Mosque Closures: Have We Closed the Doors to God in Our Hearts?20 Mar 2020
Thousands of masjids (mosques) across the UK are slowly suspending congregational prayers due to the outbreak of Covid-19 and the risk it has on the lives of so many people. Many are debating whether it is right or wrong to be suspending congregational prayers, whilst no legislation has asked them to suspend their activities; the fact is we are having the wrong debate.
Almighty Allah ﷻ has stated:
وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ وَنَعْلَمُ مَا تُوَسْوِسُ بِهِ نَفْسُهُ وَنَحْنُ أَقْرَبُ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ حَبْلِ الْوَرِيدِ
And assuredly, We created man and We know (also) the doubts which his (ill-commanding) self puts (into his heart and mind). And We are nearer to him than his jugular vein. (Qāf, 50:16)
The reality is, today we debate whether the doors of the masjids (mosques) should close upon us when there is a dangerous pandemic, but we have been closing the door to the nearness of Almighty Allah in our hearts all our lives and we simply did not bat an eyelid. Almighty Allah states He is closer than our jugular vein and yet, we forgot Him in each moment we spent with ourselves, and we left his remembrance only for the masjids. His Mercy gave us every moment of our lives and yet we left his remembrance only for the masjids. And as our souls cried like the reed flute, departed from His Majestic remembrance, we set days and times to act upon our outward rituals.
The fact is, we were given everything and we became so ungrateful, despite how much we earned, it was not enough, despite the blessings in our lives we were not happy, despite the food we were granted, it was not of our taste, despite the people in our lives, they were not enough, despite the teachings from the sunnah (Prophetic tradition), we knew better and now in all of a sudden, all of what we had has been taken away.
The masjids we didn’t visit are being closed, the wealth that was not enough is disappearing, the people that were not enough and burdensome are being taken away, the food that we didn’t like, is becoming our survival stock in our homes and those blessings we neglected are all of a sudden gone.
Read the following words of the Almighty Lord and ask yourself one question, did we not forget his remembrance? Were the gates of his blessing not open to us in abundance and did our ungrateful states not bring us to this very moment?
فَلَمَّا نَسُواْ مَا ذُكِّرُواْ بِهِ فَتَحْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ أَبْوَابَ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ حَتَّى إِذَا فَرِحُواْ بِمَا أُوتُواْ أَخَذْنَاهُم بَغْتَةً فَإِذَا هُم مُّبْلِسُون
But when they forgot that Reminder which was urged upon them, We opened up for them the gates (to abundance) of everything (to take them to their end) until when they luxuriated (in ecstasy of sensual delights and sensuous gratification) with all that was provided for them, We seized them all of a sudden (with torment) and they were struck with despair.
If the answer to the above is yes, and if the Coronavirus (Covid-19) is a reminder that Almighty Allah ﷻ alone is the Lord of the Heavens and the Earth and He gives what he wills and takes away what He wills; then me must bow before our Lord, seek forgiveness and turn back to Him.
If we want to be protected from the torment of our Lord, if we want the doors to His mercy to open, we must forget the norms of today and wear the garments of the norms of those pious that came before us. Those that spent their days acting in accordance with his commands of mercy, honour and justice and spent their nights yearning for His divine love in sujood.
But the truth is, despite everything that has changed over the short period of time, we are still here in a neglectful state. Whilst we have been debating masjid suspensions, how many of us turned to our Lord in the darkness of the nights and cried for forgiveness? How many of us prayed and yearned that He give us the tawfiq (assistance) to once again pray in our masjids? How many of us asked Almighty Allah to shower his mercy on mankind? How many of us did tawbah (repentance) and cried to change our states, so we could turn back to our Lord, The Most Compassionate, Ever-Merciful?
If in these difficult times, we still do not remember our Lord and turn back to Him in the way his beloved Messenger ﷺ taught us, then we are truly lost.
The Prophet Muhammed ﷺ taught us that we should be fearful of Allah’s torment to such an extent that even when we remember previous torments, we should cry abundantly and seek forgiveness, in such rememberance.
The following narration about the way the Prophet ﷺ and his blessed Companions passed through an area where people of Thamud lived a millennia ago and were inflicted with the wrath of Almighty Allah during that period highlights how seriously the Prophet ﷺ taught us to fear His torment, and seek forgiveness from His wrath, so that our conditions did not become the same. The fact that the instruction was to pass through in such an extremely sorrowful state, even though the torment had long gone, illustrates that we should never take the torment of Allah Almighty lightly, be it of that which has past or that which is yet to come.
It is mentioned,
‘When the Prophet ﷺ passed by al-Hijr, he said, “Do not enter the dwellings of those who wronged themselves, lest the same castigation come upon you – pass by them in a tearful state.” Then he sheltered his blessed head, and paced hastily until he passed the way.’
Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri mentions the following points in relation to this hadith:
‘Firstly, we should keep in mind that the very presence of the most powerful Prophet ﷺ is a source of Allah’s mercy and a deterrent against His wrath and punishment; thus, there was not a single iota of possibility that the punishment could have descended upon them whilst the Holy Prophet ﷺ was physically present in their midst. Furthermore, the expedition consisted of the Prophet’s noble Companions who had set out in the way of Allah- there was not a single disbeliever amongst them, Allah-forbid. There has never been a better company on the face of the earth, throughout history. Is it fathomable that Allah ﷻ would send His punishment upon such noble personalities?
At the time, the people of Thamud, who committed the grave injustice of hamstringing the she-camel, no longer existed. Despite this, the most compassionate Prophet ﷺ gave counsel to his noble Companions that they should envisage the punishment descending, and they should recreate the experience of fear and apprehension in their hearts and minds. Thus, every Companion wept bitterly and expressed remorse as though the punishment was actually going to descend.’
I say to myself firstly, after being neglectful of His blessings, disobedient to His orders and sinful in my ways, how is it whilst the coronavirus is being inflicted upon us; we have still not turned back to Almighty Allah in a tearful state begging for his Mercy? Surely if we remember Him in our hearts, our hearts will become masjids and soon we will be the given tawfiq (assistance) to remember Him in our masjids too.
May Almighty Allah ﷻ forgive us all and may His blessed Messenger ﷺ be a source of our protection from such calamities.