What is the deep significance of the global conavirus-19 pandemic and its attendant hardship with people sheltering at home? Surely, it is a message from The Almighty.
In 2000, the Australian FAMSY magazine Salam, published my article “Indonesia: Paradise in Waiting,” which highlighted crises facing the People of Pharaoh during Moses’s time (Quran 17:101).
I stressed that multiple crises had also appeared in Indonesia (1997-99) and people should “Take heed” – rampant corruption, economic collapse, dengue epidemics and major environmental impacts.
God sent nine signs warning Pharaoh’s people giving them chances (“if you remove the penalty, we shall truly believe”) but they broke their word “So … We drowned them in the sea, because they rejected Our signs and failed to take warning.”
Severe human rights abuses by the Indonesian army increased during the Achinese civil war until the devastating 2004 Tsunami – worst ever recorded – which killed 230,000 people mostly by drowning.
Many positive changes however followed, foremost being withdrawal of the armed forces from political involvement and transition to a successful democracy … culminating in Indonesia being assessed today as leading in Islamic Well-being (AMUST #173, April 2020).
Al-Quran states unequivocally: “Corruption has appeared on land and sea as an outcome of what men’s hands have earned: so, He will give them a taste of some of their deeds, that they may return (to the right path). (30:41)
Multiple signs of corruption have appeared, and represent a divine warning for humanity to resolve these issues promptly.
A global environmental emergency reflects out-of-control climate change and mass wildlife extinctions.
The US, Australia and Gulf countries are worst culprits for human-induced carbon emissions per capita.
The massive scale of the recent Australian Bushfire catastrophe – 34 lives lost and a billion native animals dead – was largely consequent on climate change forewarned 15 years earlier by the CSIRO (AMUST #171, February 2020).
Hundreds of billions of locusts appeared since January devouring crops and impacting on East Africa, Iran and Pakistan – the worst plague in 25 years.
Decline of family and social values in the West results from pornography, immorality, promiscuity, materialism and individualism seeking self-satisfaction rather than the collective good.
Abuse of power and monetary clout by wealthy elites has led to hijacking of democratic governments.
Globalisation benefits but opens countries to tentacles of powerful agents seeking profits without ethics so threatening future livelihoods from AI and robots.
Leaders need to stand up to protect their own vulnerable citizens.
Many countries and peoples have been devastated – Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia and a hand in Syria – by the US superpower, showing it turned to seeking its own selfish misguided interests.
Resultant refugee crisis is largest since World War II.
The COVID-19 Pandemic has brought almost 200,000 deaths, stymied economic activity and changed lifestyles. The virus was spread by global travellers, though job-wise the poor and youth suffer disproportionately.
It is a test for those more able, to help the less fortunate.
The Coronavirus strongly attacked global capitalism’s centre, New York, perhaps a sign of moral turpitude of unrestrained capitalism, not least the promotion of consumptive attitudes at odds with conserving resources and maintaining the natural balance.
Without restraining consumption in the US and China, environmental destruction is assured.
The pandemic forces many to self-isolate facilitating the wise to reflect on their lives and purpose.
It has a similar role to fasting and itikaf in Ramadan – high spiritual exercises that will benefit Muslims in understanding the reality of these strange times and need for self-purification and reform.