I recently wrote about why suffering is allowed (AMUST Issue#172, March 2020), and I have to say that at that point it was merely a whisper at that time. We truly did not understand the complexity nor the extent of the suffering which was about to be poured out upon the world.

Since then nations have been brought to their knees as millions succumb to this plague-like virus with thousands dying in countries across the globe. Unbelievably people are still killing each other and wars, though tempered are still ongoing while hatred and racism have not diminished.

Very few have stopped to think of the incongruity of it all – a microbe so tiny that it is invisible has been unleashed upon the high and the mighty; the lowly and the poor. This plague does not distinguish between classes or castes. It is impervious to religions, and those of scholarly educated backgrounds are not immune. All are helpless.

So we do what we can to prevent cross infection and with the world we wait for this scourge to abate knowing that only Allah has the key as to whether we shall live or die in this way. We, incidentally, are supremely blessed, for those who have no belief, no God upon Whom they can lean, are deeply anguished.

So while many are fearful of loss of life, there are those who are fearful of pecuniary loss, those who are fighting to keep their fortunes safe. Of course there are those who have lost jobs and are facing a bleak future, this will be noted more as we slide deeper into recession.

Let’s face it, people need to be able to pay their rents, look after their families and put food on the table. It is one area that needs to be addressed, and as we ask Allah for His blessings, perhaps we should be thinking of sharing those blessings at this time.

Herd Immunity and the economy
However, let us look at those in privileged, even powerful roles who cannot wait to get everyone back out working so that the “economy” will not suffer more than it has already. Those who, when speaking of the deaths of their own countrymen, have little sympathy and in fact are speaking of the possibility of thousands more who will die once this step is taken.

We have heard those who speak of “herd immunity” – letting infection spread to all, with those who are strong developing immunity. What they do not say is that those who do not have immunity will most likely die. As we see thousands of deaths in Italy, Spain, United States and Britain, to name a few, we note that these people did not have the ability to gain immunity, either through age, or some underlying illness in most instances. People to some are merely numbers.

Should we kill our old people
On 6 April an article by Mitchell Zimmerman was published in Informed Comment under the heading: “Should we kill our old people to avoid a recession.” In it he quoted US Republican Lieutenant General Dan Patrick who proclaimed on Fox News that “lots of senior citizens would be willing – or should be, anyway – to sacrifice their lives to Coronavirus in order to save the economy for their grandchildren.” In this it was noted that it was not spoken of as “human sacrifice” but the adopting of policies likely to kill millions in order to propitiate Donald Trump.

In case you think that is only in America, on 7 April former Liberal MP Alexander Downer stated on Twitter: “We either save avoidable deaths and destroy society or accept avoidable deaths and save society. The moral dilemma of our time”

On Sunrise 7, 7 April: COVID-19 Infection Plan: “The Government is reportedly considering a plan to slowly infect every Australian with COVID-19 so we build immunity without overwhelming the health system.”

Then following that up the Sydney Morning Herald business market had the headline: “We’ve mortgaged our children’s future to protect health of “aging” parents”.

Mantra of the Wealthy
We do not hear these words from those who prize their elders. We do not hear them from immigrants. We do not hear them from those who are poor and in need. We do not hear them from those who have empathy and caring hearts. We do not hear them from those who believe in Allah and the Hereafter… be they Muslim, Christian or Jew.

We hear them from those who seek power and guard their wealth. They may make a profession of religious faith, but their hollow words and their actions bespeak only self-interest and life other than their own is valueless.

I do not need to tell you as Muslims that the lives of our parents are a trust to us; that we must honour them and care for them. However, as I found, it is our privilege, and an honour to give back to them, a blessing to us which lasts forever.

“My Lord hath decreed that ye worship none but Him, and that ye be kind to parents: Whether one or both of them attain old age in thy life. Say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them but address them in terms of honour…. And out of kindness lower to them the wing of humility and say, ‘My Lord! Bestow on them Thy Mercy even as they cherished me in childhood. Your Lord knoweth best what is in your hearts…” (Qur’an 17: 23-25.

As this Ramadan comes to us with its blessings, may we all, with one voice, ask for healing of the nations; for light to show the way; for love to warm our days; and for the opportunity to help those who come within our spheres, whether it be our parents, or perhaps even someone else’s parents.

Let us remember that Allah is closer to us than our jugular veins, and with Him is forgiveness, mercy and sustenance.

Let us not be overcome with fear either of the virus which exists, or of those who trumpet loudly. Our Lord is Lord of all… we will not fear… Amen.