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بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

News Right Now: Compounded Crises

Welcome to News Right Now, "Compounded Crises”

The Covid -19 pandemic has sent the world into a frenzy of social distancing and self-isolation... with economies buckling from the lockdown, and its knock on effects to health care systems, trade and commerce. However, three months into the pandemic and we see a new set of problems emerging.. in which the underlying ill effects of liberal, secular society are coming home to roost. Before the Covid pandemic hit - western nations in particular had increasing rates of loneliness according to the Office of National Statistics. The Happiness Index taken by the Gallup World Poll Survey, collated annual data and compared this with a set of socioeconomic markers of progress and the development of nations.

Their findings showed that Sweden, the UK, Japan, Italy, the US and Canada had the highest cases of loneliness, and several influencing factors were given as reasons for this. The sharp rise in young adults living alone due to financial independence, a shift in the dynamics of family life from the increase in same sex couples and single parent families, the shrinking size of the family unit.. and the baby boomer generation living longer, and alone after divorce or the death of a partner.

Since the pandemic, the massive spike in loneliness related problems has forced many to question societal norms and values, as federal agencies and experts warn that a historic wave of mental health problems is approaching.. depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), substance abuse and suicide. Rates of depression have risen for several interconnected reasons. The fear of catching the virus and its consequences is very real for many... and the financial insecurity that has followed the lockdown has seen millions lose their jobs and businesses go into liquidation. Likewise vulnerable women, children and young adults are at greater risk than before from abuse and neglect. PTSD and substance abuse can be less noticeable consequences of depression, and are easily triggered in lockdown scenarios.

The Centre for Suicide Prevention in Calgary, Canada, said, suicide rates are expected to spike given the unprecedented rates of unemployment, which worsen pre-existing mental health conditions. They reported that for every 1% rise in unemployment, there follows a 0.79% rise in suicide.

In the US gun sales in March soared to 2.58 million.. an 85.3% jump from the same time last year. It's presumed that the combination of a devastated economy and the sheer number of abuse victims trapped at home with their abusers may exacerbate suicidal tendencies. Drawing from the 2009 Global Financial Crisis, In Australia, the suicide rate is expected to double as the pandemic has been hailed ‘the perfect storm’ for suicide.. and a prolonged recession could see mental health impacts for over five years. Tony Bartone the Australian Medical Associations president went as far as saying “the rates of suicide could surpass the number of deaths from the virus by ten times.”

The global lockdown has proven that the individualism, which flourishes under Capitalism has created a greater crisis than the virus itself. Families have diversified to the point that for decades, wealth creation has been prioritised over having children... So gradually, this has even led to people becoming less connected to relatives outside their nucleus, leaving elderly or single family members without companionship and the usual bonds that connect the generations, and through which both the old and young thrive. In light of this the consequences of the ‘at risk elderly’ being in isolation for so long, is that loneliness can become severe and lead to depression along with a deterioration of any pre-existing conditions...

The universal ideas of helpfulness, neighborliness, concern and taking responsibility for others, are to be sidelined by a petrified obsession to quarantine.... giving justification to being unavailable for people under the pretense of protecting oneself.

The Islamic perspective on the trial of Covid, is to have patience in the face of the affliction by beseeching Allah swt for help, protection from it and cure of it... whilst continuing with the duties and responsibilities we have as best we can, even during a lockdown situation.

(اِنَّ الَّذِيۡنَ كَفَرُوۡا وَصَدُّوۡا عَنۡ سَبِيۡلِ اللّٰهِ وَشَآقُّوا الرَّسُوۡلَ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِ مَا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُمُ الۡهُدٰىۙ لَنۡ يَّضُرُّوا اللّٰهَ شَيۡـئًا ؕ وَسَيُحۡبِطُ اَعۡمَالَهُمۡ)

“And surely, We shall try you till We test those who strive hard (for the cause of Allah) and As-Sabirin (the patient), and We shall test your facts (i.e., the one who is a liar, and the one who is truthful).” Surah Muhammed verse 31

The duty to help our families and community, to love, give courage, support and nasiha or advice to one another, must still be met, and in no way abandoned under the secular narrative of social distancing. Rather good deeds and charity of all kinds are to be increased in this time, as we compete to seek the favour of Allah (swt) and attain his most generous rewards. Hoarding and fighting for resources is an act of selfish individualism which stems from the value of ‘me, myself and I’; an ideal propagated through Capitalist freedoms, which on a macro level are the direct cause of great harm to humanity the world over. The Covid pandemic has yet again demonstrated the frailty of the western secular, liberal way of life... as sadly, but ironically the cost to families, communities and the impact on future generations will be more far-reaching than that of the virus itself.

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JazakAllahu Khairan for listening... Until next time!

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