Ramadan Reflection: The Gift of Life In the Time of a Pandemic

While COVID-19 continues to afflict innocent people around the world, this Ramadan is a reminder of the gift of life and the uncertainty of death. As some members of our community are dying or struggling to fight the virus, the fasting month is a blessed time to reflect on the tests and tribulations of life. For most Muslims, death is a natural part of life and the pious reflect on the Afterlife perhaps more than life on this earth. Ramadan reminds Muslims that life is temporary. Friends and strangers dying of the virus have proven this simple fact. Death is perhaps the single most event in one’s life that is unpredictable. This is a concept twisted by violent extremists, a study I have committed 20 years of my life, and yet, the basic principles of Islam–intertwined with life and death–are founded on Mercy.

Living a Faith-Filled Life

The month of blessing is a daily reminder of how to live a faith-filled life. Scholars across America (and the world) use Ramadan to send daily messages laced with scripture and true stories to unite a divided community.
Muslims need to return to the metaphysical world, says Shaykh Hamza Yousef in California. So that Muslims might return to God and ask for forgiveness.
Muslim or not, struggle is the hallmark of life. For years, I have been obsessed with studying why (some) human beings suffer more than others–in and outside of conflict. My books and studies argue that most of the suffering is inflicted by others, leading to trauma, torture, stress, anxiety, the need to belong, and in the most extreme cases, the pursuit of violence and violent extremist organizations. Why do women choose violent action? And why is this behavior on the rise? These are important questions that scholars, researchers and practitioners are still trying to answer. Other calamities are self-inflicted. The American Shaykh states that when suffering is self-inflicted, it can lead to serious consequences. Again, as a scholar of conflicts and violent behavior, many individuals searching for a faith-filled life cover ignorance with so-called truths, turning to perverted individuals/groups for guidance. They are trying to understand Islam and use Google Shaykh for twisted answers.

The Benefits of Tribulation

A lecture by American Muslim scholar Shaykh Hamza Yousef on “The 17 Benefits of Tribulation” describes the reasons humans are tested. One of the benefits of tribulation–including personal, professional and global struggles–is to turn back to the Creator of the Universe.
The fourth benefit is that he returns to Allah and is suddenly fervent in his desire of his Lord so that is a benefit. Allah says when a harm afflicts the human he calls on his Lord returning back to Him, to His Lord.
A short version of the longer lecture is included below.
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