A noted Muslim cleric based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, has urged all Muslims to take the lockdowns imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus seriously, and said those violating the orders are committing a sin and being selfish.
Assim Alhakeem released a video to reach out to his followers to emphasize on the need to stay at home to help the authorities. He cited instances from Nigeria, Pakistan and India where people had congregated in large numbers and not followed social distancing guidelines.
He admitted that the restrictions do break the hearts of believers, but said “Islam is not based on whim and desires.”
“It’s a logical religion and not based on impulsive decisions. It is based on consequences of your choices. What people are doing in Nigeria, Pakistan and India by trying to be around each other, it is wrong, sinful and selfish,” he said.
“People are unable to understand how serious this is,” he said, and added Muslims in Nigeria have insisted on performing jumma despite President Muhammadu Buhari imposing a lockdown.
“There is a clip of thousands of worshipers facing one another in a very crowded area, thinking nothing will happen to them. We will die like this,” the cleric said.
“If dying is okay for you, go and die but why infect your mother, your grandmother, your children and innocent who come to you and hug you?” he asked in the clip, reminding people of the stark implications of coronavirus spreading.
While in India a cluster of coronavirus cases have been traced back to a religious gathering by the Tablighi Jamaat group in Delhi, there have been reports that people in Pakistan have been moving out on the streets and have disobeyed the government’s directives to stay home.
The scholar said Prophet Mohammad had said one should not do to others what they don’t want for themselves.
“Have care for them (family and friends). If you don’t care about yourself, you’re your attention to the community and the society. Would you like to be infected? Definitely not. Then how would you be okay if you infecting others?” he asked.
Alhakeem said he himself has been praying at home for two weeks after the Saudi Arabia government issued stay-at-home orders. “I am with my family, not in jumma,” he said.