COVID Is Real! How Many More Deaths Will Convince Pakistanis?
I was hoping for the past few months, I wouldn’t have to pen this down. Alas, our countrymen have followed a predictable course of action.
When the whole world has been floored and literally knocked out, badly shaken by the second wave of Coronavirus, we in Pakistan have not even come to terms with the first.
Our politicians, imams, traders and businessmen, sportsmen and media personalities are bent upon learning the hard fact, the hard way.
As a physician who has seen death, hard laboured breathing, acute kidney injuries requiring dialysis, deaths of dear colleagues, and prolonged distress of patients’ family members, it pains me to see the utter disregard by the so called educated towards physical distancing, face masking and hand washing; a distant wishful thought, so it appears. I am appalled particularly by the utter defiance; the prayer congregations in this regard.
I communicate with my neighbourhood cohorts about COVID-19 trends from time to time.
I was talking to a couple of neighbours, who were waiting for me to exit from the Masjid the other day and questioned me about the current COVID-19 situation. I made a reference to the Ayat (verse) in Quran translated as,” Whoever saves one life, it is as if he has saved the entire humanity and whosoever takes one life, it is as if he has killed the entire humanity.” I asked them to reflect how it would apply to those who wear the mask with good intention and those who refuse to wear one.
The other reference was to a Hadeeth enjoining us ‘to place trust in Allah but tie the camel first’. When my family sounds worried about me going to congregational prayers, I reassure them that my mask, which I wear at work while seeing patients, is also being used for the same purpose in the Masjid. I intend to prevent myself from serving as a conduit for transmission of COVID; just like tying the proverbial camel and then putting my trust in Allah.
I have spoken to responsible members of the Masjid committee as well as the imams, and have written to some as well. I hope to send this note too to our knowledgeable sheikhs. I believe it is my responsibility as a healthcare professional to state the truth clearly and warn of health risks. Our Deen, Islam exhorts us to pray at home when there is a severe storm or a ‘plague’ and stay put if we happen to be in the ‘plague zone’. It is also appealing to our senses, our intellect and wisdom…’beware this COVID is a great sign of our times’. It will therefore be imperative to recognize the seriousness of pandemic, take precautions, wash hands, avoid close contact and wear masks, and thus through our good intentions, earn the reward of saving the entire humanity!
On the Day of Reckoning, I wish to be able to state that I warned my neighbours and society through my writings and public discourse. Unfortunately, I would have to stand as a witness against all those who are knowingly disregarding safety measures.
So far, we have lost over 7,000 lives to Coronavirus. How many more deaths will it take to convince Pakistanis that COVID is real!