For up to 1 month, the world has been tending towards a standstill because of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). This pandemic is one of the direst in recent times and it has led to varying directives from governmental and non-governmental bodies all around the world. Currently, Italy is the hardest hit nation and the country is locked down.
The United States has restricted inbound travels and many academic institutions have switched their mode of learning from physical to online. Campuses have been emptied in some schools and conferences and competitions have been paused indefinitely.
So far, the atmosphere has been saturated with a cocktail of emotions. There is panic, fear, and defiance and in some corners, there is hope and relaxation on people’s minds. For many, the thought of tawakkul and qadr has kept them hopeful and relaxed.
In times of hardship, people either disconnect from Allah ﷻ or improve their connection to Allah. Those who disconnect from Allah ﷻ may end up feeling depressed or sad about the situation. This happens because they do not understand why things happen.
For those who reconnect or improve their connection to Allah, they do so because they have thought beyond just the immediate consequences of the hardship. They have thought of how the situation affects the hereafter.
Praises to Almighty Allah, as Muslims we are blessed because Islam is a complete concept. Almighty Allah ﷻ has sent to us guidance for everything we may ever encounter during our lifetime. Alhamdulillah, this guidance explains things we should do during a pandemic: our response and the precautions to take.
In these times, understanding the spiritual stand on pandemics is important so that our spirituality is not affected. The Islamic stand on pandemic is summarized into the 3 sub-headings below.
Diseases and Illnesses are part of Being Human
There is no living without falling sick, no matter how mild it is, we all will certainly fall sick during our lifetime. Even death is considered an illness and all illnesses are trials from Allah ﷻ – a test of our Iman.
In Surah al-Baqarah Allah ﷻ says,
“We shall certainly test you with fear and hunger, and loss of property, lives, and crops. But [Prophet], gives good news to those who are steadfast, those who when afflicted with a calamity say, ‘We belong to God and to Him we shall return’. These will be given blessings and mercy from their Lord, and it is they who are rightly guided.” (2:155-157)
The Prophet ﷺ said, “No fatigue, illness, anxiety, sorrow, harm or sadness afflicts any Muslim, even to the extent of a thorn pricking him, without Allah wiping out his sins by it.”
مَا يُصِيبُ المُسْلِمَ مِنْ نَصَبٍ،وَلاَ وَصَبٍ، وَلاَ هَمِّ، وَلاَ حُزْنٍ، وَلاَ أَذًى، وَلاَ غَمِّ، حَتَّى الشَّوْكَةِ يُشَاكُهَا؛ إِلاَّ كَفَّرَ الله بِهَا مِنْ خَطَايَاهُ
Jābir narrated that the Messenger of Allah ﷻ went to visit Umm al-Sā’ib and said, “O Umm al-Sā’ib why are you trembling?” She replied, “It is because of my fever, may Allah not bless it.”
He ﷺ said, “Do not curse fever because it removes the sins of man just as the bellows remove the filth of iron.”
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ also said, “There is no Muslim who is harmed by an illness except that Allah removes sins from him just like a tree sheds its leaves.”
قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ” مَا مِنْ مُسْلِمٍ يُصِيبُهُ أَذًى مِنْ مَرَضٍ فَمَا سِوَاهُ إِلاَّ حَطَّ اللَّهُ بِهِ سَيِّئَاتِهِ كَمَا تَحُطُّ الشَّجَرَةُ وَرَقَهَا
These Hadiths are a testament to the good that can come from the trial of sickness.
It is the decree of Allah ﷻ
It is not unusual for us to react to this type of situation like humans. Our emotions will fly all over the place initially but when we remember that everything is a decree of Allah ﷻ, we can become less anxious. Remember, accepting the decree of Allah is an important article of Iman
Allah ﷻ says in Quran 64 verse 11, “Misfortunes can only happen with God’s permission––He will guide the heart of anyone who believes in Him: God knows all things.” Our response should be one that highlights this fact.
There are lessons to learn from this like the lesson of humility. That a microscopic particle can upturn the world in this way. That albeit we have gone far in science and technology, we do not control the world.
The essence of Tawakkul and being cautious
The Prophet ﷺ said, “If you hear that a plague has broken out in a land, do not go to it; but if it breaks out in a land where you are present, do not go out escaping from it.”
إِذَا سَمِعْتُمْ بِهِ بِأَرْضٍ فَلاَ تَقْدَمُوا عَلَيْهِ . وَإِذَا وَقَعَ بِأَرْضٍ وَأَنْتُمْ بِهَا فَلاَ تَخْرُجُوا فِرَارًا مِنْهُ
Similarly, the Prophet ﷺ said, “A sick person should not enter upon a healthy person.”
لاَ يُورِد مُمْرِضٌ عَلَى مُصِحٍّ
The Prophet ﷺ also said, “Flee from a leper just as you flee from a lion.”
وَفِرَّ مِنَ الْمَجْذُومِ كَمَا تَفِرُّ مِنَ الأَسَدِ
In these hadiths, the prophet emphasized the essence of taking precautions when there is an outbreak.
In another hadith, the Prophet ﷺ said, “There is no contagion.” This hadith has been explained to mean that while there are physically observable causes of diseases, there is Allah ﷻ, the cause of causes.
The guidance from Allah ﷻ and the prophet teach us to take precautions and run away from harm while maintaining tawakkul. Part of tawakkul is putting in our effort while waiting for Allah ﷻ to do the rest. We should also be ready to accept the outcome, for the outcome, whatever it is, is from Allah.
Remember, the Prophet ﷺ said, “Tie your camel and then rely on God.”
Part of the efforts we can put in to prevent this disease is following verified guidelines from experts and official sources. Whatever happens after doing these is from Allah ﷻ.
In another hadith, the Prophet ﷺ said, “And know that what has passed you by [and you have failed to attain] was not going to befall you, and what has befallen you was not going to pass you by.”
وَاعْلَمْ أَنَّ مَا أَخْطَأَك لَمْ يَكُنْ لِيُصِيبَك، وَمَا أَصَابَك لَمْ يَكُنْ لِيُخْطِئَك
At this moment, we shouldn’t congregate to observe Salah, especially in high-risk nations. Observing Salah at home is acceptable.
As part of our efforts, we should also supplicate to Allah. These are some supplications from the Prophet ﷺ against illnesses and hardships.
- The Prophet ﷺ said, “If anyone says, ‘In the name of Allah, who when his name is mentioned nothing on Earth or in Heaven can cause harm, and He is the Hearer, the Knower’ three times they will not suffer sudden affliction till the morning, and if anyone says this in the morning, they will not suffer sudden affliction till the evening.”
“ مَنْ قَالَ بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الَّذِي لاَ يَضُرُّ مَعَ اسْمِهِ شَىْءٌ فِي الأَرْضِ وَلاَ فِي السَّمَاءِ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ ثَلاَثَ مَرَّاتٍ لَمْ تُصِبْهُ فَجْأَةُ بَلاَءٍ حَتَّى يُصْبِحَ وَمَنْ قَالَهَا حِينَ يُصْبِحُ ثَلاَثَ مَرَّاتٍ لَمْ تُصِبْهُ فَجْأَةُ بَلاَءٍ حَتَّى يُمْسِيَ ”
- The Prophet ﷺ would seek refuge from affliction, wretchedness, and misfortune.
عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ قَالَ: كَانَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَتَعَوَّذُ مِنْ جَهْدِ الْبَلاَءِ، وَدَرَكِ الشَّقَاءِ، وَسُوءِ الْقَضَاءِ، وَشَمَاتَةِ الأعداء.
- Ibn ʿUmar said that the Prophet ﷺ would always recite the following supplication in the morning and evening: “O Allah, I ask you for well-being in this world and the Next. O Allah, I ask you for forgiveness and well-being in my deen and in this world and in my family and my property. O Allah, veil my faults and calm my fears. O Allah, give me protection in front of me and behind me, on my right and my left and above me. I seek refuge by your might from being overwhelmed from under me.”
لَمْ يَكُنْ رَسُولُ اللهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَدَعُ هَؤُلاَءِ الْكَلِمَاتِ إِذَا أَصْبَحَ وَإِذَا أَمْسَى: اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ الْعَافِيَةَ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ. اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ الْعَفْوَ وَالْعَافِيَةَ فِي دِينِي وَدُنْيَايَ، وَأَهْلِي وَمَالِي. اللَّهُمَّ اسْتُرْ عَوْرَاتِي، وَآمِنْ رَوْعَاتِي. اللَّهُمَّ احْفَظْنِي مِنْ بَيْنِ يَدَيَّ وَمِنْ خَلْفِي، وَعَنْ يَمِينِي وَعَنْ شِمَالِي، وَمِنْ فَوْقِي، وَأَعُوذُ بِعَظَمَتِكَ مِنْ أَنْ أُغْتَالَ مِنْ تَحْتِي.
Other steps you can take during these times
1. Salah – Remain steadfast in observing your Salah.
2. Read the Quran – To ease the panic, read the Quran to find tranquility. TarteeleQuran and its teacher team will be available to help you and your family to recite and learn to recite.
3. Sadaqah – Many people will experience more hardship during this period. Give as much charity as you can. Sadaqah can help ward off hardships. If you cannot give material sadaqah, do immaterial sadaqah such as saying good words.
4. Be conscious of your time – You will be spending so much time at home and if care is not taken, you may waste this time. Ensure you set goals that you want to achieve during this period.
5. Do not spend all your nights sleeping – during the period before fajr, pray, read the Quran or work. You can achieve so much during these early hours when there is less distraction. Whatever you do during this period, be sincere. Do it for Allah ﷻ and remember these words:
“Verily, with the remembrance of Allah, do hearts find rest” Quran 13 verse 28.
Words to find repose in
“Whoever works righteousness, man or woman, and has Faith, verily, to him will We give a new Life, a life that is good and pure and We will bestow on such their reward according to the best of their actions.” (Surat Al-Nahl, Verse 97)
“He that is righteous and patient,- never will Allah suffer the reward to be lost, of those who do right.” (Surat Yousef, Verse 90)
During the period of this pandemic, it is essential that as Muslims we keep our emotions in check and turn to Allah ﷻ. There is not much our emotions can do for us except clouding our judgment but there is so much the counsels from Allah can do to help.