By Shaykh Abdool Rahman Khan
The world is witnessing some tough times these days, with the appearance of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Life situations are changing rapidly. How should one process all this information that is changing every hour?
People are asking: Does Coronavirus have anything to do with the end times? After all, this generation has not witnessed anything so humongous and scary like the Coronavirus. People have become perplexed and confused.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) did predict many happenings among the signs of The Hour but could The Coronavirus be one of them? Could the Coronavirus be one of the major signs of The Last Day?
The major signs are ten in number based on the Hadith of Prophet Muhammad narrated by Hudhaifah ibn Usaid al-Ghifari (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: Prophet Muhammad came to us all of a sudden as we were (busy in a discussion) He said:
What do you discuss about? They (the Companions) said. We are discussing about the Last Hour. Thereupon he said: It will not come until you see ten signs before and (in this connection) he made a mention of the smoke, Dajjal, the beast, the rising of the sun from the west, the descent of Jesus son of Mary (Allah be pleased with him), the Gog and Magog, and land-slides in three places, one in the east, one in the west and one in Arabia at the end of which fire would burn forth from the Yemen, and would drive people to the place of their assembly. (Muslim)
For sure, Coronavirus does not fit any of the ten major signs of The Last Hour. Or so it seems!
The appearance of The Mahdi and the return of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) and the coming of Dajjal all of which will follow one another still yet to come. None of these has yet happened. Are they far away? Only Allah the Almighty knows.
But then there are the minor signs or “Alamaatus Sughraa” meaning other than the ten major signs.
No doubt there are some traces of end time signs. To pinpoint them would be a difficult task.
Even though the Coronavirus is still wreaking havoc in the world and no one knows when it would end and what would be the death toll.
What is clear is that the Coronavirus is still far less mortality rate than some of the most devastating pandemic in human history.
Take the Bubonic Plague of 1346-1353, for example, it was estimated that 100 million people died by the plague which was spread by rats and fleas. Those days the world population was barely 500 million people. One can do the math.
Then there was The Spanish Flu of 1918-1920 flu which infected 500 million people around the world, or about 27% of the world population of that time which was between 1.8 and 1.9 billion.
The death toll was estimated to have been anywhere from 17 million to 50 million, and possibly and as high as 100 million, making it one of the deadliest epidemics in human history.
Certainly, living at that time would be a lot scarier than living today with the Coronavirus. Not that anyone should underestimate the danger and power of viruses. It is very difficult to fully protect against something so microscopic and powerful and its transmission from person to person is still not fully known. We surrender to what Allah says:
It is He who sent down tranquility into the hearts of the believers that they would increase in faith along with their [present] faith. And to Allah belong the soldiers of the heavens and the earth, and ever is Allah Knowing and Wise. (Al-Fath 48:4)
While living through perhaps one of the most difficult times a believer must know that at the end of the day it is a test from Allah.
Alif-Lam-Mim. Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: “We believe,” and will not be tested. And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make (it) known (the truth of) those who are true, and will certainly make (it) known (the falsehood of) those who are liars. (Al-Ankabut 29:3)
The Almighty knows who the human beings are but it is in His Wisdom and justice that He brings about these tests.
A Believer does not beg for difficulty but he prepares for it when it comes. The trial is what sorts out:
Allah will not let the believers stay in the state they are: He will set the wicked apart from the good. Allah is not going to disclose to you what is hidden in the realm beyond the reach of perception, but He chooses from among His Messengers whom He wills. (Aal Imran 3:179)
He also informs human beings that there are the unseen that He will not disclose. So, when people ask why this is happening to all humanity, they must read what Allah says:
Allah is not going to disclose to you what is hidden in the realm beyond the reach of perception. (Aal Imran 3:179)
Mankind does not know what is in the hearts of his fellow human beings. All that is seen is the outward actions. One can see someone prays and fasts but cannot see what is in the hearts. So, Allah puts mankind and particularly those who say they believe through trials in order to expose what is in the hearts. A true Believer stands firm in his faith at these trialing times.
Trials become continuous and in all spheres of life:
[You disbelievers are] like those before you; they were stronger than you in power and more abundant in wealth and children. They enjoyed their portion [of worldly enjoyment], and you have enjoyed your portion as those before you enjoyed their portion, and you have engaged [in vanities] like that in which they engaged. [It is] those whose deeds have become worthless in this world and in the Hereafter, and it is they who are the losers. (At-Tawbah 9:69)
Irbad ibn Saariyah (may Allah be pleased with) said: The Messenger of Allah delivered an admonition that made our hearts fearful and our eyes tearful. We said, “O Messenger of Allah, it is as if this were a farewell sermon, so advise us.” He said,
“I enjoin you to have Taqwa of Allah and that you listen and obey, even if a slave is made a ruler over you. He among you who lives long enough will see many differences. So, for you is to observe my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly-principled and rightly-guided successors, holding on to them with your molar teeth. Beware of newly-introduced matters, for every innovation (bidah) is an error.” (Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi, who says it is an authentic hadith – hasan saheeh)
Hudhifah ibn Al-Yamaan (may Allah be pleased with him) used to ask Prophet Muhammad about things when they go bad:
“Adhere to the group of Muslims and their Imam.” I asked, “If there is neither a group (of Muslims) nor a leader (what shall I do)?” He said, “Keep away from all those different sects, even if you had to bite (i.e. eat) the root of a tree, till you meet Allah while you are still in that state.”
Third: Stay Firm with your faith
An example of the test was at the time of the Battle of Khandaq and Allah describes the behavior of both groups:
And [remember] when the hypocrites and those in whose hearts is disease said, “Allah and His Messenger did not promise us except delusion,” (Al-Ahzab 33:12)
How did the Believers behave?
And when the believers saw the companies, they said, “This is what Allah and His Messenger had promised us, and Allah and His Messenger spoke the truth.” And it increased them only in faith and acceptance. (Al-Ahzab 33:22)
O you who have believed, seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with the patient. (Al-Baqarah 2:153)
May Allah protect us all and free us from the hardships we as going through. Amen.