We can’t let COVID-19 become permanent threat to our lives — Islamic scholars, experts

GOVERNMENTS, religious and social organisations and the citizenry should all see COVID-19 as a common enemy and work individually and collectively to tackle its menace with a view to ensuring that it does not constitute a permanent threat to safety and the economic, spiritual and social well-being of the human society.

This was contained in a communique after a virtual seminar on ‘COVID-19: Effects and Muslims’ Responses’ organised by the Muslim Ummah of South West Nigeria (MUSWEN).

According to the document, the ‘webinar’ was aimed at aggregating views of Islamic scholars and other experts on the fallout of the ravaging pandemic and fashioning the way forward.

Speakers at the seminar also called on scholars and experts under the auspices of notable Islamic umbrella organisations such as the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), MUSWEN, Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) to put heads together and come up with best ways to maintain meaningful acts of worship in the atmosphere of “the new norm.”

The communique, signed by MUSWEN’s executive secretary, Professor Muslih Yahya, reads in part: “The United Nations Organisation (UN), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and all regional international organisations in the world should endeavour to interact in matters of politics, economy and culture in ways that would promote world peace and encourage working together for the greater benefit of humanity and desist from creating atmospheres of unhealthy rivalry and mutual suspicion.

“Every individual should take personal responsibility to protect themselves against COVID-19 by observing with every sense of seriousness the recommended preventive measures advised by governments and experts.

“Governments should however ensure that the health-care centres have adequate facilities to promptly handle fresh cases, while frantic efforts continue towards finding lasting remedy to the pandemic.”

Speakers at the seminar observed that “locking up of mosques is an aberration” but noted that the development “is an exception brought about by necessity due to the fast spreading nature of COVID-19 and is justifiable within the objective of Islamic law under the provision of preservation of human life.”

They stated, however, that “it is certain that mosques cannot remain locked up perpetually in the circumstance of the new norm.”

According to the scholars, the consequences of COVID-19 have been devastating in many ways, but the phenomenon has also kept families together, discouraged unnecessary external interactions and caused believers to learn new ways of reaching out to distant relations and the rest of the ummah to share knowledge and exchange views that are beneficial to the ummah in this world and hereafter.

The communique added: “Before mosques and other worship places are declared safe for use by worshippers, regular sanitisation of such places by fumigation and the provision of hygiene enhancing equipment should be jointly provided as a matter of responsibility by governments and worship groups to ensure that such places do not only remain open to worshippers but are visibly safe.

“Every family should imbibe the spirit of togetherness, learn to permanently avoid unnecessary interactions through social parties and gatherings, and make the best of the new and safe ways of interaction even in learning and trading.”

At the seminar, presentations were made by Professor Muheez Durosinmi of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Professor Abdul-Razaq Abdul-Majeed Alaro of the University of Ilorin; the Ogun State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Professor Abdul Ganiy Raji and Imam Nojmudeen Jimoh, Chief Operating Officer, Taurus Oil and Gas Ltd., Lagos.

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