My uncle had a stick he called Fawzia, kept on top of his grey wooden wardrobe. Only its head showed from the top side and it never moved from its place. It just stayed there forcing us to be disciplined whenever we were there. Eleven cousins in a tiny house on Friday morning are hard to have without something breaking. And even though we feared the stick or what it symbolised, it brought out the best in us.

Nowadays with the fear surrounding COVID-19, I find myself thinking of Fawzia and how sometimes fearing the consequences and controlling our desire to run havoc can sometimes bring out the best in us. Some of us now learnt to appreciate things they passed by everyday and never had the head space to see.

Some changed a lot of their ways to the better and found ways to enjoy life for what it is now. Some decided to change careers and fulfil dreams they never otherwise would have. And Some started to reassess and reprioritise only to realise they had it all wrong. So what beauty has COVID-19 brought out in you?

For me, I changed. I started to relive different verses of the Quran via contemplation. We have high-rises and armies and money yet an unseen organism has brought the world to it knees. This is when a verse from Surah Al-Rahman came to mind: “ So which of the favours of your Lord will you deny?”.

This virus has helped me appreciate what I once took for granted, and affirmed a lot of things for me. It affirmed that I am not that strong after all, we are not that powerful after all! It was a reminder that Allah is great and always will be. It affirmed that he doesn’t need us, we need him. I see that when I watch people crying outside the mosques because they miss prostrating now that they cannot. It affirmed how much we need Allah in our lives.

I started writing again, to heal my wounds and others. I realised that so many people are hurting, and together we can help each other up. I realised how much I love nature, and how beautiful Allah’s creation really is. I finally have time to properly have my heart and soul in my prayer, and not the list of how many things I need to do per day. I started to hear the birds tweet and I started star gazing. How can anyone be surrounded by so much beauty and not see it?

I decided to change careers and that life is short so it is best do pursue something that you are passionate about. I changed from the science field and decided to study counselling so I make a difference and help people. I wanted to study human behaviour and learn more of how the Nafs works.

How a creature so fragile and be so deluded into thinking he is so powerful. Powerful enough to step on everything and everybody, only to be reminded by the creator that he is nothing. He owns nothing, he controls nothing and he will go back to God with nothing. As one of my teachers once described the human being as the “Chosen Zero”. Someone who is worth nothing but was chosen by God to be something.

Let us try and learn from COVID-19 and my favourite stick Fawzia, that sometimes within calamities our hearts evolve to the better, and sometimes fear can save lives. It can warn us about harm, spiritual and physical harm. It can transform our days to the better and definitely bring out the best in us.