Some of the questions and concerns brought up ironically amidst this ‘No Movement Sunday’ are: Is the virus-spread weak from Mondays to Saturdays or less harmful? Would they (concerned officials) agree to have one-day deducted from their salary once a week too, so it will be fair? Or is it still effective while public gatherings have seemingly no limits including weddings, enthronements, and even Islamic seminars except Sundays? In fact, these may sound non-sense or brainless for the few but a reality for the majority.
One of the prayers every Muslim cries hard for this holy month (Ramadan) is to see the ending outspread of this Pandemic, so all can work again at their own pace, worrying not about this invisible enemy. Additionally, we are thankful to both the national and the provincial governments of Lanao del Sur specifically for their relentless effort day and night to protect their people; and certainly, to our living heroes — the frontliners — who are no less than angels in this earth if there are so.
However, there are some policies and protocols that don’t only play an indispensable role in fighting the surge but also hit the poor people alike or much harder. And one of those is this “No Movement Sunday.” Indeed, we understand the good intention of the provincial officials. But from our own personal perspective; we see the dilemma in this towards struggling people who rely merely on their daily hard earnings as tricycle drivers, street vendors – you name it. Meaning, if they stop for at least one-day, their family will suffer even the necessities.
That being said, let’s take a deep dive into the protocol and its impact financially and psychologically on the poor. We can all agree that in this case, being balanced is more applicable and desirable between the two parties than having one as the sole collateral effect in the end. Consequently, ignoring the desperate ones might gradually encourage them to take actions that may cause societal problems or the least create their own laws, which none would like to expect — we have enough already, simply because empty stomach can make you forget the good teachings of any religions including Islam; this is justified by the Prophet (peace be upon him) when he said, “Poverty is hardly on the brink of disbelief.”
Going back to Islamic history, when Hejaz (modern-day western Saudi Arabia) was in time of deadly crisis A’m Alrama’dah, Omar bin Al-Khattab, the Caliph then, has stopped temporarily the inflicting of punishment against stealing (had or Hudud), which is cutting-off one’s hand proportionate to the value of the items stolen as confirmed by some respected Muslim scholars the like of Ibn Katheer in his book: Al-bidaya Wa Anniha’ya /Vol. 07/ P. 202-211. Concurrently, this was just about the time (18th H/ 639 G) the first deadly virus Ta’uwn Amwas that had claimed the lives of thousands of Muslims — about 25k or more, who were mostly Sahaba or the Prophet’s companions — started in a small village, called Amwas near Palestine, and eventually spread all over Sha’m region that time. Geographically, Sha’m has been divided into Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Israel. No doubt that year remains one of the agonizing times ever recorded since Hijri but in human history.
If we analyze deeply the decision of Omar bin Alkhattab in this case, we can see clearly it was very intricate in a sense that there were other parties like businesses which were at stake too and might be deprived of justice, or at the very least, it might have crashed some of the businesses since people were free to take advantage of the situation Omar (May Allah please with him) has imposed until it got back to normal. However, the genius caliph had critically weighed both in every angle and humanly chosen the lives over others because he knew that starvation is next to death – this account has undeniably showcased the rare, brilliant leadership of the caliph in crucial times.
Back to the real case, we understand that our leaders don’t have that kind of personality in him, yet still possible because they are all human beings. However, his action towards the hardest situation can be a beacon of resilience amidst crisis and useful tools deeply rooted in balanced and effective crisis-management towards fighting both one-year old Pandemic and life-time poverty at the same time. We have to keep in mind that even our sublime laws or Al-shariah Al-Samha, upon being held in compelling status that may take one’s life if it’s not resolved, allows us to commit illegal or Haram in proportion to the needs on the basis of “necessities allow prohivisions” fundamental. However, this has not to be abused to just satisfy one’s desire, because it’s otherwise punishable in Sharia once proven.
Unfortunately, what is being a bit ignored here is the psychological consequences while this No Movement is still in effect that may deflect ones’ minds like the penurious fathers to their families in general since there’s no alternative for every Sunday’s loss — no more well-being and welfare inside some houses. Imagine a man while riding his tricycle in the middle of the road started to worry on Wednesday about his loved ones this coming Sunday? – Of course, he is already prone to accidents being in this hard time, and this burden will definitely reach even their homes that may cause unnecessary arguments among them. Too sad that sleeping is so hard when they can’t stop thinking. Just try to be poor and you will find this true in your very heart.
Again, we are so grateful to our provincial governments for their unparalleled endeavor in protecting the whole Maranao Community. Likewise, we are also humbly requesting their kindest attention to reconsider this No Movement Sunday Protocol for the sake of the poorest among the poor. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean belittling this Pandemic that has been there already since the last year. People are already attentive and aware of the preventive actions from wearing a mask, accompanied with face shield, and other imposed basic health protocols. Yet, we are not trying here to be economists nor analysts on some measures; we are just realistic to whom we really are in these difficult times.
Finally, we believe that following the experts’ advice and the science all the time along with unshakable trust and belief in the real Protector, who has the absolute power to cause a final cure for this by just saying BE or KUN, this pandemic will end so soon.
The author, Imadodin Basar Dimao, is a Bilingual (English & Arabic) Customer Service Representative CSR at COURSERA.