Wednesday, October 21

WE ARE ALL SAMIRI NOW

The Coronavirus, the pandemic, the lockdowns, when you think about it, it could not have been any other way.

It has become clear now that humanity has taken a wrong turn somewhere along the way. With our insatiable appetite for materialism, unrestrained self-indulgence and worship of mammon, we had set ourselves and the planet on a self-destructive path. Yes, the scientists were right; they kept ringing the alarm bells. We refused to listen to the cries of the oppressed. We carried on living in our hedonistic ways. We disobeyed the laws of nature.

The laws of nature demand balance in life. Materialism, sadly, has no limits. So nature decided it is time for a reset. It is in our interest that we change ourselves, our behaviours. We must learn from the lessons nature is teaching us.

However, as you already know this is not the first time humanity has disobeyed the laws of Allah, the Almighty. Maybe we ought to learn from a similar lesson from the past. There is a famous story mentioned in all three Holy Scriptures, the Torah, the Bible and the Quran. It is mentioned in the Quran in Surah Taha: Chapter 20, verse (83-97). During the exodus of Bani Israel from the clutches of Pharaoh, while Prophet Moses went to speak to Allah, in his absence, Samiri, a magician, misled the people and made a calf of gold and people took this as their god, a material god.

For his wrongdoing, Samiri was given the punishment of self-isolation. ‘No contact’ with anyone. It is said, in Surah Taha: Chapter 20, verse (95-97):

“[Moses] said, “And what is your case, O Samiri?” (95) He said, “I saw what they did not see, so I took a handful [of dust] from the track of the messenger and threw it, and thus did my soul entice me.” (96) [Moses] said, “Then go. And indeed, it is [decreed] for you in [this] life to say, ‘No contact.’ And indeed, you have an appointment [in the Hereafter] you will not fail to keep. And look at your ‘god’ to which you remained devoted. We will surely burn it and blow it into the sea with a blast. (97)

The lockdown we are experiencing is there for a purpose. Maybe we need to take it as a mercy from Allah for allowing us time to reflect and contemplate on our realities. The whole hedonistic world is in self-isolation now. We must realise we will always lose whenever we disobey the rules of Allah.

Samiri was not the only guilty person nor the only one punished. The whole Bani Israel were told to divide themselves into two groups. A battle between the righteous and those who sinned was fought to bring to an end the unfortunate episode. What will happen after the pandemic? Will there be devastating wars in our lifetime? Time will tell as that is in the future. Now is the time for making peace with Allah, with our Creator.

O Allah, we were among the wrong doers. We did zulm on ourselves (Zulm is the Arabic word used interchangeably for cruelty or unjust acts of exploitation, oppression, and wrongdoing). We repent, we seek Your mercy. We seek refuge in you from all evils. Please forgive us as You are most forgiving. Please guide us towards the right path. The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not of those who have evoked [Your] anger or of those who are astray. 

Undoubtedly, injustice and corruption is rife in the world, we have allowed evil to flourish because we have become bewildered and derailed. Atheism has led us into a world of materialism. We had turned our back on spirituality and the path of righteousness. We chose the hedonistic lifestyles. We were most ungrateful. We ignored the plight of suppressed in Palestine and Kashmir and they have been in lockdown for decades and months respectively. During the pandemic, we are all Palestinians and Kashmiris. It is ironic.

We can blame the capitalist for misleading us, for turning us into consumers of materialistic products. Are we all innocent? Really? If we are all innocent then why is the world in a similar position to Samiri?

A dua from the last verses of Surah Baqarah: Chapter 2, verse (286):

“Our Lord! Punish us not if we forget or fall into error, our Lord! Lay not on us a burden like that which You did lay on those before us our Lord! Put not on us a burden greater than we have the strength to bear. Pardon us and grant us Forgiveness. Have mercy on us. You are our Maula (Patron, Supporter and Protector, etc.) and give us victory over the disbelieving people(capitalists);. “

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