In series of articles I read in recent times, the intellectuals, analysts and financial experts have continued to liken the unpleasant effects of the Coronavirus on the global economy to a war situation. So, the logical question is: Are we fighting a world war with a virus? The answer is in the affirmative!
The scary country-by-country data on Coronavirus infections, rising deaths, psychological trauma of social distancing and looming economic recession are pointers to a global war situation. This time however, it is a global war with a sophisticated virus.
In spite of our exploits in biotechnology, Molecular science, AI, Robotics, 3D technology, Signals & Satellite imagery, Patterns recognition, Environmental surveillance and deployment of drones, the Coronavirus invasion came undetected and unnoticed by the arrogant humans. It struck in Wuhan, China silently with devastating effects. At the peak of the devastation in Wuhan, the rest of us were laughing, thinking it is a virus made in China and for China alone. Alas! We were all wrong, the virus is for all. It is World War III and it is within our borders already!
Many had anticipated that WWIII would be a battle between the belligerents called superpowers, but event has proven that wrong. The US, UK, Germany. China and other emerging nations with disruptive technologies that the world looks up to because of their superior military capabilities lay prostrate before the Coronavirus pandemic! This is a big existential lesson for those of us who worship power, affluence and might!
Allah counsels: The parable of those who take protectors other than Allah is that of the spider, who builds to itself a house; but truly the flimsiest of houses is the spider’s house;- if they but knew. ” Qur’an 29:41
Historically, whenever humans erred and refused to be redeemed or reformed by following instructions of Allah, what normally follows is a trial for the believers or a punishment for the wrongdoers.
The punishment of Allah can take different forms – fear, hunger, famine, insecurity, economic recession, wars, plagues and horrendous earthquakes.
Interestingly, the UN admitted few days ago that we are in a war with serious consequences. The Secretary General of UN said;
“The world is at war with a virus… a global recession — perhaps of record dimensions — is a near certainty.. We are facing a global health crisis unlike any in the 75-year history of the UN — one that is spreading human suffering, infecting the global economy and upending people’s lives.”
Comparatively, what the WWI and WWII could not achieve, the Coronavirus invasion has, with catastrophic consequences on social, spiritual, political and economic lives of humans. It has infected the weak and the mighty; the rich and the poor; the superpower nations and the developing countries. Every nation is counting its own losses. Without being pressured, governments across the world are closing their borders and imposing strict regulations and unfriendly instructions on citizens.
The much cherished freedom and rights have been curtailed through adoption of social distancing, self isolation and compulsory quarantine in designated hospitals. The places of worships have been shut outrightly and/or regulated in different countries including historical sanctuaries. Gatherings and parties have been banned in clubs, hotels and restaurants.
Compulsory holidays and stay at home policies have been invoked by the public authorities and private sector employers. Prices of shares and financial assets have crashed including oil in the international market. What other piece of evidence do we need to admit we are at war?
This anecdote underscores the fact that humans as the representatives of God on earth have transgressed the limits set by the Creator in all facets of life. We have allowed mischief and governance excesses to reign supreme across the globe. Man, based on his knowledge of science and technology is playing God, in actions and words . The Creator decided to humble man with a tiny but sophisticated virus. Where are your AI, Robotics, Drones and Signals/surveillance gadgets? Are we winning the battle with the virus?
Let us learn from the feeble minded spider in the parable of the spider. The revered scholar, Ibn Kathir explained that the verse reprimanded the idolators that they are vulnerable by showing reverence to idols instead of Allah, the Most Powerful. The idol worshippers hope (like we do today) that their idols and technologies would help them and provide for them basic needs in times of difficulties. Unfortunately, the things they placed their hopes on could not; rather these things are like the house of a spider, which is so weak and frail. The idol worshippers were like a person who holds on to a spider’s web. Such web can neither provide the benefit of a place of refuge nor a security from harm.
Philosophically, the Coronavirus infections ravaging the world may be a corrective measure from Allah to correct all abnormalities committed on the surface of the earth by the arrogant mammals called humans.
At the moment, the lockdown of the world has provided the world governments including the readers a unique opportunity for reunion with Allah spiritually, socially, economically and politically. Let us come out of the virus-imposed retreat as better nations and humans living peacefully together under the commandments of Allah.
“And fear tumult or oppression, which affecteth not in particular only those of you who do wrong: and know that Allah is strict in punishment.” Qur’an 8:25
To those who are still in doubt, Allah is the Sovereign. Sovereignty belongs to Allah yesterday, today, tomorrow and all times!
▪︎ Lukman Raimi is an Assistant Professor, American University of Nigeria and Amir, The Muslim Congress (TMC)
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