Coronavirus: Religious leaders have a duty to do —Noibi, Olanrewaju

•We’re taking proactive measures at NASFAT —Azeez, Oyo zonal chairman

THE immediate past Executive Secretary of the Muslim Ummah of South West Nigeria, Professor Dawud Noibi and the Chief Imam of the Ansar-Ud-Deen Society in Oyo State, Alhaji Bashir Olanrewaju, have explained the ideal way for people to react to epidemics such as the one currently afflicting nations of the world, now including Nigeria – Coronavirus.

They particularly advised Nigerians on how to handle the threat posed by the disease, which originated from China.

In separate interviews with the Nigerian Tribune, the religious leaders underscored the need for Nigerians to follow Prophet’s Muhammad’s instruction now that the disease has found its way into the country.

Professor Noibi stated that in a situation like this, imams and other religious leaders have a duty to advise the congregation on what to do.

He quoted Prophet Muhammad to have said that if there is an epidemic in a particular environment, the residents should avoid travelling out of that environment until the situation is brought under control.

He said the Prophet also said that those that are living outside of the affected environment should, as a matter of obligation, stay away from that environment until the situation has been fully controlled.

According to him, this is the guidance from the Messenger of Allah.

“Incidentally, that instruction from the Prophet Muhammad has been discovered to be fully in conformity with what doctors and public health experts have advised regarding epidemics.

“The people should regard adherence to that instruction as a religious duty that brings benefits to individuals and the society in general.

“Now that a case of the disease has been confirmed in our country, we should hearken to the advice we get from health experts.

“And, in compliance with the instruction of the Prophet, people should avoid travelling to areas where an epidemic in known to be rampant and people coming into the country should be properly checked to ensure that they are not carrying the virus into the country,” the erudite scholar said.

On his part, Alhaji Olanrewaju expressed conviction that Muslims are spiritually immune but said nothing should be left to chance by the faithful in safeguarding themselves against such health afflictions like coronavirus.

He said Prophet Muhammad had taught Muslim in detail as far as human health is concerned.

“He [the Prophet] warned that in case of an outbreak of an epidemic in a town, city or country, his followers should avoid entering such places. And if the epidemic occurs while a Muslim is in that city or country, the Prophet said such a person should not leave until the plague is over. The aim is to avoid the spread of the disease through human contact. That is the rule set by the Prophet.

“Aside from this, the Prophet taught us to pray on a daily basis as many times as possible seeking Allah’s refuge against leprosy, madness, elephantiasis and all sorts of evil diseases.

“In fact, Muslims are immune spiritually as long as they remain regular in prayers. We do perform ablution at least five times daily. We essentially wash our hands when performing ablution. There is also emphasis on the cleanliness of where we worship; the cleanliness of what we put on, the cleanliness of our environment and the cleanliness of what we eat. So, Muslims have been kept safe. What remains is for us to understand the message of Allah and lessons taught by Prophet Muhammad as far as our health and well-being is concerned.

“I implore Muslims to comply with the guidelines and tips provided by medical experts to safeguard the general public against coronavirus and other viruses.

“Other scholars and imams and I are poised to use all avenues to sensitise Ansar-Ud-Deen members and remind them of what the Prophet taught as regards not taking issues that have to do with our health with levity,” he said.

In his contribution, the chairman of Nasrul Lahi-L-Fatih Society (NASFAT), Oyo Zone, Alhaji Mumin Azeez, said the organisation is being proactive regarding the safety of its members from the disease.

“Advocacy is ongoing on all our platforms. NASFAT members are being educated on the various ways to prevent contracting the disease.

“We have also mobilised our medical team to enlighten our members on the preventive measures to take against the disease. We are equally taking action on procuring sanitary materials like sanitiser for use in such places as toilets and ablution points.”

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