How should Muslims respond to the Coronavirus

The Corona Virus has officially been declared as a worldwide pandemic and many around the world are searching for guidance. As Muslims, here are a few things to keep in mind as we prepare ourselves for the onset of what’s to come.  

1. Don’t panic

  First off، don’t panic.  Panic will only escalate fears and reduce our ability to respond effectively to the situation. In fact, we’ve seen multiple instances where panic generates more harm than benefit, whereby people are wiping out shelves in supermarkets and hoarding items for themselves. These actions are not only very selfish but are considered very sinful in Islam [1].  

2. Be prepared

  While it’s important to avoid panicking, this, however, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take the necessary precautions to prepare ourselves for what’s to come. As the Prophet ﷺ taught us “اعقلها وتوكل”, which essentially reminds us to take by the necessary means while at the same time placing our full trust in Allah swt. As Muslims, we should follow the necessary precautions and guidelines from health officials in order to protect ourselves and others from the Coronavirus. Whether this is through thoroughly washing our hands, avoiding mass public gatherings, abstaining from unnecessary travel or even wearing a face mask if you are unwell to protect others from getting infected.  

3. Self Isolation / Quarantine

  While medical officials are advising us to practice self-isolation and Quarantine today, the Prophet ﷺ gave us this advice 1400 years ago. The Prophet taught us that one should not enter nor leave a land affected by a plague [2].   This advice also applies to those wishing to attend public gatherings if they feel unwell, even if it is the Masjid. In fact, if one does have Coronavirus, it is impermissible for them to attend the Masjid even if they feel capable.   While COVID-19 might not be deadly in your case, you may potentially be the cause of the spread to others who are vulnerable, putting their lives at risk. In Islam, preventing harm takes precedence over any benefit.   In such a case, one should not feel like they are missing out on any reward and their reward will still be written as our prophet advised [3].  

4. Daily Athkaar 

  While following all the necessary physical precautionary measures, one should never neglect their spiritual protections.   There are many specific Athkaar of the Prophet  to protect us from affliction.   For instance, the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said whoever says:  
بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الَّذِي لَا يَضُرُّ مَعَ اسْمِهِ شَيْءٌ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا فِي السَّمَاءِ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ
  “In the name of Allah, when Whose name is mentioned nothing on Earth or in Heaven can cause harm, and He is the Hearer, the Knower” If this supplication is said three times in the morning then this person will not suffer sudden affliction till the evening, and if anyone says this in the evening, he will not suffer sudden affliction till the morning.  

5. Trusting Allah

  After taking all reasonable precautions and reciting the daily Athkaar, one should bear in mind that everything is from Allah ﷻ.   As Allah states in the Quran:  
قُل لَّن يُصِيبَنَا إِلَّا مَا كَتَبَ اللَّهُ لَنَا هُوَ مَوْلَانَا ۚ وَعَلَى اللَّهِ فَلْيَتَوَكَّلِ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ

Say, “Never will we be struck except by what Allah has decreed for us; He is our protector.” And upon Allah let the believers rely. (Quran 9:51)

Instead of having fear and panic let us all use this calamity as an opportunity to return to Allah ﷻ and to rediscover our faith. What we are witnessing today is a reminder of how weak we as humans are, and how something that is not visible to the eye is threatening the greatest of nations. This is a very strong reminder of how much we are in need of our creator.   In this time, let us raise our hands in duaa, and beseech Allah swt to protect us from harm and affliction. We pray that Allah swt brings an end to this pandemic and restores peace and good health to all those suffering around the world. Ameen