*This article is accurate as of 24 March 2020.
Being quarantined is an experience that not a single of us would want to go through. It is an experience of being physically isolated from your loved ones. Mothers being separated from their children, husbands separated from the wife, and vice-versa.
However, as part of measures to ensure that these potential carriers of COVID-19 do not risk spreading the virus further, quarantine is necessary.
More than 8000 close contacts of COVID-19 confirmed cases have been quarantined in Singapore since the start of the pandemic. As cases of COVID-19 continue to grow, more numbers of people can be expected to be placed on quarantine order.
For those under quarantine, they are generally expected to stay at home or quarantine facilities. They will be isolated from others, including family members who are staying in the same house. They are confined to just their room, preferably with access to an ensuite toilet.
If you or anyone you know are under quarantine, our hearts are with you. Here are some guidelines on what you can do as Muslims to survive this phase of isolation.
The state of your mental health is paramount. It is understandable to be anxious during this period, especially when you are worried about the potential infection from the virus. This could be the longest 14 days of your life, being helpless and patiently waiting for your medical result. What’s worst, you are alone, physically isolated from your loved ones.
However, do not despair, for Allah s.w.t. is always by your side. He mentioned in the Quran,
وَنَحْنُ أَقْرَبُ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ حَبْلِ الْوَرِيدِ
"And we are closer to him than his jugular vein”
(Surah Qaf, 50:16)
In times of happiness and peace and in times of sorrow and anguish, let us remember that Allah s.w.t. is always there for us. Therefore, if you are quarantined and anxious, be reminded that you have your Master for you to rely on and put your faith in. Continue to pray that Allah s.w.t that He will free us from this pandemic and that our loved ones not be infected by it.
While it may be emotionally painful to go through the quarantine order, know that you will be able to get through it with perseverance and determination. You will not be forsaken by Allah s.w.t. He assured in the Quran that,
لاَ يُكَلِّفُ اللّهُ نَفْسًا إِلاَّ وُسْعَهَا
“God will not burden a soul more than what he can bear”
(Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:286)
In staying optimistic and putting our trust in Allah s.w.t, the story of Prophet Yunus a.s. provided a good lesson for us. When Prophet Yunus’ a.s. ship was sailing into the vast ocean, a severe thunderstorm required him to leave his ship. As he threw himself out of the ship into the deep ocean, a whale was sent by Allah s.w.t. to save His Prophet. Prophet Yunus a.s. was captured by the whale and trapped in its belly. In a moment of anguish and distress, Prophet Yunus a.s. sought for Allah’s s.w.t’s help and forgiveness. He recited the following supplication as stated in the Quran,
لَآ إِلٰهَ إِلَّآ أَنْتَ سُبْحَانَكَ إِنِّيْ كُنْتُ مِنَ الظَّالِمِيْنَ
La ilaha illa anta subhanaka inni kuntu mina zolimin
“And he called out within the darknesses, “There is no deity except You; exalted are You. Indeed, "I have been the wrongdoer.”
(Surah Al-Anbiya, 21:87)
Prophet Yunus a.s. was confined to an enclosed space. He was enveloped in darkness in the belly of a whale. In the state of anxiety and being ‘quarantined’ in a claustrophobic environment, Prophet Yunus a.s. reached out to Allah s.w.t by invoking the greatness of God and sought for His forgiveness for his mistakes. He humbled himself before his Lord, the Most Forgiving and calmed His heart by knowing of His presence. After a period of being isolated from the world, Prophet Yunus a.s. was finally being freed from the belly of the whale and rescued.
The story of Prophet Yunus a.s. should bring comfort to those of you who are serving the quarantine order. A Prophet of Allah s.w.t was tested with this episode of being trapped in darkness and lived through uncertainty. He taught us to never give up and be assured that Allah s.w.t will be there for you.
Use this moment of isolation to reconnect with Allah s.w.t and strengthen your faith. You may be isolated from others, but your heart and soul will never be isolated from God.
Beyond reconnecting with Allah s.w.t., you may use this moment of silence and isolation to reconnect with your loved ones. Of course, you are not able to be with them physically. However, with technology, you can video call your loved ones, anytime. It is important to maintain good contact with people whom you care about and those who care about you.
At times like this especially, family plays a huge role in making you calm and supporting you as you go through this period of anguish. You need a strong support group that will lift you up. Having conversations with the loved ones will help as you go through your quarantine order.
You can use this period to contemplate on the blessings bestowed by Allah s.w.t upon you, by granting you amazing people who care about you. You may take this moment to spend time talking to your parents whom you may not have the time to call daily during your normal working days. Take this moment of temporary separation with your spouse to appreciate him or her more. Rekindle the love and strengthen the relationship with your loved ones. Indeed, absence makes the heart grow fonder. It will also make one realise how important it is to be with the loved ones and take steps to appreciate them more.
Beyond family members, you may also use this opportunity to reconnect with your friends. In finding extra support, you may also set up a group chat with other people whom you know have gone through or are going through a quarantine order.
Through connecting and engaging with these people, you will not feel alone. They will walk with you as you keep your mind focused on going through this patiently. Malcolm X once said, “when ‘I’ is replaced by ‘we’ even illness becomes wellness”. It is important to continue your relationship with others even when you are being isolated. You can do it virtually without having to be with them physically. Talking to people you know and trust can help.
It is also important to ensure that you take good care of your health, especially during this period. Being confined to a room, or an apartment may take a toll on your wellness. You could suddenly be feeling that you are unwell. Therefore, it is vital that you maintain your self-care. Learn more on 3 Ways Islam Teaches Us Self-Care.
You may also wish to stick to your daily routine, such as waking up at the same time and sleeping at the same time. You should eat your meals at regular times. Ensure that you take nutritious food. Give yourself an immunity boost by consuming balanced meals with fruits and vegetables.
Allah s.w.t mentioned in the Quran,
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ كُلُواْ مِن طَيِّبَاتِ مَا رَزَقْنَاكُمْ وَاشْكُرُواْ لِلّهِ إِن كُنتُمْ إِيَّاهُ تَعْبُدُونَ
“O you who have attained faith! Partake of the good things which We have provided for you as sustenance, and render thanks unto God, if it is [truly] Him that you worship”
(Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:172)
You may also wish to stay healthy by finding ways to do home workouts. Simple exercise such as sit-up, push-up and planking may also help you to keep fit and stay healthy. During this period, it is especially important to maintain your mental and physical wellness.
There are many suggestions on what you can do to kill your boredom. After all, you need to stay busy and engaged. Of course, many would turn to Netflix. Or doing TikTok challenges, such as Dalgona Coffee challenge, that is currently trending for people in lockdown cities.
However, you may consider using this period to read books that you may not have the luxury of reading in your normal working period. There are plenty of e-books that you can choose if you are a not traditional reader. If you are into academic journals, J-stor is offering free access to its vast collection of journals online.
You may also use this period to Islamic learning. Although you are not able to physically attend any religious lecture or class you can still access Islamic learning online. There are plenty of Islamic videos online. However, do ensure that you access videos that do not misrepresent Islam and spread misinformation about the faith.
For your bespoke Islamic religious content, you may wish to watch videos from Muslim.Sg YouTube Channel. There are hundreds of Islamic videos by locals and international scholars available for free streaming. There are also relevant videos for you to cope with COVID-19 on the channel.
In a hadith, Rasulullah s.a.w. mentioned to us that Allah s.w.t. had told him that:
مَنْ جَاءَ بِالْحَسَنَةِ فَلَهُ عَشْرُ أَمْثَالِهَا وَأَزِيدُ وَمَنْ جَاءَ بِالسَّيِّئَةِ فَجَزَاؤُهُ سَيِّئَةٌ مِثْلُهَا أَوْ أَغْفِرُ وَمَنْ تَقَرَّبَ مِنِّي شِبْرًا تَقَرَّبْتُ مِنْهُ ذِرَاعًا وَمَنْ تَقَرَّبَ مِنِّي ذِرَاعًا تَقَرَّبْتُ مِنْهُ بَاعًا وَمَنْ أَتَانِي يَمْشِي أَتَيْتُهُ هَرْوَلَةً وَمَنْ لَقِيَنِي بِقُرَابِ الْأَرْضِ خَطِيئَةً لَا يُشْرِكُ بِي شَيْئًا لَقِيتُهُ بِمِثْلِهَا مَغْفِرَةً
“Whoever comes with a good deed will have the reward of ten like it and even more. Whoever comes with an evil deed will be recompensed for one evil deed like it or he will be forgiven. Whoever draws close to me by the length of a hand, I will draw close to him by the length of an arm. Whoever draws close to me by the length of an arm, I will draw close to him by the length of a fathom. Whoever comes to me walking, I will come to him running. Whoever meets me with enough sins to fill the earth, not associating any entities with me, I will meet him with as much forgiveness.”
Indeed, when you seek for Allah s.w.t, He will come to you faster than how you reach out to Him. In this period of distress, let us find relief by turning to Allah s.w.t. While serving the quarantine order, do dedicate more time to recite the Quran, increase in your zikir (remembrance of God) and increase the sunnah prayers. For instance, in the morning you may perform Solat Dhuha, and at night where convenient, you may perform the Solat Hajat and ask Allah s.w.t for your wishes.
You may also want to use this opportunity to increase your doa (supplication) and pray that Allah s.w.t keep you and your loved ones safe, and that you will not be COVID-19 positive and pray for other things you need to ask from Allah s.w.t. He is there for His servants, and He will provide the best for His sincere creation. You may also wish to recite Doa for Protection Against Harm.
On Fridays, you are encouraged to recite Surah Al-Kahfi. On any other Fridays, it may not necessarily be easy for many of us to complete the recitation of Surah Al-Kahfi, but you can use this moment to recite it fully and enliven the sunnah of Friday. For gentlemen, you will not be able to attend the prayer, and therefore, you should replace it by praying the Zuhur prayer. Here are some sunnah acts you can do on Friday.
We understand that going through a quarantine order may be a painful experience. However, it is important in ensuring that the virus is contained from further community spread. Let’s do our part to flatten the curve. Ensure that you do not leave your quarantine premise and adhere to all the regulations under the Quarantine Order.
This is indeed a religious obligation, as our social responsibility is also our religious responsibility. In sya Allah you will be getting your reward by Allah s.w.t. for your patience and perseverance.
We pray that you and your loved ones be free from this virus and pray that those who are infected will be cured. May Allah s.w.t. heal the world from this global pandemic and protect us against harm. We are in this together.