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Jakarta Post

True acts of sacrifice

  • Editorial Board

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, July 30, 2020   /   09:44 am
True acts of sacrifice A soldier helps a boy put on a face mask during an event to mark the transitional period of large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) in East Jakarta on June 26. The boy was with his father (back, left), who was found violating PSBB measures and ordered to sweep the area as punishment. JP/P.J.Leo (JP/P.J.Leo)

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed people’s lives, including religious rituals. In the coronavirus version of Idul Adha (Day of Sacrifice), Muslims in Indonesia are once again called upon to bend teachings and tradition. The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) has called on Muslims nationwide to perform strict health protocols to prevent virus transmission. Those who live in highrisk areas, known as “red zones”, should avoid praying in mosques and conduct the qurban (sacrificing animals) in proper slaughterhouses to prevent crowds gathering.

In Jakarta, as of last Thursday, some 33 community units (RW) were categorized as red zones, an increase from 30 RWs recorded earlier. The 33 RWs are spread across 26 subdistricts in all six administrative areas in Jakarta.

This is a good time for Muslims to quietly reflect on generosity and the sincerity of giving. With the sacrificed animals not visible to the eyes of those who make the sacrifice, Muslims are learning to give without expecting anything in return. Something that is often missing from daily life.

Those who were supposed to go on the haj have been disappointed because Saudi Arabia is not allowing haj pilgrims from outside the country, which will also be a test for the hopeful pilgrims who had spent years waiting to go to Mecca.

In the same spirit of sacrifice, the country’s citizens should learn to let go of many things to maintain their health and safety during the outbreak. The government has so many oversight problems that it is sometimes very hard to rely on it to implement health protocols.

Pressured by the need to make a living and the absence of strong social protection, discipline is a serious problem for many people in this country. Breadwinners still go to offices and factories despite a lack of safety provisions on public transportation and in their workplaces. When it comes to choosing between their family and their health, it is often an easy choice for them, family comes first.

But this kind of sacrifice is actually short-sighted. Because when they fall sick, it is their family members who must bear the burden.

What people should remember these days is to be mindful of themselves and their health. Because by caring about themselves, it means they care about others, including their families. Dozens of others, in their workplace, on public transportation or even in their homes could contract the virus if they let down their guard and allow the virus to strike.

Vaccines and medicines are still on trial and it could be next year before people can access them. So, the focus is on how to best protect ourselves.

Wearing masks at all times when in public, washing hands and keeping a distance—these are the true sacrifices that people should make these days.

This may make our journeys longer, make it more difficult to access offices and mean we see friends and relatives less often, but eventually it will keep them safe. These are actually simple things to do and can be done quietly without government officials or office supervisors forcing us.

But the hardest problem is usually controlling ourselves.