For Muslims, Islam has a solution or guidance to offer for every problem that troubles him in this life. The recent outbreak of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is no exception.
COVID- 19 is discovered to be a highly infectious disease that causes respiratory illness. For people with underlying medical ailment or poor immune system, it is likely to develop into a serious illness or even cause death. With more than 1 million confirmed cases and a staggering 67,000+ deaths, the virus does not seem to be slackening its pace. There is no specific vaccine or treatment in sight yet however prevention is believed to be the best cure.
[Also read: A Muslim’s attitude towards the COVID-19 pandemic]
The governments of countries around the globe have issued lockdown and curfew orders in an effort to minimize the spread of the virus. Watching the situation escalate every day and staying indoors without social gathering may be hard on an individual level to stay positive and in a healthy state of mind without panicking.
Such should not be the case for a Muslim. A Muslim believes that Allah causes all that ever takes place, whether it be good or bad, and we, with our insignificant knowledge, are unable to grasp the wisdom behind His judgements. Calamities and outbreaks could be a result of our own wrongdoings and/or a test from our Lord. Every calamity and test is good for a believer for he will be rewarded for being patient during it. [Also read: 8 Points To Help Us Stay Steadfast During Covid-19 Pandemic]
‘A’isha reported, ‘I heard Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) as saying, “There is nothing (in the form of trouble) that comes to a believer even if it is the pricking of a thorn that there is decreed for him by Allah good or his sins are obliterated.”’ (Sahih Muslim, 2572)
Therefore, our reaction to these calamities is what determines whether we rise higher in our ranks or not.
It Is A Test
A Muslim knows that every calamity is a test of our patience, endurance and good will. Allah promises to test us in this life in Surah al-Baqarah :
“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient.” [Surah Al Baqarah: 155]
And in verse #214, Allah says (translated meaning):
“Do you think that you will enter Paradise without such [trials] as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who believed along with him said, ‘When [will] the Help of Allāh [come]?’ Yes! Certainly, the Help of Allāh is near!” [Surah Al Baqarah: 214]
Notice here that Allah assures at the end of the verse that his help is always close to us to call upon. A Muslim knows that Allah never forsakes his believers nor does he load him with an unbearable burden. Allah himself promises us of this in Surah al-Baqarah, verse #286:
“Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity…” [Surah Al Baqarah: 286]
With this conviction in mind, a Muslim finds courage to face whatever lies ahead of him.
Pre-destination is one of the fundamental principles that a Muslim has to believe in. Concisely, it is a belief that Allah has decreed everything that was ever to take place 50,000 years before the creation of the universe. In the Hadeeth of Jabir, the Prophet (ﷺ) said: ‘No slave of Allah will truly believe until he believes in al-Qadr; its good and bad from Allah, and until he knows that what has befallen him was not going to miss him and that what missed him was not going to befall him.’
Allah Says in Surah At-Taghabun verse #11:
“No disaster strikes except by the will of Allah …” [Surah At-Taghabun: 11]
This belief calms the heart of a Muslim in case a calamity strikes him.
We therefore know that this outbreak is also among the things that Allah had decreed. Alongside the previous point, a Muslim concludes that if Allah causes this misfortune to come to his door, He will surely give him the strength to bear with it as well. And if he were to pass away battling it, then that too was something that Allah has decreed for him — the time as well as the cause of his death.
“And it is not [possible] for one to die except by permission of Allah at a decree determined.” (Surah Aal-Imran: 145)
Therefore, if it is decreed by Allah, then no amount of medical intervention or treatments will delay the death by a moment because it would not be the virus but Allah who would cause him to die. [Also read: How To Understand Allah’s Will And Decree]
Patience and Tawakkul
Through a calamity, a Muslim seeks reward from Allah by being patient and having trust in Allah. The Prophet ﷺ is reported to have mentioned:
“How wonderful is the affair of the believer, for his affairs are all good, and this applies to no one but the believer. If something good happens to him, he is thankful for it and that is good for him. If something bad happens to him, he bears it with patience and that is good for him.” (Sahih Muslim, 2999)
Submitting to Allah’s will and power with patience is a Muslim’s good virtue; however, this does not obstruct him from taking the necessary precautions to safeguard himself against a calamity. Though on the outset the two may seem contradictory, in reality, they are not. [Also read: What Sabr (patience) Really Means ]
A Muslim is required to take the necessary precautions or medical treatments to protect his life from the virus, all the while trusting only Allah to make his efforts fruitful, for only Allah the Exalted possesses that power. Allah mentions in Surah at-Talaaq, Verse #3
“…And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him. Indeed, Allah will accomplish His purpose…” (Surah at-Talaaq: 3)