LONDON – The Higher Committee of Human Fraternity, an international religious community based in the UAE, called Sunday for a global day of prayer to God for an end to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Committee, which was set up during Pope Francis’s visit to Abu Dhabi last year, said that “we should not forget to seek refuge in God, the All-Creator, as we face such a severe crisis” while recognising the role of science in combatting the deadly disease.
It called for people of all faiths from across the world to make May 14 a day for fasting, prayers and supplications for the good of all humanity.
“Each one, from wherever they are and according to the teachings of their religion, faith, or sect, should appeal to God to lift this pandemic off us and the entire world, to rescue us all from this adversity,” said the Committee.
It emphasised the importance of the call for people to pray for scientists to be inspired and to find a cure that “can turn back this disease, and to save the whole world from the health, economic, and human repercussions of this serious pandemic.”
It called on “all religious leaders and peoples around the world to respond to this call for humanity and together beseech God Almighty to safeguard the entire world, to help us overcome this pandemic, to restore security, stability, healthiness, and prosperity, so that, after this pandemic is over, our world will become a better place for humanity and fraternity than ever before.”
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, hailed the Committee’s initiative.
“On May 14, people everywhere will collectively join together in prayer for an end to coronavirus. Responding to the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity’s call, they will be united against this challenge. However our efforts play out, we need God's grace and mercy,” wrote Sheikh Mohamed on Twitter.
Pope Francis said that “because prayer is a universal value, I welcome the committee's call to believers of all faiths to be spiritually united on May 14, a day of prayer, fasting and charitable work, to pray to God to help humankind overcome the coronavirus pandemic.”
“Believers of different faiths will unite to pray, fast and perform charitable work,” added the head of the Catholic Church.
Ahmed El Tayeb the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, called on everyone to take part in the prayer call.
“I invite everyone to participate in this call, and to pray sincerely to Allah Almighty to lift this blight for people and to inspire scientists to find a cure that can turn back this disease,” said Tayeb on Facebook.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also threw his support behind the Committee’s call.
“In difficult times, we must stand together for peace, humanity & solidarity. I join His Holiness Pope Francis (@Pontifex) and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar Sheikh Ahmed Al Tayeb in their support for the Prayer for Humanity this 14 May – a moment for reflection, hope, and faith,” tweeted Gueterres.
The committee comprises a diverse set of international religious leaders, educational scholars and cultural figures.
It was established last year as a concrete response to the Document on Human Fraternity signed by Pope Francis and Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, during the Pope’s Apostolic Journey to the United Arab Emirates in February 2019.
As part of its mission to ensure the objectives of the Document are realised, the Committee meets with religious and other world leaders in order “to support and spread the values of mutual respect and peaceful coexistence.”