Reflections from our CEO, Tariq Sediq
ظَهَرَ الْفَسَادُ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِي النَّاسِ لِيُذِيقَهُم بَعْضَ الَّذِي عَمِلُوا لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ
“Corruption has flourished on land and sea as a result of people’s actions and He will make them taste the consequences of some of their own actions so that they may turn back.”Quran, Surah Ar-Rum, Verse 41
I have spent the last few days reflecting on and re-reading this verse. I am now a firm believer that what is happening now with the outbreak of Covid-19 may be caused by our shortcomings and wrongdoings. However, only Allah knows His intentions/wisdom. We, as humans, may try to think of some rationale and seek some reasons behind His actions. But it is wrong of us to draw final conclusions on His works and act like spokespeople as if we know His intention fully. However, one could safely say it can never be ONLY a punishment from Allah (Azza Wa Jal- AWJ).
Closing the doors of Mosques doesn’t necessarily indicate the closure of the gates of Tawba and mercy on everyone. He (AWJ) wants our collective and individual prayers to Him, and we could still do both in and from our houses.
Allah, the merciful, never closed the doors of His mercy and Tawba to tyrants like Pharaoh and even never closed access to His Kaaba to Mushriks and Idol worshipper, placing idols inside the holy Kaaba. We cannot see this Coronavirus crisis as just His punishment.
We have two types of wrongdoings committed by us, one done through and with arrogance and others totally from our weaknesses.
Allah’s punishments close the doors of Tawba and are for those who demonstrate continuous pride, ego, and arrogance. Those who see all the signs of Allah’s existence and refuse to turn to Him while proudly continuing their oppression of others almost up to the time of their death.
Contrast this with our other shortcomings or wrongdoings based on our weaknesses, mistakes and errors. No matter how repetitive they might be, we are always faced with the mercy of Allah and some wakeup calls so people could turn to Him, as the verse says in its end.
Yes, some may assume, perhaps Allah is not pleased with our supplications and therefore, the Haramain and Masajids are closed. If this is said as a wakeup call to return to Allah and regret our ungratefulness for the countless bounties He bestowed us with, or asking forgiveness for our shortcomings, then there may be some good in this understanding. BUT we cannot firmly say what is happening is “definitely because of this, that and the other.” Then this is called transcendence on Allah (AWJ) and shows the ill manners of a servant accusing his Lord of something, which may have other explanations and wisdom (hikma) behind it.
The aforementioned verse beautifully tells us that, yes, corruption has appeared throughout the land and sea by [reason of] what the hands of people have earned. However, this is not as a punishment and not the closing doors of Tawba, rather a wakeup call that perhaps they will return [to righteousness] and do Tawba.
So the closure of the Haramain and Masajid can not be seen as the closure of the doors of Tawba but as an opportunity to recompose the priorities of life. And an opportunity to examine and reset the relationship between Khaaliq (The Creator) and His Khalq (the creation) in a balanced manner.
From the mercy of Allah, He has created goodness in every evil we see. A lot of good could be seen as a result of this test of life. Goodness in humanity needs to come out, so we need and have to help each other and refrain from harming others.
For us, at MCEC although the saddest day was when we had to take the decision of closing our centre for everyone’s safety, yet we could see the good in this. Helpers are now coming forward, taking safety precautions, to deliver food packages collections for the vulnerable. Our Staff members are working diligently to have many of our education classes available online for parents and students. We are taking the opportunity to deep clean and make repairs to the Masjid. We have unity and the commitment to serve our community in this distressing time via all available means, providing counselling to stressed individuals and families. We are not giving up in dealing with the funerals of their dear ones despite several health and safety concerns, and we stay firm in our commitment to helping the wider communities in whichever possible way we can.
We are in a constant and close review of the situation with all other Masajid, the health authorities and the Government. We will keep updating you as things develop. In the meantime, we ask you to continue helping us by your understanding and cooperation by adhering to all health and social distancing advice we get and share.
We trust in Allah, and we firmly believe together, we could overcome these difficult times and remain optimistic that insha’Allah soon, this will be over.
Tariq Sediq, CEO, Muslim Community & Education Centre (Palmers Green Mosque)