This Is Not The Time To Abandon The Mosques: As Late As 17 March, Jamaat Leader Was Explicitly Urging Its Followers To Assemble To Beat Pandemic
Access to YouTube clips of the Delhi Markaz where Maulana Saad urges his audience to continue congregating has been blocked today.
India’s Covid-19 cases have seen a sharp rise in the last 48 hours. Most of these new cases have been traced to a multi-day event of the Tablighi Jamaat in Nizamuddin, New Delhi.
The Jamaat, by self description, is an Islamic revivalist movement. Over the last ten decades, it has grown to be among the largest Islamic organisations in the world.
As things stand today, the Jamaat appears to have severely impacted India’s fight against Covid-19.
The Jamaat appears to have blatantly violated the lockdown in New Delhi and disregarded all calls for social distancing.
As an analysis of the speeches made by Maulana Saad, one of the senior-most clerics of the organisation suggests that even as the country was staying put inside houses and practicing self isolation, the Jamaat congregation in New Delhi was actively and explicitly encouraged to continue assembling together.
A timeline of events interspersed with what Saad said in his speeches follows:
1 January onwards: 2,100 foreigners belonging to Tablighi Jamaat come to India. As of 21 March, 824 were spread out in different parts of the country while 216 were lodged at the Nizamuddin Markaz.
27 February - 1 March: Tablighi Jamaat congregation at the Sri Petaling mosque in Malaysia. Around 16,000 people, including over 1,500 foreigners from India, China, South Korea, Indonesia, Canada, Nigeria, Singapore and Australia were in attendance.
10 March: Government advises all passengers having travel history to China, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea, Japan, Italy, Thailand, Singapore, Iran, Malaysia, France, Spain and Germany to undergo self-imposed quarantine for a period of 14 days from the date of their arrival.
16 March: Delhi government announces ban on religious, political or social gatherings of more than 50 people till 31 March.
17 March: First death out of Jamaat cluster in Malaysia.
In the congregation held in New Delhi on this date, Maulana Saad exhorted those who had assembled to continue coming to the mosques as that was the only way the virus could be beaten.
He said in his address:
Jahaan se bhi kisi fasaad ki, ya kisi vabaa ki, ya kisi pareshaani ki khabar aati, hazrat fauran vahaan jamaat ravaana kar dete. Agar jamaat koshish karti vahaan daakhil hone ki. Agar haalat ki wajah se jamaat ba-wajood koshish ke vahaan daakhil nahin ho sakti thi, toh poochha jaata tha hum kya karein? Hazrat farmaate the: jis ilaaqe mein fasaad hai, tum vahaan ki aas paas ki masjid mein jaa kar, vahaan ke logon se istaqbaal karao. Aur vahaan ke logon ko in aamaal ki taraf is yaqeen ke saath jodo ki yeh Allah ke azaab ke hatne ka waahid sabab hai.
[Unclear] Hadees mein hai ki jo azaab Allah ke yahaan se aana muqaddar ho chuka hota hai, voh sirf masjid ko aabad karne vaalon ki wajah se hataaya jaata hai.
In haalaat mein, masaajid ko chhod dena iss Hadees ki khilaaf-varzi hai. Ismein yeh kaha gaya ki masjidon ko aabad karne ki wajah se voh azaab hataa diya jaata hai jiska aana muqaddar ho chuka hai.
Iss ravaayat ka inkaar, aur Hadees ka inkaar kar dena hai yeh kehkar ki waqt jamaa hone ka nahin, kyunki jamaa hone se bimaari aavegi. Iskaa matlab yeh hua ki tumne Allah taala ki taraf se azaab ke hatne aur madad ke aane ke zaabte ko khud badal diya.
Translation: The Prophet would immediately dispatch a jamaat to the place from where he got the news of a quarrel, or an epidemic, or trouble. And if the jamaat couldn’t enter the place in spite of trying, they would ask, ‘now what should we do?’. Hazrat would say: go to the mosques around the area where the trouble is, and get the people to acknowledge/receive you. And make them join in your deeds with the assurance that this is the only way in which the agony/calamity will be removed.
[Unclear] Hadees says that the torment/agony which has been predetermined by Allah is removed (prevented) only due to those who fill (inhabit) the mosques.
In this scenario, abandoning mosques is a violation of this Hadees. It is said in it that it is due to inhabiting the mosques that the torment, whose occurrence is pre-determined, is prevented.
Denying this tradition, denying this Hadees by saying that this is not the time to congregate, for congregation will lead to infection, means that you have changed the custom by which Allah removes agony and sends help.
The same can be heard in this clip from 06:55-08:05. However, before this piece could be published, this video was made ‘private’, i.e., access to it was restricted.
20 March: 10 Indonesians who attended Delhi Markaz test positive in Telangana.
21 March: 1,746 people including 216 foreigners are at Nizamuddin Markaz, five days after the Delhi government ordered all religious places to close.
22 March: Janata Curfew. In the evening, Delhi CM announces lockdown till 31 and orders sealing of UT’s borders starting 6 AM on 23 March.
The order by the government mandates all religious places of any denomination to be closed.
In the assembly held on 23 March, Maulana Saad again begins his address by stressing the supremacy of the monotheistic God’s will over cause and effect of the material world.
In the YouTube clip of the same, access to which is now blocked, Saad says between 06:32 and 07:03:
Yeh toh mumkin hai ki kisi marz ke liye koi dawaa na ho, lekin yeh mumkin nahin hai ki kisi marz ke liye koi du’aa na ho. . .
Nai beemariyon ke paida hone ka sabab, naye gunaahon ka paida hona hai.
Translation: It is possible that some disease does not have a medicinal cure, but it is impossible that there be a disease which cannot be cured by prayers.
The cause of the birth of new diseases, is the birth of new sins.
24 March: PM Modi announces national lockdown for 21 days.
On the assembly held on this day, you can sense there is some realisation of reality and the impending disaster.
For here, at around 45:18 in the day’s clip, Saad concedes:
Doctori hidayaat par amal karna, yaqeen, tawaqqul, shariat ke khilaaf nahin. Balki, ehtiyaat na karna, aur phir agar koi nuksaan ho, toh phir ismein apne aap ko hi malaamat karni chahiye.
Translation: Heeding the advice of doctors is not against faith, belief in God or Shariat. Rather, if we are not careful, and then something were to happen, then one should blame oneself.
However, he immediately adds a caveat,
Ismein yeh chahiye ki hum qavaaneen ka aur doctoron ki hidaayat ka sirf iss darje tak ehtemaam karein jahaan tak koi amal zaaya na ho. Jahaan amal zaaya ho jaayega vahaan Allah tumhein doctoron ke havaale kar denge aur Allah madad ka haath kheench lenge.
Translation: In this, we need to follow the guidelines of law and that of doctors only till the point where faith (deeds) does not go in vain. If faith goes in vain, then Allah will hand us to the doctors and withdraw his hand of help.
Following this event of 26th, here is how the Jamaat story and tragedy unfolded in the days since.
26 March: One dies in Srinagar. He had attended the Delhi Markaz.
26 March: Medical screening begins at Delhi Markaz.
27 March: Six Covid-19 suspects are taken away from Nizamuddin Markaz and put in a quarantine facility in Jhajjar, Haryana.
28 March: 33 people are taken away and isolated at Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Hospital in Delhi.
29 March: NSA Ajit Doval meets with delegation of Nizamuddin Markaz on the intervening night of 28-29 March after which they decide to vacate the mosque.
29, 30 March: Govt authorities - health officials and Police start evacuation of all those residing in the Markaz and transport them to hospital and quarantine facilities via DTC buses.
31 March: Delhi Police Crime Branch filed FIR against Maulana Saad and other members of Tablighi Jamaat under Section 3 (penalty for offence) of the Epidemic Disease Act 1897 and Sections 269 (Negligent act likely to spread infection of disease), 270 (malignant act likely to spread infection of disease), 271 (disobedience to quarantine rule) and 120b (punishment of criminal conspiracy) of the IPC.
This story is unfolding. What is certain however, is that this religious group jeopardised the chances of overcoming a pandemic for an entire country.
As you are no doubt aware, Swarajya is a media product that is directly dependent on support from its readers in the form of subscriptions. We do not have the muscle and backing of a large media conglomerate nor are we playing for the large advertisement sweep-stake.
Our business model is you and your subscription. And in challenging times like these, we need your support now more than ever.
We deliver over 10 - 15 high quality articles with expert insights and views. From 7AM in the morning to 10PM late night we operate to ensure you, the reader, get to see what is just right.
Becoming a Patron or a subscriber for as little as Rs 999/year is the best way you can support our efforts.