CORONAVIRUS AND HOW TO TACKLE IT FROM AN ISLAMIC
Imam Dr. Zijad Delic
Imam Dr. Mohsen Al-Nadi
Introduction to Coronavirus
global spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) that was first reported in
China at the end of December 2019, has spread into more than 80 countries as of
today, March 5th, 2020 (3:30 pm Eastern Standard Time, Ottawa,
Canada) and is taken much of the social media time and space.
people are affected and as of today 3,354 deaths are recorded. The virus
spreads from one person to another more easily than in the case of SARS, some
studies suggest. The coronavirus is the type of viruses that cause symptoms
similar to the common cold. Its intensity could vary from mild to moderate but
could also cause severe illness and even lead to death, as current death
numbers suggest. Good news is that large number of the people affected by
coronavirus recovered/discharged from it. As of today their number is 54,124.
are currently no confirmed or presumptive positive cases of novel coronavirus
in Ottawa. In Canada, there are 37 confirmed cases of coronavirus as of today –
20 in Ontario, 13 in BC and 1 in Quebec (3 new cases not yet associated with
any province). Of total 37 cases 29 are active, 8 recovered and 1 in a serious
No death related to coronavirus was reported in Canada!
the greatest risk with the coronavirus are elderly people and people with
health conditions such as diabetes.
according to the current information available, is less deadly than SARS.
Muslims, we share with the rest of the nation and the world the feelings of
fear and hope in times as coronavirus is spreading globally. We all are
standing together in this state of emergency and are obliged to work together
for the common good of all. Our faith Islam commands us to do exactly so! And
we Canadian Muslims are ready for that, if and when needed!
Health in Islam
obliges Muslims to take care of themselves both spiritually and physically.
Islam thus stresses that our health and well-being, as well as health and
well-being of other human brothers and sisters, are each and everyone’s
responsibility. Contributions to saving life of a person is greatly
acknowledged by the Creator who said: “And whoever saves one – it is as if he had
saved mankind entirely.” (Qur’an, 5:32)
of the objectives of Islam and its laws is preservation of life because life is
a sacred gift of God and Muslims are commanded to preserve it. Harming it in
any way, physically or symbolically, is prohibited (Haram).
is a necessary condition for the preservation of life. It is only healthy
humans that could establish healthy societies and implement ethical and just
system for all.
Ghazali points out: “A proper
understanding and implementation of religion, from the standpoint of knowledge
and worship, can only be arrived at through physical health and life
is indeed important in human life as we were taught by our Messenger Muhammad
“Second to faith, no one has been ever given a greater
blessing than health.” (Tirmizi)
“To God-fearing (people), health is better than wealth.” (Ibn Majah, Al Hakim, Ahmed)
“Whoever of you gets up in the morning feeling physically
healthy, enjoying security and having his/her food for the day, is like one who
has the world under his/her fingerprints.”
Muslims, we are all responsible for our health and will be questioned “How did we spend our lives and in what
pursuit we used our health?” (Tirmizi)
Because health is a blessing of God bestowed upon us and we are asked to “seize it before we become sick.” (Al
Bayhaqi) But unfortunately, “many of us
become careless about it” (Bukhari), as stated by Messenger Muhammad (S).
an Islamic standpoint, the responsibility to take care of health and its
protection is a duty on each one of us by:
caring about our bodies (“Your body has
right on you,” as our Messenger Muhammad (S), taught us) and
protecting ourselves and others from infectious viruses and diseases in the
present and the future [la darada wa la
Islam gave us set of instructions regarding health and our well- being by first
appreciating the gift of health, taking care of it and protecting it from any
Caring about the Weak and the Sick People
diseases like coronavirus reminds us of our collective responsibility to each
are reminded that our health is tied directly to the health of the weakest
among us. If we ignore the most vulnerable people, leave them without care and
support, then the disease only becomes more widespread and vicious. Our
strength is only in the strength of others.
the Messenger Muhammad (S) would meet a new tribe, instead of asking to meet
the nobles and the chieftains, he would say “bring
me the weak among you”. The Messenger (S) would wisely judge the true
nature of a society based on how they treated the weak, sick and vulnerable in
Messenger (S) would then say: “Truly
you are only aided and provided for (i.e. by God) because of your weak”.
Meaning that God’s aid, strength and support is lent to those who are in the
aid and support of the most vulnerable people.
might seem strange to think of the positives when dealing with infectious
diseases, but the believer should see positives in all matters of life. The truth
is that we often forget the root of much of our strength and prosperity when we
ignore the poor, the weak and the sick.
Infection Control in Islam – preventative measures and
control in Islam includes prevention measures and a treatment. Following the
rules and recommendations, with regards to personal hygiene and cleanliness, is
a part and parcel of our faith and Allah loves people of such attitude “Cleanliness is a half the faith.” (Muslim)
“Allah loves those who purify
themselves.” (Qur’an, 2:222)
infection control, through preventatives measures, is inherent in hygiene
behavior in Islam. Measures taken in the 21st century to prevent the
spread of infections and viruses conform almost exactly to the hygiene and
health practices taught by Messenger Muhammad (S) such as washing hands on
regular bases (before and after food, after using washroom, etc), during the wudu (ablution before the prayer) during
which we are to wash the hands, face, rinse the mouth, nose, etc.
we do these religious rituals, we take care of our health and curb the spread
of infectious diseases. Simply put, if we would perform five daily prayers
regularly, as commanded, one of the prerequisites is the wudu. Imagine, how much we would reduce the risk of infections by
the wudu without even trying!
encourages proactive preventative measures if there is any risk of harm of the
diseases to us or anyone else. Such an approach has been an essential component
of Muslims’ tradition, their behavior and attitude towards health.
Islamic primary sources – The Qur’an and the Sunnah – contain numerous
teachings that promote personal and environmental hygiene and preventative
measures in that regard as a religious obligation technically known as
jurisprudence of cleanliness (Fiqh ul
Taharah). Some of these are mentioned below.
- As Muslims, we must be careful not to get
harmed, and must protect ourselves appropriately.
- As Muslims, we must avoid harming others if
we are affected with a disease that has a likelihood of harming another person/people.
Muhammad (S) said, “Do not cause harm,
and don’t get harmed [la darar wa la
- As Muslims, we are encouraged to use medicine,
and this does not violate the concept of trusting in Allah. Muhammad (S) said: “O people! Treat yourselves medically!
For, there is no disease that Allah has created, except that He also has
created its treatment.” (Abu Dawud)
- The Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (S) has
encouraged the discovery of treatments for diseases. He (S) said: “For every disease there is a cure,”
(Abu Dawid, Tirmizi) suggesting to us to look for it.
Protecting Yourself and Others by
- Regularly washing hands. Messenger Muhammad
(S) encouraged Muslims to wash hands: “Whoever
would like Allah to increase the goodness or blessings of his/her family,
should wash hands when his/her meal is brought to him/her and when it is taken
away.” (Ibn Majah) Certainly, one of the blessings for such a person and
all those around him/her (his/her family particularly) is related to health.
- Covering your mouth and nose (face) when coughing
or sneezing (Narrated Abu Hurairah: “that
when Messenger Muhammad (S) would sneeze, he would cover his face with his hand
or with his garment.” (Tirmizi)
- Not mixing with healthy people if we are
sick. Messenger Muhammad (S) said: “A
sick person should not be taken to a healthy person.” (Muslim)
- Isolation and quarantine. Messenger Muhammad
(S) commanded his followers not to travel to places known to be afflicted with
infectious diseases and he also advised those in the contaminated
regions/communities not to leave and spread illness further afield. He said: “If you hear that there is a plague in a
land, do not enter it; and if it (plague) visits a land while you are therein,
do not leave it.” (Bukhari)
Attending the Mosque: People with symptoms of the disease
with symptoms of the disease should avoid coming to the mosques if they suspect
that they may be infected until they check with their health providers and
ensure that they are not.
is because the harm of spreading this virus is much greater than the bothering
the people with the odor of garlic, about which Messenger Muhammad (S) stated
the following: “He/she who eats of this
plant (garlic) should not come near our mosque and should not bother us with
the odor of garlic.” (Bukhari, Muslim)
Subhanallah! If eating food with
offensive odor is a reason for not engaging with the congregational prayers for
the fear of people being offended, then imagine… how we should look at the
issues related to infectious and dangerous diseases such as coronavirus!
in the event of spread of the virus, the local public health authorities advise
the suspension of the services in the places of worship and avoidance of large
public gatherings, the SNMC Masjid/Center management (and other Muslim
institutions) should comply with such instructions. This would be a sufficient
excuse to pray Jumu’a prayer at home (as Zuhr prayer) until the restriction is
removed. (AJMA Resident Fatwa Committee –
Declaration Regarding Coronavirus Disease)
conclusion, let us share several action items regarding Muslims’ attitude
towards the infectious coronavirus.
of all, our faith Islam gave us guidelines regarding our health and told us
that it is one of the greatest blessings bestowed upon us. As a blessing, we
have to acknowledge it, take care of it and protect it from any harm.
SNMC and all Canadian Muslim institutions should follow the updates that are
regularly updated by the Public Health Agencies (the city of Ottawa, the
Province of Ontario and Public Health Canada) and comply with their
all Muslim Medical doctors, researchers and others in the service of this noble
profession, are encouraged by our faith and the community leaders to contribute
as much as humanly possible they can to assist with safety of all Canadians and
people beyond Canada.
as people of prayer, we should not allow panic to spread; but be sober citizens
and Muslims, put trust in God and pray to the Creator to bring safety and
well-being to us and all of our human brothers and sisters in Canada and across
the globe! Ameen!