Three Reasons not to Fear Coronavirus

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The author of the essay herein under, NAHLA HUSSEIN OGEIL, argues that the consequences of fear will not be good for our Ummah, and offers a different perspective grounded in Deen. She believes that it is important to balance the negative media propaganda with positive reminders.

The Coronavirus is not something to be taken lightly. The pandemic has threatened our fragile sense of safety, evoked our strongest emotions, restricted our daily activities, and some people are afraid of even speaking to others face-to-face.

Despite our well-meaning efforts to remain calm and faithful,traditional media outlets and social media insist on bombarding us with scary updates by the hour. This is the time, if ever there was any, to be mentally strong Muslims. Below are some reminders from our faith to help us cope and come out on top of the situation.

Outcomes don’t happen based on our actions, but by our intentions.

One of our biggest concerns is spreading the virus to people we love. We have learned that the elderly and immune-deficient are especially vulnerable, and this news makes us scared for our parents and relatives. We obsessively try to reduce our chance of bringing this invisible disease into our homes. But remember that without intentions, our actions are empty. ‘Umar bin al-Khattab reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

“Actions are according to intentions, and everyone will get what he intended.” (Bukhari & Muslim)

This means that if you don’t make the intention to not spread the disease, you can wash your hands, avoid public spaces, wear a mask, and still infect someone. Whenever you take any action related to Coronavirus, make the intention to not be a carrier of the disease.

Your actions are not the actual cause of outcomes in this world.

It is a well-known fact of Islam that actions are a mercy from Allah (swt) and are not the cause of outcomes. There is a Higher Power pulling the strings of all the possible outcomes in the world. This means that even if you don’t have access to a mask or find yourself obligated to work, do not despair! Someone can have the luxury of taking all the precautionary steps and still get Corona, while someone who is reporting to work as a doctor treating infected patients will not.

Remember that there is no direct correlation between your actions and their outcomes because this removes the burden of self-sufficiency. Instead of worrying about taking the perfect action every moment of the day – we can comfort our hearts by remembering that Allah (swt) is in full control of our lives.

What is meant to happen will happen. Moreover, it will somehow be for the best. Allah (swt) says that only good comes from Him and evil comes from ourselves (The Qur’an, Surah al-Nisa, 79). Therefore, we must remain rightly-guided and not allow a false sense of self-sufficiency misguide us.

We must not fear circumstances that are outside of our control.

Sometimes circumstances are such that it is very difficult to maintain complete confidence, trust, and peace of mind. But from an entirely practical point of view, expressing fear is a very unconstructive thing to do. Fear itself is not good for your health.

Scientists have found that strong negative emotions result in disharmonious heart rhythms, indicate cardiovascular inefficiency and nervous system imbalance. In other words, fear can lower your family’s immune health. In order to remove fear and anxiety, replace it with optimism. Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

“There are no omens, but the best of it is optimism.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)

Make sure that every time you speak about the virus to your family, you are not propagating fear!Speak with optimism – good words of calm faith and instructions for safety that are untainted by doom-and-gloom scenarios. It can be tempting to use fear to get our family members to take the virus seriously, but if you turn their expectations to negativity, they might just get a negative outcome. After all, the Prophet said:

“Allah says: ‘If he thinks good of me, he will have it. And if he thinks evil of me, he will have it.’”(Sahih Ibn Hibban)

Here are silver lining suggestions: people and establishments are practicing an unprecedented level of hygiene. Practicing the highest level of hygiene possible invites angels into our spaces and repels evil entities. In addition, school and work cancellations have resulted in more time for rest and recuperation. Peaceful family time, rest, fresh air, and sunshine boost our immunity.

In summary, although there is no [real] cure for Coronavirus yet, Muslims already have the cure. Take the recommended actions with good intentions, maintain optimism, and don’t be fearful. Let’s be the only Ummah that avoids spreading fear propaganda – for all of our sakes!


The author, Nahla Hussein Ogeil, is a Program Coordinator for Muslim Life at Columbia University’s Office of Religious Life. She is a student of Qur’an Tafsir and Purification of the Heart.She receives her mailat nho2105@columbia.edu