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The Power of Repetition

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There was once a class of students who were determined to get a day off from school. Hence, they put their heads together, scheming and plotting, and eventually came up with a plan.

When the teacher entered the class and called the first student to read his lesson, the student remarked, “Sir! You look quite sick!” The teacher brushed him aside and replied that he felt perfectly healthy. Then, when the second student was called to the desk, he also made a similar remark, even going as far as to suggest that Sir looked flushed and may even have a fever. Thereafter, every student who came to the desk ‘sincerely’ sympathized with the teacher, insisting that he looked dreadfully unwell, until the teacher was finally convinced that he really was sick, thus sending the students home so that he could rest.

In the story above, the teacher was perfectly healthy and fine. However, when the same information was repeatedly drummed into his head, it completely changed his perception and reshaped his reality, until he actually began to feel sick and miserable.

In the same way, through the different forms of media, be it the news or even WhatsApp messages, the same message is currently repeated, day and night – the message of death and disaster unleashed by the coronavirus. The result of the corona “overload” is that many people now suffer from stress and anxiety and live with the perpetual fear that corona could strike them at any moment.

While the coronavirus is certainly a serious disease, and contracting the illness is not a trivial matter, it is vital for us to view the issue in the correct perspective and not lose sight of the broader picture. If we fail to do so, the overwhelming fear and anxiety may have such an impact on us that that we may perhaps suffer even more health complications than those caused by the virus.

In order to gain some perspective, consider the following 2017-2018 statistics for SA:

1. There are approximately 56 murders a day.

2. Over 40 people are fatally injured in car accidents daily.

3. There are 110 cases of rape reported daily (and only 1 in 13 rapes are reported).

4. 45 cars are hijacked daily.

5. 380 people are mugged daily.

Despite the disturbing statistics above, and the fact that almost every person personally knows multiple people who have suffered hijackings, robberies, murders and car accidents, life goes on and the majority of people continue in their day-to-day lives without succumbing to anxiety, stress and worry.

The reason is simple – these topics seldom make it onto the front page of the news anymore, and there is seldom a hype created around these topics (unless a prominent personality is affected). Hence, people had the correct perspective, due to which they sufficed on adopting the permissible means and taking reasonable precautions, while relying on Allah Ta‘ala and entrusting their wellbeing and safety to Him.

Conversely, the hype that has been created around corona is perhaps unprecedented in recent history, and it is this unrelenting repetition of CORONA-CORONA that is now changing people’s perception and reshaping their reality.

In essence, people are so steeped in the ‘zikr’ of corona, that this ‘zikr’ (continuously speaking or hearing about something) has created a lasting impression on their hearts and minds. The power of this impression and mindset can be easily understood by considering the billions of people who have voluntarily made such sacrifices and lifestyle changes (remaining in the home, covering the face, etc.) which they were previously unprepared to make for any reason.

By contemplating over this total transformation, which resulted from the ‘zikr’ of corona, imagine what would happen if instead of speaking about corona all the time, we began to make the zikr of Allah Ta‘ala! Imagine how our lives would be transformed if we decreased the media, and instead spoke of Allah’s greatness, His love for us, His mercy and His compassion! Naturally, if we revived the zikr of Allah Ta‘ala in our lives, through recitation of the Quraan Majeed, speaking of Allah Ta‘ala, conducting home ta’leem, engaging in du‘aa, etc., our imaan and Deen would be revived, together with us feeling a deep sense of comfort and peace of mind.

May Allah Ta‘ala protect us from all diseases and bless us to remain engaged in His zikr, aameen.