“Where am I?” My eyes half closed, I try to look around. My head is filled with thoughts, vague and random. I feel heavy and want to embrace unconsciousness as it welcomes me into its open arms like an old friend. As I close my eyes and slip into the comfort of sleep, my heart starts pounding desperately as if trying to break out my chest. I hear it screaming and pleading, “Wake up! Save us, save yourself. It’s now or never! Wake up, wake up!” I am shaken and scared. “Am I really in danger?” I think. I try once more to open my eyes, the world around me looks calm, there’s an eerie silence around me. I try to stand up, but my efforts fail. I don’t feel my limbs. My eyes start looking for my limbs, they look lifeless and scarred, and panic starts gripping my heart. I want to free myself, I move my hands to free them, but to my despair they seem to be tied with invisible chords, each far from the other. Every part of my body feels numb, as if it have been anesthetized. I muster every iota of energy in my body to move, but even the slightest of movement seems impossible. “You have to do something. You can’t give up!” Begs my anguished heart. I realize now that I am in danger. My very existence is at stake. I try screaming for help, my voice doesn’t seem to leave my throat, all I hear is incomprehensible, muffled gurgling. I cannot give up, I have to pull myself together. But as I begin my struggle, putting in all the energy that I have, I am struck a blow. Ah sweet pain, I am once again engulfed in numbness. I feel distracted and confused, my mind is again filled with new thoughts, everything seems alright, I am still unable to move, but is there a need to move? I am once more welcomed into the arms of oblivion. Even now I hear distant pleas, exhausted and weak, it’s my pounding heart, unwilling to give up, unwilling to let me sleep. How can it give up? It is my heart, the heart Muslim Ummah.
As an Ummah are we not bound by chains? Today we are confined to our homes, our movement is restricted. Once buzzing with life, our Masajid lay vacant. We are being torn apart, a brother from a brother, we can no longer reach out to each other, gather together to work for a cause or raise our voice. The worst part of it is that we live in a state of oblivion. We still see that ‘we’ are being locked down, we do not see it as we are being prevented from ‘meeting each other’.
Did all of this begin today? Is Covid-19 responsible for our current state? Rather not. We have invited isolation upon ourselves years ago when we embraced technology like an old friend rather a lover, whose company gave us solace and joy so much so that we preferred privacy to company of our loved ones, we preferred building relations through it while ignoring the people living around us. Slowly we ourselves stopped going out even to fulfill our day to day needs, sometimes blaming our busy lives and sometimes the unruly traffic. Thanks to the e-commerce giants we hardly had to look beyond our mobile screens even to satiate our hunger. So, why do we crib today, we were being conditioned for this confinement. Did we ever stop for a moment and think what we were becoming?
The Ummah should be like a human body, the pain of even a prick of a little thorn in the foot is felt by the entire body. The eyes look for the thorn, the hands reach out to remove it, the tongue asks for help, while the heart feels the pain and the mind looks for a solution. Did we try to look out for the Palestinian children living in camps having lost their parents when UNRWA called for our attention? It was the month of Ramadan when Palestine was brutally attacked and hundreds became martyrs defending their homes, did our heart feel their pain and eyes shed a tear or two? Did our hands reach out to the Rohingya refugees stranded in Australia, separated from their kids, while we knew that the camps in which the children were held only ensured that they died a slow painful death? Did we mobilize to ensure that the Syrian refugees had blankets to keep themselves warm while we had soft beds to lie in? Finally, did we raise our voice when our Kashmiri brothers were cut off from the entire world for weeks together? We learnt a lesson here, that we can be deprived of every kind of connectivity, real or virtual, yet we didn’t give heed. We were lost in the arms of the worldly comforts that have numbed our senses and given us a feeling of false security. We did forget that when one part of the body is sick, the entire body suffers if it does not come into action.
Yet there are a few among us, the pounding heart of the Ummah, who are striving to revive us. Give heed to those wise words. My dear brothers and sisters in Islam, it’s time to wake up, it’s time to muster every iota of energy we have to free ourselves from the shackles that are weighing us down. It’s time to rise and not fall into the arms of unconsciousness, however appealing it might be. It’s now or never, talk before you no longer can, raise a hand before your arms are cut off, reach out before you are completely isolated.
Let’s come together and muster courage, mend our ways, seek help and forgiveness from Allah, let’s heal ourselves and stand again as a community which can look after itself, defend itself and fight back for the truth.
Author: Sabahath Fatima.