The College of Islamic Studies (CIS), part of Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), recently organized a webinar on the Islamic approach to dealing with epidemics and how it affects worship. The webinar shed light on the parallels between Islamic guidelines over epidemics and the containment and quarantine measures being implemented to protect people from COVID-19.
The discussion was moderated by Dr. Badrane Benlahcene, associate professor of comparative and philosophy of religions at CIS; in which panelists referred to the theological dilemma arising from compliance with these measures, which prevent the normal expression of faith by drastically limiting religious gatherings and daily and Friday prayers in mosques.
Dr. Benlahcene, as director of Al-Qaradawi Center for Islamic Reform and Renewal (QCIMR) at CIS, said: “This webinar has shown us that Islam has specific guidelines in dealing with epidemics and that these align with the mandates being imposed by governments to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus and help save lives. We hope that our discussion on this subject helped allay any misgivings about complying with safety mandates, particularly social distancing, and encourage people to avoid going out while we continue to contain the virus.”
The webinar explained the Islamic principles for epidemics, and its relevance to the COVID-19 pandemic. It also outlined the effect of these principles on worship and related aspects of Islamic faith that ensure Shari’a objectives and the fiqh of consequences are met during such crises.
Dr. Hossam E. Mohammed, senior researcher at QCIMR and one of the panelists, said: “Until we ultimately contain this novel coronavirus, it is of utmost importance that we do everything we can to help prevent its spread in order to mitigate its impact on the health and lives of people. This webinar has shown us that, concerning Islamic beliefs, Shari’a-based evidence and objectives confirm that we are treading the right path to ensuring that as many lives as possible are protected as we fight this pandemic.”
He was joined by Dr. Mohammed El Gammal, associate professor of contemporary comparative Fiqh at CIS, who also questioned the dilemma on the mechanism of contemporary jurisprudence that addressed the COVID-19 pandemic and its consistency with Maqasid Al-Shari’a, considering the fatwa on the closure of mosques.
In his speech, he emphasized numerous fundamental principles, such as institutional addressing of public matters, the legitimate license that relates to the nation as it relates to individuals, and the necessity of dialogue to reduce disputes. He concluded that the fatwa of closing mosques is aligned with Maqasid Al-Shari’a, as keeping oneself from death or harm is considered a necessity. Prioritizing the concept of safety is justified as praying collectively in the mosques is one of the complementary aspects of religion. This fatwa, indicating care and caution in order to avoid exposure to causes of harm, also leads to love of religion and appreciation of its moderation and rationality.
On May 21, CIS will hold a webinar titled, ‘Intellectual, Cultural and Social Aspects of COVID-19’ as a continuation of its commitment to helping the community gain a better understanding of the implications of the pandemic to human lives and in coping with its consequences. Moderated by Dr. Mohammed, Dr. Benlahcene will be joined by Dr. Ibrahim Zain, professor at CIS, to address these impacts on humanity and in light of Shari’a objectives.
The College of Islamic Studies regularly holds events to highlight its research activities and projects. For more information, please visit cis.hbku.edu.qa.
Dr. Dalal Aassouli, Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator at CIS, talks about Islamic finance and its role in overcoming COVID-19.
Dr. Dalal Aassouli, Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator at CIS, talks about Islamic finance and the green economy, and how they can help achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).