Faizel Patel – 25/12/2020
As Muslims attended the last Jumu’ah of 2020, esteemed Islamic scholar and Radio Islam presenter Ml Sulaimaan Ravat says no one alive on this planet will forget this tumultuous year which will go down in history.
Ml Ravat was rendering the Jumu’ah lecture at the Nurul Islam Masjid in Lenasia.
While many people have spoken, written and debated about 2020 which will continue for years to come, Ml Ravat focused on eight lessons we can all learn from this year.
These are some of the points mentioned by the honourable scholar we can all learn from:
- The unlimited, unbridled power of Allah: “Today we live in an age where science, medicine and technology is at its peak. Yet one virus which cannot even be seen by the naked eye, which is microscopic in nature brought all of the world with all of its intelligence and all of its science, all of its medicine and all of its technology to its knees for over a year and we are still not out of the woods. This is a great lesson which Allah is highlighting. It is only Allah that has absolute power, it is only Allah that has absolute control. Allah can take anything and turn into an army of his. Allah can take a virus which we can’t see with the naked eye and humble humanity.”
- Our limited knowledge: “The foremost minds when it comes to science, technology and medicine put their hands up in the beginning and said ‘this is a novel virus, we don’t know too much about it, we are grappling.’ They were academically honest to say ‘we are uncertain how this is going to play out. We don’t know exactly what measures to take.’ But humanity’s knowledge was never tested in recent years like it was tested this year. Allah is showing and displaying His absolute power, His absolute control, His unlimited knowledge, His infinite knowledge over our limited, restrictive and finite knowledge.”
- We plan, Allah plans: “Think about how many different plans we had for the year. Some were going to go for Umrah, get married, expand the business, start renovations at home. Suddenly, abruptly, like a bolt out of nowhere, all of our plans came to naught. We had to put it on a back burner. Ultimately it’s only Allah’s plan that prevails.”
- Life can change so suddenly and so drastically: On this point, Ml Ravat speaks about how things changed with the emergence of COVID-19. Airports became desolate, people lost jobs, established businesses collapsed, while others attained affluence taking advantage of the opportunities in the market and made a lot of money. “If 2020 has taught us anything it’s this. Allah teaches us in the Qur’an: ‘sometimes we take you from the top to the bottom and sometimes we take you from the bottom to the top.’ The lesson here is we need to value each day in our lives.”
- How little we actually need to live our lives: “When we went into lockdown, that’s when we realized how little we need in order survive and to have a decent good comfortable life. There’s so much of excess in our lives, there so much of unnecessary baggage that we carry. There is so much that is superfluous to our needs. There is so much extra in our lives which has made our lives cluttered, complicated our lives, skewed our scale of priorities, sucking out the balance, enjoyment and the experience of life.”
- We are more resilient than we realize: On this point, Ml Ravat highlighted how we have adapted to working from home, children schooling from home and people conducting their businesses from home. “This year has taught us that we are stronger and tougher than we actually give ourselves credit for. Allah says in the Qur’an: ‘If I’ve given you a test, I’ve also given you the ability to meet the test.’ Allah will not give you more than what you can withstand. He will always give you the ability to deal with that test.”
- Underlying weaknesses in a community became more pronounced: On this point, Ml Ravat indicates that while we focus on the positive lessons, the negative issues also need to be addressed but with a positive intention. “When there are underlying weaknesses in a community that are left untreated, then in the moment of crisis it becomes more pronounced, problematic and they surface. What we saw and this was unique to the South African Muslim community, happened nowhere else in the world is that we inclined towards the sensational even if it was fake news or unsubstantiated.”
“How many WhatsApp Mufti’s and doctors graduated in the year 2020?” Ordinary people were passing big fatwas on what it means to have tawakkul, on what is contagion. People were not only circulating but were starting to believe that which had no sanad, no chain of narration, substantiation or authenticity. You see one clip on the harms of something, you forward it, believe it, don’t know who the speaker is, what his qualifications are, but no ‘we will spread it.’ It was an underlying problem in our community that became more pronounced in this year 2020. It was shocking the level to which the discussion and the debate had degenerated to in our community. We over simplified issues that were nuanced and over complicated issues that were simple.” Ml Ravat says that each one of us need to make taubah for what we forwarded during the year on WhatsApp and social media.”
- 2020 showed us the best and worst of humanity: “We saw the best of humanity during lockdown when people dug deep into their pockets and made sure that those who were living hand to mouth and those who could not earn a living were fed. We saw the best of humanity when our doctors put their lives at risk every single day by treating those patients who were either positive or possibly positive. Those people who were on the frontlines, nurses, paramedics, from our communities, those who were ready to make the ghusal of people who passed away from COVID-19, putting their own lives at risk and the lives of their families and loved ones at risk, COVID-19 and this year 2020 showed us the best of humanity.”
“But it also showed us the worst of humanity. Corruption was not only in the government circles. How many Muslims were also involved in those corrupt tenders? It takes two to tango when it comes to corruption.”
“Then we showed the worst of our Muslim community in South Africa because we had too much of time on hand and because of pre-existing undercurrents and fault lines, this Muslim community, the only Muslim community in the world turned on each other! We turned on each other in a savage way. The Muslim community split in an unprecedented way, we fragmented and we divided in a way that was unimaginable. The debates became so extreme the titles of ‘kaafir, faasiq and munfiq’ were thrown around like cheap toys.”
“We displayed the worst of us, unsubstantiated claims against respectable people even if you disagree with the person. What was so unfortunate in this country that a masjid which is supposed to be a place of unity became a place of friction and fragmentation. What an indictment on all of us!”
“It was heartbreaking that in some masjids people were resorting to vulgarities and resorting to physical violence over issues in which there was room for difference of opinion. This was something that happened only in South Africa. The world over, people rose beyond their divisions and they united to combat the virus, in South Africa, the virus split us like in no way that we could ever imagine. It brought us to a new low, but Insha’Allah from the new low we rise to a new high.”
Ml Ravat says each one of us need to introspect and ask ourselves what could I have done better in 2020 during the COVID-19 experience to make me a better Muslim?
“Let this year 2020, let this COVID pandemic be a test that we pass and come closer to Allah, not a test that we fail because we did not improve or we became worse and from a test it turns into a punishment. The second wave is a second opportunity to take lessons and become better Muslims.”
Listen to the full lecture by Ml Sulaimaan Ravat