2020 The Year of Sorrow: Lessons and coping strategies from the most difficult year of the Prophet’s life

Research output: Other contribution to conferencePresentation only


Humanity is experiencing an unprecedented year in 2020. Inspired by the life of Prophet Muhammad, it would be appropriate to name 2020 as the year of sorrow for many. The world began the year with information of a virus in China which started making headlines around the globe. This was the start of a pandemic which would eventually impact everyone. Then there were the devastating unprecedented bushfires in Australia. The heartbreaking news did not seize as calamities in other parts of the world unfolded as we made it half way through the year, including the Middle East and Lebanon. As we currently stand, at least 1 million people have died from the coronavirus and many countries are financially bleeding as a result. Amidst these calamities and challenging times, the life and teachings of Prophet Muhammad naturally come to the minds of many Muslims. "What can we learn from his sīrah to better respond and rise above this hardship? What strategies can be deduced to stay resilient in the face of these adversities?" are only two of the many questions posed at such times. This paper endeavours to shed light on this matter. It draws parallels from the life of the Prophet to extract some lessons and coping strategies he used in Mecca in the ensuing days of his call. It focuses particularly on the year of sadness (sanat al-huzn / 'am al-huzn) the 10th year of his prophethood (~620 AD) and incidents surrounding this year where adversity and hardship reached its zenith. The paper underlines and analyses the importance of sunnatullah (God's unchanging way and practise in the universe) as a main premise and theoretical framework in the life of all prophets, since history mirrors this law. Additionally, it emphasises the crucial role of faith, submission and reliance on God as a coping strategy as applied by the Prophet.


ConferencePastoral & Spiritual Care During the Pandemic 
Abbreviated titleCOVID 19, Pastoral and Spiritual Care
OtherJoint academic conference hosted by Huron University and Respect Graduate School.
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