For ages, infectious diseases have been listed alongside warfare and starvation as fundamental obstacles to human progress and survival. Infectious diseases spread across countries as a result of globalisation and international travel, making control difficult.
There is no universal response to public health programmes and policy. Medical anthropologists recognise the importance of cultural epidemiology in determining community reaction and, by extension, disease outcome.
Islam is a complete religion that considers all areas of human existence, including physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual factors. Individuals and communities benefit from the recommendations for personal hygiene and cleanliness.
More than 1400 years ago, the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) taught hygiene habits; for example, Muslims do five daily prayers in which they must be physically pure by washing their hands, mouth, nose, and face three times, wiping their head, ears, and feet three times.
This develops a culture of cleanliness and reduces the risk of infectious diseases if you do this five times a day. When sneezing or coughing, the Prophet advised Muslims to cover their faces to prevent the spread of airborne bacteria and viruses.
Visiting sick people is one of Islam’s greatest charitable actions. In cases of contagious diseases, however, the Prophet instructed his followers not to travel to areas known to be infected, and those in contaminated areas or communities were advised not to leave and spread the sickness further (Quarantine) (Sahih Bukhari).
The COVID-19 pandemic presented a new issue. Scientists felt that having the virus genome sequence will aid in assessing the pathogen’s threat, while others are sceptical. To control and stop the spread of COVID-19, a one-health approach is required.
COVID-19 outbreak reminds all of us, regardless of our social standing, medical facilities, advance medical equipment’s and our financial position, we are helpless. Allah says:
A few other lessons that we learnt during this ongoing pandemic that aligns with the teachings of Islam are:
1. Appreciate and contribute too the vulnerable
2. Gratitude to the government for furlough schemes, etc.
3. Gratitude to the frontline workers and the NHS
4. Adoption of Islamic methods of cleanliness
5. Enhancing spirit and self reflection
6. Spending time with family
7. Be more humble