God helps those who help themselves with thoughtful prudence. The practice of Islam has been hit harder than any other religion by the impact of Covid-19. Religion is supposed to be a source of comfort in times of confusion and suffering. And yet, everywhere you look, religious services are being suspended. Does it mean we have lost the faith in holy revelations? Absolutely not. I would like to hail the approaches of our Ulema who ordered for the suspension of religious practices including congregational prayers of Friday or display of holy relic on eve of Mehraj un Nabi for some days. Even in Saudi Arabia, visas have been put off for Umrah. But still there are some elements who are saying we can’t let our mosques be empty. Some are asking for ritualistic ‘congregational Nafal’ or else it will invite more trouble. Is it narrow mindedness about religion or haven’t we understood religion in the correct way?
Being Muslims we all know that whenever there is an assemblage of worshipers, Allah’s mercy is showering upon them. Allah is among them. May be somebody is carrying the coronavirus, what should be done, then? Surely we need to maintain a gap from the person and this can be best done if we stay and worship at home. The Prophet said: “If you hear that there is a plague in a land, do not enter it; and if it (plague) visits a land while you are therein, do not go out of it”. But still, on eve of Mehraj un Nabi, Maulvis organised congregations in Kashmir. I saw people thronging mosques in large numbers and ‘Shab Khwani’ went on the whole night with people sitting together. It should have been done at the individual level this time and Allah likes and hears prayers better that are done in isolation.
For orthodox believers, only religion is a source of spiritual healing, nothing else. For them it is a remedy against despair, providing psychological and emotional support, and an antidote to loneliness. But they should not absolutely ignore science. Both are interconnected and necessary for the well being of a human. The worst-hit Italy has now seen more than 6,000 deaths despite having one of the best health infrastructure in the world. After failing to curb the menace, the prime minister of Italy ultimately said that we are all done with earthly powers now and are looking for heavenly intervention. Eventually, humans fall helpless and bow before God.
Now everyone is looking forward to a vaccine, when will it be developed and used? We are following almost every precautionary measure which is being put forward by WHO or other health organisations. So, we believe in science and everybody around does the same. But still I come across people who say that this lockdown is unnecessary, everything it is up to God. Let everything be run normally, then. We are again taking religion and science in a contradictory sense. To me, science and religion are from two different bases and they are eternal and synthetic. We need to find a correlation between the two.
—The writer is a teacher. [email protected]