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Announcement by the Council of Shia Muslim Scholars of North America over Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The officials of Islamic centers, in conjunction with the health experts of the community, should monitor the risk level in their local areas and make decisions about continuing events or suspending them, as the spread of the virus is not uniform in North America, said in a statement by the Council of Shia Muslim Scholars of North America over Coronavirus (COVID-19).

What follows is the full statement:

Dear believers in North America,

Assalamu alaykum,

This year’s spiritual season of Rajab, Shaban and the month of Ramadan—with its special acts of devotion, prayers, fasting, and celebration of major religious events—unfortunately coincides with the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in different parts of the world, including some areas of North America.

With the spread of this potentially dangerous virus in some North American cities, it is religiously incumbent upon everyone to take all possible measures to prevent its spread.

The officials of Islamic centers, in conjunction with the health experts of the community, should monitor the risk level in their local areas and make decisions about continuing events or suspending them, as the spread of the virus is not uniform in North America.

Islamic centers that continue their programs and events should constantly remind their participants of the precautionary protocol to protect themselves and others against the spread of this virus.

We request the members of our religious centers to work together with their centers’ management and volunteers in implementing whatever precautions and adjustments they deem necessary. We urge the respected believers who wish to attend the Islamic centers to observe the following:

  • Avoid handshaking and hugging.
  • Avoid bringing those who are the most vulnerable such as elderly people and those who have underlying chronic medical conditions.
  • Those who are coughing or have a fever should remain in their homes until they are fully well.
  • Avoid bringing and providing food and drink (as vows and donations) to the public, unless the safety of food is ascertained and after obtaining permission from the officials of the centers.
  • The selfless volunteers who serve the congregations should also take precautionary measures to protect themselves and others and avoid serving if they have cough and fever.
  • It is necessary to follow the health guidelines issued by health officials, including the need to ‎wash your hands or cleanse them with antiseptics often and ‎avoiding direct contact with items that are usually touched by many, ‎such as doors and door handles, especially in public bathrooms. Rather, one should take ‎caution by wearing gloves or using tissue paper to avoid direct contact.‎

We ask God, the Exalted, with His kindness and generosity to heal those who are infected with this virus and bless them with good health, and may His mercy be bestowed upon the deceased and patience and reward bestowed on their families and loved ones.

The Qur’an quoted Prophet Ibrahim (p) as saying, “It is He who created me and He will guide me It is He who gives me food and drink and heals me when I am sick. He will cause me to die and will bring me back to life.” [The Holy Quran 26:78–81]

Besides all these precautions and treatments, do not forget supplication to God, the Exalted, for He says, “Your Lord has said, ‘Call Me, and I will hear you!’” [The Quran 40:60]

For more information about coronavirus (COVID-19), visit the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website.

Respectfully,

The Council of Shia Muslim Scholars of North America

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