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Teachings of Prophet Muhammad Regarding Pandemics

The entire world is currently facing an unexpected Coronavirus pandemic. The word “Pandemic” is used for a disease that transfers from one person to the other and is caused by a viral infection. The world has faced several pandemics in the past and is still facing them. One-third of the total world population died due to Spanish flu about a century ago.

Currently, Coronavirus is spreading all over the world, and the death count is increasing day by day. Since Islam addresses every field of life, we found several teachings of Prophet Muhammad that tell us how to deal with pandemics. It’s imperative for us to know what the Preacher of Islam says about pandemics and their control.

Looking Back in History

Quarantine is another critical measure prescribed by the WHO to mitigate the impact of Coronavirus. It was also prescribed by The Prophet Muhammad some 1400 years back. He gave instructions on what to do if there is an outbreak of any infectious disease.

Looking back in history, the Prophet handled numerous pandemics during his time. He gave rise to strong ordinances for the management of epidemics. Those ordinances included social distancing, no get-togethers, and self-isolation. He has also emphasized self-cleanliness and even said that cleanliness is half of the faith.

Making “Pray at Home” a Part of Azaan

It is narrated in Bukhari (a famous book of Hadith) that the Prophet Muhammad even asked the Muezzin (person who calls Azaan) to make “stay at home” a part of Azaan, during an outbreak of a deadly epidemic.

Prophet Muhammad asked the Muezzin to replace the “Haya Alasalah” (come for the prayer) in Azaan with “Al Salat Fi Beyootikum” (pray at home). It shows that the Prophet gave strong recommendations and regulations to maintain social distancing during pandemics.

Self-isolation and Social Distancing

The sayings of the Prophet Muhammad show that social distancing was also practiced by him. Once he said,

“When you hear that a plague is in a certain region, don’t try to enter in that, and if the plague breaks out in a place while you are in it, don’t leave that place.”

This Hadith (a statement that is said by Prophet Muhammad and is only associated with him) shows that the Prophet laid great stress on safety measures during pandemics.

He said, “Rinse your hands frequently, don’t go in infected areas, and don’t leave infected areas.”

He further said, “Don’t place a healthy person with a sick person.”

Seeking Medical Assistance

The Holy Prophet didn’t talk just about isolation and social distancing but also encouraged people to take proper medical treatment.

During pandemics, the Holy Prophet didn’t tell people to rely just upon prayers. He cleared that proper medical treatment and a strong connection with God (Allah) that results in a speedy recovery. So basically, he emphasized seeking medical assistance and treatment.

He said,

“There is a cure for every disease. If we do treatment of a disease, it is cured by Allah Almighty’s (God’s) permission.” (Sahih Muslim)

On an occasion, he said to a group of Bedouins,

“Seek (medical) treatment, O slaves of Allah, for Allah does not create any disease, but He also creates with it the cure, except for old age.” (Sunan Ibn Majah)

Free Medical Check-ups and Financial Aid during Pandemics

Without any doubt, Prophet Muhammad is the kindest and most affectionate personality in the world. It has also been proved by his deeds as well. We all know the importance of free medical check-ups and financial aid during the outburst of any pandemic.

The Prophet Muhammad also made a separate department, “BAIT-UL-MAL” (government treasury), for the assistance of the poor. During pandemics, the Holy Prophet used to help the masses by providing financial assistance and free medical treatment.

His companion and second caliph of Islam, Umar, also continued this work and helped people in every lousy situation with funding from “BAIT-UL-MAL.”

It is narrated that once Umar was going to Syria. On his way, he came to know about some Christians who were suffering from leprosy. Without any delay, he ordered to provide a special fund, for those Christians, from “BAIT-UL-MAL” for the provision of proper medical treatment. From where did Umar get these qualities?

He inherited them from the Holy Prophet Muhammad and applied them during his reign. He acted upon the sayings of Muhammad and provided free treatment.

In the event of a pandemic, consider following the instructions that Islam provides to humanity. Surprisingly, what the immunologists and WHO have suggested today was proposed by the Prophet Muhammad about 1400 years ago. The Prophet has been advising the practice of adopting proper sanitation and quarantine for years to protect against infectious diseases worldwide.

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