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Clerics seek improved healthcare facilities

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Chief Imam of Lagos State, Sheikh Sulaimon Abou-Nolla

Notable Islamic scholars including the Chief Imam of Lagos State, Sheikh Sulaimon Abou-Nolla have called on the Federal and State government to improve the facilities in hospitals nationwide.

Sheikh Abou-Nolla, in his sallah message also prayed to Allah to bring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He urged Muslims to continue to abide with the government guidelines on social distancing and avoid large gatherings in public places, even as the mandatory quarantine lockdown eases up across the state.

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He said: “Adhering to these simple guidelines, along with other standard hygienic practices such as regular hand washing and sanitizing, would greatly help to curtail the spread of the virus, and bring an end to the pandemic in short time Insha Allah.”

The grand Imam commended the efforts of the Lagos State governor and his team for proactive leadership during the trying period.

He also hailed the Nigeria Council for Disease Control (NCDC) and other frontline health workers risking their lives to combat the spread of the virus.

He said: “The government should invest more on sensitizing the citizenry through the National Orientation Agency (NOA) on the need to increase in the practice of personal hygiene regularly. Individuals and groups should comply with the World Health Organization (WHO) and NCDC’s directives to combat the disease.

“More importantly, we must be disciplined as people and follow government restriction orders. We pray Almighty Allah to shower His blessings on us and protect us from calamities,” he said.

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Another cleric, Imam Aderibigbe Is-haq Olatunde also advised Muslims on how to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, using age-old advice from Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

The cleric noted that pandemic is not new in history. It happened in 1918, which nearly claimed half of the world population.

ile outlining how the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) historically dealt with pandemics during his time, which are also some of the guidelines set by World Health Organisations to deal with the current Covid-19 outbreak, he explained that the Holy Prophet (SAW) was reported to have banned people from traveling during disease outbreak. He (SAW) said, “If you hear of an outbreak of plague in a land, do not enter it; and if the plague breaks out in a place while you are in it, do not leave that place.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)’.

“What this Hadith is trying to teach us is that we should stay where we are. No going out, no coming in. If we follow this instruction religiously, the pandemic will be easily contained, the outbreak will be easily controlled,’ he said.

He said the practice of social distancing was also introduced during the life of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). “ It is reported that a leprosy man once wished to pledge his allegiance of Islam to the holy Prophet, this really required the holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) to touch, hug or hold or even peck the man with leprosy, but the Holy Prophet (SAW) said, the man should stay where he is to pledge his allegiance, that the allegiance is accepted and that he should return back home. (Sunan Ibn Majah)”.

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Regarding isolation, he said the holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was reported to have said, ‘Do not place a sick patient with a healthy person’.

“This teaching was extended to animals as well; the cattle suffering from a disease should not be mixed with healthy cattle. (Sahih al-Bukhari). It was also related that, Umar (RA) once instructed a leprosy woman who wished to

circumambulate round the Holy Ka‘bah in Mecca to go back to her house as it would be better for her and others.
“After Umar radiyal Laahu anhu died, a man told the woman that Umar that forbade you had passed away so you could go and circumambulate the Ka‘bah now as you pleased. She replied, “ why should I obey him when he is alive and disobey him when he has passed away God forbid.”

Regarding hygiene, the Noble Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was also reported to have said, ‘Cleanliness is half of the faith’. Hygiene is a vital part of our deen.

“Islam not only taught hand washing but some other vital part of our bodies that needs to be guided against this deadly virus, such as eyes, nose and mouth, all these are vital parts to be guided against the said virus. But the fact remains that for us to be fully protected our ablution should be thoroughly in compliance with the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

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“Therefore if we could perform our ablution properly before each of the five daily prayers properly and according to the Sunnah, the Corona virus is gone.

He added that the use of Nose mask in public places is strictly practice by the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) to curtail the spread of airborne diseases.

“ It was reported that when the Noble Prophet Muhammad (SAW) would sneeze, he would cover his face and muffle the sneeze, effectively curtailing the spread of airborne bacteria and viruses. (Jami‘ al-Tirmidhi), “.

He said seeking medical treatment, is a practical and progressive faith-based system in Islam. The Holy Prophets encouraged people to seek medical assistance alongside relying on the power of prayer.

“Once, he was asked by a group of Bedouins if it would be considered sinful if they did not seek medical treatment. He replied, “Seek medical treatment, O Slaves of Allah, for Allah does not create any disease but He also creates with it the cure, except for old age.” (Sunan Ibn Majah)

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“The Holy Prophets also clarified that seeking medical assistance coupled with divine intervention was the key to successful treatment; “Every disease has a cure. If a cure is applied to the disease, it is relieved by the permission of Allah the Almighty”. (Sahih Muslim)”

Aderibigbe explained that palliative and medical care, the bait-ul-mal (government treasury) was conceptualised in the time of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and formally established during the Khilafat of Umar (RA).

“The taxes collected were stored in treasury and were used to provide for the poor, disabled, elderly, orphans, widows and others in need. The government was also made responsible to stockpile food supplies in case of disaster or famine.

“It is reported that Umar radiyal Laahu anhu came across a group of Christians afflicted with leprosy. He immediately ordered that a medical allowance be provided to take care of them from the government treasury so they could seek medical treatment. Umar (RA) also ordered Muslims to keep a close watch on prisoners and provide for all of their medical needs as required,” he said.

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