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Health Precautions, Islamic Teachings, and COVID-19

Maria Sufyan

Since the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic, all anyone can see or feel is anxiety and depression, whether on social media or TV. Medical experts and scientists are racing to develop a vaccine, but till then they have given us tips for protection from the virus. This includes washing your hands frequently, covering your face while coughing, social distancing etc. 

Many have been seeing the parallels between Islamic teachings and the precautions that medical experts have advised in the wake of this pandemic.

Indeed, this religion places a great focus on personal hygiene and cleanliness. Islam is not just a religion but is also a guide to us in our every sphere of our life. It is a complete code of life.

The Prophet (ﷺ) has said: “cleanliness is half of faith” (Sahih Muslim, 223)

Its only fair then that we delve into Islamic teachings about cleansing ourselves and implement them to keep ourselves and others safe. In this way, we will not only benefit our physical health but also reap rewards from Allah (SWT).

  • Wudu (Ritual Ablution)

One of the main pillars of Islam is Salah (prayer). For Salah, which is conducted five times a day, it is obligatory to purify ourselves through performing Wudu. During Wudu, we clean our hands, faces, nose, mouth, and even feet. Doing this process as a routine throughout our days is a major blessing because we are able to keep the virus away and also fulfill an obligation.

Wudu is not only a physical cleanser but is also a form of spiritual purification:

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “When a Muslim, or a believer, washes his face (in the course of Wudu’), every sin which he committed with his eyes, will be washed away from his face with water, or with the last drop of water; when he washes his hands, every sin which is committed by his hands will be effaced from his hands with the water, or with the last drop of water; and when he washes his feet, every sin his feet committed will be washed away with the water, or with the last drop of water; until he finally emerges cleansed of all his sins.”

  • Covering mouth with handkerchief or hand when coughing, sneezing or yawning

Whenever the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) sneezed, he would cover his mouth with the crook of his arm (elbow) or a piece of cloth, suppressing the sound this way. (At-Tirmidhi, 2745).

Apart from the general guidelines on keeping ourselves clean which are extremely beneficial to us in the current situation, Islam has also provided us specific commandment that echoes today’s travel restrictions and social distancing measures. The Prophet (ﷺ) has stated in the event of a widespread health crisis:

“If you hear of an outbreak of plague in a land , don’t enter it, but if plague breaks out in a place while you are in it, don’t leave the place.” (Sahih Bukhari, 5728)

“Do not let an ill person mix with healthy persons (as a precaution).” (Sahih Bukhari, 5771).

Taking these precautions are vital, and we should be mindful of the rewards they carry for us from Allah (SWT). May the increased appreciation of the acts of personal hygiene during this time last beyond the pandemic as well.

A final word of hope:

Allah says in the Holy Quran:” and We surely test you with something of fear and hunger and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient” (Surah Baqarah, 2:155)

It is really important that at this hour we need to get ourselves together, seek Allah’s forgiveness and refuge and we need to be patient as, “Allah is with those who are patient” (Surah Baqarah, 2:153)

As Allah reminds us in Quran” …never give hope of Allah’s mercy ..” (Surah Yusuf, 12:87)

So, stay safe and keep others safe too!

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