By European Council of Imams
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The most beloved people to Allah are those who are most beneficial to people.”
The spread of the Coronavirus pandemic in Europe has posed challenges relating to the ideal way of dealing with this phenomenon; and the aspects to verify the role of the Muslim presence as a positive element and a good balance in Europe which contributes to its construction and stave off hardships.
For the first time, Muslims have found themselves in front of the reality of the closure of mosques, educational and Islamic centres, the disruption of Friday prayer and congregational prayers, and maybe the necessity of staying home and not going out except for necessity, as is the situation in Italy. What can Muslims do under such circumstances? Are there any novel initiatives that ease the effects of the quarantine, and supports the general effort to combat the pandemic?
With hardship there is ease
The verses of motivation and hope in the Holy Quran and the Prophetic Sunnah lead Muslims to take the initiative in finding solutions and looking for positivity within distress.
At the level of family:
Most European families have entered into a partial or total quarantine due to the disruption of study and restrictions on movement. It is possible for Muslims who suffer from the disintegration of the family and the severity of material life, to consider this as a rare opportunity to strengthen the relationship between family members and benefit from the spare time for social family gatherings, in order to remedy some shortcomings and to obtain some knowledge and skills.
Among the proposals:
1- Fajr prayer performed as a group, and to read some supplications and other narrated dhikr.
2- Establish a program for memorising and reviewing the Holy Quran.
3- Conducting simple dialogues with children to teach them the Names and Attributes of Allah the Almighty, and the belief in destiny and the Final Day, and remembering the greatness of Allah and our poverty and our need for Allah – Glory be to Him, and that every moment in this life is a great opportunity to return to the truth and to fulfill the duty of care towards others on the earth.
4- Continue with school studies and remedy any possible weakness in some subjects.
5- Launching a campaign between families to read books and exchange opinions and impressions about it through a social media application.
6- Launch competitions for children and youth, in calligraphy, drawing and literature, related to fighting the pandemic, such as expressing appreciation to the doctors and nurses and confidence in overcoming the virus, with the will of Allah • Regulating the use of phones and electronic games.
7- Allocate time for entertainment by group games and mental stimulating activities.
8- Participating in some exercise inside houses or outside houses for those who live outside the cities.
At the level of masajid, Quran and Arabic language schools:
1- Maintaining communication with mosque members and other beneficiaries by preparing a database, providing contact numbers, and sending awareness messages or messages of general support.
2- Finding alternatives for mosques to continue to provide services and perform their mission to Muslims and non-Muslims, and resume lessons and lectures on social media platforms as well as YouTube channels.
3- Making use of distant learning for schools that are closed.
4- Producing electronic publications and banners.
5- Highlighting the faith related lessons and recalling the unseen aspects of this adversity that the world is going through and choosing the appropriate means for expressing this, and avoiding the direct method.
6- Conduct campaigns around the mosque or in the city centre to distribute masks and provide hand sterilizers, if conditions and laws allow this.
7- Find mechanisms to support the affected families and follow up on the affected Muslims.
8- Prepare to deal with deaths by preparing those responsible for this and providing them with the necessary knowledge of provisions of Islamic law as determined by the health authorities.
9- Benefiting from the closure period to carry out some maintenance and repairs, and to make some improvements to mosques and Islamic centres.
At the level of society in general:
1- Compliance with the instructions issued by the official authorities and highlight the values of honest and responsible citizenship
2- Diligence of Muslims working in sensitive sectors and their perseverance and sacrifice.
3- Creating a spirit of hope, synergy and harmony among people, and highlighting the values of partnership and belonging, by publishing motivational videos and slogans.
4- The initiative to register and participate in volunteer work and official efforts in the face of the crisis.
5- Finding ways to provide halal meals to Muslims and other employees, who are working for patient care and community service.
6- Check the neighbours, especially those who are elderly and those with special needs, and give a clear indication of willingness to help and provide service whenever there is a need for help.
So take warning, O people of vision:
A Muslim who is confident in his Lord realises that he is required to take into account the causes and to prevent disease, and worship Allah the Almighty by doing good deeds to construct the Earth and finding solutions to all the difficulties that confront him in life, whilst he is certain that what has passed him by was not going to befall him, and what has befallen him was not going to pass him by, as Allah the Almighty said : “Say, ‘Never will we be struck except by what Allah has decreed for us; He is our protector, And upon Allah let the believers rely’.” (At-Tawbah 9:51)
Also, it isn’t befitting that a believer does not contemplate these tremendous effects that this microscopic organism has on humanity. For it refers him to the fact that the human is weak and helpless in front of the power of Allah the Almighty,
That is because Allah is capable of everything,
and everything to him is in need;
And everything that is upon Him is easy. He does not need anything There is nothing whatever like unto Him, And He is the All-Hearing All-Seeing.
When the balance between spiritual values and material manifestations is disturbed, the distance between the unseen realm and the witnessed realm diverges, and justice is distracted between people, the Allah’s effecting Way and His valid destinies send alarm messages and reminder bells that call upon the human to adjust the path and improve management. No calamity has come down without a sin; and it was not raised except with repentance.
“Allah would not have punished them while you were amongst them and Allah would not have punished them while they sought forgiveness.” (Al-Anfal 8:33)
And what becomes necessary for Muslims in such circumstances, is to increase the supplication to Allah the Almighty that He removes the calamity from them and to repel the pandemic from them. And from what was reported from the Prophet’s supplications – may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him : “O Allah, I seek refuge in You from leprosy, insanity, elephantiasis, and bad diseases.”, and his saying – may Allah bless him and grant him peace: “O Allah, I ask you for well-being in this world and the Next. O Allah, I ask you for forgiveness and well-being in my dīn and in my dunya and in my family and my wealth. O Allah, veil my faults and calm my fears. O Allah, give me protection in front of me and behind me, on my right and my left and above me. I seek refuge by Your might from being overwhelmed from under me’.” (Abu Dawud and An-Nasaai and declared authentic by Ibn Hibban and al-Hakim)