying to navigate our way back to a normal life, we ask, have we learned our lesson to be grateful to Allah for all the blessings He has bestowed upon us and not to take them for granted? Have we learned to steer clear of Haram that He (SW) and His messenger (SAAW) hate for us to do? Do we really want to be called as the transgressors (Al-Musrifeen) like those described in the following verse in the Holy Quran? Allah (SW) said: {For when harm touches a human being, he calls upon Us [for relief]- lying on his side, or sitting, or standing. Yet when We remove from him his harm, he goes about as if he had never called about Us concerning the harm that touched him. In this way, what the transgressors do is made fair-seeming to them.} 10:12.

As COVID 19 restrictions are being lifted, and we move back to normality, I have some important advice for our community to consider.

Firstly, come back strong to your Masjed and connect with your community, for the community or (Al-Jama’ah) is the safety zone and the secure track to protect your religion and identity.

When the new Muslims, who embraced Islam after conquering Makkah and who were given incentives from Zakat money [Al-Mu’allafah Qulobuhum; whose hearts are to be reconciled], did not feel they can sit with the other Muslims because of social status and financial differences, Allah (SW) revealed this verse to the prophet (SAAW): {Moreover, keep yourself patient in the company of those [humble believers] who call upon their Lord [with devotion] in the morning and in the evening desiring [only] His Face} 18:8.  After the revelation of this verse, the prophet (SAAW) came to the group of Muslims and said: “With you I shall live and with you I shall die.” That meant, one should always stay close with the community especially those who fear Allah (SW).

Secondly, maintain gratitude [Al-Shukur] to Allah (SW) for every single blessing you have. This should be by remembering and acknowledging that ALL blessings are from Allah, not from yourself. A Bedouin was once asked: To whom do these camels belong? He said: To God, but they are under my hand.

Maintaining a status of gratitude to Allah should also be by uttering the words of Shukur in every moment you can. The prophet (SAAW) once asked a person: “How are you doing?” The person replied: “Good.” The prophet (SAAW) repeated the question three times, until the person understood and said: “I am grateful to Allah and in a status of praise to Him.” The prophet (SAAW) then said: “This is what I wanted you to say.

Also avoid being ungrateful. Allah (SW) said: {If you give thanks [for My blessings], I shall, most surely, increase [them for] you. But if you become ungrateful, indeed, My torment is, most surely, severe}. 14:7.

Thirdly, in whatever time is left for us in this life, let us rise to that which is honorable. Remember and reflect on how many community members have left us and joined their Lord, may Allah have mercy on their souls. I am sure many had great ideas and plans for their lives, but death came and cut that short for them.

When the prophet (SAAW) was asked: Who is the most beloved person to Allah and which deed is the most beloved to Allah? He (SAAW) said: “The best person is one whom others benefit from the most, and the best deed is an act of joyfulness that you are able to bring to a fellow Muslim.[5]

Let us utilize our time by cultivating what is good, to benefit our community and ourselves, and make people happy, for that is the true investment we can plan with Allah (SW). I call upon our community members to come back strong to the Prayer Center and engage in its activities and keep yourselves and your families safe and secure by the Will of Allah (SW).

By Sh. Kifah Mustapha

[1] Tareeq -ul- Hijratain

[2] Bukhari

[3] Bukhari

[4] Bukhari

[5] Tabarani