The KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa was hit with widespread rioting and mayhem which started with sporadic incidents on July 8, 2021 that swiftly escalated to widespread looting, plundering and arson of an unprecedented nature.
Malls, shopping centres, warehouses, factories, bank ATMs, infrastructure, vehicles and trucks were looted by mobs of rioters. The unrest became chaotic and violent. The situation was volatile and tense. The losses run into tens of billions. Apart from the financial losses, people have been psychologically affected and traumatised. None of the state security apparatus were able to do much, leaving the ordinary citizens to stand off against rioting mobs and protect their families and homes to the best of what they were able to do.
Immediately after things calmed down, there were huge shortages of basic food items such as bread and milk.
Allah Ta'ala is our Sole Provider and Protector
A great lesson learnt from this crisis is that we should reinforce our full trust and reliance in Allah Ta'ala alone. "You Alone do we Worship and you alone do we ask for help". Reaffirm our belief and conviction in the greatness of Allah Ta'ala by speaking about the greatness of Allah Ta'ala. He is All Knowing, All Wise, there is none worthy of Worship but Allah, to Him belongs the Universe and to him belongs All Praise.
Hope and encouragement - a central theme of the Qur'an
Throughout the Noble Qur'an, Allah Ta'ala reminds man of the temporary nature of this worldly life, its challenges and trials and gives man hope, inspiration and encouragement. The lives and times of the Messenger's (AS) bear testimony to the fact that people will undergo tests and trials and should remain resilient and patient.
"…Do not lose hope in the mercy of Allah” (Surah Zumar - V 53) - “...do not despair of Allah's mercy..." (Surah Yusuf - V 87)
Not all is lost
Grief, fear, anger and distress are natural human emotions. To feel sad and aggrieved at loss of wealth is natural. We believe that the material loss of believer will not go unrewarded by Allah Ta'ala. "Verily Allah has purchased your lives and wealth in lieu of Jannah." (Surah Taubah - V 111) The ultimate abode of bliss is the Hereafter and any loss suffered in this world is an investment for the Hereafter. Every loss of a Believer is accompanied with forgiveness, reward and spiritual progress. Feeling the pain of loss is a means of benefit.
The Dua of Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) for loss is: “O Allah! Reward me on my difficulty and replace me better than what was lost.” A Believer has the conviction that better days and conditions will arise from the ashes.
Brotherhood and support
In this time of severe financial loss and difficulty we should look to supporting and helping those affected. To help a person in distress is a great Sunnah. Nabi r established bonds of Ukhuwwah (partnerships) between the Sahabah (R) to strengthen them in their business ventures and to help them get start up in life. Many Sahabah y prospered thereafter having benefited from this support model. In this time of crisis, we should set aside our differences and work together for the greater good of the Ummah. Unity and common purpose will make us stronger and successful.
Reflect on our intention
Purpose and intention is the basis of our deeds and our survival. We should review our intention and purpose of life and of our existence in this country. We should make a firm resolution to live here for the upliftment of Islam. Our mission should be to convey the beautiful teachings of Islam to all the inhabitants of this country and to help and guide them towards the peace demonstrated by Islam. By bettering our character, approach, attitude and communication we will attract people towards the goodness of Islam.
Patience and perseverance
In times of hardship, we are called upon to be patient and hopeful. Through our most difficult days we should remain steadfast and persevere on our obligations to Allah Ta'ala, increase our remembrance of Allah Ta'ala, the Owner of Universe.
The situation should invoke within us a sense of introspection and we should relook at our strategy, approach and response to these challenges.
May Allah Ta'ala restore the losses, grant relief and guide us towards faith and peace.