Once in a while over human history, God does something to slow us down in order to find time to reflect, to examine our behavior, and move our lives to a different direction. This is what happened during 2020. God sent us COVID-19 to let His human creation think of what they have done to themselves and to this planet we share. As God says:
“Not a single affliction strikes you, ‘human beings’, but that it is for what your own hands have earned – and He pardons a lot!” (The Qur’an 42:30)
This virus has turned our lives upside down. While scientists have been busy in developing vaccines to protect us against the virus, now we have been inflicted with variants and strains related to the virus. They will occupy extra time from scientists to deal with them. This extra time is desperately needed to perfect the new vaccines for COVID-19.
No doubt what happened to humanity during 2020 made them reflect on their relationship with their Creator, their environment, and their care for their fellow human beings. The health and economic struggles that faced humanity forced us to feel for each other and to help those who are hurting. The multi-task life has been replaced by a slower life which promotes sharing, caring, and close connection with members of the family, with neighbors, and with each other.
So, let us continue building on what the virus forced us to do. Let us hope that the new 2021 will be the year of getting rid of COVID-19 and its derivatives, the year of economic recovery, the year of connecting with each other, the year of being close to our Creator, the year of restoring the old days when family members spent a quality time with each other, instead of being occupied with social media and with worldly and material things that are consuming our lives, and above all, the year to be united as one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Let us turn to God, pleading for His Mercy, to change our existing condition with a new and better condition, worthy of His Forgiveness and Compassion. As the Arab poet says:
“Between the blink of an eye and its attention, God changes from a condition to a condition.”
Have a healthy and content life in 2021 and beyond.
Your brother in the Interfaith Family,
Founder of SALAM Center