CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 25 April) — Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim.
The Holy Month of Ramadan is now upon us, and it could not have come at a more perfect time for us to once again embark on a journey of self-reflection and contemplation. In a world that has become unfamiliar before we realized what was happening, we are called upon to recognize our shared humanity and be accountable for one another.
We are no strangers to adversity. Three years ago, a few days before the start of Ramadan, Marawi City was under siege. For months, we struggled to find our footing as an entire landscape changed, save for the lake that has defined Marawi and Lanao del Sur and the resilient Meranao people of the past on whose backs our beloved home was built.
This year presents a different challenge – a challenge that renders the whole world seemingly defenseless. We are confronted by the coronavirus disease, also known as COVID-19. It is difficult to imagine a place left untouched by this disease, and it is easy to believe that we are all vulnerable to this same invisible virus, to this faceless enemy.
And yet, our individual vulnerabilities reveal not so much about the severe inequalities amongst us but existence of a powerful commitment and conviction towards each other to save lives and to choose victory over defeat. When we are asked to self-quarantine, we are reminded of how strongly the experience we share as we live through this pandemic, never mind that we are living in different communities. When we are asked to observe physical distancing, we are reminded that spaces do not define human connection, rather by the empathy that we hold towards one another.
As we pray for a change in our present circumstances, may we remember that our prayer also requires us to act in order change the conditions we all live in. God has said in the Holy Qur’an and I quote: “We will not change the condition of a man unless he changes himself.” This is a both a challenge and a sign of mercy from God to prove to ourselves that indeed we are worthy to receive such mercy and are capable of supporting government’s effort to contain this pandemic in order to better our condition. As we celebrate the Holy Month, let us commit to the fast while recognizing the struggle that constantly lingers among the less fortunate. We shall offer ourselves as strengths to those who are weak and be charitable towards those in need and disavow a life of excess hinged on the depravity of another.
May we reflect upon our own faults and correct them, and may we respond to inequalities with the intent of changing them. The Holy Month is a time for generosity and goodwill, and may we extend both to our brothers and sisters in the hopes of sharing a future where there is neither lack nor need. May we also offer our prayers to those who working in the frontlines, risking their lives in order to make ours safe. Ramadan Mubarak to all of you. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Zia Alonto Adiong is a Member of Parliament in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao)