Amid the chaos surrounding the congregation organised by Tablighi Jamaat, another video of Muslim men sitting on their knees and praying is doing rounds on social media platforms. The video is shared with the claim that the people are sneezing deliberately to spread the novel coronavirus.
The video is allegedly shot at Hazrat Nizamuddin mosque in Delhi and is widely shared social media. "Purposefully sneezing to spread Coronavirus at Hazrat Nizamuddin mosque in Delhi." reads one such tweet.
Purposefully sneezing to spread Corona virus at Hazrat Nizamuddin mosque in Delhi. pic.twitter.com/UQMWqwLfto— Purushothaman pala (@puliyannur) March 31, 2020
One of our community members also sent us the video asking us to verify its authenticity.
People praying at the Hazrat Nizamuddin mosque in Delhi were sneezing on purpose to spread the novel Coronavirus.
The claim is misleading. Since the video shows people inhaling and exhaling in an exaggerated manner, a Google search with the keywords 'Muslim inhaling ritual' was done which led to the concept of 'Zikr'.
Zikr is a traditional Sufi gathering held at the dargah or tekke. In this setting, the members of a Sufi tariqa (order) together chant certain Names of Allah.
There is a traditional order in which Allah's Names are mentioned in zikr, and each one is repeated several, usually hundreds of times in unison by the group.
Certain movements, such as swaying back and forth or turning from right to left, are incorporated into the activity during the intonations and are likewise performed in unison. In some tariqas a prayerful rotation of the whole body, arms extended while pivoting on one foot, is traditional.
An example of one such Zikr ritual can be found in this video from turkey.
Since Zikr is usually performed at a Dargah, it is highly likely that the video could have been filmed somewhere else and not at Nizamuddin mosque which is also known as Tablighi Markaz or Bangle Wali Masjid.
It can be argued that the video might be from the Nizamuddin Dargah which is about half a kilometre away from the mosque. However, the Dargah has clarified on Twitter that it is a separate institute regarding a different claim by AajTak News channel.
A wrong new is being circulated on AajTak that 33 corona suspects sent for quarantine who attended a programme at Dargah Hazrat Nizamuddin. It is clarified that the News is about Nizamuddin Tablighi Markaz and not of Dargah. Complaint has been made at 'Aajtak' in this regard.— Dargah Hazrat Nizamuddin (@SufiCulturalOrg) March 30, 2020
Therefore, the men seen in the viral video were performing a religious ritual and not sneezing in unison to spread the novel coronavirus.
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