Ebola: Curse Or Trial? An Introductory

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IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, THE MOST COMPASSIONATE, THE MOST MERCIFUL. All praise belongs to Allah; and may His peace and blessings be upon His Prophet, his household, his companions and all those who rightly follow their foot-steps. Ameen!

Since the emergence of the pandemic disease-Ebola on the Liberian soil some months ago, individuals as well as groups continue to give a name, appellation or description to the virus of this killer disease. Its virus has sadly engulfed not only Liberia and its people with, but also some other countries, African and non-African countries. Its germs continue to adversely affect the lives of the peoples in those countries. What is more worrisome in the premises is that up to now, there is no definite cerement for it. In consequence of this, some called it as a “curse” and others termed it as “trial”.

In as much as the emergence of such deadly disease is sadden; nonetheless, discourse of this kind is indeed fascinating and more impressive. In that, when done intellectually in good-faith, it would prayerfully have the tendency of encouraging intellectual discourse in other areas of our social life as people belonging to a nation. Moreover, it would also hopefully become something that will, by Allah’s grace, help instill in our in people, particularly the youth-who are the hope and future actors of our Nation, a sense of spiritual pausing, reflection and mature judgment!

In other words, if Liberians could find logic in discussing the issue of ebola intellectually, there is reason to believe that it could serve as opening of a page of the finest chapter in the history of Liberia in matters appertaining to decision making process of our Nation problems. The fact is that, the gravity of the ebola and its adverse affects is as serious as pandemically contagious as it is. It may interest readers to know that so are the cases of “curse” and “trial”. For “curse”, in general terminology, can be classified, as a kind of expression that is used to condemn, execrate, imprecate and/or maledict a person or group of people, including a community or nation. Of course, reason for pouring such denouncement varied, but it usually centers on the commission of an act that the curser regards to be wrongful or evil. While trial is a method of testing one’s true character, nature and/or quality. This trial can be done for spiritual or material purpose and either be good or bad. However, all in all, it end objective is to test an individual or group; so as to serve as an opportunity for correction and rehabilitation. Al-Qur’an-the Holy Scripture of Al-Islam is replete with the description of the various kinds of “curse” and “trial”.

So, as students of theology, we think it behooves us that we partake in their discussion; so as to share our view in the premises. Our aim and objective is that our participation will prayerfully be contributive and meaningful in arriving at a conclusion that will be impressive and fascinating in matters of national debate. Our desire in the premise is to do so within the context of Al-Islamic jurisprudence. With this in mind, we would like to first make crystal and clear that, generally, humans are imperfect beings imbued with limited knowledge; and as students, we entertain no objection or hesitation in humbly and profoundly recognizing, appreciating and admitting with unmitigated conviction that this fact is undisputable and hence, we can in no way be an exception to such limitation.

It is therefore our earnest supplication that Allah will guide us in our endeavor to appreciate the true meaning of both “curse” and “trial”. For it is held that human life is like a restless sea, full of see-saw and wonders; something that is always in a state of perpetual turmoil that is usually caused by the waves of events. It goes without saying therefore, unless humans adapt themselves to the process of brief pausing and sober reflection, they will not be able to make a mature judgment. Within this, Al-Qur’an maintains that human as sociable beings; and as such, “There is nothing useful nor reliable for a purpose or efficient in a function in much of their secret counsel and in the thoughts they convey reciprocally in talk uttered below their breath unless it be in accord with wisdom and piety to the end that it enjoins benevolence, equity and the inducement to peace among people and to principle of justice. And he whose lines of character are broad and clear as to feature willingness to comply with divine principles for the sake of piety shall be a recipient of Allah’s grace; We (Allah) will requite him with a great reward”(4:114).

In another Scriptural assertion, the Holy Book of Al-Islam echoes that the felicity of human depends on the availability of personalities who are dedicated and committed to enjoining people to: “conformity of life and conduct to the requirements of divine and moral law and forbid all that is wrongful and obscene; such-like person shall reap the fruits of victory here and Hereafter” (3:104).

Interestingly, no one in Liberia or the world for that matter, that do want to “be a recipient of Allah’s grace”; a grace that is an embodiment of all that is good, prosperous, wealthy and felicitous. By the same trend there is no one who does not want to “reap the fruits of victory”. Of course, there would be a variance in the end desire, inclination and purpose. Perhaps it is against this background that the Holy Scripture of Al-Islam avers thus: “That you endeavour (you people) to attain your goals is diverse, to some, righteousness be but a goal to their will, other in vanity they waste their days, others compromise between opposite motives and exercise adjustment of rival courses of action, and others attain it through benefaction. So that he who gives gratuitously and fears Allah indeed, and solemnly believes in deeds imprinted with wisdom and piety and that the end crowns the deed, will We (Allah) facilitate his task and lead him to the facile and ready course. But he who is niggardly and thinks he is self-sufficient and exercises greed, and denies the Day of Judgment and the requital that is commensurate with one’s deed, will We (Allah) allow his course to what is miserable, unfavourable and bad; nor will his material advantages save him from the internal abode which is dark, troublesome and sad,”  (92:4-11).

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