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Comfort & Solace in times of Pandemics

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Longing for our True Abode
 
Introduction
 
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
نحمده ونصلي ونسلّم على رسوله الكريم
 
In the early 1900s, a cholera pandemic broke out in India and spread to many countries across the globe. The pandemic began in 1899 and only abated in the year 1929. Historical records place the number of fatalities at 800 000 in India alone with more than half a million deaths reported in the years 1918 and 1919. The bewilderment, fear and panic that gripped the masses at the time cannot be described in words.
 
We may well imagine the state of mind at the time when medical facilities were rudimentary, living conditions were abject, every home was visited either by sickness, death or despair and hundreds of Janaaza Salaah were performed after every Salaah. During this period, Allamah Ashraf Ali Thanwi (RA) began a series of discourses aimed at bringing calm to the minds of the terrified local populace. These discourses centred around the life of the hereafter and the joys and delights it holds for the believer which are only attainable upon death. The focus was on rekindling the desire and longing for our Final Destination and True Abode.
 
This life of the world is but a pastime and a game. Lo! the home of the Hereafter - that is Life, if they but knew. (Quran 29:64)
 
The effect of these discourses was profound. The dark clouds of morbidity and gloom dissipated, and sparkling rays of serenity and tranquillity fell on the faces of his captive audience. Such was the impact of these discourses that many were those who began to long for death to meet their Creator and take delight in the rich reward promised to the believers in the hereafter.
 
Hassaan bin Aswad (RA) stated, “Death is the bridge that unites the lover with his beloved.” (Irshadus Saari)
 
Shortly thereafter, Allamah Thanwi (RA) decided to pen the subject matter of his discourses for the benefit of the greater public. He titled this work, “Shawqe Watan” (Trans.: Longing for the Abode) as the true abode and home is without doubt the hereafter and it is therefore only fitting that its desire be in the heart of every believer.
 
While the fatality risk of the present Covid-19 outbreak is significantly lower than the decimating effect of the plagues of the past, I felt it, nonetheless, important that the content of this book reach the Muslim Ummah who may be experiencing a similar type of mental anguish and crisis. In order to facilitate this, I have condensed the subject matter of the book and separated its contents in a collection of articles. In acknowledgment to the original source, I have used the title of the original work (albeit translated in English) as the name of this collection. I beg of Allah, the All-Mighty, to accept this humble endeavour solely for His Pleasure and use it to bring hope, comfort and solace to troubled and despondent hearts.
 
Say: “Never will anything afflict us except what Allah has decreed for us, He is our protector.” And on Allah let the Believers put their trust. (Quran 9:51)
 
Mufti Moosa Salie
Jamiatul Ulama KZN
27 March 2020
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Part 1 – The reward for Illness and Hardship
 
1. Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam has stated, “No hardship, discomfort, worry, sorrow, grief, pain or distress afflicts a Muslim, to the extent of the pain of a thorn prick, but Allah will pardon his sins in lieu of it.” (Sahih Bukhari)
 
2. Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam has stated, “Do not curse fever, for it removes the sins of the children of Adam as a furnace removes rust from iron.” (Sahih Muslim)
 
3. Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam has stated, When Allah tests a Muslim with physical illness, Allah instructs (the angels), ‘Continue recording the good deeds he would perform while healthy.' If Allah thereafter grants him cure, He washes and cleanses him (of sin); and If He takes his soul, He pardons him and grants him mercy.” (Musnad Ahmad)
 
4. Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam has stated, “When Allah decrees a certain rank (in Jannah) for a person which he cannot reach through his deeds, Allah afflicts him with a test in his body, wealth, or children, and then grants him the patience to bear that test until he reaches the rank decreed for him.” (Abu Dawud)
 
5. Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam has stated, “When those who suffered (in this life) will receive their reward on the Day of Qiyamah (judgement), those who enjoyed good health and prosperity will wish that their skins were cut with scissors in the world (so they may attain the same reward.)” (Sunan Tirmidhi)
 
To be continued...
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