The human community is wading, globally, through a serious disaster–the lethal covid-19. While, the whole state-paraphernalia (medical/social-political and economic institutions) of every country is/are exhaustively engaged in tackling this “hazardous, un-familiar and deadly Virus”, the masses in general have been repeatedly asked to help reduce the contamination by following the required SOPs, especially maintaining Social distance, regular sanitization of hands, use of masks, self-isolation/quarantining, etc.
On a whole, it could be observed, that the virus has taken a lethal armament in the regions where it has been taken easy by either the State-authorities or the civilians, displaying a trivial or carefree attitude, only to be sorrowful in the aftermath of the catastrophe inflicted on them by the Covid.
Hence, it becomes incumbent on the whole human fraternity (at individual and collective levels) to show a strong resolve in displaying a sensible behaviour and follow the SOPs and other guidelines to escape the adversities of the situation and preserve the human lives on the planet.
In this backdrop, it is highly pertinent to underscore some important guidelines of Islam, the Universal religion with a significant majority of followers all over the globe.
Over the past year, it has been repeatedly propounded (in light of the Islamic sources of knowledge) by the legal experts/scholars of Islam, that under such conditions Muslims should follow the SOPs strictly, as the religion advises them.
Even if the situation is grim, they should disband the religious congregations and should offer prayers at home to help in minimising the Viral contamination.
Islam is dynamic, hence, universal, in application and addresses the problems in every space-time coordinate, and therefore, under specific conditions, in Islam, people are allowed to follow specific rules or guidelines.
Same applies in the current situation, a person infected with Covid-19, if enters a mosque or moves freely without taking care of the SOPs, would infect many other people and even, might lead to their death.
Do we still think that since, he was performing a religious obligation and hence, he is not liable to any charge or offence? Rather, his action would be undoubtedly considered as a sin/offence to be charged with appropriate punishment/penalty.
Of the very fundamental teachings of Islam is to refrain from being a source of harm or injury for other creatures including animals and plants as well. Even as per some traditions/Ahadith such Muslims who inflict harm or injury (of any sort) unduly on other fellow beings have been relegated as outcastes.
One can assume easily, how far then would it be allowed in Islam to “spread the viral contamination” and put the lives of other fellow beings in danger?
Islamic teachings/principles are too candid and sensible to be upheld smoothly in every situation. Following SOPs would in no way detach people from the religion rather, self-isolation and least socializing would let people establish a much strong spiritual communion with God and unleash their potent spiritual energy.
Hence, there remains least room, at least from the religious/Islamic point of view, for the false justifications and lame excuses placed by people who violate the SOPs, display a senseless behaviour and add to the miseries of the whole human fraternity.
Muhammad Irfan is a Doctoral Candidate in Department of Islamic Studies, AMU, Aligarh.