RELIGION IN THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC ERA*

At present the religious community is faced with a problem of universal humanity, that is increasingly complex in line with the progress of the age that continues to accelerate.

Thus the religious community is demanded to be able to understand and explain religious doctrine, while at the same time be able to provide answers to the various humanitarian problems, concerning justice, human rights, nature preservation and social welfare. Including how religious people respond to the covid-19 pandemic.

Contemporary issues regarding democracy, justice, human rights, the environment and all types of community alignments should be an indicator of the success of religious propaganda.  he concept of universal ethics includes doing good to all, including maintaining the balance of the universe. If this is understood, then ethics subject matter becomes compulsory in all educational institutions (regardless of type and level). As the word adab which has an extended of meaning to build civilization.

Therefore the great Prophet Muhammad Saw. has been delegated by God to re-build the universal human ethics (morals) which are commensurate with Ihsān, which is the core of religious teachings and as an embodiment of faith and Islam.

There are three relations in humans life (as servants as well as leaders) have three relations: First, the human relationship with his Lord which is vertically built through worship of his Lord (syahadah, shalah, zakah, shiyam and Hajj). Second, human relations with fellow human beings that are implemented with commendable behavior such as: honesty, trustworthy, fairness, responsibility, tolerance and so on. Third, human relations with nature which are carried out by caring for and preserving nature and the eco system, including caring for the land and sea environment.

         This concept is in line with God’s command in surah al-Qashash: 77 which can be explained scientifically the meaning of its contents, namely that theologically humans are commanded by Allah to worship Him, and at the same time must also look for life (work) in the world. Sociologically humans must do good to their fellow humans, crossing the boundaries of sectarianism and primordialism. Cosmologically humans have to use the whole nature for the benefit of the people and must not exploit the nature and environment.

In line with QS. al-Qashas above, Allah also emphasized that prosperity and social welfare are directly proportional to the citizens of the nation or human resources who have the power of orthodoxy (faith) and orthopraxis (good deeds) or piety, and vice versa damage to nature and the environment due to destruction and inhumanity done by humans.

In this context God asserts, that damage to nature (both land and sea) occurs because of human activity (QS. al-Rüm: 41).

ظَهَرَ ٱلْفَسَادُ فِى ٱلْبَرِّ وَٱلْبَحْرِ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِى ٱلنَّاسِ لِيُذِيقَهُم بَعْضَ ٱلَّذِى عَمِلُوا۟ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ . In al-Qur’an surah al-Qashas 59 it is also stressed that Allah will not destroy a country unless its inhabitants commit persecution (zalim). Likewise it is mentioned in surah al-A’råf: 96.

وَلَوْ أَنَّ أَهْلَ ٱلْقُرَىٰٓ ءَامَنُوا۟ وَٱتَّقَوْا۟ لَفَتَحْنَا عَلَيْهِم بَرَكَٰتٍ مِّنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ وَلَٰكِن كَذَّبُوا۟ فَأَخَذْنَٰهُم بِمَا كَانُوا۟ يَكْسِبُونَ

Unfortunately, in daily practice the appreciation of the values of faith is often separated from its social role, namely the value of faith (orthodoxy) and the value of charity (orthopraxis) in religion too many contradictions and gaps. As a result, religion cannot be present in public space and its role cannot be functioned. Whereas religion is known as a bearer of grace and savior of the people, and normatively religion is also considered as a social control, guide and unifying people.

Dom H. Camara, an activist and archbishop, called on all religions to unite and reopen their scriptures to find universal humanitarian principles in the fight against real enemies of injustice. Then Muslim activist Asghar Ali Engineer emphasized the need to seriously address the spiritual-material bipolarity problem of human life by restoring a just and egalitarian social life. Therefore, true believers are not the only ones who pronounce the word martyrs, but those who uphold justice and fight for the oppressed (al-mustadh’afin). In order to move towards the peace and integrity of the people then justice must continue to be fought.

In the Islamic view, people who still allow social inequality (do not care about the poor, orphans, displaced and oppressed people) are referred to as religious liars and traitors. Including enemies of religion are people who accumulate wealth that is of no use to others.

Therefore, it can be understood when the Prophet Muhammad Saw. first delivered a religion that was opposed by the Quraisy at that time was because he was considered to obstruct the practice of the accumulation and monopoly of the wealth of the Arab conglomerates.

In order for religion not to be shunned by its adherents, the religious elite must be able to answer increasingly complex challenges as the times change more quickly. These challenges include understanding religious teachings and politicizing religion. While religious plurality can become part of the national treasure if understood as a gift from God by establishing cooperation to build unity among religious believers for the realization of world prosperity. If the plurality of religions find one place for the same vision and mission, then religion will be able to answer various challenges that will be faced both now and in the future. But the phenomenon that appears so far is that religion is more oriented towards the status quo than its humanitarian mission. Religion is more likely to be positioned behind the interests of formal rulers or religious leaders. Therefore, the notion of divine religions must be seated correctly. The true religion is the religion of samåwåt wa al-ard in the sense of ideal-real, namely the integration of ideals and reality like water that descends from the mountains to the lake, cool and soothing. That way religion is not in heaven far away, but it is grounded [].

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* Paper presented at the International Seminar on: Would the Definition of Digitality, Education, Humanity, and Religiosity, Change in the Covid-19 Pandemic? held by Universitas Al-Asy’ariyah Mandar, Sulawesi Selatan, 7/72010.

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