Coronavirus: God’s Army and Pork Consumption in Indonesia

A popular preacher, Ustad Abdul Somad (also known as UAS), a graduate of Egypt’s Al-Azhar University, in a public sermon given in Malaysia, told his congregation that coronavirus was God’s army sent to protect Uighurs in China.

Instead of advising congregations in general, and Indonesians in particular, about the pandemic nature of coronavirus, many religious leaders were linking the virus to something supernatural that could be fought with prayers. Somad was quoted as saying

  • Instead of advising congregations in general, and Indonesians in particular, about the pandemic nature of coronavirus, many religious leaders were linking the virus to something supernatural that could be fought with prayers.
  • Somad was quoted as saying that as the Muslims observe a lifestyle that is in harmony with religious teachings and is different from the majority of the population, they have protection from the deadly virus.
  • These various claims no longer stand. Soon, sadly, the coronavirus swiftly moved beyond the prayer of millions of devout believers. On March 3, the president of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, officially announced the first two cases of coronavirus infection…. The government, the president mentioned, should be making all efforts to manage the crisis. What will Indonesian Islamist clerics, such as Somad and his supporters at MUI do: pray or find ways to take the president down?
The Indonesian government, according to President Joko Widodo (pictured), should be making all efforts to manage the coronavirus crisis. What will Indonesian Islamist clerics do, pray or find ways to take the president down? (Photo by Tracey Nearmy – Pool/Getty Images)

Coronavirus, now a global pandemic, received a different response in Indonesia than in most of the world. In February, when China was quarantining Hubei province, prominent Indonesian clerics were reducing the disease to a religious matter. As usual, the assertion was marked by religious claim of superiority and that God could easily be involved in daily life.

Instead of advising congregations in particular and Indonesians in general about the pandemic nature of coronavirus, many religious leaders were linking the virus to something supernatural that could be fought with prayers.

A popular preacher, Ustad Abdul Somad (also known as UAS), a graduate of Egypt’s Al-Azhar University, in a public sermon given in Malaysia, told his congregation that coronavirus was God’s army sent to protect Uighurs in China. On February 17, the statement — under the title “UAS: Coronavirus is God’s Army to Protect Uighur Muslims” — was uploaded to YouTube’s Hajinews TV channel. In his sermon, Somad seems to claim that Allah always helps Islamic people, even if they have been taking losses:

“Allah indeed love this umma [Muslim community]. The umma have lost their sultanate, the umma have lost their caliphate. The umma have lost them. Now, the umma just needs to read the Qur’an, to recite it. But God is still takes pity on them. I still feel pity to see you, God said, so God helped with all kinds of armies”.

Somad was quoted as saying that as the Muslims observe a lifestyle in harmony with religious teachings and and different from the majority of the population, they have protection from the deadly virus:

“There is the latest God’s army named corona. People who are living in Uighur (China), do not suffer this kind of virus. Many people are surprised why. One of the reasons is, they always do the ritual ablation before prayer, one of which is washing their hands.”

As one of the most prominent preachers in Indonesia, Somad and his statement have many followers; also, it is country in which preachers or ulema [clergy] and their congregations tend to have a patron-client relationship.

More @ Source: Coronavirus: God’s Army and Pork Consumption in Indonesia

Translate »