Coronavirus in UAE: Religious leaders urge people to abide by law in 'testing times'

Coronavirus, UAE, Religious leaders, urge, people, abide, law, testing times
Imam Dr Sheikh Abdul Hameed Zafar.- Supplied photo

Dubai - It's time to be patient and abide by the directives of the country's leadership, said a senior Imam.

By Saman Haziq

Published: Tue 17 Mar 2020, 6:00 PM

Last updated: Wed 18 Mar 2020, 9:58 AM

With gatherings banned and places of worship closed for a month to avoid spread of Covid-19, religious leaders across faiths have urged people to stay calm, united and optimistic during these 'testing times'.
Calling it a testing time, Mohammed Al Hasan Khan, senior Imam at Port Saeed Al Sharqi Masjid in Deira, said it's time to be patient and abide by the directives of the country's leadership.
"We must whole-heartedly obey the directives issued by the leaders of the UAE as they have taken the right decision for the larger good of the whole community and to protect the citizens. This decision is also very much in compliance with the Shariah laws. We must look at how we can make use of whatever God has given us and show gratitude by being patient. Parents should take this opportunity to lead the congregational prayers in their homes with the whole family and not miss the rewards for praying in congregation."
Advising people to abide by the law and stay hopeful, Imam at another mosque, Dr Abdul Hameed Zafar, said this is the time to show resilience and get closer to God. "This law of suspending congregational prayers is definitely heavy on the heart of the faithful but at the same time, also important to contain this dangerous disease. Our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his companions had also practised this at various occasions when there were chances of more harm than good. Let us accept this decision and respect it. Allah has promised that if you have good intentions and are sincere, then he will not let this patience go waste. He will bless you with even more than before. Do not get depressed as this is just a temporary arrangement and we will bounce back soon by the will of God. But for that, we need to take precautions and abide by the law."
Sharing his hope and consolation, Fr Reinhold Sahner, parish priest of St Francis of Assisi church in Jebel Ali, said he was expecting this decision as "it is the best way to fight the deadly virus".
"I feel this is our way of showing solidarity with not only those affected by this virus but also with the entire world as a community."
Welcoming the decision of the government, he added: "This disease is now a pandemic and is spreading like wildfire. So, we welcome this decision and thank the government for being so concerned about us. We are all in it together. We must follow these Covid-19 safety protocols so that we can survive this wave of the deadly virus and live to tell our story. Though it is a difficult time for the faithful, I see it as a chance of fostering peace and coming together as one community."
Urging people to abide by the government's decision, Ashok Kotecha, director of the BAPS Hindu Mandir Abu Dhabi, said the temple committee had suspended its activities from last week and were hosting their Friday prayers online at 4pm. "We share our deepest prayers for the rulers and people of this nation and all those impacted by the current pandemic. The current global health situation provides a unique challenge. However, we shall overcome that with prayer and careful adherence to hygiene, and guidance from the government and health authorities. Let us live carefully but without fear or paranoia. Let us make the most of this time with our families and ourselves."

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