COVID Hotspot: Zakir Naik, Muslim Leaders Condemn Tablighi Jamaat Approach

New Delhi: With the Tablighi Jamaat congregation at Nizamuddin last month emerging as the top hotspot of the coronavirus outbreak in the country, several Muslim leaders, including controversial preacher Zakir Naik, have condemned the group’s approach.

The leaders said the Jamaat workers were wrong in shunning modern science and technology and advised them to restrict their religious work to their own families at present.

“It was our forefathers who started the Jamaat and we don’t think they have done anything wrong (by focusing on Islamic training). But this deen ka kaam (religious work) should now be restricted to their families alone, till this pandemic gets over,” Zakir Naik was quoted as saying in a report in Economic Times.

Others were more forthright in their condemnation, particularly of the Jamaat head Maulana Sa’ad.

All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) member Kamal Farooqui said Maulana Sa’ad must apologise and not just to the community, but to the nation. “He should take responsibility, come forward and own up to what has happened. This is the time we should have been fighting this together. Not making it difficult for others,” Farooqui added.

Farooqui said the Jamaat members have never been associated with anti-social activities. “But now, if the reports that are coming up of some people disregarding the efforts of medical professionals are true, then that behaviour is condemnable. This is not what the legacy of the group is,” he said.

According to the report, the Imam of the Lucknow Eidgah, Khalid Rashid Firangi Mahali, has called for “an impartial and time-bound probe” into what happened at the Markaz. “But it has to be told very clearly that the Quran encourages you to research. The Prophet himself has asked to take precautions, follow community guidelines at the time of crisis. It is non- Islamic to dishonour the efforts of doctors,” he added.

The chairman of All India Sufi Sajjadanashin Council, Syed Naseeruddin Chisty of Ajmer Dargah, said the Jamaat members had risked several lives by accompanying foreign tourists to Indian households and mosques.

“The need of the hour is for the members to understand the gravity of what they have done. The Jamaatis need to keep themselves informed of the situation around them and see how they can help,” he said.

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