Saturday, March 28, 2020

Teaching of The Quran In Times of Calamity: Take Warning O People of Vision

By S. Arshad, New Age Islam

28 March 2020

Corona virus has proved to be a global disaster. Its cause and treatment is not known yet. The world is trying to control this invisible enemy but does not have a clue about how to overpower it. It has infected both the poor and weak and the rich and powerful. It has killed more than 12 thousand people and has affected more than 1,50,000 people worldwide. Both the common people and the heads of states have been infected by this epidemic. Prince Charles and Prime Minister of England Boris Johnson have tested positive to Covid-19. This shows how lethal and penetrative this virus is.

What does the Quran say about such a grave human crisis? If we go through the chronicles of the previous nations n the holy book, we find that many communities and nations were destroyed as a punishment to transgressions, sins, disobedience of God, violation of natural order and corruption, ingratitude to God and oppression of people. The community of Prophet Shoaib a.s., community of Prophet Lot a.s., the community of Prophet Saleh a.s., the community of Prophet Noah a.s, the community of Pharaoh and the community of Saba are some of the nations who were destroyed for their transgressions and sins.

The Quran mentions their fate in order to convey the message to the people that they should learn from the fate of the previous nations and should not commit the same mistakes and crimes.

"So take warning, O people of vision"(Al Hashr:2)
" There are certainly in their stories a lesson for those of understanding."(Yusuf:111)

However, we observe that the world community has not taken warning and has not learnt any lesson from the fate of the previous nations. Powerful nations have been suppressing weaker nations and communities in order to establish religious and political superiority over others. In this war, no religious community can claim to be innocent. The Jews, the Muslims, the Christians, the Buddhists, the Hindus, the Agnostics (Communists) have demonstrated the same degree of insensitivity and ruthlessness towards the common people in the process of their religious and political pursuits.

The Muslim majority countries caused bloodshed in Iraq and Syria in the name of establishing Caliphate rendering millions of people dead and homeless; the Christian countries wreaked havoc in Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria under NATO in order to establish their political and economic hegemony. (George Bush had tongue and cheek admitted that it was Crusade). The Jews have oppressed and tyrannised the Palestinians; the Buddhists of Burma have tyrannised and killed the Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar; the Communist government of China has been torturing millions of Uyghur Muslims for years. In India, a section of the Hindu majority has been involved in the communal riots against Muslims. Gujarat pogrom was the worst state sponsored massacre of Muslims.

All these religious communities did not heed the teachings of their prophets and holy scriptures. Millions of innocent lives were lost and another millions of innocent people have been rendered refugees living in inhuman conditions but the conscience of the rulers and religious leaders of these nations is not disturbed. It is a blot on the face of the modern civilised society that in different parts of the world millions of people are living as refugees. Greed, corruption, moral and social crimes are at the peak and rampant industrial and scientific development has created many ethical and social problems. Water and air pollution have created new fatal diseases like SARS, Covid-19, Swine Flu, Bird Flu etc which claim millions of lives every year. The rampant industrial development has also disturbed ecological balance causing natural disasters and calamities like earthquakes, smog, wildfire, landslides and cloudbursts. The Quran suggests that all these calamities and diseases are man made and the result of man's wrongdoings.

"Corruption has appeared throughout the land and sea what the hands of people have earned so He may let them taste part of the consequence of what they have done that perhaps they will return (to righteousness). (Rum:41)

Marx had said that religion was of the opium of the masses. The religious community does not like this observation of Marx but in practice, it has proved to be true. The common people are administered heavy dose of religion by the rulers and the religious authority to exploit them for religiopolitical goals. And the goal is anything but a humanitarian society where all the communities are treated like human beings. The powerful community tries to subjugate the weaker community and, in this process, it violates the principles of its own religion. Even the Communists who are under the illusion that they are not under the spell of the 'opium' are constantly under the fear of over taken by religion that they try to control even the thought process of their people as is done in North Korea and China. All this leads to inhuman treatment of its people.

All this violation of natural order and natural justice invokes the wrath of God, or Mother Nature. The Quran says that when the natural justice and natural order is violated God acts to punish the wrongdoers both individually and collectively. He has done it in the past and will do so in future.

"Have they not considered how many generations We destroyed before them." (Ya-Seen:31)
"Have they not travelled through the land and observed how was the end before them."(Fatir:44)
"And Allah does not like the transgressors.," (Al-e-Imran:140)

While punishing the transgressors, God does not distinguish between a Muslim and a non-Muslim. In His view, a transgressor is a transgressor. His infliction takes all when the people do not honour the human life.

Therefore, the current pandemic is also a warning from God to the nations of the world against their oppressive behaviour. That's why it has attacked all the nations from China to the US to the Saudi Arabia. It has struck even the heads of states like the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Prince Charles conveying the message to the rulers of the world that if they don't reform themselves, even they won't be able to escape God's wrath.

"Wherever you may be death will over taken you, even if you should be within towers of lofty construction."(Al Nisa:78)

The pandemic is also a warning to the common people that they should honour human values and lead a simple life and try to establish a just and healthy society. And for the righteous and the God-fearing, the pandemic is a testing from God. They should show trust in God and be patient and God will duly reward them.

"And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient."(Al Baqarah:155)

S. Arshad is a regular columnist for

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