Coronavirus & the teachings of the ‘Sufis’

Summary of discourse by Shaykh Abdul Mueed Saheb (Hafizahullah)

Tuesday, 11 April 2020 – Khanqah Maseehiyyah, Sukkur, Pakistan

Shaykhul Islam Hadhrat Mufti Taqi Usmani damat barakatuhu has recently tweeted that one of the most effective remedies of protection from the coronavirus, especially for those who have not been infected is to make abundant Shukr (gratitude). Gratitude draws the mercy of Allah Ta’ala and Allah Ta’ala loves gratitude. Health is a great blessing. To protect and preserve this great favour is important. Therefore develop the habit of being grateful.

Shukr eradicates hatred and pride

Shukr is a quality that brings humility within a person. A person who is truly grateful does not have pride and does not despise others. Shukr eradicates all spiritual maladies. A person who entrenches gratitude in his life is never jealous of anyone, nor does he despise others, because he remains focused on the favours of Allah Ta’ala. This increases his recognition and love for Allah Ta’ala. A person whose heart is filled with Allah Ta’ala’s recognition and love does not have hatred for others. Through Shukr, a person remains protected from many spiritual ailments.

Dua for those who are infected

Secondly we should make dua for the person infected with the virus. Just as health is a bounty, illness is also a bounty. For a believer, both health and illness are ‘favours’. One should not ask for illness but if a person falls ill, one should accept this as the divine decree, and believe that it is a means of forgiveness and elevation of ranks. When a person patiently bears this test then it becomes a means of great elevation. Dua of the absent one for his believing brother is accepted for both the seeker and the one for whom dua is made. 

Dua to ‘remove a favour’

Hadhrat Hajee Imdadullah rahimahullah was delivering a talk in the Haram Shareef in Makkah Mukarramah on the point that both health and illness are favours of Allah Ta’ala. As this discussion was in progress, a person entered and complained to Hadhrat that he is very ill and to please ask Allah Ta’ala to remove his illness. In terms of the ongoing discussion at the time that sickness is also a bounty, it was as though he was asking for the removal of a bounty. Hadhrat Hajee Imdadullah rahimahullah lifted his hands and said, ‘O Allah your favour of illness is great, so great it’s beyond us to bear, please replace it with the favour of good health.’ This is the foresight and wisdom of the pious who recognise Allah Ta’ala. 

Sufis have devised four strategies

The Sufis (saintly servants) have advised such exercises that are universal and beneficial for all times. These are:

1. Eat less – it is now medically proven that to eat moderately is beneficial. However, the purpose of not being overfull is that feeling some hunger will create compassion in the heart for the hungry. Eat that much to satisfy the appetite, not the desire. Appetite has a limit, desires have no limit. Eating moderately helps build stamina and immunity which are required to stave off diseases and illnesses.

2. Sleep less – sleeping moderately is beneficial for the health – maximum sleep time should be 8 hours, not more. The organs have a cycle of repair and replenishment which take place during sleep. To have adequate sleep is beneficial and to oversleep is detrimental. So to sleep early and complete the cycle of sleep strengthens the immunity, which is important for protection from the coronavirus.

3. Speak less –  To speak less is a beneficial practice. Protect yourself from foul and futile speech. Today we are told not to socialise with people because of social distancing. But the Sufis have prescribed this for the spiritual benefits of minimising speech.

4. Associate less – The Sufis have advised ‘social distancing’ from long before, by associating less a person will speak less. By meeting more, more sins are committed. But science limits its understanding to physical benefits – the Sufis prescribe this practice for the benefit of the spirituality which brings one closer to Allah Ta’ala.

Today, the places of vice have all been abandoned out of fear of the coronavirus. The Sufis have been asking people to stay away from these places for the sake of Allah – this teaching has been advised from long before. If there is anything we should fear, it is the disobedience of Allah Ta’ala. Our intention for associating less with people is so that people will be saved from ‘my harm’. When one cuts off from the creation then he joins with the Creator.

Our intention for practicing on preventative measures should be that these are teachings of our Deen and the Sunnah for centuries. We should practice on these Sunnah practices to gain closeness to Allah Ta’ala. In this way both worldly benefit and spiritual benefit will be attained. 

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