Until writing these lines, the world, despite the unbelievable advancement in all fields of sciences, could not be able to discover a vaccine or injection to prevent and treat coronavirus infected peoples, we supplicate Allah the Almighty to guide the medicine scientists to succeed to discover something that can help the people.
Nature of Divine Message
A Divine Religion represents a divine guidance in matters of faith and the worldly life, according to my belief, Islam is a divine religion that originated from God the Almighty and remained preserved from distortion and alteration. And Islam is the last divine message. We are going to present here some ideas on teachings of Islam on prevention and treatment for the coronavirus.
We do not claim that Muslims have a specific and definite text for Coronavirus or COVID-19, but those texts are general that include this virus and other viruses and epidemics, SARS and MERS may outbreak in the world in the future, as it is evident that Coronavirus will not be the last of the epidemics or pandemics.
Religious guidelines are general and comprehensive, such as the laws, principles, and regulations, for example: the Constitution of India, Article 15 says:
“Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.”(1)
The article does not specify any religion or follower of a religion but suppose, if Mustafa is a Muslim and citizen of India then surely the article will include him and will include others who have the same description and would be unlawful to be discriminated, though the article did not mention the name Mustafa. The same is applicable to the religious texts.
What is Coronavirus? Can Virus be seen?
Virus is a small infectious agent that multiplies only within the living cells of the organism. Viruses can infect all types of life, from animals, plants, microorganisms and bacteria. Viruses are so small that most cannot be seen with a light microscope, but must be observed with an electron microscope.(2)
Coronavirus and the Lungs
The coronavirus is a respiratory virus that influences first the lungs and the related system. Coronavirus is a group of viruses that can cause many symptoms such as runny nose, cough, sore throat and fever. Some are mild, such as the common cold, while others are more likely to lead to pneumonia.
The CDC recommends washing hands with soap and water before eating, after using the bathroom, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, and before and after caring for a sick friend or a family member.(3)
Coughing and Sneezing and Coronavirus
Coughing and sneezing are among the major causes of the spread of coronavirus from the infected person to the air and then to the other people.
The experts say in this regard:
It’s likely to be transmitted in droplets from coughing or sneezes, and the virus has a two- to 14-day incubation period. (Incubation is the period of time between infection with germs and the appearance of symptoms of illness or disease.(4)
Teachings of Islam When Sneezing and Yawning
We are presenting here some of the rulings and manners when sneezing and yawning from the sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). I think that those manners if are followed are not helpful only in containing the Coronavirus or COVID-19 but for other infectious viruses related to the lungs or respiratory system in human body.
The narration says: Whenever the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) sneezed; he would cover his mouth with his hand or a piece of cloth, suppressing the sound this way. [Reported by Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi]
This narration demonstrates the habit of the Prophet Muhammad (May peace and blessing be upon him) when he sneezed. There is another hadith that commands others to do same when they sneeze.
The Hadith says:
Whenever one of you sneezes, he should cover his mouth with his hand or a piece of cloth, suppressing the sound. (Reported by Al Hakim)
In this hadith, there are two etiquettes of sneezing: The first: covering the mouth with hand or a piece of cloth. Second: reducing and lowering the voice.
“Serious respiratory illnesses like influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), whooping cough, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) are spread by: Coughing or sneezing unclean hands.” CDC advises: Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.(5)
Islamic Etiquette When Yawning
It is noticeable that medical centers concerned with coronavirus or COVID-19 or with infectious viruses does not mention yawning and its part in spreading the infection, but they mentioned only sneezing and coughing, although we find in the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of God be upon him) teachings and etiquettes when yawning. It is evident that yawning also causes to breath out infected air from the respiratory system in human body.
The Hadith says:
“When one of you yawns, he should put his hand over his mouth.” (Reported by Muslim)
Another narration says: “When one of you yawns, he should repress it as much as possible.”
One of the principles of Islamic jurisprudence is that the similar case will be added to the original and that the like will take the same ruling of the principle case or subject. Therefore, the hadith did not mention coughing, but according to the principles of jurisprudence, coughing will take the same ruling of the sneeze, because the reason for the ruling is the same in both cases. For example, wine is forbidden by the text of the Qur’an, and the reason of forbidding is intoxication, so new drugs are forbidden because of the intoxication even if the names of newly produced intoxicants were not mentioned in the Qur’an.
Hence, all actions that lead to the spread of any infection or the virus, whether corona or other, are not permitted in Islam. Such as; travel, meeting, gathering, shaking hands, hugging, kissing, spitting, talking face to face and so on.
Washing Hands after Waking up
Purification from any dirt or impurity on the hand or from germs or bacteria that may cause disease, it is recommended in Islam to wash hands after waking up immediately, before touching anything.
A Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) says: “When one of you wakes up from his sleep, he must not put his hand in a utensil till he washed it three times, for he does not know where his hand was (while he slept)”. [Reported by Al Bukhari and Muslim].
Purification System in Islam: Prevention from Viruses
The purification system in Islam has its role in the removal of bacteria and reducing the spread of diseases and infectious viruses. The system of purification in Islam is a distinct system between the religions of the world. In Islam, there is a complete list of pure things and impure things, as well as directives in the sayings and deeds of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) bear for us clear and inclusive instructions in this context. Full body bath or shower with water is obligatory after any sexual intercourse between man and woman and this is not optional rather, it is necessary for them. Washing the urinary organ and the back passage with water is also necessary after defecating. To perform purification ritual called Wudu is obligatory that is washing the face, both hands, arms, and feet, cleansing the inner mouth and nostrils. A full body shower for a woman after the end of the menstrual cycle is also necessary. A full body bath for woman after giving birth after the postpartum blood is also necessary. In fact, these few lines cannot accommodate all those subjects in detail, it is easy to search on the Internet by the key words, like; purification in Islam, or purification in the Qur’an, purification in the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and many results will be before you. In our contemporary language, those manners can be included and listed in healthy manners, hygiene, purity from germs, bacteria, viruses, sterilization, and so on.
The Sex System in Islam: Prevention from Diseases
The sex system in Islam has a major role in limiting the spread of diseases and transmitting viruses. Sex in Islam is not absolute permission or absolute prohibition, but it is based on balanced ruling that is fully appropriate for general human taste natural human need. Sex outside marriage is prohibited in Islam, and marriage is not permitted except between male and female, so the same-sex or same-sex marriage, whether a woman with a woman or a man with a man is absolutely prohibited in Islam, and sex during the menstrual cycle is forbidden in Islam, and sex in the back or anal sex is also prohibited in Islam.
From a medical perspective and preventive aspects, and from a social angle, all of these provisions and rulings are in the interest of society and the individual, for example; sex during the days of menstruation in vagina and also anal sex are causes for bacterial contamination and impurity and thus a cause of disease. Therefore, they have been regarded as prohibited.
Diet System in Islam: Prevention and Treatment
The diet system in Islam is a balanced one, which is prevention and treatment according to latest medical point of view. Vital effect of the diet system in Islam is clear in limiting the spread of diseases and epidemics, and it is essentially based on the interest of the individual and society. It is not absolutely permissive as we see in the tradition and habits of some countries that eat everything from worms, insects, snakes, bats, dogs and so on. The diet system in Islam combines plants, grains and some meat with conditions in the animal and conditions in getting the meat. From an Islamic perspective, there are conditions in animals and conditions in the process of obtaining meat.
The Prohibited Animals in Islam
Ibn ‘Abbas reported that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) has prohibited the eating of all fanged beasts of prey, and all the birds having talons.
The Hadith mentions general principle for Halal (permissible) and Haram (prohibited) animals. The category of prohibited wild beasts includes wild beasts that have fangs by which they devour their prey such as lions, tigers, wolves, elephants, cheetahs, panthers, leopards, dogs, foxes, wild pigs, jackals, cats, crocodiles, tortoises, hedgehogs, monkeys, hyenas and the like.
The Hadith includes category of prohibited birds, according to this Hadith it is prohibited to eat birds that have claws by which they hunt such as eagles, falcons, hawks, accipiter, kites, owls and the like. It is also prohibited to eat birds that devour carrion and dung such as eagles, crows, vultures, hoopoes, martins and the like.
In addition, the cattle or chickens and the like whose fodder is mostly dirt and impure, it is prohibited to consume their meat, their milk, and their eggs until they are detained and fed with pure fodder, to the degree that one becomes almost certain of their purity.(6)
In addition, An-Nawawi said: “The views of scientists regarding the land insects, scorpions, snakes scarabs, cockroaches, mouse and the like are that they are prohibited: it is our view that they are haram (prohibited), and it is the conclusion of Abu Hanifa, Ahmad and Dawood.(7)
An-Nakha’i said: All birds are halal (permissible), except for the bat. This is forbidden because they are malicious, which the Arabs do not like, and they do not eat them.(8)
After looking at the aforementioned, it is clearly evident that the prohibition of certain things and actions by Islam and permissibility of other things is based on human interest and well-being.
We can conclude some important points in the following:
First: dead animal’s meat and pig are prohibited in Islam, the latest medical findings advise to avoid them for health prevention.
Second: it is not permissible to torture the animal when slaughtering or before it. The animal must be slaughtered in its throat with a sharp, fast-cutting knife or cutter so that its blood, a big source of contamination and germs are gone and meat becomes pure, free of germs and bacteria.
Third: Names of God must be recited when slaughtering because the animal is God’s creature and it is not permissible to destroy a life but when you mention God’s name it is as if you sought Allah’s permission for slaughtering and using it as your food.
Fourth: if people of the globe irrespective of their faith, race, color, religion and gender practice Islamic rulings on food, sex, purification and manners, the world will be safer, happier and more prosperous. This does not require full conversion to Islamic faith.
Fifth: Coronavirus outbreak or COVID-19 will not be the last of its kind that threaten the existence of human being on the earth; therefore, those humanistic manners, practices and guidelines are important for ever not only for this infection, coronavirus or COVID-19.
Sixth: if you bought a car and followed the related instruction you will be safe and will benefit from the product but if you misused and crossed the red-light or violated the speed limit you will destroy yourself and will harm others. You are a creation of God who revealed for you guideline and instruction in the form of religion, follow the true religion and be safe, happy and prosperous and save others from your harm.
(7) An-Nawawi, Al Majmu`a” (9 /16-17.
(8) Ibn Qudamah, Al Mughni.