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Corona, faith and science

The spread of a virus named Covid-19 in this age of mass and fast communication has apparently brought faith(s) and science face to face. People of science do not believe in miracles or spiritual healing. In their world, the law of cause and effect governs the Universe. Some of them are even finding in this Virus phenomenon a revalidation of Darwin’s theory of natural selection and a repudiation of religious beliefs and cures. They even mock prayers. On the other hand, people of faith(s) across the world believe that the pandemic, which has indiscriminately affected mankind, is a retribution and punishment for cruel, sinful and merciless acts and deeds of the faithless multitude whose greed and sins threaten all mankind today. Boundless injustice, poverty and bloodshed of millions across the globe are the causes of this pandemic and the only way to cure this cruse is to revert to God and ask for His forgiveness, they believe. Social media, TV shows and columns, ridicule religious people and blame them for their reckless behaviour. A general belief is held that ultimately medical science shall find a solution by inventing a vaccine for this pandemic. Both afore-mentioned views may not reflect the whole truth.

At the same time several views and theories about the start and spread of this pandemic and its effects on life on the planet are also circulating. Again, some states are blamed for it. They are called evil forces without any apparent proof. In the post truth era, facts are hardly verified before believing. Tragically, in the game of power and struggle for domination of economic world blame game goes on. Truth is the casualty. Incessant spread of the virus and burgeoning deaths of the multitude across the globe negate these baseless conspiracy theories.

While all these different views are being held, propagated and debated, life and death go on. Everyone however expects a miracle even though a scientific one. It must be realized that human capacity to overcome such calamities and continuation of life on earth is the story told by the recorded history of mankind. Hope must live on and efforts must continue.

Apparently, the man of faith looks defensive in the face of an increasing number of the affected and dead particularly in the Muslim world despite his prayers. His prayers are being dubbed as unanswered and ineffective. The stoppage of prayers in mosques and suspension of traditional tawaf/circumambulation of Ka’ba in the city of Makah has been (mis) termed as a sign of the nearness of the Doomsday etc. He does not appreciate that on many occasions previously Hajj was not performed due to wide spread illness or wars. The holy land was desecrated by none others but the ‘faithful’ on many occasions. Even the sacred Black Stone was taken away and returned after many years. In the Christian world, the Pope in the Vatican is also being ridiculed for his sincere prayers. Other faiths too are under attack for their apparent failure to find a panacea for the illness in mantras and rituals. The man of science views religion as a magic. It is not. Faith keeps hope alive. It teaches patience. Prayers never go unattended.

The man of faith must appreciate and understand the true nature of his beliefs, their relation to diseases and human capacity to deal with medical issues. Instant healing powers have nothing to do with religion, seen in the light of full teachings of religions. He should comprehend that his faith is not under threat from science. Religions and spiritual life live side by side with science despite the mind boggling scientific discoveries and inventions. Science does not contradict religion or faiths. The problem starts when men of science, unfamiliar with world of faith, unwisely interfere in the life of religious people. Such men of science have their own god, reason. Similarly, the uninitiated and ritual prone multitude having no understanding of the world of science or true meanings and sprit of their faiths start blaming others without pondering over and correcting their daily conduct in life. Science and religion are two different courses to the Truth.

A man of faith believes that his God is Omnipotent. He believes that “when I fall sick, He cures my illness” Sura Al-Shura verse 80. He has been inculcated the foundational article of faith that his prayers are always answered. He has been taught that events in his life are determined by his acts and deeds. But he must also be told by the religious scholars and preachers that his belief and prayers are only one aspect of life. He must also be told that while his good and bad acts may have effect on his individual life but for him to believe that his acts of disobedience will affect His Lord’s larger plans may not be a correct approach. His Lord has grand scheme of things. The Almighty regulates the universe by eternal principles, which are termed by the scholars as Sunnah of Allah based on a verse of Sura Ahzab (verse 62) “(Such was) the practice (Approved) of God among those Who lived aforetime. No change wilt thou find In the practice (approved) Of God”. God has gifted mankind with great faculties of knowledge and power of reflection. According to some scholars as the soul in humans is Allah’s command and since He taught Adam (may Allah be happy with him) names of all the things (Surah 2: 31-32), therefore humans endowed with the knowledge of things and with the development of their faculties scientifically and spiritually, they are left on their own to find cure for their illnesses. This planet having been made his abode, man was given knowledge to figure out his problems. No more miracles. Faith teaches wisdom.

Human life on earth started long ago. Since then millions of human beings have been wiped out by epidemics. Plague, cholera, Spanish fever, and influenza have killed millions. The people of faith were never questioned before nor were they defensive. A true believer in God does not need a scientific verification of his Lord’s existence and powers.

Muhammad Waqar Rana, "Corona, faith and science," Business Recorder. 2020-04-09.
Keywords: Health sciences , Virus phenomenon , Social media , TV shows , Economic world , Christian world , Medical issues , Plague , Cholera , Spanish fever , Influenza , Covid-19

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