Today, we want to talk about an important task that is important in our lives to deal with health issues, and that is prevention is more important than cure. This means that, according to the Islamic teachings, we have to look after ourselves and to prevent being a source of transmitting the disease and illness to others. We are instructed to wash our hands regularly. As you know, every Muslim before going to the toilet and after leaving the toilet, they have to wash their hands thoroughly, to clean them in a way that no impurity is left on any part of the body. That is really very important. And this health instruction is so essential and has been from day one when the Prophet (S.A.W.W) ordered Muslims to wash their hands thoroughly after these incidents. It is important again and has been emphasised in the teachings of the Prophet (S.A.W.W) and the error-free Imams (A.S) that we have to keep away and to prevent from what leads to contagious diseases. And for that to keep away from those diseases, which are not only contagious, that are fatal, so it is not acceptable at all that someone says that “I’m strong enough, my immune system is good and I’m not going to be affected by such disease at all”. No, this claim is not acceptable in Islam. Look at one important thing, not only about washing your hands, even the dust, allowing it to reach your throat, for those who are fasting. All Foqaha, especially the Foqaha of the school of Jaafari Mathhab, they all say that if you permit and allow the dust, which is coming either from an area where there is demolition or any similar reason, to reach your throat, that will invalidate your fasting. So, again here we know and observe that to prevent any infection with your lungs, with your breathing organs, of course it is very important to avoid and not allow that to happen. Smoking, by the way brothers and sisters, is although someone says that there is no clear prohibition about it in Islam. It is not mentioned neither in the Quran or the hadith, neither in the Quran or the Sunnah. But we have a general rule that anything which causes harm to your body, to a mental health, to your organs is not permissible in Islam. It is true that no clear text is about this particular thing in the Quran or in the hadith, but because it has been proven that it causes a lot of diseases and affects the heart, the lungs and all other organs in the body. Generally talking, anything which causes harm to individuals or to the whole society must be avoided. And again, this falls under the category of prevention before cure. Let’s imagine that someone who is diabetic and consuming sweets will worsen their situation, of course, it is not permitted for them to do so and as a fact some people think that by using or consuming certain fruits or certain types of sweets, they will be immune and there is no problem about it. No, this is wrong. Again, they have to avoid anything which causes more damage to their health, especially those who are diabetic. The same applies polluting the sources of water, the sources of the water whether they’re rivers or springs or any other container that the drinking water is going to be available to people, it is not permitted in Islam to cause any pollution to that.
Now, let’s discuss our responsibility regarding others, not ourselves. Sometimes, you think about your own health, but what about others? For example, about smoking, we have something about those who are passive smokers, which means that although I may do damage to myself when I smoke, but those who inhale it without their intention or their interest in sharing with me the same habit. They will be affected, and it is my responsibility, I will be held accountable for any damage which I cause for those, especially the pregnant mother that causes some harm to the foetus inside her when she smokes.
Having said that, let’s deal with this Coronavirus. First of all brothers and sisters, we know that we normally have to wash our hands when we come in contact with anything, with the handles of the doors or for example touching anything in every place that was touched by some people that might be affected by that virus. So, symptoms that people may experience from this virus are dry coughs, shortness of breath, vomiting, diarrhoea, and headache. If we notice any relative, any person who is around us that these symptoms show the possibility, probability of them catching this particular virus, it is a must according to Sharia, in addition to the advice by the health organisations. Yes, it is our duty to protect ourselves, protect our neighbours, protect members of her family and at the same time the whole society must be concerned about this prevention and take every precautionary measure. Shaking hands or even coming close to someone they might have some sort of problems with this virus is very very dangerous. When respiration happens, and there are droplets, when a person may be affected via coughing or sneezing, any droplets of that result will be a source of infection to others and people will catch the same virus from us. We have to be careful about this issue. Not only to protect ourselves and prevent what will cause that disease, even not to cause damage to people around us.
The other thing, brothers and sisters that are so important, that when we go to public places. For example, public transportation or when we go to religious ceremonies, of course we have the birth anniversary of the 9th Imam, Imam Mohammed Al-Jawad on the 10th of Rajab, we have the birth anniversary of the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali on the 13th of Rajab, we have the other occasions like Mab’ath, on the 27th of Rajab. Shall we neglect our duty and say “Oh, Allah will protect us?” No, that’s good, Allah will protect, but with one condition that we take the precautionary measures. That’s why my advice to all, all centres, all mosques, all Islamic centres to be on the safe side and cancel all gatherings that might increase the risk of one disease being spread everywhere. When we talk about these brothers and sisters, really we have to be very careful that the duties or Muslim obligations are not restricted to prayer and fasting and other acts of worship, to care for others, to avoid being with the people who transmit the same disease to others is so important. So of course, when people gather in ceremonies, for example, celebrating the birth of the Imam or the martyrdom of Imam, for example 25th of Rajab, the martyrdom of Imam Musa Ibn Jaafar, the seventh Imam. Every year we are supposed to have it here at the Imam Khoei Islamic Centre, a big commemoration for the martyrdom of the seventh Imam, and of course this year it will be cancelled, and we can’t do it for all those reasons.
To conclude, let’s put it in one brief sentence that prevention is more important than cure. These are our duties, to take care every time when we touch anything, to clean and sanitise our hands when we come across anything which might be affected by the virus and by this way we keep safe and at the same time not bearing the responsibility of transmitting the disease to others.
May Allah help us with that.