Imam Offers Islamic Tips for COVID-19

Dr. Wael Shihab is the Imam of the Downtown Toronto Masjid in Canada. He provides here Islamic advice and thoughts about how Muslim communities should deal with COVID-19.

The World Health Organization (WHO), on March 11, 2020, declared the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) a pandemic.

People worldwide have been worried and extremely concerned since the outbreak of COVID-19.

The Muslim community in Canada, and everywhere, do share the concern and responsibilities with all to contain and fight the spread of this fatal virus through all reasonable, possible ways.

📚 Read Also: Coronavirus: Friday Prayers Suspended in Several Canadian, US Cities

In the following lines, I would like to share some thoughts, which of course do not replace professional medical advice and counselling.

Prayers

In these hard and critical times, we should maintain strong relationship with Allah. One of Allah’s Beautiful Names is Ash-Shafi (the Healer). The Qur’an reminds us:

{When I fall sick, He (Almighty) does heal me.}  (Ash-Shu`raa’ 26: 80)

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Moreover, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be on him) taught us a very beautiful prayer for the sick:

‏اللهم رب الناس، أذهب البأس، واشف، أنت الشافي لا شفاء إلا شفاؤك، شفاءً لا يغادر سقماً

Allahumma rabba an-nas, adh-hib al-ba’s,

wa-ishfi anta ash-shafi; la shifa’ illa shifa’uk, shifa’an la yughadiru saqama

“O Lord of the people! Remove the sickness and cure (him/her).

You surely are the Healer; there is no recovery but through You.

Give [him/her] a full recovery that leaves no traces of sickness.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

We should sincerely pray to Allah Almighty for the wellbeing and recovery of all. We learn from the Sunnah to read the following protective prayer three times every morning and night:

“Whoever says,

بِسْمِ اللهِ الَّذِي لاَ يَضُرُّ مَعَ اسْمِهِ شَيْءٌ فِي الأَرْضِ وَلاَ فِي السَّمَاءِ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ

Bismillahi alladhi la yadduru ma` ismihi shay’un fi al-ardi wa la fi as-samaa’i wahuwa as-samee` al`aleem

In the Name of Allah, with Whose Name nothing in the heavens or the earth could do any harm  and He is the All-Hearing and All- Knowing

three times in the morning and in the evening will not be afflicted by any calamity or harm” (Abu Dawud and Tirmidhi)

As we go through these critical times, we should never lose hope in Allah’s support and help; We rather should enhance our faith in Him Almighty and sincerely pray to Him for the wellbeing of all.

Prevention and Precaution

Both the Qur’an and the Sunnah advise the believers to seek medical treatment and professional help and follow medical instructions of the professional authorities. This is in harmony with our faith in Allah, the Healer, and in compliance with the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be on him).

As the proverb reads, “Prevention is better than cure”, below are some general instructions that Muslim communities may consider:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 15-20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer. When making wudu, wash your hands thoroughly per the Sunnah before proceeding.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are ill
  • Stay home and get proper care when you are ill. Sick people and persons with even mild flu/cold-like symptoms may not attend the congregational prayers, including Fridays, at the mosque until they get proper care, seek professional advice, and fully recover. Allah will reward them for their consideration and care to fight the spread of the virus/disease.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately throw the tissue in the garbage and wash your hands. If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve or arm
  • Avoid shaking hands and embracing; it is enough to greet your fellow brothers  and sisters with saying “as-salamu alaykum”
  • Bring personal prayer/head mat to mosque
  • People with potential high risk to get infected with this fatal virus—such as the elderly and those with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, immune suppression, and chronic lung disease—may not attend the crowded congregational prayers including the Friday prayers and get proper care and professional advice.
  • Masjids should think of livestreaming the khutbas and keep checking on the brothers and sisters who may not attend the congregational prayers, provide whatever support they need, and fulfill their requests such as shopping for their groceries, etc.
  • If you have travelled to an area under a travel advisory for COVID-19, or have had close contact with a person ill with COVID-19 and develop symptoms of COVID-19 infection, avoid contact with others and call your health care professional prior to visiting or call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000.
  • Keep yourself informed by following up the news and visiting related websites such as (toronto.ca/coronavirus) and (Canada.ca/coronavirus)
  • Masjids should be properly cleaned after each prayer, provide hand-sanitizers at entrances and soap at the wudu’ areas, and closely follow up the instructions of the authorities.
  • At this point of time, Masjids may make the Friday khutbas so brief as this may restrict the spread of the virus and add more Friday prayers to reduce crowding in their facilities. Also, crowded halaqas (study circles) may be suspended until further notice. If the situation becomes worse, God forbid, and authorities ban public gatherings, Masjids should immediately follow the instructions. 
  • As Ramadan is around the corner, Masjids should closely follow up the updates, secure the public interest of their congregations, and follow the instructions of the public health authorities. Taraweeh may be suspended if the situation becomes worse, God forbid, or if it may cause the spread of the fatal virus.  The same would apply to Ramadan community Iftars; masjids may arrange to-go boxes for Iftar to restrict crowding in their facilities.
  • Masjids should always raise awareness by all possible means about  the preventive measures to fight the spread of COVID-19

Trust Allah

While we all are going through these hard and critical times, we should never feel depressed or over-react.

We do believe that whatever happens is through the Qadr (Divine predestination of God).

Though we fully apply all preventive measures and follow medical and professional instructions, we should maintain peace of mind and satisfaction with the decree of Allah.

The Qur’an reminds us:

{Nothing shall ever happen to us except what Allah has ordained for us. He is our Mawla (Lord, Helper and Protector). And in Allah let the believers put their trust.} (At-Tawbah 9: 51)

In fact, true trust in God will help us go through this difficult time with good faith and spiritual well-being.

Trusting God is, moreover, in harmony with applying all preventive measures and following medical and professional advice to fight COVID-19 and maintain physical, spiritual, and mental wellbeing.

We sincerely pray to God to give full and quick recovery to all those who are sick and to give good health and prosperity for all, ameen

We sincerely pray to God to give full and quick recovery to all those who are sick and to give good health and prosperity for all, ameen