As the battle against Coronavirus intensifies; the death toll rising by the hour and hospitals ICUs overspilling with patients, temporary mortuaries being set up outside hospitals and each one of us knows someone who has COVID-19. The fear is mounting. This is a testing time. Time to be patient and strong. Here I offer seven powerful tips for making your home a spiritual place of learning and devotion.
The Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) won many battles and his victories show us how we can win the battle of life. The most important step was recognising the enemy. A lot of the time we are clueless about our enemy. Often, it’s misidentified; a competitor trying to win my customers or someone who is jealous of me and trying to undermine my credibility or someone wanting to take my money. This is a typical human response. However, in the thicket of the battle of Uhud, the Muslims were told, “Do not be disheartened or sad; you will come out on top when you are true believers” (Ale Imran: 139). Here the Quran identified the real enemy, attitude – the way you think, your mindset. It isn’t what is happening outside that will put you down but it’s your response to the crisis.
As we witness the unfolding of the Coronavirus pandemic on our screens, hour by hour in front of our eyes, we are scared. This is what will discourage us, make us give up, even make us angry. It will drive us nuts and we’ll ask the wrong questions, like why me Lord? We must avoid this to win the battle against this virus. Our hope and optimism must remain at the highest level. This will only happen if we have the conviction of faith and trust in the Almighty Lord.
So, we must stake our faith in the promise He made with us “I am with you”. So, have unwavering trust in the words of God, that will bring help. To show this trust and confidence in Allah, Our almighty Lord, let’s turn to him in devotion, as we stay home, make your home a masjid. Here are some ideas to make your home a place of learning and devotion.
Make your home the Masjid
Did you know that early Muslims living in Makkah had no masjid? So their homes were the masjid. The disciples would pray at home, lead jamaat and teach the Quran. Today, because of the Coronavirus pandemic, many of you will be missing attending and praying at the masjid. Nevertheless, this time offers an opportunity to again practise an ancient way, the way of the early, oppressed Muslims. So, let’s make the most of these days of social isolation. Your home too can become a Masjid, here are some practical steps to take:
- I believe it’s important to have a routine, run your day as you used to. Get changed before breakfast, don’t stay in your pajamas all day! Have mid-morning tea at 10.30 am, light lunch at 12.30 noon, and make the intention to pray all your prayers on time.
- Control how much news and TV you and your family watch. I have the habit of watching Channel 4 News at 7 pm and then BBC news at 10 pm only. That’s a lot. Avoid as much as you can during the daytime; too much worrying news can be depressing! Instead, find alternative activities that will enable you to spend quality time with your children. For example, try something new (i.e. arts and crafts) and don’t forget to exercise regularly (e.g. walking, lunges or press-ups).
- Your environment: Select the lounge or another room for praying together in Jamaat. Do your own Iqama before the prayer. If there is no male at home, women can still pray in Jamaat but stand in the same row. Invite young children to join in as well.
- I recommend you give a lesson to your family from my book titled ‘Tokens of Wisdom’ or an alternative resource. My book has 45 chapters from Imam Nawawi’s collection of Hadith. It’s a beautiful collection for moral, social, and spiritual development. YouTube has a wide range of good Islamic talks that you can listen to, you can also watch my Darse Quran live on Wednesday’s at 8 pm. Get into the habit of listening to at least one Islamic-related talk a day.
- Go the extra mile: A Prophetic Sunnah is to fast on Monday and Thursday, I follow this beautiful sunnah and so do thousands of dieticians and nutrition experts globally.
- I strongly recommend praying Nafls in addition to the five daily prayers, ‘Ishraq’ – voluntary prayer after Sunrise (7 am); The midmorning ‘Chasht’ after or before Breakfast (9.30 am); ‘Awwabeen’ after Maghrib.
- Ensure you look out for vulnerable relatives and neighbors. Social distancing does not mean that we stop caring.
The Masjid is a place to remember Allah. With the seven steps above, your home can become more spiritual and blessed.
Useful Duas to recite
Here are two impactful prayers, learn them and read them for confidence and reassurance:
اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الْبَرَصِ وَالْجُنُونِ وَالْجُذَامِ وَمِنْ سَيِّئِ الأَسْقَامِ
“Oh Allah, I seek Your protection from leprosy, dementia, infectious diseases, and other serious illnesses.”
بِسْمِ اللهِ الَّذِي لاَ يَضُرُّ مَعَ اسْمِهِ شَيْءٌ فِي الأَرْضِ وَلاَ فِي السَّمَاءِ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيم
“In the name of Allah, nothing on earth nor in the sky can harm me the slightest, He is the Hearing and the Knowing”.