Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times
At the time of writing of this article, five states in USA have closed all schools and many of the sporting events have been cancelled.
In New York state gatherings of more than 500 and in Maryland gatherings of more than 250 have been cancelled.
Jumma prayers will be offered in all mosques but within the limits of gatherings set by state.
However, what is most important is that as there have been very little testing to confirm or rule out coronavirus infections in the country the best advice to the Muslims has been that if anyone has the slightest symptoms of cold, runny nose or cough suggestive of a new infection, he or she should not come to the mosque.
There is great emphasis on offering the Friday prayers in Islam and there is a well known Hadith that the prophet said, “He is very concerned about the faith of one who misses three consecutive Friday prayers on purpose.”
But, it goes without saying that in the present circumstances, one would be committing a huge sin, if he comes to the mosque with cold symptoms and passes the infection along, which could spread to many and cause deaths among the elderly and compromised.
On the other hand missing Jumma because you had a cold would be a hugely meritorious act, deserving of praise here and a great reward in the Hereafter.
It also goes to show that Islam lays great premium on saving human lives and states that saving a human life is as if one saves the whole of humanity. (Al Quran 5:32/33)
If those who have a bent towards concrete thinking did not know before it is time to learn: What Every Muslim, Christian and Jew needs to know: The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.
Given the mental bent of many a Muslim leaders and their self serving agenda many Muslims are vulnerable towards absolutism and fail to realize that flexibility of thought and adjusting to the circumstances and needs of the time is one of the greatest virtues and the prophet Muhammad, may peace be on him, was a great practitioner of that: What Can We Learn From the Treaty of Hudaibiyya: Flexibility of Thought?
The pandemic of coronavirus is also showing us that as a human family we are all in it together and periodic emphasis by the populist politicians on parochial agendas is not the way to go for the 21st century global village: All of humanity are intimate neighbors: Coronavirus proves it once again.
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