In a Caribbean island of Trinidad that is blessed with a plural society, and which celebrates that plurality with the democratic proclamation “here every creed and race finds an equal place”, we Muslims are grateful that we still have at least that much freedom that we can buy newspaper space to publish a Muslim viewpoint on an issue as critically important as ‘Swine-Flu epidemic’. That appears to be the only way now left for publication of an authentic Muslim viewpoint in the so-called ‘free world’s’ print media.
On June 11, 2009, the World Health Organization raised the worldwide pandemic alert level to Phase 6 in response to the ongoing global spread of the influenza virus popularly known as ‘Swine Flu’. A Phase 6 designation indicates, according to WHO, that a global pandemic is underway. A pandemic occurs when a contagious viral disease infects people (and this may include animals) throughout an entire country or region, or even world-wide.
Prophet Muhammad Epidemics and the Anti-Christ
Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu ‘alaihi wa sallam)
gave precise instructions how to respond to epidemics and pandemics, and this essay reminds readers of those instructions. The Arabic word (al-Tā’ūn)
which he used is more properly translated as epidemic/pestilence, and this would include plague. The essay also directs attention to his prophecy linking epidemics/pandemics with Dajjāl
the false Messiah or Anti-Christ. Readers should know that Islam recognizes Dajjāl
the False Messiah to be a supremely evil being with a PhD in deception who seeks to impersonate the true Messiah (the son of Mary). As a consequence he is now establishing his evil rule over all of mankind with a universal political, economic and monetary dictatorship. He is also now quite close to achieving his final goal of ruling the world from Holy Jerusalem. It is only at that time when he publicly proclaims himself from Jerusalem to be the Messiah - and not a day before - that Jesus the true Messiah would return to dispatch him, as well as those who support his evil dictatorship, to the garbage bin of history.
The world witnessed an ominous example of the link between Dajjāl
and epidemics during the anthrax attack that occurred one month after the 9/11 attack on America. It created conditions bordering on panic, and in the process advanced the strategic goals sought by those who planned and executed that 9/11 act of terrorism.
The ultimate goal of their biological and other forms of warfare is to realize a diabolically evil Pax Judaica in which the world would be ruled from Jerusalem. That Pax Judaica would represent the culmination of a three-stage messianic process that commenced with an evil Pax Britanica and was eventually replaced with the present evil Pax Americana.
Something went very wrong when embarrassing anthrax footprints were discovered. Those footprints were an embarrassment since they could not be presented to the world as Arab/Muslim. The discovery of those footprints led, seven years later, to the prime suspect, Dr. Bruce Ivins, a microbiologist/vaccinologist and senior biodefence researcher at the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Fort Detrick, Maryland, allegedly committing suicide (perhaps the same kind of convenient suicide that British weapons inspector, Dr David Kelly is alleged to have committed). Those who recognize lies and deception would not be surprised on the day when the earth speaks (Qur’ān, al-Zilzāl, 99:4) to learn that they were assassinated in order to conceal further footprints. Dr Ivin’s so-called suicide occurred just when the FBI was about to file formal charges against him for alleged criminal connection to the 2001 anthrax attacks. As a consequence of the convenient so-called suicide the supporters of Dajjāl were spared a potentially very dangerous public trial.
Death from Epidemics and Martyrdom
The Prophet declared, as only a true Prophet could declare, that “death from epidemic is martyrdom for every Muslim” (Sahīh Bukhāri). A Muslim is here defined as anyone who has declared belief in the One God, i.e., the God of our father Abraham (‘alaihi al-Salām). That One God created both the male and the female, but is neither male nor female. Anyone who worships a man (or woman) or a God who appeared as a man (or woman), would be guilty of blasphemy and, unless he or she now repents, would pay a terrible price on Judgment Day for such blasphemy.
It was in consequence of that assurance of martyrdom for those who have faith in Allah Most High, that the Prophet could give an order that would today evoke the envy of governments: "If you hear of an epidemic outbreak in a land, do not enter it; but if it breaks out in a place while you are in it, do not leave that place"(Sahīh Bukhāri). It should be clear that obedience of the Prophet’s command would effectively quarantine the epidemic and eventually contain it and prevent its spread to other places.
If in the coming months the Swine Flu epidemic were to strike Laventille or Westmoorings in Trinidad for example, and residents were to die in significant numbers, no secular government could possibly prevent an exodus from the stricken area by those fleeing in panic to Cedros/Icacos and other such remote locations.
Muslims on the other hand, who obey the blessed Prophet, would be expected to set the example for others by remaining in the stricken area. They would also be expected to care for those affected by the epidemic (rather than scorn and ostracize them) knowing that by taking care of the stricken they may have the good fortune to die as martyrs. It is in this context that we can understand the Prophet’s declaration that epidemics were “punishment sent by Allah on whom He wished, and Allah made it a source of mercy for the believers, for if one in the time of an epidemic stays in his place patiently hoping for Allah's Reward and believing that nothing will befall him except what Allah has written for him, (and he dies) he will get the reward of a martyr" (Sahīh Bukhāri).
Readers may wish to reflect over the fact that the Aids epidemic appears to be precisely such Divine punishment inflicted on those deserving of punishment. Those on the other hand who die of Aids while holding fast to faith in their hearts and who are innocent of transgressions of the flesh, would receive the reward reserved for martyrs.
Epidemics as a Sign of the Last Day
The Prophet also prophesied the occurrence of epidemics as a Sign of the Last Day:
"Count six signs that indicate the approach of the Hour: my death, the conquest of Jerusalem, an epidemic that will afflict you (and cause you to die in great numbers) as the plague that afflicts sheep, the increase of wealth to such an extent that even if one is given one hundred Dinārs, he will not be satisfied; then an affliction which no Arab house will escape . . .” (Sahīh Bukhāri).
This prophecy, when combined with others, clearly indicates that Dajjāl will wage biological warfare in the form of epidemics that would substantially reduce the Arab population in and around Israel. That, in turn, would facilitate his quest to rule the world from Jerusalem.
Finally the Prophet prophesied that “neither Dajjāl (i.e., the false Messiah or Anti-Christ) nor epidemic would enter (the city of) Madina” (Sahīh Bukhāri). It would be a matter of more than passing interest to witness the fulfillment of this prophecy if and when the city of Makkah is stricken by an epidemic. The millions who travel annually to Makkah to perform the pilgrimage (Hajj) to the Temple built by Abraham (‘alaihi al-Salām) will most certainly take an epidemic to Makkah. But most pilgrims also visit Madina. How then can Madina escape epidemics?
Protection from Dajjāl’s Epidemics
Readers would surely consider it important to find out what steps they can resort to for protection from Dajjāl’s biological warfare in the form of epidemics.
The Qur’ān has declared of itself that it possesses the capacity to heal (Qur’ān, al-Isra, 17:82). This writer assumes that ‘capacity to heal’ includes ‘protection from illness’. The Prophet advised Muslims to recite the first ten verses of the Chapter of the Cave (Sūrah al-Kahf) of the blessed Qur’ān for protection from Dajjāl. In order for such recitation to have the desired effect, however, a believer must first establish such credentials with the Qur’ān as would elicit a positive response. The Qur’ān itself has warned (Qur’ān, al-Furqān, 25:30) of a time when it would be forsaken and neglected. The very first evidence of such neglect would be abandonment of the practice of reciting the Qur’ān (in Arabic) cover-to-cover at least one a month. Even if they were to recite the Qur’ān regularly it would hardly yield the desired result unless believers were to emotionally bond with the blessed Book. It is for this reason that the Book commands that it be recited calmly and with melody and rhythm (Qur’ān, Muzammil, 73:4)(and not at 95 miles an hour during the night-time prayers of Ramadān by professionals who cannot recite other than at that utterly sinful speed).
This essay concludes with the reminder to those who recite the Qur’ān regularly that the recitation of the first ten verses of Sūrah al-Kahf can offer them protection from Swine Flu epidemic and other such epidemics. This information may become crucially important in the months that lie ahead.
One of my dear students has sent me this comment in response to the above essay:
Thank you for this good essay.
If I may, one can also add to this essay by stating that the cruel and overcrowded conditions of "factory farms", brought about to make more profit and not to feed the world as is so often propagated, has played a major role in the outbreask of disease. The animals are so streesed that they need regaular antibiotics in their feed and this creates resistance. Also, the crowded conditions make it very conducive for vurses to jump the species barrier, as is evident with avian flu as well. The lack of animal welfare also plays a major role here.