Assalaamu Alaikum Warahmatullaahie Wabarakaatuh
Respected Brothers and Sisters in Islam
All praises belong to Allah (SWT), blessing and salutations upon our beloved Prophet Muhammed (SAW). We pray that as you read this document you are in the best of health and Allah Subhaanahu Wata’ala (SWT) continues to shower His protection and assistance to the Ummah at large. AAMEEN
The first phase of SARS-CoV-2 was characterized by the unpredictable nature of the virus, shortage of hospital beds, loneliness and feeling of impending doom associated with hospital admissions and restrictions in social interactions that have negatively affected many peoples’ emotional wellbeing. The numerous conspiracy theories; including that this was a man-made disease, new world order and a media led ambush on our spirituality and Ummah or indeed an attack on our physical wellbeing
perpetuated the negative emotional states of Muslims further. Alhamdulillah, with the help of Almighty Allah (SWT), through the continuous duas, charity and unity of purpose of the Muslim community, Ulema and health fraternity, we have been able to mitigate the impact of the first wave of COIVD 19.
Members of the Islamic Medical Association of South Africa (IMASA) as individuals and as a collective placed themselves at the frontline of the fight against COVID19 by volunteering their services as field hospitals solely for the pleasure of Allah SWT. We pray that Allah SWT accepts all their efforts. AAMEEN
Regrettably, the Second wave of the COVID pandemic is upon us as announced by the Minister of Health on 9 December 2020. The country has seen an exponential increase in number of cases in four Provinces; Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal with the positivity rate of tests exceeding 17%. In some parts of the country we are seeing hospitals overwhelmed and we are running out of both hospital and ICU space. Furthermore, many private hospitals have scaled back on their COVID response and reduced the number of beds. We have started to see an increase in the number of new COVID19 cases in the Muslim community.
The current surge in cases are amongst teenagers and with the holidays, we expect an increase. This has major ramifications for our extended families and elderly in particular. In addition, with the reduction in restrictions, and COVID fatigue, we have seen complacency in adherence to the preventive measures amongst both many healthcare professionals and the community at large. Whilst having firm belief in that no sickness can affect a person unless Allah SWT destines it, it is our professional, moral and religious obligation to caution against disregard of the evidenced based preventive interventions.
We therefore wish to re-iterate the general measures: help protect yourself from contracting and transmitting SARS-CoV-2.
1. Wash your hands frequently and carefully
a) Use warm water and soap and rub your hands for at least 20 seconds.
b) Use hand sanitizer when you cannot wash your hands properly.
c) Rewash your hands several times a day, especially after touching anything, including your phone or laptop.
2. Avoid touching your face
a) Avoid touching any part of your face or head, including your mouth, nose, and eyes.
b) Avoid biting your fingernails.
3. Avoid shaking hands and hugging people unnecessarily.
4. Don’t share personal items like phones, makeup and combs.
5. Cover your mouth and nose when you cough and sneeze.
6. Clean and disinfect surfaces – Use alcohol-based disinfectants to clean hard surfaces in your home like countertops, door handles, furniture, toys.
• Clean your phone, laptop, and anything else you use regularly several times a day.
• Disinfect areas after you bring groceries or packages into your home.
7. Take physical (social) distancing seriously
a. Physical (social) distancing, also means staying home and working remotely when possible.
b. Keep a distance of 6 feet (2 m) from other people. You can transmit the virus by speaking to someone in close contact to you.
8. Do not gather in groups
a) Being in a group or gathering makes it more likely that you will be in close contact with someone. This includes lectures, end of year graduations, congregating at parks or beaches.
b) If you need to gather, keep it as small as possible, make it outdoors, and maintain physical distancing. Always appoint somebody to monitor social distancing and limit table settings to members of the same household [4-6 per table]. Link up via an online platform if you wish.
c) Please maximise ventilation when indoors by keeping windows and doors open especially if there is a gathering of people (eg in the masaajied or at other gatherings). Keep the gathering small and brief (<15min). Improving the ventilation can help decrease transmission.
d) Members of the community who are over 60 years of age should not attend any gatherings.
9. Avoid eating or drinking in public places as the virus may be temporarily airborne from other people in the venue.
- Wear a mask – in public settings. Masks can help prevent people who are asymptomatic or undiagnosed from transmitting SARS-CoV-2 when they breathe, talk, sneeze, or cough.
- Self-quarantine if sick – Call your doctor if you have any symptoms. Stay home until you recover. Avoid sitting, sleeping, or eating with your loved ones even if you live in the same home. Wear a mask and wash your hands as much as possible. If you need urgent medical care, wear a mask and let them know you may have COVID19.
- Do not feel ashamed if you have fallen ill with Covid19. We should not stigmatise each other. We should feel that we could share our status so that we can help prevent others from falling ill.
- Abstain from pedalling false information and conspiracy theories such as:
a) “This is a dajjal led initiative” – Irrespective of the origin; this is a test upon us from Allah SWT. The consequences and effect of the illness, disability, financial strain and an untreated illness places us at a greater risk. We need to continue to engage in good actions that draw the
mercy of Allah SWT, whilst adopting the worldly means.
b) “Death rates are low; this is a media led fear mongering campaign- Life and death is from Allah SWT and pre-ordained”. Whilst for the general population the mortality may be low, the vulnerable are especially at risk. We are seeing high deaths in hospitalised cases especially where resources are limited and access to care is restricted. It is our Islamic duty to protect the vulnerable amongst us. The death figures assist us in understanding the reality of the situation and make the necessary preparations. We should not fear but prepare, prevent and
respond. Not fearing does not equate to not caring and being reckless
c) “The vaccine is from non-halaal ingredients”. At this moment in time, we do not know the type of vaccine that will be available in South Africa, but the British Islamic Medical Association [BIMA] has approved the Pfizer vaccine.
While mortality rate is low in general population, the vulnerable are especially at risk. We are seeing even higher deaths in hospitalized cases than in the first wave. It is our Islamic duty to protect the vulnerable amongst us. We pray that Allah SWT keep us safe, eliminate the virus and ease the pain, anxiety and distress of people affected and/or infected. AAMEEN
Abdullah Ibn Amir reported, the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “The merciful will be shown mercy by the Most Merciful. Be merciful to those on the earth and the One in the heavens will have mercy upon you.” Sunan Al-Tirmidhi 1924
Allahumma asrif anna haz al waba wa qina sharra da Aa. “Oh Allah, remove or (take away) from us this pandemic and save us from the evil disease.”
Islamic Medical Association of South Africa
COVID19 Guidelines Committee