Arshad, New Age Islam
proselitysation group Tablighi Jama'at's international centre called Markaz at
Nizamuddin West in New Delhi is in the eye of a storm after 24 of its participants
from different towns of India were found to be Covid-19 positive. According to
a government report, more than 6 participants died after returning from Markaz.
They belonged to Kashmir, Karnataka and Telangana. The government has said that
the Markaz did not heed the notices issued to them while the Markaz has said
that it had responded to the notice and had talked to the SHO and the SDM about
evacuating the centre. They had even given the administration the list of 17
vehicles with the names of drivers and details of their licences to be used for
evacuation. But the administration had said that the permission for such a
large number of vehicles could not be given during the lockdown. They said that
since the lockdown was imposed suddenly, the participants got stuck in the
Markaz. They had evacuated most of the participants before the announcement of
the lockdown but those who returned from different towns on 23rd of March got
stuck in the Markaz. This is one of the consequences of the sudden and unplanned
there is one question which the Markaz authorities need to answer. When the
Delhi government had issued the order on 16th March that more than fifty people
cannot assemble at any place, why didn't the Markaz evacuate all the participants
on 17th? The reason may be that the Markaz authorities did not take the order
seriously as the Central government itself did not take Corona virus seriously.
On 13th March, Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal had said that Corona
Virus was not a health emergency and that there was no need to panic though
till 14th March, 81 Covid-19 cases had been found in India among which 16 were
Italians and one was a Canadian.
government woke up to the threat only on 19 March when it suspended inbound
international flights because it realised that foreign nationals were spreading
Corona in the country. But it was too late. Between February and March 18,
94000 NRIs returned to India from Covid-19 infected countries like China,
Italy, Britain, France, Norway, Spain, Germany and the US. Out of those 94
thousand NRIs, 90 thousand belong to the Punjab alone. One infected person who
had come to the Punjab from Germany via Italy died a few days after reaching
home in Nawanshahr. He alone had transmitted the virus to 21 people before
dying. After that the Punjab government quarantined 30000 NRIs and 18000 local
people. The police were trying to locate other returnees. A curfew was clamped
in the state. All this information was given by the Chief Minister of Punjab,
Captain Amrinder Singh. Among the other 4000 persons who came to India from
abroad during this period were the singer Kanika Kapoor who tested Positive the
fourth time and might have infected many in Mumbai, Lucknow and Kanpur. 280
participants of the Markaz from China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar,
Kyrgyzstan, Sri Lanka were among those foreign nationals who came to India in
the first week of March when everything was hunky dory in India.
alarming report of Covid-19 cases emerged from Noida where 18 persons of a
single company were found Corona positive. They contracted the virus from a
British orator who had addressed the employees.
instances were presented to make it clear that the government first permitted
foreign nationals from Covid-19 infected countries to travel to India who
spread the disease here. And the number of such people was about 100,000. Many
of them were Corona positive. So only a single group or a particular community cannot
be blamed for it.
the Markaz is also responsible and can be blamed for ignoring the government
instructions initially though the larger Muslim community of India had complied
with the rules of lockdown. They had suspended collective prayers and the
religious leaders and imams of mosques had advised them to stay at home,
observe social distancing, avoid handshake and meeting people unnecessarily.
They also suspended Jalsas, Meelads and other religious gathering for the time
being. But the leader of the Tablighi Jama'at did not believe in social
distancing and expressed his views openly during his sermons during the period.
The parts of audio recordings purportedly of his sermons posted on YouTube
between 24th and 26th March show that he has conservative ideas. He openly says
that the virus does not spread through hand shake and social distancing and
other prohibitor measures are part of a plan to create differences among
Muslims and to make Muslims treat each other like untouchables. Here are some
"This idea is totally false that the
disease will spread through gathering in mosques."(23rd March)
"If your mind tells you to take
precautions, there is nothing wrong in it but never allow the thought in your
heart that if you shake hands with others, the disease will infect you because
the diseases infect only with the 'Amr' (decree) of God." (24th March)
"This is the time to venture out on the
path of God and call the ummah towards repentance and reminding the ummah of
their duty towards God. This is the time to hold fast on to the mosque, and not
to leave mosques." ((24th March)
"The Quran and Hadith enjoin in Muslims to
hold on to mosques to avoid fitna (calamities) but people of this age think
that leaving the mosques is the cure for this malady."(24th March)
"Actually, this is all a plan to create
rifts among the Muslims. This is a means to turn Muslims into
untouchables.............How have we come to believe that if we will meet each
other the disease will spread. ."(26th March)
No one has
the belief that diseases spread from mosques or temples. People were told not
to gather in huge number at any place, be it a market or a place of worship
because there may be some infected people in the crowd or among the devotees
and the virus may spread to others. Therefore, it is clear from the excerpts of
his speeches that he did not believe in the rules of social distancing in
mosques or in society.
fact should be mentioned here. In Tablighi Jama'at, the general rule of eating
from separate plates is not followed. 8 or ten people eat together from a big
plate. It is not known from any of his speeches that he asked the members of
the Jama'at not to eat together and eat individually and drink water from
separate glasses as a precaution. It seems that the members of the Jama'at had
been eating and drinking collectively and using the same plates and glasses
because the leader of the Jama'at did not believe in social distancing rules.
This may be the major cause of the spread of infections among the participants.
attitude of the leaders of the Jama'at and the conservative and outdated
religious outlook promoted by the Jama'at has not only put it in the thick of a
controversy but has also undone all the efforts of the Muslim community to
fight the epidemic together with other communities and with the government.
They have provided their critics and critics of Muslims an opportunity to
vilify them and to present them as obscurantist and irresponsible community.
Arshad is a regular columnist for NewAgeIslam.com
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Tablighi Jamat has always
defamed Muslim Ummah of India. The Tablighi statement that “If your mind tells
you to take precautions, there is nothing wrong in it but never allow the
thought in your heart that if you shake hands with others, the disease will
infect you because the diseases infect only with the 'Amr' (decree) of
God." (24th March)” displays how much misunderstanding about the difference
between divine Taqdeer and human action is breeding among Tablighis.
People are trying to make
it the issue of Muslims and Non Muslims, which is completely irrational at this
Taqdeer is right but who
knows what is in the Taqdir? Do the Tablighis consider themselves experts in
Ilm al-Ghaib while they deny Ilm al-Ghaib for the very last Prophet (peace be
upon him) they believe in? It has become a completely a matter of joke for the
Indians and caused a grave defamation of Islamic postulates.
No one knows what is
written in the Taqdeer. For the human beings, the Quran guides that “do not
cast yourself into destruction” (2:195). This is a powerful evidence which
commands the believers to refrain from destructive causes. Coronavirus is a
contagious disease and a cause of destruction, therefore this verse indirectly guides
the believers to refrain from coronavirus.
The tablighis don’t understand
that some of them have got infected by this virus and that this was also
written in the Taqdir they would not save themselves from the social distancing
and consequently they would get affected by this virus.
The Tablighis must have
sensed the difference in Taqdir, Tawakkul, precaution, human action etc.
Someone has commented it
well on social media that Sufi Nizamuddin Aulia does not want the Tablighis to
stay in Nizamuddin for breeding anti-Sufi propaganda and defaming Islamic postulates.