The novel coronavirus has swept across the globe, inflicting pains and agony on all and sundry, and people of all faiths and sects have borne the brunt of the pandemic.
It has forced the closure of mosques and houses of worship, thus impacting negatively on the celebration of Easter and Passover, and will definitely affect Ramadan, due in just few days.
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Interestingly, a new report by Professor Richard Webber, of the University of Newcastle, and the writer and former Labor politician, Trevor Phillips, suggests that the Muslims’ ablution routine might have played a role in preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus in British Muslim communities, Daily Mail reported.
In an opinion article in The Times, Phillips suggests several scenarios that might have led to the low infections among Muslims, among of which is ablution.
“Were poverty the key determinant, we would expect the virus to be running rampant among Britain’s Pakistani and Bangladeshi Muslim communities,” he wrote.
He gives the example of Tower Hamlets, in central London, which is more than a third Muslim and surrounded by coronavirus hotspots but appears cocooned from it.
Tower Hamlets has, so far, recorded 548 cases of COVID-19, compared to 859 in neighboring Newham, and 1,075 in Southwark across the river.
Phillips added: “Maybe there is a
revelation to be had here; if one key to stopping transmission of the virus is
hand washing, might a faith community many of whose members ritually wash
before five-times-a-day prayers have something to teach the rest of us?
“And does an ethnic group where almost 40 percent are economically inactive – and therefore not regularly using public transport, for example – merely underline the protective value of social isolation?”
What is Ablution
Muslims carry out wudu or ablution every time they perform their daily prayers.
The ablution comprises of washing the hands, arms right
up to the elbow, face, mouth, nostrils, and feet up the ankle, all three times
each. The inside and behind the ears, as well as the part of the head above the
forehead is wiped once.
Done five times a day, it not only cleanses these vital
parts of the body from dust and dirt but also “softens” and refreshes them.
Though highly populated ethnic minority areas account for
more than three-quarters of the coronavirus hotspots in England, figures
from Muslim communities in areas which could be hard hit are low.
Since the outbreak of the
pandemic, Muslim groups in the UK have issued several guidelines to protect the
Last month, the Muslim Council of
Britain issued guidance for mosques and madrassas to take
precautions and be mindful of the risk.
Mosques across the UK have also closed their doors to protect worshipers.
The coronavirus, which originated from the central Chinese city of
Wuhan, has infected 2,510,496 and killed other 172,772.
In the UK, there are 129,044 COVID-19 cases. The virus has
killed 17,337 so far in the country.