By Najmul Hoda, (IPS, Tamil Nadu Cadre), Mohd Shayin (IAS, Haryana Cadre), and Asif Jalal (IPS, HP Cadre)
April 4, 2020: The global outbreak of Covid-19 is a huge challenge to the country and the humanity. We are struggling hard to check it and keep it at bay. Of late, a message is going in the society at large that Muslims, as a group, in India are not adhering to ‘social distancing’ and other measures to counter the spread of the pandemic.
Distressing videos are in wide circulation showing stone pelting at health workers, and clash of men from Muslim community with police personnel who were enforcing the law. In some videos, policemen are baton-charging the people hell-bent to go to a mosque for prayer.
Today on April 4, 2020, a national daily reported that 25 per cent of the positive cases of novel corona virus reported in India are linked to the Tablighi Jamaat congregation held in Delhi in March.
In this hour of deep crisis, we feel compelled to appeal to the Muslim community in India that they should act responsibly and stand out as examples for fellow citizens in the fight against Corona Virus. Members of the Muslim community through their act of omission and commission should not offer anybody an opportunity to accuse them for the spread of the epidemic in India.
Contracting the virus even to one’s own self is a sinful act as per the Islamic law. Suicide and courting danger and disease by one’s rash and negligent act is haraam. The virus does not remain confined to the body of the person who invited it to himself through his foolish act. It travels rapidly in the family the and society, and brings indiscriminate deaths to innocents. The Quran says if one kills an innocent human being, it is as if he had killed all mankind, and whosoever saves the life of one, it is as if he had saved the life of all mankind.
There are many sayings and hadiths of the Prophet directing us to take steps to prevent the spread of epidemic, and to protect oneself.
However, we should adhere to the guidance of the public health experts, since what is correct to do is correct whether one finds support for that or not in a religious scripture. Even if there were no religious sanction to avoid plague or remain in quarantine during a raging epidemic, adopting measures to safeguard oneself from it would still be a right thing to do.
Muslims can pray collectively at the mosques after the pandemic dies out and the normal life is restored. Temporarily avoiding going to the mosque to prevent spread of the disease does not mean one has deserted the mosques permanently, as many believe. One can pray at home observing social distancing. Our responsible behaviour would help save the individual, his family and the country at large.
We reiterate that in this hour of crisis, the Muslim community, in general, should come forward and strengthen the hands of the government, and follow sincerely the directions of the ministry of the health and World Health Organisation to fight the Corona virus pandemic and stay protected from it.
(This content has been taken from Facebook post of Asif Jalal, IPS)