COVID19: A silver lining beckons – we can only find it together
By Mansoor Clarke, staff member at the Press & Media Office of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
I woke up to the tragic news that a six week old baby from Connecticut had now been declared as the youngest victim of Covid19. This horrible news is just the latest in the barrage of heart wrenching stories emerging as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Reading such dreadful news, it is difficult to see any positives around coronavirus, yet throughout human history, it is at times of great anguish that the very best of humanity is witnessed. Sacrifice for others, courage, bravery, and placing the needs of others above one’s own.
Our Frontline Heroes
Whilst many of us have hunkered down in our homes protecting ourselves and our loved ones, there are those who put their lives on the line every single day, for the sake of us and the people we love.
Doctors, nurses and teachers to name just a few, are fighting on the frontline to save lives. Many healthcare workers globally have themselves lost their lives, whilst countless others are separated from their families. Yet despite the challenges they face, and the obstacles they are forced to overcome, they endeavour tirelessly, determined to bring an end to the suffering.
As a Muslim I believe that the saving of one innocent life is akin to the saving of the whole of humanity. By prioritising the needs of others our frontline heroes are saving generations.
Clap For Our Heroes
Standing at my doorstep last Thursday, I saw hundreds of people applauding the gargantuan efforts of our frontline workers. We had come together hand in hand (figuratively of course) for something we believe in.
My family and I looked down the street we thought we knew so well, and realised just how many faces we were seeing for the first time. It was in this time of shared anguish and social distancing that we as a community were able to find one another, and felt, ironically, closer than ever before.
The clap for our heroes demonstrated something very simple yet also incredibly powerful. It showed that despite the tragedy and horror of what is going on around the world, we as humans have the ability to stand for one another. Be that in people singing from their balconies in Italy, clapping in unison in the UK, or holding a minute silence in Spain. By being there for one another in our time of need.
How Can We Help?
When the Prime Minister asked the public to play a role in the relief efforts by setting up an army of volunteers aimed at helping the more vulnerable, I doubt anyone really anticipated the sheer scale of the response. In just 24 hours, over half a million people pledged their assistance.
As a youth leader of AMYA, I have seen people display incredible examples of empathy and compassion. Every day I see young people from unrelated professions, joining forces to run food banks, organise donations or deliver shopping to the old and vulnerable.
They work tirelessly to reach out to where it matters and support both the people and nation that they hold so dear. But they are not alone. Thankfully, men and women up and down the country in every city, town and street are showing the same zeal and dedication. A remarkable testament to what can be achieved through collective sacrifice.
The Rights of Others
People find inspiration and guidance from numerous things, as an Ahmadi Muslim, I and many millions of others find it in the teachings of Islam and the unparalleled wisdom of the Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (may God strengthen his hand).
His Holiness always impressed the importance of understanding and fulfilling the needs of others, often quoting the precedent-setting saying of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) when he said:
‘You are not a true Muslim until you desire for your brother, what you desire for yourself.’(Bukhari and Muslim)
This powerful tradition could not be more apt for the circumstances of today.
So true and powerful were the words of Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad to the local people at the opening of the Mubarak Mosque in Islamabad, Tilford, when he said:
“Muslims must fulfil the rights of their neighbours, including those with whom they have personal relations and those with whom they do not. Fulfilling the rights of neighbours means that Muslims must treat their neighbours with grace and compassion and be ever ready to help them in their times of need and times of grief.”
As terrible as this pandemic is, it gives us the opportunity to hit pause on our otherwise frantic lives, to re-evaluate ourselves, and to ensure that we too can become examples of the very best of humanity.
If we work together and prioritise the needs and rights of others, our actions and examples will themselves create a silver lining for all to see in these otherwise dark and gloomy times.
 The Holy Quran Chapter 5, Verse 33