In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Dear fellow humans all over the world,
Assalamu ʿAlaykum Wa Raḩmatu Allahi wa Barakatuh
(May the Peace and Blessings of Allah be with you)
As you know, our world today lives in sheer panic and great distress as a result of the fast spread of the new epidemic, COVID19, which has hit hundreds of thousands of people, killed thousands, disturbed the normal course of life, and isolated countries all over the globe.
In such hard circumstances, we, as countries, nations, individuals, institutions, and organizations have to shoulder our responsibilities and do our best to fight this epidemic, stop it, and protect people from its dangers.
We also have to mention with pride, gratitude, and appreciation the great sacrifices made by the physicians, nurses, and the rest of the medical staff at the health sectors who risk their lives in order to ward off this danger threatening the entire humanity.
The great efforts made by the officials to contain this virus do strengthen our trust in our ability to overcome this epidemic virus and defeat it. However, our success in this battle depends largely on our intention to continue to shoulder our responsibilities in stubborn determination and great urgency.
Making use of the juristic rule “Warding off dangers is prior to gaining benefits” and the rule “The greater danger is warded off by the lesser danger”, I, Al-Azhar Grand Imam, confirm that abiding by the hygiene instructions and regulatory rules issued by the concerned official departments are absolutely necessary. These instructions include personal hygiene, social distancing, staying at home, halting the Friday prayers and the other congregational prayers in the mosques, and performing the prayers at home on time without big gatherings. All these instructions are necessities entailed by the Shari‛ah (Islamic law) whether in Egypt or in any other country where the prayers may be performed. Conforming to such rules is obligatory and disobeying them is against the Islamic teachings and against Allah’s instruction: “Do not throw yourselves with your own hands into destruction”. (Qur᾿ān, 2:195) According to the Islamic Shari‛ah, it is unlawful to make up rumors, propagate them, confuse or frighten people, or make them lose confidence in the measures taken by the governments to protect their homelands and citizens.
My message to our brethren, who have been afflicted with this disease in Egypt or elsewhere in the world, is that we sympathize with them and we pray to Allah, Glory be to Him, that they may have speed recovery. We also pray to Allah to show mercy to those who have died of this disease and to bestow patience and solace on their families.
I do express Al-Azhar’s solidarity with all the countries and nations that are fighting the outbreak of this pandemic. I affirm that the Islamic Shari‛ah invites those who can afford to help the afflicted wherever they are on earth. This is a humanitarian duty and a practical application of fraternity, which has been put to the test by this crisis. This test would reveal to what extent we believe in and conform to the sublime human principles.
My advice to everyone who wishes to survive this ordeal is to take the necessary precautions and stick to the medical and scientific measures ordained by the Islamic Shari‛ah. We have to spend plenty of money in charity and to resort to supplication to Allah, our Lord, in our prayers so that He may end this disaster, assist His servants, and inspire the researchers and scholars to discover a cure to this dangerous virus soon. For Allah Almighty is our Patron and He is Capable of doing everything.
O Allah, our Lord, we ask you to save us from the harm that we know, the harm that we do not know, and from that about which You know better, for You are Almighty, Most Generous.
May the Peace and Blessings of Allah be on His Messenger Muḩammad, and on his family and companions!
Al-Azhar Grand Imam,
Watch the Grand Imam's Message here