Coronavirus and Islam
What is Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses have numerous types that popularly include MERS (middle east respiratory syndrome) and SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome). The recent outbreak of COVDI-19, short for coronavirus disease 2019, is another type of the virus that mainly affects the upper respiratory system of the human body. The symptoms include cough, cold, fever, and shortness of breath.
Although there is no discovery of the treatment for the disease as of now, the symptoms can be managed under strict medical supervision. The disease is contagious and can transfer from physical touch like shaking hands, which is why the patients suffering from it are kept in isolation for around 14 days. The death toll from COVDI-19 is far less than the number of people recovering from it but some patients are having kidney failure and dying in severe stages of the disease.
The very first outbreak of COVDI-19 happened in Wuhan, China. The reason why the Chinese government has lately been brutally hateful towards its Muslim residents has started the debate of how the disease is an act of revenge from Allah Subhanahu wa taa’ala.
However, the Muslim clerics with profound knowledge of religion and a sensible approach towards unfortunate incidents are denying this mistaken belief. Also, they are requesting the Muslim fellows all around the world to eliminate the stigma and show more social support for the victims of COVDI-19, regardless of their religion and misconduct.
What does Islam interpret about viral infections?
Islam is a religion of peace. It teaches its followers to remain kind, gentle, charitable, and humane in all circumstances. According to the Quran and references of Hadith, all the diseases, health syndrome, and other sufferings are just a trial from Allah Subhanahu wa taa’ala. In Islam, the times of distress have mainly two purposes:
- To examine a person’s control over his/her willpower and the belief that they have on Allah Subhanahu wa taa’ala.
- To wash off all the sins from the body of the sufferer because of the pain and anguish that he/she goes through.
This is a highly positive approach that all Muslims must follow and also believe in. However, despite all these teachings, there are people and religious scholars from different parts of the world who are interpreting the COVDI-19 burst in China to be a punishment for mistreating their Muslim fellows.
Other than this, there are certain explanations and instructions found in the Quran and Hadith for situations like these, for example:
- Not leaving the affected areas before 14 days because it is the maximum time for catching the viral disease as it can be diagnosed within this time limit only.
- Not entering the places with most cases of the disease as one of the preventive measures.
- Keep washing hands and avoid physical touch, even with people without the condition.
- Keep yourself clean all the time and follow basic etiquettes like covering the mouth while sneezing or coughing.
How to react amidst the chaos of the rapidly spreading virus?
Conditions of confusions, misunderstandings, and misinterpretations due to the health care chaos in the surroundings is a normal human reaction. People easily believe in almost everything circulating on social, print, and electronic media. The haphazard caused because of the false statistics and baseless rumors is very hard to control for the government and official health care organizations.
However, being Muslims and firm believers on the expedience of Allah Subhanahu wa taa’ala, it is our responsibility to not only dismiss all the false versions of the analysis but also help people to see the positive side of it. For instance:
- The current situation in the holy places of worship, Mecca and Medina, is creating chaos among Muslims around the world. The guardians of the Haramain have restricted local citizens, residents, and tourists from performing Umrah or praying near the Kaaba for an indefinite period to sterilize the holy place to prevent all types of viral infections.
- Governments of the affected countries are announcing the temporary closure of educational institutes to prevent the disease from spreading in young kids.
- Ban on traveling to particular countries like the UAE, China, Italy, Iran, and Egypt.
All of these preventive measures have led people into believing that the current situation is a sign of Allah Subhanahu wa taa’ala’s rage for all the wrongdoings happening in the world.
Whereas, in reality, what we should be doing by following the Islamic teachings are:
- Seek forgiveness from Allah Subhanahu wa taa’ala and pray for quick recovery of all the victims around the world.
- Respect the government’s decisions by not spreading false rumors like an increased number of deaths or cases of the COVDI-19.
- Donate more in the form of money, medical, and food supplies to the affected countries.
- Do not travel to and from the countries that WHO has marked dangerously contagious.
- Decrease the cost of the stuff required for the prevention of the disease like gloves, masks, soaps, and sanitizers, etc.
- Continuous recitation of the duas mentioned in the Quran and Hadith for the patients and everyone else.
- Maintaining the strong belief throughout the time of hardship that ‘To Allah, we belong and to Him, we shall return’.
Why Muslims are relatively safer to catch the virus?
After China, there have been numerous countries that are facing a similar situation of the outburst of the COVDI-19. Whether it is Italy, Egypt, Iran, or UAE, there is no doubt that the disease does not attack non-Muslims only but everyone, regardless of their beliefs.
However, the cleanliness routine suggested by experts to prevent COVDI-19 is already mentioned in the Hadith for years and decades from now. From following basic manners of sanitation like covering your mouth while sneezing or coughing to washing hands, nose, and other body parts 5 times a day, all of it makes Muslims less prone to catching the virus.
This does not at all mean that Muslims cannot get the virus ever, it is just that the risks are relatively lesser than non-Muslims, for reasons like:
- We wash our hands and face daily for at least 5 times a day.
- We remain tidy and pure before leaving the house.
- We clean our nose as a part of Wudhu which eliminates the chances of allergies.
As the inference of one of the Ahadith goes like:
‘A wudhu performed well is half the faith’
Wudhu does not only purify the soul but also releases all the sources from within the body responsible for causing sickness. Whether it is relaxing the nerves, stable heart rate or reducing muscle pain, Wudhu holds the power of effectively doing it all to those who do it regularly.
Moreover, we have some highly effective duas from the Quran and Hadith particularly for curing and preventing diseases. Not only this, if the diseased person is unable to pray or recite duas then others can easily do it for them.
There have been reports of multiple cases of COVDI-19 in Muslim countries like the UAE and Saudi Arabia, however, the count is too low as compared to the non-Muslim countries.
Hence, sanitization and purity are the keys to avoiding contact with the virus which Muslims have been practicing for ages with regularity.
Is Coronavirus a revenge from Allah Subhanahu wa taa’ala?
Allah Subhanahu wa taa’ala does not hold grudges against anyone, even the believers who do not obey Him. As for non-believers, it is very evident in the Quran that He does not support or allow any sort of unnecessary violence and hatred for non-believers. In the Quran, Allah Subhanahu wa taa’ala says:
- ‘Whosoever killed a person, it shall be as if he had killed a mankind’ (5:33)
- ‘Allah does not forbid that you be kind and just to those who did not fight against you on account of religion, nor drove you out of your homes. Surely, Allah loves those who are equitable’ (60:8)
Islam does not encourage hate speech under any circumstances. Regardless of what the Chinese government did with its Muslim residents, there is no away that the outbreak of COVDI-19 from Wuhan is revenge from Allah Subhanahu wa taa’ala for the brutal mistreatment.
The rapidly spreading viral infection is just a form of trial for all the believers around the world and their faith in ‘Everything happens for a reason’ and that we should always seek forgiveness.
There have been several articles by highly knowledgeable Muslim clerics disregarding such rumors by mentioning references from the Quran and Ahadith. The best way to control the chaos and make things fall into its place is to keep following Islamic instructions, perform Wudhu five times a day, pray regularly, and make sure to wipe off the negativity by spreading the message of Islam.
How to prevent from catching the virus – Dos and Don’ts
There are some ways suggested by the health care experts for the prevention of catching the COVDI-19. Some of which include
This is the first and most important rule of prevention from any kind of a viral disease. Whether it is performing Wudhu or using a hand sanitizer every half an hour, the key to prevent COVDI-19 is purity. Invest in a sanitizer dispenser and place it just before the main door of the house/school/workplace/restaurant/hospital. Thoroughly wash your hands for at least 20 seconds after every toilet visit and do not touch other people unless necessary.
Do not ignore the initial symptoms:
The initial symptoms are very common like cough, shortness of breath, and fever. However, make sure to get it checked in a hospital via some blood tests and X-ray screening to analyze the exact condition. If not, the disease might turn into something as dangerous as pneumonia and kidney failure.
Don’t touch your face or eyes:
People usually have a habit of touching the face and eyes while working. It is best to immediately stop this habit as the birthplace of this virus is the eyes, mouth, and nose. Hence, if you avoid touching your face and eyes and keep washing it multiple times a day then it is one of the best ways to avoid catching the disease.
Dispose of garbage as soon as possible:
There is no second opinion in disposing of the garbage in an appropriate place, as soon as possible. When you keep trash for too long inside the house then the germs spread in the atmosphere with its odor which gives birth to many viruses. Also, try not to keep dirty dishes for too long in the sink.
Cleaning of the daily usage supplies:
Whatever you are habitual of using daily like car keys, handbag, wallet, remote, cell phone and all the other items, make sure to clean those to wipe off all the germs resting on it. You can either use baby wipes for this purpose or any dry/wet piece of cloth.
Wear a mask:
Wearing a mask is not necessary if there is no one in the surrounding with the virus. However, if you’re visiting a public place or a room full of people then wearing a mask is a good preventive measure to take. This way, even if you or someone else has a mild cough or not, it is better to remain cautious. Also, avoid shaking hands or hugging people.
Avoid traveling to the affected countries:
Although there is a ban by airlines and local governments on traveling to the affected countries, there are some places with minimal danger yet it is better to postpone the visit for some time. Otherwise, you never know, anyone can get infected, return to the hometown, and cause the disease to spread.
Eat homemade food:
Avoid food from outside because there are rare chances of the transmitting of the disease from animals and no one is aware of the procedure that the food goes through before getting on the table.
Spend the least time in places of worship:
Places of worship have undoubtedly a huge amount of people which is why is it better to spend the least time with limited physical and verbal contact with the others. Don’t stay at such places unnecessarily.
Coronavirus and Islam have a lot to teach during the current situation around the globe in terms of humanity, kindness, charity, purity, and getting rid of the social stigma. It does not matter what religion the other person follows; all we have to do as pious Muslims is to support each other and keep following the cleanliness instructions mentioned in the Quran and Hadith. The virus is not deadly, however, if neglected, it has the power to ruin the lives of thousands of people in a matter of days only.