A video with a claim that mass sneezing was held at a mosque in Delhi, India to spread coronavirus was going viral. Even some of the local news channels in Karnataka state of India reported it as mass sneezing at the time of coronavirus. But here is the truth.
The claim is that the incident occurred at Hazrat Nizamuddin mosque in Delhi, capital of India. But the experts have clarified that this is a kind of Sufi meditation and prayer called Zikr. It is followed worldwide and that video is being wrongly spread as an effort to mass sneezing.
Hoax news busted
First of all Zikr is a kind of meditation and is said to be similar to contemplative prayer in Christian mysticism. Zikr is practiced to establish an inner connection with the divine and to attain bliss. In Sufism, the mantra or chanting is also called as Zikr or Jikr or Dhikr. It means remembrance.
According to Alt News fact checking, the same video was being circulated in Pakistan social media in January, when coronavirus had started spreading its wings. The video was published by a YouTube channel based out of Pakistan on January 29. Another fact to be noted is that the mosque shown in the video is neither Nizamuddin mosque that is claimed to be practising mass sneezing ritual.
Some claimed it as Nizamuddin Dargah in Delhi. Moreover, it is reported that the ritual (as shown in the video) is only practiced in Tablighi Jamaat congregations. But Nizamuddin Dargah had recently distanced itself from Tablighi Jamat. Only Qawalis are sung in the courtyard of the Dargah and no Zikr is practiced, reports claim. And above all the place of worship that that is seen in the video is not even Nizamuddin Dargah.
What is Zikr?
Zikr is a devotional act where phrases or prayers are repeated (like chanting). It is said that it can be counted on a set of prayer beads called Misbaha or through the fingers. This is a vital practice in Sufi belief with a form of repetitive utterances of short sentences glorifying God. The content of the prayers includes the names of God, or prayer of supplication taken from the hadiths or the Quran.
Coronavirus cases in India
In India, more than 2,000 people have confirmed to have tested positive and above 50 deaths have been reported as on April 4. Globally, there are 936,438 confirmed cases and 47,251 deaths have been reported.