By Tiyese Monjeza
At a time when the novel coronavirus continues to claim lives and strains economies of the world, the clergy in Malawi holds mixed view on whether it is a punishment from God or not.
While Islamic Scholar Sheikh Dinala Chabulika opines that Allah [God] is teaching mankind a lesson, General Secretary for the Church of Central African Presbyterian (CCAP) Blantyre Synod Reverend Billy Gama said the pandemic should not be seen as a punishment from God, but rather a warning for people to turn back from their evil ways.
According to Gama, there are incidences in the bible where righteous men of God, passed through trials and tribulations which helped them grow their faith in God.
He singled out a story of Job whom he said, despite being God’s loyal servant, he was put through a tough test where he lost all his belongings and his relations, but he never departed from God.
“There is a general belief that sin is equal to punishment and righteousness is equal to reward. However, not all sufferings mean we are being punished, but the bottom line is that the more we are challenged, the closer we come to God. It is these times that remind us to get connected to our Lord,’ Gama said.
Gama has since called the citizenry to keep their trust in God who is still in control in what he described as trying moments.
And Chairperson of Anglican Council in Malawi (ACM) Bishop Fanuel Magangani said the pandemic is not the wrath of God, arguing the Lord is ‘loving’ and ‘merciful’ and never subscribes to paying back evil.
“God’s love demonstrated when he sent his only son, Jesus to die for sinners on the cross is a true reflection that he does not want us to suffer. Even his son, went through trials in the wilderness. Let us devote to intensified prayers, petitioning God’s grace to end the pandemic,” Magangani said.
He further called on Malawians to continue following preventive measures recommended by health officials.
On the contrary, Muslim Association of Malawi spokesperson Chabulika said the rising cases of injustices, greed and corruption are among the deeds which have drawn the wrath of Allah who is punishing the world, so that we can repent and seek his forgiveness.
‘The belief in Islam, is that whatever happens whether good or bad, it is all the will of Allah. Whatever is happening on Covid-19 is from Allah.
The Quran says, Allah can test us with everything, but all is done to call us to repent.
However, a big punishment is coming if we do not repent,’ he said.
Chabulika has since requested the government to spare a day where everyone will be praying at home to plead with God to remove the calamity.
Charismatic Redeemed International Ministries Archbishop Mark Kambalazaza shared Chabulika’s sentiment, that people have abandoned God and the pandemic is ‘part’ of a punishment.
He however said this does not imply that all who have died from the pandemic are sinners, but rather the wrath is targeting the world as a whole.
“In Deuteronomy 28 verse 15, God says ‘If you do not obey the voice of the Lord your, God, there are curses that shall come on you and overtake you… We might be down but we should look on Christ and never lose hope,” Kambalazaza said.