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How to Deal With Dread and Despair During Pandemic? The Source of Positiveness in Difficult Situations, By Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi

How to Deal With Dread and Despair During Pandemic?

INTRODUCTION: Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (RH) wrote this article as a foreword for his book ‘Shoq e Watan’ which we are publishing here and some Ahadith from this book due to the suitability and necessity of the current situation.

About Three years ago an extreme plague spread in the Muzaffar Nagar district. The severity of the plague remained for some time. Our little town, Thanah Bhavan, which is also a part of Muzaffar Nagar district was also affected by the plague.

The plague was extreme and widespread due to which people upset. Some left their settlements and ran away, some were planning to leave, others were perturbed, frightened and scared. In short, the situation was astonishing.

Since the Islamic Shari’ah has taken the responsibility of treating all spiritual difficulties, problems and inner sicknesses.

In fact these difficult situations are a result of possessing a little patience (sabr), having weak reliance on Allah, not being content and satisfied with the commands of the Almighty, and not possessing Emaan and yaqeen (faith, confidence and trust). The basic cause of all this is solely a strong desire and inclination towards the dunya (material world) and keeping away from seeking the akhirah (hereafter). We all know that the cure for any illness is to remove its basic cause. Hence, the sayings of Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam: “The love for the dunya is the root of all sin”, and “Excessive remembrance of death is the eraser of all pleasures,” this the only secret of (treating) this.

Taking all these aspects into consideration, and in accordance with this principle, while paying attention to the reformation of the general public I started mentioning the favors, joys and comforts of the hereafter, and creating a strong desire for the hereafter and to abstain from the pleasures of the dunya in my discourses and lectures. To attain all these favors and pleasures one has to go through the experience of death (maut) . For this reason I mentioned death as a blessing and favor. In description of these favors of the hereafter, I also mentioned the qabr (grave), qiyamah (day of reckoning), jannah (paradise), and the glad tidings for a momin.

In the same series, of discourses and lectures I mentioned every type of difficulty, virtues, rewards, nearness to Allah, promise of acceptance, on which the glad tidings are based and also includes good news of the favors and blessings of the hereafter. 

As a result immediate and positive response was seen, and the courage and confidence of the public increased. Signs of happiness and satisfaction began to manifest themselves. All worry and difficulties turned into satisfaction and happiness. More so, in some way few people began to look forward to death. When these subjects proved to be beneficial for affected people, it came to mind that since many years, in many areas of India, plague keeps on spreading now and then and it is not known that how long this situation will remain the same. Wherever plague spreads, the affected People deeply engulfed with the same type of fear despair and difficulties, which weakens their faith and trust in Allah.

As a result the chances of experience loss and harm in the hereafter increases during normal times without any epidemic, at the bereavement of a dear and beloved one, people usually experienced same kind of distress and despair because of lack of Patience and tawakkul (complete reliance on Allah). The life of this world becomes bitter without this faith. Therefore, everywhere in the world people are in need of this prescription to strengthen their soul and heart. These subjects which benefited the local community hopefully if collected in a written form and conveyed to people of other places, will, in saha Allah, benefit them too. Hence, a firm intention was made to collect subjects pertaining to the bounties of hereafter.

Since these subjects were delivered during different lectures and discourses at different places, it was not possible to write them with the same details. Therefore, it was intended that similar and related ahadith be chosen from Shaykh Jalal ud din Suyti’s “Sharhus Sudur” and translated into simple language, will fulfill the original aim.

During the process of compilation of about thirty such ahadith a copy of copy of “Sharhus Sudur” printed in Egypt containing a commentary titled “Bushra al Kateeb”, also by Shaykh Jalalud din Suyuti was received from a friend.

This copy especially contained those subjects which refer to the glad tidings after death. Since this booklet was more suitable for my desired intention, it was thought, that instead of choosing subjects from “Sharhus Sudur”, a great portion of this booklet will be translated, and at places to complete or corroborate a subject, or mention some details, subject-matter will be taken from other sources too, which should be regarded as an extended and collateral portion of the original. While using translation from the original “Bushra al Kateeb” no book references were mentioned. subject matter taken from other books were written with references.

I have found it appropriate to name this booklet “Shauq e Watan” because the hereafter is our original watan (eternal abode), and is worthy of being desired. Our negligence and carelessness have made us totally forget about this watan (eternal abode).

This booklet will remove such negligence and increase our desires for our original abode. Now it is hoped, with the grace of Allah, that this book will be useful, at times of despair, grief and fear.

If it is read or read to others, alone with family or in big gatherings, then In-shaa-Allah instead of grief, happiness, instead of fear, peace of mind, instead of despair contentment will result. Many chapters have been compiled herein. It must be remembered that the translation is made in simple language for the benefit of the layman. With hope of gaining barakah the original ‘Arabic ahadith has also been gven. It is also a source of assurance, satisfaction and caution. Where deemed necessary details have been given under the caption of commentary.

May Allah subhan na wa ta’la accept this book, for the purpose and aim that is was compiled; make it a source to increase the desire of getting the rewards in hereafter; and give the divine guidance (toufeeq) to get prepared for the final abode and grant his acceptance and blessings, Aamin.

The reward for illness and hardships

1. Hazrat Abi Saeed (R.A) narrates from the Prophet (PBUH): “Any Muslim who experiences any hardship, discomfort, worry, sorrow, grief, and distress, even a thorn prick, but Allah will make it an atonement for his sins”. [Bukhari, Muslim, Mishkaat].

2. Hazrat Jabir (R.A) reports, Prophet (PBUH) said to Hazrat Umm e Saaib (R.A) : “Do not curse fever, for it removes the sins of Bani Aadam (offspring of Aadam) in the manner that a furnace removes rust from iron.”

[Muslim, Mishkaat]

3. Hazrat Anas (R.A) narrates that I heard the Prophet (PBUH) say: “When I afflict, my bondsman with his two beloved possessions, he then exercises patience, I will grant him jannah in lieu of it. His two eyes are meant (here).” [Bukhari, Mishkaat].

The virtues of plague

1. Hazrat Anas (R.A) reports, the Prophet (PBUH) said: “Plague is a (means of) martyrdom for a Muslim.” [Bukhari, Muslim, Mishkaat].

2. Hazrat Jabir reports, the Prophet (PBUH) said: “The one running away from plague is like the one running away from jihad. The one who stays steadfast with patience therein (affected place) will receive the reward of a shahid  (martyr).” [ Ahmed, Mishkat].

Preference for death over life

1. Hazrat Abdullah bin Umar (R.A) says, the Prophet (PBUH) said: “A (beloved) present for the Mu-min (believer) is death”. [Ibnul Mubarak, Ibn Abi Darda, Tabrani and Haakim].

2. Hazrat Mahmud bin Labid (R.H) reports, the Prophet (PBUH) said: “Ibn Aadam (offspring of Hazrat Aadam) dislikes maut (death) whilst maut is better for him then fitnah (trials and tribulations in the deen)”. [Ahmed, Saeed bin Mansur].

Commentary: The benefit of death is, there is no fear that one’s deen (religion) will deteriorate. If one lives, there is always the fear of this happening (deterioration) especially if one confronts causes that will lead to it. We seek Allah’s refuge from turning astray.

3. Hazrat Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Aas (R.A) reports, the Prophet (PBUH) said: “The world is a prison (because of the many restrictions) for a Mumin (believer) and a place of drought (both comfort, favors and affluence are deficient). When one leaves the world, one leaves a prison and place of drought (because comfort, favors and affluence are complete and widespread in the hereafter).” [lbnul Mubaarak, Tabrani].

The benefit of a difficult death for some Mumins (Believers)

1. Hazrat Ibn Mas’ud (R.A) says, the Prophet (PBUH) said: “(At times) A Mumin (believer) commits a sin. Hardship is experienced at the time of death to recompense for sins. (At times) A kafir (nonbeliever) carries out a good deed, and to recompense for it, an easy death is granted.” [Tabrani, Abu Nu’aym, Sharhus Sudur].

Commentary: Experiencing a difficult death is not a bad omen nor is an easy death a good omen. No doubt should remain regarding a difficult death as stated in the above hadith.

The glad tidings, respect and honor for a Muslim at the time of death

1. Hazrat Ibn Jurayj (R.A) narrates, the Prophet (PBUH) said to Hazrat Ayesha (R.A): “When a Mumin sees the angels, they say: ‘We will take you back to the world. (We will not remove your soul). He will say: ‘(You will return me) Towards a place of worry, anxiety, distress and affliction. Take me towards Allah.” [Ibn Jarir and Ibnul Munair in their tafsiir]

2. Hazrat Anas bin Maalik (R.A) says, the Prophet (PBUH) said: “When malakul maut (angel of death) comes to a wali (accepted bondsman) of Allah, he makes salam to him. His salam is saying this: ‘Assalamu ‘alayka ya waliyullah, rise and leave the home that has been emptied, and go towards your home which has been furnished by you (i.e. from the world towards the hereafter).” [Qadi Abul Husayn bin Al’urayf, Abu Rabi’ Al-Mas’udi, Sharhus Sudur].

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