In most countries with Islam as a dominant religion, life comes before faith. Majority of the countries where Muslims constitute the above percent population had Islam as the state religion.
In these countries, enforcing anything that goes against faith is a herculean task. And amid Corona pandemic, in which ‘social distancing’ seems the only way to prevent the spread of the disease, the governments of Islamic countries are finding it tough to stop people in religious congregations.
Similarly, in Pakistan and Bangladesh, the police found it hard to stop people from gathering for Friday prayers. In Karachi, the largest city of Pakistan, the government banned people from gathering for Friday prayers to prevent the spread.
“In the greater interest of saving lives, a decision to ban the prayer congregations at mosques has been taken following a meeting of clerics from all schools of thought. Islamic Sharia allows it,” said Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, Sindh’s minister for local bodies and information.
In Pakistan, the faithful people clashed with Police for not allowed to offer Friday prayers, reported Reuters. Islamic hardliners have refused to accept that Corona is ‘secular’ and will spread among all people alike. They believe that Allah has sent this disease to wipeout unfaithful people from the earth. Even in Bangladesh, the government’s order to ban gatherings for Friday prayers did not go well with faithful people.
As we know, in most of the countries including India, religious congregations and events become the reason behind the spread of the pandemic. In South Korea, when the situation was under control, a Christian women who regularly attended Sunday prayers, became ‘super-spreader’. Similarly in India, it was reported that around 40 percent of the total cases are linked to Tablighi Jamaat, an orthodox Islamic evangelical group.
Religious gatherings have become ‘super-spreader’ of the disease. Out of Malaysia’s 673 confirmed coronavirus cases, nearly two-thirds of the cases have been linked to a four-day Muslim gathering which took place at the Sri Petaling Mosque compound from February 27 to March 1. The Muslim gathering held at a sprawling mosque complex on the outskirts of Malaysia‘s capital Kuala Lumpur has emerged as the epicenter and hotbed of coronavirus infections that have spread to the whole of Southeast Asia.
The event was attended by 16,000 people, including 1,500 foreigners. A close look at the Social media posts shows that hundreds of worshippers were praying shoulder-to-shoulder inside the compound. Being so close to one another would have led to the virus spreading rapidly.
Brunei has confirmed 50 cases linked to the mosque gathering, out of a total of 56 cases. Vietnam, the Philippines, and Indonesia, which had nearly 700 of their citizens attend the poorly planned event, are all investigating. Singapore has announced five linked to the event, whereas Cambodia and Thailand have reported 13 and two cases respectively.
People must fathom the importance of staying indoors rather than going out to the religious places and becoming the infamous “Patient-31” of Korea which is believed to have triggered eighty percent of the country’s infections. The times are testing and God can only save its followers if they listen to medial health experts. Countries around the globe need to close all religious gathering sites as soon as possible. These sites are the vectors of COVID-19 and the global community is not prepared if this situation goes any south.