Since Islam is a complete way of life and a religion for all times, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it contains comprehensive advice for dealing with pandemics and illnesses. Islam’s teachings regarding these issues are all the more relevant today. We live in uncertain times due to COVID-19, an ongoing pandemic that has infected millions and killed hundreds of thousands across the globe.
When faced with such a devastating pandemic, prevention and recovery are crucial. Islam contains abundant guidance in this regard. Among the steps that Muslims should take to prevent the spread of Coronavirus are Islam’s general principles pertaining to cleanliness. In addition, Islam contains teachings that are specific to pandemics and illnesses, both in terms of prevention and recovery.
Cleanliness for Coronavirus Prevention
Among Islam’s basic teachings regarding cleanliness is to wash your hands. In a Hadith in Sahih Muslim, the Prophet (PBUH) commanded the washing of hands when one wakes up, as nobody knows where their hands were while asleep. In a Hadith in Sahih Muslim, the Prophet (PBUH) emphasized the need to wash between the finger joints. Doing so is vital when it comes to destroying germs. Washing one’s hands regularly to disinfect them and prevent the spread of germs is essential for protection from COVID-19.
There are five obligatory prayers in Islam that are spread across the day and night. Wudu (ablution) is a prerequisite of prayer, which commences with the washing of hands thrice. Hence, a practicing believer inevitably washes his hands multiple times in a day. Believers must take a shower (Ghusl) after having intercourse in order to perform particular acts of worship. Another recommendation is to take a shower prior to the Friday prayer.
Islam places tremendous emphasis on the need to observe cleanliness. According to a Hadith in Sahih Muslim, cleanliness equates to half of faith. Being in a state of purity is a prerequisite for many acts of worship. Among these are prayer, touching the Quran, and performing Tawaf. They all require ablution, a comprehensive ritual that purifies the hands, arms, nose, mouth, arms, and feet. Indeed, Islam’s focus on cleanliness is evident.
Additionally, there’s a Hadith in Sahih Muslim in which the Prophet (PBUH) mentions ten acts of hygiene that are from the natural instinct. Among them are the cutting of nails, washing finger joints, and using water to clean the private parts. In Islam, using the Miswak to clean the teeth is highly recommended. The toothbrush and toothpaste are modern-day equivalents of the Miswak.
Safety Measures for the Prevention of Coronavirus
As we discover in a Hadith in Sunan Abu Dawud, the Prophet (PBUH) would cover his mouth when sneezing. He would use his hand or a cloth. Covering the mouth when sneezing is of prime importance when it comes to avoiding the spread of germs. The pandemic further amplifies its importance. Sneezing can easily spread the Coronavirus and put others at risk of contracting it.
In Sahih Al-Bukhari, we learn that the Prophet (PBUH) said not to travel during a plague. He said that one should not go to a place if they learn that it is affected by the plague. He also said that one should not leave his place if a plague has broken out there. Therefore, Islam has already informed us about the need to stay home and avoid travel during pandemics. One of the main ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is for people to stay indoors, as traveling puts more people at risk of contracting the virus.
There are also some valuable Prophetic teachings pertaining to our eating and drinking habits that should be adopted. According to Prophetic sayings in Sahih Al-Bukhari, we should not breathe into the cup we are drinking from or share the cup we are drinking from with someone else. There is no doubt that these instructions on hygiene are invaluable, as illness can spread when they are disregarded.
In Sahih Al-Bukhari, we learn that Islam opposes overeating, and we should keep food and drink covered when going to bed. Obesity, which is caused by overeating, is a serious health risk, putting people at risk of various health issues. As we know, those who have medical problems are generally at greater risk of dying if they contract the Coronavirus.
Islam’s Medical Guide for Recovery from COVID-19
Islam is entirely in favor of utilizing medical treatment when one is ill. As mentioned in Sahih Bukhari, the Prophet (PBUH) used to command the companions to use water to deal with fever, and he underwent cupping therapy. Believers should look for a cure, as the Prophet (PBUH) said in Sahih Al-Bukhari that Allah has created a cure for every disease.
There is also a Hadith in Sunan Abu Dawud in which the Prophet (PBUH) said to use medical treatment, as Allah has not created any disease without a cure, barring that of old age. In another Hadith in Sunan Abu Dawud, the Prophet (PBUH) said to use medical treatment as long as it’s not something that’s prohibited. Thus, it is clear that Islam believes in fully utilizing the means that Allah has bestowed on mankind to treat illnesses.
Giving charity is a must for believers, particularly in these perilous times. Charity is among the acts that earn Allah’s pleasure, as one aids the poor with the intention of seeking Allah’s pleasure. One thus pleases Allah and gains closeness to Him, which is very important for those who seek His Mercy.
One should retain strong faith and rely on Allah. Believers should undoubtedly avail of the medical treatment that is available, but they should also keep in mind the fact that Allah ultimately decides the outcome. Allah is Omnipotent, and Muslims are supposed to rely on Him sincerely. In Surah At-Talaq, we learn that Allah suffices those who depend on Him.
Another critical need is to stay positive. Patients should keep calm and trust that they will recover if Allah so wills. Indeed, one’s state of mind affects their immune system, so it is much better for one to avoid negativity. Feelings of despair will only have a detrimental impact on the immune system. It is common knowledge that the immune system plays a significant role in one’s battle against the Coronavirus. Hence, staying positive can help one’s system fight COVID-19.
Prayer is a must for any stricken believer. Allah says in Surah Ghafir, he will respond to those who supplicate to Him. The Prophet (PBUH) supplicated to Allah to cure the sick when he visited them.
Indeed, Allah wants His slaves to call on him when they are stricken. Those afflicted with sickness should turn to Allah with humility and ask for His cure. The Prophet (PBUH) said in Sunan Ibn Majah that dua is the only thing that averts Qadr. Hence, the sick should supplicate to Allah and ask for healing, and if He wills, their suffering will be alleviated.