A few minutes after the telethon was screened, a few publications including Naya Daur posted that Maulana Tariq Jamil had blamed “immodest women” for Covid-19: So, is the claim true? We watched the 25 minute telecast, to see what the islamic scholar said.
After being welcomed on the show, Maulana Tariq Jamil started his talk by recounting various calamities mentioned in Islamic history that have taken place over time. He then went on to talk about Hadith, which is a record of Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) life; it is a commonly believed muslim belief that by following the way of life of the Prophet they can obtain God’s favour upon them. Islamic religiosity also states that calamities or natural disasters are often a sign of God’s displeasure with his people. However, Islam isn’t the only religion that believes this, the same is thought to be true in Christian belief and many others.
7 minutes into the video, Maulana Tariq Jamil briefly discusses the importance of being honest, followed quickly by stating people should not deceive each other, supported by a saying from the Prophet. Maulana Tariq Jamil is quite a popular figure in Pakistan and has a vast following; he also amasses significant viewership from abroad on his verified youtube account which has 3.44 million subscribers.
Addressing the Prime Minister on national television, Maulana Tariq Jamil got emotional while asking how many people in the country are honest. He then turned his attention to the news anchors, recalling an incident when the owner of a news channel-whom he does not name-visited him: Maulana Tariq Jamil said I asked him to stop telling lies on TV, and he replied it is easier to close the channel than stopping the lies. He concludes his point by stating it will be difficult to defeat the calamity the country is currently facing while if people are not honest.
His third point is about “Ikhlaq” which he states is determined by modesty. While talking about modesty, Maulana Tariq Jamil states, “Who is making the daughters of the nation dance?” along with, “Who is making them wear revealing clothes?” He follows this by stating, “When a muslim’s daughter, or a muslim’s youngsters stop being modest, God’s blessings…” Maulana Tariq Jamil trails off here, recalling another incident of calamity from Islamic history, but one can ascertain he meant to say that God’s blessings stop befalling those who go astray.
The root of the two statements made by Maulana Tariq Jamil lie in the fact that many Islamic schools of thought believe that modesty also means external modesty, which then goes on to include the headscarf and other clothing items. While not all muslim women strictly adhere to wearing the headscarf, there is an unsaid expectation in Pakistan that women dress “appropriately” – however, one can argue that now dressing has more of a cultural association than a religious one.
It is however important to note than Maulana Tariq Jamil followed his statements by saying you cannot bring people to Islam by the use of force, they must discover the will inside themselves – and this point cannot be missed. In Pakistani society, more often than not, conservative and religious families force their will and desires on the women of the household-whether they be daughters or wives-making them adhere to religious thought by force.
During the telethon, he guides the muslim population to partake in worship and pray. It is interesting to note that his exact words told the people to pray two Nafal from home and offer dua. In Pakistan there is a heightened concern that offering collective prayers in mosques will cause an explosion in the number of Covid-19 cases which will undoubtedly overwhelm our health care system.
Maulana Tariq Jamil ends the live video by offering a collective prayer which Prime Minister Imran Khan, Muniba Mazari, Hamid Mir and others also participated in.
So the fact of the matter remains – did Maulana Tariq Jamil blame “immodest women” for Covid-19? After watching to the entire video, we’d have to say no.