The Coronavirus:
Is it just another virus?
By: A. Muhammad

At the onset of 2020, a brand new virus hit the world; the coronavirus, also called COVID-19.
It is believed that this virus originated in China then gradually filtered through to the rest of the world.
Although this virus is a flu like virus, yet unlike the flu virus which can be vaccinated against, this virus has taken mankind totally unprepared, totally helpless against, and with no known vaccine to fight it so far.
One of the characteristics of this virus is its astonishing speed of spreading. During the first two months of its appearance, the daily number of deaths has doubled every 3 to 4 days in a number of badly infected areas. By the end of the first three months alone, the virus had infected over 1.8 million people worldwide and causing more than 100,000 fatalities. By the end of the year 2020, the virus had infected 80 million people, and the number of people who died from the virus was 1.8 million.
Experts estimated that if this virus was allowed to spread freely without human intervention, the number of deaths that would result would be many millions. To arrest the spread of this virus, governments legislated emergency laws by which people were told not to leave their homes except for food shopping and medical needs. All restaurants, bars, clubs and leisure centres were told to shut. While this was happening, all countries united in trying to find a vaccine.

The lifestyle of the people was forced to change. Simple pleasures and activities that were readily available before, such as going out for meals, mixing with friends, enjoying nature were all taken away. People started to realise how much was taken for granted. In these new unusual circumstances which the people found themselves in, their wishes became much more modest. At that stage, people were merely wishing that these simple things would return to what they used to be!
The aggressive nature of this virus and the universal damage it has caused, not only in the number of lost lives, and not only in the widespread economic damage and unemployment that resulted, but more so in forcing the human being to change his lifestyle were all heartfelt.
The COVID-19, with all that it brought, compels us to wonder why is this happening, and why now? We seek to find such answers in the Holy Quran.

FIRST:
Afflictions that befall the human being

The question of why afflictions befall mankind in general is addressed in the Holy Quran. The Quran provides the following reasons:

1-
Punishments for the wickedness of the human being

Afflictions and disasters that befall the human being are punishments for his wickedness and evil behaviour:

Whatever disaster strikes you is but a consequence of what your own hands have earned
, but He pardons much. 42:30

If they repent, it would be better for them and if they should turn away, God will punish them with a painful punishment in this world and the Hereafter.
9:74

They shall have a punishment in the worldly life
and the punishment of the Hereafter is more severe. They will have no protector against God. 13:34

Corruption has appeared in the land and the sea as a result of what people's hands have earned. He will let them taste the consequences of some of what they had done so that they may revert. 30:41

2-
Warnings and reminders

Because it is in the nature of the human being to stray and reject God in his life, God sends many warnings and reminders to the people in the hope that they will mend their ways, not be too distracted by the material world and to return to the path of God:

This is a warning
like the former warnings. 53:56

Indeed, this is a reminder
, so whoever wills shall pursue a path to his Lord. 73:19
Never does a new Reminder come to them from the Almighty without them turning away from it. 26:5

It is but a Reminder to all the people; for those of you who wish to go straight.
81:27-28

3-
Tests for the people

Afflictions and disasters are also ordained by God as a means of testing the sincerity of people's faith:

Did the people think that they would be left to say, "We believe," without them being tested? We have tested those before them, and indeed, God knows the truthful ones and He knows the liars.
29:2-3

We will surely test you
through some fear, hunger, and shortage of money, lives and crops. So give good news to the patient ones who, when stricken with a disaster, say, "We belong to God and to Him we will return." They are granted support and mercy from their Lord, and they are the guided ones. 2:155-157

The coronavirus has certainly caused great loss of lives, shortage of income for many who were put off work, as well as great fear.

4-
Wake-up call: Do not take God's blessings for granted

The advent of unexpected disasters acts like a wake-up call for people who tend to take God's blessings for granted. Despite all the blessings given to the human by God, the human being is unappreciative. A little reminder in the shape of hardship or adversity may hopefully remind the human not to take God's blessings for granted:

If you were to count God's blessings, you could not encompass them all. The human being is indeed transgressing, unappreciative.
14:34

If We grant the human being a blessing he turns away
and distances himself, yet when adversity touches him he implores profusely. 41:51

5-
God's absolute authority
Many people are totally oblivious of God’s absolute authority and the miniscule position of the human being in the huge universe. Hardship and adversity are reminders of just how weak and fragile the human being is and also his total need and dependence on God in every minute of his life:
O people, you are the ones who are in dire need of God, whereas God is the Rich and Praiseworthy One. 35:15

And do not walk arrogantly in the earth, for you cannot bore through the earth, nor can you be as tall as the mountains. 17:37

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If such afflictions and disasters are decreed to happen by God for all reasons mentioned above, what is the significance of God periodically choosing such tiny of creatures to be the reminder for mankind?
In the past, God afflicted punishments and sent warnings by annihilating whole towns, or by great famines, earthquakes, floods and even showers of stones from the sky. However, on occasions like this one, God decrees the disaster through one of His tiniest creatures.

To be beaten by a giant is no shame, however, to be beaten by such a tiny insignificant creature, and to stand powerless in its face, for as long as God decrees, is indeed utter humiliation for the human being. The arrogant human being, who in this day and age has reached a level of arrogance that makes him think he is in control of his surroundings, is not even in control of such a tiny creature!
Some heads of states, still oblivious of their helplessness, have been speaking in a tone that implies that they are in full control! They have been heard setting timetables for the demise of the virus and the expected time of their victory! In time, they are starting to realise that it is not they who call the shots; it is the virus!

It was clear that humiliation was indeed part of the package; in the hope that arrogance would be replaced with a bit of modesty.

As for those who disbelieved and denied Our revelations, they shall have a humiliating punishment.
22:57

Those who disbelieved should not think that We grant them respite for their own good. We only grant them respite so that they increase in sinfulness, and they shall have a humiliating punishment.
3:178

SECOND:
Everything in the heavens and the earth is alive and glorifies God

Glorifying Him are the seven universes and the earth and all who are in them.
There is nothing that does not glorify Him with praise, but you do not understand their glorification. He is Forbearing, Forgiving. 17:44

To be able to glorify God, everything in the seven universes must be alive and with consciousness. Ordinary objects, which we normally think of as being dead, are in fact alive. In 21:79, we read that the mountains glorified God with David:

We granted both of them sound judgement and knowledge, and We subjected the mountains to glorify with David, as well as the birds. Indeed We did.
21:79

And in 33:72, the mountains and the earth are spoken to, and they respond to God:

We have offered the Trust to the heavens, the earth and the mountains, but they refused to carry it and were afraid of it, while the human being accepted it. Indeed, he was transgressing, ignorant.
33:72

The coronavirus is certainly a living creature and it reproduces like all living creatures. According to the truth in 17:44, this tiniest of creatures that is invisible to our eyes, glorifies God constantly. This tiny creature has been dispatched by the Creator of the heavens and the earth to deliver a crushing reminder to the oblivious human being.
In contrast to everything in the seven universes that glorifies God, the human being is indeed rebellious and rejecting of his Maker. The descriptions given by God of the human being in the Quran are vast in number. The descriptions we read do not exactly cover the human being in glory. The following are some of them:

1- The majority are Disbelievers 12:103
2- The majority of those who believe in God are Committing shirk 12:106
3- The majority Mislead away from the path of God 6:116
4- The majority are wicked 7:102
5- Transgressing 33:72
6- Ignorant 33:72
7- Unappreciative of God's blessings 14:34
8- Argumentative 18:54
9- Oblivious to the remembrance of God 18:28
10- Exceeded all limits of Sinfulness 3:178
11- Falsifier 45:7
12-
Denies God's revelations 30:10
13- Gone astray for following
Personal desires 5:77
14-
Buys the worldly life at the expense of the Hereafter 2:86
15-
Corrupts in the land 2:12
16-
Repels from the path of God 4:167
17- Fabricates lies and attribute them to God 16:116
18-
Distorts God's words 2:75
19-
Advocates evil and forbids righteousness 9:67
20- His love of wealth and money is
Insatiable 100:8, 89:20
21- Blinded by the Desire for increases in wealth 57:20
22-
Arrogant 4:36
23- Boastful 4:36
24- Stingy 17:100, 47:38
25- Advocates stinginess to the people 57:24
26- Hypocrites 4:138
27- With sickness in their hearts 2:10
28- Pursues lustful desires 19:59
29-
Consumes people's money illicitly 4:161
30-
Consumes the orphans' money unjustly 4:10
31- Worships idols that cannot h
arm them or benefit them 10:18
32- Ridiculed God's messegers 6:10
33- Killed God's messengers 2:87
34- Killed God's prophets 2:61

THIRD:
Will the lesson be learned?

In our day and age in particular, the largest majority of mankind have strayed very far from the path of God. The distractions of the material world have totally captivated the people that they no longer have time for God in their lives nor in their hearts.
Sadly, the majority who will live through this reminder will not learn much about its true significance. To those, this pandemic will be no more than another passing nuisance and will be forgotten:

No new Reminder comes to them from their Lord without them listening to it playfully, and with their hearts distracted.
21:2-3

If past episodes are anything to go by, then sadly the largest majority of the human race will continue to have little time for God in their lives, if any. Others will completely reject the idea of a Creator of the heavens and the earth, and instead set up 'evolution' as the creator of all things. Others will have their own ego as their god!
Many subtle effects of this pandemic will unfortunately go unheeded. All of a sudden, simple things like holding hands and sharing hugs became weapons of destruction, while staying away from family and friends became acts of love!

1- How many will stop to reflect on the significance of such reversed implications? How many will heed the reminder that such simple God-given blessings were taken for granted?

He granted you of all that you asked Him for. If you were to count God's blessings, you could not encompass them all. The human being is indeed transgressing, unappreciative. 14:34

2- How many will be reminded that the human being is not invincible or tough as he once thought? How many will attain wisdom from the fact that the human being with all his knowledge, his apparatuses and his machinery stands totally helpless in the face of such a tiny creature? How many people will realise how fragile they are and how much they need God?

O people, you are the ones who are in dire need for God, whereas God is the Rich and Praiseworthy One. 35:15

3- How many people will heed the reminder that wherever they are, whatever healthy food and exercise they have, when God ordains them to die, they will?

Wherever you may be, death will catch up with you, even if you are in fortified towers.
4:78

4- Ultimately, how many people will benefit from this reminder and realise the ultimate reason for their creation?

I have not created the jinn and the humans except to worship Me.
51:56

Do not hold your breath!
The chance of such lessons being learned is as small as the virus itself!