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By: Sheik N. Hassan, M.D., FCCP, Associate Professor of Medicine and Vice Dean (Ret), Howard University College of Medicine
An infectious disease which is commonly called Corona virus has spread to almost all countries in the world. Corona viruses are in a class of viruses that cause the common cold, and caused MERS and SARS. The one that is currently prevalent is called COVID-19. Currently, there is no medicine or vaccine to combat the spread of the virus and thus the best way to limit, contain, and eradicate the disease is by means of paying attention to strict personal hygienic procedures. As Muslims, we have a responsibility to protect not only our personal health, but also the health of others including our family, friends, and community. We are reminded of the Islamic principle which states that the welfare of a community takes precedence over the convenience of an individual. In addition, we are obligated to follow the mandates of the leaders of our Islamic centers, our local government, and that of the federal government as these are intended to protect the public.
Our attention is called to the following ayah from the Glorious Qur’an. Nothing will happen to us except what Allah has decreed for us; He is our Protector. (9:51). Therefore we must put our trust in Allah (swt), be grateful to Him, and pray for forgiveness and relief. Furthermore, Allah (swt) also tells us in the Glorious Qur’an: O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. (4:59). Therefore, we must follow our leaders unless they direct us to do something which is clearly forbidden by Allah (swt) or the prophet (PBUH).
Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (OWBP) 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.” This is not limited to the plague, and therefore includes the Covid-19 viral infection. It is also not limited to another country, but could be another state, city, or community in the country other than where one resides. In addition, our beloved Prophet Muhammad (OWBP) once directed the Mu’athin to call the Athan (the call to prayer) and say, “Pray in your homes,” instead of “Come to Prayer!” That decision was made for the sake of the people, so they would not struggle and suffer through the muddy streets during heavy rain to go to the masjid. This also applies to diseases where an individual or a community well-being would be at risk to become sick.
It could become necessary for some or all activities and programs at Islamic centers to be temporarily suspended. Members of the community are asked to understand that all decisions will be in conformity with all laws and Islamic principles. Please take the necessary precautions that have already been widely publicized.
Check the following websites for reliable and current information on the Covid-19:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Maryland Department of Health
- What is CORONAVIRUS? AND How to PROTECT YOURSELF? (FreeMedEducation)
To read a joint statement by major national Muslim medical associations, and the Fiqh Council of North America (prepared by the Fiqh Council of North America), please click here.