04 April 2020
organised a congregation of 250,000 participants near Lahore in Pakistan on
March 11, despite the request of the Pak authorities to postpone or cancel it.
And they gifted the perils of Corona virus, and deaths to whole of the Muslim
world from Gaza to Malaysia. They have orchestrated a similar affliction in
India, and brought death and gore to many families across the country.
arrogance comes to the Tabligh men from the belief that they are doing God’s
work, and God is their refuge. Care and
caution, the advice of the medical practitioner, a directive of the
government-- go to hell.
situation reminds me of the Bible. A
tempest in the sea disturbed the balance of the ship in which Jesus’ followers
were travelling. The men got scared, and rushed to Jesus Christ demanding
safety. Jesus rebuked them and said, ‘Why are you fearful, O men of little
faith.’ Then the sea was calm.
But in real
life, things do not work if we merely believe. Storm in the sea require a life
jacket or a rescue operation.
Death, the epidemic of bubonic plague in the 14th century, wiped out almost half of the population of
Europe. The disease was so contagious and deadly that ‘the mere touching of the
clothes appeared to itself to communicate the malady to the toucher.’ A healthy
person who went to bed at night could be found dead in the morning.
One of the
reasons for massive deaths in the Middle Ages Europe was mass assembly of the
people at the churches for prayers and repentance. From there, they carried the
infection. Roman Catholic Church told people that the plague was God’s
retribution for people’s sin and insubordination. Prayer at a church would
propitiate the angry, unremitting God. But the result was the opposite. Plague
continued to rage and destroyed more lives.
the age of Covid-19, the saving grace for us is science, medicine, and
information. We know how the virus spreads, and how to fight it.
people are redoing the Catholic Church of medieval Europe. They believe that
Corona virus is a curse of God let loose on the sinful humans to teach them a
lesson; and a solution to this problem is religious rites, prayers, and visit
to a mosque. The punishment has
descended from God on people for being too much with the world, and for
absenting from the mosques/temples. The answer to this threat is not closing
the gates of mosque/church, but opening them to allow people bow before the
altar of God.
I heard one
person say that because Muslims do not go to the mosques for offering five
times obligatory prayers, upset God has shut the gates of his house for
of Tabligh Jamaat is not only a lack of knowledge about the modern world and
how it works, but also of religion, which it champions. The illiterate clerics
feed the common Muslims that Corona virus is a conspiracy to damage the
religious traditions of the Muslims. Mosques are ‘deserted’ because Muslims
have no love for or fear of God, and they are mandated to ‘populate’ it.
Muslims associate themselves in India with the activities of the Tablighis,
which is a puritanical movement, and seeks to drag the Muslims 1400 years back,
most of the Muslims are very critical of it, and oppose it tooth and nail. They
call it ‘Taklifi Jamaat’, as, according to them, it maximises difficulties of
its followers and of the Muslims. They see it as an enemy of the Muslims, since
it persuades the Muslims to renounce the world, and take to prayers and
propagation of the puritanical form of religion as a full-time activity. The
Tablighis move in cities, towns, and villages, and stay in the mosques, and
engage with the Muslims of the locality. They tell the young minds to distance
themselves from the world, education, career, and wallow in the opium of
Muslims believe the Tablighis indulge in what the worst enemy of the Muslims
would dream to do. They emaciate the community, preaching them to shun
academics, politics, business, and so on, as they are irrelevant in the eyes of
the followers what the Bible says: See the birds in the air. They sow not,
neither do they reap, nor gather into barns. Yet God feeds them. Are you not
much better than them?
of this is: there is no need to open your shop, earn money, plough field. Allah
would take care of everything, even of the children they give birth to.
the participants about what happens after death, in the grave, and thereafter,
and how to prepare for that. This worldly life is too insignificant to bother
about. Once one becomes Tablighi, nothing interests him, except religions and
its precepts. Mostly, lower class Muslims, who see no hope of making good
through mainstream channel, seek achievement and redemption through this route.
is that when the grand mosque Kaba in Mecca is closed, Tablighis are
‘propagating’ correct form of Islam going door to door among the Muslims during
touchstone of religion is belief, the strength of science is doubt. Science
questions and doubts everything it arrives at. By this method, it evolved,
discovered secrets of nature and gave humans solutions to problems like plague,
measles, small-pox, etc. But, if you doubt a religious precept, or the Zeus
himself, you are a friend of Satan. Older the percept, and the temple, the
closer you are to God, and his mercy.
Harari, writer of the celebrated book ‘Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind’, says ‘When a thousand people believe some
made-up story for a month--that is fake news. When a billion people believe it
for a thousand years--that is a religion, and we are admonished not to call it
fake news in order not to hurt the feelings of the faithful.’
most communities moved away with time. They threw religious directives, and
scriptures out of their window. Muslims are the only community on the earth
shouldering the burden of religion in its pure form, and not surprisingly, they
are the most backward people on the earth.
Ibrahim, IPS, is a former Director of the Intelligence Bureau.
Headline: Tabligh, Religion and Corona