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Jakarta Post

Islam’s guidance for coping with the pandemic

  • Anis Chowdhury and Jomo Kwame Sundaram

    Sydney/Kuala Lumpur

Sydney/Kuala Lumpur   /   Wed, July 1 2020   /  01:00 am
Worshippers wearing protective face masks keep their social distance as they wait for Friday prayers at the Grand Camlica Mosque, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Istanbul, Turkey June 26, 2020. (REUTERS/Murad Sezer)

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rapidly spread globally, the whole world is desperately looking for ways to contain it, finding cures for the infected and developing vaccines to protect against it. The world adopted the Muslim practice of quarantines in the form of lockdown, self-isolation and physical distance. The Doge (lord) of Venice learnt that when facing epidemics, Muslim rulers in the East imposed precautionary 40-day quaranta (‘arbain), as mentioned by Ibn Khaldun. Contrary to the teachings of some, ironically, although not well-known in Muslim societies, such methods of prevention and protection are rooted in the teachings and history of Islam. As social beings, Muslims are encouraged, but not required to perform their daily obligatory prayers in congregation, and typically are emotionally attached to mosques. Thus, measures such as quarantines and physical...