COVID-19: We need prayers now more than ever before —Sheikh Muhammed Al-falaky

Sheikh Muhammed Yusuf Oyebanji Al-falaky is a Lagos-based Islamic cleric and spiritual leader of Misbau Faedot Tijaniyat of Nigeria (MISFAT). In this online interview by BIOLA AZEEZ, the cleric speaks on the ravaging novel coronavirus and offers measures to tackle the pandemic.

Nations of the world are going through the strangest experience of coronavirus. Why is this so?

I give all praise and adoration to Almighty Allah for His benevolence and mercy on us. I also ask for Allah’s continuous mercy and blessings on noble Prophet Muhammad, his entire household and all his companions. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an, chapter six, verse 38: “We have not neglected in the register a thing,” which implies that nothing can or will happen without having been already mentioned in the Qur’an. Similarly, in Qur’an 2:155-156, Allah says: “And we will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and loss of wealth and lives and fruit, but give good tidings to the patient who, when disaster strikes them, say, ‘indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him we will return.’”

Going by verses of the Qur’an quoted above, we can see that we can’t escape Allah’s trials once in a while and it can be in any form because these trials will put us on our toes and make us to realise that we do not have power over anything and that absolute power belongs only to Allah. Obviously, part of the aforementioned trials is this COVID-19 pandemic which is ravaging the world at the moment. Another one is coming if we are not careful and abide by Allah’s commandments, because Allah says He will be testing us continually with trials and tribulations until we totally submit to His will and commandment, which include prompt observation of daily solat with ablution, which is part of cleanliness; giving charity to the poor and shunning corruption.

 

What do you make of the belief in some quarters that this pandemic is caused by people’s transgressions against God?

Allah says if we do not follow his commandment, we will be greatly punished. He also says that if every human and jinni come together to worship him, it will not increase His power or his dominance over us; and if we do otherwise, it will not decrease His absolute power one bit. Therefore, Allah’s warning us to follow His commandment is for our benefit as it does not contribute anything to His existence. So, if we look at it critically, it is not because of the sins, but let’s go with the general view, considering that Allah has destroyed nations because of one sin. Before the advent of Prophet Muhammad, the people of Prophet Lut were destroyed because of homosexuality. If you compare that with what we have all over the world today – same sex marriage, corruption, disregard for human life, wanton killings, cheating and many more – the perception can be formed that it is because of our sin.

It was Prophet Muhammad that beseeched Allah to postpone all punishment till the Yaoma li Kiyamat (Judgment Day) so that we can always ask for His forgiveness before the day. The truth is, no matter how huge our sins are, Allah is always ready to forgive us as long as we ask for forgiveness and we do not go back to them.

Essentially, what is happening is a plague which the Yoruba call igbona. This is a very dangerous disease. Nigerians, especially the Yoruba, are well endowed with herbs and roots that can cure this kind of disease. That is why the Noble Prophet Muhammad said if there is a plague in a community where you are staying, don’t leave and if you hear there is a plague in a particular community, do not enter such a place. These are measures put in place in Islam so as not to spread the plague to other communities.

So, you support the clamour for herbal medicine to treat COVID-19?

Like I said earlier, Nigerians are endowed with various herbs and roots as well as their uses. Anybody with elders at home should make inquiries from them. You will be surprised at their answers.

 

Do you personally have solution to COVID-19?

Let us go back to our roots. People with elders at home should consult them.

 

The disease has seen the closure of mosques and other worship places across the world, including in Mecca. Have you seen something like this before?

There is nothing that has not happened before. In Qur’an 2:155-156, Allah says He will be testing us with trials and tribulations. What really caught my attention was the closure of mosques and churches. The truth is, whatever situations we find ourselves, we cannot overemphasise the importance of prayer. It is pure ignorance to place a ban on all places of worship. What about the market that is overcrowded with buyers and sellers without maintaining the social distancing rule? Have you witnessed crowds in places where they are sharing palliatives without taking safety measures? Or the people cannot be infected from such uncontrolled gatherings? So, it is pure ignorance and lack of fear of Almighty Allah to close worship places.

 

This year’s Ramadan falls within the pandemic period and Muslim faithful cannot observe group prayers, are they flouting any injunction?

We have not flouted any injunction because Allah says in the Holy Qur’an 4:59: “O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the messenger and those in authority among you. And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you should believe I Allah and the last day. That is the best (way) and best in result.” Therefore, we are doing what Allah has commanded. If fact, according to the Sharia, it is permissible due to what is happening around the world at the moment.

 

What is your advice for the government on the management of the COVID-19 challenge?

My advice for the government is to ease the restrictions on mosques and churches because we need prayers now more than ever before, as we all know that there is nothing prayer cannot do.

 

 

 

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