Raiwind Tableeghi Centre can change people’s thinking
Although the PTI-led coalition has been grappling with a variety of challenges, including political and economic, since its takeover in August 2018, coronavirus is the serious most that is testing the capabilities of those in power.
The crisis has taken Pakistan by surprise, as also other countries across the world. So far, more than 28,000 people have died and 600,000 plus infected in a number of countries because of the deadly contagion. The toll is going up by the day and nobody is in a position to predict the kind of situation Pakistan will have to face in the times ahead.
March 27 was the first Friday after the federal and Sindh governments took some decisions about dealing with the “monster”.
According to media reports, a mixed response was witnessed to the Sindh government’s ban on holding Friday congregations in the metropolis as the faithful in large numbers gathered at several mosques to offer the Juma prayers.
While some religious leaders, including Mufti Taqi Usmani, supported the government move, ulema belonging to Barelvi school of thought including Mufti Muneebur Rehman and Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan chief Khadim Husain Rizvi issued their video and audio messages and announced holding the Friday prayers despite the ban.
Law enforcers turned a blind eye and did not resist even when more than five persons gathered at mosques, ostensibly due to the sensitivity of the matter.
Karachi police chief Ghulam Nabi Memon claimed that barring some mosques, majority of mosque administrations had responded positively on the ban on congregations.
He believed that in case of the ban on congregations of Juma prayers, over 90 percent of the mosques responded to the government call.
However, he conceded that in some mosques, congregations were held but the attendance was very thin compared to what it used to be.
According to another report worshippers crowded in mosques in the country on Friday, defying warnings about the fast-spreading contagion.
The country’s leading religious scholars have advised that the old and sick should avoid prayers and clerics should keep sermons brief.
“We don’t believe in coronavirus, we believe in Allah. Whatever happens, it comes from Allah,” said Altaf Khan, as worshippers wearing masks arrived for Friday prayers in Islamabad.
Enforcement of the ban on congregational prayers will remain a problem unless the government takes some concrete steps.
For example, the government should seek help from the Tableeghi leaders of Raiwind centre. If top Raiwind leaders make a statement about the permissibility of offering prayers at homes because of the prevailing calamitous situation caused by corona, millions of followers of Hanafi school of thought across the country would bow their heads without delay.
Such a step is essential despite the statements coming from Maulana Tariq Jameel and clerics belonging to other schools of thought.
Needless to point out that if there are arrogant people in society who don’t melt and go to mosques even in life-threatening conditions, there are others who prefer to offer prayers in mosques despite the lurking dangers.
A word from Tableeghi centre will help change the minds.
Similarly, to avert the spread of the menace, the government should make special arrangements to test all those at the Raiwind Tableeghi centre. People at this centre come from a number of foreign countries and local regions. It is this centre that sends countless delegations to other countries for preaching throughout the year. If they are cleared of the contagion, they will not cause any problem in areas they visit while preaching missions.