‘Don’t become a deadly super-spreader this Eid-ul-Adha!’

A communal Eid-ul-Adha may be out of the question if we are going to stem the high loss of life of Muslims through Covid infections, writes an Al-Qalam Reporter.

Islamic scholar in Durban, Shaykh Rafeek Hassan, has appealed to the Muslim community to take extreme precautions to protect themselves against the raging “third wave” of the deadly Covid -19 Pandemic – especially during the upcoming Eid-ul-Adha – that is wiping out hundreds in the community.

According to a recent scientific study, the gathering of Muslims during last Ramadan and during Eid-ul-Fitr might have contributed to a “super-spreader” that dramatically increased Covid-related deaths in the community.

Dr Salim Parker from the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Division of Infectious Diseases and HIV Medicine said: “Although reasons for this are multifactorial, it is likely to include higher attendance in places of worship and social gatherings over the Eid celebration period.”

The researchers also cautioned that the current weekly number of deaths in Gauteng’s Muslim communities had already surpassed the peak weekly deaths seen during the first and second waves. The province has been the hardest hit by the third wave.

In an interview with Al-Qalam, Shaykh Hassan warned Muslim families to be extremely cautious during the upcoming Eid-ul-Adha and not to mingle as is customary at this time.

“The Prophet (Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him) advised isolation as a precaution during a pandemic. We are indeed in a period of strange and abnormal events where things are not as they normally were – hence we cannot be carrying on and behaving as we were normally did in the past. This pandemic affects all regardless of religion or country. We are all in the same boat that is sinking. Now is the time to unite – not to divide, to use the fingers in our hands to help one another and not to point to each other, to use our intellect to find solutions, not to insult each other,” he said.

“The questions we should be asking are why are the number of Covid -19 deaths so high in the Muslim community? Yes, death is indeed decreed by Allah, but the Prophet (Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him) said: “Tie your camel and then say Insha Allah” How many ‘sudden’ Covid -19 deaths do we need to make us realize that we are in a pandemic?”

He pointed out that this was not the first time that parts of the world were affected by a pandemic. There were many pandemics in the past. This is not the first time that Masaajids had to be closed due to a pandemic. This is not the first time that the Hajj was suspended due to a pandemic. The Hajj was abandoned in the year 967 AD due to a plague and in 1831 AD due to cholera epidemic and other closure of the Hajj in the past due to political unrest and killings, he added.

“But these pandemics of the past affected only certain regions of the world. This is the first time in human history that a pandemic has affected the entire world at one and the same time. Strange times indeed! This pandemic is also affecting the world economically, socially, religiously and politically.

“Even more concerning is that from a demographic perceptive, the number of Muslims that have succumbed to this pandemic is exceedingly high given the fact that we make up less than five percent of the total South African population. Apart from family members and friends, in this short space of less than one year, the Muslim community has become impoverished by the passing away of prominent Ulama, dedicated community workers, leaders, frontline health care workers and sterling personalities – the list is too long to mention. Recall (the Prophet Peace and Blessing be Upon Him) mentioned that a time will come when knowledge begins to disappear from the community and when asked how this will be possible, he replied, ‘it’s when people of knowledge will pass on.’

“At this moment a founder member of Baitul Hikmah, brother Mohammed Amra is in ICU battling Covid 19 infection. Another dedicated community leader, brother Abdul Wahab Khan was hale and hearty when I last spoke to him and the next week he was gone – just like that! The names of our dedicated brothers and sisters of this Ummah who succumbed to this pandemic are too many and too painful to mention.

Shaykh Hassan advised the community to use the lockdown for self-introspection and getting closer to our Creator.

“O Allah your places of worship are desolate. O Allah the Hajj is suspended for the second year. O Allah we are losing our dear and near ones. O Allah, whatever the theories and facts, You are All Knowing and All Powerful, help us. O Allah grant Jannah to all those who have succumbed to this pandemic and grant solace and strength to those left behind. O Allah grant shifa – cure to all those affected. O most Merciful of all those who show Mercy. Aameen.”

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