Coronavirus is a tiny little virus whose power is not comparable to its size. Today, many countries around the world are dealing with this newly emerged virus, gradually finding out ways to fight it back. But as the statistics show, this virus is considerably less fatal than its ancestors, including SARS or MERS, with the death rate of 3.8% . The only thing that worries people is its high-speed contingency and how fast it can transmit from one person to the other. In this global crisis, we, as Muslims, should ask ourselves what our responsibility in this situation is. What does Islam want us to do? Shall we sit and watch and let this molecular size thing defeat us and ruin our society? Of course not. As always, Islam advises us to be patient, take actions, and to find the lesson that is embodied in every hardship. As the Quran says, “Indeed ease accompanies hardship” (94:5). The ease that rests at the heart of hardship is only achieved after we realized this lesson, in this case, strengthening the social ties and reaching out to the essence of humanity.
In what follows, we will have a look at some of our most significant social responsibilities in dealing with any crisis, specifically speaking that of Coronavirus.
Personal hygiene is one of the cornerstones against catching diseases, and as many experts have so far emphasized, it is the most basic protective measure against Coronavirus. Islam is one of the greatest adherents of personal hygiene and continually advises Muslims to follow specific hygienic manners in their lifestyle. Performing Ablution (Wudhu) before each prayer (Salat) or performing ritual bath (Ghusl) are only two examples of the Islamic rules concerning hygiene. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) not only observed his own hygiene and tried to appear neat and tidy in the society, but also advised all Muslims to do the same. He said in a narration, “Cleanliness is a part of faithfulness” .
Now, how does personal hygiene affect our society and the people around us? Well, when you care about your hygiene, the risk of getting any diseases lowers significantly, and even if you become sick, you won’t transmit it to another person. Therefore, we can say that observing personal hygiene is more than an individual precaution, rather an essential social responsibility, especially at the time of epidemics.
So washing hands regularly, maintaining at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing, using masks if you are sick, avoiding handshakes, etc. are some of the most emphasized precautions against this disease .
Another social responsibility that protects us against any disease is keeping our surroundings clean. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) said in a hadith, “Allah is pure and loves purity (cleanliness)” .
Therefore, avoid throwing out garbage on the streets, especially the used masks and disposable gloves, since they might be the source of Coronavirus and infect other passersby. Also, disinfect your workplace before starting your job with whatever cleaning products you have to protect yourself and others against this virus.
According to recent studies, people over 60 years and the ones who already have a chronic condition such as diabetics, cardiovascular problems, cancer, or respiratory diseases are at the highest risk in suffering from Coronavirus, and it might affect them fatally.
Respecting and helping the elderly are constantly emphasized in the Islamic tradition. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) said, “Respecting the elderly equals to respecting me” . It is narrated from Imam Sadiq (AS) that, “A person who doesn’t respect the elderly is not one of us”  and Imam Sajjad (AS) enumerated many rights for the elderly [i]. Respecting the elderly includes many things, such as speaking respectfully, putting them first, especially in critical situations, and helping them to satisfy their needs.
In these difficult days, this is any righteous human being’s responsibility to help out the ones who cannot protect themselves easily. If we have an elderly parent, we should attend to them more than before. We might have elderly neighbors who cannot go out anymore for fear of getting the disease. We can do the shopping for them, buy whatever they need, or check up on them regularly.
The other group, which is highly at risk of getting the Coronavirus is the underprivileged and the ones who don’t have a shelter. This is because they are deprived of the means of protecting themselves against this virus.
As the holy Quran puts, one of the ways of attaining piety is through helping others and giving away (3:92). Also, it is narrated by Imam Ali (AS), “The faithful who help the destitute in the hardships and misfortunes of their life are loved most by Allah” . These and many other hadiths and verses of the Quran, urge Muslims to consider the needy and help them in any way they can.
It is our duty to consider the wellbeing of these people, as well. They might not have enough money to buy antiseptics, or any other hygienic products or may not be able to observe their hygiene properly. We can donate them some of this stuff or take them to some safe places that would shield them against this viral disease.
In Islam, workers have many rights that have to be observed by their employers. One of these rights, according to Imam Sajjad (AS), is to support and guard them against harms .
Therefore, if you are an employer, it is your responsibility to consider the wellbeing of your workers. This could range from disinfecting the workplace regularly, providing the necessary hygienic products, or even sending them home if possible. But this might end up in a financial crisis for the workers as well. So try to consider a part of or whole salary for your workers for this period of obligatory recess.
“Do not pursue that of which you have no knowledge. Indeed hearing, eyesight, and the heart—all of these are accountable.” Quran (17:36)
The message is clear! Do not say or repeat what you are not a hundred percent sure of. From the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, we are faced with considerable media bombarding, especially in social networks, many of which are only speculations or pure lies. The result of spreading this false news is the rise of public anxiety and stress levels, making them more prone to the disease.
You should know that Coronavirus is a newly emerged virus, and the data about its source, symptoms, medications, etc. are not complete and authentic yet. It takes much time for the experts in this field to gather reliable information. Therefore, we should only trust authoritative sources such as the World Health Organization website or other official news agencies and medical experts.
The demand for some essential products may rise considerably when facing epidemics, in this case, Coronavirus. For instance, everyone needs masks, detergents, disposable gloves, etc.
In this situation, some profiteers might go for hoarding these essential products to make them more expensive. Or some ordinary people might buy them excessively to store for themselves. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) condemns the act of hoarding severely and considers the one who practices hoarding an infidel . In another narration, he believes that the hoarder is doomed to poverty and leprosy .
The times of hardships are when we should be more careful about our fellow human beings. Therefore, we should be satisfied with our share of these products and let other people have their own share as well.
Due to its similar symptoms to the common cold, many people would panic when they feel a sore throat, have a runny nose or sneeze, and they rush toward the nearest hospital. And in many cases, their test results are negative.
According to the WHO website, you should, “Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, until you recover. If you develop fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition” .
Lining up in the hospitals keeps the doctors from attending the ones who have more critical conditions. Moreover, it heightens the risk of getting infected. Therefore, we should avoid going to hospitals unless we have the symptoms mentioned above.
“Behold! Allah’s help is indeed near” Quran (2:214)
At the end of the day, and after considering all these precautions, we should put our trust in Allah and hope in the good fate He had destined us. When we feel our belief in Allah with all our hearts, we would feel less stressed and more positive. This will not only help us to overcome the anxiety surrounding this disease, but also give us the strength to spread this positive attitude in our society. Remember that you should never lose hope in Allah [ii].
[i] “The right of him who is older than you (kabir) is that you show reverence toward him because of his age, and you honor him because he entered Islam before you. You leave off confronting him in a dispute, you do not precede him in a path, you do not go ahead of him, and you do not consider him foolish. If he should act foolishly toward you, you put up with him, and you honor him because of the right of Islam and the respect due to it.” 
[ii] “… Do not despair of the mercy of Allah” Quran (39:53)
- Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- covid 19
- Mohammad-Baqer Majlesi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol.21, p.257.
- Advice for public
- Muhammadi Reyshahri, Mizan al-Hikmah (Scale of Wisdom), hadith no.9927.
- Muhammadi Reyshahri, Mizan al-Hikmah (Scale of Wisdom), vol.2, p.106, hadith no.10084.
- Imam ‘Ali Zayn al-‘Abidin, Treatise On Rights (Risalat al-Huquq), The Right of the one Older than you.
- Ibn Shu’bah, Tuhaf al-Uqul, p.376.
- Imam ‘Ali Zayn al-‘Abidin, Treatise On Rights (Risalat al-Huquq), the right of the one who works for you.
- Nahj al-Fasaha, p.293, hadith no. 690.
- Nahj al-Fasaha, p.278.
- Ibn Majah, Sunan ibn Majah, vol.2, p.728.
Being exposed to the ever-alluring representation of “A Perfect Body” in media through the picture of celebrities and actors, we inevitably grow more careful about our own body and try to compare ourselves with that unrealistic image that is made real for us. And the only remedy we find to get closer to that so-called norm is to change our appearances with the help of cosmetic surgeries.
Some people see a perfect correspondence between their physical features and inner confidence and instead of working on their inner abilities to elevate their character, try to make a better look. But there may be cases in which one is forced to undergo this kind of surgery out of necessity. What is Islam’s view about this matter on the whole? Are we allowed to have cosmetic surgeries or not? What are the conditions?
In what follows we will try to find the answers to these questions.
Beauty is a very relative concept and can at least be divided into two kinds: the beauty of the body vs. the beauty of the soul. In Islam, both of these aspects are given importance. However the latter is regarded as being superior to the former; Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) says in a narration that, “Allah does not look at your faces but your hearts and deeds” .
The beauty of your character and the purity of your soul which is born with you and then can be elevated by following Allah’s guidance is far more valuable than your beautiful body. What gets you closer to Allah is your pious deeds, since: “…Indeed the noblest of you in the sight of Allah is the most God wary among you” (49:13).
Nevertheless, Islam is a religion that pays careful attention to the matter of personal hygiene and appearance. We have many narrations that emphasize this issue. For instance, Imam Sadeq (AS) always recommended his followers to “be neat and orderly, since Allah is beautiful and loves that which is beautifully provided that it is lawful (Halal)”.
As the best example of practicing Islamic teachings in its ideal form, prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) always appeared in his best shape both in society and at home and in this way showed Islam’s concern about the matter of appearance and outer beauty.
Having said all of the above, the idea of beautifying yourself through cosmetic surgery remains unresolved. According to most Islamic jurists, having this kind of operation is not forbidden (Haram) in itself, provided that it is done for medical treatment such as removing a burn mark or curing a deformed part of the body .
However, undergoing cosmetics surgery just for the sake of beauty and without any purpose of medical treatment is only allowed if it is done by a doctor of the same gender since it is not out of necessity. This is because in Islam patients can refer to a doctor of the opposite gender, only when no same-gender doctor is available, or his proficiency is lower than a doctor of the opposite gender. To have a better view of “Islamic Etiquette of Looking” as well as the matter of Mahrams, you can refer to the related articles.
It has been proved by many psychologists that having a better life, more often, is not related to your outward appearance; in other words, being beautiful does not necessarily make you happy. Instead, working on the inner beauty and elevating your soul leads you to a beautiful perception. However, this does not mean that Islam gives no importance to personal appearance and physical beauty. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) always rejected the notion of abandoning worldly pleasures altogether in favor of a solitary and monastic lifestyle [i].
[i] Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) said: “ There is no monasticism in Islam” .
- Mustadrak al Wassail, Vol 11, p. 264
- sul al Kafi , Vol 6 , p.442
- medical issue
- Na’aman Ibn Muhammad Tamimi Maqribi, Daaem Al-Islam, Egypt: Dar Almaaref ,Vol. 2, p.193
Mary is one of the outstanding personalities and a distinguished woman in the Abrahamic religions. In Islam, Mary is considered as one of the four celestial women of Paradise, an exemplary role model and a leader of the women of the universe
In the Quran, no woman has been mentioned by her proper name except Mary, and interestingly, her name occurs 34 times in the Quran [i]. Also, a chapter of the Quran was named after her.
Mary was a daughter of Imran and Hannah. Imran, a progeny of Solomon son of David, was one of the leading religious scholars of his time. According to the reports, following a prayer request of Hannah for a child, they were blessed at old age with a baby girl named Mary. However, Imran died before the birth of Mary.
Meanwhile, according to a narration , it was said that Imran had informed his wife of a son who by Allah’s permission could heal the blind and raise the dead to life. Thus, Hannah has vowed to devote the child to the service of the Lord in the Sanctuary.
The Quran says:
“When the wife of Imran said, ‘My Lord, I dedicate to You in consecration what is in my belly. Accept it from me; indeed You are the All-hearing, the All-knowing” (3: 35)
Meanwhile, since the conceived child was a girl, who could not be allowed to serve in the sanctuary due to her weakness and menses, Hannah was amazed, and she exclaimed bashfully:
“When she bore her, she said, ‘My Lord, I have borne a female [child]’—and Allah knew better what she had borne, and the male [child she expected] was no match for the female [child she had borne] —‘and I have named her Mary…” (3: 36)
However, contrary to her expectation, Allah graciously accepted her vow by permitting her daughter; Mary to serve the Lord in the Sanctuary:
“Thereupon her Lord accepted her with a gracious acceptance, and made her grow up in a worthy fashion…” (3: 37)
After that, Hannah took her baby to the Sanctuary, and she handed her over to the custodians of the House of God while she returned home.
There were disputes among the custodians of the Sanctuary about taking charge of the guardianship of Mary. Every one of them wished to take the responsibility, but Zakariyya told them he was more worthy of her since her aunt was his wife.
They later agreed on casting a lot by throwing their pens with which they wrote the Torah in water to decide the guardianship of Mary. In line with a divine will, only the Zakariyya’s pen surfaced over the water while the remaining ones submerged. Thus, Zakariyyah finally took charge of the guardianship of Mary.
“…and He charged Zechariah with her care…” (3: 37)
When Mary attained puberty, a separate room was built for her in the temple so that she may have a maximum concentration on her devotions. Thus, none was allowed to see her or talk with her except Zakariyya, who made provisions for her needs. According to the Quranic report, every time Zakariyya entered her sanctuary to see her, he found some food in her room.
“…Whenever Zechariah visited her in the sanctuary, he would find provisions with her. He said, ‘O Mary, from where does this come for you?’ She said, ‘It comes from Allah. Allah provides whomever He wishes without any reckoning.” (3: 37)
One day, the Gabriel in the guise of a handsome man [ii] appeared to Mary but she was frightened, and she sought refuge from Allah against him. But he responded that he was a messenger of her Lord to give her a glad tiding of a pure boy.
“…We sent to her Our Spirit, and he became incarnate for her as a well-proportioned human. She said, ‘I seek the protection of the All-beneficent from you, should you be Godwary! He said, ‘I am only a messenger of your Lord that I may give you a pure son.” (19: 17-19)
However, Mary enquired on the possibility of having a child while not being touched by any man. The Gabriel told her that creating a child out of a virgin and without a father is not difficult for God [iii]. After that, Mary by the decree of Allah became pregnant of Jesus, who shall be a sign for the humankind and a mercy to the world. In order to avoid people’s accusations, Mary retreated to a remote place where no one could see her.
However, at the time of childbirth, apart from loneliness, she went through severe pains to such an extent that she aspired for death [iv]. Then, a voice called unto her to console her not to grieve, and she was commanded by Allah to eat from the fresh dates, drink from the spring water and to refresh her eyes by the newly born baby [v].
In addition, Mary was henceforth commanded by Allah to refrain from talking to people for a particular time, but her child would be allowed to speak on her behalf and defend her chastity. Finally, Mary brought her miraculous baby to her people while carrying him in her arms. Some of them accused her of adultery [vi], but in line with divine command, she remained silent while pointing to her new baby.
Thus, Jesus while in his cradle testified to the divinity of Allah, his servitude to Him and finally attested to the chastity of her mother [vii].
In Islam, Mary is held in high esteem, and she acquired an elevated status among the women of the world. She was considered a perfect personality for emulation by the women of the world.
However, Islam in a very strong term repudiates the belief in the divinity of Mary or her being considered a mother of God. She is indeed a chosen and purified servant of God, and she was chosen above the women of the world.
[ii] (19: 17)
[iii] (19: 20-21)
[iv] (19: 23)
[v] (19: 24-26)
[vi] (19: 27-28)
[vii] (19: 30-33)
- Majlisi, Muhammad-Baqir, “Bihar-ul-'Anwar” (Beirut Edition), Vol. 14, P. 203, Hadith 15.