M Fazal Elahi
NERVE wrecking indeed! The virulent ‘Corona Virus COVID-19’ disease has affected 166 countries and territories around the world, and 1 international conveyance (the Diamond Princess cruiseship harboured in Yokohama, Japan). It wouldn’t be inappropriate to say that the perilous Corona Virus Pandemic has sent shiver down the spines of millions of people across the globe. People are getting affected by the day. People are dying every day. Those at the helm of governance in countries across the world, including Pakistan, are relentlessly engaged 24/7 to not only tighten grip over this deadly disease but also find effective ways and means to completely eradicate it. COVID-19 is a highly infectious respiratory disease caused by a new Corona Virus. The disease was discovered in China in December 2019 and has since spread around the world.
May Allah Almighty bestow His mercy on all the people across the world, irrespective of their caste, creed and religion. The pace at which this deadly disease is spreading and taking its toll on human lives across the globe leaves the world community totally perplexed to understand how to grapple with this gruesome menace. According to latest (18 March) figures quoted by Worldometer, nearly two hundred thousand people stand affected by Corona Virus across the world. Roughly 8,000 people have lost their valuable life to this ghastly disease. The number of people who have recovered so far stand at 79,890. The number of active cases worldwide stands at 95,982. Reported serious and critical cases are 6,163. However, a fact that cannot be overlooked is that while China remains the worst affected country of the world, the recovery rate vis-à-vis COVID-19 (68,694) is indeed very encouraging. According to latest figures furnished by ‘Worldometer’ among some of the badly affected affluent countries of the world China ranks number-1 vis-à-vis COVID-19 with the number of affected people standing at 80,902, followed by Italy 27,980, Iran 14,991, South Korea 8,404, Spain 9,942, France 6,633, Germany 7,272, USA 4,803, Switzerland 2,353, UK 1,543, Norway 1,348, Netherlands 1,413 and Sweden 1,121. Predictably, in terms of deaths that have occurred so far among the countries cited above, due to COVID-19, China, yet again, ranks number-1 with 3,226 fatalities followed by Italy 2,158, Iran 853, South Korea 81, Spain 342, France 148, Germany 17, USA 93, Switzerland 19, UK 55, Norway 3, Netherland 24, Sweden 7. Pakistan too stands affected, though not seriously, by the deadly Corona Virus Pandemic. According to latest update (18 March) number of people affected by the disease in Pakistan stands at 184.
No matter whatever the above statistics depict, one is compelled to acknowledge that the gruesome Corona Virus Pandemic has engulfed the entire world with varying intensity. The unparalleled magnitude with which this disease has struck communities across the world is compelling all, the affluent and the poor alike, to realize that mankind is extremely vulnerable to natural calamities, and that the only superpower who can provide relief from such calamities is none but Allah (God) Almighty. In this era of phenomenal scientific advancement people, particularly those belonging to the affluent societies of the world, may consider my belief a little too orthodox to appreciate. Some may also find it amusing. They may think the way they want to. But as an enlightened Muslim my conviction vis-à-vis the supremacy of Allah Almighty stands unshakable. He is the most beneficent and the most merciful.
Regardless of our caste, creed or religion we all belong to Allah Almighty and to Him we will return. He is the only power, rather the superpower, which has a hold over our destiny, and it is only He who can provide relief to mankind from all sorts of calamities. Undeniably, we, the creation of God Almighty, have done and continue to blatantly do all that we could to annoy him and invite His wrath. We, the human beings, have crossed all bounds of graciousness and brazenly defied all His commandments. We have challenged his patience endlessly and what we all have got in return is the agony of Corona Virus. Unambiguously, the magnitude of the crisis that confronts the world today is gargantuan. This crisis cannot be effectively resolved unless collective endeavours are made to address it. Time has come for the world to stand united against the deadly Corona Virus. The affluent countries of the world must come forward and extend every possible support, technical and monetary, to the less privileged nations of the world to come to grips with this life-threatening disease with unwavering fortitude and endurance. Failure to do so, may, God forbid, make the world confront a catastrophe of unfathomable magnitude.
It is a passionate appeal to the world community that parallel to the relentless worldly endeavours that we continue to make to fight this nerve-wracking virus COVID-19 let us all, as stated above, raise our hands in prayers and bow our heads in reverence before Allah Almighty and sincerely seek his forgiveness for all our wrong doings. Beg Him to pardon all our sins, bestow his benevolence on us, and provide relief to us from the lethal Corona Virus. He will certainly listen to the suffering mankind for whom He has unparalleled love. However, once He does let us all vow to ourselves that we will all abide by all His commandments in letter and spirit; sincerely respect each other’s existence and rights, bring an end to the conflicts we continue to wage against each other, across the world, and endeavour to make this world a bastion of peace.
— The writer is freelance columnist based in Islamabad.