Nowadays, people are dealing with a new contagious disease that they call the coronavirus or more precisely, COVID-19. This virus has been contracted by many people throughout the world and people have lost their lives from it. What do you think Islam has to say about the coronavirus? We will answer this question here on Islam4u.
One of the things Islam has said is that contagious and communicable diseases are a test from God, and also they could be a punishment for some people. Therefore, God is testing us with the coronavirus and punishing those who deserve punishment with it. A verse of the Quran clearly states that God tests us with different things including loss of wealth and death:
وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُم بِشَيْءٍ مِّنَ الْخَوْفِ وَالْجُوعِ وَنَقْصٍ مِّنَ الْأَمْوَالِ وَالْأَنفُسِ وَالثَّمَرَاتِ ۗ وَبَشِّرِ الصَّابِرِينَ ﴿155﴾
We will surely test you with a measure of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth, lives, and fruits; and give good news to the patient. 1
In the end, the verse says give good news to the patient. It means that when we are being tested with something like the coronavirus, we must be patient.
Patience in the Quran
Having patience when in a difficult situation can be very rewarding. It shows that the person has a good intellect and has a very good understanding of matters. Above all, the person will receive a great deal of rewards in the hereafter. Many verses of the Quran enjoin believers to exercise patience and enjoin others to do so as well before hardships. For example, the Quran states in surah Asr :
إِلَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْرِ ﴿3﴾
Except those who have faith and do righteous deeds, and enjoin one another to [follow] the truth, and enjoin one another to patience. 2
So one of the things when dealing with the coronavirus in Islam is enjoining each other to be patient and that they will get well very soon, God willing.
Patience and Trust in God in Islam When Dealing with Coronavirus
If we have been diagnosed with this virus, we should be patient and put our trust in God. Patience is the weapon of those who are afflicted with ailments and calamities. This virus has no known remedy, therefore, we should strengthen the body through our diet and allow the body to heal itself naturally. In fact, this is how people who had gotten coronavirus were treated. Moreover, as far as the coronavirus in Islam is concerned, God tells us that we should never panic when in a critical situation and should always rely on Him and put our trust in Him:
وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى الْحَيِّ الَّذِي لَا يَمُوتُ وَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِهِ ۚ وَكَفَىٰ بِهِ بِذُنُوبِ عِبَادِهِ خَبِيرًا ﴿58﴾
Put your trust in the Living One who does not die, and celebrate His praise. He suffices as one all-aware of the sins of His servants.3
By trusting God, you will know that whatever happens to you is in your best interest. That is, even if God forbid your situation is very critical, at least you have peace of mind that God is watching you and He will arrange your affairs. We pray that all of those who have gotten the coronavirus will be cured and no one loses his life.
What if Someone Has the Covid-19?
Islam pays a great deal of attention to spirituality at such times. When a person is sick, according to Islam, his sins will be forgiven. Moreover, a person has the chance to pray and supplicate to God, ask for His help, and repent. Likewise, others who do not have the virus but their dear ones or relatives do can supplicate to God and pray to Him. This is a golden opportunity. God says in the Quran:
ادْعُونِي أَسْتَجِبْ لَكُمْ ۚ
‘Call Me, and I will hear you!’ 4
God Almighty is so kind and merciful that He says, call me and I will answer you! Speak to God. Tell him of your difficulties. God is all-hearing and will answer your call. For example, you could directly talk to God and say that this illness is bothering you and you want to feel well again. God will definitely help you though you may not notice it.
Coronavirus is Worldwide
It is very intriguing that a virus could become so widespread, such that there is almost no country in the world where it does not exist. In light of this, one can say that COVID-19 is actually a Divine test. God wants to try us, the governments, the people, and so on. People are dying of this disease because maybe the governments are not taking the necessary measures. The fact that this disease is widespread could also indicate that it is a punishment from God for people’s sins. However, as I have noted, this virus is a test for all people, specifically the righteous, and a punishment specifically for the wrongdoers and tyrants. In fact, God never leaves the human being to his own devices and is always testing him:
أَحَسِبَ النَّاسُ أَن يُتْرَكُوا أَن يَقُولُوا آمَنَّا وَهُمْ لَا يُفْتَنُونَ ﴿2﴾
Do the people suppose that they will be let off because they say, ‘We have faith,’ and they will not be tested?
وَلَقَدْ فَتَنَّا الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ ۖ فَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ اللَّـهُ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا وَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ الْكَاذِبِينَ ﴿3﴾
Certainly We tested those who were before them. So Allah shall surely ascertain those who are truthful, and He shall surely ascertain the liars. 5
Therefore, this virus is but one element of God’s means for testing the human being. Of course, it is a very serious means for testing and we must take it seriously. Like the above verse stated, through this testing, God separates the truthful from the liars.
Coronavirus in Islam and Spirituality
One of the blessings that this disease has brought in disguise, is that people are now demanding spirituality more than before. When people are weak, are in need of help, and in this case, are sick, they need a spiritual source of comfort. Recently, the government of Germany allowed the adhan to be broadcast in the streets. This is because at this point in time, spirituality can be the best remedy for this disease. People who have this virus remember God and ask Him to cure them. Without spirituality, there would be no hope, and without hope, people would die—spiritually even if not physically. It is in the essential disposition or fitrah (فِطرَة) of the human being to be inclined to spirituality:
فَأَقِمْ وَجْهَكَ لِلدِّينِ حَنِيفًا ۚ فِطْرَتَ اللَّـهِ الَّتِي فَطَرَ النَّاسَ عَلَيْهَا ۚ لَا تَبْدِيلَ لِخَلْقِ اللَّـهِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ الدِّينُ الْقَيِّمُ وَلَـٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ ﴿30﴾
So set your heart as a person of pure faith on this religion, the original nature endowed by Allah according to which He originated mankind (There is no altering Allah’s creation; that is the upright religion, but most people do not know.) 6
So as the verse states, there will be no altering in God’s creation in that all human beings will be inclined to worshipping God and loving anything that is good.
Should People Fear the Covid-19?
Now that coronavirus has come, many people are scared they might get the disease. They think that they are very vulnerable to the disease and can easily contract it. What does Islam say about such a notion? First of all, Islam says that one should fear none but God Almighty, Allah (SWT). Even if one gets the virus he should know that many people, more than half of those who have contracted the virus, have been cured and treated so there is hope.
God Cures the Sick
People should remember God and know that it is He who cures all illnesses and no one else. Medications are just mediums (وَسيلة) that God has placed certain effects in them. For example, if there is a specific syrup that is good for cough, one should not think that this syrup itself treats cough. In other words, one should know that God has placed the effect of curing cough in that syrup. However, this does not mean we should avoid taking cough medicine or other medications thinking it is shirk (polytheism) if one does so. Yes, if you take it without acknowledging that God has put the effect in it, then it is shirk, but if you acknowledge that God has put the effect in it, it is not shirk. The Quran states:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ وَابْتَغُوا إِلَيْهِ الْوَسِيلَةَ وَجَاهِدُوا فِي سَبِيلِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ ﴿35﴾
O you who have faith! Be wary of Allah, and seek the means of recourse to Him, and wage jihad in His way, so that you may be felicitous.
The means of recourse here in this verse is anything that brings benefit for someone or has an effect. Medicine is one of the examples of means of recourse. Therefore we should take medicine, remember God at the same time, and do not think that it is shirk (polytheism) to take it.
If we remember this, we will be on the path of tawheed (monotheism). Otherwise, we will be on the path of shirk (polytheism).
Coronavirus in Islam as a Lifestyle
On one side, coronavirus has made a lot of changes in people’s lifestyle, and from the other side, we believe that Islam is the perfect religion and has the basic instructions for every human being’s basic needs. “What does Islam suggest regarding the coronavirus lifestyle?” you might ask. here is an answer:
Visiting the Sick in Islam
Islam lays great emphasis on visiting the sick and asking them about their health. With the coronavirus not letting people get closely connected and visiting each other’s houses, technology has become the solution. Islam recommends any way that is possible for doing this activity meaning through phone or the Internet. The coronavirus has caused people to call each other more and make video calls on their cellphones even. Islam tells us that if you cannot visit a sick person, the least thing you can do is by asking about his health by other means such as through phone or the Internet. Islam says that this visitation can help the sick person get well sooner. In addition, Islam says reciting surah Fatihah for a sick person can cure him. Of course, prayer and supplication for those who are sick to regain their health is recommended in Islam.
How Good is the Coronavirus Lifestyle?
All in all, the coronavirus lifestyle seems to be positive and has helped people get sick less. The issue of coronavirus in Islam is something that is partly approved. Of course, getting close to one another and shaking hands and hugging each other is also something Islam approves which the coronavirus has forbidden. In this case, the coronavirus lifestyle is bad. It is hoped that once again people can have friendly relationships by shaking hands and hugging each other once the virus is eradicated. After all, if people are clean and take care of their hygiene shaking hands and getting close to each other would not be a problem.
Patience During Illness
When we talk about a virus such as COVID-19 we also think about other diseases that are worse than it. In the Quran, there is a story of a prophet who had to suffer from a very deadly disease but was very patient. His name was Ayyūb or Job (أيّوب):
وَأَيُّوبَ إِذْ نَادَىٰ رَبَّهُ أَنِّي مَسَّنِيَ الضُّرُّ وَأَنتَ أَرْحَمُ الرَّاحِمِينَ ﴿83﴾
And [remember] Job, when he called out to his Lord, ‘Indeed distress has befallen me, and You are the most merciful of the merciful.’ 7
Job was a grateful servant of God and also a prophet who was very faithful. He was one of the descendants of Prophet Abraham. Satan said to God, the only reason he is good and has faith in You is that he is rich and prosperous. Allow me to take away his property and You will see that he will lose his faith. God allowed Satan to destroy Job’s property and possessions. Nevertheless, Job kept his faith. Satan got mad.
He told God: If I take away his children and family he will lose his faith. God allowed Satan to dispose of Job’s family. Job still kept his faith in God. Finally, Satan said: If I manipulate him and have control over his body, he will surely lose his faith. Therefore, Satan made Prophet Job get the worst disease. However, Job kept his faith.
In the end, Satan felt helpless and lost his hope. God cured Job and gave him back everything that Satan had taken away from him. Job is a Prophet who is known for his patience. In fact, he is the epitome of patience. We learn from this story that if one of us gets the coronavirus we must be patient and pray to God as he will cure us, God willing. The coronavirus will not be able to affect our lives forever and it will be destroyed eventually. We pray to God to bring the day when this virus does not exist and people can live happily and in peace.
- 2:155 (Qara’i).
- 103:3 (Qara’i).
- 25:58 (Qara’i).
- 40:60 (Qara’i).
- 29:2-3 (Qara’i).
- 30:30 (Qara’i).