Afghan Muslims think devout prayer will ward off coronavirus

Screengrab Voice of America

Afghanistan Health Minister Ferozudin Feroz confirmed last week the country’s first coronavirus case, explaining the individual is quarantined in a local hospital and no threat to the community.

At the same time, Feroz announced a state of emergency was in effect in the province of Herat, which is where the victim is located, according to Voice of America.

Among the steps taken to counter the virus, VOA reported that Afghanistan closed its border with Iran to air and ground travel, and banned the import of chicken and eggs from the Persian Gulf country.

Iran reportedly has the second-highest death toll from the coronavirus after China. The BBC put that figure at 210 deaths, but Iran’s Health Ministry disputed the total on Saturday, accusing the British network of lying and saying the death toll was 43.

Some Afghans are turning to prayer and faith to counter the virus, with the German media outlet Deutsche Welle (DW) reporting that since the outbreak there has been a boom in sales of phylacteries.

“In Afghanistan, phylacteries are printed out Koran verses blessed by an imam and worn on clothes to ward off disease and evil spirits,” DW reported.

Of course, if Christians took this approach toward the coronavirus, the liberal media would have a conniption. But then, the double standard on the left is expected these days.

Rajab Ali, identified as an Afghan citizen, explained how they are fighting the virus.

“The people of Afghanistan are devout Muslims,” Ali said. “To prevent us from getting sick, we hold prayers in our mosques and homes, and give to charity.”

He spoke these words behind a surgical mask covering his mouth and nose.

Another man, identified only as Bismillah, spoke of the importance of phylacteries.

“Every disease is made by God,there is no doubt about it,” he said. “Prayer reading and phylactery have benefits. We must do all of this.

DW does note that not all Afghans believe in the power of phylacteries to ward off the virus, showcasing one man saying as much.

Religious implications aside, Saudi Arabia closed off the two holiest sites in Islam to foreign pilgrims over the coronavirus last week.

Saudi Arabia barred pilgrims from Mecca and the holy city of Medina, and authorities have suspended entry to travelers holding tourist visas from any nation affected by the virus, according to the Washington Post.

At the time of the article, Saudi Arabia had no confirmed cases of the virus, although infected Saudis are reportedly under care in neighboring Bahrain.

“We ask God Almighty to spare all humanity from all harm,” said a statement from the Saudi Foreign Ministry.

According to the World Health Organization the virus has killed over 2,900 people worldwide, with the vast majority of deaths being in mainland China. Touching every continent except Antarctica, there have been more than 85,000 global cases.

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Tom Tillison

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