Ever since the spread of COVID-19, countries going on lockdown and people starting self-isolation, we’ve been experiencing an array of emotions. It’s something that neither of us has ever been through before. Our life has changed, our daily routines have suffered, and our jobs and businesses have been affected. Over and above, we forced to depart from our families and friends.
The entire globe is going through hardship. We’re now juggling our kids’ homeschooling, our jobs, our other daily responsibilities in addition to dealing with our uncertain feelings of anxiety and fear.
It’s ok not to feel ok. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed with the burden, and it’s ok to feel down that all your plans put on hold.
Yet moving on every day with all this weight in your chest is another load that you can learn to deal with.
Ways to cope and manage your feelings during self-isolation:
1. Recognize your feelings
Anas Ibn Malik narrated that when the Prophet’s young son Ibrahim was passing away, he went with his companions to see him. He took Ibrahim, kissed him and smelled him. Ibrahim was in his last breaths when the Prophet Muhammad’s eyes (PBUH) started shedding tears.
Abdur Rahman bin `Auf said, “O Allah’s Apostle, even you are weeping!” He said, “O Ibn `Auf, this is mercy.” Then he wept more and said, “The eyes are shedding tears and the heart is grieved, and we will not say except what pleases our Lord, O Ibrahim ! Indeed we are grieved by your separation.” – Bukhari
إِنَّ الْعَيْنَ تَدْمَعُ، وَالْقَلْبَ يَحْزَنُ، وَلاَ نَقُولُ إِلاَّ مَا يَرْضَى رَبُّنَا، وَإِنَّا بِفِرَاقِكَ يَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ لَمَحْزُونُونَ ” رواه بخاري ”
The Prophet (PBUH) was so aware of his feelings that he explained to them clearly and loudly that the companions were able to narrate the incident. He was neither ashamed of his emotions nor was trying to hide them.
When you suppress or resist your negative feelings, they grow and haunt you. self-isolation
However, when you recognize your exact feeling and name them (ex: I feel afraid, worried, confused…). Accept them and validate them. You’ll feel better about them. And eventually, they will be liberated and set free gradually on their own.
2. Seek Allah’s help
We’re blessed to have God on our side. Why burden yourself with all the worries while you can rely on Him. Talk to Him and ask Him to fix your affairs, grant you patience, strength and satisfaction during this self-isolation. He never gets tired of listening. Isn’t He AlSamii (All hearing), Al Mogib (The Responsive One), Al Qawi ( The all Mighty and powerful)
(186 وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ ۖ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ ۖ فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُوا لِي وَلْيُؤْمِنُوا بِي لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ ( سورة البقرة)
“And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided.” Al Baqarah 2:186
3. Reflect on yourself in self-isolation
When you’re away from people, you get to have more time alone to listen to your own voice and respond. Now is a good time to reflect upon your status with God.
Have you been performing your duties and obligations as you should? What about your prayers, your sunnahs, your relationship with the Quran, your connection with God through duaa and azkar or late night talks with Him.
Have you been counting your blessings and were you grateful for them in the past year or were you in an ongoing state of dissatisfaction? self-isolation
How about your relationship with your parents, spouse, children, your role towards your community and your job performance? How about the Amanah that God has blessed you with, your body, your health, and your time.
Are you using each of these blessings efficiently or are they wasted?
Did any of these aspects take over another, or do you aim to maintain more balance and upgrade any of them?
One day we will be questioned about each of them, we’d better get ready.
Now is the time, it takes 21 days to get rid of an old unhealthy habit or develop a new one. We have those 21 days and more away from distraction, people, long commutes and noise. We have the huge blessing of time to plan, take action and be consistent.
4. Take it from Prophet Yunus
People are questioning whether the Coronavirus COVID-19 is a test or torment.
When Prophet Yunus was devastated at his people for not listening to him or worshipping God, he left them, went far on a ship and ended up swallowed by the whale.
وإن يونس لمن المرسلين*إذ أبق إلى الفلك المشحون * فساهم فكان من المدحضين * فالتقمه الحوت وهو مليم
139-142 سورة الصافات
And indeed, Jonah was among the messengers. when he ran away to the laden ship. And he drew lots and was among the losers. Then the fish swallowed him, while he was blameworthy.
Assafat 37: 139-142
Prophet Yunus was filled with total despair. How could he possibly survive this disaster? What way out of his situation could there be? He was engulfed by darkness, the darkness of the whale’s stomach, the darkness of the deep sea and the darkness of the night. Although he was a Prophet, he was in doubt, and he even thought he was dead until he moved his limbs. Yet his heart was moved as well.
– وَذَا النُّونِ إِذ ذَّهَبَ مُغَاضِبًا فَظَنَّ أَن لَّن نَّقْدِرَ عَلَيْهِ فَنَادَىٰ فِي الظُّلُمَاتِ أَن لَّا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا أَنتَ سُبْحَانَكَ إِنِّي كُنتُ مِنَ الظَّالِمِين
“And [mention] the man of the fish, when he went off in anger and thought that We would not decree [anything] upon him. And he called out within the darknesses, “There is no deity except You; exalted are You. Indeed, I have been of the wrongdoers.” Al Anbya 21:87He realized that he was not the one in control but only the Almighty Allah was. He cried out: “There is no God but you, I was indeed wrong” ” La Ilaaha Ila anta subhanaka Iny konto min athalmin”. When he recognized his fault of leaving his people without permission from God, only then Allah saved him.
Amid the Coronavirus, quarantine pressure, and self-isolation, we learn the rescue formula from Prophet Yunus (PBUH).
(42 وَلَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا إِلَىٰ أُمَمٍ مِّن قَبْلِكَ فَأَخَذْنَاهُم بِالْبَأْسَاءِ وَالضَّرَّاءِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَضَرَّعُونَ ( الأنعام
And We have already sent [messengers] to nations before you, [O Muhammad]; then We seized them with poverty and hardship that perhaps they might humble themselves [to Us]. Al -Ana’m (6:42)
5. Move on
Anas ibn Malik ٌ(RA) reported that the Prophet (PBUH) said, “If the Final Hour comes while you have a palm-cutting in your hands and it is possible to plant it before the Hour comes, you should plant it.” [Al-Abani]
عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ: إِنْ قَامَتِ السَّاعَةُ وَفِي يَدِ أَحَدِكُمْ فَسِيلَةٌ، فَإِنِ اسْتَطَاعَ أَنْ لاَ تَقُومَ حَتَّى يَغْرِسَهَا فَلْيَغْرِسْهَا.
May we submit to Him, express our helplessness and ask for his unconditional mercy and forgiveness.
Let’s keep praying, having faith and keep contributing to our community in this time of crisis. Let’s motivate each other and become emotionally healthy in this period of self-isolation and social distancing.