DoubleTake, a Yaqeen podcast

"Has COVID Impacted My Faith?" with Dr. Rania Awaad | Season 1 Episode 6

April 07, 2021 Dr. Rania Awaad Season 1 Episode 6
DoubleTake, a Yaqeen podcast
"Has COVID Impacted My Faith?" with Dr. Rania Awaad | Season 1 Episode 6
Show Notes Transcript

COVID-19 vaccines are becoming more available around the world, and people are starting to return to their places of work, recreation, and worship. However, life still feels far from normal for many of us. How have the lives of Muslims changed during the past year? What can we learn from the experiences of early Muslims who endured similar plagues?
Host Mohamad Zaoud explores these questions and more as he speaks to Dr. Rania Awaad, Research Fellow at Yaqeen Institute and lead author of the paper “Coping with Pandemics: Psychological and Spiritual Lessons from Islamic History.

DoubleTake will be going on hiatus during Ramadan and will resume on May 19th insha'Allah.

 covert 19 vaccines are becoming more 
 available around the world 
 and people are starting to return to 
 their places of work 
 recreation and worship but although 
 we're returning to familiar places 
 life still feels far from normal for 
 many of us 
 how have our lives changed during the 
 past year what have we learned 
 and what can we learn from the 
 experiences of earlier muslims 
 who endured similar plagues 
 welcome to double take a podcast by akin 
 about questions and ideas around the 
 islam and muslims 
 that give us pause remember to subscribe 
 on spotify 
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 get your podcasts 
 i'm muhammad zhad and today on the show 
 we're discussing some of the 
 and spiritual lessons we can take from 
 the covet experience 
 with me is dr ranya awad lead author of 
 the paper 
 coping with pandemic psychological and 
 spiritual lessons 
 from islamic history dr anya assalamu 
 alaikum and welcome to double tech 
 it's my pleasure to be here in honor 
 thank you thank you so much for joining 
 us dr ranya 
 you're a clinical associate professor of 
 psychiatry at stanford mashallah 
 and you're the director of the muslim 
 mental health and islamic psychology lab 
 you also studied classical islamic 
 studies in damascus and served as the 
 female professor of islamic law at 
 zaitan zaituna college 
 where you talk and quranic sciences is 
 my understanding 
 so i'm going to ask you a few questions 
 about our lives 
 but i'd like to start off with one 
 question that only you 
 would be able to answer right from the 
 outset so my question to you is 
 how has the pandemic affected our 
 and spiritual well-being on an 
 individual level 
 i think you're absolutely right about 
 the psychological and spiritual being 
 you know subhanallah it's been a year as 
 you mentioned and what a year it's been 
 and in the midst of this year we 
 actually have been very interested in 
 trying to figure out exactly the same 
 thing because anecdotally and amongst 
 we all have our coveted stories we all 
 know and can tell you about 
 how how different life has been how 
 difficult life has been and we also 
 panel also had 
 our share of stories either directly 
 impacting ourselves and our family 
 members loved ones community members 
 that have either had a copit illness or 
 actually have passed away from it 
 bellows pontiac grant 
 those people um genna and and ease from 
 patients for their families 
 so it's been it's been quite a year and 
 so when you think about 
 psychologically and spiritually how are 
 we doing 
 the research studies that we've done 
 actually in collaboration with euclidean 
 and the stanford muslim and health 
 islamic psychology lab 
 you know has brought about such a really 
 interesting data we thought 
 as researchers that for sure that given 
 how difficult life has been 
 before the pandemic that when the 
 pandemic hit it would be that much 
 and although it has been what's 
 interesting is that 
 spiritually speaking there are many who 
 are actually saying that this period of 
 time has been 
 at a time of getting closer to allah 
 subhanahu wa ta'ala a reminder 
 you know that this this very microscopic 
 thing called the coronavirus that we 
 can't even see 
 how that put the whole world as a 
 standstill has actually made us stop and 
 really reflect on 
 allah is in charge that he is boss 
 capital b and that he is you know he 
 could put everything and just make 
 the whole world as we know it kind of 
 shift and come to a stand still come to 
 its knees 
 literally prayer wise i mean to say and 
 um that's what we found our research has 
 actually found that over 75 percent 
 of muslims stay that in this last year 
 their faith or dependence on allah has 
 gotten stronger 
 right and that's a huge number i'll tell 
 you in comparison to 
 to non-muslims for example there are pew 
 research study did exam 
 study where they looked at all faith 
 groups and people of no faith 
 in the us and they found the number is 
 much higher than what they expected at 
 but our number is more like 75 right so 
 there's something about muslims in islam 
 the resiliency this deen gives us 
 that has actually allowed us to cope 
 you know i'd love to i'd love to hear 
 more about that because um 
 you know alhamdulillah i think in some 
 in some aspects of my life 
 anecdotally as you mentioned um i i feel 
 like i've come closer to allah yes he's 
 in control 
 and you know when i feel um that i'm 
 gonna be challenged with 
 earning a living during a covert um 
 experience that allah somehow you know 
 finds a way to 
 to give me a risk but 
 um on the other hand i've faced some 
 personally in maintaining my 
 like i enjoyed the whole the whole idea 
 of praying um 
 home that was that was quite you know uh 
 that was a blessing it was spiritual my 
 family was together 
 but at the same time um my religiosity 
 is probably 
 linked to community service and i wasn't 
 able to 
 go out there on the front lines and help 
 and organize 
 and and support as much as i'm used to 
 and i was uh recently reading an article 
 in the atlantic about how covert has 
 basically demolished many friendship 
 um and for me that's one of them like my 
 friends have become a lot 
 less fewer like i've got you know deeper 
 connections with fewer people 
 um but that broad spectrum of 
 muslims that you see at the mosque or 
 uh activities has kind of disintegrated 
 and it's affected my spirituality so 
 do you mind just talking uh more to the 
 to the research that you did and 
 is this just um was a momentary 
 spike in people's spirituality or 
 are they going to be residual effects on 
 on people's faith 
 i think that's that's really really 
 important and as most researchers will 
 tell you this is room for more 
 research to really figure out what we 
 did along with 
 along with the octane is really look at 
 um three stages 
 you know the first the first study 
 actually came out right 
 at the beginning within the first week 
 of kovit so march 
 of 2020 and then there was a second um 
 you know pulse checking right where we 
 kind of check the pulse again 
 right around um you know pre ramadan 
 because there was always this fear of 
 like they'll be the very first ramadan 
 as you mentioned 
 a different ramadan than ones we've ever 
 had before 
 and then again a third pulse check in 
 uh post ramadan to see what would happen 
 what was it really like 
 and then there was a fourth one actually 
 right around the summer when there was 
 here in the us there was a lot of 
 tension of you know racial injustice and 
 just all kinds of societal 
 um historically societal issues that 
 have really come 
 came to a head over the summer so we 
 kind of pulse checked all throughout to 
 see what was happening 
 and absolutely would want to continue 
 checking that so what 
 i'm presenting to you is really data 
 you know about 9 000 muslims globally 
 throughout these different stages and 
 what we're finding is that even though 
 there is yes there's more mental health 
 concerns than before 
 yes there's more difficulty than before 
 somehow psychologically and spiritually 
 there is still this again compared to 
 other faith groups right and compared to 
 other groups of people 
 there's more kind of this connection 
 with the divine 
 um and i i can't help but imagine that 
 this is something that 
 is very indigenous to the muslim faith 
 there is something about 
 the resiliency building and the 
 understanding of this life 
 this dunya that we're in is 
 the the abode of tribulation right 
 and that what's coming after this will 
 be better and so the kind of patience 
 that we live through that subruin jimmy 
 that beautiful patience that we live 
 even when it's difficult even when 
 things seem like they're crumbling even 
 like you mentioned job concerns and 
 monetary financial concerns all of these 
 things kind of understanding that if 
 allah sent us something 
 difficult he will send with it it's ease 
 right in namaste right that kind of 
 so yes i don't want to oversimplify a 
 very very complex 
 issue but there's something very 
 beautiful about 
 the kind of resiliency that islam gives 
 us i think 
 you are comparing us to other faiths and 
 you mentioned that you know 
 uh it where we're at 75 of people 
 feeling closer to 
 to god than than those of other faiths 
 but there's generally speaking a net 
 positive effect on spirituality as i'm 
 understanding from the research 
 correct that's absolutely right 
 i i wanted to kind of draw just on 
 on europe and america after world war 
 one and two 
 um uh based on kind of what i've read 
 i've i've seen just a general trajectory 
 of people being 
 less faithful or less spiritual 
 after world war one and two maybe that's 
 because there were 
 you know a hundred million casualties um 
 so from a psychological perspective 
 uh people probably lost faith in in a 
 um when it was two you know christian 
 groups i guess fighting each other 
 on um in world war one at least and 
 uh and on a practical level with less 
 less people out there doing community 
 women having to look after their family 
 and without the nucleus of the family 
 husband and wife and kids 
 the sunday sunday church became less 
 so physically people were less religious 
 and mentally people were less spiritual 
 do we see the same thing in islamic 
 history with regards to 
 pandemics or is this just 
 um is this just unique to to other 
 i think these are really important 
 questions in fact 
 i would say that we were curious of the 
 exact same thing there was there was 
 um really the the impetus for doing the 
 study that we did that we publish 
 on pandemics and islamic history was 
 exactly to answer your question 
 because it's you know this pandemic is 
 the one we are currently experiencing in 
 modern history but it's not the first 
 it's certainly not the first epidemic 
 and there have been many a plague 
 in human history before this so what did 
 the people of old 
 do what are the people before us our 
 predecessors the ones who 
 you know clearly we derive from them 
 right so what what is it and especially 
 the muslim ones we're very curious 
 because islamic history 
 is you know kind of riddled with 
 different plagues over time and how did 
 respond and did they use islamic 
 spirituality in this 
 or not and i think that is a key 
 difference if you will 
 then maybe some other reports that you 
 were reading which which are very true i 
 want to say this 
 that is reality but where are the 
 muslims in the story 
 what were they doing and what we found 
 and this is what the paper highlights 
 um anecdotally all kinds of stories 
 in the history books of muslims that 
 talk about how 
 they came together and how some of 
 when it was important to isolate they 
 isolated so there was kind of both 
 there was a coming together and an 
 isolating um depending on the contagion 
 or the issue that was that they were 
 facing at the time 
 and as a society right there was this 
 kind of like we have to move forward 
 um the what you find in islamic history 
 related to the plagues 
 is uh you know a lot of the same kind of 
 verses and ayats of quran that we're 
 hearing now in this year of the 
 coven 19 pandemic urging us and 
 reminding us that this is a 
 you know this is a test and tribulation 
 from allah that ease will come after 
 and also reminding us the importance of 
 doing our civic duties and due diligence 
 of you know now and this year it's all 
 been about you know social 
 distance and wash your hands frequently 
 and sanitize and wear your masks and all 
 of this 
 and there have been parallels to all of 
 these things historically amongst 
 muslims as well 
 so and a lot of times the scholars are 
 islamic uh principles or proofs 
 to show how those things are important 
 so it's almost like look if you don't 
 want to listen to 
 your you know national or federal 
 guidelines listen to the sunnah the 
 prophets of the audio center which is 
 actually very intriguing and interesting 
 so it's almost like a parallel almost 
 like a repeating of certain things that 
 have happened historically for the 
 so if we're going to use ramadan 
 specifically as just like a 
 scenario so we're saying spiritually 
 generally speaking muslims are closer to 
 allah during the pandemic 
 but there are a lot of aspects of 
 ramadan that are 
 directly affected obviously the the 
 prayers in the mosque and hopefully this 
 things are getting better but also the 
 idea of 
 charity and community service um and i 
 firsthand that the the charity sector 
 has been 
 severely affected on two fronts one is 
 the the quality of projects is limited 
 just because of logistical purposes so 
 people can 
 can no longer fly to certain areas where 
 they can you know 
 run projects but also the whole 
 idea of caring for other societies 
 caring for global causes people are a 
 little bit 
 more self-centered without sounding 
 negative because they're worried about 
 their own financial situation their own 
 community situation 
 they're less worried about people 
 overseas who are who are doing it tough 
 uh have you seen anything in your 
 research that 
 uh that suggests that it has a negative 
 the whole covert experience has had a 
 negative experience 
 on uh on charity work or 
 on on caring for uh for society beyond 
 your immediate circle well i think 
 this is true in terms of the charity 
 sector that there are um 
 there are i would say the traditional 
 classical ways of fundraising and of 
 you know having uh contributing 
 charitably has been affected i do agree 
 with that very much 
 i do also wonder though if like many 
 other things that have happened with 
 it opened up our eyes to different ways 
 of doing things or kind of 
 shifting the way because that's that's 
 how i would like to see this as much as 
 possible is 
 you know in all of this and in all of 
 the covet experience 
 it you know what kind of messaging is 
 the loss of hands-on is sending to us 
 humans right 
 like you know whether it be health and 
 you know or whether it be other aspects 
 of our daily lives you know and wealth 
 being one of those so when you think 
 about charity 
 you know i i have to say here that i um 
 you know if i'm going to quote uh you 
 know imam shafiri for example 
 if you allow me to who who is very 
 particular when it comes to zakat 
 alms charity to give it locally or 
 within a 50 mile radius of where you 
 and other opinions change and mashallah 
 and hammed it up for the mercy of the 
 different opinions on 
 how to give your zakat so as you know 
 can be given anywhere but zakat he was 
 very particular about 
 and i think about how something like 
 this has really um 
 changed it realigned it it means a cat 
 has to be given regardless 
 but i wonder if what happens now because 
 his whole theory mama shafi's was if you 
 give it if every person who 
 owes a cat gives it within 50 miles of 
 where they live 
 then every community is self-sufficient 
 and takes care of its 
 self essentially and it's a ripple 
 effect all the way out and you know that 
 was his theory and others agreed or 
 disagreed with him 
 and when you think about what's 
 happening with kovic that sort of 
 kind of organically happened that way 
 where a lot of the giving was 
 kind of focused more locally than it was 
 interesting yeah it is it is very very 
 interesting actually subhanallah 
 how it just there's been like a movement 
 i think in the last 
 few years in western societies where 
 there's there's a 
 there's a bigger focus on local zakat um 
 and i subhanallah i think this has just 
 uh sped that up 
 and realigned our uh our understanding 
 of zakat um 
 i wanna before moving forward i i wanna 
 kind of go back to 
 um the the idea of family and the effect 
 the pandemic has had on family like 
 countless research has suggested that 
 there's more pressures on family i mean 
 due to financial reasons or 
 um just being uh stuck with the family 
 in four wars for for 
 extended periods of times uh have you 
 seen in the research that this 
 has had an adverse effect on muslim 
 marriages and muslim families oh it's 
 it's definitely had 
 a different effect for short in many 
 cases yes adverse 
 in are specific cases i'll tell you what 
 referring to you know in situations 
 the um the household or the 
 place where a person lived and who they 
 were living with 
 was already shaky in its foundations and 
 already difficult 
 or even abusive in its foundations this 
 happened you know covet has made it the 
 pandemic has made it 
 so much worse exponentially worse you 
 know so 
 the the rates of domestic violence has 
 has really soared 
 and so have the rights of divorce 
 interestingly enough too which 
 sort of makes sense it's almost like for 
 for divorce it's like 
 you know for some families they had been 
 you know couples and families they had 
 sort of had been living like roommates 
 if you will 
 there wasn't really a strong family 
 tying connection 
 and when everyone had to quarantine and 
 shelter at home like you said as you 
 mentioned the same four walls over and 
 over again 
 um the people said i don't even really 
 this person i had almost been like you 
 know and our teacher spiritual teachers 
 warn us about having our marriages turn 
 into like roommate situations 
 and coming to face almost like having to 
 the the the the strained relationship in 
 the marriage and yes that caused so many 
 divorces to happen 
 um lack of you know lack of all kinds of 
 things you mentioned financial resources 
 but also 
 just the homeschooling that people had 
 to take on if they hadn't been ready or 
 equipped to very suddenly 
 you know the um elder care and the the 
 constant worry 
 of of the health of all the different 
 family members especially if they were 
 at distance 
 from you and you couldn't get to them 
 there were just so many stressors and 
 strains on people that that's almost 
 like their bandwidth 
 went shorter and they couldn't um handle 
 kind of even what would have been 
 everyday normal circumstances to handle 
 the quarantine made it that much more 
 difficult to handle and shoulder 
 so we saw that with domestic life if you 
 and certainly with abusive situations 
 it has been very difficult and i really 
 want to call attention to that because i 
 think it's 
 imperative to really understand what 
 does that mean and how do we help 
 folks that are in those situations so 
 yes family life is really 
 um the adverse part of it is very clear 
 there is also the positives where people 
 were if they had healthy foundations 
 this potentially even though it was 
 difficult made them closer 
 knit to each other and more you know 
 parents and children spent more time 
 with each other and there were 
 things that our busy modern lifestyles 
 didn't allow for 
 it almost forced us to slow down and 
 you know take you know go on a hike with 
 your family right 
 or have actual conversation with your 
 family because that's all you could see 
 or at least with the people you were 
 living with right so 
 uh there were both i would say the 
 research and anecdotally and research 
 both have 
 shown that there's both the pros and 
 cons of this situation 
 um for that i mean at some stage i'd 
 love to hear more about your 
 your strategies um or your advice to 
 to families who are experiencing 
 difficulties in in the pandemics 
 hopefully in a in a 
 future episode inshallah um moving 
 i'd like to just ask a very broad 
 question like 
 it's been a year now since covert um 
 what have we as muslims learned you 
 mentioned before that we learned that 
 allah is in 
 full control and i 
 fully acknowledge that what are the 
 other things that we've learned 
 as a community and as individuals with 
 regards to 
 like what can we take out after after a 
 year of this experience 
 subhanallah there are so many things to 
 take out of this experience and i think 
 we're still learning i don't think we 
 have figured it out yet one thing um of 
 my list of things one thing is to 
 to remember this is something i actually 
 learned from the historical research we 
 were doing 
 was that um time 
 is not something that we own it's 
 something that allah owns 
 and um we always keep talking about 
 inshallah it's only going to be a year 
 you know first when we started was a 
 three weeks you know a couple months 
 okay maybe a year 
 but the reality is when i look back 
 historically at many of the plagues and 
 granted this is modern history and 
 that's pre-modern history in many cases 
 um and they didn't have the kind of 
 resources they have we have today 
 right like vaccines being developed 
 within the year before the year was even 
 up right 
 um and so this might change but still 
 many people want to put like a cap 
 on it has to end by this time and that's 
 not how 
 although does things right he determines 
 when it is 
 that things are going to start and end 
 um and so kind of remembering how for 
 some of the plagues in history 
 they went through cycles right like 
 of up and down up and down over a 
 like it would be one plague but it would 
 cycle throughout and so inshallah that 
 doesn't happen to us where it's like 
 you know a century worth of code right 
 inshallah it's eradicated well before 
 that but 
 to think about um what does that mean in 
 terms of our relationship with 
 time and how much do we take it for 
 and how much is there barakah and 
 blessing or lack thereof 
 in our time and i i do really believe 
 that that's one of the biggest lessons 
 out of this needing to 
 uh you know literally put everything to 
 a standstill and nothing is happening at 
 the speed 
 it's supposed to happen in modern times 
 subhanallah that's one big lesson i 
 think another is 
 um you you called it realigning which i 
 really agree with kind of realigning the 
 way we look at the world 
 and opportunities one of the most 
 positive things that i think and i'll 
 speak here from the women's 
 world if you will uh we were speaking 
 earlier ramadan 
 and how you were mentioning how 
 community has was you know is a really 
 key factor and it's really felt like 
 it's been very different almost like 
 you've lost 
 community in this quarantine and i think 
 many would say agree with you men and 
 women both 
 on the woman's side it's really 
 interesting because for many women their 
 complaint forever 
 has been a lack of community 
 because they can't not because of a 
 pandemic we're talking pre-pandemic 
 couldn't get to 
 the masjid or mosque community in the 
 first place right 
 and there were limited opportunities to 
 engage and somehow virtually 
 that's changed if you look at last 
 you know there were so many 
 opportunities for women to engage 
 in ibadah right in worship virtually 
 right through these online portals 
 and women's and males scholars and 
 speakers and 
 and so many women were saying they 
 prayed that we are for the very first 
 time in their lives because 
 male members of their family were 
 praying at home or they themselves 
 attempted it 
 at home for the first time or attempted 
 like an attica for 
 at home because women can right at home 
 for the first time 
 because they didn't have the social 
 obligations of cooking for everybody and 
 inviting and cleaning up after everybody 
 and they were you know that 
 ramadan brings about so there was a lack 
 of community on one hand 
 but there was all kinds of other 
 spiritual openings and growth 
 on the other hand so one other thing 
 we're learning from all of this is maybe 
 you know what are we uh inshallah what 
 are we meant to take 
 out of all of this because i think about 
 when kovitz ends and misajit are open 
 will the woman lose all of what they 
 gained spiritually and access 
 like it's maybe it helps us kind of 
 rethink and reshift 
 how we run a lot of our institutions and 
 organizations right 
 childhood um i think um i just add to 
 that the 
 the idea of uh trusting allah 
 when i think of the pandemic i think of 
 as al-wakir because 
 you're you're faced with many doors 
 closing in your face 
 both in terms of work in terms of 
 social activities in terms of community 
 in terms of extended family maybe seeing 
 extended family or seeing your 
 grandparents and 
 and there's a lot of challenges that 
 come but allah somehow 
 uh in his wisdom uh is able to provide 
 during this uh during this pandemic so 
 for me the the biggest 
 lesson was that you know allah is in 
 control absolutely and 
 uh it's it's it's important to trust in 
 allah and not 
 uh think that we have our hands on on 
 every lever in our life 
 um i'm going to ask you a random 
 question i i didn't add this in in the 
 earlier um plan for this episode but i 
 i feel like answering uh asking i think 
 maybe i'm inspired by all the books 
 behind you 
 um if there is uh 
 if there's one name of allah ta'ala 
 of the 99 names and attributes 
 that comes to the fore when you think of 
 the pandemic and 
 and the research that you've you've 
 in your various capacities what is one 
 name of allah subhana tala that comes to 
 when you think of the pandemic i think 
 uh the one that's really really i found 
 myself connecting to quite a bit 
 and for me the reason for that is 
 because when i think about 
 even in the origins of the word and what 
 the word is originally tied to and 
 especially as a woman i have to say this 
 is very powerful for me because 
 the um you know 
 and named and named the room 
 after his own name because it is 
 what it does right it's it's very much i 
 think about this quarantine and how it's 
 exactly felt this way 
 it is um it is an isolative 
 protective nurturing 
 place that allows you to grow and to 
 really be able to sustain this next 
 stage of life right this fetus that's 
 growing inside that's going to become a 
 child inshallah one day 
 once it's ready to be born and i feel so 
 much of this quarantine has done that 
 like it's made us you know isolate from 
 everything else around us 
 and for those who've tapped into the 
 spiritual into spirituality and deen i 
 hope inshallah it's also helped us 
 that relationship and then inshallah 
 once it's ready to be done and over it's 
 almost like the cocoon right the cocoon 
 where you the caterpillar came in 
 unbeknown to all of us we came into this 
 cacoon right 
 and then if it goes well then 
 once this is all over we meant are meant 
 to emerge out of it 
 like that newborn baby like that 
 butterfly right that's meant to come out 
 on the other end and that's all from the 
 rahmah of allah subhanahu wa ta'ala 
 that's kind of kept us in quarantine in 
 this period of time that's that's what i 
 would say it's most been 
 the parallel that's most connected to me 
 you've been uh 
 really positive during this episode um i 
 didn't think we're going to be that kind 
 hopeful um talking about uh covert 19. 
 um i'm going to kind of flip the table 
 uh and suggest a scenario to you 
 um and uh basically uh 
 what if there was someone who you know 
 you were saying that 
 that it's been a net positive by and 
 large to 
 85 or 75 of muslims you know they feel 
 closer to god um 
 and what if i'm one of those 25 percent 
 who when i think of the pandemic 
 i think of allah punishing me 
 number one and number two i've struggled 
 in the last year 
 uh my marriage broke down um my 
 you know my wealth has has decreased 
 um i've lost my job and i certainly 
 haven't used this last year to get 
 closer to allah 
 what's what's your take on someone in 
 bucket absolutely and that bucket is a 
 very very important bucket because the 
 reality is 
 and i want to make this very clear too 
 there is that 25 percent i don't believe 
 it's that and we're just this is 
 statistics remember like these are 
 numbers this is not 
 etched in stone we as humans are fluid 
 we move all the time and how we think 
 and feel about things move with it 
 and even though in those studies yes 25 
 are it was a 75 25 kind of split but 
 even from the 75 i want to make this 
 very clear 
 it's not like it's a net positive so i 
 like what you said they are net positive 
 but on a day-to-day basis right our 
 iman our faith and our connection to 
 allah is kind of like waves that go up 
 and down and up and down so it's not 
 always high like if you were to talk to 
 me on another day 
 right where all kinds of things are 
 breaking down around me i might say to 
 you the opposite as well 
 right subhanallah but the hope is that 
 the net positive 
 it would be a net positive at the end of 
 it right that in the ups and the downs 
 the struggles 
 that actually would come out on the 
 other side right 
 understanding that actually allahu adam 
 whether this is a test a lot of people 
 have asked you know is this a test this 
 is a punishment 
 right and so these are two different 
 things we know the test part 
 because allah has stated it as such in 
 the quran allah about the punishment 
 it could be for some and it could be not 
 for the others right 
 and that's what the study interestingly 
 enough we actually asked that very 
 question on the study as well 
 and we found that the overwhelming 
 majority of muslims in the study 
 actually believed 
 that this pandemic was a 
 there was like about a 12 percent who 
 felt that it was a punishment and so but 
 it was it's significantly 
 the minority right compared to the 
 majority who understood or felt that 
 this is yes a test the tribulation it is 
 difficult but 
 you can't necessarily call it a 
 punishment and 
 um and so to speak to the person who's 
 kind of going through 
 difficulty who this has been a very very 
 difficult year 
 is to acknowledge you and to say i hear 
 you and that is 
 your truth and that is real right and 
 from here the question then becomes and 
 now what would you like to do with it 
 right because sometimes it takes falling 
 to rock bottom 
 to be able to get back up again 
 sometimes it takes 
 falling flat on our face and losing 
 everything and kind of before you're 
 able to dust yourself off and kind of 
 mend the scrapes and the bruises and the 
 so on and to get up again 
 and to be it to actually become better 
 even better than before and that allah 
 subhanahu ta'ala replaces 
 one of the duas the prophet sallallahu 
 alaihi would often say is that 
 um may allah replace what you have lost 
 with better than you can even have 
 imagined right 
 and sometimes that's what happens with 
 loss we literally shed 
 off what we think and we hold we want to 
 hold on so much to that what we used to 
 have because 
 it was ours but nothing actually in the 
 studio is actually ours right but we 
 hold on to it because we think it's ours 
 but then almost on it makes it go right 
 he sheds it from us that we literally 
 from our whole system and ourselves only 
 to then grow into something that is 
 actually better 
 to move forward and that's been a 
 consistent theme in this covid 
 era that we've been in and i pray that 
 this what we would come from it is 
 actually better 
 inshallah ta'ala but i hear you and it 
 is real 
 and never minimizing the difficulty 
 that's come through this 
 subhanallah so dr ranya let's just let's 
 i'm doing it tough during the pandemic i 
 don't have 
 a very strong immediate circle um you 
 know i'm i'm 
 cut off from friends and family and i'm 
 really struggling and i don't feel 
 close to allah what's what's your advice 
 to me absolutely and i think this is so 
 important to make sure that 
 anybody who feels like what you've 
 described that this has been difficult 
 and it has been difficult 
 to actually make sure that we reach out 
 for help and i'll tell you why 
 you may have heard advice like this 
 before but but here's my take on it my 
 take on it is that 
 you know in the quran and yes i'm going 
 to quote here 
 that you know allah specifically asks us 
 to make sure to ask the people of 
 if we do not know and when a person is 
 in need of help and is struggling and is 
 having a hard time and things are not 
 seen i mean 
 the gray clouds are not going away right 
 things seem really bleak 
 reaching out for help and asking someone 
 who does know or 
 can help or is even trained right as a 
 a mental health professional a counselor 
 a person who has the kind of 
 ability to help not only is important 
 but actually i would say is part of our 
 deen and so i really recommend 
 that you know we tune into that and we 
 we take away all the 
 you know any shame or discomfort or 
 stigma or 
 so on of asking for help or even saying 
 oh what does it mean to talk to a 
 counselor or a professional 
 in the these this is exactly if again if 
 covetous taught us 
 anything it's that all of us are 
 struggling everybody 
 and in that struggle we have a spectrum 
 there are those who are able to do this 
 you know because of the different 
 resources and networks and so on that 
 they have 
 to get through or just what their person 
 experiencing maybe isn't allah tells us 
 right he's going to give us each test 
 that differ from one another 
 and so for some they're on the spectrum 
 that they're able to actually get 
 through this without that extra level of 
 but for others and then many of us we 
 actually do need that help 
 and so i really want to recommend that 
 we reach out for that kind of help and 
 and that inshallah once you knock on the 
 doors allah will help open them 
 um i have one last question um as has 
 become tradition in 
 in the double take podcast if my 
 say nine year old niece was to come to 
 you and ask 
 i hate covert i'm sick of it 
 i don't get to see my extended family 
 the good thing is that i'm seeing my my 
 parents more often or 
 you know my dad's more at home and 
 working from home and my mom's 
 you know helping me with school work but 
 i i i'm not enjoying it um 
 and it is affecting putting a strain on 
 my family's life 
 um and it's changed my life upside down 
 is this 
 a punishment from allah this is my 
 nine-year-old niece 
 asking and when will allah free 
 everything up again 
 i would say to your lovely nine-year-old 
 niece who's very very emotional very 
 i would say to her you know allah adam 
 right the reality is i don't know and i 
 don't have the answers only allah knows 
 and when he's ready to let this lift 
 from us it will get lifted 
 that much i can tell you and that with 
 the difficulty will come ease that much 
 i can tell you because allah stated so 
 in the quran 
 but ultimately is this a punishment 
 it is a test and it is difficult and it 
 has strained 
 our relationships and our families 
 you're probably missing your friends and 
 life the way you knew it beforehand and 
 i pray that allah 
 gets us all through this and so we're 
 going to have to kind of get through 
 together and know that we're all in this 
 right and if she's able to comprehend 
 that piece of it then we can you know 
 move forward with that discussion and 
 kind of 
 sometimes especially with our younger 
 folks but even ourselves 
 kind of reassurance of saying you know 
 this is one of those tough things in 
 but this too shall pass dr ranya 
 for joining double take thank you so 
 much and your work on 
 on the pandemic and the research you did 
 on the pandemic but also everything else 
 you're doing 
 at stanford and everywhere else 
 mashallah that you're working 
 and thank you for joining uh yeah 
 institute's podcast double take 
 baruch thank you so much for having me 
 it's been a pleasure and my duas 
 with all of you please keep me in your 
 duas as well 
 assalamualaikum guys we hope you've 
 enjoyed the first half of this first 
 of double take we're going on hiatus for 
 so that you can focus on your worship 
 and not have to see me all the time 
 feel free to visit the akin youtube 
 channel to see all the ramadan content 
 from yakreen institute salaam alaikum