Reflections on 2020: Looking on the Brighter Side of a Global Pandemic

Uncategorized Dec 22, 2020

2020 is almost over, and what a unique year it has been for all of us. As we look back at the year it is important to not fall into the trap of vilifying or disparaging the year. This is not the way of the believer and entails bad etiquette.

The nature of this world is that it’s a place of tests for the human being, Almighty God says:

وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُمْ بِشَيْءٍ مِّنَ الْخَوفْ وَالْجُوعِ وَنَقْصٍ مِّنَ الأَمَوَالِ وَالأنفُسِ وَالثَّمَرَاتِ وَبَشِّرِ الصَّابِرِينَ

And most certainly shall We try you by means of danger, and hunger, and loss of worldly goods, of lives and of [labour's] fruits. But give glad tidings unto those who are patient in adversity (2:155)

As difficult as this year was for us all, there was also great wisdom in it. Upon reflection, we’ll find many lessons Almighty God has been teaching us these past months. Some of these include:

  • Appreciating our family and friends more.
  • The planet got a chance to breathe. Sightings of wildlife increased worldwide and a reduction in air pollution gave the planet a chance to repair itself.
  • Increased social co-operation.
  • Better hygiene and the practice of social distancing reduced other medical problems like seasonal flu.
  • Working from home reduced rush hour traffic and gave people more time to spend with their families.
  • Due to online learning for schools, parents got to spend more time with their children and understand their education better.
  • Education became more digitised and affordable, with an abundance of free courses.

As we end the year we also remember all the people we lost due to coronavirus, some near and some far. Based on the various ways a person could be considered a marytr in our texts, we regard them as blessed souls who died as martyrs and thus have a great rank with the Almighty.

Scholars have listed around 30 categories of marytrs based a various ahadith including dying from a stomach illness (mabṭūn); a plague (maṭʿūn); drowning (gharīq); pleurisy (a serious illness affecting the lungs making breathing difficult) etc. Some scholars also extended the reward of dying from the the plague to include all fatal epidemics.

2020 has taught us many things, but perhaps one of its greatest lessons is that real control of our affairs lies with Almighty God and not us. We already knew this but didn’t always feel it, 2020 has most definitely made us feel it!  We should plan our lives, but at the same time place our reliance upon our Creator, because He is the only One who truly knows what lies ahead in 2021.

Another year gone is a reminder we have one less year left on this earth and therefore, need to think about how to utilise the very short time we have left, wisely. God says:

وَالْعَصْرِ إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ لَفِي خُسْرٍ إِلَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْرِ

CONSIDER the flight of time! Verily, man is bound to lose himself, unless he be of those  who attain to faith, and do good works, and enjoin upon one another the keeping to truth, and enjoin upon one another patience in adversity. [103:1-3]

We pray 2021 is a year of great openings for everyone.

Personal exercise:

Can you write down 10 lessons that 2020 has taught you?

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