Muslim Matters

Subscribe to Muslim Matters feed Muslim Matters
Discourses in the Intellectual Traditions, Political Situation, and Social Ethics of Muslim Life
Updated: 7 hours 1 min ago

A Primer On Intimacy And Fulfillment Of A Wife’s Desires Based On The Writings Of Scholars Of The Past

10 April, 2020 - 07:02

*For mature audiences only

This short piece is intended to provide insight on the troubling and detrimental lack of understanding among Muslim men for the necessity and virtue of the female orgasm during sexual intercourse in married couples.  The importance of the female orgasm is substantiated by naṣṣ of Qurʾān, corroborated by the ḥadīth of Rasūlullāh ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) , and has been elaborated upon by the fuqahāʾ throughout the centuries.

Many Muslim sisters have taken it upon themselves to tackle the issue online and anyone who has love and concern for the Muslim community should praise their efforts.  In initiating conversation on this matter, they have shown concern, initiative and courage worthy of the followers of Rasūlullāh .  The benefit which their writings, webinars, round-table talks have provided is obvious to anyone who ponders.  It is a known principle among the fuqahāʾ that knowledge is to be imparted to the masses by order of its need and prevalence of troubles within the masses.

The anonymous testimonies of our Muslim sisters are undoubtedly a justification for drawing the attention of our Muslim brothers to what authentic Islām teaches us on the subject.  It is also known among the fuqahāʾ that women are the only legitimate source of information for matters specific to them; such as the different patterns of menstruation and post-natal bleeding.  Consequently, the only legitimate source for determining whether and to which magnitude the issue of reaching orgasm during intercourse is pertinent to Muslim women is the Muslim women themselves.

A synopsis of the most striking among those anonymous testimonials follows:

Testimonial 1: “Being married for 10+ years Alhamdulillah with 3 kids it’s a journey of pain and frustration in terms of sexual life.  I never knew till some 4 years of marriage that there is something called ‘orgasm’ for females.  I simply cannot explain the emptiness it leaves when he just sleeps calmly leaving me aroused once he is done. He feels hurt when I say I too want to be satisfied.  But my requests to all the brothers out there: don’t be selfish no matter how tired you are. If you want to be satisfied every single time of making love, make sure so does your wife too. Your wife will never be emotionally attached to you if you do not satisfy her with your own love and willingness in bed.”

Testimonial 2: “I am 2 years in this marriage and I’m highly dissatisfied. Because I’m outspoken I have told my husband clearly many times that even if he doesn’t want I do. But it only led to fights and more dissatisfaction. He tried to improve but after it had done enough damage already. He loves me, he kisses and cuddles a lot but his appetite for love making is very poor. I don’t feel desired.  We so often hear [sic] that we should not deny intimacy to the husband but why is it not the other way round too?”

Testimonial 3 “In [my first] 5 years of marriage, I’ve orgasmed once with him though I love him with all my heart. I cannot stress on the importance of a female climaxing and reaching an orgasm with her husband because this has saved our marriage [after he realized how important it was]. It brings a couple so much closer. To all you ladies who think sex is a chore, I can guarantee none of you have ever had an orgasm. Had you had a true orgasm you would be pulling him to bed. It’s the best physical feeling ever and melts away the stress.”

These testimonials speak for themselves, and the verses of Qurʾān, aḥādīth and sayings of the fuqahāʾ below will demonstrate their legitimacy.

The Qurʾān unambiguously affirms the presence of lust in both men and women, without distinction:

“Tell the believing men that they must lower their gazes and guard their private parts; it is more decent for them. Surely Allāh is All-Aware of what they do.  And tell the believing women that they must lower their gazes and guard their private parts” (s. 24, v. 30-31).

In Aḥkāmul-Qurʾān, Qāḍī Abū-Bakr Ibn al-ʿArabī (passed away 543 A.H/1148) comments on this verse as follows: “Just as it is not permissible for a man to gaze at a woman, it is likewise not permissible for a woman to gaze at a man; the man’s attachment to her is no different than her attachment to him.  His [lustful] intent from her is likewise identical to her [lustful] intent from him”.  It is noteworthy that Al-Qurṭubī also relays this statement of Ibn al-ʿArabī in his tafsīr.  This then raises the question: if lust is set to be fulfilled through marriage, then what is the purpose and benefit of such fulfillment?

The Qurʾān provides clear guidance as to the importance of a loving marital relationship.  “And it is among His signs that He has created for you wives from among yourselves, so that you may find tranquility in them, and He has created love and kindness between you” (s. 30 v, 21).  The greatest mufassir among the Ṣaḥāba, ʿAbdullāh b. ʿAbbās, contends that “love is intercourse (jimāʿ)” i.e a loving relationship stems from the act of intercourse. It is simply inconceivable for the relationship to be a loving one, if one of the parties to intercourse is dissatisfied.  Mujāhid and al-Ḥassan al-Baṣrī ascribe the same meaning to love as Ibn-ʿAbbās.

The Qurʾān does not detail the requirements of the act of intercourse. That responsibility is carried out by Rasūlullāh .  While commenting on the verse “And We sent down the Reminder (The Qur’ān) to you, so that you explain to the people what has been revealed for them, and so that they may ponder.” (s. 16, v. 44), Al-Qurṭubī explains: “The Rasūl  explains on behalf of Allāh that which He intends in the rules of ṣalāt and zakāt as well as other commands, by detailing such intent where Allāh has provided  statements which are general in nature”.  This leads us to the aḥādīth below for the guidance of men on how to satisfy their spouses during intercourse.

إذا جامع أحدكم أهله فليصدقها فإن سبقها فلا يعجلها خرجه أبو يعلى عن أنس

“When one of you has intercourse with his spouse, then let him be truthful towards her.  If he happens to precede her then he should not rush her” .

Al-Manāwī comments on this ḥadīth as follows: “He should be truthful in his love and his display of good will towards her.  This means that it is commendable for him to make love to her with strength, resolve and make fine love to her”.

إذا جامع أحدكم أهله فليصدقها ثم إذا قضى حاجته قبل أن تقضي حاجتها فلا يعجلها حتى تقضي حاجتها خرجه عبد الرزاق وأبو يعلى عن أنس

“When one of you has intercourse with his spouse, then let him be truthful towards her.  Then if he fulfills his need before her need is fulfilled, let him not rush her until it is fulfilled”

Al-Manāwī comments as follows: “When he has fulfilled his need from her by reaching climax, then-as a matter of merit-he should not impel her to separate from him.  Rather he should carry on with her until her need from him is likewise fulfilled.  This will only occur by her reaching climax and her lust settling.”.

The next ḥadīth praising a woman whose appetite for intimacy is strong, should therefore not come as a surprise.

خيرُ نسائِكم العفيفةُ الغَلِمَةُ ، عفيفةٌ في فرجِها ، غَلِمَةٌ علَى زوجِها

“The best of your women is the one who is modest yet lustful.  She is modest with regards to her private parts (towards strange men) while she is lustful towards her husband”.

Al Manāwī comments as follows: “The modest woman refrains from the ḥarām. For her to be lustful means that her carnal desire is restless. However, such restlessness is not praiseworthy in an absolute sense, as explained by the ensuing part of the ḥadīth i.e she is modest towards strange men”.

The above references in ḥadith literature are not meant to be exhaustive. Other references exist, and the commentators have been consistent in their explanations.

The fuqahāʾ(jurists) in the Ummah have, from very early on, also unapologetically touched on the subject in the most emphatic and direct manner. Some are quoted below to demonstrate such.

In his commentary of Al-Naṣīḥa al-Kāfiya Ibn-Zukrī, a Moroccan scholar who passed away 400 yrs ago (1133 A.H) quotes from Ibn al-Ḥājj (passed away 737 A.H/1336), Imam al-Ghazālī (passed away 505 A.H/1111) and al-Manāwī (passed away 1031 A.H/1621). The quotations below are directly taken from his commentary on al-Naṣiha of Shaykh Aḥmad Zarrūq (passed away 899 A.H/1493). These dates are quoted here to stress on the fact that this subject is not a contemporary one, it is rather a subject that has existed from the very time Muslim scholarship has. What is most pertinent here is the unambiguous language the fuqahāʾ use to get their point across.

“And softness towards the woman, until her fluid mixes with the fluid of the man, is certain to induce love for her and for him as well”.

Ibn-ʿArdūn explains: ‘The author of al-īdāḥ explains: whenever their two fluids blend together at the same moment, it is the utmost form of reaching pleasure, love, affection as well as cementing love. The amount of pleasure and love will be commensurate with how closely in time they blend together’.

The author of al-Iḥyāʾ mentions: ‘And once he has fulfilled his need let him take his time with his spouse until she likewise fulfills her need because her climax may be delayed and to withdraw from her while her lust has been agitated would cause her harm. Differences in patterns of climax inevitably lead to repulsion and discord whenever the husband should reach climax first. It is more gratifying and pleasurable for the woman that she and her husband reach climax simultaneously because  he will be engaged and absorbed alongside her, accommodating thereby her likely shyness [she will enjoy her orgasm without bashfulness]’

In al-Madkhal [Ibn al-Ḥājj] explains: ‘It is fitting for him, when he has fulfilled his need, not to rush to rise because it is among the things which will upset and perturb her.  Rather he should remain agreeable and engaged until he ascertains that her need has been fulfilled.  The intent is to have consideration for her matter because the Nabī  used to advice [men] regarding women just as he used to encourage kindness towards them. At this juncture, it is not possible to show kindness to her without it [the fulfillment of her need]. The man should therefore thoroughly exert himself to achieve that goal, and Allāh will certainly forgive any incapacity’.

Ibn Zukrī then goes on to quote al-Manāwī’s commentary of the two first ḥadiths quoted above.

The author of the Naṣīḥa then goes on to explain, and Ibn Zukrī’s commentary follows:

“And whoever wishes to accomplish that, then let him not come close to her until her breathing becomes intense and her eyes hollow, and that she seeks to remain attached to him; those are signs of her lust having been awakened”

Ibn Zukrī : it is explained in the commentary of al-Waghlisiyya : part of the etiquette of intimacy is to engage in foreplay so that the wife’s heart becomes cheerful and that the attainment of her desire becomes easy. This should be done until the point that her breathing becomes intense, her agitation increases, and she seeks to remain attached to the man, only then should he come close to her [for the act of intercourse].

He continues to say: “Those preliminaries consists in abundant foreplay with her, fondling her breasts and rubbing his penis with her labia”.  Ibn Zukrī explains: the author of the Madkhal explains: ‘When one decides to intimately engage with his spouse, it is befitting for him to refrain from the prohibited behavior which some of the common folk adopt, which consists in approaching their spouses hurriedly. Rather he should not do so until he has played and bantered with her in permissible ways. That includes cuddling, kissing and similar actions, until he sees that she has aroused herself to what he is seeking from her, feels relaxed and takes interest in it. Only then should he approach her. The wisdom of the religious code in this matter is obvious, and it is that the woman desires from the man what he desires from her. If he were to come to her abruptly, he may very well fulfill his need while she would remain upset and her dīn and chastity may be compromised as a result.  If he however does as stipulated, then the matter will be eased for her and her dīn and chastity will be protected’.

End of quotes from Ibn-Zukrī. 

It is clear from the above that the fuqahāʾ have kept within the confines of the Qurʾān and the Sunna and, as is their responsibility, lucidly relayed the information contained therein to the masses, with a full understanding of the pertinence of the subject in society.

This article cannot be complete without mentioning what some of the people of ḥaqīqa i.e taṣawwuf have said on the subject.

Ahmad Ibn Ajība explains, regarding ḥaqīqa: ‘It is derived from the Qurʾān and the Sunna, as well as from the inspirations of the ṣāliḥīn [pious ones] and the spiritual unfoldings [futūḥāt] of the ʿārifīn [gnostics]’. The subtle understanding of the Quran and the Sunnah is predominantly found among the ṣālihīn.  Their statements clearly show that.

In his book on the etiquettes of marriage, Muhammad al–Tihāmī Kanūn (passed away 1915) explains: Abul ʿAbbas Aḥmad b. Yaḥya al–Wansharīsī says in his abridgment of the nawāzil of al–Burzulī: ‘The pious Shaykh Abu–Bakr al–Warraq states: every worldly passion hardens the heart, except the passion of intercourse which in fact softens the heart, which is why the Anbiyāʾused to engage in it’.  It is also mentioned in hadith:

Three things have been made beloved to me among your worldly matters: perfume, women and the coolness of my eyes has been placed in salat’.

In fact, al–Qurtubi relates the statement from al–Warrāq with a prelude explaining how it is said that the desire for intercourse is commensurate with one’s taqwa. 

Note: We will state the obvious here, that this is true for both men and women, in accordance with what has been stated above regarding their equivalency in the search for carnal satisfaction from one another.

Finally, the author of marginal notes on Tafsīr al–Jalālayn Aḥmad al–Ṣāwī states: ‘One of the gnostics [ʿārifīn] has mentioned that intercourse is one of the avenues towards reaching [the ma’rifa of] Allāh’.

These last statements from the ṣālihīn should serve as an admonition as well as an encouragement to the Muslim brothers who are lacking in being mindful of their spouse’s sexual needs. They may beg the question: is it a deficiency in taqwā which causes a man to not be mindful of this? It clearly makes the case for an opportunity for spiritual development through the act of intimacy. 

There are many related subjects which have not been discussed here, as the intent was very specific. However, our brothers and sisters should certainly take it upon themselves to contribute in educating the Muslims on those issues. Issues such as: the need and importance of marriage counseling; how to nurture a good relationship outside of the bedroom; how to address psychological and/or medical issues related to intimacy; how to educate Muslim adolescents (girls and boys alike) on sexuality, etc. There are, alḥamdulillāh, many competent and articulate brothers and sisters who specialize in different fields, and/or have valuable life experience which can be put to the profit of the Muslim Ummah. 

And we all ask Allāh for tawfīq.

PDF of sources in Arabic with references

  1. Aḥkāmul-Qurʾān, Vol. 3 p. 380
  2. Tafsīr al-Qurṭubī, Vol. 16 p. 412
  3. Idem.
  4. Tafsīr al-Qurṭubī, Vol. 12 p. 329
  5.  Faidhul-qadīr, Vol. 1 p. 325. Ḥadīth n. 548. 
  6.  Faidhul-qadīr, Vol. 1 p. 325. Ḥadīth n. 549.
  7.  Al-Manāwi mentions that this is mustahab, and he is correct.  However, the statement of istiḥbāb is only to encourage this action, in order to avoid harm to the woman.  If she is being harmed by the lack of satisfaction, then it becomes wājib.  
  8.  Faidhul-qadīr, Vol. 3 p. 493. Ḥadīth n. 4093.
  9.  Sharḥ al-Naṣīḥa, Ibn-Zukrī Al-Fāsī, p. 651.
  10.  Reference from Hikam.
  11.  Qurratul-ʿuyūn bi-sharḥ naẓm ibn-Yaʾmūn, p. 48. 
  12. It is worthy to mention here that the commentators of hadith have determined that “three things” is an addition from the narrator as opposed to being the speech of the Nabi SAW.  Salat is not part of worldly matters. The hadith should therefore be: ‘Among your worldly matters perfume and women have been made beloved to me and the coolness of my eyes has been placed in salat’.
  13.  Tafsir al-Qurtubi, Vol. 6 p. 419.
  14.  Ḥāshiya al-Ṣāwī, Vol. 3 p. 204.

The post A Primer On Intimacy And Fulfillment Of A Wife’s Desires Based On The Writings Of Scholars Of The Past appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Prosperity Islam And The Coronavirus Problem

7 April, 2020 - 19:52

Hadith: “Hasten to perform good deeds before seven events: Are you waiting for poverty that makes you forgetful? Or wealth that burdens you? Or a debilitating disease or senility? Or an unexpected death or the False Messiah? Or is it evil in the unseen you are waiting for? Or the Hour itself? The Hour will be bitter and terrible.

Islam encompasses all of human experience. We believe in the good and bad from divine decree. The ‘problem of evil’ is not a Muslim dilemma because the abode of this world is a test, and the next life is the abode of recompense. Those who do evil in this world may enjoy comfortable and pleasurable lives. Pious Muslims on the other hand may live in immense suffering and oppression.

One’s state with Allah is not known through worldly position.

The Quran has lots of mention of suffering in this world and the reward for the pious is constantly in the hereafter. Distance from the Quran distances us from what our Creator told us about living in His world.

Habituation to feel-good religious programs and motivational talks has left us unable to know how to be serious. The Coronavirus pandemic should be all the motivation we need for serious learning and hasten to good deeds.

New-age religion and the prosperity gospel

Modern Islamic discourse intertwines notions of sulook (spiritual wayfaring) with new-age spiritual ideas which make spiritual progression a self-centering endeavor of ‘personal development.’ Missing from this discourse is submission to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), which entails doing what one is obliged to do- even if there is no apparent personal win. A self-centering religious perspective is antithetical to true religion, and ironically a spiritual pursuit becomes a selfish pursuit.

Within this approach, we see our practice of Islam not in terms of fulfilling obligations or understanding we must develop virtues we lack; rather we approach Islam as consumers and form identities around how we choose to be Muslim. This is visible on marriage apps where Muslims will brand themselves around how often they pray, whether or not they eat halal, and how practicing they are. Once this identity is formed, such Muslims are less likely to experience contrition and ultimately improve. The self is then a commodity on the marriage market.

When it comes to worship, for example, giving charity becomes an ‘act of kindness’ to fill the quota of selfless acts to becoming a better person. In other instances, acts of worship are articulated in worldly language, such as fasting in Ramadan being a weight-loss opportunity. One can make multiple intentions, but health benefits of fasting should not be used to articulate the primary benefit of fasting. In other instances, some opt to not pray, simply because they don’t feel spiritual enough to pray. This prioritizes feelings over servitude, but follows from a ‘self’ focused religious mentality.

Much like the prosperity Gospel, Muslims have fallen into the trap of teaching religion as a means of worldly success. While it is true that the discipline, commitment, and work ethic of religious progression can be used for material success, it is utterly false that religious status is on any parallel with material status.

Too many Sunday schools and conferences have taught generations that being a good Muslim means being the best student, having the best jobs, and then displaying the power of Islam to non-Muslims via worldly success and a character that is most compliant to rules. Not only does this type of religion cater to the prosperous and ignore those suffering, it leaves everyone ill prepared for the realities of life. It comes as a shock to many Muslims then that bad things can happen even when you work hard to live a good life. The prosperity gospel has tainted our religious teachings, and the pandemic of COVID19 is coming as a shock difficult for many to process in religious terms. There will be a crisis when bad things happen to good people if we are not in touch with our scripture and favor a teaching focused on worldly gains.

Why it leads to misunderstanding religion

Tribulations, persecution, and events that are outside of our control do not fit the popular self-help form of religion that is pervasive today. Islam means submission, and while we must avoid fatalism, we cannot delude ourselves into idolatry of the self. An Islam that focuses on our individual life journey and finding ourselves has no room for the ‘bad stuff.’ This type of religion favors well-to-do Muslims who are used to the illusion of control and the luxuries of self-improvement. Those who believe that if you are good then God will give you good things in this world will have a false belief shattered and understand the world is not the abode of recompense for the believer.

Islam means submission, and while we must avoid fatalism, we cannot delude ourselves into idolatry of the self.Click To Tweet

Tribulations may then effect faith because it questions the often subconscious teachings of prosperity gospel versions of Islam that we are in control of our own destiny, if we are good enough we will succeed. If this is the basis of a person’s faith, it can be proven “wrong” by any level of tribulation. Having one’s ‘faith’ disproven is terrifying but it should make us ask the question: “Does this mean that Islam is not true, or does this mean that my understanding and my way of living Islam are not true?”

My advice is do not avoid struggle or pain by ignoring it or practicing “patience” just thinking that you are a strong Muslim because you can conquer this pain without complaint. Running from pain and not feeling pain will catch up to us later. Learn from it. Sometimes when we are challenged, we falter. We ask why, we question, we complain, and we struggle. We don’t understand because it doesn’t fit our understanding of Islam. We need a new understanding and that understanding will only come by living through the pain and not being afraid of the questions or the emptiness.

Our faith needs to be able to encompass reality in its good and bad, not shelter us from reality because, ultimately, only God is Real.

Unlearn false teachings

Prosperity religion makes it much easier to blame the person who is suffering and for the one suffering to blame himself. As believers we take the means for a good life in this world and the next, but recognize that acceptance of good actions is only something Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) knows, and that life is unpredictable.

Favor from God is not reflected through prosperity. It is a form of idolatry to believe that you can control God or get what you want from God, and this belief cannot even stand up to a distanced tragedy.

Responding appropriately requires good habits.

Tribulations are supposed to push us towards God and remind us to take life very seriously. Even with widespread calamity and suffering, many of us still have a very self-centered way of understanding events and do not hasten to good actions.

For example, reaching old age is supposed to be an opportunity to repent, spend more time in prayer, and to expatiate for shortcomings. Old age itself is a reminder that one will soon return to his Lord.

However, we see many of today’s elders not knowing how to grow old and prepare for death. Most continue in habits such as watching television or even pick up new habits and stay glued to smart phones. This is unfortunate but natural progression to a life void of an Islamic education and edification.

Similarly we are seeing that Muslims do not know what to do in the midst of a global crisis. Even the elderly are spending hours reading and forwarding articles related to Covid-19 on different WhatsApp groups. This raises the question of what more is needed to wake us up. This problem is natural progression of a shallow Islamic culture that caters to affluence, prosperity, and feel-good messaging. Previous generations had practices such as doing readings of the Quran, As-Shifa of Qadi Iyad, Sahih al-Bukhari, or the Burda when afflicted with tribulations.

If we are playing video games, watching movies, or engaging in idle activities there is something very wrong with our state. We need to build good habits and be persistent regardless of how spiritual those habits feel, because as we are seeing, sudden tribulations will not just bestow upon us the ability to repent and worship. The point of being regimented in prayer and invocations is that these practices themselves draw one closer to God, and persisting when one does not feel spiritual as well as when one does is itself a milestone in religious progression.

While its scale is something we haven’t seen in our lifetime, it’s important to recognize the coronavirus pandemic as a tribulation.  The response to tribulation should be worship and repentance, and a reminder that ‘self-improvement’ should not be a path to becoming more likable or confident only, but to adorn our hearts with praiseworthy qualities and rid them of blameworthy qualities. Death can take any of us at any moment without notice, and we will be resurrected on a day where only a sound heart benefits.

Our religious education and practice should be a preparation for our afterlife first and foremost. Modeling our religious teachings in a worldly lens has left many of us unable to deal with tribulations to the point where we just feel anxiety from the possibility of suffering. This anxiety is causing people to seek therapy. It is praiseworthy for those who need to seek therapy, and noble of therapists to give the service, but my point is the need itself serves as a poignant gauge for how much our discourse has failed generations.

Benefit from Solitude

We should use solitude to our benefit, reflect more, and ponder the meanings of the Quran.  Completing courses on Seerah, Shamail, Arabic, or Fiqh would also be good uses of time. What should be left out however are motivational talks or short lectures that were given in communal events. In such gatherings, meeting in a wholesome environment is often the goal, and talks are compliments to the overall atmosphere. When that atmosphere is removed, it would be wise to use that normally allotted time for more beneficial actions. Instead of listening to webinars, which are not generally building an actual knowledge base that the previously mentioned courses would, nor is it a major act of worship like reading and reflecting upon the Quran. In other words, our inspirational talks should lead us to action, and studying is one of the highest devotional acts.

The pandemic should serve as sufficient inspiration and we need to learn how to be serious. I urge Muslims to ignore motivational and feel-good lectures that are now feel-good webinars, and focus on studying and worshipping. We should really ask if we just lack the capacity to move beyond motivational lectures if we still need motivation in the midst of a global pandemic.  The fact that after years of programming the destination is not the Quran for ‘processing events’ or studying texts for learning is symptomatic of a consciously personality oriented structure.

Muslims struggling to process a pandemic (opposed to coping with associated tragedies, such as loved ones dying or suffering) show the lack of edification feel good talks can produce.

The post Prosperity Islam And The Coronavirus Problem appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

A Doctor And A COVID19 Patient: “I will tell Allah about you.”

6 April, 2020 - 02:13

Facebook Post By Dr Farah

I get bleeped at around 2.30am to review a patient. A Pakistani gentleman admitted with Covid19.

The lovely nurse on duty says, “He is on maximum amount of oxygen on the ward, but keeps on removing his oxygen mask and nasal cannula, very confused and is not listening to anyone.”

I arrive as soon as I can to the ward. I stare at him through the glass doors of the closed bay, while putting on my inadequate PPE.

He looks like he is drowning, he is gasping for air, flushed and eyes bulging like someone is strangling him.

I immediately introduce myself, hold his hands and he squeezes my hand pulls it close to his chest. Starts to speak in Urdu and says he doesn’t know what is going on, he cannot understand anyone and he is so scared.

I give him my Salam and start speaking to him in Urdu. His eyes fill up with tears and hope.

I explain to him he really needs to have his oxygen mask on as we are trying to make him feel better. He tells me he is suffocating with the mask and he doesn’t like the noise. I grab his arm help him sit up in his bed.

We exercise synchronising his breathing and I put the mask and nasal cannula back on.

He asks me Doctor, am I going to die? I cannot hear the voices anymore, they don’t come to visit, everything is quiet and silent, like Allah is waiting to take me to Him. I am lost for words and tell him we are doing all we can to make him feel and get better. He tells me he has been speaking to Allah, he doesn’t care for himself just his family. I know he is scared and feels so alone. I tell him I’m here with him and am not leaving yet. I monitor his saturations and surely they come straight back up. I tell him I am going to give him medications for his temperatures and fluid in his lungs.

He agrees to take them.

He asks me why I didn’t come to see him until now, because I am his own. He says when he speaks to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) he will tell Him about me and that I am a good person and I cared for him.

I get a little choked up.

I can’t gather my thoughts before my bleep goes off again. I have to leave now though I tell him I have lots of patients who need my help. He begs me not to leave, but understands after a while and lets me go.I take off my inadequate surgical mask (PPE) before I leave the bay I look back at him to smile and he smiles back. We both wave goodbye. I can see tears rolling down his cheeks.

I don’t know how he will do, how he is now but I cannot stop thinking about him. I always assume positive outcome if I don’t get called back during the night to see the patient again. Plus it was such a busy night I had no time to stop to reflect, and I continued with a smile.

I speak fluent Bangla and my Urdu isn’t very good. But that night Urdu flawed so effortlessly out of my mouth without any hesitation and I was able to say exactly what I needed to him *SubhanAllah*.

My heart breaks for the minority patients, with language barriers. They are fighting this battle more alone and scared than ever.
Normally, they would rely on family members to translate for them, but given the current situation they must feel helpless.

It’s not just the suffering it’s the suffering alone that pulls on my heartstrings.

‘Indeed, to Allah we belong and to Him we shall return’
Quran 2:156

When all this is over, please remember to appreciate the little things.

  • Appreciate your freedom.
  • Appreciate all the hugs and love.
  • Appreciate your health and your health service.
  • Appreciate your families and loved ones.
  • And just be grateful to be ALIVE.
  • Stay at home. Save lives.
    #stayhome #nhs #gratitude

Courtesy: Facebook post

The post A Doctor And A COVID19 Patient: “I will tell Allah about you.” appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

COVID19: Calling The Conscientious

4 April, 2020 - 17:53

Violating borders, scaling every wall and traveling faster than a rumor, COVID19 is now around nearly everywhere. It has reduced nations and societies, low and mighty, to their knees, demoted all preoccupations to insignificance and is threatening to torch everyone in its path.

The imperial hubris of nations, with and without nuclear weapons has crumbled. Mighty militaries have been reduced to mere spectators. Borders are closed. Markets have tumbled. Even the gods amongst humans – rulers, monarchs, dictators, religious heads, generals, billionaires, movie stars, icons of sports and music –have been forced to recede from the limelight. Neither they are in control nor can they perform. All of them are forced to surrender by an unseen microscopic speck with an insatiable appetite to devour humankind, bit-by-bit, part by part.

A pre-COVID19 world is now a blurred memory. It was not long ago that we were a different planet and a different people. Neither hand-sanitizers nor masks were precious enough to purchase let alone hoard, or even think about. YouTube was popular but not so much for videos on how to wash hands or what to do when self-quarantined. And, shaking hands were a norm and we used to respond with a “bless you” to our neighbor’s cough or sneeze.

That was pre-COVID19.

Places of worship are already shut down and airports, train stations and shipping ports are shutting down. Boulevards and avenues are eerily silent. Shopping malls and theaters stand abandoned.

This is post-COVID19.

Yet, there are flashes of hope and inspiration. Medical professionals and health care workers are fighting to save mankind, a patient a time. Our ill equipped and fatigued hospitals are abodes of our new heroes and true patriots. And no less are trash collectors, grocery workers, truck drivers, postal workers, fruit pickers among others whom we took for granted all along.

Covid-19 is not just the biggest story of our time, it is the only story.

Amidst a piercing cacophony of politicians’ press conferences and public interest advisories, we cannot afford to miss out the soft whispers of COVID19.

It is telling us to pay more attention to the under-estimated meaningful over the hyper-marketed mundane. Its whispers remind us to remember that we are but a mere mortal. We are reminded in the Quran that God made us from a mere speck (40:67).

Not, too long ago, we seldom had to remind ourselves that we are human. Not too long ago we could afford to be enemies of ourselves. Humans were enemies of humans, fighting and taking life of those considered ‘others’. We fostered division … “them” and “us,” “citizens” and “illegals.” COVID19 has spoken: no more. We stoked exclusion … “black, brown and white,” “conservative and liberal,” and “urban and rural.” COVID19 has spoken: no more.

In its sweeping trail of destruction, COVID19, is imploring us — harness my power to cause dread in each one of you, across borders, across genders, across races — and unite. COVID19 is challenging us: find a common cause against me. When any of you find an antidote against me, may that be a reason for your coming together, even if right now I have forced you to stay away from each other – six feet part.

COVID19 is an equal opportunity and a non-discriminating enemy, which will kill no matter how we worship, what we eat, where we live. One touch strikes all with equal precision.

Today, as we face an existential threat from a mortal molecular foe, we must remind ourselves about what matters most, our humanity and not our race and nationality.

The truth is that long before COVID19 struck us, we were sick. We spread viruses; hate and bigotry, we held thoughts of xenophobia for those who did not deserve it. We wallowed in bias and built echo chambers. COVID19 exposed all of our pre-COVID19 shortcomings.

Coronavirus will kill us for a while, but then in the end, we will overpower it. But before that happens, all the human deaths would be in vain if we don’t realize that in a world of such threats, we never needed to have been at each other’s throats.

In fear and panic, people resort to extreme behavior, it amazes us with their capacity for wisdom and kindness, or stupidity and cruelty. COVID19 is beseeching us to reclaim and regain our humanity of compassion and kindness. It is telling us to come together to fight our common battles. It is forcing us to wash our hands of all sins of our past and then lock our hearts and hands and build a world where meaning must matter more than the mundane.

The post COVID19: Calling The Conscientious appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

I Once Spent Ramadan Semi-Quarantined, Here’s How It Went

1 April, 2020 - 05:42

Even though it was over 10 years ago, the memory of that Ramadan is seared into my mind.

I’d just taken my first consulting job – the kind in the movies. Hop on a plane every Monday morning and come home late every Thursday night. Except, unlike in the movies, I wasn’t off to big cities every week – I went to Louisville, Kentucky. Every week.

And because I was the junior member on the team, I didn’t get the same perks as everyone else – like a rental car. I was stuck in a hotel walking distance from our client in downtown, limited to eat at whatever restaurants were within nearby like TGI Friday’s or Panera. This was a pre-Lyft and Uber world.

A couple of months into this routine and it was time for Ramadan. It was going to be weird, and no matter how much I prepared myself mentally, I wasn’t ready for it — Iftar alone in a hotel room. Maghrib and Isha also alone in a hotel room. Suhur was whatever I could save from dinner to eat in the morning that didn’t require refrigeration.

Most people think that with the isolation and extra time you would pass the time praying extra and reading tons of Quran. I wish that was the case. The isolation, lack of masjid, and lack of community put me into a deep funk that was hard to shake.

Flying home on the weekends would give me an energizing boost. I was able to see friends, go to the masjid, see my family. Then all of a sudden back to the other extreme for the majority of the week.

I’ve been thinking a lot about that Ramadan with the prospect of a quarantined Ramadan upon us. I wish I could say that I made the most of the situation, and toughed it out. The truth is, the reason the memory of that particular Ramadan is so vivid in my mind is because of how sad it was. It was the only time I remember not getting a huge iman boost while fasting.

We’re now facing the prospect of a “socially distanced” Ramadan. We most likely won’t experience hearing the recitation of the verses of fasting from Surah Baqarah in the days leading up to Ramadan. We’re going to miss out on seeing extended family or having iftars with our friends. Heck, some of us might even start feeling nostalgia for those Ramadan fundraisers.

All of this is on top of the general stress and anxiety of the COVID-19 crisis.

Ramadan traditionally offers us a spiritual reprieve from the rigors and hustle of our day to day lives. That may not be easy as many are facing the uncertainty of loss of income, business, or even loved ones.

So this isn’t going to be one of those Quran-time or “How to have an amazing Ramadan in quarantine!” posts. Instead, I’m going to offer some advice that might rub a few folks the wrong way.

Make this the Ramadan of good enough

How you define good enough is relative. Aim to make Ramadan better than your average day.

Stick to the basics and have your obligatory act of worship on lockdown.

Pray at least a little bit extra over what you normally do during a day. For some, that means having full-blown Taraweeh at home, especially if someone in the house is a hafiz. For others, it will mean 2 or 4 rakat extra over your normal routine.

Fill your free time with Quran and dua. Do whatever you can. I try to finish one recitation of the Quran every Ramadan, but my Ramadan in semi-quarantine was the hardest to do it in. Make sure your Quran in Ramadan is better during the month than on a normal day, but don’t set hard goals that will stress you out. We’re under enormous stress being in a crisis situation as it is. If you need a way to jump-start your relationship with the Quran, I wrote an article on 3 steps to reconnect with the Qur’an after a year of disconnect.

Your dua list during this Ramadan should follow you everywhere you go. Write it down on an index card and fold it around your phone. Take it out whenever you get a chance and pour your heart out to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). Share your stresses, anxieties, worries, fears, and hopes with Him.

He is the Most-Merciful and Ramadan is a month of mercy. Approach the month with that in mind, and do your best.

The post I Once Spent Ramadan Semi-Quarantined, Here’s How It Went appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Launch of Zaid Karim Private Investigator!

31 March, 2020 - 22:53
Zaid Karim, Private Investigator

Zaid Karim, Private Investigator – By Wael Abdelgawad

I’m so excited to share the release of Zaid Karim Private Investigator.

This novel has been three years in the making: from when I first began serializing it on MuslimMatters.org in early 2017, to its completion on MM nine months later, to the first wave of revisions based on comments by my editor Amy Estrada and the MM readers, to the final revision after further input from another editor, Rafael Lopez.

If you’ve already read it online, I encourage you to buy the new ebook or paperbook. There’s nothing like holding a physical copy in your hands. And there have been some changes.

One thing I’ve consistently noticed in the input I’ve received from MM readers is that a lot of you are doctors! My characters always seem to get injured, and apparently I often make mistakes when describing their treatment or symptoms. And the MM readers call me on it. I’m grateful for that, and I have always made changes to the story in response.

The final version is, in my opinion, tight as a drum. I added a few minor transitional scenes, and eliminated a lot of irrelevant musings by Zaid that tended to take the reader away from the action. Zaid has an irreverent and odd sense of humor, and that flavors the book, but Rafael Lopez pointed out that the inclusion of this humor during climactic moments sabotages the tension of the story, and he was right. So I ended up deleting some of those.

A key change from the MM version occurs during the climactic battle on Ouagadiri Island. I don’t want to give it away, but I’ll say that it was an important change, and had to do with how I see Zaid, and how he sees himself. Let me know if you read the book and catch the change, and what you think.

Here are some answers to questions I often receive about Zaid Karim Private Investigator, and about my writing process in general:

Q: How much of this book is fact and how much is fiction?

A: Telling the true story of my life would be problematic. So I fictionalize. Every novel I’ve written has some autobiographical elements, with fictional events and invented characters mixed it. Lately, in my short stories, I’ve been trying to branch out more and create characters that are wholly fictional. Well, let me amend that. I create characters whose lives are based on real-world social dynamics and believable situations. I want emotional honesty above all. The particular circumstances of their lives, however, are invented.

Q: How did you get the idea for this book? East Los Angeles

East Los Angeles

A: When I was twenty one years old I helped a friend track down and find his young missing daughter. But it was quite different from the narrative in Zaid Karim. For example, we started our search in East Los Angeles, first talking to people, then breaking down doors. Along the way we crashed our car in Mazatlan, had a nearly disastrous run-in with the Mexican police in Guadalajara, got in an argument with South African Tablighi Jamaat members at the Egyptian Club in Mexico City, were invited to a bizarre meeting of wealthy Mexican sufis, and ended up in the mountains of southern Mexico. That incident was the seed for Zaid Karim.

As for the setting in the latter half of the book, I lived in Panama for four years, and in fact I lived in El Valle de Anton, the idyllic little town where Yusuf Cruz lives. Though my house was not a mansion!

Q: Zaid’s kind of violent, isn’t he?

A: Yes, at times. He is young, and he’s been through a lot. He wants to change, but doesn’t know how. He needs some catalyst to transform his thinking. I suspect that novel that Alejandra gave him, On My Way to Paradise, will play a role. As he continues to grow, I believe we’ll see him evolve.

Q: So you plan to write more Zaid Karim mysteries?

A: Depends on how well this one sells. If you want to see more, buy ten copies: one for you, and nine for your friends, ha ha.

Q: What about a crossover between Zaid Karim and Hassan Amir?

A: It could happen. Zaid is Jamilah’s cousin, after all, and their stories happen around the same time.

Q: Who would win in a fight between Zaid and Hassan?

A: Lol, why would they be fighting? But here you go:

  • Gunfight: Hassan.
  • Sticks: Zaid.
  • Knives: Even match.
  • Empty hands: Hassan, by a mile.
Q: What’s next for Zaid Karim?

A: His body will need healing time and therapy, but knowing Zaid he will probably plow right ahead. He needs to investigate this so-called convert who is trying to radicalize the youth. We will learn more about the event that enabled him to be pardoned and released from prison early. We just might learn more about the strange comment made by Farah Anwar regarding Zaid’s mother, that she should have “aborted you and kept the lame one.” Zaid will almost certainly return to Panama, to find Angie and try to help her, especially now that he is a foster father to he daughter. Lastly, an important figure from Zaid’s past, a person of power and influence, might call upon him to investigate a crime he is uniquely qualified to handle. Stay tuned.

See the Story Index for Wael Abdelgawad’s other stories on this website.

Wael Abdelgawad’s novels, Pieces of a Dream, The Repeaters, and Zaid Karim Private Investigator, are available on Amazon.com.

The post Launch of Zaid Karim Private Investigator! appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

12 Tips For Suddenly-At-Home-Schoolers

31 March, 2020 - 02:32

As each and every one of us grapple with the various changes that have been imposed by the global Coronavirus pandemic, families with school-aged children have their own set of new challenges. A top priority after working hard to keep everyone safe is to keep up with each child’s education needs while also trying to work from home yourself.

You may find your suddenly-at-home-schoolers status unproductive and taking you to new levels of frustration and exhaustion.  As a long-time homeschooler, I have a great deal of experience in this area and learned these ropes from intense amounts of reading and lots of trials and tribulations. Five of our children have been homeschooled and four of them exclusively from KG through high school. If you are working from home, I can also feel that pain. My husband and I have worked from home for more than 25 years and it is a balancing act of tremendous proportion. We are here to share the benefit of our individual and collective experiences.

Here are 12 tips and tricks from the field to help you maneuver into these uncharted waters

1. Remember that parent as teacher is NOT a new role.  You have always been your child’s primary teacher.  This cannot be overstated.  While you may recognize this role when your children are very young and fully dependent upon you, it actually continues as they grow.  We teach by our words but also, most poignantly, by our actions.  And actions sometimes speak louder than words. Our children watch and listen at every age. They make note of the consistency or lack of it.  They figure out if parents are on the same page or have different sets of rules and expectations (a fact accentuated if there are two separate households as a result of divorce).And they also pay close attention to our moods and are sensitive to our stress.

Keep in mind that your parenting – the source of a full range of emotion from incredible joy to incredible frustration – is a special gift from Allah, the One who knows best!

2. Expect that it will take time to transition. We are already a couple of weeks into this new paradigm and it still may feel strange for everyone. The needs are further compounded by the fact that both parents and children have been thrust into these new waters at the same time.  It takes time for all of us to settle into new surroundings, routines, and strategies for success. We may need new skills and resources. We may need a different level of cooperation and collaboration. We may all need to just take a deep breath, quite literally!

homeschooling

3. Home does not need to become a traditional classroom to accomplish learning.  You didn’t treat your child’s school like your home so don’t treat your home like a school.  Each traditional classroom has a particular set of rules and parameters that sets the stage for group instruction – static schedules move large numbers of children into place at the same time, rules and norms are established for behavior (crowd) control, written assignments are necessary to ensure understanding en mass, desks are lined up to fit a maximum number of kids into a set space, etc.These same kinds of constructs are not necessary and do not work at home.

Be flexible. There doesn’t have to be a particular time to do math work each day. There doesn’t need to be a row of desks to work on an assignment (a kitchen table is fine). Reading a book might be most comfortable at bedtime. Children can actually work and learn together rather than be separated by ages.  Downtime (and I mean screen-free time here!) can be where some of the best creative thoughts and learning germinate.

4. Maximize the resources that are available online. You have likely been provided with enrichment packages or online learning materials from your child’s school.  But without the regimen necessary to instruct large groups, your children are likely to work through this material in far less time than their regular school hours.  Consider looking beyond these materials to stimulate them. There are a wide variety of educational materials that are available online.  In fact, there is so much that it may seem overwhelming, but don’t get discouraged. It will be worth the energy if you can find educational materials and electronic games that making learning fun and that your children are eager to use.

5. Invite your children into the process of planning and organizing the tasks at hand.  Identify what needs to be accomplished when and by whom.  Call a family meeting to set the stage for the week ahead. Our family used a whiteboard, putting things into writing so that tasks and assignments would be visible, remembered accurately, and could be revisited as necessary. Ask for input from your children (no matter how old they are) and listen to their insights. It is best for them to have some ownership and it is much easier to hold them accountable that way. A morning huddle might also be in order, particularly if there are different needs on different days. Be sure to include areas such as food preparation and eating times, what is off-limits in terms of entertainment, and how to resolve conflicts if they arise.

6. Bring the best properties of home to learning.  Now is the time to think outside of the box and be open to learning in new ways.  There are creative ways to get to the same learning objectives as traditional assignments.Cheerios or jelly beans can but used as tools in a math problem as easy as working with items on a printed page (and they are an instant reward for a correct answer!).Think about ways to maximize teachable moments.We may all recognize that learning about the Coronavirus is a relevant science lesson, but so too is baking cupcakes (and that fraction and chemistry lesson also produces delicious results)!

On the literature front, if your child is tasked with reading a book that has also been made into a film, plan to watch the movie together when the book is finished, and then compare and contrast the two. Julie Bogart, the founder of a wonderful online homeschooling resource called Braver Writer, reminds us that “kids learn the best when they can express what they understand verbally to an interested adult.”  Every word in this piece of advice is important. Isn’t this what we expect them to do in a traditional school setting? It certainly applies at home as well.      

homeschooling

7. Make efforts to give your children your undivided attention. Children of all ages need it. How many times had you previously complained that you didn’t have enough time at home? Maybe being sheltered in place wasn’t what you had in mind, but it, without a doubt, provides the quantity of time to make parent-child bonding possible. The trick is to make the time also quality time. Have a tea party with your children complete with fancy desserts and flowers. Play a board game or complete a jigsaw puzzle. Take a phone-free walk around the neighborhood when weather permits. Listen to an audiobook together. You will be amazed by what you learn about your children when you do. They may also learn something new about you in the process.

8. When you have to work undisturbed make it also a special time for your children.  There will be times that you have to focus your own attention on work, whether it is home chores or attending to your paid work from home.  Don’t expect your children to just do their schoolwork while you are working. Educational tasks that are done alone can be lonely, especially when children are used to learning with other children their ages. Have a special group of toys, books, play dough, video games, or movies that can be utilized during these periods. If the time is seen as an opportunity for a special treat, your children will look forward to it rather than resent your divided attention. Be sure to also acknowledge their efforts and show appreciation for their cooperation. Positive reinforcement can go a long way here!

homeschooling

9. Plan to do your work when your children are asleep if possible. It is easier to concentrate without background noise or competing demands.  This may look different in each family.  For some, early morning works best; for others, after bedtime is more productive.  You may have to figure out what works for your family by trial and error.  And if two parents are trying to work from home, you will likely have to toggle shifts.  This may not be easy.

10. Use your bodies.  Without PE classes, a walk to the school bus, or a trip to the playground, our children are not likely to get regular exercise.  And it may be the same for you. You probably are already challenged by the pent-up energy.  It is often stated that exercise influences the mind, body, and soul.  It stimulates blood flow, improves your mental health and moods, sharpens thinking skills, and more.  Did you know that movement can also impact learning?  Kinesthetic or tactile learning is a learning style that takes place by the students carrying out physical activities, rather than more statically listening to a lecture or watching demonstrations.  If your kids are learning their multiplication tables, for example, have them jump on a mini-tramp or jump rope at the same time.  Or sit in a circle and throw a soccer ball or football while they match up states with their state capitals.  There is a great deal of science that suggests this type of learning is productive in the short- and long-term.

11. Remember, children will always children.  They cannot give you more than they are developmentally capable of giving. We can look at depictions of children living in unimaginable poverty, amidst war, amongst the homeless, and struggling in homes with domestic violence. These children grow up without the pleasure of a normal childhood.  May Allah SWT watch over and protect them from harm.  In contrast and by the mercy of Allah, for many of our children, their biggest trials are with luxury and entitlement.  They are not used to thinking about details because they usually don’t have to.  Remember, children largely do not have executive organization functions (and that doesn’t change because you want or need them to!). They lack the poise, emotional control, common sense, and maturity to understand the full dimensions of the changes that have recently taken place.  They usually have no sensitivity to family financial matters, i.e. how much money comes in and how much it actually costs to maintain a stable family life.  This doesn’t just apply to young children. Teenagers can be oblivious and self-absorbed.  They require a ton of sleep during these times of physical growth, too, when hormonal changes are ravaging their bodies.  If you are not getting the results you are seeking, step back and ask this question – is my child even developmentally capable of meeting these new demands?

12. Lean in with your whole self.  There is no coincidence.  Alhamdulillah, we are in this place and time and we must work to make the most of the opportunities in front of us. Patience and perseverance are your best friends. And gratitude is paramount to keeping perspective and making the most of the many blessings that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) so mercifully provides. Parents, you need to put these principles into practice. Your children need to see these lessons manifested in your words and your actions.  And you need to believe with all of your heart and soul, that we will all – you, your children, your family, our community, and ummah – will be better for it, inshaAllah.

The post 12 Tips For Suddenly-At-Home-Schoolers appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Guidance For Burials And Funerals During The COVID-19 Pandemic

29 March, 2020 - 18:45

British Board Scholars & Imams is a national assembly of Imams, Scholars & Islamically literate Muslim Academics formed to facilitate intra Muslim dialogue on theology, jurisprudence and community welfare. The need for this has been recognised for many years, with the first informal gathering having taken place in 2013.

The board is an independent, non-political, non-sectarian and non-partisan network dedicated to a cooperation based on the principle of unity of purpose, as opposed to the uniformity of opinion. Download the PDF: Guidance for Burials & Funerals during the Corona Pandemic – BBSI.pdf

Contents
  1. Introduction
  2. The Significance of Funerary Rites
  3. Counsel and Consolation to the Bereaved
  4. Counsel to Health Care Professionals

    1. Keeping self and family safe physically
    2. Keeping mentally and spiritually well
    3. Actions to perform around/for a dying Muslim, especially if family unable to be present
  5. Safe and Dignified Interment

    1. Principles of precaution with the deceased’s body and infection control
    2. Storing, collecting and transporting the body
    3. Washing
    4. Funeral prayer
    5. Burial options
  6. Final counsel
  7. Appendices
Executive Summary
  1. The current circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic will require a collective response from the Muslim community, working with health services and local authorities, to manage the volume of deaths.
  2. There are certain mandatory funerary rites afforded to the Muslim deceased.
  3. In such circumstances, the Divine law permits certain relaxations of these rites.
  4. Families should be comforted that their loved ones receive the deaths of martyrs, and that any short-comings in normal funerary rites will not affect this.
  5. NHS and emergency workers (including funeral workers) should not forget their own physical and mental health, nor that of their families, in caring for others.
  6. The risk of transmission of COVID-19 from a deceased body is low and should not be feared, provided adequate precautions are taken.
  7. All such precautions must be taken by those handling the deceased’s body, whilst ensuring dignity is maintained. The needs of the living take priority over the needs of the deceased.
  8. There are several options for ritual cleansing from: full ghusl, minimal ghusltayammum, wiping over the body bag. Each should be considered in sequence, but if none can be done, burial without ghusl is permissible. [Please note: the ghusl is not compulsory according to a classical opinion found in the Maliki school – we are not recommending following this opinion unless it is necessary according to the health risks involved.]
  9. The body bag may be considered to fulfil the role of the burial shroud (kafan).
  10. Funeral (janaza) prayers should be performed by a minimum of people; alternatives include the absentee funeral prayer (salat al-gha’ib).
  11. A number of options for burial can be considered, including shared graves, transferral to other sites, and delay in burial. Preparations should be made in advance, especially in areas with a large Muslim population. Cremation must be avoided at all costs.
  12. The BBSI emphatically exhorts community organisations, mosques, and charities to mobilise the community so that they might get trained in funerary rites. Local communities are advised to take decisions on the basis of this guidance whilst factoring in local circumstances.
  13. We are all returning to our Lord, and should pray for those who have passed away collectively and individually, remembering always the life to come.

Please note: the official version for this advice is at http://www.bbsi.org.uk/covid-funeralguidance/ ‎, and that website should always take precedence in terms establishing updates or corrections.

1.Introduction

The BBSI is an apolitical national assembly of imams, traditional scholars and Islamically literate Muslim academics formed to facilitate scholarly intra-Muslim research and dialogue. Our aim is to provide authoritative ethico-theological guidance and leadership on matters relevant to Muslims, whilst promoting wider community welfare. It primarily seeks to do this by developing theological leadership that can authentically represent the rich scholarly inheritance of Islam, whilst responding flexibly to the context of modern times. Its ultimate aim is to both serve and represent the Muslim community in an ethical, inclusive, professional and scholar-led way. The BBSI especially takes seriously the responsibility to provide theologically grounded, practically focussed, holistic and – above all – cool-headed and far-sighted guidance to the community in times of generalised anxiety and panic.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, in consultation with community organisations, health and medical experts, the BBSI has been providing ethico-religious guidance to the community. With an increase in death rates inevitable due to COVID-19, Muslim communities in the UK are advised to work with their local authorities in assembling a volunteer group of individuals. These individuals must be (i) aware of Islamic burial rites, (ii) properly trained in the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and (iii) suitable to safely carry out the burial procedures.

This document provides guidance on the burial procedures: storing, collecting, transporting, washing (ghusl), prayer (salat al-janaza), and interring the body (dafan) to ensure that they accord with both Islamic and Public Health England (PHE) guidelines, taking into account the latitude of approaches in Islamic law and the principles of standard infection control precautions (SICPs) and transmission-based precautions (TBPs).

As with all BBSI guidance, it is directed primarily at imams, scholars and funeral workers, to help guide their decision-making processes, but equally is produced for the benefit of the general public. It should not be considered a religious verdict (fatwa), but rather comprises a comprehensive guidance that draws on the classical traditions of Islam to provide an overview of options available. We encourage those who read it to consult with their local scholars and utilise it to help their decision-making processes. We pray that it will be of benefit and consolation during this extremely difficult time for the British and international community.

2.   The Significance of Funerary Rights

For Muslims, death is a transition between one stage of life and another. The act of burial marks this passage and carries profound meaning for the dead as well as the living. Burying the dead is a communal obligation upon Muslims and it is a means through which dignity and respect are afforded to our fellow humans who have departed onto the next stage of their existence.

  • Dignity – God has bestowed a special status upon all humans, granting them dignity of the highest form in their bodies and honoring them amongst the rest of creation. Muslims believe that their bodies are a gift (amana) from God and will be returned to God. They take care to treat their bodies with respect during their lives, and to respect the bodies of those who have died. The funerary rites are designed to respect and maintain the dignity of the human form.
  • Desecration, harm, mutilation, disfiguring – Muslims are prohibited from causing or allowing any harm or mutilation to the human body both during life or after death. The funerary rites, such as washing, shrouding and praying are performed in order to honour the deceased, and burial acts to protect them from future harm.
  • Body and soul as a composite – for Muslims, the soul and body are inextricably connected from the womb of the mother to the womb of the grave and beyond. The human is understood as being a composite of body and soul, even after their physical separation at death.  Hence Muslims do not distinguish between the bodies of the living or the dead, in that both are afforded the highest levels of respect and care.  There is a deep metaphysical commitment that the soul is still aware of and able to experience what the physical body undergoes after death. Prophetic traditions further state that the dead can hear the greetings of those who visit them at their graves. Muslims are thus obliged to treat the dead with gentleness and care.
  • Rights of the dead – One of the rights that Muslims have over each other is that of funerary rites. It is a collective obligation on the living to wash, shroud, pray over and bury the dead, through respectful completion of the necessary rites and rituals as described in the primary sources of scripture and elaborated upon in the classical schools of law. These form part of a continuous tradition in Islam and carries deep religious, spiritual, historical and cultural significance for Muslims. These rituals may remind the wider public of other faith traditions who have similar beliefs around our final gifts to those who have passed. Alternatives to burial are unacceptable in Islam.

3.   Counsel to the Bereaved

As a community, we are going through very difficult times.  The death of a loved one is never easy. Despite the comfort of knowing that they are returning to their Lord in accordance with His divine Decree, grief at one’s loss is a perfectly normal response. This is even more the case in our current circumstance, where we may lose community members in large numbers. We may not also have the opportunity to bid them farewell in the traditional manner, due to fear of transmitting the virus, or adhering appropriately to government guidelines around isolating and lockdown.

Nonetheless, we take solace from the words of the Prophet (s) when he said: ‘The one who dies in a plague … dies as a martyr in the path of God.’ (Al-Bukhari, Muslim). In every distress we go through there is a divine blessing and wisdom. This narration indicates that the one who dies from an infectious disease receives the reward of a martyr, which is a tremendous rank.

By scholarly agreement, such people are still afforded all the funerary rites, but families may be  concerned about those rites not being performed properly during this very difficult period. There is a lot of confusion around what can and cannot be done, and also what might happen to the deceased if the funerary rites are not fully performed. This is understandable given the situation; however, we assure you that the Islamic tradition makes it abundantly clear that the souls of your loved ones will suffer no ill effects from any shortfall in this regard arising out of these circumstances. Furthermore, the tradition is clear that in such situations the community is not considered to be held accountable for what is beyond their ability to manage.

Rest assured: our and your prayers reach the Lord who hears all and answers every supplicant who calls unto Him.  We beseech Him for His mercy and pray in this time, as in all times, for His Grace and Beneficence.

4.   Counsel to Health Professionals and Chaplains

The BBSI recognises and tremendously appreciates the tireless and selfless work that all of our NHS workers – from medics to cleaners – are doing to keep us all safe and healthy.  We want you to know that our membership is supplicating for all of you; praying that God rewards you with the best of rewards for this noble service you are engaged in; beseeching Him to keep you and your families safe.

It should be noted that, notwithstanding the various narrations about avoiding places of contagion, we know that the Prophet (upon whom be blessings and peace) treated a leper by placing his blessed hand in the same bowl as that of the afflicted (Al-Tirmidhi). Please, therefore, be aware that what you are doing is fulfilling a specific sunna as well as the general Sunna of assisting those in need. We pray that this work be a means for you to be drawn nearer to Him, in accordance with His Wisdom.

We would also advise you to take all precautions necessary to keep yourselves and your families safe during this very difficult period, especially if you have elderly parents, in which case you should consider quarantining yourself from them as far as possible.

Given the lockdown measures currently in place, it may well be that those who pass away from COVID-19 will do so alone, in a hospital bed, not surrounded by family or loved ones.  Whatever your field but especially if you have access to such patients in their last stages, you are their family. Please take a little time, if possible, to minister to their spiritual needs at this critical stage of end of life. If possible, and if safe to do so:

  • Comfort them and counsel them to hope in God’s mercy and turn to Him, seeking His pardon, for they are returning to their Lord as martyrs, beloved in His presence
  • Encourage them gently to recite the shahada and occupy their time in:
    • Prayer (in the hospital bed, in any direction, with any slight head movement)
    • Vocal remembrance (if possible given their breathing difficulties) or
    • Silent dhikr (of the mind or heart, with a tasbih/sibha if that helps).
  • For those in their very last stages, recite the shahada without encouraging or exhorting them to do so, and if you are able, recite Surah Yasin to ease their passing
  • Tayammum: It may be that, as the rate of death increases, funeral services will be overwhelmed and ghusl will not be performed for the deceased. Only if it is possible:
    • Keep a small, clean stone (about palm size ideally) with you.
    • Once the patient has passed away, make the intention of tayammum.
    • Rub your gloved hands on the stone and pass once over their face,
    • Then rub again and pass over their forearms. Make sure to discard the gloves and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.
    • This will fulfil the responsibility of ghusl of the deceased if it is impossible for it to be done later on, and will be a means of you single-handedly lifting the burden of this responsibility from the community.

Lastly, the BBSI recognises that this period is going to be emotionally and psychologically very difficult for all those working on the front line of dealing with this crisis. It may be that you are transferred out of your comfort zone, need to work additional hours to cover unwell or isolating colleagues, and be confronted with a significant amount of death. This can be extremely stressful for anyone, even healthcare professionals who often feel that they should be able to deal with such situations. We have a number of doctors in the BBSI, and can assure you that nothing equips you for the experience of disaster medicine.

If you find yourself nearing breaking point, please reach out to services that are available, whether psychological or spiritual, and seek help. We will work with other organisations to try and ensure that this service is available to you, and assist you in whatever way we can, with our prayers if nothing else.

5.   Fulfilling the Rights of the Deceased

There are general rights that the deceased have over the living: to pray for their forgiveness and acceptance; fulfilling their wishes and bequests as laid out in their wills; performing acts of worship, such as recitation of the Qur’an and asking God for the reward to be granted to them; and doing acts of lasting charity on their behalf.

There are also specific rights that the deceased have over the living, which are communal obligations.  These largely revolve around the funerary rites, and which this guidance details. There are several stages of interring the deceased’s body, each of which will be explained in detail: (1) storage, collection and transportation, (2) ritual cleansing (ghusl), (3) shrouding (kafan), (4) performance of the funeral prayer (janaza), and (5) burial of the deceased.

The BBSI emphatically exhorts community organisations, mosques, and charities to mobilise the community so that they might get trained in funerary rites. There are several online resources available for this.

The BBSI recognises the very courageous work being done by funeral workers, who will largely be on the front line of dealing with the deceased. We also understand that you have a great deal of anxiety about handling the bodies and the risks of contracting COVID-19 yourselves. There is a lot of uncertainty about this issue in the public, though top health experts and medical professionals have officially assured us that there is little to fear provided adequate PPE is utilised.  This guidance takes as its priority the safety and health of those entrusted to perform the funerary rights of the deceased, and we ask Allah to reward you tremendously for the service you are providing: you are as those who guard the frontiers of the land from attack.

For these specific funerary rites, given the still-contagious nature of the virus and the possibility of contracting it from the body of the deceased, we strongly advise that there are those who should not be involved.  This excludes presence at the funeral prayer and the site of the burial itself.

Exclusion criteria

There are certain categories of people who should avoid performing any of the funerary rites with the exception of the funeral prayer.

  • Anyone elderly (over 60)
  • Anyone with an underlying health condition (See Appendix A).
  • Those who are in frequent contact with the above mentioned individuals
  • Those who have not been properly instructed in the risks of dealing with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 positive bodies
  • Those who have not received basic training in dealing with infectious bodies, which includes methods of handling the deceased, safe working procedures, donning and removing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), personal hygiene, and steps to be taken if something goes wrong.

In the course of work, individuals involved in burial-tasks should carefully monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19. Any individual who fits the description of those the government has advised to self-quarantine or self-isolate should not participate in these burial tasks. (See Appendix B)

It is very important, and possibly obligatory, under Islamic law for those vulnerable to the virus to act so as to avoid contracting it, especially in the situation where others are able to fulfil the rights of the deceased.  We recognise that family members, under normal circumstances, play a leading role in these funerary rites, which also allow us to process our grief. However, the circumstance of the pandemic is different: it is a religious principle that one must avoid exposing oneself to, and exposing others to harm (la darar wa la dirar).

A.   Collecting & Transferring the Deceased
  • It is of utmost importance to treat the deceased with dignity and care at all times.
  • The burial team should be the minimum number of people required to carry out the task safely and effectively. They should gather all appropriate information regarding the deceased prior to collection, his/her condition, potential infection risks, and any other information relevant to those who will be handling the body.
    • A hazard notification sheet is often provided detailing this information. It should be read and consulted carefully. Due to the sensitive nature of the information contained in the hazard notification sheet, it should only be shared with those who require information to safely handle the deceased. Burial teams should wherever applicable take the duty of confidentiality seriously.
  • To minimize risk, the deceased may be placed in a body bag during collection and transfer. Individuals should avoid directly touching the deceased and minimize moving the body.
    • At the time of writing this guidance, Public Health England (PHE) has NOT mandated the use of body bags for COVID-19 victims, though it is standard practice in some hospitals for all the deceased during this pandemic.
    • The BBSI recommends precaution and strongly advises burial teams to consult the medical personnel on call regarding the use of body bags if the deceased is not already placed in one.
  • In cases of likely risk of bodily leakage or delays leading to bodily decay, a body bag MUST be used.
  • During collection and transfer, individuals should abstain from activities that increase the risk of contracting the virus. They should:
    • Not bring their hands into contact with their mouth, nose, or eyes
    • Cover all abrasions and cuts, especially on the hands, with waterproof dressings,
    • Have available disinfectant material;
    • Wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
  • PPE equipment includes: gloves, eye protection, face masks, waterproof gowns and sleeves, and, in some cases, respiratory protective equipment (RPE).
    • Equipment should be stored properly, fit for purpose, worn properly, correctly fitted, and disposed of after use.
    • Individuals should be trained in the donning and removal of such equipment.
    • For more on this see the guidance from Public Health England. (See Appendix C and D)
  • Burial teams should pay attention to the equipment they use. They should have dedicated equipment (vehicles, trolleys, etc.) for use with infected bodies. Equipment used should be of a type easy to decontaminate and disinfect.
  • Equipment that has come into contact with the deceased should be disinfected regularly and after every use, such that the vehicle, tables or stretchers, surfaces and reusable PPE. Single-use items should be discarded safely and immediately after first use.
  • After collecting and transferring the deceased, members of the burial team should: remove any protective clothing; dispose of such clothing safely; and wash their hands with soap thoroughly.
B.   Washing (ghusl) Who should perform the washing?

Washing of the deceased is a part of the Islamic ritual of honouring the deceased and a communal obligation on the Muslim community. Although this would ordinarily start with the family members, in this context those properly trained in PPE and with access to the appropriate equipment would need to take the lead.

Minimally, two people of the same sex as the deceased should be available for the washing, though more would ordinarily be required. Those selected to carry out the ritual cleansing should be from the ‘safe list’ noted above. Importantly, they should be aware of the Islamic rules on washing the deceased. Those on the exclusion list should not participate in the cleansing of the body.

What is the procedure for washing the COVID-suspected deceased?

Provided the funeral washers take precautions, washing the COVID-suspected deceased is safe. As of the writing of this guidance, it should be noted that Public Health England has NOT made it a requirement for the COVID-suspected deceased to be sealed in a body bag and have deemed hygienic preparations and even post-mortem to be permitted for those positively diagnosed with COVID-19.  This is in line with their guidance for infectious diseases in general; it should be noted that COVID-19 is less infectious from deceased bodies than HIV, SARS, and Ebola, as well as other such similar serious diseases. The concern with COVID-19 is the likely volume and rate of funerals that will be required. Family and washers should be assured that all of the following guidance is both safe and in accordance with Islamic law.

A COVID-suspected body may be received from the morgue in one of two circumstances: with or without a ‘DO NOT OPEN’ tag.

  1. In the case of a DO NOT OPEN tag, those performing the cleansing rite should don PPE and wipe over the sealed body bag from head to toe, after having applied some water to their gloved hands.
  2. In the case where there is NO ‘do not open’ tag, and in light of PHE guidelines, it is possible for the deceased to be given a minimal washing with the following conditions:
    1. that those washing the body wear all the appropriate PPE and are properly trained in its donning/removal,
    2. that all reasonable means are taken to minimize risk of transmission, such as avoiding procedures that are aerosol-generating (like moving the body around),
    3. that the deceased does not suffer from any other condition that creates a significantly higher-risk of transmitting disease, and
    4. that those in charge of burial are able to provide a safe and dedicated space for washing that is properly disinfected/decontaminated after every washing procedure.
  3. The minimal washing consists of:
    1. Minimal movement of the deceased’s body
    2. Avoiding removing the disinfectant covering from the face
    3. Pouring water over the deceased’s body from neck down
    4. Flowing hair may be washed or wiped
    5. Avoiding performance of istinja or pressing the abdomen to extrude contents
  4. If any of the steps above cannot be safely undertaken, including not having access to adequate PPE, then the option to wipe over the body bag should be utilised.
  5. If one is either (1) advised by morgue staff that the risk of infection is extremely high, or (2) the rate of then – as a last resort – the deceased can be buried without either ghusl or wiping.
Shrouding (Kafan/Takfin)

Ordinarily, shrouding is carried out immediately after ghusl, and it is recommended to use three white sheets (cotton or partly synthetic) for men and five for women. This is unlikely to be possible for a COVID-suspected deceased. In this case, the BBSI affirms that the body bag will fulfill the religious requirement of shrouding.  An additional shroud may be wrapped over the body bag, though this is not required, and the body then placed in the casket. The outer part of the casket should be wiped with the appropriate disinfectant as part of transfer procedures.

Funeral Prayer (janaza)

Who should pray and where?

The ideal in our tradition is that there be a large gathering of people, including family members, to pray over the deceased following the ritual washing (ghusl) of the body. However, the communal obligation is also fulfilled even if only one Muslim (male or female) prays over the deceased.

It is envisaged that there may well be significant restrictions on gatherings, and that mosques may be closed for some time to come. In such a case, the funeral prayer may be performed in the cemetery, even though this is not ideal. The options are as follows:

  1. Group performance of the janaza prayer with the family, whilst maintaining appropriate social distancing strategies, at the cemetery prior to burial.
  2. Performance of the janaza prayer by a very small number of individuals (such as the washers), in the presence of the deceased’s body. One individual praying over the deceased fulfils the community obligation (fard kifaya).
  3. Performance of the funeral prayer in absentia (salat al-janaza ‘ala al-gha’ibin) by other family members and well-wishers, which is valid in the Shafi’i and Hanbali schools of law. [This does not remove the communal obligation mentioned in (2) above – at least one person should fulfil that, if possible.] Hanafis and Malikis should consult their local scholars about following this option.

Muslims should always be aware that actions are in accordance with their intentions, and that ‘one who intends a virtuous deed but does not perform it is like one who performed it.’  If you would have gone to the funeral had you been able to do so, but were unable owing to your health, the need to socially isolate or community lockdown, you will be rewarded as though you had gone.  For further details on how to perform the funeral prayer, please refer to Appendix E.

Burying the Deceased
  1. Who should not perform the burial?

The burial may be attended by anyone, bearing in mind government guidelines about social distancing and community lockdown. The actual burial of the COVID-suspected deceased’s body should not be performed by those on the exclusion list, as noted previously.

  1. Where is the deceased to be buried?

In the shari’a, the minimal burial is for a body to be placed in the earth in such a manner where:

  • The living are protected from the effects of bodily decay, such as the smell of the body
  • The deceased’s body is protected from mutilation or damage, such as by animals.

The basis is that a Muslim is buried:

  • in a Muslim graveyard, or the section demarcated for Muslims within cemetery grounds,
  • in his/her own individual grave,
  • without transferring the body an excessive distance from one area to another, and
  • without an undue delay.

The COVID-19 crisis is unprecedented. Given the higher rates of deaths occurring from this illness, Muslim communities will be forced to make decisions regarding burial procedures that are non-ideal. It should be noted, however, that classical jurists have given significant scope to depart from the ideal funerary rites in cases of need and necessity. Below, we provide guidance on a few issues pertaining to burials that will likely be pertinent to Muslim communities in the coming weeks.

(a) Mass Burials:

  • A Muslim’s body should ideally be buried in his/her individual grave.
  • In times of general need (defined as any situation in which burying bodies individually in their own separate graves creates undue difficulty or harm), the shariah explicitly permits burial of multiple bodies in the same grave.
  • For a mass burial, it is ideal that:
    • Men are buried in one shared grave and women in another, or, if they are placed in a single shared grave, men to one side and women to the other. If this is difficult, it is permitted to bury them in one grave intermixed.
    • It is advised that each body be separated from the other with a barrier, even a small one formed with dirt, whenever possible without undue difficulty.
    • Muslims are buried together in their own cemetery, or, if not possible, in a grave separate to those from other faith traditions.
  • Burying the deceased in a shared grave is preferable to an excessive delay in burying them in their own grave. See further related points in ‘Burial in a non-Muslim cemetery’ and ‘Delaying Burial’.

(b) Burial in a non-Muslim cemetery

  • Muslims should ideally be buried in a Muslim cemetery.
  • If this is not possible for a valid reason such as lack of space, it would be permitted to bury a Muslim in a non-Muslim cemetery
  • When possible, a shared grave in a Muslim cemetery is to be given preference over an individual grave in a non-Muslim one. See related points below in ‘Transferring the Body’ and ‘Delaying Burial’.

(c) Transferring the Body

  • It is permitted to transfer the deceased in cases of need or for a valid purpose, such as lack of space or capacity locally, or a bequest to be buried in one’s hometown.
  • Decisions to transfer the body should be made in close consultation with the family of the deceased, relevant authorities, and the communities/sites to whom/where the deceased will be transferred to.
  • When possible, transferring the body for burial without delay, even a long distance, is preferable to an excessive delay.
  • When possible, transferring the deceased to a Muslim cemetery, even if a long distance, is to be given preference over a nearby burial in a non-Muslim cemetery.

(d) Delaying Burial

  • The default is to carry out the burial procedure as quickly as possible.
  • Slight delays are permitted if there is need, such as when the burial team is seeing to the funerary rites of others or when waiting for a space to be allocated for the deceased in a Muslim cemetery.
    • When possible, a slight delay to ensure burial in a Muslim cemetery is to be given preference over an immediate burial in a non-Muslim cemetery provided the deceased can be safely stored.
  • Excessive delays should be absolutely avoided.
    • It is preferable to transfer the deceased elsewhere, or bury him in a shared Muslim grave, than to excessively delay funerary rites and burial. This is a matter that requires sensitive consultation with the family of the deceased.
  • In cases where there are no other options and it is not possible to bury without delay, it would be permitted to delay the burial and other funerary rites. The deceased in this case should be kept stored in a manner that prevents bodily decay, is safe, and upholds their dignity. For this, the relevant authorities and experts should be consulted and communities should anticipate and plan for scenarios where this will be likely.
  1. How is the COVID-suspected deceased to be buried?
  • The burial and any activities associated with it should proceed as normal, but it should be restricted to the gravesite.
  • Before transfer to the gravesite, the outside of the casket should be disinfected. Individuals tasked with carrying the casket to and from the transport vehicle should don the appropriate PPE, such as suitable single-use gloves. They should dispose of this equipment after first use and thoroughly wash their hands with water and soap or hand sanitizer.
  • While transporting the deceased, it is recommended to engage in dhikr and supplication for the deceased.
  • The funeral should be attended by a minimal number of people given current government guidance.
    • Some councils have set limits on the maximum number of people that may attend a funeral. As such, those arranging the funeral should consult their relevant local authorities regarding this.
    • If there is no set maximum set by the government or local authorities but only a general instruction to keep funerals small, it is recommended to follow the guidance of the Deceased Management Advisory Group (DMAG), which has advised that funerals only be attended by immediate family or a few individuals.
    • It may give some solace to those unable to physically attend the actual burial to have it live-streamed, though one cannot actually join the funeral prayer via live-stream. For those who wish, the absentia funeral prayer remains an option.
  • Attendees should be told to observe all social distancing, self-isolation, and personal hygiene guidelines advised by the government.
    • This means that for the time being the elderly, those with underlying health conditions, and those required to observe 14-day self isolation should not come to the funeral site, especially if the service will be attended by several people.
    • The BBSI understands that this will be extremely difficult for people who were close to the deceased, but wish to reassure them that true proximity is when hearts are entwined, not merely proximity of bodies.
  • Viewing of the deceased before burial is permitted, including the face provided this is medically permitted, as the risk of infection is very low.
    • However, the deceased should under no circumstances be touched or kissed.
    • See the Royal College of Pathologists advice for this (PPE, social distancing).
  • The deceased should be lowered into the grave as normally done in funeral services.
  • It is recommended by many jurists that the deceased be given an admonitory address (talqin) after burial, which may be expressed in any manner that conveys a meaning similar to what is related below:
    • Remember the covenant by which you exited this world; the testification that there is no god but God who has no partners and that Muhammad is the messenger and slave of God. Remember that the Day of Judgment is coming and that God resurrects those in the graves. Say: ‘I have accepted that my Lord is God, that Islam is my religion, that Muhammad is a true Prophet, that the Ka`bah is the true direction for prayer, that the Qur’an is my guide and that all believers in God are brothers.’
  • It is recommended to recite some Quran over the grave after burial and make a supplication for the forgiveness of the deceased.

Word of Counsel

May God be praised – He is the Maker of the heavens and of the earth; the Creator of all things, and the One who sent His Chosen Messenger, our liege-lord, Muhammad, the most noble of all creation. God is the Eminent, the Forgiving, the Manager of all affairs, the Maker of destinies; who has brought all His creation into being, and makes it thus they change from state to state, and moves from one abode to the next.

God has established that we have not one life, nor even two – but five ‘lives’, in that there are five abodes of existences that we pass through. We all too often forget that, and we are tempted to think that the life of this world, al-dunya, is the life, the only life, when, in fact, it is the most passing and fleeting of all.

Rather, by God’s Mercy and His Grace, we have already lived through the abode of the life before this one, where all the souls were gathered, and we all took the covenant with our Lord, recognising His Unity and his Lordship. And from among those souls include the community of Muhammad – the community that you come from. Wahb ibn Munabbih narrates that when our liege-lord Moses asked his Lord about the community of Muhammad, God replied: “ It is the community of Ahmad (another name for Muhammad), whose people are content with whatever little provision I give them, and I am content with whatever little good works they do. I make each one of them enter the Garden by their testimony that ‘there is no god but God’.

And then we go through this world that we are in; and then we shall be placed in our graves; and then we leave our graves for the Resurrection and Gathering, until the moment that all of us reach our final abode. Remember of that time in the Gathering that our Prophet (s) declared: “Each Prophet has one prayer which must be answered. They have prayed, but I have concealed my prayer, so that it may be an intercession for my nation, including, God willing, all those who died without partnering anything to God.”

That intercession is for the life to come; that life that is spoken of in the Qur’an (44:51-7) as: “Those who had taqwa will be in a secure place, in gardens and watersprings … a favour from your Lord: that is the supreme triumph.

The Prophet (s) noted to us: “the Garden comprises one hundred degrees; between each two degrees is like between Heaven and earth. Firdaus is the high degree, from which spring the four rivers of the Garden. Above it is the Highest Throne. When you petition God, therefore, ask for Firdaus!” and, “A herald shall announce: ‘O people of the Garden! It is time for you to be healthy and never fall ill. It is time for you to live and never die. It is time for you to be young and never grow old. And it is time for you to be happy and never be miserable.’”

May God make us all of its people, through His Generosity, His Grace, His Mercy, and Grace.

Bibliography/Sources Consulted Primary Sources

Abu Bakr al-Kasani. Badaʼiʻ al-sanaʼiʻ fi tartib al-sharaʼiʻ. Edited by ʻAli Muʻawwad and ʻAdil ʻAbd al-Mawjud. Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-ʻIlmiyya, 1997.

ʻAli ibn Sulayman al-Mardawi. al-Insaf fi maʻrifat al-khilaf ʻala madhhab al-Imam Ahmad. Edited by Muhammad Shafiʻi. 12 vols. Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-ʻIlmiyya, 1997.

Mansur ibn Yunus al-Buhuti. Kashshaf al-qinaʻ ʻan matn al-Iqnaʻ. 6 vols. Mecca: Matbaʻat al-Hukuma, 1974.

Muhammad Amin ibn ʿAbidin. Radd al-muhtar ʿala al-Durr al-Mukhtar. 7 vols. Cairo: Bulaq, 1323-26 A.H.

Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Rahman al-Hattab. Mawahib al-jalil li-sharh mukhtasar Khalil wa-bi-hamishihi al-Taj wa-al-iklil li-Mukhtasar Khalil. 6 vols. Libya: Maktabat al-Najah, 1969.

Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Dasuqi. Hashiya ʿala al-Sharh al-kabir. 4 vols. Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, 2002.

Muhammad ibn Ahmad ʿIllaysh. Minh al-jalil sharh Mukhtasar Khalil. 9 vols. Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, 1984.

Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Khatib al-Shirbini. Mughni al-muhtaj ila maʿrifa maʿani alfaz al-Minhaj. Edited by Muhammad Aytani. 4 vols. Beirut: Dar al-Maʿrifa, 1997.

Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Sarakhsi. al-Mabsut. 30 vols. Beirut: Dar al-Maʿrifa, n.d.

Muwaffaq al-Din ibn Qudama. al-Mughni. Edited by ʿAbd al-Fattah Muhammad Hulw & ʿAbd Allah ibn ʿAbd al-Muhsin al-Turki. 15 vols. 3rd ed. Riyadh: Dar ʿAlam al-Kutub, 1997.

Numerous authors. Fatawa Hindiyya. 6 vols. Beirut: Dar Ihya’ al-Turath al-ʿArabi, 1980.

Sulayman ibn Umar al-ʿUjayli. Hashiyat al-Jamal. Edited by ʿAbd al-Razzaq al-Mahdi. 8 vols. Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-ʿIlmiyya, 1996.

Yahya ibn Sharaf al-Nawawi. Rawdat al-talibin wa-ʻumdat al-muftin. Edited by Ishraf Zuhayr al-Shawish. 10 vols. Beirut: al-Maktab al-Islami, 1985.

———-. Kitab al-Majmuʻ. Edited by Najib al-Mutiʻi. 10 vols. Cairo: Dar al-Nasr, 1971.

Secondary Sources

Health and Safety Executive, Managing infection risks when handling the deceased Guidance for the mortuary, post-mortem room and funeral premises, and during exhumation (2018).

Public Health England, COVID-19: Guidance for infection prevention and control in healthcare settings. Version 1.0. (last updated on March 23rd, 2020).

The Royal College of Pathologists, Transmission-based precautions Guidance for care of deceased during COVID-19 pandemic (issued 25th March, 2020)

The Association of Healthcare Cleaning Professionals’ (AHCP) Revised Healthcare Cleaning Manual.

Appendix A – Who is at high risk from coronavirus

Coronavirus can make anyone seriously ill, but there are some people who are at a higher risk. For example, you may be at high risk from coronavirus if you:

  • have had an organ transplant
  • are having certain types of cancer treatment
  • have blood or bone marrow cancer, such as leukaemia
  • have a severe lung condition, such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma
  • have a condition that makes you much more likely to get infections
  • are taking medicine that weakens your immune system
  • are pregnant and have a serious heart condition

Source: NHS (last reviewed on 24th March 2020)

Appendix B – Self-isolation if you or someone you live with has symptoms – Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Do not leave your home if you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) or live with someone who does. This is called self-isolation. If you are self-isolating, you must:

  • not leave your home for any reason, other than to exercise once a day – but stay at least 2 metres (3 steps) away from other people
  • not go out to buy food or collect medicine – order them by phone or online, or ask someone else to drop them off at your home
  • not have visitors, such as friends and family, in your home

If you have symptoms of coronavirus, you’ll need to self-isolate for 7 days or until your temperature returns to normal. You do not need to self-isolate if you just have a cough after 7 days. A cough can last for several weeks after the infection has gone.

If you live with someone who has symptoms, you’ll need to self-isolate for 14 days from the day their symptoms started. This is because it can take 14 days for symptoms to appear. If more than 1 person at home has symptoms, self-isolate for 14 days from the day the first person started having symptoms.

If you then get symptoms, self-isolate for 7 days from when your symptoms start, even if it means you’re self-isolating for longer than 14 days. If you do not get symptoms, you can stop self-isolating after 14 days.

Source: NHS (last reviewed on 24th March, 2020)

Source: Public Health England, COVID-19: infection prevention and control guidance (last reviewed 23rd March, 2020)

Appendix E – Performing the Funeral Prayer Hanafi method
  1. The janaza prayer is fard kifaya (communal obligation) – it is fulfilled by a minimum of one (1) person.
  2. It is sunna for the imam to stand in front of the chest of the deceased.
  3. The necessary components of the prayer are the 4 takbirs and standing up.
  4. It is sunna to read the thana after the 1st takbir, salutations on the Prophet after the 2nd takbir, dua for the deceased after the 3rd and it is wajib to do the salam after the 4th takbir.
  5. The hands should only be raised for the 1st takbir
  6. Sura al-Fatiha can be prayed after the thana with the intention of dua’ and not qira’at
  7. Supplicating for forgiveness is not required for a child or an insane person; on the contrary the dua should be made that the children are a source of salvation for us.
Shafii Method

The funeral prayer (salat al-janaza) is a communal obligation, requiring a minimum of 1 person to pray it. For those that are unable to attend the salat al-janaza in person, they may pray the absentee funeral prayer (salat al-gha’ib). The following will apply:

  1. The body of the deceased should be placed between the imam and the qibla, with the head to the right and the feet to the left. The imam should preferably be in front of the head of the body, if the body is a man, or to the midpoint of the body, if the body is a woman. (This condition does not exist for those praying salat al-gha’ib).
  2. One stands, intending to pray an obligatory funeral prayer, with the intention occurring at the time of the opening takbir. (For those praying salat al-gha’ib, they intend to pray a sunna prayer that is salat al-gha’ib.)
  3. The opening takbir (Allahu akbar) is then followed by the reciting of surah al-Fatiha (quietly, to one’s self);
  4. Then this is followed by a second takbir, which is then followed by quietly saying ‘alhamdulillah’, and then (quietly, to one’s self) recitation of the prayer upon the Prophet, upon whom be blessings and peace, in the same way that one would do so in the second half of the tashhahud in the ritual daily prayer;
  5. Which is then followed by a third takbir; which is then followed by (quietly, to one’s self) supplicating for the deceased. It is recommended one says, “Allahumma la tahrimna ajrahu wa la taftina baʿdahu wa-ghfir lana wa lahu” (“O God, do not deprive us of his reward, nor afflict us after him. [O God,] grant us and him forgiveness.”)
  6. Which is then followed by a fourth takbir; which is then followed by (quietly, to one’s self) praying for all the Muslims;
  7. Which is then followed by saying aloud ‘as-salam ‘alaykum’ to the right, and then to the left.

 

The post Guidance For Burials And Funerals During The COVID-19 Pandemic appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Propaganda Kills: Holding China Accountable For Its Role In The Coronavirus Pandemic

27 March, 2020 - 19:57

15 mins read

In a new report by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian describes the operating manuals for China’s mass internments and arrests of Uighur Muslims in the occupied territory called Xinjiang (East Turkestan). She describes what the world continues to ignore: China’s ethnic genocide—the destruction of culture, traditions, and mosques— the very fabric of Uighur heritage. 

This is a shocking attempt at reshaping an entire people’s identity. Once reduced to less than animals, it is no surprise that Chinese Communisty Party’s (CCP) evil is now extending to harvesting organs from Uighurs. There is increasing research such as the findings of the China Tribunal led by Sir Geoffrey Nice, QC, a former chief prosecutor of Slobodan Milosevic, that also leads to assertions of physical genocide. 

While the Uighur destruction story has been unfolding for more than a decade and despite courageous reporting to bring it to the attention of the world, the abuse continues unabated. Why?

China’s rampant propaganda machine: Tell China’s story well

The answer lies in China’s propaganda machine, which is unparalleled in its scope and funding. China has committed to spend $6.6 billion on global coverage, emphasizing Chinese power, generosity and centrality to global affairs. While all expenses paid trips, buying airwaves, advertorials, sponsored journalistic coverage and “heavily massaged positive messages from boosters” are no new tactics, unlike other government propaganda machines, China does not accept a plurality of views. The press becomes the eyes, ears, and tongues of the Chinese Communist Party.

The build up of soft power is strategic. A five month investigation by the Guardian reports that, “Beijing has also been patiently increasing its control over the global digital infrastructure through private Chinese companies, which are dominating the switchover from analogue to digital television in parts of Africa, launching television satellites and building networks of fibre-optic cables and data centres – a “digital silk road” – to carry information around the world.Since August 2019.” 10 million of Africa’s 24 million pay-TV subscribers watch low-cost StarTimes, which is CCP-owned. ProPublica has tracked more than 10,000 suspected fake Twitter accounts involved in a coordinated influence campaign with ties to the Chinese government. Remember Twitter is banned in China. A Reuters investigation across four continents found at least 33 radio stations in 14 countries that are part of a global radio web structured in a way that obscures its majority shareholder: state-run China Radio International, or CRI. The carefully scripted content is broadcast worldwide in more than 60 languages and Chinese dialects. 

The 480 CCP funded Confucius Institutes in various universities in six continents are staffed with visiting teachers from China and offer language classes, cultural programming and outreach. They teach that Taiwan, Tibet and East Turkestan are integral parts of China and ignore human rights. However, many see them as a part of the propaganda machine and have been criticized by professors concerned about academic freedom and institutional autonomy. The CCP admits as much, Politburo standing member Li Changchun said. “[Confucius Institute] has made an important contribution toward improving our soft power. The ‘Confucius’ brand has a natural attractiveness. Using the excuse of teaching Chinese language, everything looks reasonable and logical.”

One just needs to look at China’s neighbor Pakistan, home of 4 Confucius Institutes, Xinhua Urdu News channel and a $60 billion CCP investment, to see the effect of wholesale Chinese brainwashing. Like the rest of the Muslim “Ummah”, Pakistanis decry the human rights abuses against Kashmiris, Rohingya,  Palestinians, etc., but when it comes to human rights abuse against Uighur Muslims, a majority of Pakistanis dismiss it as “Western propaganda”.

Much of this is because of a systematic response team run by the China Economic Net, a Beijing-based online news organization, and the Islamabad-based Pakistan China Institute. The system disseminates information to counter “negative” news about the neocolonial Belt and Road initiative. The think tank also runs China-Pakistan Media Forum, and for 5 years has been bringing Pakistani and Chinese journalists together to counter negative news.

Pakistan may be an extreme case, but it is not unique. Most of the world is either unaware or uncertain about the extent of the abuse against Uighurs. 

This reflects the extent to which China has been successful in hiding its dirty secrets.

Will there be another cover-up on COVID19?

More than 23,000 people are dead globally from COVID-19. Since the first Dec. 30 announcement of a new disease in Wuhan, the CCP has spun a narrative.

Recently three lawsuits were filed against the CCP government. In one, attorney Robert Eglet claimed that China’s government should have shared more information about the virus but intimidated doctors, scientists, journalists and lawyers while allowing the COVID-19 respiratory illness to spread.

CCP’s propaganda machine is now attempting to cover-up China’s role in the coronavirus pandemic; it has gone into hyper mode. In a must-watch short documentary on New York Times, reporters identify three dominant themes that China wants to promote to the world: spinning optimism, protecting China’s image, and disputing the origin of the virus:

Spinning optimism and protecting China’s image:

Everyday we are hearing stories of Chinese medical goods and medical teams reaching other countries to provide assistance in fighting the virus. This is certainly laudable, but one must not forget the context of these stories that are glowingly reported by Chinese news sources and officials on Twitter. This is part of the government spin to turn the Chinese government from the creator of the problem to the Good Samaritan. It is akin to setting someone’s house on fire and then sending in the fire trucks. One can acknowledge that the fire-trucks are helpful, but should one forget who started the fire?

The source of the COVID-19:

Despite China’s massive attempts at shifting the virus origins outside China, the overwhelming evidence points to Wuhan as the epicenter of the pandemic.  If there is one video to watch to understand how this virus came into being, then it is this from Vox.

Everyone remembers SARS from 2003, a zoonoses – human infection of animal origin. What most people didn’t know is how SARS came into being. Historically, small farmers in China ate wildlife that they caught on the farms. However, after China designated wildlife as a “natural resource” in the late 1980s, it led to its mass-scale industrialization, worth billions. As it is, China has a poor record in food supply chain controls, and by allowing this unprecedented commercialization of wildlife, it opened the doors for exotic viruses to find their way into humans.

With the breeding industrialization, wildlife markets were established and wildlife started flooding regular wet markets (where meat, fish, and produce is sold) leading to its mixing with staple animals under atrocious conditions. This allowed viruses to move from one animal species to another, eventually leading to the SARS outbreak. The SARS virus was traced to a wet market in Foshan, Guangdong province, most likely passed from masked palm civets and/or bats to humans. This is a wildlife regulation problem.

While China shut down the markets immediately after SARS, it decided to reopen them in a short time. Greed trumped humanity. It was only a matter of time that some new virus would jump species and find its way into humans. And that is exactly what happened. A study found that the novel coronavirus now known as COVID-19 that has been found in patients infected in the outbreak that began in Wuhan, China, is almost totally identical to one that infects bats.

Racism towards people of Chinese heritage

It is important to keep in mind that ordinary Chinese people have faced the brunt of the initial virus outbreak. Their frustrations and anger was captured in tweets by New York Times correspondent Amy Qin from Wuhan. There is no excuse and basis for discriminating against the people of China. They are very much part of the common humanity with the rest of the world who are suffering due to the grave and criminal blunders of the Chinese government. It is important to acknowledge that some individuals are promoting racist tropes against the Chinese, and this must be opposed, while not allowing the Chinese government to get away with a cover-up.

Some of the racist tropes making rounds online are about food choices in China. What Chinese people eat is their choice. People all over the world eat all types of animals. Some folks may find the consumption of camel, kangaroo, and desert lizard disgusting, even while Muslim diet permits all three. We may not like what others eat, but we are not in a position to dictate those choices. What we can emphasize though universally is that the meat industry must provide sanitary conditions to animals, and their slaughter should also be conducted in a humane way. For example, cooking animals alive or clubbing them to death are practices that can be universally condemned, but what cannot be allowed is to engage in racist tropes about what people eat.

One must also note that while the Chinese do have a wider spectrum of animals they will eat, “the majority of the people in China do not eat wildlife animals”. As Peter Li points out in the VOX video, “those people who consume these wildlife animals are the rich and the powerful –a small minority.” 

The cover-up is harmful

Coronavirus has brought the world to its knees. People have lost their lives and livelihoods. Poor countries are even at greater risk of being completely devastated if the virus takes hold, as it did in Wuhan or Italy. 

And it could have been prevented.

A University of Southampton study found that “if interventions in the country [by Beijing] could have been conducted one week, two weeks, or three weeks earlier, cases could have been reduced by 66 percent, 86 percent and 95 percent respectively – significantly limiting the geographical spread of the disease”.

Instead of focusing on controlling the disease, the Chinese government was focused on PR. Instead of managing the disease, President Xi was busy managing WHO’s response, which parroted Chinese government propaganda that “no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus.”

So China not only allowed conditions for the rise of the deadly virus, its actions led to a far more severe outbreak than a transparent and controlled prevention program would have allowed. It co-opted the WHO into its propaganda and we must call China out for its actions.

Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater

Despite the clear evidence of China’s role in both the rise and spread of the virus, there is a severe pushback (some from Chinese propaganda and some from “woke” channels) against calling China out on the pandemic. While calling COVID-19 the “Chinese virus” is very problematic, it is also not helpful to absolve China of its attempted cover-up and then get out of hand.

Concern for ordinary Chinese people is sincerely intentioned. However, holding China accountable is not racism. The world gave China the benefit of doubt on SARS, but the fact that something similar happened again is inexcusable. China has been getting away with abuse within its boundaries, and if it gets away with the coronavirus cover-up, who knows what other abuses and viruses the world will see in the years to come.    

Holding China accountable means that it should not business as usual after this is all over, as Shadi Hamid rightfully points out in an excellent succinct essay, published in The Atlantic.

It means that the abuse of Uighur Muslims must stop. Those in US, here is a call you can make to help close the camps

It means that wildlife industrial operations must be stopped permanently.

It means that China must compensate the world for wreaking havoc, especially funding recovery of poor nations with no strings attached 

Finally, and most importantly, it means that China’s propaganda machine must be checked and countered. Major news outlets must directly and explicitly fact-check Chinese propaganda. CCP’s bizarre attempts at raising concerns about racism, while it is in the middle of destroying an entire race, should be exposed for what it is: an attempted cover-up. It shouldn’t get away with it this time.

 (Hena Zuberi contributed to this piece)

The post Propaganda Kills: Holding China Accountable For Its Role In The Coronavirus Pandemic appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Benefiting From The Majesty Of Divine Will | Thirteen Points In Making The Best Of The Situation

26 March, 2020 - 23:45

In the Name of God most Merciful Most Compassionate

Peace Be Upon Prophet Mohammad, His Family, Companions and Brothers. Ameen

“God will never punish them while they are seeking forgiveness” (al-Anfāl, 8:33)

As we observe imposed isolation or social distancing to prevent the spread of the virus that has disrupted life as we know it, maintaining and elevating our faith becomes both a necessity and a great opportunity. The awakened believer is the one who never excludes the hand of God in everything that happens in the world–good or bad. We ask Allah Almighty to show us kindness and mercy in everything that He decrees for us.

“And We have already sent [messengers] to nations before you, [O Muhammad]; then We seized them with poverty and hardship that perhaps they might humble themselves [to Us]. (42) Then why, when Our punishment came to them, did they not humble themselves? But their hearts became hardened, and Satan made attractive to them that which they were doing. (43) So when they forgot that by which they had been reminded, We opened to them the doors of every [good] thing until, when they rejoiced in that which they were given, We seized them suddenly, and they were [then] in despair. (44)” (al-An’ām, 6:42-44)

Now is the time of seeking forgiveness and repenting to Allah. Now is the time we seek the counsel of our rich tradition in how to deal with collective and universal calamities and hardship. The awakened believer looks at what Allah brings about in His universe with a Divine Light and resists the calls of ignorance and heedlessness in any form they appear.

From the pure well of Prophetic guidance we draw thirteen beautiful, practical, and spiritual counsels:

The pandemic that is frightening everyone is the creation of Allah released by His Power for reasons He only knows. Losing sight of this basic fact is a sign of the blindness of our inner eyes. And your Lord creates what He wills and chooses; not for them was the choice. Exalted is Allah and high above what they associate with Him. (Al-Qaṣaṣ, 28:68)

1. When the Masjids are closed and Jumu’ah is suspended and the Honored Ka’bah and the Prophetic Mosque are emptied and there is rampant panic, the guided believer rushes to Istighfār. Let’s repeat and teach our children and households one of these Prophetic expressions of seeking forgiveness:

                 Astaghfirullāh wa Atūbu ilayhi, at least 100 times a day. (Muslim)

أَسْتَغفِرُ اللهَ وَ أَتُوبُ إِلَيْهِ

or

               Rabbī Ighfir Lī wa Tub ‘alayya Innaka Anta Attawābu ArRahīm, at least 100 times a  day. ( Al-Tirmidhī, Abū Dāwūd, Ibn Mājah)

رَبِّ اغْفِرْ لِي، وَتُبْ عَلَيَّ، إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ التَّوَّابُ الرحيم 

The Best time for Istighfār is before Fajr.

Let’s be among those who seek the forgiveness before dawn that God praised in the Qur’ān:

“Those who say, “Our Lord, indeed we have believed, so forgive us our sins and protect us from the punishment of the Fire,” the patient, the true, the obedient, those who spend [in the way of Allah], and those who seek forgiveness before dawn.” (Āl-‘Imrān, 3:17)

2. Pray two Rak’āt of repentance often throughout the day.

3. Make our living spaces spiritual abodes by designating a place in the house as a Muṣallā. This is a forgotten Sunnah that the companions of the Prophet, God bless him and grant him peace, established. Let’s revive this Sunnah in our homes.

4. Perform prayers at the beginning of the time in congregation with an Adhān and Iqāma (assign our children to do so). If we can’t pray together while we are all quarantined in our houses then we surely have a bigger problem than coronavirus.

5. Stay after the prayers in your place and make Du’ā’ and Istighfār.

6. Don’t miss any Sunnah prayers before or after the obligatory prayers.

  • Make it a habit to pray Ḍuḥā prayer after sunrise or by midmorning as 2, 4, 6, or 8 Raka’āt.
  • The Prophet, God bless him and grant him peace, used to say that the prayer of Ḍuḥā is the prayer of the Awwābīn (repenters). (Muslim, Ibn Abī Shaybah, al-Ḥākim, Ibn Khuzaymah).
  • 4 Raka’at before Dhụhr and 2 after. 2 Raka’āt before Aṣr. 2 Before Maghrib and 6 after. 2 before Ishā’ and 4 after.
  • Make your Witr a Prophetic Witr: 11 Raka’āt before Fajr. If you can’t wake up, then pray it after Ishā’.

7. Read the Qur’ān every day even if just for 15 minutes.

8. Constant Dhikr and remembrance of Allah Ta’ālā with all kind of expressions while giving precedence to the expression of Tawḥīd لا إله إلا الله   since it is the best expression of Dhikr as the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said. (Al-Tirmidhī)

9. Be a good subordinate and adhere to your community’s collective decisions and experts regarding gatherings, Jamā’ah prayers, Jumu’ah, social distancing, and cleanliness. Our recalcitrance and selfishness sometimes appears in a religious form. At times of hardship going against the consensus is spiritually damaging even when we realize that we might be partially right. Not all debates have to be won.

من أطاع الأمير فقد أطاعني 

“Whoever obeys the leader has indeed obeyed me.” (Muslim, al-Bukhārī)

10. The best among us are those who are the best to their spouses. Spending more time with each other should add to our compassion and respect for each other. Let us understand that   everyone going through this situation is experiencing a level of anxiety that might affect their normal behavior. Many of us are not used to staying at home for such a long period. Let this be an opportunity to connect with each other and strengthen the bonds of the family. Let’s Fear The Thieves !! (See point 12.)

11. Attend at least one of the online events that your community is offering even if you know everything that is known about the religion. Showing the sentiments of solidarity by attending these events encourages those who spend time preparing and sacrificing their time to continue their Da’wah work that is necessary for the community.

12. Fear the thieves for yourselves and your loved ones: None of the suggestions above will bear any fruit in advancing our cause with Allah and in bringing us towards a genuine reconciliation with ourselves if we spend all day with WhatsApp, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Netflix and such. In the digital wasteland and on our phones or glued to the TV all day, sharing and re-sharing nonsense makes us lost, nonsensical and trivial people. The last thing we want to find ourselves doing is spreading forgetfulness and heedlessness under the guise of spreading useful information.

Let’s not readily and voluntarily enlist as the agents of Shaytan at the time we have to be servants of God. Think before you send anything shared with you because you will be asked about it. One post a day is too much for those who are busy with all the obligations we all have. By now, everything that needs to be known about the epidemic has probably reached all corners of the globe. Let’s be wary of succumbing to the appeals of our lower selves or nafs and finding ourselves losing this great opportunity with Allah. The same advice goes for our children as it is a great opportunity for them to be creative in how they constructively spend their leisure time.

13. Give in charity, no matter how small, to your local and national Muslim organizations who might be going through difficulty meeting the needs of those who have lost their wages due to the freezing of the economy. This is both a pandemic and an economic crisis and sadaqa is our spiritual remedy to financial matters.

The post Benefiting From The Majesty Of Divine Will | Thirteen Points In Making The Best Of The Situation appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.