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bayan linnas 224

Mukadimah

Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.

Recently we were shocked by the news of the spread of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCov) declared as a global epidemic which first enters Malaysia when the first confirmed case was reported on 3rd February 2020 [1]. The cases continue to rise until the 22nd positive case of COVID-19 reported. All these cases are of the first wave of the cases (cases 1 to 22) all of which the patients have recovered and discharged from hospitals. [2]

After 11 days of no new cases reported, the second wave of COVID-19 is reported with new confirmed cases reported starting on 27th February 2020. For the second wave, until 4th March 2020, 28 new positive COVID-19 cases were reported (case number 23 to 50). The Ministry of Health reported 14 new individuals were tested positive with COVID-19 in a single day on 4th March 2020. It has been identified that this second wave of confirmed cases originated from patient case number 26 and all 14 new cases reported had close contact with him. This makes a total of 50 confirmed positive cases (where the probability of the cases to increase is very high).

On Thursday 5th March 2020, the Mufti of Federal Territories Office held a specific discussion with medical experts from the Ministry of Health. Among them is Dr Khiber among others. The discussion focuses on the issues of the management of a deceased body if any death results from this disease. Alhamdulillah, numerous positive inputs were gathered and explained. The following day, we welcome a visit from Malaysia’s Chief Health Director YBhg Datuk Dr Noor Hisham bin Abdullah. The nearly an hour discussion regarding COVID-19 is related to recent news development of the disease and the probable role of the Mufti of the Federal Territory Office to the society in Malaysia.

Although we have published an article about this during the first wave of the disease titled Our Mauqif (Standpoint) Regarding Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCOV) dated 29th January 2020, we are compelled to once again present it due to the numerous issues and recent developments of the disease that we are facing.

Thus, we see that it is necessary for a guideline for Muslims in Malaysia, hence, we present Bayan Linnas Series 224: COVID-19: Our Advice to share our opinions and views on this issue. Hopefully, this series of Bayan Linnas would be a guideline and reference for everyone in facing this epidemic.

Definition of Coronavirus

Generally, Coronavirus (CoV) is a huge family of viruses which results in a wide array of diseases from the flu to serious diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is any new strains of the virus which has never been identified or detected in humans before. [3]

Coronavirus Family

2019-nCoV is from the Coronaviridae family that is classified under the sub-family of Orthocoronaviridae. These viruses are from the same family of the SARS (Severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS-CoV (Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome) virus. There are other viruses in this family but they exhibit milder symptoms, which means they are also the cause of the common cold which is common throughout the year. The genetic classification of coronavirus can be divided into alpha, beta, gamma and delta. Dangerous viruses such as SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and 2019-nCoV are classified in the same group.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has named this epidemic as COVID-19 an abbreviation of Co for corona, Vi for virus and D for disease. While 19 refers to the starting year of the disease which is in 2019.

History

Coronavirus a group of viruses that infects mammals including humans and birds. It is first identified in the year 1960, where it is named as such due to its structure that looks like a crown and thus, it is named as corona.

Coronavirus is a large family of viruses which thrive in animals such as camels, cows, cats and bats.

Chronological Events of COVID-19

Novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a virus that has been identified as the source of the epidemic which infects the respiratory channels, where it is first identified in Wuhan, China on 31st December 2019.

The first detected case in Wuhan is when a seller in Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market which sells various seafood, exotic animals and birds fell sick and was diagnosed with pneumonia. [4] The patient exhibit flu-like symptoms and is temporarily quarantined while the source of the flu is identified. The next day, the main location of the spread of the virus was identified which is at the seafood market. From that day, the market’s operation is suspended.

Initially, most patients are said to be related to the seafood and animal market in the Wuhan province.

However, as numbers of the cases reported increases, most of the new patients have no history of ever being to the market and this proves that the spread of the disease is now spread through human to human transmission.

Research and analysis on the animals sold at the market including the collected samples of COVID-19 obtained show that it is a possibility that the virus may have originated from snakes or bats.

According to the research by the World Health Organization (WHO) the infectious rate of the disease among humans is still unknown and under investigation. [5]

Symptoms and Complications

Patients may exhibit general symptoms such as fever, muscle pain and fatigue. While wet cough, headaches, bloody cough and diarrhoea are rarely observed. It would take a week before an infected person would feel sick enough to seek medical help. Even so, if this disease is not treated, it can lead to complications that will ultimately lead to death. The complications that may result from this disease are as the following:

  • Pneumonia

Pneumonia is an infection that leads to the inflammation of the lungs. The inflammation symptom happens as a result of their immune system trying to fight off the viral infection. This inflammation affects the gaseous exchange in the lungs and results in difficulty to breathe. Severe pneumonia will lead to severe lung damage and makes the lung susceptible to other bacterial infections.

  • Acute Respiratory Disease Syndrome (ARDS)

In severe cases, a patient may experience ARDS. This is a life-threatening condition where low oxygen levels in the blood would lead to multiple organ failures. Patients in this condition would need mechanical ventilation and respiratory support in the intensive care unit (ICU).

  • Kidney failure

Primary organ failure especially the kidney may occur due to severe infection or oxygen deficiency in the transport system of the body. Primary organs cannot function in a prolonged and continuous oxygen-deficient environment. Even with intensive treatment as well as the use of a ventilator, severe damage to the lungs will result in low oxygen supply to the lungs. Primary organ damage or failure will lead to serious complications and need additional treatment. Extensive organ damage will increase the risks of death.

  • Sepsis (Blood Infection)

Patients infected with Coronavirus may die due to septic shock. This condition is a great potential of death when the virus has infected the whole body especially the blood vessel. As a response to this, blood vessels will dilate and fail to maintain its structural integrity. Subsequently, this will lead to low blood pressure, deficiency of oxygen in tissues and ultimately lead to tissue senescence. [6]

Latest Statistic Around the World until 6th March Issued by the World Health Organization

Total Cases

Total Deaths

Total Recovery Cases

Total Number of Countries Affected

95,124

3,254

51,171

82

Summary of COVID-19 cases in Malaysia [7]

Case Status

Total

Confirmed positive

 

50

Confirmed negative

 

1933

Pending (awaiting lab results)

138

Grand Total

2121

How Does the Disease Spread? [8]

COVID-19 is infectious through the following:

  • Droplets exhaled or spread when infected individual sneezes or coughs.
  • Direct physical contact with the infected person.
  • Touching surfaces tainted by the virus

Fatwa, Guideline and Advice of Scholars in Facing COVID-19

Since this is a new epidemic, we found that scholars took their time in issuing their fatwa and opinions regarding this matter. Alhamdulillah, after three months, and the epidemic continues, here, we present several opinions of scholars on the matter:

  • UAE Syar’i Fatwa Committee

UAE Syar’i Fatwa Committee led by Syeikh Abdullah bin Bayyah have discussed the ruling of performing the Friday prayer following the spread of the COVID-19 virus. They issued several guidelines and they are as the following:

  • Wajib according to syara’ for the society to follow and obey the regulation and briefing issued by the body of authorities in the country. It is impermissible to reject or contradict the order they issued to control and manage the containment of the virus from spreading further. (In the context of Malaysia, it is from the Ministry of Health, MOH)
  • Haram for anyone infected or suspected to be infected to go to public places or the mosque to perform the Friday, congregational or Eid prayer as a preventive step.
  • There is rukhsah (facilitation) for the elderly, infected or suspected of being infected to perform their Friday, congregational and tarawih prayer, where it is permissible for them to pray in their house and they can just perform Zuhur prayer to replace their Friday prayer.
  • Wajib to support any effort made to contain the spread of the virus by sharing information that comes from official government sources so that we can maintain a stable and peaceful country.

This fatwa is issued according to several evidences from al-Quran, sunnah, ijmak and qiyas. [9]

  • Markaz al-Fatwa al-Azhar

Al-Azhar stated that it is permissible to assemble to perform specific prayer followed by supplication asking Allah SWT to be protected and saved from the COVID-19 epidemic. [10]

  • Kurdistan District Fatwa Committee

Kurdistan District Fatwa Committee dated 3rd March 2020 have decided on the following:

  • Whoever suspected to be infected with coronavirus is impermissible to attend any congregational prayer in any mosques.
  • It is impermissible to cancel the Friday prayers except in regions where the epidemic is widespread.
  • It is advised that the imam shorten the Friday prayer and ensure the cleanliness of the mosques.
  • It is advised that the congregation perform their ablution in their houses and not at the mosque.
  • Religious and social events such as religious and Quran classes, wedding receptions, Maulid of the Prophet PBUH and Isra’ Mi’raj celebration should be cancelled as a preventive step.
  • Muslims who died because of coronavirus are considered as martyrs.
  • Avoid visiting nursing homes or hospitals but it is sufficient to ask about their well-being through phone calls or messages. [11]
  • Fatwa Committee of the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA)

According to AMJA, it is impermissible to cancel the Friday prayer except when the health authorities have advised to cancel or postpone events in places of worship and to avoid attending any assembly or gathering of people.

After the authorities have issued such an order, then the mosque management should comply with the order, and this is a strong reason for Muslims to perform their Zuhur prayer at home to replace the Friday prayer until the order is lifted. [12]

  • Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI) (Indonesia Ulama Committee)

MUI reminds everyone to adopt a healthy lifestyle in terms of dietary intake and others to prevent the virus from spreading. They also remind everyone to increase their supplication and dhikr to be protected from this virus. [13]

Our Opinion

After analysing the various opinions and assessments from the World Fatwa Body of Authorities and scholars, we present our opinions as the following:

  • It is wajib to seek and receive medical treatment suggested by the Ministry of Health, whether they are treated in wards or quarantined at home.
  • Those who are tested positive are impermissible to socialize and interact with others such as attending events or gatherings to prevent the epidemic from spreading to others.
  • It is wajib to avoid travelling to places of the COVID-19 epidemic such as to Wuhan, China and places which have been warned by the WHO and the Ministry of Health.
  • People should comply to regulations and guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health.

We will present each question or issue related to COVID-19 in a series of al-Kafi Special Edition articles, insya Allah.

Evidences and Reasoning

Here, we include several evidences and reasonings in handling this issue. Among them are:

  • The statement of Allah SWT:

لَا تُلْقُوا۟ بِأَيْدِيكُمْ إِلَى ٱلتَّهْلُكَةِ

“…and do not throw [yourselves] with your [own] hands into destruction [by refraining].”

Surah al-Baqarah (195)

Al-Baghawi explained that everything that leads to destruction in religion and this world is included in the meaning of this verse. (See Ma’alim al-Tanzil, 1/367)

  • Allah SWT states:

وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا أَنْفُسَكُمْ

“And do not kill yourselves [or one another].”

Surah al-Nisa’ (29)

According to al-Jassas, this verse contains the prohibition against killing one another or himself. (See Ahkam al-Quran, 3/127).

Al-Maraghi said: A person should not kill his friend. This style in the Arabic language gives a meaning of a strong prohibition of the act, reminding us about the importance of helping each other, sharing the burden as well as the unification of hearts. In a hadith, it is stated: “Muslims are like one body.” A person who kills another will be punished through qisas or return of punishment and his act is as though he is killing himself.

Thus, al-Quran taught us that doing evil deeds towards others is equivalent to doing evil to ourselves and mankind as a whole, and not just a person of the same religion, race or political ideology. (See Tafsir al-Maraghi, 3/1170)

  • In another verse, Allah SWT states:

وَإِذَا جَآءَهُمْ أَمْرٌ مِّنَ ٱلْأَمْنِ أَوِ ٱلْخَوْفِ أَذَاعُوا۟ بِهِۦ ۖ وَلَوْ رَدُّوهُ إِلَى ٱلرَّسُولِ وَإِلَىٰٓ أُو۟لِى ٱلْأَمْرِ مِنْهُمْ لَعَلِمَهُ ٱلَّذِينَ يَسْتَنۢبِطُونَهُۥ مِنْهُمْ

“And when there comes to them information about [public] security or fear, they spread it around. But if they had referred it back to the Messenger or to those of authority among them, then the ones who [can] draw correct conclusions from it would have known about it.”

Surah al-Nisa’ (83)

The above verse is regarding the objection and rejection on those who are hasty in their affairs before confirming or verifying the news and conveying the news when in truth the news is false. (See Tafsir al-Quran al-‘Azim, 5/360)

  • In a hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah RA, the Prophet PBUH said:

وَفِرَّ مِنْ الْمَجْذُومِ كَمَا تَفِرُّ مِنْ الْأَسَدِ

“And one should run away from the leper as one runs away from a lion.”

Sahih al-Bukhari (5707)

Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari (10/159) said: Iyadh stated that there is khilaf (difference of opinions among scholars) on numerous athar regarding leper. What has come from Jabir RA, the Prophet PBUH once ate with a leper and the Prophet PBUH said: “ثِقَةً بِاللَّهِ وَتَوَكُّلًا عَلَيْهِ” (Depend on Allah and believe in Him). Iyadh further stated: Saidina Umar and some salaf scholars hold the opinion that the hadith about the Prophet PBUH eating with a leper means that the commandment to run from him (a leper) has been abrogated. Those who hold this opinion include Isa bin Dinar from madhhab Maliki. He added: The sahih opinion agreed by the majority of scholars stated that there is no nasakh for it, but both hadiths should be assembled where the hadith which commanded us to run from it brings about the sunnah ruling for it and as ihtiyat (preventive step). Whereas the hadith where the Prophet PBUH eats with a leper shows that it is permissible.

  • The same for ijmak (consensus of scholars) where the scholars have agreed to follow the Islamic legal maxim:

الضَرَرُ يُزَالُ

“Harm should be removed.”

The maxim also includes avoiding places where the virus is at as a preventive step to protect a person’s life.

The same with the analogical deduction of the restriction of the Prophet PBUH against a person who is attending the congregational prayer from eating onions and garlic because it would bring discomfort to others. Even when the food has an unpleasant odour the Prophet PBUH would restrict him from attending the congregational prayer, if a person is infected with or suspected to be infected with the virus it would surely be restricted.

Advice and Suggestion

First: To the authorities

Among them are:

  • Perform initial screenings at all borders of the country, whether at airports, harbours and others providing medical personnel to identify symptoms. Provide designated separate counters for high-risk countries. Alhamdulillah, this step has been employed by the Ministry of Health.
  • Close the border from any inbound visitors from high potential countries that have a record of the disease.
  • Increase the supply of hand sanitizers and masks in all pharmacies. Hand out the products for free or sell them at a cheap price.
  • Cooperate with private hospitals to increase the workforce in monitoring and handling the COVID-19 issue.

Second: To the public

Among them are:

  • Avoid from travelling overseas in the near future unless if there is a necessity.
  • Postpone travel to regions or cities affected or declared to be infected with COVID-19.
  • Any individuals who are returning from countries declared to be infected with COVID-19 should take their own initiative to self-quarantine themselves for 14 days.
  • Decrease any outdoor activities and avoid from going to places of a large gathering of people such as markets, shopping malls and others.
  • Take care of one’s personal, clothing and house hygiene.
  • Things bought from countries with recorded infections should be sanitized by wetting tissues with lotion, hand sanitizer or soap and wipe them clean as a preventive measure.
  • Always wash one’s hands or use a hand sanitizer before touching sensitive areas such as the eyes and mouth.
  • Avoid from eating rare or medium cooked animal produce.
  • Cover one’s mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing using tissues. Always throw away the used tissues in the dust bin.
  • Use or wear a mask when interacting with others.
  • It is discouraged to shake hands with patients or people with symptoms of COVID-19 disease.
  • Keep calm in facing this situation and comply with the orders issued by the authorities.
  • Do not spread fake news that will give rise to confusion and unrest in society.
  • Do not issue your own ijtihad or opinion regarding Islamic rulings unless what has been issued by the authorities.

Conclusion

We have shared several supplications to ask for protection from Allah SWT against the COVID-19 epidemic and other chronic contagious diseases. Among them are:

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ البَرَصِ، وَالْجُنُونِ، وَالْجُذَامِ، وَمِنْ سَيِّئِ الْأَسْقَامِ

"O Allah, I seek refuge in Thee from leprosy, madness, elephantiasis, and evil diseases."

Sunan Abu Daud (1554), Musnad Ahmad (13027), Sunan al-Nasa’ie (5493) and Abu Ya’la (2897)

We take this opportunity to thank the Ministry of Health Malaysia “جزاكم الله خير الجزاء” especially those who are directly involved in treating and helping the patients of COVID-19 among them are the medical personnel, specialists, nurse, attendant, ambulance drivers and others who worked hard facing the patients. They are the unsung heroes. We are grateful for your services.

We hope that together we could take a proactive step in handling the issue of the COVID-19 epidemic. Among the easiest thing to do is to always wash our hands and keep ourselves clean. Hopefully, this series of bayan Linnas will motivate us to follow the guidelines presented. Amin.

Endnotes:

[1] See: https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2020/02/17/first-malaysian-covid-19-patient-discharged , accessed on 5 March 2020.

[2] See: Press Release by Ministry of Health Malaysia dated 4 Mac 2020.

[3] See: http://www.moh.gov.my/index.php/pages/view/2019-ncov-wuhan-infografik

[4] Pneumonia refers to a condition where fluid accumulates inside the lungs. It may be caused by various reasons. Pneumonia is a type of lung inflammation. Usually, it represents the inflammation of the parenchyma/alveolar of the lungs where there will be an unusual accumulation of fluid in the alveolar (alveoli are microscopic sacs filled with air in the lungs and is responsible to absorb the oxygen in the earth’s atmosphere). Pneumonia can be a result of bacterial, virus, fungi or parasite infection, or chemical or physical damage to the lungs. The unofficial cause of pneumonia is idiopathic – relating to or denoting any disease or condition which arises spontaneously or for which the cause is unknown. (See https://ms.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paru-paru_berair)

[5] See: http://www.moh.gov.my/moh/press_releases/Kenyataan%20Akhbar%20DG%20COVID-19%20 (4%20MAC%202020).pdf ;

Coronavirus: Simptom, Punca dan Rawatan (Coronavirus, Symptom, Source and Treatment), 

https://pku.upm.edu.my/article/coronavirus_simptom_punca_dan_rawatan-55053, 27/1/2020

[6] See: https://www.doctoroncall.com.my/pengenalan-coronavirus/komplikasi#show

[7] See: http://www.moh.gov.my/index.php/pages/view/2019-ncov-wuhan

[8] See: https://www.infosihat.gov.my/images/media_sihat/risalah/pdf/Risalah%20Novel%20Corona%202%20OL.pdf; Apa Punca Sebenar Terbentuknya Coronavirus Jenis Baru di China (What is the Real Reason the Novel Coronavirus Emerges in China?), https://iluminasi.com/bm/apakah-punca-sebenar-terciptanya-coronavirus-di-china.html, 25/1/2020; Pelajari Tentang Sejarah Wabak Coronavirus, MERS-CoV dan SARS-CoV (Learn About the History of the Coronavirus Epidemic, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV), https://www.doctoroncall.com.my/pengenalan-coronavirus/sejarah#showhttp://www.moh.gov.my/moh/resources/user_35/How_Does_The_Virus_Spread_(2).jpeg

[9]  Refer https://www.albayan.ae/across-the-uae/news-and-reports/2020-03-03-1.3793602

[10] Refer https://www.almasryalyoum.com/news/details/1476948

[11] Refer http://www.nrttv.com/en/News.aspx?id=19891&MapID=1  dan https://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/03032020

[12] Refer https://aboutislam.net/counseling/ask-the-scholar/prayer/is-it-permissible-to-avoid-congregational-prayers-due-to-coronavirus/

[13] Refer https://nasional.tempo.co/read/1314773/imbauan-komisi-fatwa-mui-untuk-antisipasi-wabah-virus-corona/full&view=ok

[i] This supplication is narrated by Anas bin Malik RA, he said:

كَانَ يَقُولُ: اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ البَرَصِ، وَالْجُنُونِ، وَالْجُذَامِ، وَمِنْ سَيِّئِ الْأَسْقَامِ

The Prophet [SAW] used to say: "Allahumma inni a'udhu bika minal-jununi wal-jadhami, wal-barasi wa sayy'il-asqam (O Allah, I seek refuge in You from possession, leprosy, leukederma and bad sickness (that may lead to visible deformity)."

Sunan Abu Daud (1554). According to Syeikh Syuaib al-Arna’uth, the sanad for this hadith is sahih

Imam al-Khattabi said that we are sanctioned to ask for protection from diseases that could lead to physical deformity or permanent brain damage. This disease is different from other diseases without permanent damage such as fever, headache, and others which are an expiation of sins (kaffarat) and not a punishment. (See Ma’alim al-Sunan1/297)

Furthermore, insanity is a disease that will result in the loss of rational thought where rational thought is the beginning of the goodness of knowledge, that it is even said that intellect is prioritized compared to knowledge.

As for leprosy, it will result in the body parts turning black, necrotizing the tissues and the infection will eat the flesh and causes body parts to break off from the body. Thus, we are commanded to ask for protection from Allah SWT from anything that could harm or permanently damage the brain or physical body.

Thus, it is stated at the end of the supplication asking for protection from anything that is harmful that would lead to deformity or bad diseases. (See al-Futuhat al-Rabbaniyyah, 7/217/218)

Al-Tibi explained the hadith saying that the Prophet did not ask for an absolute protection against all diseases for there are diseases which are not as serious and we will be greatly rewarded if it is endured with patience. Some examples of the diseases are fever, headache, sore eyes or eye infection, and others. The Prophet PBUH only asked for protection against chronic and continuous diseases where people will avoid him such as polio, insanity, leprosy and others similar to them. (See Syarh al-Tibi ‘ala Misykat al-Masabih6/1918)

We once asked Syeikh Muhamad ‘Awwamah regarding the meaning of “evil diseases”. According to him, it is anything classified as severe diseases such as the bird flu, cancer and others. Thus, the viral coronavirus today is included as evil diseases stated in the above hadith or supplication. (According to our discussion in his house in Istanbul, Turkey on 27/1/2020)

Also refer to our previous article titled IRSYAD AL-HADITH SERIES 465: THE MEANING OF THE SUPPLICATION ASKING FOR PROTECTION AGAINST CONTAGIOUS DISEASES (SERIES 3) for further reading.