LETTERS: The world is struggling from the Covid-19 pandemic. This is a test from Allah. There are two types of tests from Him.
Firstly, the type that He has already intended to test humans with as depicted in the Quran:
"And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient. Who (the patient), when disaster strikes them, say "Indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him we will return.” (Al-Baqarah (2): 155-156)
Another type of test is the one that He gives in the form of disaster as a result of corruption done by humankind. This has also been recorded in the Quran:
“Corruption has appeared throughout the land and sea by (reason of) what the hands of people have earned so He may let them taste part of (the consequence of) what they have done that perhaps they will return (to righteousness).” (Al-Rūm (30): 41)
These tests are, in fact, to give humans the chance to return to Him and become righteous.
Just as there are lessons to be learned, so are there actions to be taken. Although the pandemic to Muslims is something that has been destined by Allah, it does not mean people should stay idle. Taking action is part of being righteous and returning to Allah.
When a plague broke out in al-Shams (now known as Syria), Caliph Umar decided to return to Madinah to avoid being infected. One of the companions said to him, “O Amῑrul Mu’minῑn (Umar), why are you flying from God's will?”
He then replied that he merely moved from one will of Allah to another. This is in parallel with a hadith narrated by Abdullah bin Abbas RA:
“If you hear of an outbreak of plague in a land, do not enter it; but if the plague breaks out in a place while you are in it, do not leave that place (al-Bukhārῑ, 5729).”
Although “plague,” is specifically mentioned the overall spirit the hadith conveys is to contain and avoid the spread of all contagious diseases that which includes the current Covid-19 inflicting us. Those who have infectious diseases should not spread it to others. Those who are healthy should not risk themselves by coming into close contact with people with infectious diseases.
As a citizen, part of our action should be to abide with the Movement Control Order (MCO) which includes putting a stop to all mass assemblies that might lead to the spread of infection; practising proper personal hygiene to avoid being infected; restricting movements to reduce the risk of infection and avoiding international travel that may lead to further spread of infection.
For those who show symptoms, have history of international travel or have been in close contact with those who have been tested positive must go to the nearest healthcare facility for a check-up.
Abiding with MCO regulation is not only a responsibility as a citizen, but also a responsibility in the public interest. The MCO protects the safety of the public from infectious diseases. By following the policy, we actually serve the public.
Mohammad Mustaqim Malek
Centre for Science and Environment Studies Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia