In this story, Indika Foundation, a recipient of the Intercultural Innovation Award of UNAOC and BMW Group, speaks about how it has helped the Muslim community in Indonesia practice their religion safely amid COVID-19.

As the COVID-19 outbreak got more and more severe in Indonesia – as per 25 June 2020, there were 50,187 cases – it became more important than ever for all stakeholders to contribute in any capacity to help flatten the curve.

At Indika Foundation, through our Milenial Islami program – a recipient of UNAOC and BMW Group’s Intercultural Innovation Award  – we have dedicated efforts, time, and other resources to improve people’s COVID-19 literacy from the point of view of Islam by producing and posting various content on our Instagram account (@milenialislami) to reach our 19.5k followers.

As the country with the biggest Muslim population in the world, Indonesia has had its own challenges when it comes to educating people about social distancing to reduce the spread of the virus. The challenges lie in some religious rituals or practices that are typically conducted collectively.

For example, Friday prayer is usually conducted at a mosque, with large gatherings, without much physical distance. And the hadith says that, if a Muslim misses Friday prayer three consecutive times, he may be considered an infidel (“Whoever leaves Friday prayer three times because of neglect of the prayer, Allah will cover his heart” – Hadith narrated by Abu Dawud, an-Nasa’i, and Ahmad).
However, most people don’t know that there are certain conditions for which missing Friday prayer may be forgiven. Based on our research, Muslims would be considered infidel after missing three consecutive Friday prayers if:

  1. They underestimate the mandate of Friday prayer.
    Based on hadith narrated by Abu Dawud, an-Nasa’i, and Ahmad, “Whoever leaves Friday prayer three times because of neglect of the prayer, Allah will cover his heart.”
  2. There is no emergency.
    Based on hadith narrated by Ibn Majah, “Whoever leaves Friday prayer three times without emergency needs, Allah will close his heart.”
  3. There is no unpredictable occurrence.
    Based on hadith narrated by ath-Thabrani: “Whoever leaves Friday prayers three times without obstruction will be included as a hypocrite group.”

When we compare these three conditions with our current situation, we found that:

  1. When people miss Friday prayers, it is usually because of the health crisis, not because they underestimate or neglect the mandate of Friday prayer. In reality, because they believe that Friday prayer is of utmost importance, they’ve been praying at home.
  2. The Indonesian government announced that the country is undergoing an emergency and has enacted large-scale social restriction policies.
  3. People don’t always know if they are infected with the virus, and the situation is therefore unpredictable.

By comparing these conditions, all through Islam’s perspective, we hope to improve people’s COVID-19 literacy and encourage them to think more critically, which may speed up the ending of the outbreak.

By Indika Foundation, a recipient of the Intercultural Innovation Award of UNAOC and BMW Group

Organization: Indika Foundation
UNAOC Programme: Intercultural Innovation Award
Year: 2019
Country: Indonesia
Website: https://www.indikafoundation.org/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Indika-Foundation-182216732566141/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/milenialislami/?hl=en

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