Mixed reactions have continued to trail the emergence of the novel Coranavirus pandemic among Muslim faithfuls. The virus which has affected over two hundred thousand people globally has spread to quite a number of countries, Nigeria inclusive.
While a section of Nigerian Muslims are of the view that strident precautionary measures should be taken in both central and communal mosques across the country since the disease does not differentiate between Muslims and people of other faiths some faithfuls have however argued that there is no cause for alarm since Muslims perform ablution at least five times daily.
The people in the latter category are of the opinion that Muslims are spiritually immune to the novel covid-19, and as such, there is no need for any other mode of hands washing.
In fact, a Professor of Islamic Studies with the University of Ilorin, Imam Abubakar Aliagan, in an interview granted to PRNigeria, noted that Muslims have been endowed with a natural immune system to fight coranavirus.
He stated that, “While health officials are advising people to wash their hands, Muslims regularly wash their hands five times daily. These, they do, before observing their obligatory prayers.
“Again, our sisters are always adorned in Hijab, some even use Niqab and gloves. So, we the Muslims already have a potent immune system against coronavirus. That is to say that we don’t have any problem”.
Contrary to this belief however, a Resident Scholar with Muslim News, Ibn Taofeeq Abdulazeez told our correspondent that although ablution is a rewarding act, it can only cure spiritual diseases, not physical ones such as Coronavirus, which according to the World Health Organisation is now a pandemic.
According to him, “The people saying ablution alone is immunity against coronavirus are funny. Ablution is made up with only water without soap and only water cannot kill germs thoroughly. But with the aid of soap, any germ will be rendered weak and ineffective.
“We can wash our hands with soap and water first before every ablution. Handwashing with soap and water is in lieu of hand sanitizers because they both serve the same purpose which is to kill the germs. While water alone cannot kill germs.”
Abdulazeez further explained that the importance of soap in getting rid of germs on the skin cannot be over-emphasized, adding, “Granted that ablution requires only water, there is a higher possibility that it won’t rid the virus from the skin if one has come in contact with it.”
Speaking further, he posited that “Ablution is rewarding, but it cures spiritual diseases and not physical ones. Washing with water alone is far less likely to remove the virus from the skin surface. Soap contains fat-like compounds called amphiphiles, which are similar to the lipids found in the virus membrane.
“When soap comes in contact with these fatty substances, it binds with them and causes them to disconnect from the virus. It also forces the virus to disengage from the skin. Viruses stick to the skin and get lodged in those minuscule crinkles, which is why shifting them requires active hand-washing.
The resident scholar also observed that using the alcohol-based gels could also serve as a means of getting rid of the virus and is acceptable according to Islamic jurisprudence.
“Other substances aside soap and water are also effective, such as alcohol-based gels. Those with high alcohol content (usually 60% to 80%) will also dissolve the virus. But the antibacterial properties of such products will have no effect on viruses and there is no problem in shari’ah using such hand gels as the ethyl in them is not the same khamru that intoxicates,” he added.
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