I read a story, ‘Coronavirus is another piece of evidence we are all atheists.” in the Daily Monitor of March 15.
The article sought to, among other things, construe the restriction on prayer in Muslim countries as evidence that points to the fact that we are all atheist and that prayer does not work.
Several misrepresentations are made in the same article that should be corrected as they do not portray the actual significance and intention of prayer as taught in the Islamic religion.
Using such inaccurate and flawed representations to make sweeping statements and arrive at a conclusion, is wrong. I approach this response from the Islamic point of view because majority of the statements made were in reference to Islam, and because I possess reasonable understanding of the sources of Islamic teachings (Koran and Hadith).
The writer references a tweet stating that a common error in prayer technique is sitting around asking for stuff. This is not applicable to the Islamic prayer, as it is not the primary intention of prayer.
Muslims do not pray seeking for worldly enrichment, but to seek the pleasure of Allah in anticipation of the ultimate reward of paradise. In fact, the verse in the Holy Koran (Chapter 62:9) that commands Muslims to leave their businesses and hasten to prayer is immediately followed by one (Chapter 62:10) that explicitly instructs them to disperse into the world after prayer so that they can work and attain Allah’s bounties.
Regarding the banning of pilgrimages in Mecca and Medina and Friday prayers in Iran, the writer alludes to the claim that this course of action is being taken because these countries know that Allah is not going to help them. This is a gross misrepresentation, as these countries are doing as they are expected to do by Islamic teachings.
The Prophet Muhammad in a Hadith states that if one hears of a plague in a given land, they are prohibited from going to that land, and if it breaks out in a land where one is, they are not supposed to leave that land. This proclamation, made more than 14 decades ago, points to a need for restriction of travel in case of such an occurrence and informs the decision by these countries to do the same.
All and sundry have seen the travel bans imposed by countries against the citizens of other countries that have been heavily afflicted by the coronavirus. Perhaps if we were all believers and had knowledge of and adhered to such a proclamation, we would have been able to contain the disease within its first epicentre.
Finally, the writer states that many of us have understandably substituted Allah with money because money is the real God that fixes problems. The writer inadvertently shoots self in the foot considering an earlier statement about how Saudis will drop everything once they hear the call to prayer.
Some of these individuals have a net worth equal to or greater than the GDPs of several small countries, and yet drop everything to hasten to the call for prayer five times a day, 35 times a week and 1,680 times a year. It is because money is not what they seek, and is not what any believer should seek from Allah.
What we seek from Allah is a reward in the hereafter, greater in epic proportions compared to what the “Money God” can offer in the short expected 60 years of this worldly life. Contrary to the statements of the writer, Coronavirus (Covid-19) is to any person with actual knowledge of the teachings of Islam, another piece evidence that they should be believers.
Quarantine is isolation and the restriction of movement of the ailing not to spread a stubborn sickness. But why shouldn’t a stable coronavirus victim be “detained” in the name of being placed under quarantine or hidden without talking to the rest of the world?
That situation alone can work against a stable sick person to think that they have been rejected by this world and this can make them resign to going to the next world early.
With the full protective gears on both sides in the quarantine or the isolation room, the victim should be allowed to tell the media about how they could have contracted the virus, how she started feeling, after how long and how they are feeling now and what it feels to be detained in a quarantine and whether food supplies and water and clothing are available in the isolated room?
Allow the public to field some questions to those attending to the victims as well. That will create a true live and direct images that Covid-19 is real and not a joking matter. There is no need to hide victims, especially those whose health are stabilising.