As Coronavirus (COVID-19) has now become a pandemic, children from all grades and places have had an overflux of information on COVID-19. This information overload from television and media can become overwhelming for many kids, as well as adults, and can develop many emotions of anxiety, stress, and worry. I wanted to share some thoughts that we can also share with our children and peers. Before that, let’s preface this by what Allah says:
“It is He Who has created me, and it is He Who guides me; And it is He Who feeds me and gives me to drink. And when I am ill, it is He who cures me.” (Qur’an 26:78-82)
The Prophet told us:
“There is a remedy for every disease, and when the remedy is applied to the disease it is cured with the permission of Allah, the Exalted and Glorious.” (Sahih Muslim)
This is a great reminder that Allah gives us life and sustenance, and at the same time can test us with a disease. But for every disease Allah has a cure. In tough times, instead of being angry and frustrated, we need to come closer to our Creator.
Here are some of my reflections on talking to your children about COVID-19:
1. Have open communication with your child about this illness, remaining age appropriate. A younger child won’t need to know every detail about Coronavirus, but they will need to be reminded about all of the necessary precautions. It would also help for you to control the TV/internet exposure, as it can be very overwhelming during times like these.
2. If you have a child in middle school or high school you will need to explain all of the details regarding this illness because they are at a significant age. Students in these grades sometimes feel, even subconsciously, that they are invincible, especially if they see that a virus such as this one has mostly affected older people. They should understand that even if they don’t show symptoms, they can still have the virus and spread it to other people. This would put their elder relatives in danger. May Allah protect our elders.
3. We need to remind our children and ourselves to not blame a specific ethnic group or race for this illness. Generalizing is something that we, as a Muslim community, have to deal with everyday because of a few deviants using God’s name in vain. So please make sure that they are not making jokes or posing prejudice about some groups who have been dealing with this hardship.
4. We need to remind our children and ourselves not to make jokes about an illness or disease or claim that they or someone else has it just to get a reaction. The Prophet forbade individuals from mocking others and joking dishonestly. There is a player in the NBA who made fun of this situation and shortly thereafter was afflicted by this disease. May Allah cure him and all the others.
5. We need to remind our children and ourselves to constantly thank Allah for our blessings and teach ourselves not to be frustrated that our sports events and activities have been cancelled. This a great opportunity for you to show your children resilience and perseverance in a difficult situation. Many of us in this country have been blessed enormously by never having to deal with war or a lack of resources. So these few weeks and months can seem scary and overwhelming, but keep in mind that this can also serve as a great learning experience.
6. We need to remind our children and ourselves to thank Allah for having the privilege of being able to visit a doctor when we are sick. It is a blessing that we can consult with a professional and get medicine for many of our ailments when many in third world countries end up suffering greatly or dying due to the lack of medical aid and resources, and this can include many of our own community and family members.
7. We need to remind our children and ourselves to thank Allah when we see a doctor and nurse, as well as thanking those healthcare professionals for the services, time, and effort they put into making patients feel better as they struggle to keep up with the demand of work and home.
8. We need to remind our children and ourselves to thank Allah for giving us the resources to stay at home for any possible school closures. Where some say to just simply close the school, there are other families who don’t have access to or cannot afford hiring someone to watch their children at home as the parents provide for the family at work. Keep in mind that many public schools may provide some children the only meal(s) that they will have for the day and for this reason not coming to school can be very burdensome on a family.
9. We need to remind our children and ourselves to thank Allah for giving us access to water and and sanitizing resources to help control this bacteria from spreading. For many places around the world, as well as within the United States, they don’t have clean water or access to the proper resources.
10. We need to remind our children and ourselves how Allah reminds us about cleanliness through the prophetic hygienic practices that Muslims are recommended to follow: washing hands upon waking, performing ablution and washing five times a day for prayers, washing before and after eating, covering mouth when sneezing, etc.
11. We need to remind our children and ourselves that when leaders and scholars are trying to make decisions, they are not only deciding for themselves. They have to consider their entire communities of people when making very difficult decisions and try their best to come up with what is best. For every decision they make, there is always negative feedback from people who do not understand their position and responsibilities as leaders and scholars. But all they can do is hope that Allah accepts their intention and open the hearts of the people.
12. We need to remind our children and ourselves about the importance of doing our best in our academics to be individuals who can find cures and answers for the disease and problems in the world.
13. We need to remind our children and ourselves to thank Allah when considering that there is a lack of travel during spring break. Before they get upset that their vacation is cancelled, they should take time to think about the many families in the United States and abroad who have not been able to go on spring vacation for several years due to financial or other restrictions.
14. We need to remind our children and ourselves to thank Allah that some of us are able to work from home during this time or are able to take time off without losing pay. There are more than a billion people in the world who have to work paycheck to paycheck just to survive.
15. We need to remind our children and ourselves to realize that this life is temporary and we will ultimately leave this beautiful home that we call Earth. We have to reflect on whether or not we are doing our best to come closer to Allah . For “indeed, to Allah we belong and to Allah we shall return.” (Qur’an 2:156)
I pray that Allah helps us find a cure to this illness and helps those who are sick, suffering, or having any difficulties due to this and other serious issues. May Allah bless all of our children, youth, families, scholars, and leaders.
Hadith of washing hands after waking up
Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “When one of you awakens from sleep, do not let him dip his hands into the vessel until he washes them three times. Verily, he does not know where his hand spent the night.”
Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 160, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 278
Grade: Muttafaqun Alayhi (authenticity agreed upon) according to Al-Bukhari and Muslim
عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ إِذَا اسْتَيْقَظَ أَحَدُكُمْ مِنْ نَوْمِهِ فَلَا يَغْمِسْ يَدَهُ فِي الْإِنَاءِ حَتَّى يَغْسِلَهَا ثَلَاثًا فَإِنَّهُ لَا يَدْرِي أَيْنَ بَاتَتْ يَدُهُ
160 صحيح البخاري كتاب الوضوء باب الاستجمار وترا
278 صحيح مسلم كتاب الطهارة باب كراهة غمس المتوضئ وغيره يده المشكوك في نجاستها في الإناء قبل غسلها ثلاث
AHadith of washing hands before and after a meal
Sayyiduna Salman Al Farisi says, “I read in the Tawrah ‘Barakah in food lies in washing the hand after meals.’ I mentioned this to Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and he said, ‘Blessing in food lies in washing the hand before and after eating.”
(Sunan Tirmidhi, Hadith: 1846, Sunan Abi Dawud, Hadith: 3755, Musnad Ahmad, vol. 5 pg. 441)
Aisha reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, if he wanted to eat or drink, he would first wash his hands and then eat or drink.
Source: Sunan al-Nasā’ī 258
عَنْ عَائِشَة رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهَا قَالَتْ كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ إِذَا أَرَادَ أَنْ يَأْكُلَ أَوْ يَشْرَبَ غَسَلَ يَدَيْهِ ثُمَّ يَأْكُلُ أَوْ يَشْرَبُ
258 سنن النسائي كتاب الطهارة باب اقتصار الجنب على غسل يديه إذا أراد أن يأكل أو يشرب
257 المحدث الألباني خلاصة حكم المحدث صحيح في صحيح النسائي
Hadith of covering face while sneezing
Narrated Abu Hurairah: that when the Prophet ﷺ would sneeze, he would cover his face with his hand or with his garment, and muffle the sound with it.