Faizan Mughni, Missionary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat
In these perilous times of a global pandemic, when social distancing is the norm of the day, there is a special group of people who are defying these lifesaving measures for their petty egos and endangering the lives of millions. All over the world, religious gatherings and masses have been cancelled.
Even the two sacred places for Muslims, Masjid al-Haram and Masjid al-Nabawi have been closed for the general public.
Meanwhile, Pakistani religious clerics have forced the government to keep mosques open in the outright defiance of the teachings of Islam. (www.dawn.com/news/1551497)
Unfortunately they are not alone; there are also some churches, especially in the United States, who have dismissed the warnings and carried on with their crowded public masses and subsequently state governments were forced to exempt religious gatherings from stay-at-home orders. (www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/05/coronavirus-churchesflorida-social-distancing)
Some “prophets of science” would blame religion on the insanity of a group of people. Though their objection against the “people” who promote such teachings would be correct, attributing it to actual religious teachings, especially Islam, is false. And I shall prove this. There should not be any friction or contradiction between science and the true religion of God Almighty; science is the work of God and religion is the word of God. (Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge and Truth, Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmadrh, p. 301)
But the reality is that these so-called defenders of religion are opposing the very religious teachings they follow themselves.
According to Islam, killing a person or creating disorder in the earth is equivalent to killing the whole of humanity and vice versa; saving a single life is akin to saving the whole of mankind (Surah al-Maidah, Ch.5, V.33).
And in these perilous times, the most important and easy way of saving someone’s life is to maintain social distance, which is being accepted and implemented all over the world.
On the contrary, however, there are Pakistani Muslim clerics who have made the government open mosques for public gatherings even during a pandemic. Islam is a comprehensive religion, which gives perfect guidance on all matters, including a pandemic.
The Holy Quran clearly states that you should not cast yourselves into ruin with your own hands (Surah al-Baqarah, Ch.2, V.196).
This is a clear guidance for all those Muslim clerics who push their own views, the Holy Quran teaches otherwise; don’t steer yourself into ruin and hurt.
The Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, through his own example, stressed social distancing when facing a contagious disease. It is narrated that among the delegation of the tribe of Thaqif, there was a man who suffered from leprosy. The Holy Prophetsa sent word to him saying, “Go back [do not come in the city of Medina], for I have accepted your Bai‘at [pledge of allegiance]”. (Sunan al-Nasai)
There was no physical ceremony involved, but the pledge of that person was accepted. This hadith manifests for us that sanctity of life and the well-being of society is a most important factor. That is why he altogether disregarded one of the most important religious ceremonies of that person’s life as it would harm others. Why then do these clerics force mosques to be opened?
Then, in another hadith, the Holy Prophetsa exhorted that if one hears the news of an epidemic in a certain place, one should not enter that place and if the epidemic falls in a place where one is present, then one ought not to leave that place to escape from the epidemic. Thus, in following these instructions of the Holy Prophetsa, Hazrat Umarra cancelled his trip to Syria when he was the Khalifa of Islam (Sahih al-Bukhari), thus restricting the spread of the disease.
In yet another hadith, it is narrated that when the Holy Prophetsa deputed any of his Companions on a task, he would say:
“Give glad tidings [to the people] and do not create [in their minds] aversion [towards religion]; make things easy for them and do not be hard upon them.” (Sahih Muslim)
Then the Prophetsa, at times, would tell the Muslims to stay home and offer their prayers if the weather was unfavourable. It is narrated that Abu Malih said:
“I went out on a rainy night [for congregational prayer], and when I came back, I asked for the door to be opened. My father asked, ‘Who is this?’ I replied, ‘Abu Malih’. He said, ‘We were with the Holy Prophetsa at Hudaibiyah and it rained a little, such that the soles of our sandals did not get wet. The muazin [caller for prayer] of the Holy Prophetsa called out, ‘Perform your prayer in your camps.’” (Sunan Ibn-e-Maja, Congregational prayer on a rainy night)
In a similar tradition, it is narrated by Muhammad bin Sirin that on a rainy day, Hazrat Ibn Abbasra said to his muazin that after saying, “I testify that Muhammad is Allah’s Prophet”, he should not say, “Come to prayer”, but rather say, “Pray in your houses.” The Muslims did not like this and objected. In response, Hazrat Ibn Abbasra said that this was the practice of one who was “much better than me” (i.e. the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa). (Sahih Muslims)
Hence, these verses of the Holy Quran and the traditions of the Prophetsa indicate the right path for dealing with a pandemic or any situation out of the ordinary. Unfortunately, the so-called scholars of Islam today do not seem to understand these principles. This utter disregard for what the Holy Quran and the hadith teach is not an anomaly, rather it is constant and repetitive.
Not too long ago, a member of the upper house of the National Parliament of Pakistan, Senator Faiz Muhammad quoted Khan Ahmad Yar, who said, “If the Holy Prophetsa himself said to him that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian is a Prophet, even then he would not accept it.”
Again, and again, you see that these so-called “men of god” create disorder in the earth in the name of those sacred personalities, who were ambassadors of peace and humanity, just to gain importance and power. They only care for their monopoly of “spirituality” and the influence they have on the everyday lives of the populace.