Muslim Priorities in a Dangerous Pandemic

Muslim Priorities in a Dangerous Pandemic

Faith in Allah versus precautions against infection.

Anjuli Pandavar

Yesterday I popped into hospital to have a recovering wound on my leg checked. The pedestrian entrance had been blocked off, with a temporary field hospital set up right on the road. The doctors at the entrance wanted to know whether I had any of the COVID-19 symptoms. I did not, but asked them to check anyway. I’m clear. It’s safe to continue reading.

Had I still been a Muslim, this very simple no-brainer encounter with doctors would have  thrown up any number of complications:

1. I might’ve objected to being asked such a question because I’m a Muslim and Allah protects me. They should ask such questions of infidels.

2. I might’ve refused to be checked, objecting that Shari’a determines that a Muslim shall not submit to an infidel.

3. I might’ve refused to be checked on the grounds that my faith is strong. As a Muslim, dying of a virus benefits me as I become a martyr and will have a good Afterlife.

4. If they told me that I might infect others, I would say that it is my duty as a Muslim to adhere to the doctrine of al-wala’ wa’l-bara’. If it is Muslims I’m infecting, Allah will take care of them. If I’m infecting infidels, then Allah will be pleased with me.

5. Had I previously seen sheikh Saajid Lipham’s Thoughts on Coronavirus (COVID-19) video of a couple of days ago, I would have asked myself what my priorities are: this life or the next life? Who knows how I would’ve answered that question? The point is that had I still been a Muslim, the distinct possibility exists that I would’ve prioritised the “next life” of this one, and refused the test.

6. Had I previously seen sheikh Yasir Qadhi’s Advice in Light of Coronavirus (COVID-19) video of last week, I might’ve lectured the arrogant doctors that no matter what they do, if Allah decrees that we will all die of the virus, then we will all die of the virus. If Allah decrees that we will all be cured, then we will all be cured, even if we all infect one another. I might then have turned around and walked away, feeling sorry for the poor fools who do not have Islam.

7. Had I previously seen sheikh Yasir Qadhi’s Cancelling Prayers At Masjids Due To COVID-19 of two days ago, I might well have complied and done exactly as the doctors requested, because Yasir Qadhi has implored me to not do anything foolish, and to comply with authorities’ orders. But I might just as easily have just stood there dumb and frozen, having also seen Yasir Qadhi’s video of a few days before this one (see 6, above), where he quite convincingly tells me that it doesn’t matter who does what, Allah has already decreed what will happen. In the later video, he doesn’t tell me to ignore what he’d said in the earlier one. Does the second video abrogate the first one, or has Yasir Qadhi just realised his mistake, panicked, and rushed out a really hastily-made damage-limitation video? Damage he might’ve done to the health of Muslims, or damage that he might’ve done to his reputation and “standing in the community,” already shaken by other faux pas?

8. Had I previously seen Nouman Ali Khan’s Crisis Response – Khutbah video of two days ago, I would definitely have stood there dumb and frozen, because he had taken up thirty-five minutes of my life to tell me absolutely nothing at all.

9. I might’ve asked for directions to the nearest shrine.

10. Or I might just have pulled out a knife, screamed “Allahu akbar!” and stabbed the doctors. Allah would have been pleased with me.

There’s a distinct pattern to be discerned in the “scholars’” advice to Muslims on how to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. At the start of the crisis, they were all gung-ho with how special Muslims are and how they are right in there with Allah who, on the one hand, can do whatever he likes to whomever he likes, and at the same time, whether he does to Muslims is all good anyway, so whatever measures these deluded infidels are telling Muslims to take, it makes no difference anyway. The “I hear and I obey,” mindset of Muslims let to some catastrophic behaviour, such as going out and licking shrines that others have touched and kissed. It is an extreme example, but it is one done by many and admired by many more.

The way the “scholars” pitched it in the beginning was to pit the Muslim’s faith in Allah against the Muslim taking precautions against infection. “Scholars” such as Ustadh Baajour or Saajid Lipham are stupid enough to spell this out explicitly. The sneakier ones, such as Yasir Qadhi, played a double game of telling Muslims to both take precautions and to rely on Allah, but always loaded in favour of the latter. The fact that they mentioned the need for precautions left them an escape hatch through which they could deny responsibility for Muslims who come off the worst for relying solely on Allah.

Complete idiocy and the endangering of millions continues in the Dar al-Islam. But now, with lockdowns and banning of gatherings in the West and mass graves in Iran, the initial gung-ho cockiness and bluster form many prominent Western-based “scholars” are gone. This change is most dramatic in Yasir Qadhi’s rushed video of two days ago, in which he practically begged his viewers not to go to congregational prayers. If course this is a good call for which he is to be commended, but what about all the gung-ho Muslims’ unwavering belief in qadr of just a few days earlier? Sure, the “I hear and I obey” crowd will simply hear and obey, like the crowds in 1984 switch from one truth to another as if the previous never existed.

Other “scholars” not gifted with Qadhi’s intellect, but no less sneaky, have taken to giving lengthy khutbahs while saying nothing at all. Even Pakistan’s vocal Prime Minister Imran Khan seems to be bowled over by the coronavirus. In a televised interview yesterday, we saw none of the Erdogan-style rants he used to aspire to. Instead, he tried to salvage his supremacist ego by demanding jizya from the West. “We don’t have the resources to fight this.” Really? You are the best of peoples, straight from the moth of the creator of the universe himself. Yet the creator of the universe doesn’t have the backs of his best of peoples?

The “scholars” change of tune, even though they will never say it, amounts to a temporary suspension of al-wala’ wa’l-bara’, a call to Muslims to, for now, hear and obey the infidel. The implications may be lost on the average Muslim, but the doubting Muslim, the questioning Muslim, critical-thinking Muslim, the Muslim not in reverential awe of the “scholars” will sense a chink in Allah’s impenetrable armour and a whiff of Islam’s vulnerability seeping through.

Why were the “scholars” so certain three weeks ago and are they so sheepish now? Was the religious knowledge that they are “the guardians, transmitters and interpreters” of not clear three weeks ago? What did they miss? The religious knowledge does not change; it is perfect. Every Muslim knows that. So why are the “scholars” now silent on COVID-19, or saying something different? No matter what, they said, whether we take precautions or not, Allah has already decreed what will happen to us. “What will happen, will happen. The Muslim has faith in Allah’s qadr,” declared sheikh Yasir Qadhi. “Make more du’a,” they all said. Do it like you mean it. That’s what counts, they said. That’s how a Muslim should respond to the virus.

Only the kufaar, lost in darkness as they are, would wash their hands, wear masks, avoid large gatherings and observe quarantines, as if they can change what Allah has decreed. Well, excuse us for noticing, but Allah seems to have decreed that the kufaar shall overcome this virus while Muslims die like flies. Yes, the “scholars” assured us that every Muslim who dies from this virus is a martyr and shall get his reward in Heaven. But if the infidels are not dying because of some actions they are deliberately taking, and Muslims are dying while they are deliberately not taking precisely those same actions, does that not prove that Islam is a death cult, as so many have claimed in the past?

What do the “scholars” say about the outbreaks in the Dar al-Islam? The infidels — and not only “Islamophobes” — and apostates have complete control of that media space, no “scholars” to hear and obey. Sure, Turkey can still highlight and ridicule the cock-ups in Iran, but that bar is at the bottom of a mass grave. How much lower can it get? What videos will TRT put out when Turkey’s CIVOD-19 figures come through?

Imran Khan wants the West to provide more resources for his Islamic Republic’s health services, to do what with, exactly? We see that other Islamic Republic next door. It’s all bluster, lies, shrine-licking, dying lawmakers and mass graves. Our scholars are not convinced that Islam is the way to go. They’ve read more than one book.