Don’t visit God’s home, He will visit yours

Before the holy month dawns, may sense dawn on us
Don’t visit God’s home, He will visit yours
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This year we will miss the Ramzan celebrations. That is amoment of great pain and deprivation. The whole year we wait for the month thatknits us together, showers grace on us all, refreshes and enriches our souls.But today it's sadly different. What to do?

We have no role in what is happening. We have walked into alife-threatening situation for whatever wrongs we did or didn't do. With us,without us, in spite of us the virus is doing its work. It's too deaf to listento our cries, too blind to see `Who's Who' and too dumb to share apologies withthe dead, consolation with the sick or condolence with the bereaved. All we cando is what we imagine to do in the face of danger. We protect ourselves, ourfamilies, our localities, our communities, our regions, our continents andthereby our world. The responsibility that starts from an individual swells upand protects the planet. In the absence of any drug, the only drug we are leftwith is our own sense. The sense of survival. There God calls us to the mosque,here God confines us to home. Which God we follow?

We follow the God that has given us a mind to think, eyes tosee and an instinct to adopt ourselves to the changing conditions of life. Wefollow the one that allows us to explore unusual options when the usual onesare not available. We follow the one who permits us to do tayammum for wuzu anduse soil as substitute to water when water is not in sight. The same God whomakes it mandatory to show up in a mosque makes it mandatory to stay home.While traveling we avail concessions in prayers and in fast, once home thenormal applies back on us. Most of the questions we face in our lives areanswered by our instinct, by our common sense from which flows a naturalresponse to unnatural situations. References, traditions, experiences are onlythere to guide in case we are confused and such moments are rare. Our problemis we complicate the simple, ask question about the obvious. What should I doif I wound my foot. My sense says have it bandaged or – if broken – get itplastered. Here I require help from an expert who knows how to treat my footand that is why we refer to the people of knowledge. But I can't ask someonewhat should I do if I feel hungry. `Take food' will be the immediate responsefrom my instinct. Now there is no food of my taste. Eat it raw if you think youwill die till it's cooked. Eat leaves if waiting for fruit means risking yourlife. No intellectual revolution is needed to find answer to such questions. Sohere we are faced with the same question which shouldn't baffle us at all.There is no need we ask a Moulvi Sahab as to what to do? Should I pray at hometo save myself and my family from infection or should I go to mosque, arrange acongregation, infect those who I touch, get infected from who touch me, comeback home like a suicide bomber to kill first myself and then my family. What shallI do? Is this a question to ask. Shall we wait for a fatwa to be pronounced bya Mufti. Fatwas have plagued the Muslim world more than any disease. This veryinstitution needs fumigation so that we can breathe fresh, live fresh.

Ramzan is coming. We hope things better, but we fear theymay not. The way facts speak around us, it may either continue like this or(God save us) go even worse. Taraveeh has been cancelled for this year in SaudiArabia and not for pleasure we know. There is every possibility that Hajj toomay not be allowed this year. (Imagine Hajj not allowed). Now what more isthere for us to think. Let's not open our fatwa shops like extension counters.Our Muftis shouldn't make it a battle of egos. There are times when we foolpeople and that still can be tolerated, here you don't just fool them, you killthem.

I recently talked to an Imam Sahab of a mosque requestinghim to stay home and pray, he immediately tossed me to a known Mufti who haddeclared collective prayers safe enough – of course with some caution. Insteadof believing the naked truth of deaths we come across every day, he stillcounts on the judgment of a Mufti. Like him we have millions of gullible,credulous people who suspend their thinking. They don't do what their instincttells them, they do what their Mufti tells them.

A word about the administration. Governments don't issueadvices, they issue advisories. Law-enforcement is not about requesting people,it's about directing or even forcing people. If a person is punished forviolating the lockdown norm, for spreading any calm-disturbing message, herealso they need to be tough. It's not going against religion, the problemtranscends faith. As the holy month draws close, the state administration mustcome with a harsher code. Seal all fatwa factories. Allow only that statementwhich ensures the safety of people. Anything that divides public opinionbetween going or not going to the mosque is to be plugged before it pours fromeverywhere. Ramzan is a challenge. Floodgates can swing open. People cangatecrash into mosques. Checked in time, we can avoid the risk. Left to theirchoice, the crowd can't be tamed and the consequences can only be imagined.

We have been already abused as `virus vectors',`germ-carriers', `dirt-disseminators' and more may follow. We know the malicebehind a section of media against Muslims also played a part in cranking up apropaganda against the entire Muslim community. But there are question which wealone need to answer. No matter whether others launch a smearing campaignagainst us or not, no matter the world has dyed-in-the-wool bigots harder,madder and even more incorrigible than us, but we have a problem which we haveto address. We are crazy in matters religious. In Pakistan imams and khateebsare daring the virus little knowing this invisible armless creature has thepower to wipe them clean. Muftis there have geared up to welcome Ramzan the waythey welcome it every year.

They believe in a God who must be lamenting their sense ofbelief. Those who talk sense are being either outcast or labeled as heretics.Sane voices are being hounded out of their homes for the sin of being sane.That is what happens when faith overrides reason. We are sitting on a volcano.It can erupt despite our caution, but that doesn't mean we don't saveourselves. Survival is our instinct and we value the fatwa which our instinctpronounces. After all what we are going through is a health emergency, not afaith emergency. Even if we miss celebrations, we won't miss blessings. God'sStock Market never shows recession. It's a business of rare make where theshare value never comes down, where indent doesn't matter, intent matters.

Don't worry. God's grace. like God's grocery, will reach ourhomes.

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