What a forum! Canterbury Refugee Resettlement and Resource Centre, Executive Director Ahmed Tani, was excited to include the Quranic teaching in COVID-19 responses in their 12th Annual Regional Refugee Forum that was held on Thursday 20 May 2021 in Christchurch City Council function room.
The prestigious forum was opened by the Hon Mayor of Christchurch City Council Lianne Dalziel and facilitated by Mr Patrick O’Connor.
The large audience from many cultures and background enjoyed speeches on economic well-being after COVID-19 by Professor Paul Dalziel, harmony among races by The NZ Race Relation Commissioner Mr Meng Foon, and on employment, immigration, health, and housing.
I was honoured to be a speaker to briefly outline the Quranic teaching in facing the COVID-19. Besides, the food, the smiles, the welcome from the people of the land, the exchange of ideas and friendship made the forum very much alive.
During my address, I outlined briefly seven important Quranic teaching guides in response to COVID-19 or any other pandemic or calamity as follows:
- Do not fear, panic, or worry: Surrender yourself to Allah and “When afflicted with calamity say, to Allah I belong and to Allah is my return.” (Quran 2:156)
- Stay positive: Think that some greater good will come out of it. It might be a test (Quran 2: 155), could be to remove sins or could be to alleviate status, or could be for bringing greater good for humanity with new inventions. Even if the death occurs, that will give you a martyr’s status . So, be positive and be strong in facing it.
- Do not allow the virus to spread: “When you know pandemic has affected an area, do not go there, or if you are in there, do not come out.” [Hadith: Muttafaqun A’laih]. Use quarantine, isolation, lockdown wherever and whenever necessary.
- Save lives and serve the sick and vulnerable: “Saving a life is as if saving the entire mankind,” (Quran 5:32]. “Feed the hungry and take care of the sick” [Hadith: Bukhari]
- Find the cure: Invest more in health sector, medical research in saving lives instead of investing in killing machines. “For every sickness there is cure available” [Hadith: Muslim].
- Learn from what went wrong: “The calamity in the sea and on the earth is earned by human hands,” (Quran 30:41]. Investigate properly and honestly what or where things went wrong in order to learn from mistakes and solve problems.
- Work unitedly for a better future: Wasting time in worrying, procrastinating, or blaming one another is not going to bring good fortune, but if communities, countries, the world worked together, then the good fortune will embrace. “Allah will not change the condition of a people unless they change it themselves,” (Quran 13:11].
Allah has given us the choices. We got to choose to be positive, work hard and work smart for the better future unitedly.