ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews / 16 May) — The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak which was declared a ‘pandemic’ on March 11, 2020 by the World Health Organization has left everyone across the continents of the world flabbergasted.
This unseen enemy that spread from China across the world has overwhelmed many countries’ health care systems. It has squeezed the minds of many leaders and experts elsewhere from various fields particularly in health to think of feasible solutions to save their people and community.
As of May 14, it has infected more than 4.2M people and killed at least 294,000 people across the world. While in the Philippines, the total number of COVID-19 cases is 11,876 and the country’s death toll is 790.
Countries throughout the world are now implementing numerous guidelines and policies to decisively combat this unseen enemy, amongst them social distancing, compulsory wearing of masks when going outside for necessities, frequent washing of hands, among others, to slow the spread of the virus and keep the number of patients needing care below the capacity of the health systems.
One of the most effective ways to flatten the curve is the Enhanced Community Quarantine. However, the impact of this measure is agonizing especially to those who only rely on one scratch, one peck for survival. Although, had this ECQ not been for the welfare of everyone, our leaders wouldn’t have done this for us because somehow it gravely affects our everyday normal lives. But this is one of the best precautionary measures that will protect and safeguard all of us from the threat of COVID-19. Thus, everyone is sacrificing on this cause.
“COVID-19 has caused a lot of SEPARATIONS, loved ones not being able to see and be in each other’s presence, some for weeks or months, others unfortunately separated PERMANENTLY in this wordly life,” says Warith-thia Mujahil Elang-Gapur, Muslima doctor and one of the toughest front-liners in combating this virus. I personally resonate with her observation because in this difficult times, although I am with my family for some reason, my three siblings are away from us. Two are in Manila and the other one is an OFW who is a health care worker. I always feel anxious about their well-being, especially that the places where they are right now are also having the highest numbers of infected individuals.
Nonetheless, despite the gargantuan agonizing effect that this virus has done to human beings, undeniably, there are also innumerable lessons this virus has effectively taught us. Well, in life, every situation has always either a black or white side to it.
The wisdom I gleaned from COVID-19 is the reiteration of the Truth: 1. The only one who can control COVID19 is Allah – the Lord of the Worlds – who decides who survives or dies and when; for it is Only Allah who quickens and delays matter; 2. It is not enough that we believe but we shall be tested with loss of lives, wealth, homes and harvest; thus, we just have to strive to be patient and put our Trust in Him; 3. Goodness and badness in mankind will naturally manifest as a consequence of circumstance but one must be steadfast in faith so that all these badness and even the goodness in human nature must NEVER BRING OUT THE WORST IN US BUT still bring the best in each of us even more,” – Warina Sushil A. Jukuy, SecGen, Hijaab-Niqaab Advocacy Network (HAN) and Coordinator, Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA)-WesMin Paralegal Workers, expresses her feelings strongly and with confidence and hope.
If there’s one bright side of this pandemic, it is that most people across the continent of this world are now well-educated about the importance of practicing good respiratory and manual hygiene: such as sneezing or coughing into a flexed elbow, or using tissue but discarding it immediately into a closed bin; likewise, washing their hands regularly with either alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water. When you are working in a hospital or clinic, these are basic things that every employee is mandated to do as part of the infection control policy. Seemingly, some parts of the basic hospital routine are now being widely applied worldwide outside of the healthcare facility.
Subhāna Allāh! What truly amazes me amid the issue of COVID19 is, Islam has always something to say/suggest in the management of this situation. In fact, most of the principles applied by the world health experts and leaders to combat and manage this pandemic were derived from Islamic principles, to name a few, quarantine, protecting one’s own self and others from harm by staying at home, maintaining proper hygiene and sanitation like in the case of washing hands, respiratory hygiene, healthy lifestyle and obeying those in authority. Noteworthy to mention, in Islam, cleanliness is half of our Faith. In fact, Allah loves those who are clean.
Aldhakeel Amjad Tulawie, a licensed-nurse and overseas Filipino worker shared three invaluable lessons that he had learned from this pandemic: “Allah is in control of everything; Emergency fund/savings is important; Health is wealth.” These three crucial things are worthy to be pondered upon by everyone.
Meanwhile, I just hope when this health crisis finally ends, the government will learn a lot of lessons, especially that the health care system of this nation must be uplifted and the health care workers must not be taken for granted. Likewise, every world leader must greatly invest in saving precious lives like improving the health care system of their country just like how they heavily invested in killing precious lives through warfare.
“Now we have seen the effect of a health crisis in this magnitude, the local government should rethink their development strategies, focusing equally on the health sector. They have the means if they want to,” Arwen Tulawie Kalimuddin articulated.
Remember, our enemies are not just traitors but are also invisible. They may be just around the corner. Let’s all fight our enemies together by heeding the guidelines set by our experts and leaders because these are our weapons to combat and totally destroy them apart from sincere Dua that never misses its mark.
“Through the many struggles, may we be a source of strength for the ones we love. Let us sow seeds of Compassion, in due time to reap fruits of Love,” said Warith-thia Mujahil Elang-Gapur.
It is normal to feel anxious especially for our families and loved ones amid this current situation. Let’s continue to beseech His supreme intervention to protect and safeguard us at all times from this harm. Likewise, let’s strengthen our Faith in Him; for certain, this will end soon. Bi’idznillaah
One of the easiest yet best things that we can do for our families and loved ones especially those who are not with us amid these difficult times is to always include them in our fervent prayers. Let us continue to fervently beseech Allāh that our beloved families, loved ones, as well as ourselves, will be protected and safeguarded by Him at all times from any natural or man-made catastrophes wherever we may be. Additionally, may Allāh castigate all those who bring agony to the lives of their fellow human beings through this virus IF this was man-made.
In these most challenging times, it is vital that whenever we can be of help to alleviate someone’s agony, don’t hesitate to help even if it is just a piece of advice; much more if we have something to share with them like food, and other important stuff especially this Ramadhān.
Towards this end, I sincerely hope and fervently pray that this global health crisis that is agonizing for everyone across the world will finally end soon. May everyone afflicted by this illness be healed and everyone whose their kin and loved ones are either fighting for their lives or have already perished due to COVID19 be granted patience and strength to continue to live normal lives.
May Allāh grant everyone especially our leaders and all those at the forefront in this battle the fortitude, strength, wisdom and patience to see this through so that the Filipino nation will heal as one soon.
(Gamson Jr Mawallil Quijano is a Registered Radiologic Technologist who works in Doha, Qatar but is presently stranded in Zamboanga City due to the lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19)