Visited mosque on the last Friday to attend the Friday prayer. During the sermon, Imam was saying: “Those don’t belong to us who are trying to scare us from the coronavirus and ask for shrinking the religious obligations.” Furthermore, he said that people who are following the guidelines of doctors should take care of their Iman (faith in God).
This was the most embarrassing moment particularly for me as I had been wearing a protective mask. The more ironic was the reaction and passion of people who got inspired by his insanity due to their ignorance.
Now, they are not going to pay heed on the instructions of the experts. Unfortunately, the feeble structure of this state has always been a victim of multifaceted challenges and this time, Corona along with ignorance and apathy acts as a threat multiplier.
Many videos have been circulated on social media wherein quasi mullahs, charlatans, Quakers, and part-time hakeem are selling their oddities. It is our by and large ignorance that still in 21 century we allow them to exploit us. One was declaring the soup of the inner layer of pigeon’s stomach as an antidote to coronavirus.
While another declared Corona an extreme form of common flu and could be cured with opium poppy. Some educated people are also sharing these videos and encouraging people to follow the guidelines. Misguiding the general populace in this crisis is a heinous crime that may kill all of us.
We can learn from Malaysia. Religion helped spread it.
The four-day religious "tabligh" event near the capital, Kuala Lumpur, has now been linked to 714 cases in Malaysia – 60% of the total – and at least 840 across Southeast Asia. https://t.co/hxLeFWwrOI
— Ayobami (@dondekojo) March 21, 2020
The human defense system is built in two lines. One is the immune system which comprises of different organs, cells, and chemicals that fight and kill the foreign attackers. The other is the human psychological system that constantly gives motivation to the former in the fight against the Invaders.
Both systems work simultaneously. If one stops working, the other could not perform its duties well. The former gets strength from science in the form of different medications while the later depends upon spirituality. Psychological powers come from religion in the form of hope. Some get hope from God, some from idols, some from fire and some from other gods but the purpose of all religions is to keep the hope alive.
Unfortunately, many times our religious institutions have been used to misguide the general populace by quasi mullahs for vested interests. They deliberately use this plate farm for their larger political and monetary benefits.
In the Second World War, the Britons, the then rulers used our religious institutions as a propaganda tool against the Germans. The arguments presented by the British’s sponsored religious scholars to mold the public opinion in the favor of England against Germany was that the Britons belong to Godly religion while the Germans are communist and atheist. The formers were better as they believe in the unity of God.
Hence, the Muslims must fight alongside them against the atheist Germans. You may find the similarities during the cold war especially when the erstwhile Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan.
Institutions that are supposed to be the source of enlightenment are used to astray the people both advertently and inadvertently. Islam doesn’t base on blind beliefs but it encourages its believers to use tact and reason and then put the result on God.
Prophet Muhammad (saw) would not have participated in 27 wars if everything had left on prayers. Quran says “there is no compulsion in religion.” once during heavy rainfall, Prophet Muhammad (saw) allowed his companions to offer the prayers at home and forbade them to go to the mosque. That was just rainfall and now the Corona pandemic which unequivocally is more dangerous.
This shows the flexibility and adaptability of Islam during the time of crises. Unfortunately, many novice friends of Islam are miring this beauty of Islam by their ignorant radicalism.
A video of religious scholars went viral on social media wherein he was urging the people to ignore the guidelines of the experts and shake hands and make close contact with each other. The way he was exploiting the religious sentiments by asking “Don’t you believe in the words of the prophet?” is alarming.
He was urging the people to accept this coronavirus pandemic as a fait accompli which is completely against the instructions of Islam. Hazrat Umar bin khattab was on the way to Syria when he was informed about the outbreak of plague. He decided to go back to Madina. One of his companions asked, “Oh caliph, are you running from the fate of God?” He replied, “I am running from one fate of God to another.”
Today, if Umar bin khattab were alive, all such intellectuals would have been rotting in the dungeons. Islam doesn’t base on the concept of predestination but it gives humans dictate of right reason. Ignorant scholars who took the helm of our religious institutions are taking the people towards destruction. Thanks to the Punjab police who later arrested this quaker and updated his software.
Islam is a source of guidance for all humanity. It is not confined to religious dogmas rather it is a complete code of life. It guides its believers in every domain of life. From politics to foreign affairs, administration, justice, economics, trade and wars, in every field, Islam has always abridged the sufferings of humanity.
Unfortunately, the golden principles of this great religion are misinterpreted by some ignorant and thickhead followers. It is a dilemma of our society that we all want to become the expert of every field except our own. Our ignorance is bringing no glory to our religion and society rather it makes us more vulnerable to such hardships and devastations.
This pandemic might be a harbinger of something good if we reform our religious institutions and make them a source of enlightenment rather than a source of hatred and prejudice.
Syed Usama Shirazi is a freelance columnist based in Islamabad. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.