In Islam, are there any basics regarding fighting Coronavirus? Allah is the Creator of all things and everything besides Him is created. He is the One who has no beginning and He has no ending. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an:
Allah is the Creator of all things, and He is, over all things, Disposer of affairs.” [Qur’an 39-62](1)
Allah decides what happens with them. And as for humans, we know some of the lost creatures and there are others and many from Allah’s creatures that we are unaware of. Allah says:
…and He creates that which you don’t know.” [Qur’an 16-8](2)
There are creatures of Allah that we are not aware of and today we are discussing one of these creatures, a creature from among the creatures of Allah which in term of its size is tiny, yet, it has brought the world to its knees. In terms of the size then, it is a creature which you need to look through a special type of electron microscope and magnify ten, twenty, thirty, & forty thousand times before you can even see it, yet, it has crippled the financial markets, the stock markets, and companies have gone bust because of it. All humans are living in a state of fear and they are frightened, apprehensive, worried and paranoid because of this little creature, that is Coronavirus (COVID19) which we are going to talk about today.
Coronavirus & Islamic Guidance
Islam hasn’t left us without guidance; there isn’t a single situation that a person is going to find himself in that isn’t in the book of Allah and in the Sunnah (teachings) of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). We have to look at what Islam has to say about contagious diseases.
In many narrations, the Prophet (PBUH) said:
(There is) no ‘Adwaa [no contagious disease], nor is there any bad omen, nor is there any Hamah, nor is there any bad omen in the month of Safar.” [Sunan Ibn Majah](3)
The basics of fighting Coronavirus are in Islam
So, if a person is to take this one Hadith and he was to hear the statement that the Prophet (PBUH) has said, he might get confused and say: “Hang on a minute, the reality of the situation quite clearly contradicts with this Hadith in which the Prophet (PBUH) was telling us that there is no such thing as contagious diseases, yet, we see that there are contagious diseases. This thing we have seen with Coronavirus where it started in Wuhan in China and then it transmitted from one to the other and it has become a worldwide pandemic now.”
Here we should pay attention that it is important that we don’t just take one narration and leave the rest, because in another Hadith the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said the same four things then he added:
…, and one should run away from the leper as one runs away from a lion.” [Sahih al-Bukhari](4)
That is important now because in one side the Prophet (PBUH) told us that there is no such thing as contagious diseases, and yet on the other side, he told us to run flee from a person who has leprosy, which is a contagious disease, just as we would run from a lion.
Social Distancing 14 Centuries Ago
There is another Hadith which talks about the same idea in which Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said:
The ill should not be taken to the healthy.” [Sahih Muslim](5)
Which means don’t put the sick with the healthy. Don’t put the sick animal with the healthy animal, don’t put the sick person with the healthy person. Thus, we are quite clearly getting now to what’s known nowadays as “Social Distancing”; staying away from people who might potentially have that illness. So, clearly we have a caution against contagious illnesses like “Coronavirus”.
Infection in Islam
When Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “There is no infection” he meant that there is no transmission of contagious diseases except by the permission of Allah. So, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was teaching us and was very careful to emphasize to us that these illnesses in and of themselves can’t harm you, can’t decide and they don’t have the ability affect a person except by the permission of Allah. So, the point is that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is attaching the hearts of the people to Allah and making them trust and rely solely on Allah.
The Islamic teachings warned against putting and mixing the sick with the healthy, and that is why if anyone fears that he may be harmed or may harm others, it is permissible for him to not attend the Friday prayer and prayers in congregation. (6)
Also, Ibn Qudaamah (may Allah have mercy on him) said in al-Mughni (1/366):
“The one who is afraid is excused for not praying in congregation or praying Jumu’ah, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: ‘Valid excuses are fear and sickness.‘ Fear is of three types: fear for oneself, fear for one’s wealth or property, and fear for one’s family.”
This is extremely important and we see the basis of this in the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) over 1400 years ago, before science could ever tell us in this much detail anything along these lines.
The prophetic teachings also taught us what to do the instance that a plague or a virus breaks out. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said:
If you get wind of the outbreak of plague in a land, do not enter it; and if it breaks out in a land in which you are, do not leave it.” [Riyad as-Salihin](7)
If the people followed the teachings of Islam, it wouldn’t have escaped past the area where it was. So, we find that Islam gave us all what we need in any circumstances and this rule is for every illness. This happened when nobody knew about this whole phenomenon of a virus transmitting from one person to another and what exactly takes place. Isn’t it time to consider embracing Islam!?
(1) Verse (39-62) of Qur’an (English interpretation of meaning).
(2) Verse (16-8) of Qur’an (English interpretation of meaning).
(3) Prophet’s saying ‘Hadith’ from Sunan Ibn Majah.
(4) Prophet’s saying ‘Hadith’ from Sahih al-Bukhari.
(5) Prophet’s saying from Sahih Muslim.
(6) Ruling on not attending prayers in congregation in the event of an epidemic.
(7) Prophet’s saying from Riyah as-Salihin.
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