Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Why Muslims are not afraid of COVID-19 and plaques in general, by Dr. Yusuf Ishaq Rabiu

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The caption sounds strange and naive in the sense that nobody is presumably immune to the Coronavirus and its occasioned danger resulting in fatality and death of its victims. The virus which is technically coded COVID-19 does not generally, as it was – distinguished on the basis of religion, race and/or environment and this fact alone makes that assumption an aberration!

The assumption is quite unbelievable and laughable at the same time for obvious reasons. In reality, the contrary is the true picture of the state of Muslims’ minds and hearts for many reasons which I will explain in due course.

The world political and organizational leaders (United Nations & World Health Organisation) captains of industries, medical scientists and practitioners – despite astronomical advancement in science and technology and previously unheard-of spending on Research and Development (R&D) – with this leapfrog currently enjoyed by these experts, they have helplessly fallen-short to come up with new measures and precautionary steps to stem the tide of COVID-19 spread which Muslims are not privy to since 1441 years ago (about 630 AD) taught by Prophet Muhammad peace be upon bim in precise details and natures as adopted today, in the year 2020.

If we were in Academic circle, today’s adopted measures would have been adjudged as plagiarism of Prophet Muhammad’s work and he would have single-handedly taken the credit.

Today’s measures are-

  1. Total lockdown of countries and cities.
  2. Stay at home/self-isolation.
  3. Personal hygiene. Wash your hands and surface regularly.
  4. Don’t touch or mingle with infected persons and surfaces.
  5. Listen to doctors and nobody else and obey their orders.
  6. Total lockdown

Let us look at the first and most draconian measure of the lockdown of all borders and entries which is generally accepted and regarded as a most effective measure to put a halt to the spread because it stagnates the virus in the affected community and thus containing the damage in one place which subsequently kills the infected people and saves the world or the infected eventually survive the virus and reunite with the outside world. It is worthy of mentioning that Prophet Muhammad had not witnessed a plaque in his life but still provided his containing measures, that in itself is a point to reckon with.

The Prophet Muhammad had provided this measure in the collection of Bukhari and Muslim which reads as follows-

Sa’d reported: The Prophet, peace, and blessings be upon him, said, “If you hear of a plague in a land, then do not go into it. If it happens in land where you are, then do not go out of it.”

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 5396, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2218.

In another narration, it reads-

Aisha reported: She asked the Messenger of Allah, peace, and blessings be upon him, about plagues and he said, “It is a punishment that Allah sends upon whomever he wills, but Allah has made it mercy for the believers. Any servant who resides in a land afflicted by plague, remaining patient and hoping for a reward from Allah, knowing that nothing will befall him but what Allah has decreed, he will be given the reward of a martyr.”

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 5402

  1. Stay at home/self-isolation measure

This is the second most effective measure because it stagnates the virus even more and consequently kills the infected person in isolation or he survives the virus and reunites with the outside world. This measure has also been provided in the teaching of Prophet Muhammed in the collection of Imam Ahmed bn Hanbal which reads-

Any servant who resides in a land afflicted by plague, and stays at home (indoor) being patient and hoping for reward from Allah, knowing that nothing will befall him but what Allah has decreed, he will be given the reward of a martyr.” Musnad Ahmad 26139

  1. Personal hygiene. Wash your hands and surfaces regularly.

It is conspicuously certain to any reader of Islamic teachings that religion has placed much emphasis on personal hygiene and principally hand-washing. Muslim adherent is enjoined to wash his hands in many occasions and junctures not less than 18 times a day apart from special instructions to wash hands first off in the morning and last before going to bed and before and after every meal.

The messenger of Allah said-

  1. When one of you awakens from sleep, he should not dip his hands into the vessel until he washes them three times. Verily He does not know where his hands spent the night. Sahih Bukhari 160. Muslim 278
  2. Abu Hurairah narrated that the messenger of Allah said ‘Whoever goes to bed with food remnants in his hand, he should not blame anyone for whatever befalls him at night’. Abu Dawud, Thirmizi, ibn Majah. Ibn Hibban 5521.
  3. Aisha narrated that the Messenger of Allah peace be upon him, if he wanted to eat or drink, he would first wash his hands and then eat or drink.

Nasa’i 258-

Plus general instructions for Muslims to wash their hands in ablutions 15 times a day and after intercourse and after eating camel meat and so on and so forth.

  1. Do not touch or mingle with infected persons and surfaces.

Quran has subtly shed light on the fact that it is quite possible to contract a disease or virus by touching or mingling with an infected person or surface. This could be found in chapter 20 vs 97 where it says (go away and say throughout your life no touching). Qurdubi has reported in his book Aljami li Ahkamil Quran, that Samiri was banished and was ordered to tell anyone that comes his way that ‘ no touching’. According to Qurdubi anyone that touches him develops fever and shivering in his body. This serves as a clear indication that disease or ailment could be transmitted by touching a substance.

The Prophet of Allah said-

  1. ‘Runaway from a leper like you run away from a lion. Bukhari
  2. Do not mix the infected camels with sound ones. Bukhari
  3. It was narrated by as-Shareed ibn Suwayd ath-Thaqafi, who said, “Among the delegation from Thaqeef there was a man with leprosy. The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) sent word to him, saying, ‘We have accepted your oath of allegiance, so go back.'” [Narrated by Muslim}

The aim of these warnings is to limit body contact to the barest minimum with the infected persons and surfaces and to create awareness that disease could be possibly transmitted in the process. Based on these teachings, as reported by Ibn Al Athir in his book Alkamil fittarikh, Muslims were able to eradicate the first plaque that hit them- Amwas plaque -after the Prophet peace be upon him by evacuating people out of town to an open field and creating isolation centers where the infected people that showed any symptoms were isolated and separated from the healthy ones until their demise or survival.

  1. Listen to doctors and nobody else and obey their orders.
  2. Quran says ‘Ask the expert on whatever you have no knowledge of. Chp 16 verse 43
  3. It also says ‘Consult them (expert) on imminent matters. Quran chapter 3 verse 159.

This is the universal truth of survival that a successful leader always surrounds himself with experts. Because as saying goes’ God is not a magician’ and truly God does not use the magic wand to make things happen, otherwise it won’t take him 6 days to build heavens and earth according to Quran chapter 50 verse 38 and Bible exodus 20:11.

Allah requires us to work, to use our brains and uncover new things and gain experience so as to put everything in its rightful place. And that is why as reported by Muslims when the messenger of Allah was told that date trees are yielding fewer fruits in Medina he asked them to go and meet the experts. He said you know better about your world! The situation does not need invoking miraculous action but doing the practical things that will stand the test of time, ” always consult the expert”.

Doctors are the experts in this crisis and thus all Muslim clerics and the general public should heed their advice and abide by it. So the Muslims are not afraid of the COVID-19 because they already have the measures to counter its attack and I believe they should be the first to adhere to these measures before anyone else to get a freely mytrd reward, but unfortunately, some unscrupulous Muslim clerics don’t work with these teachings.

Allah the Almighty says ‘And those who have been given knowledge see that what is revealed to you from your lord is the truth and it guides (them) to the path of the most exalted and owner of all praises. Quran Ch 34 vs 6.

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