World Health Organization has put forth guidelines for protecting oneself from the virus which are as follows:
“Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water;
When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – throw tissue away immediately and wash hands;
Avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and cough;
If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider;
When visiting live markets in areas currently experiencing cases of novel coronavirus, avoid direct unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals;
The consumption of raw or undercooked animal products should be avoided. Raw meat, milk or animal organs should be handled with care, to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods, as per good food safety practices.”
The top point in the guidelines is “washing hands frequently”.
Washing Hands During the Day It will be noteworthy that as Muslims, we are required to make wudu (ablution) before every prayer.
"O you who have believed, when you rise to [perform] prayer, wash your faces and your forearms to the elbows and wipe over your heads and wash your feet to the ankles."
Washing face, arms (including hands) and feet is the part of ritual of ablution. Performing this ritual before the compulsory five daily prayers, means that we are already taking care of washing hands frequently.
The Benefits of Wudu
The Prophet Muhammad (saw) also strongly encouraged human beings to adhere to hygienic practices that would keep people safe from infection. Consider the following hadiths, or sayings of Prophet Muhammad:
"Cleanliness is part of faith."
"The blessings of food lie in washing hands before and after eating."
Washing Before Bed
Apart from this, Prophet peace be upon him advised us to perform the wudu before going to bed.
The hadith says:
“Whenever you go to bed perform ablution like that for the prayer…”
Sahih al-Bukhari 247
Washing Hands in the Morning
Even on waking up, we are required to wash hands.
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.”
Sahih al-Bukhari 160, Sahih Muslim 278
Following are a few duas which you can read to protect yourself from the outbreak along with other diseases.
Whenever you hear a case of Corona virus, or se the afflicted on tv, read the following dua:
“Alhamudu lillahil-ladhi afani mimmab-talaka bihi wa faddalani ala kathirim-mimman khalaqa tafdeela”
Meaning: “All praise is for Allah, Who saved me from what He has afflicted you with and favored me more than many others He created.”
Read the following dua for prevention from all diseases:
“Allahumma inni audhubika minal-barasi wal-junooni wal-juzami, wa minal-sayyi’ilasqam”
Meaning: “O Allah! Indeed I seek refuge in You from leucoderma, and madness, and leprosy, and all bad diseases.”
Make dua as much you can, read your salah, recite Quran and also take safety measures. As we all know prevention is better than cure.
The Prophet (saw) said, "Tie your camel first, then put your trust in God."
The Prophet Muhammad (saw) encouraged people to seek guidance in their religion, but he (saw) hoped they take basic precautionary measures for the stability, safety and well-being of all.
We should pray for all our brothers and sisters who are in crisis due to the outbreak of Corona virus and we should take all the necessary precautions to save ourselves. One of the most important step in doing so, is keeping our hands clean which we will be automatically doing if we decide to follow the sunnah of the Prophet peace be upon him.
At this time, Islamic practices that emphasize purity of body could help reiterate the importance of hygienic practices along with the use of soap or hand sanitizer, to reduce one’s vulnerability to the virus.
May Allah save us all from this deadly diseases. Ameen.