Islamic teachings to protect the public from death and sickness from a pandemic have their roots in the origins of Islam. Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) has always counseled his companions to place their health and lives above everything and urged them not to go to a place where there were epidemics. Protection of religion and life are the fundamentals of Shariah (Islamic Law).
— The National (@TheNationalNews) July 19, 2021
During testing times of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, when there is a lot of stress, fear, chaos, and confusion, Islamic teachings can be very helpful in alleviating these conditions. Management of a pandemic like the current COVID-19 requires a holistic approach, social and emphatic support, medical facilitation, and emotional management.
The teaching from the Qur’an and the Hadith provides excellent guidance for the holistic management of pandemics. Islam tells Muslims to utilize the means to protect themselves along with keeping their trust in Allah. This message reverberated across the Arafat Sermon as pilgrims gathered on Mount Arafat in the wake of Covid-19 social distancing measures.
The Islamic remedy against perilous Covid times
The current guidelines from the World Health Organisation (WHO) suggest maintaining good personal hygiene, social distancing, avoid touching of eyes, nose, and mouth, covering of mouth and nose with bent elbow or tissue on coughing and sneezing, and seeking medical advice from experts if feeling sick.
Since cleanliness is half Imaan, Islam promotes hygiene and sanitation against germs, viruses, and contamination. Thus, the WHO’s SOPs are a remake or reiteration of their precautionary measures explained by Islam 1400 years ago.
Maintenance of good personal and community hygiene is one of the essential parts of Islamic teaching. Ablution or Wuzu, in Islamic light, is an utmost act of physical purity. It is mandatory to perform ablution before each prayer; ablution consists of gargle, cleaning of the nose, washing hands, face, and feet. It is also Sunnah of Prophet (PBUH) to wash hands before and after eating or drinking.
Prophet (PBUH) has taught us to make supplication to Allah and also to seek treatment from the experts. Someone asked, O Messenger of Allah (PBUH), shall we not seek treatment? The Prophet (PBUH) said, yes, you should seek treatment and Allah has created a cure for every disease, except old age.
Importance of quarantine in an Islamic light
Quarantine, social distancing, and lockdowns are also important measures to control the spread of a pandemic like COVID-19. Aggressive testing and quarantine of cases are recommended as the first-line measure by WHO to control the spread.
The messenger of Allah (PBUH) also taught us social distancing. It is reported that once a leprous man wished to pledge his allegiance to him, which would require him to touch the Prophet’s (PBUH) hand.
Prophet (PBUH) told him from a distance that his pledge had already been accepted. He (PBUH) also told us that those with contagious diseases should not be kept with those who are healthy.
Prophet (PBUH) also said, evade an [transmissible] ailment the way a person flees from a lion. Therefore, taking precautions to avoid the spread of infectious diseases is something prescribed in Islam.
The message of the Arafat Sermon
#UPDATE Tens-of-thousands of Muslim worshippers have ascended Mount Arafat, near Mecca, as they perform one of the most important rituals of the annual Hajj pilgrimage. They'll spend hours in prayer at the site, where Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) delivered his final sermon. pic.twitter.com/5BGDfCV8z8
— Mowliid Haji Abdi (@MowliidHaji) July 19, 2021
Currently, the world is staring at an unprecedented situation; to overcome this we need a collective effort from everyone. The measures taken to overcome this pandemic are also taking a toll on humankind especially the poor.
In such circumstances, the teachings of Islam are rays of light. Thus, during the sermon, the Saudi Imam urged Muslims to establish fraternal, brotherly relations and hold tight to the rope of Allah and do not be divided. He stressed the need for equality, eliminating animosity and hatred amongst each other. He also asked everyone to forgive one another for the sake of humanity.