RNA - In a letter that was circulated for media coverage on Tuesday, Ayatollah Arafi pointed to the “unfortunate” incidence of the pandemic that has claimed close to 81,000 people worldwide since surfacing in central China late last year.
He also referred to the grief that was felt by scholars and religious leaders worldwide as a result of the toll the disease has been taking on the international community.
“Seminaries and religious leaders in Qom and Iran express their sympathy to the victims of this disease from all religions and nations,” he wrote. “We express our gratitude to His Holiness and all those who work to solve this problem and care for the sick and needy.”
Arafi urged that efforts aimed at battling the virus respect scientific and well-researched directives. He, however, said such efforts also had to “avoid the unrealistic bipolarity of science and religion.”
Elsewhere in his remarks, he advised that all elites, educators, and officials engage in “sustaining social and economic vitality, fostering social cohesion, and strengthening hope, will, peace, kindness, and creativity in societies” as they endeavor to confront the outbreak.
The responsibility borne by religious authorities in such circumstances, he added, included strengthening the foundations of faith, protecting the society from anomalies, drawing attention to the eternal divine power, and promoting prayer and supplication to God.
“It undoubtedly requires the empathy and cooperation of all religious centers and congregations,” Arafi said as he urged collaboration between his institution and the Holy See.
The official, meanwhile, said the Islamic Republic was proud in the fact that it has been witnessing extensive cooperation among the people and between the people and the government in the face of the emergency under the auspices of religious authorities and Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.
“We are proud of this heavenly bond,” he wrote.
The top seminarist separately wrote to Audrey Azoulay, the head of UNESCO or the United Nations’ cultural body, similarly urging global cooperation against the crisis.
He also underlined the importance of religion and religious guidelines to all the efforts that were being spent to fight the phenomenon and similar disastrous incidents.