The Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) is a global threat affecting millions of people and reflections on its may trigger several questions in the human mind; how can a very weak creation kill millions of people so quickly? Why are the rich and powerful nations not spared from it? Is there no sufficient knowledge on earth to defeat the virus? If so, then who is the most knowledgeable? If all of humankind is powerless, then who is the Mighty One? Who will save the world? All answers are pointing to one fact – Allah.
The occurrence of COVID-19 pandemic is not without the knowledge of Almighty Allah. The Glorious Quran says “We will never be struck except by what Allah has decreed for us; He is our protector.” And let the believers rely upon Allah” (Quran 9:51). Indeed, calamities only occur because of sins and a means of testing a Muslim’s faith. Allah got Prophet Adam and his wife out of paradise because they disobeyed him. According to a hadith, Umar prayed for rain by virtue of the supplication of Al-‘Abbaas, he said: O Allah, no calamity comes down except because of sin and it cannot be removed except by means of repentance. So, we should consider this period as a trying time and a call for moving away from sins.
What Islam expects from Muslims during COVID 19 Pandemic
As Muslims, we should always maintain a lifestyle of hope in Allah’s favours and fear of his punishments. As the best nation raised by Allah, the stability of the society is a duty where Muslim should take the lead. More importantly in this period of crisis, I have selected few tips that could be instrumental to maintaining a healthy and spiritually balanced co-existence in our society.
(1) Strong Faith in Allah: A true Muslim must maintain his Eeman in times of crisis by remaining patient. He should believe that Allah alone is the One that can wipe out or cure this disease. The Almighty says – “And when I am ill, it is He who cures me” (Quran 26:80). Several forms of plagues have inflicted humanity in history and Allah eradicated them at his appointed time. The Prophet Muhammad said: “Seek medical treatment, for Allah, has not created any disease but He has also created a remedy for it, except for one disease: old age.” narrated by Ahmad
(2) Caring for our Community: As Muslims, we are expected to give glad tidings, spread messages of hope to promote optimism and remove uncertainty in the minds of people. According to a narration from Abu Musa, the messenger of Allah used to say “Gladden people and do not scare them; make things essay and do not make them difficult”. In addition, it is highly important that we reach out to the aged ones, mothers with new babies, the sick, the bereaved families and other categories of people in need of care in this period of crisis. More importantly, doctors and other health care professionals are mostly at high risk of infection or stress at this time. A quick and safe communication channel should be in place to support them.
(3) Keeping Hygienic Practices: Cleanliness is half of faith, according to an authentic hadith. This is a treasure that the noblest of mankind, Prophet Muhammad has left for us several decades ago, which points to cleanliness, as a prerequisite of eeman. Islam is not a religion of filth. Washing our hands regularly and encouraging our families and friends to do so will go a long way in promoting hygiene and hence preventing disease. According to another tradition in Sahih Bukhari, He says – “Whoever wakes up from his sleep should wash his hands before putting them in the water for ablution, because nobody knows where his hands were during sleep.” Islam actively campaigns for hygiene and expects us to do the same.
(4) Avoiding Unnecessary Movement: Staying in our homes happily is the best option to avoid contracting the disease. Visitation to friends and restaurants, travelling around for vacation and other social gatherings should be avoided as much as possible; and if deemed necessary, the use of protective accessories, social distancing and other safety measures must be observed. The Prophet 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.” (Sahih, Bukhari). One of the objectives of divine legislation from Allah (Maqoosid Sharee’ah) is to protect our lives. Hence, a Muslim must move away from anything that threatens his life.
(5) Effective Time Management: The advent of COVID-19 pandemic has given us a lot of free time due to lockdown restrictions. Time is a great blessing from Allah so much that he swore by it in many places in the Quran. Islam considers time wasters as losers! The Prophet said: “There are two blessings which many people do not make the most of and thus lose out: good health and free time”(Sahih Bukhari). Our free time is an opportunity to reconnect our relationship with our creator and add value to ourselves. It presents us the opportunity to teach our family members more things, acquire new knowledge and skills, commit ourselves to religious and social obligations to benefit others and make new righteous friends. Dwellers of hell fire will ask Allah to grant them more time to return to this world and fix their errors, but Nay, it will be too late. Muslims should wake up to maximize the gift of time.
(6) Making lots of Supplications: Prayer is a form of worship. It is a key for unlocking Blessings, Forgiveness and Mercy from Allah. Prophet Yunus prayed unto Allah when he was swallowed by a fish and Allah responded – “So we responded to him and saved him from distress. And thus do We save the believers (21: 87-88). The Prophet used to make several forms of du’a in times of calamity, for example – “Oh Allah, I seek refuge in You from leprosy, insanity, mutilation, and evil diseases.”
In conclusion, COVID 19 pandemic is a form of tribulation to mankind and as Muslims, we must rise up to this challenge by showing spiritual and moral leadership to move our families and communities together to the path of Allah.