Sheikh Ahmad Umar
Dear fellow Kashmiris,
It is very disturbing and disheartening to see the state of chaos, confusion and panic creeping all over Kashmir amid this scary environment of uncertainty. I have this very simple message to all of you sitting in your homes that if an epidemic takes shape in Kashmir, you can well imagine what will be the condition of ours given the healthcare facilities we have here. We must remember that a spark neglected burns down the house, so rumour mongering and spreading false information will only add fuel to the fire. The time is not right to discuss modalities of how we can continue our prayers in mosques. Enough has been discussed and we have authentic references from our scholars on what Islam recommends in such a situation. We are also propagating that this is punishment from Allah. I wish to express here what Allah mentions in the Quran, that whatever brings you close to Allah is actually a blessing in disguise because it makes you repent of your past sins. We can pray at home right now, we can repent, and time will decide whether we have done right or we have done wrong. Let it be. I just want to convey here that we have seen the worst of times, we have seen enough blood oozing out from our fellow Kashmiris, we have seen uncountable curfews before, shutdowns, forced isolation and much more. It is also worth to mention that it is the first time when we strictly need to adhere to government directives. It is for our collective safety, not of any particular class, goons or bhakts. It is not any false propaganda, it is not any admonition. It is to ensure that we all are safe, not by using medicines, not by voting, but by mere adherence to advisories from the government and healthcare authorities. I am not saying this as an administrator or doctor but as your brother, as son of the soil. It is the first time when strength in unison is more important than union of physical strength. We all need to act bravely, but by remaining indoors not by assembling outside. Nor is this a question of religion over science or science over religion. Both work in unison for the benefit of mankind, because it is said: “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”
We must rely on science while also keeping our religious obligations in mind. We also have that extra bit of responsibility to offer our services to humanity during these difficult times. Blind faith and propagating false notions about the situation and also discrediting and defaming the efforts of the scientific community will only add to the chaos. We must acknowledge the hard work of scientists, doctors, researchers, paramedics, nurses and other associated persons who work day in and day out to make sure we all are safe. During this pandemic, it is essential to work in close coordination and in tandem with the authorities.
Ensure your safety by adopting social distancing. Allah will help in getting us out from this also. We have done it in the past, we are required to do it now. Insha Allah, we will defeat it together.
The writer works as Senior Research Fellow at CSIR-IIIM Jammu.