The grappling of covid-19’s worst infection around the world has enormously led much more of exchanging views, discussions and analysis without reaching a decisive or easing consequence till date. Astonishingly enough, over millennium back, Islam determined an unbeaten end of today’s unfathomed concern over infection of disease with its psycho-philosophical estimation in theological context.
Abu Hurairah Radiyallahu Anhu narrates that the Prophet Rasululla Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam said, ‘No existence of Infection presents any more. Then a nomad related, “O Messenger of Allah, my camels were as healthy as deer. Then a camel infected with a skin disease entered the herd and other camels were contaminated.” The Messenger of Allah Rasululla Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam said, “Who contaminated the first camel then?” (Bukhari)
Due to misunderstanding, many atheists and anti-Islamic agents want to cite the example of this ahadith refuting that Islam has denied the natural process of infecting germs. Those who say so are not really pure in thought.
To be noted, several ahadiths have been instructed to be wary of infection. The Prophet Rasululla Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam said, “The sick will not be taken to the healthy one (the sick camel will not be taken to the healthy camel)”. (Bukhari)
In another ahadith, the Prophet Rasululla Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam said, “…Stay away from that of leper as you stay away from the tiger.” (Bukhari)
An incident was reported to take place at the time of Umar Ibn Khattab Radiyallahu Anhu regarding a leper woman who was circumambulating the Kaba. Hadrat ‘Umar ibn Khattab Radiyallahu Anhu was passing by the woman and saw her. He said to the woman, “O servant of Allah, do not bother the people. It is wise if you stay in your own house.” The woman stopped coming to the Haram Sharif (Baitullah) and stayed in her room. (Hayatus Sahabah)
In a ahadith, the Prophet Rasululla Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam said, ‘If you hear that there has been an outbreak of plague or similar epidemic in a place, you will not go there. And if it prevails in the area where you are staying, you will not leave it. ‘(Bukhari)
Once Hazrat Omar Farooq Radiyallahu Anhu was taking a tour to Syria(The then Shaam). On the way, he received news that the plague had spread in the form of an epidemic in the Syrian region. It has become so intricate that within a few hours of the onset of the disease, many people have died. Thousands have already died. Hadrat ‘Umar Radiyallahu Anhu took counsel togather with his companions if he should have go there or returned in this situation. Then Hazrat Abdur Rahman Ibn Auf Radiyallahu Anhu narrated the ahadith. In this ahadith, the Prophet Rasululla Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam has explicily told us that, we had better not go where the epidemic is on.
So Hazrat Omar Farooq Radiyallahu Anhu postponed his visit to Syria. (Bukhari, Muslim)
This means that this natural process of infecting germs has not been ignored in Islam. If this process was disowned in Islam, why it was forbidden to bring diseased camels to healthy camels and why it was asked to keep distance from the leper. And why it was restricted to go to the place where the epidemic took place. The fact is the Prophet Rasululla Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam denied the infection by saying, ‘There is no existence of Infection’. That is, all these diseases and germs were not created by themselves. They were created by Allah by His own majestic will. The quality of causing disease in it is not its own but Allah. And it is dependent on the will of Allah (swt) to manifest the quality of its own, It cannot do anything by itself.
It is important to understand that being infected with germs does not necessarily mean being infected with disease. For example, think about corona virus. After the virus has contaminated one person’s body to another, it is verily upon the will of Allah to decide whether or not to act it on one’s body. As is seen, a young man in his thirties died of corona, but a hundred and fifteen-year-old woman has been recovered after being infected with corona. Not only that, many were seen infected without carring any symptom of disease. Farcically enough, millions of people have died of corona infection even having their protected homes, improved food, modern medical care, masterly management and higher immunity in the developed world, compared to having little information about insignificant death rate of covid-19 attack by those starved and scanty bed, helpless, street Arab and insane people with low immune capacity who shelter themselves on the roadsides, bus stands and roadsides in the poorer countries. That is, if he is infected by corona. It is not that he will get sick or die, it depends on the will of Allah.
And that is why the Prophet Rasululla Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam said, ‘Then who infected the first camel?’ The disease was sent down on the first camel by the will of almighty Allah except any infectious. There is no reason other than Allah’s determination for the first camel to get sick. Although the reason of getting sick of the second camel is known. It would not have got sick if Allah had willed. So sometimes it gets sick, then it gets better and sometimes it might die again.
Therefore, the germs of the disease are revealed by the will of Allah, as it passes from the sick to the healthy person by the will of Allah and they act according to the will of Allah.
Another issue was social. At that time various kinds of bad omens, superstitions and blind faith were prevalent among the Arab. One such superstition that gripped Arab at that time is that if someone got sick, they would be thrown out of the house or kept far away for fear of infection. The incident that we have seen in case of corona is that the family members, relatives, neighbors and even medical staffs have thrown away the corona infected patients for fear of infection. Islam does not support such gross inhumanity. Islam seeks to establish the notion that being contamineted does not mean being infected. Sick and helpless people should not be cast off in fear of infection rather they should be well cared for. It means that the Prophet Rasululla Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam uprooted superstition by saying, ‘ No existence of infection is prevailed’.
It can, however, be said that the firm belief on natural process of infecting the germs of any disease has not been cast aside in Islam. The power of pathogens has been denied as well as taking caution against it has been ordered.
ALLAH is Omniscient.
May Allah almighty grant us the grace to act on the right words. (Amen)
Biochemist, Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock. Khulna.