Ramadan, the holiest month in the Islamic calendar (Apr. 23–May 23 this year), like Lent for Christians (Feb. 26–Apr. 9 this year), features three essential observances: prayer, fasting and charitable deeds. Along comes Covid-19 to add to the motivation! And that motivation did not escape the notice of one of our readers from Calgary’s Baitun Nur Mosque.
FOR MANY YEARS now, I have been working like a machine, the wheels of which never stopped moving through this temporal life, hardly ever stopping to think of where the wheels were taking me. My routine was the same day by day: waking up in the early morning, sending the kids to school and back, cleaning up the house, making dinner. I never thought of anything besides getting ready, feeding the family, and keeping an eye on the clock lest anyone gets late. It was like running a marathon. Had I ever stopped to think what it was all for? Or about the thoughts of my neighbours, or the rest of the world?
In the midst of this the Coronavirus entered. I was forced to slow down, and I felt the delight of calling my neighbours and asking about their wellbeing, and giving my relatives the love that was once the pleasure of my childhood.
The beauty of humanity lies in good moral conduct. In times of need, the inner goodness of our fellow human beings shines, and is understood more than when there is peace, happiness, and a smooth running of society.
Although many people with whom I have been in close contact for years had beauty in their natures, I was unaware of its extent until now. This pandemic has woken me up, and I have come to realize the true inner beauty of some of my friends.
Let me share a few noble examples of service to humanity during this pandemic:
One of my friends, a mother of four, has helped at least five of her neighbours by giving them rides to the grocery store during this pandemic. I know also that she spent some money from her own pocket for these friends so that they did not feel left alone in this crisis.
Another friend helped a young girl, who had been living alone and has to move to her new home. With the help of her son, and while ensuring proper safety measures, she fully devoted her time for this young woman so that she would not feel lonely at this time of isolation.
I cannot forget the love of another friend, who helped two of her friends who had small children and were under financial strain before receiving help from the government by buying necessary food items for their kids and dropping these to their homes. No monetary repayment was received; it was an act of pure generosity, worth more than any amount of money.
These things seemed to have been covered with the thick, dark clouds of my everyday routine prior to this moment. The restrictions caused by the pandemic during these times are still a burden no doubt, but it is also a new dawn which sheds light upon the beauty of life. I can now start a new journey of peace, harmony, and brotherhood. One that is pure and full of delight, with the hopes that there will always be a light to wipe out all darkness, and it is just a matter of seizing this light.
—Amtul Qayyum Anjum, Calgary