After the annulment of the June 12 presidential election, the resulting political instabilities in Nigeria during Abacha’s regime in 1993/94, created an acute scarcity of petroleum by-products; the shortage of kerosene led to the ingenious Abacha stove, while shortage of petrol and the riots led to people being forced to stay at home.
Even though I was quite young then, the events of that period are etched on my memory. I remember in particular, a family friend had brought his wife to live with us. She was heavily pregnant and having lost a previous pregnancy, he feared she might lose that too if she went into labor and they could not get her to the hospital. So, he brought her to stay with my mum, a veteran midwife.
And yes, as Allaah would have it, she went right into labor a few days later and mum had to deliver the baby in our home, our bedroom. I remember mum calling to my sister to get into the bedroom saying: “you want to be a doctor right, well here is your first patient”. Mind you, my sister had only just written her Jamb – University Matriculation Exam : ) But by Allaah’s rahmah, it was a beautiful, bouncing baby boy delivered that day in a tense period of fear, lootings and lockdowns.
So, as we huddle down in our homes in fear and hope; fear of Allaah’s reckoning for our sins and hope in His mercy for our salvation, do we hasten to Him in repentance and acts of obedience and devotion and fasting and standing at night and charity or do we count the number of sticks of spaghetti in a satchet or the number of beans in a cup or whatever #isolationchallenge social media throws our way?
Verily, the people before us were tried with plagues, and they hastened to the mosque in repentance! And when the mosques were closed, they turned their homes into their mosques and sought Allaah’s face therein.
Indeed, they lost family and friends to the plague but it only increased them in returning and servitude to Allaah. Theirs are the footsteps worthy of being followed!
Narrated Aishah (the wife of the Prophet) that she asked Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) about plague, and Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) informed her saying,
“Plague was a punishment which Allah used to send on whom He wished, but Allah made it a blessing for the believers. None (among the believers) remains patient in a land in which plague has broken out and considers that nothing will befall him except what Allah has ordained for him, but that Allah will grant him a reward similar to that of a martyr.”
Sahih al-Bukhari 5734