Coronavirus: Islamic perspective
What should we do at times like this?
- Don’t lose hope; be patient.
The Glorious Qur`an states, “And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient.” [2: 155]
Coronavirus needs no introduction. While it important to learn about this virus, how it spreads and the ways to prevent catching it (which could be read about elsewhere), it is even more important that we understand the force behind this epidemic. This global phenomenon should be a means of us drawing closer to Allah His religion. It should remind us of the shortness of the world, the weakness of man, the objective of our existence, the vastness of the hereafter and the total and absolute power of Allah. If we don’t wake up now, then when will we? We must take account of ourselves, before it is taken for us [on the Day of Judgement]. Let this be a means of repairing broken families, settling overdue debts, propagating goodness, fulfilling religious and communal obligations and restoring faith in humanity. There is always goodness in all situations for a believer. Also, there were many companions of Prophet Muhammad who died as martyrs due to such illnesses and plagues; in particular, in 18th of Hijrah, the plague of `Amwas in Shaam (Palestine) was responsible for the lives of 20,000 including Abu `Ubaidah b. al-Jarrah, Mu`adh b. Jabal, Yazid b. Abi Sufyan, al-Harith b. Hisham, Suhail b. `Amr, `Utbah b. Suhail RA etc. Allah has His plans.
In Islam, are viruses understood to be contagious? Basically, there are two, seemingly contradictory, traditions in this regard:
- The Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) said, ‘There is no ‘adwa [transmission of infectious disease] and no tiyarah [superstitious belief in bad omens].’ [Bukhari, Muslim]
- The Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) also said, ‘If you hear of an outbreak of plague in a land, do not enter it; but if the plague breaks out in a place while you are in it, do not leave that place.’ [Bukhari, Muslim]
The first tradition was to negate and respond to the false belief, as held by the masses before the advent of Islam, that if a healthy person were to interact with a sick person then it would surely result in the healthy falling ill too; they did not believe in any divine decree or in the absolute and total control of Allah. Hence, this tradition negates not the spreading of viruses from one ill person to another, as we today understand from modern science, but the false belief that the illness itself is independently and absolutely influential in causing people to fall ill, without divine decree.
The primary purpose of the second tradition was to strengthen the Islamic belief and protect the masses from falling back to the previously-held false beliefs of negative any divine intervention. The instruction provided was not due to the fear of the plague being contagious but to protect their correct belief. The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) instructed a healthy person not to enter the plagued area; since, if he now got infected, he would attribute the illness to having entered that area, and not to the will and control of Allah. Similarly, the Prophetic instruction provided not to leave the plagued area was to negate the healthy person from possibly attributing his health to having fled the plagued land, and not to the power of Allah.
Moreover, in this word (the abode of causes), it is for the comfort and assurance of mankind that The All-Wise Allah establishes and uses systematic approaches and methods wherein illnesses can spread from one person to another. Hence, one is also allowed to protect one`s belief and health by employing all precautionary measures, as indicated by the second tradition. As to adopt precautionary means is also from the sunnah (Prophetic practice) in general. Prophet Muhammad PBUH once noticed a Bedouin leaving his camel without tying it. He PBUH asked him, ‘Why don’t you tie down your camel?’ The Bedouin answered, ‘I placed my trust in Allah’ The Prophet PBUH then asserted, ‘Tie your camel first, then pin your trust in Allah’. [Tirmidhi]
- Catch it, Bin it, Kill it.
The Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) said, “Cleanliness is part of faith.” A companion reports, “Whenever Allah`s Messenger PBUH sneezed, he would cover his mouth with his hand or a piece of cloth.”
- Pray and seek repentance.
Prophet Muhammad PBUH said: “Whoever recites the supplication [given below] thrice in the morning and evening, no harm will come to him.” [Tirmidhi]
bis-mil laa-hil-la-zi la ya-dhur-ru ma-a is-mi-hi shay-un fil ar-dhi wa laa fis-sa-maa wa hu-was-sa-mee-`ul a-leem.
(In the name of Allah, with whose name nothing on the earth nor in the sky can cause harm, and He is All Hearing, All Knowing.)
- Follow all professional, legal and medical guidance. If you have any symptoms, immediately seek medical advice from a doctor.
The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) said, “Do not cause harm or return harm. Whoever harms [others], Allah will harm him. Whoever is harsh [with others], Allah will be harsh with him.” [as-Sunan al-Kubra]
For all religious queries in regards to congregational prayers and burials, you must seek advice from your local scholars and professional bodies.
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Posted in General on 23rd Jul 2020 by Our Imam | 36 Views