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Articles


Methods of Prevention and Treatment from Epidemics

Author : Dr. Fadi Rabab`ah

Date Added : 13-02-2024


 

 

The Guidance of Islam on the Methods of Prevention and Treatment from Epidemics

 

 

 

The entire world is currently grappling with the coronavirus pandemic, with this virus spreading to more than eighty countries. The number of infections has reached nearly one hundred thousand cases, and the death toll has surpassed four thousand deaths according to media reports as of the writing of this article.

 

Indeed, this pandemic has exposed the vulnerability and weakness of humanity in combating and repelling this creature from among the creations of Allah the Almighty. If Allah does not show mercy to people and protect them with His kindness, this pandemic could ravage entire communities.

 

Islam has warned against the consequences of sins and transgressions committed by humans, and against defying Allah and openly committing sins in disobedience to His commands and prohibitions. Allah the Almighty says in the Quran [What means]: "It may be that thou tormentest thyself (O Muhammad) because they believe not. If We will, We can send down on them from the sky a portent so that their necks would remain bowed before it." (Ash-Shu'ara, 3-4). If Allah had willed, He could have sent down a sign to humble the defiant and the people of sins, so that no one would incline toward disobedience to Allah. Allah also says [What means]: "Corruption doth appear on land and sea because of (the evil) which men’s hands have done, that He may make them taste a part of that which they have done, in order that they may return." (Ar-Rum, 41).

 

In the noble Hadith, there is a warning about the punishment that comes with openly committing sins and spreading immorality, which may lead to the spread of epidemics and diseases that afflict humanity. Abdullah ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) came to us and said: "O Muhajireen, there are five things that, when they appear among a people, will inevitably afflict them, and I seek refuge in Allah that you may be among them: when a people engage in obscenity openly, Allah sends upon them diseases and afflictions that never existed among their predecessors. When they cheat in weights and measures, they are afflicted with drought, famine, and oppression from their rulers. When they withhold Zakat from their wealth, rain is withheld from the sky, and were it not for the animals, rain would never fall on them. When they break their covenant with Allah and His Messenger, Allah will appoint over them enemies who will take some of what is in their hands. Unless their leaders rule according to the Book of Allah and seek the best of what Allah has revealed, Allah will cause them to fight against one another." (Narrated by Ibn Majah).

 

Indeed, Islam has prescribed various means for prevention and treatment of epidemics and diseases. Among these preventive and remedial measures are those related to matters of belief in the unseen and worship, as well as those related to taking physical precautions.

 

As for the factors related to belief, faith, predestination, and worship, they include:

 

Firstly: Reliance and trust in Allah the Almighty, belief in predestination and fate, and faith that nothing will afflict a person except what has been decreed for them in terms of blessings and trials.

 

Secondly: Supplication and beseeching Allah to lift afflictions, for the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) said: "Ask Allah for forgiveness and well-being, for no one is given anything better than well-being after certainty [in faith]." [Narrated by at-Tirmidhi]. Additionally, the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) used to say in his supplication: "O Allah, I seek refuge in You from leprosy, madness, and all serious illnesses." [Narrated by Abu Dawood].

 

Thirdly: Repentance, seeking forgiveness, and returning rights and injustices to their rightful owners. Allah, may He be exalted, says [What means]: "But Allah would not punish them while thou wast with them, nor will He punish them while they seek forgiveness." (Al-Anfal, 33). The Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) said: "Whoever adheres to seeking forgiveness, Allah will provide a way out of every distress, relief from every worry, and will provide for him from sources he could never anticipate." [Narrated by Abu Dawood]. It is also reported in a hadith that no affliction descends except due to sin, and no affliction is lifted except through repentance.

 

Fourthly: Fortification through worship and remembrance (dhikr).

 

Narrated by Aban ibn Uthman from Uthman ibn Affan, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said: "Whoever says: 'Bismillahil-ladhi la yadurru ma'as-mihi shay'un fil-ardi wa la fis-sama'i wa Huwas-Sami'ul-'Alim (In the name of Allah with Whose name nothing can cause harm on earth or in the heavens, and He is the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing),' three times in the evening, will not be afflicted by a sudden calamity until the morning. And whoever says it three times in the morning will not be afflicted by a sudden calamity until the evening." [Reported by Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi]. Moreover, a man came to the Prophet, peace be upon him, and said: "O Messenger of Allah, I was stung by a scorpion last night." He said: "Had you said when you went to bed: 'A'udhu bikalimatillahit-tammati min sharri ma khalaq (I seek refuge in the perfect words of Allah from the evil of what He has created),' it would not have harmed you." [Reported by Muslim].

 

Narrated by Jundub ibn Abdullah, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: "Whoever performs the Fajr prayer is under the protection of Allah, so let not Allah call him to account or ask him about anything from His protection, lest He should seize him and throw him into the Fire of Hell." [Reported by Muslim].

 

Imam Nawawi commented in his explanation of Sahih Muslim (vol.5/P. 158): "The word 'dhimmah' here means protection or guarantee, and it is also said to mean security. So, performing the Fajr prayer and other acts of worship and obedience protect the Muslim from evil."

 

Firstly: Purification and cleanliness. This is emphasized by doctors and specialists for its role and impact in preventing epidemics and other diseases. In Islam, purification and cleanliness hold great importance. Islam has commanded us to observe cleanliness, which includes purification of the body, clothing, environment, tools, and utensils used by humans in their daily lives.

 

Indeed, one of the earliest revelations to the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) from the Quran is the command of Allah, the Almighty: "Thy raiment purify," (Al-Muddathir, 4). Islam has made purification a prerequisite for the validity of prayer. Therefore, Muslims purify themselves for every prayer, performing ablution (wudu) five times a day and night at designated intervals. Additionally, Islam has legislated the ritual bathing (ghusl) for Muslims. It is obligatory in certain situations and recommended in others. The Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) said: "It is obligatory for every Muslim to perform ghusl once every seven days, washing his head and body" (Transmitted by Bukhari & Muslim).

 

Secondly: Quarantine in Islam is a guidance that the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) commanded for those afflicted with contagious diseases, to prevent the spread of the illness to others who are healthy, thus preventing the outbreak of epidemics among people. There are several authentic narrations from the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) regarding this matter, including his statement: "If you hear of an outbreak of plague in a land, do not enter it; but if the plague breaks out in a place while you are in it, do not leave that place" (Transmitted by Bukhari & Muslim). Also, in his concern to prevent the spread of infections during epidemics, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Run away from the leper (as you would run away) from a lion" (Reported by Ahmad).

 

Furthermore, reflecting the greatness and mercy of Islam, this quarantine extends not only to humans but also to animals. The Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) said: "A sick person should not be taken to one who is healthy" (Transmitted by Muslim). Ibn Rajab mentioned in "Lata'if al-Ma'arif" (p. 68): "The sick person here refers to the owner of sick camels, and the healthy one is the owner of healthy ones. The prohibition is regarding bringing the sick camels among the healthy ones."

 

Thirdly: From the guidance of Islam in preventing epidemics and diseases is for individuals to adhere to and follow the instructions and guidelines issued by specialized medical authorities, including doctors, specialists, and relevant institutions with expertise and knowledge in methods to prevent the spread of infections. These measures assist in both prevention and treatment, mitigating the risk of epidemics and diseases.

 

Fourthly: Islam commands us to seek treatment and medical care for diseases and epidemics, and to visit hospitals and medical centers for diagnosis and treatment. It encourages seeking medical advice and using medications prescribed by doctors. The Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) said: "There is no disease that Allah has created, except that He also has created its treatment." (Transmitted by Bukhari & Muslim) He also said: "Seek treatment, O servants of Allah, for Allah did not create a disease except He also created its cure, except for one disease, namely old age." (Reported by Ibn Majah).

 

We ask Allah, the Almighty, to have mercy on us, to lift the afflictions, epidemics, trials, and tribulations from our lands and from His servants. All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all worlds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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