Close this search box.

COVID-19: A Rare Reference

Ataul-Karim Gohar

On Saturday, 5th October 1907 in Brisbane, Australia, a unique ‘Religious Manifesto’ was published in the Telegraph [1]. On page 12 of this reputable newspaper, an article was published that outlined a set of important guidelines for the health and safety of people facing an epidemic.

This was a rare insight into how a Muslim leader from a small, rural village in India, reached out to his community members across the globe, to advise them of precautionary measures to safeguard themselves from the Bubonic Plague of 1896.

At the onset of the 20th Century, the world faced many epidemics in different places, none less severe than the Bubonic Plague outbreak in India where it has been said that people were ‘dying in the streets like dogs[2]. The instructions in the article were given at a time when the world feared a repeat of the previous catastrophic Bubonic Plague, ‘The Black Death’ in 1346-53. Historian Ole Benedictow describes this as “The Greatest Catastrophe Ever” that “killed 50 million people” or “60 percent of Europe’s entire population.” [3]

It is interesting to look back at this article at a time when the world is going through a similar, if not worse, situation with more than 15 million cases worldwide, and figures increasing daily.

In this article, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the founder of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, issued a statement to guide his followers in regard to the deadly plague.

Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad claimed to be the Promised Messiah awaited by all major religions. His instructions were a breath of fresh air in a time when the Muslim community started to suffer from educational and religious decadence. The effects of which we still witness today in various parts of the world due to extremist clerics who continue to misguide their followers.

The astonishing thing to note is that this man had such a powerful message, that it was reprinted right here in Australia. In this announcement, The Promised Messiah (may peace be on him) reiterates the Government’s guidelines to evacuate a plague-stricken area/building and move to an open space. He particularly emphasised that his community must follow these governmental guidelines as they have been devised “for the welfare of the people.”

It [the government] has spent hundreds of thousands of rupees for the safety of the lives of those who live under it. None is more foolish than the person who looks with distrust upon the Government measures.” [1]

His Holiness states that Muslims should above all, show obedience to the orders of the government because “your example can be an (exemplary) example to save the lives of many.” [1] This is, in fact, a teaching that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him) also preached, as he is recorded to have said:

You are obligated to hear and obey (the ruler) in prosperity and adversity, willingly or unwillingly, and even when you are treated unjustly.” [4]

This in itself is clear evidence that Muslims should be truly loyal to their country, not only in good times but more importantly, at times of trial as well; an important instruction provided in this ‘Religious Manifesto’.

Hence, we see today that places around the world where citizens have complied with their government’s instructions are now doing far better in terms of heading back on to the road of recovery.

Likewise, in the article, His Holiness further expounds on the instructions of the government and says he is fully confident in the guidelines as an efficient remedy through supporting evidence from the time of the Holy Prophet (Peace and Blessings be upon him),

Our Holy Prophet, upon whom be peace and the blessings of God, also directed that when the plague makes its appearance in any town, the people living at the infected place should immediately evacuate it and that otherwise, they would be fighting with God.” [1]

Does ‘Social Distancing’ ring a bell?

The Holy Prophet is recorded to have said: ‘those with contagious diseases should be kept away from those who are healthy.’

Similarly in a Friday Sermon dated 19th June 2020, the Caliph of His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad, presented the following narration to an international audience:

“When the second Caliph of the Holy Prophet was traveling to Syria, he abruptly changed his decision and returned home because an epidemic had occurred in those lands. Upon this one of his companions asked: “Are you running away from what Allah had ordained?” `Umar replied, “Would that someone else had said such a thing, O Abu ‘Ubaida! Yes, we are running from what Allah had ordained to what Allah has ordainedDon’t you agree that if you had camels that went down a valley having two places, one green and the other dry, you would graze them on the green one according to the decree of Allah, and you would graze them on the dry one also only in accordance with the decree of Allah?” Meaning that everything in existence has ultimately been designed by God to operate in a specific manner; hence, it is up to us how we either benefit or suffer from its design. Another companion of the Holy Prophet further added ‘Abdur-Rahmān bin ‘Awf, “I have some knowledge about this. I have heard Allah’s Messenger saying, ‘If you hear about it (an outbreak of plague) in a land, do not go to it. But if the plague breaks out in the land where you are staying, do not flee away from it.” [5]

Just like his predecessor, His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad supporting the government guidelines further commented: “Even today we can see that the countries that implemented a lockdown earlier have been able to control the pandemic more successfully, whereas it is continuing to spread in other countries.” [4]

This lesson is becoming increasingly more important at a time when states are re-opening their borders despite the re-emergence of the virus in some parts of Australia.

Incredibly, such sound understanding was presented by an unlettered man, The Holy Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him) more than 1400 years ago in an area of the world and time when the world was drowned in the dark ages. Then a man who claimed to be his Messiah reiterated them once again, just over 100 years ago from a small village in India at a time when the Muslim community was being plagued with extremism and anti-western sentiments were being promoted.

What’s more, now a successor of this Messiah is again presenting this same sound understanding in the present day at a time when the Muslim community is clearly fragmented and the world at large is suffering from polarisation.

As a Muslim who believes in this Messiah and follows his Caliph it is reinvigorating to see the teachings of the Holy Prophet of Islam is represented through their leadership in such times of confusion.



AcknowledgmentsWe sincerely thank Masood A Shahid (Minister of Religion) and Dr Tariq A Mirza for providing insight into this rare article published in The Telegraph

[A link to the Religious Manifesto can be found here]

  2. p.256
  4. Gardens of the Righteous by Muhammad Zafrulla Khan, Hadith number 670, p.136

About the Author

Ataul-Karim Gohar

Ataul Karim Gohar is a year 11 student currently completing secondary school education with interests in both academics and sports, with an aspiration to become a Minister of Religion. He has extensive proficiency in public speaking and broadcast media, winning multiple awards and recognition for his achievements. He is also an experienced, skillful writer and enjoys writing expositions on faith and current affairs.

Privacy Policy

This privacy policy (“Policy”) describes how the Website Operator (“Website Operator”, “we”, “us” or “our”) collects, protects and uses personally identifiable information (“Personal Information”) you (“User”, “you” or “your”) may provide on the website in the course of accessing and using our services (collectively, “Website” or “Services”).


It also describes the choices available to you regarding our use of your Personal Information and how you can access and update this information. This Policy does not apply to the practices of companies/partnerships or otherwise that we do not own or control, or to individuals that we do not employ or manage. The website is directed to users in Australia only.

About the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Assocation (“the Management Association”) promotes social, moral and spiritual well-being. The Management Association is committed to the propogation of the true teachings of Islam through peace and harmony. To promote ‘Love For All and Hatred For None’ and to establish open and honest communication, the Management Association manages and oversees the True Islam domain and the Muslims Down Under platform (“True Islam” and “Muslims Down Under”). True Islam is website domain controlled and managed by Muslims Down Under. Muslims Down Under is an online platform aimed at tackling extremist ideologies and removing misconceptions related to Islam and Muslims.

Automatic collection of information

Our top priority is user data security and, as such, we exercise the no logs policy. We process only minimal user data, only as much as is absolutely necessary to maintain the Website or Services. Information collected automatically is used only to identify potential cases of abuse and establish statistical information regarding Website usage. This statistical information is not otherwise aggregated in such a way that would identify any particular user of the system.

Collection of personal information

You can visit the Website without telling us who you are or revealing any information by which someone could identify you as a specific, identifiable individual. If, however, you wish to use some of the Website’s features, you will be asked to provide certain Personal Information (for example, but not limited to, your name and electronic mail address). Any information you knowingly provide to us, for example through any online forms you fill in on the Website, is stored with Muslims Down Under. The information collected may include the following:

  • Personal details such as name and country of residence.
  • Contact information such as email address, residential address, and phone numbers.


You can refuse to provide us with your Personal Information but then you may not be able to take advantage of some of the Website’s features. Users who are uncertain about what information is mandatory are welcome to contact us.

Storing personal information

Muslims Down Under will retain and use your Personal Information for the period necessary to comply with our legal obligations, resolve disputes, and enforce our agreements (“retention period”) unless a longer retention period is required or permitted by law. Muslims Down Under may use any aggregated data derived from or incorporating your Personal Information after you update or delete it, but not in a manner that would identify you personally. Therefore, the right to access, the right to erasure, the right to rectification and the right to data portability cannot be enforced after the expiration of the retention period.

Use and processing of collected information

In order to make our Website and Services available to you, or to meet a legal obligation, we need to collect and use certain Personal Information. If you do not provide the information that we request, we may not be able to provide you with the requested services. Some of the information we collect is directly from you via our Website. Any of the information we collect from you may be used for the following purposes:

  • Send administrative information
  • Request user feedback
  • Improve user experience
  • Enforce terms and conditions and policies
  • Protect from abuse and malicious users
  • Respond to legal requests and prevent harm
  • Run and operate our Website and Services

Any information collected through webforms will be provided to the Management Association. This information is stored for the purposes as mentioned above and is used only to facilitate further correspondence between you and our platform. As a user you may object to this use but doing so may result in your webform request not being processed.

Processing your Personal Information depends on how you interact with our Website, where you are located in the world and if one of the following applies: (i) You have given your consent for one or more specific purposes; (ii) Provision of information is necessary for the performance of an agreement with you and/or for any pre-contractual obligations thereof; (iii) Processing is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation to which you are subject; (iv) Processing is related to a task that is carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in us; (v) Processing is necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by us or by a third party.

Muslims Down Under will not sell or rent any Personal Information provided to us. Personal Information collected through consent or otherwise will remain in data storage related to this Website only.

Note that legally there is some information we are allowed to process until you object to such processing (by opting out), without having to rely on consent or any other of the following legal bases below. In any case, we will be happy to clarify the specific legal basis that applies to the processing, and in particular whether the provision of Personal Information is a statutory or contractual requirement, or a requirement necessary to enter into a contract.

Use and processing of collected information

Depending on your location, data transfers may involve transferring and storing your information in a country other than your own. You are entitled to learn about the legal basis of information transfers to a country outside your own, and about the security measures taken by us to safeguard your information. If any such transfer takes place, you can find out more by checking the relevant sections of this website or inquire with us using the information provided in the contact section.

The rights of users

You may exercise certain rights regarding your information processed by us. In particular, you have the right to do the following: (i) withdraw consent where you have previously given your consent to the processing of your information; (ii) object to the processing of your information if the processing is carried out on a legal basis other than consent; (iii) learn if information is being processed by us, obtain disclosure regarding certain aspects of the processing and obtain a copy of the information undergoing processing; (iv) verify the accuracy of your information and ask for it to be updated or corrected; (v) under certain circumstances, to restrict the processing of your information, in which case, we will not process your information for any purpose other than storing it; (vi) in certain circumstances, to obtain the erasure of your Personal Information from us; (vii) receive your information in a structured, commonly used and machine readable format and, if technically feasible, to have it transmitted to another controller without any hindrance. This provision is applicable provided that your information is processed by automated means and that the processing is based on your consent, on a contract which you are part of or on pre-contractual obligations thereof.

The right to object to processing

Any requests to exercise User rights can be directed to the Owner through the contact details provided on this website. These requests can be exercised free of charge and will be addressed by the Owner as early as possible.

How to exercise these rights

Any requests to exercise User rights can be directed to the Owner through the contact details provided on this website. These requests can be exercised free of charge and will be addressed by the Owner as early as possible.

Privacy of children

We and Muslims Down Under do not knowingly collect any Personal Information from children under the age of 13. If you are under the age of 13, please do not submit any Personal Information through our Website or Service. We encourage parents and legal guardians to monitor their children’s Internet usage and to help enforce this Policy by instructing their children never to provide Personal Information through our Website or Service without their permission.

If you have reason to believe that a child under the age of 13 has provided Personal Information to us through our Website or Service, please contact us. You must also be at least 18 years of age to consent to the processing of your Personal Information in Australia.


Muslims Down Under offers electronic newsletters to which you may voluntarily subscribe at any time through this Website. We are committed to keeping your electronic mail address confidential and will not disclose your electronic mail address to any third parties except as allowed in the information use and processing section or for the purposes of utilising a third-party provider to send such emails. We will maintain the information sent via electronic mail in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.

You may choose to stop receiving the Muslims Down Under newsletter or marketing emails by following the unsubscribe instructions included in these emails or by contacting us. 


The Website uses “cookies” to help personalise your online experience. A cookie is a text file that is placed on your hard disk by a web page server. Cookies cannot be used to run programs or deliver viruses to your computer. Cookies are uniquely assigned to you, and can only be read by a web server in the domain that issued the cookie to you.

We may use cookies to collect, store, and track information for statistical purposes to operate our Website and Services. You have the ability to accept or decline cookies. Most web browsers automatically accept cookies, but you can usually modify your browser setting to decline cookies if you prefer. To learn more about cookies and how to manage them, visit

Do Not Track signals

Some browsers incorporate a Do Not Track feature that signals to websites you visit that you do not want to have your online activity tracked. Tracking is not the same as using or collecting information in connection with a website. For these purposes, tracking refers to collecting personally identifiable information from consumers who use or visit a website or online service as they move across different websites over time. How browsers communicate the Do Not Track signal is not yet uniform. As a result, this Website is not yet set up to interpret or respond to Do Not Track signals communicated by your browser. Even so, as described in more detail throughout this Policy, we limit our use and collection of your personal information.

Links to other websites

Our Website contains links to some websites that are owned and controlled by Muslims Down Under, and also to other websites that are not owned or controlled by us. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other websites or third-parties. We encourage you to be aware when you leave our Website and to read the privacy statements of each and every website that may collect Personal Information.

Data breach

In the event we become aware that there has been unauthorised access to, or unauthorised disclosure of, or loss of, any Personal Information collected by the Website. We reserve the right to take reasonably appropriate measures, including, but not limited to, investigation and reporting, as well as notification to and cooperation with law enforcement authorities. In the event of a data breach, we will make reasonable efforts to notify affected individuals if we believe that the unauthorised access to, or unauthorised disclosure of, or loss of, any of the Personal Information is likely to result in serious harm to the user to whom the Personal Information relates to, or if notice is otherwise required by law. When we do, we will post a notice on the Website and send you an electronic mail.

Legal disclosure

We will disclose any information we collect, use or receive if required or permitted by law, such as to comply with a subpoena, or similar legal processes, and when we believe in good faith that disclosure is necessary to protect our rights, protect your safety or the safety of others, investigate fraud, or to respond to a government request.

Changes and amendments

It is at our discretion to update this Privacy Policy from time to time and will notify you of any material changes to the way in which we treat Personal Information. When changes are made, we will revise the updated date at the bottom of this page. We may also provide notice to you in other ways at our discretion, such as through contact information you have provided. Any updated version of this Privacy Policy will be effective immediately upon the posting of the revised Privacy Policy unless otherwise specified. Your continued use of the Website or Services after the effective date of the revised Privacy Policy (or such other act specified at that time) will constitute your consent to those changes. However, we will not, without your consent, use your Personal Data in a manner materially different than what was stated at the time your Personal Data was collected.

Acceptance of this policy

You acknowledge that you have read this Policy and agree to all its terms and conditions. By using the Website or its Services you agree to be bound by this Policy. If you do not agree to abide by the terms of this Policy, you are not authorised to use or access the Website and its Services.

Contacting us

If you would like further information about this Policy or wish to contact us concerning any matter relating to individual rights and your Personal Information, you may send an email to