Friday March 20, 2020, 08:41 AM
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
The world celebrated new year with utmost festivity. Mankind stepped into the annual date renewal carrying optimistic hopes and wishful desires. I doubt not that wishes and desires are critical to us humans, however, I am of opinion that it is further mandatory to be thankful for whatever situation one is into. This very concept of Buddhism is something that has attracted me since I came across it for the first time: This very moment we are living unto, holds perfection. My religion, Islam, parallels the same with a teaching to be thankful to God. One must be thankful to Him, anytime, anywhere, under any and every situation. External to the religion, we may refer to the same as “not to take things for granted”.
All of us were in one moment or in another when 2020 began. That moment could have been good one or a bad one. Let me share my experience. I was circling around Ka’ba (Mecca, KSA) at 12:00 AM, 1st January 2020 and just finished my seventh and the final Tawaf. I was about to start Sa’ee (running between Safa and Marwa, mimicking Hajar AS) and was offering 2 Raka’ Nafil before that. While in prostration, somebody just stepped on my long hairline and when I lifted up my head, all I experienced was an ailing pain causing tears. A strip of long hairline was right there, before my eyes on the white Haram marble. I thought of so many foul, whining and whamming responses echoing in my head for the source of pain, who was, off course unaware of the little tragedy behind him. Moments earlier, I was happy, for I was about to begin my new year with Umrah, a longtime pending wish coming true eventually. Moments ahead, I was complaining God, unhappy, teary, angry. I completed my Umrah post that incident, felt epic tired, somehow reached hotel. I tried to materialize my Umrah by asking so many things from God in return of my pilgrimage, for this is what religious affairs between man and God have become after all. I prayed for many good things, many valuable ones, big ones, but I forgot one for granted privilege: Peace, happiness and prosperity in the world.
I think I took a happy prosper world for granted. Think of your 1st January 2020 and you will find yourself in more or less the same and similar circumstances. We never thought of extreme fragility this world around us is vulnerable to, as Nasim Nicholas Taleb tried to convince us in his books. I seldom visualized this perspective, not even before my father’s death. It was his funeral when I realized what kind of turmoil you have to face when the world around you is simply nudged that rigorously.
The driving institutes in UAE tries their level max to convince its students regarding over speeding risks. The practical class involves an inclined seat that when released, hits a stopper ahead, and allows student to experience similar jolt as that of vehicle hitting another at 80 Km/hr. We humans keep suffering similar shocks across our life span. We learn associated lessons for the time being, and we then move on. Can you try to reconstruct up in your head the velocity you were going at on 1st Jan 2020? I had probably attained around 200 Km an hour, and that’s why I just forgot to request Good God to prevail happiness across the world.
You may call COVID-19 as an accidental outbreak, a test for human race, or anything else you may want to, but please do – for a split second – reconsider this impactful shock, a sudden inertia changing event and pledge yourself not to take peace and happiness around yourself for granted. Health is – be it yours or others’ around you – a huge blessing of God. One must be thankful to the Almighty for everything, health inclusive. It is critical to keep looking for nirvana in every ongoing moment. Promise yourself that you’ll be thankful to God for all his blessings. To the least extent, stop taking things for granted. Who knows what’s ahead that can bring technology down to its knees?
I fainted down right after I buried my deceased father six feet under. When I came back to my senses, I asked myself, “What else can be worse than this? Is it not worst? Indeed, it is”. It surely was worst. Eventually it was over. I went through all of it. I had to. And when everything was over, I was back in life, back to routine.
We – all of us – will get over these difficult days as well, for every long night is followed by a beautiful dawn. The same dawn, same morning that’s there right before me triggering hope, raising optimism, working as source of motivation to write these words.
This too, shall pass! InshAllah.