Any reader might wonder and question the correctness of the term, ‘deliberate suicide’. Suicide is usually deliberate, true, however, what do we call someone who does not really wants to die but found death out of whims and ignorance?. Therefore, my definition of a ‘deliberate suicide’ is an act of leading to one’s death without the knowledge or fatal expectation of the consequence of an action.
In a bid to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, the Lagos and Ogun State Government have proposed that religious houses and worship centres should be closed. This step had been taken in the Vatican and Saudi Arabia as well.
In Nigeria’s religious space, some adherents of Islam and Christianity are starting to come up with strange opinions that will not only endanger their lives but the lives of others as well.
Last week, I called two Pastors who claim that they can cure Coronavirus patients. In fact, one said he would go to China prophetically to fight the Coronavirus. Annoyingly, he recommended that people get water in a bucket, stir it and call the name of Jesus seven times for protection against the virus and for those that have tested positive, they only need to add salt to their water. When Nigeria had her first confirmed case, he was nowhere to be found.
More: People are now taking holy water against the COVID-19
Coronavirus and Fake News
In Lagos and Ogun State, the government of both States have proposed that religious houses and worship centres having more than 50 worshippers should be closed. While the government is not clear on the on the specification of a limit of 50, it is worrisome because 50 is a number.
Following the proposal, some Christians are beginning to kick against the idea believing that the blood of Jesus is enough to save them. In a Video, Pastor E.A Adeboye, the General Overseer of The Redeemed Christian Church of God said,
I want to assure you that so far you are in the secret place of the most high, no Virus can come near your dwelling. Remember being able to abide under his shadow involves you living a life of cleanliness. the basic things like washing your hands, keeping your environment clean.. pic.twitter.com/HQhnGQOHKx
— PastorEAAdeboye (@PastorEAAdeboye) March 16, 2020
“I want to assure you that there’s no virus that’ll come near you at all because it is written that he who dwells in the secret place of the most high shall abide under the shadows of the almighty,” he said.
“I believe that this is a time for God to show you that there’s a difference between those who serve him wholeheartedly and those who do not. It shall be well with you. You’ll have peace and good health.”
The ‘man of God’ is implying that those who got infected in several other countries do not worship God truly. This is gross insensitivity at a time like this and an insult to many adherents of Christianity who have tested postive to the COVID-19.
With the directive that worship centres with more than 50 worshippers be closed, the RCCG, in a memo, has disclosed its next step in a memo titled, “Slight alteration in the mode of service for parishes in Lagos and Ogun states”.
1. Parishes that have an average of attendance of 50 members or less can hold their services without any alteration or changes.
2. Parishes that have average attendance above 50 members are directed to make use of their House Fellowship centres to run simultaneous services with the main church.
3. Parishes that have the facility to run more than one service can also do so, under the strict directive that worshippers won’t exceed 50 people per service.
4. One supervising minister and an usher could be seconded to each Centre for the collation of necessary reports (attendance, New converts, Newcomers, etc)…
One begins to wonder, why is it difficult to cancel their service instead of risking people’s lives. Perhaps, the government is to be blamed for limiting the number to 50 instead of a total shutdown.
Also, a prominent ‘Muslim Scholar’ at the University of Ilorin has allegedly made some statements that is not in the best interest of Muslims and Nigerians.
The Professor of Islamic Studies was said to have said that Muslims have natural immune to the Coronavirus. While arguing that Muslims should be able to continue their congregational prayers, he allegedly said,
” Again, our sisters are always adorned in Hijab, some even use Niqab and gloves. So, we the Muslims already have a potent immune system against coronavirus. That is to say that we don’t have any problem.
Even in France, I learnt that those that are completely free from contacting coronavirus are Muslim ladies and women who cover their face, use hand gloves and don’t shake hands with people,”
It is important to say that this fallacy of false equivalence is a result of different misleading articles on the Social Media and how Muslims today, compared to the predecessors, have resorted to weak and dumb arguments in the Propagation of Islam. Those who claim scholarship should look in their books than the social media.
When the virus just broke out, we cautioned some Muslims against specifically linking the The outbreak to the evils of the Chinese government against Muslims. As it turned out to be, the virus is our for everyone and the tune has changed. Now, it is some Muslims saying Muslims are naturally immune against the virus.
In a popular Hadith,
Anas ibn Malik reported: A man said, “O Messenger of Allah, should I tie my camel and trust in Allah, or should I leave her untied and trust in Allah?” The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Tie her and trust in Allah.”
Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 2517
While this Hadith answers free thinkers and atheists on behalf of Islam, that prayer does not prevent action, it also points to the fact that we need to obey the government and take preventive measures seriously.
Other than this, if a person goes against the government policy in the name of faith and gets infected, it is not martyrdom, it would be a ‘deliberate suicide’.
Bashir Lucas Samson Lukman