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  • Writer's pictureMaria Khan

Spiritual Learning from the Coronavirus Pandemic

Bats have become quite notorious due to the current coronavirus pandemic, there being a possibility that the virus was passed on from bats to humans. We have a lot to learn from this pandemic which has affected almost the entire world causing many cities to go into lockdown to prevent the infection from escalating.

What has struck scientists the most in this state of affairs is that bats remarkably show no sign of illness even after deadly viruses enter their system. They show no or least symptoms and remain unaffected by pathogens that have proven lethal for other species including humans. Researchers have been seeking to understand the reason for this resilience in bats to know if their mechanisms could be utilized for developing therapies for humans.

One discovery about these bats stands out in studies on how they tame the viruses that enter their bodies. The secret is hidden in the bat’s flight. The bats are winged creatures that fly in the sky at night, sometimes for prolonged periods. This strenuous flight is responsible for considerably increasing the bat’s metabolism. Consequently, the rigours of the flight are detrimental to the body of the bat “triggering the production of harmful chemicals that can damage the DNA that cells need to function and survive.” But here is the crucial point. The bat’s system also has sophisticated ways and methods to control these destructive chemicals produced due to the laborious flight. And it is these ways and methods which have another very important benefit – they have an essential function in protecting the bat and helping it cope with deadly viruses that infect it.

Here, we understand a principle of life from the example of the bat and how it saves itself from developing symptoms when viruses invades its body. The vigorous flight of the bat is an essential part of its life. But it also has injurious effects on the bat’s body. When the bat responds to these harmful effects, it develops certain advanced mechanisms which in turn help it to strengthen its body. And this strength is then responsible for fighting off disease-causing viruses.

In our life, we face certain situations which are physically or mentally very demanding. We feel as if we are being bogged down by these adverse conditions. The Quran states this reality in these terms: “We have created man into a life of toil and trial.” (90:4) However, the law of nature established by God Almighty is that these difficulties strengthen us and make us more resilient.

When you face tough times, God is preparing you through them to develop a capacity which you do not already have. In order to become mentally sharp and develop tenacity, we have to go through situations that are very challenging. These are the ones that bring to the fore our creativity and ingenuity, which then serve us for the rest of our life and help us in dealing with other exacting circumstances in the journey of life ahead.

(Ref. “How Bats Might Have Tamed the Coronavirus”, The Atlantic)

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