What Is Obligatory Upon the Muslim Concerning COVID-19, By Murtadha Gusau
All praise is due to Allah, Lord of all creation. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon the Messenger, his family, his Companions and those who follow him till the Hour is established.
Respected servants of Allah, during these days, many people are speaking about coronavirus, the disease that has caused them to be fearful, fearful of its propagation as well as being afflicted with it. There are those who speak about it in jest, there are those that are deeply concerned about it, and other than that from the different types of speech revolving around this disease.
Dear brothers and sisters, what is obligatory upon the Muslim, in every time and place, and in every type of calamity and affliction, is to seek refuge in Allah the Almighty, and that when he begins to speak about this affair, its remedy and its treatment, he should do so upon the basis of the legislative foundations, and upon the fear of Allah the Most High, knowing that He is watching over him.
My beloved people, there are six points regarding this affair, that has shaped the lives of the people during these days, that are of extreme importance:
1. It is obligatory upon every Muslim to seek refuge in Allah the Almighty in all his affairs and to truly rely upon Him believing that all of his affairs are in His Hands. Allah the Most High says:
"No calamity befalls, but with the leave [i.e. decision and Qadar (Divine Preordainment)] of Allah, and whosoever believes in Allah, He guides his heart." [Qur'an, 64:11]
All of the affairs are in the Hands of Allah, under His management and subjugation. Whatever He decrees will happen and whatever He doesn’t decree won’t happen and there is no protector except Allah. Allah the Almighty says:
"Say: "Who is he who can protect you from Allah if He intends to harm you, or intends mercy on you?” [Qur'an, 33:17]
"If Allah intended some harm for me, could they remove His harm, or if He (Allah) intended some mercy for me, could they withhold His Mercy?" [Qur'an, 39:38]
"Whatever of mercy (i.e. of good), Allah may grant to mankind, none can withhold it, and whatever He may withhold, none can grant it thereafter." [Qur'an, 35:2]
And it comes in the Hadith:
"Know that if the people gathered together to benefit you, they will not benefit you unless Allah has decreed it for you. And if the people gathered together to harm you, they will not harm you unless Allah has decreed it for you. The pens have been lifted and the pages have dried."
And in another Hadith:
"Allah has written the decree of all the creation before He created the heavens and the earth by fifty-thousand years."
And it has come in another Hadith:
"The first thing that Allah created was the pen. So, He said to it: Write. It said: What do I write O my Lord? He said: Write the decree of everything until the establishment of the Hour."
So, what is obligatory upon every Muslim is to delegate his affairs to Allah with hope and true reliance. His well-being, remedy, safety should not be hoped for except from Allah, the Blessed and the Most High. So, there is no solution to these calamities except by seeking refuge in Allah. Allah the Most High says:
"And whoever holds firmly to Allah, (i.e. follows Islam Allah's Religion, and obeys all that Allah has ordered, practically), then he is indeed guided to a Right Path." [Qur'an, 3:101]
2. Indeed, it is obligatory upon every Muslim to be mindful of Allah the Almighty, by being obedient to Him, carrying out His commandments and staying away from His prohibitions. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said in his admonition to Ibn Abbas:
"Be mindful of Allah and He will protect you. Be mindful of Allah and you will find Him before you."
Preserving the commandments of Allah by carrying out what He commanded and staying away from what He has prohibited is a means of the servant's protection, a means of his well-being, and Allah protecting his religion and his Hereafter. So, if a calamity afflicts him or if harm befalls upon him it will only be an elevation for him before Allah. Therefore, our beloved Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
"Amazing is the affair of the Believer. Indeed, all of his affairs are good and this is only the case for the Believer. If something good happens to him, he is grateful and this is good for him. If a calamity afflicts him, he is patient and this is good for him."
So, the Believer, in times of good, harm, hardships, ease, is going from one good to another. And this is as our beloved Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
"…and this is only the case for the Believer."
3. Indeed, the Legislation of Islam came and commanded us to take the necessary means and to search for the cure and treatment and this doesn’t negate true reliance upon Allah the Most High.
The treatment that the Legislation of Islam came with are of two types:
I. The preventive measures that are taken before the disease befalls.
II. And the treatment (curative), which are measures taken after the disease has befallen.
The Legislation came with both and it has come with the foundations of treating and remedying that which will establish the peoples safety and well-being in their worldly life and their Hereafter.
Dear brothers and sisters, wallahi whoever reads the book: ‘The Prophetic Medicine’ by the great scholar of Islam, Imam Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy upon him), will find wonders in regards to this, in that which the Legislation of Islam has come with and that which has been authenticated from the Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him).
So in regards to the preventive measures, our Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
"Whoever eats seven Ajwah dates in the morning, neither poison nor sorcery or evil will harm him that day."
And it has also come from him, as it has come in the Hadith of Uthman Ibn Affan (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
"Whoever says the following Du'a every morning and every evening three times, will not be harmed: "In the Name of Allah with Whose Name nothing can harm on the earth nor the heavens, and He is the All-Hearing and the All-Seeing."
And he (Peace be upon him) has said:
"Whoever reads the last two verses from Surah al-Baqarah in the night, it will suffice him (Meaning: from all diseases and evil)."
And it has come in the Hadith of Abdullah Ibn Khubaib (may Allah be pleased with him), he said:
"We went out one dark rainy night requesting from the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) to lead us in prayer. So when we came across him, he said: Say: But I didn’t say anything. Then he said: Say: But I didn’t say anything. Then he said: Say: I said: What do I say? He said: Read: Surah al-Ikhlas, Surah al-Falaq and Surah al-Nas in the evening and in the morning three times, it will suffice you from everything."
And it has also come from him (Peace be upon him) in the Hadith of Abdullah Ibn Umar that he would never leave off the following supplications in the morning and in the evening:
"O Allah, indeed I ask You for well-being in the worldly life and the Hereafter. O Allah, indeed I ask You for pardon and well-being in my religion and in my worldly life, in my family and my wealth. O Allah conceal my weakness and set at ease my dismay. O Allah preserve me from my front and back, from my right and left and from above. And I seek refuge with Your Magnificence from being swallowed up from beneath me."
And in this supplication is complete fortification and protection for the servant from every angle.
And in regards to the treatment, tremendous guidance and noble advice have come from the Prophet (Peace be upon him), and various remedies have been explained in his Sunnah (Peace be upon him), and this expansive topic has been elaborated upon in the book Zad al-Ma’ad by Imam Ibn al-Qayyim.
4. What is obligatory upon every Muslim is not to be influenced by the false rumours because some of the people in these situations circulate matters or mentions things that are neither correct nor true concerning this disease and they circulate it amongst the people causing fear and panic with no basis nor justification to it.
So, it is not befitting for the Muslim not to be influenced by the rumours and the likes of this because this diminishes his complete belief, certainty and true reliance upon Allah the Almighty.
5. Indeed, calamities that afflict the Muslim, regardless if it concerns his health, his family, his wealth, his business or the likes of these, if he faces them with patience, seeking reward from Allah, then this will be an elevation for him before Allah the Most High. Allah, the Most High said:
"And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.). Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: "Truly! To Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return." They are those on whom are the Salawat (i.e. blessings, etc.) (i.e. who are blessed and will be forgiven) from their Lord, and (they are those who) receive His Mercy, and it is they who are the guided-ones." [Qur'an, 2:155-157]
So Allah, the Blessed and Most High shall test His servants so He can hear his complaint, his supplication, and see his patience and contentment with what has been decreed upon him. Indeed, Allah, the Most High sees His servant when a calamity befalls him and He knows the fraud of the eyes and what the hearts conceal. So, He recompenses the servant for his intentions.
Therefore, whoever has been afflicted with an illness or some sort of harm, or loss of wealth, or the likes of these, it is upon him to seek the reward from Allah and to meet this calamity with patience and contentment so that he could attain the reward of the patient. And whoever has been pardoned should praise Allah so that he can attain the reward of the grateful.
6. The greatest calamity is the calamity that affects the religion. This is the greatest calamity in this worldly life and the Hereafter. And this is the loss that comes with no profit and this is the deprivation that comes with no hope.
So if the Muslim remembers this when he is afflicted in his health or wealth, let him praise Allah for the safety of his religion. Imam Al-Baihaqi narrated in Shu’ab al-Iman from Shuraih al-Qadhi that he said:
"Indeed, If I am afflicted with a calamity, I praise Allah for it four times: I praise Him that it wasn’t worse than it could’ve been. I praise Him for granting me patience upon it. I praise Him for allowing me to say the Istirja (i.e Truly! To Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return). And I praise Him that He didn’t make it a calamity in my religion."
The Occurrence of Plagues in Muslim Lands Through History
The Year 449H/1057CE
Imam Ibn Hajr (rahimahullah) wrote:
“... There occurred among them such destruction [of life] whose like had not taken place or had been heard of. To the extent that on a single day in one region 80,000 people departed from it. Those who died therein were counted as 1,500,000 people. Then it occurred in Azerbaijan, then Ahwaz, then Wasit, then Basrah, until they would dig a large pit and throw 20 to 30 [of the dead] all together. And it occurred in Samarqand and Balkh. On a single day 6,000 or more would die. People were occupied night and day with washing the dead, shrouding and burying them. Among them would be a man whose heart would burst due to its [corrupted] blood and a drop would appear from his mouth whereupon he would die. And perhaps a maggot would come out of his mouth, he would not know what it was and would die. More than 2,000 homes were sealed off, no one remained in them. The people repented and seek forgiveness of Allah, they gave charity, and stuck to the Mosques and to recitation [of the Qur'an]. They spilled intoxicants and broke musical instruments, they abandon any prohibited things. It would coincide that a home would have intoxicants and all of its inhabitants would die in a single night. And that a man would have intercourse with a woman unlawfully (zina), and they would both die. And a group would enter a home finding a man in the throes of death. He would point to the storage where a container of wine was kept. They would spill it and within the hour he would be cured. A teacher of children had 900 children [under his care] and not a single one of them remained [alive]. Those who remained in Samarqand in particular during the month of Shawwal to the end of Dhul-Qaʿadah, then 260,000 of them died.
The start of this plague was in Turkistan, then to know what it was and would die. More than 2,000 homes were sealed off, no one remained in them. The people repented, they gave charity, and stuck to the Mosques and to recitation [of the Qur'an]. They spilled intoxicants and broke musical instruments. It would coincide that a home would have intoxicants and all of its inhabitants would die in a single night. And that a man would have intercourse with a woman unlawfully, and they would both die. And a group would enter a home finding a man in the throes for death. He would point to the storage where a container of wine was kept. They would spill it and within the hour he would be cured. A teacher of children had 900 children [under his care] and not a single one of them remained [alive]. Those who remained in Samarqand in particular during the month of Shawwal to the end of Dhul-Qaʿadah, then 260,000 of them died. The start of this plague was in Turkistan, then to health problems of the lungs and heart, or are of old age, then it can make the common cold a lot worse because of an already burdened immune system. The overwhelming majority of people however, will clear the common cold without complications which is why the healthy and young are least affected. Nevertheless, the plagues of history are a tremendous lesson for the believer. Trials and tribulations of disease and death arise because of sins and disobedience as is clear in the Qur'an and the Sunnah. One should reflect upon history and its lessons and be led to making repentance and seeking forgiveness from Allah and being preoccupied in rectifying one’s affairs."
Some Important Precautions
1. Upon those in charge of the Mosques is to open their Mosques and to split up the numbers of the prayers so it doesn't reach a thousand people for every Mosque.
2. Establishing two Khutbahs (Sermons) in a Mosque has no origin in Islamic legislation.
3. It is upon the women and the children and the sick to not come to the Mosques for the Friday prayer because that is not obligatory upon them. Rather they should pray in their homes.
4. It is not permissible for one who is afflicted by this virus to come to the Mosques, rather he should pray in his house.
5. It is permissible for companies that have a place for the prayer to establish the Friday prayer inside (the building of) the company because the issue is considered a necessity and necessities have their specific rulings.
6. About leaving shaking hands as a protection from the probability of the spread of the virus, yes, whoever is afflicted by this virus or is feared of being afflicted then indeed his hands are not shook.
7. If the Authority and Islamic leaders give any command or instructions concerning our movement and gathering don't disobey them, because disobeying them will make the matter worse and very complicated.
I ask Allah to protect us all with His protection from the corona virus and any kind of disease, and to favour us with pardon and well-being in our religion, our worldly life, our families and our wealth. Indeed, He is All-Hearing, the Ever-Near Who answers the supplications.
All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true followers.
Murtadha Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and the late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: firstname.lastname@example.org or +2348038289761.
This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Rajab 25, 1441 A. H. (March 20, 2020).