DUE to the current COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, many of those who don’t understand the wisdom of their Lord are describing 2020 as a horrible year. You find their days of relief resembling their days of distress.
As the noble companion Salman al-Faarisi said: “Allah will afflict an evil person with a calamity, and then He will grant him relief. But he will be similar to the camel that was confined by its owner. The camel doesn’t know why its owner confined him. Then its owner releases him, and the camel doesn’t know why its owner released him.” (Collected by ibn Abi Shayba, 10918)
The believer understands that trials are a purification and mercy for the believers. In his explanation of Sahih Al-Bukhari, Shaikh Ibn Uthaymeen described the believers’ attitude during a plague that hit Saudi Arabia a century ago. He said:
“In this land, there was a great epidemic. Our Shaikh, the Imam of our Masjid, informed us that for one daily prayer there would be 7 or 8 funeral prayers. The common people called this ‘the year of mercy’; meaning they were optimistic that Allah was bestowing mercy upon this Ummah by way of this plague.
“This is despite the fact that sometimes this plague would enter a home and only one person in the home would survive. Subhan Allah! This occurred in several homes. And sometimes the entire household would die.”
Describing a year as ‘difficult’ or ‘severe’ without expressing discontent is allowed. Shaikh Ibn Uthaymeen said: “It is permissible to describe a day as difficult if the intent is purely information and not to complain. An example is the statement of (Prophet) Lut peace be upon him: ‘This is a distressful day.’ (Surah Hud, 11:77; Collection of Fatawa 10/823)