Original Research

Turning religion from cause to reducer of panic during the COVID-19 pandemic

Muhammad Y. Wibisono, Dody S. Truna, Mohammad T. Rahman
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 77, No 4 | a6366 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v77i4.6366 | © 2021 Muhammad Y. Wibisono, Dody S. Truna, Mohammad T. Rahman | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 October 2020 | Published: 30 March 2021

About the author(s)

Muhammad Y. Wibisono, Department of Religious Studies, Post Graduate Program, UIN Sunan Gunung Djati, Bandung, Indonesia
Dody S. Truna, Department of Religious Studies, Post Graduate Program, UIN Sunan Gunung Djati, Bandung, Indonesia
Mohammad T. Rahman, Department of Religious Studies, Post Graduate Program, UIN Sunan Gunung Djati, Bandung, Indonesia


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Abstract

Muslim communities in the village facing the COVID-19 Pandemic attempts to find refuge from the plague and hope for survival. However, this led to more caution, which may lead to xenophobia. Via ethnography, this study unmasks the xenophobic attitude. This research discusses the root causes of panic in the community so that remedies can be implemented. The research attempts to explain, from a socio-anthropological viewpoint, how people and religious groups in the village perceive the pandemic of COVID-19 based on their belief in their faith and in the science. The research takes place in Cigagak village, an area of approximately 7000 m2 on the outskirts of Bandung of West Java of Indonesia. This study examines the selected respondents (20 respondents as the samples) from about 190 inhabitants (as the population) who had close ties to managing places of worship (mosques) and public places. This study utilises a collaborative self-ethnographic method and qualitative analysis. The influence of COVID-19 has moved to new exclusive and disintegrating practices from the inclusion-cohesive religious tradition. Therefore, this study tries to find out ways on how to reduce exclusive perception and religious practices to a minimum level and how to disappear xenophobia. Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic, inclusive awareness and actions were re-established, and even social cohesiveness was fostered. This study concludes that in its deep conviction nature, theology can change exclusive behaviour to be inclusive if it is based on the religious principles that are raised in response to human events. In this case, the Muslim community in a village can change the fear of COVID-19 pandemic to be a reducer of the panic based on the support of the religious doctrines.

Contribution: This article used a collaborative self-ethnography with a religious socio-anthropological viewpoint. This study could help to solve social problems through theological convergence in Islamic milieu, especially that of the government’s formal Islamic organisation and organic Islamic leaders of the society.


Keywords

COVID-19; rural life; religious perspective; social communication; xenophobia

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