Around the word, most human beings are longing for the eradication of the coronavirus. Most, but not all. For nefarious reasons, certain groups see the pandemic as a means to further their goals. Prominent among them are radical Muslims. (Radical here defines Muslims who give their full allegiance to the Qur’an and authoritative traditions of Muhammad as distilled in Shari’a, the “divine” law of Allah.)
Jihadis in particular (those committed Muslims willing to engage in violence against all who stand in the way of Islam’s plans of world-dominance) see COVID-19 as a “tiny soldier of Allah” divinely sent to wreak havoc among the disbelievers. As Western governments shift resources and attention to battle the pandemic within their countries, ISIS and al-Qaeda and their many copycats use the internet and social media to encourage their followers to probe for fissures or cracks in national security caused by monetary cutbacks or healthcare crisis distractions in order to launch new terror attacks. Suggestions range from use of masks to shield identification of terrorist as they cross borders to intentional self-infection with the virus to become super-spreaders in as many public gatherings as possible to infecting/poisoning free masks before handing them out to the public to spreading conspiracy theories dissuading people from getting vaccines (e.g., their implementation is a deadly plot against Muslims to cull the world’s Islamic population).
While many Muslim leaders (e.g., Adbo al-Laqis, a Lebanese international affairs expert) see the virus as a concoction of Western governments (primarily the USA or Israel) as a biological weapon sent to China and the larger world designed to kill off those over 65 who are deemed unproductive or as an “ethnic weapon” targeting the genome of Iranians and Chinese (this according to “experts” on Ofogh TV (an Iranian network) or as an atheistic plot to move religious societies down the road to secularism by shutting down mosques and shrines (see Iranian “scholar” Abbas Mousavi Motlagh for more on that), a host of other Islamic professors and preachers guarantee that the coronavirus is the handiwork of Allah to humble and/or destroy his enemies. Which ones, you may ask? That depends on the preacher:
On March 20th, Hamas sheikh Jamil al-Mutawa in a Friday sermon televised by al-Aqsa TV gloated that Allah had sent just one soldier (coronavirus) to all 50 states (meaning the USA) and that it was wreaking divine vengeance. “An hour ago, they said on TV that in California… They said that they expect 58% of California to be infected within two months. They talk about 25 million infected people in just one of the 50 states. Allah be praised. Look how anyone who schemes against the Al-Aqsa Mosque is being shattered to smithereens by the soldiers of Allah.” He went on to make the risible claim that “The Muslims are the people who are least infected.”
Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior Hamas official, declared in August that countries supporting Israel have been hardest hit, while not a single case has appeared in Gaza. COVID was divinely wrought to punish Israelophiles.
Much of Muslim social media agreed with Tunisian cleric Bashir bin Hassan that Allah targeted China with the virus because of the foul treatment of Uighur Muslims, confining over a million in “re-education camps” and forcing them to eat pork.
In Falls Church, Virginia, imam Shaker Elsayed of the Dar al-Hijrah mosque declared in a Friday sermon on April 3rd that COVID is a divine wake-up call punishing the West for usury, abortion and homosexuality. On the same day, Ibrahim al-Ubeidi, a Houthi scholar, resolutely announced that Allah brought the virus upon the West and China as punishment for legislation against the wearing of hijabs. Now, he noted sarcastically, Allah was forcing even non-Muslims to cover their faces with masks.
Jordanian professor of Islamic law, Ahmad Nofal, in a television interview on May 15th, mocked “modern people” (i.e., the West and those who emulate its self-advancement and autonomy), saying that Allah has sent “his tiniest creature” to inflict his wrath on those who “refused to subdue (sic) [submit] to the Lord of the universe.” Jeering at the non-Muslim West, he declared, “You may laugh a little, but you shall cry a great deal.”
In late January, Syrian cleric ‘Abd al-Razzaq al-Mahdi responded publicly to this question from one of his followers — “Is it permissible that we express our joy for what China is experiencing – the coronavirus and the death of the Chinese people?” He replied, “Yes, yes we should express our joy and pray for their annihilation.” After all, their treatment of the Uighurs confirms that they are “enemies of Allah.” ISIS concurred with this assessment in the weekly magazine al-Naba. Using his televised Telegram channel Firebrand Jordanian cleric Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi on March 31st pronounced, “There is nothing wrong with a Muslim praying for the deaths of infidels and wishing that they contract coronavirus or any similar fatal disease.”
There are, to be sure, voices among Muslims that offer some sanity amidst this conspiracy-laced, vindictive mindset. Notable is that of sheikh Hussein Halawa, Secretary-General of the European Council for Fatwa and Research. In an interview broadcast on Hiwar-TV (in the UK), he refused to endorse any global conspiracy regarding the coronavirus, noting that it infects Muslims and non-Muslims alike, spreads through all nations, not sparing Saudi Arabia or America or Russia….His final words were a breath of fresh air: “Allah has blessed me with senses and I must use them. I cannot let people drag me from truth to fantasy.”
Unfortunately, such voices are few and far between among Muslim thought-shapers. Instead we find influential leaders urging celebration over the virus’ horrible impact on the West, and imploring prayer for widespread deaths. Every time a Western leader is infected (e.g., Boris Johnson, Trump, Netanyahu), social media networks among Muslims are delirious with joy. Jihadis blindly declare that the virus is a blessing for Muslims, proving Islam’s superiority over the rest of the world, which should prompt Muslims to become more observant, including of course the call to jihad in order to exact Allah’s vengeance against the filthy unbelievers wherever they may be found.
Most non-Muslims in the West have a hard time processing such vitriol from the Muslim world. Why is there such hatred, such mocking, such a thirst for vengeance? Why wish evil on those who show no interest in Islam, who are glad to embrace a live and let live approach to Muslims? Why don’t “moderate Muslims” rise up en masse, if they really are the massive majority of the Muslim world, and put these “radicals” in their place? Why don’t they demonstrate from Islamic holy sources that these hateful voices coming from their own house are a perversion of Islam and are to be ignored, or better, to be extinguished?
The answer is simple, though difficult to swallow. These voices cannot be eradicated because they are inherent in the earliest Muslim sources. The Qur’an and Sunna (authoritative traditions concerning the life and teachings of their prophet Muhammad) inculcate a hatred for all those who refuse to submit to Islam. Muslims are taught from the Scripture to show harshness to unbelievers, to not befriend any but Muslims, to engage in warfare unto death against those who refuse to surrender to the advance of Islam, to believe that they are superior to people of all other belief systems.
If Muhammad’s earliest and most authoritative biography (Ibn Hisham’s recension of Ibn Ishaq’s Life of the Prophet) is to be believed, one would have to admit that were Muhammad alive today, he would be working to unite al-Qaeda, al-Shabaab, the Islamic State and all other militant-terrorist groups motivated by the Qur’an and Sunna. He would be recognized as their rightful leader, and he would marshal them as his vanguard to continue his conquest of the non-Muslim world. Far from condemning them as un-Islamic for their bloodthirsty ways, he would praise them for their faithfulness to his teachings.
Why do Muslims today praise the coronavirus as a “soldier of Allah”? Because any force that weakens the “enemies of Allah/Islam” is an ally in their quest to conquer the world and impose Shari’a on the human race. If the virus destroys Islam’s biggest hindrance to global dominance, you will hear thunderous cries of “Allahu akbar!” (Allah is greater) and Hamdulillah! (Praise be to Allah) from the Muslim masses.
Those raised in the West, even if not Christian, still hear the echoes in their culture of Jesus’ teachings: the Golden Rule (“Do to others as you would wish them to do to you”); “Love your neighbor as you love yourself”; perhaps most astonishingly, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Even if they do not personally believe in God, they know the God that Jesus revealed is a God of love and grace. The god of Islam, by contrast is one of force. If he loves at all, it is only those who have proven their loyalty and obedience to him by executing his rage against those with the temerity to ignore or oppose him. It is hard for Westerners to accept that Qur’an-believing Muslims could actually maintain such a hateful worldview. But, such are the teachings in the “noble” Qur’an, and terrorists, jihadis and Muslim “scholars” such as those mentioned above are simply the foul fruit naturally produced by the poisoned tree of Islamic orthodoxy.