WHILE the world is at a standstill with countries on complete lockdown and with the coronavirus crisis declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation our custodians of Islam have chosen to carry on with their Raiwind ijtima (congregation) despite pleas by the Punjab government to postpone the event.
The plea, which was made in view of the coronavirus threat, has been rejected by the organisers. Could this have happened in any other Muslim country, not to talk of the West?
My question to the organisers is: what brand of Islam is this? If umrah and tawaf could be deferred in view of the safety and sanctity of human life is this event superior in its reward than the former?
Islam is a religion that has permitted one to pray sitting or even lying if he/she finds it difficult to stand. One can pray at home if weather conditions are rough and it is difficult for a worshipper to make it to the mosque.
The Kuwaiti shura had instructed imams across the country to restrict their sermons to no more than 10 minutes when temperatures had soared in summer of 2019 simply because God values human life more than any form of worship.
Who would be responsible if Allah forbid an outbreak occurs at Raiwind? This is neither Islam nor any service to Islam. If our stubborn, ignorant, empty-minded so-called custodians of religion do not understand, then they should be made to understand.
I am at a loss to label my brothers as simple souls or as ones lacking complete empathy for their brethren. It is time the government exercised its writ as in all other countries and supremacy of law prevails.
Dr Sabeeh Haider
THE World Health Organisation has now termed coronavirus as a pandemic, and urged all countries to deal immediately with this epidemic by implementing policies that will help to curtail it from spreading further.
It is a worrying development that the coronavirus has left even the world’s most developed countries like the US and the UK in a state of anxiety and shock. The medical experts in these nations are even warning their citizens that the worst is yet to come.
Pakistan, which has a fragile economy and poor resources should exercise vigilance and take urgent measures to contain the spread of coronavirus before it’s too late as in the case of Iran which has become the most-infected country after China in Asia. Both China and Iran, pose a serious risk of further spreading coronavirus in Pakistan as both countries are hosting a large Pakistani diaspora.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, however, should address the nation and apprise them of the actual gravity of this virus. He should also inform the people of what his government is doing to deal with this issue and what is expected of the nation.
CORONAVIRUS has become a global trauma. The nation needs to adopt prompt precautionary measures and also ensure it rides out this catastrophe with least amount of damage.
Thankfully, the Sindh government has been proactive on the issue and the provincial authorities sprung into action soon after the first coronavirus case was confirmed in the province.
The Sindh government has set up nine coronavirus isolation centres in the province and arranged many gatherings with health experts to cope with the issue.
The prime minister should direct the federal authorities to assign more resources to Sindh to tackle this calamity and ensure the nation’s safety.
Khalid Mehmood Bhatti
Published in Dawn, March 19th, 2020