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Dr. Ahmad Al Tayyeb, Grand Imam of Al Azhar Al Sharif, has expressed Al Azhar’s solidarity with the nations and people facing the coronavirus, COVID-19, urging countries to share the responsibility of combating the pandemic.
In a statement, Dr. Al Tayyeb called the creation and propagation of rumours surrounding COVID-19 as "Islamically forbidden", as it may confuse and frighten others, lessening their confidence in the measures carried out by governments to protect their nations and peoples.
The Grand Imam addressed the global community, saying, "As you are aware, the world currently lives in a state of terror and fear as a result of the fast-spreading COVID-19 pandemic. This virus, which has affected and killed thousands worldwide, and has disrupted livelihoods and isolated nations across the world."
"During these difficult times, we as nations, peoples and individuals as well as institutions must shoulder the responsibility towards combating this epidemic to put an end to it," he affirmed.
Dr. Al Tayyeb also acknowledged the "great sacrifices" made by doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals who risk their lives on a daily basis to fight this dangerous outbreak.
He also expressed his appreciation of the "great efforts" taken by government officials across the world, saying they have offered us hope that "we will be able to overcome and defeat this pandemic".
"For us to achieve success in this, we must be determined in our intentions and carry on shouldering the responsibility in a strict and uncompromising manner," he added.
"As Grand Imam of Al Azhar, and within the religious jurisprudence stating, 'warding off dangers comes before benefits' and, 'greater risks are offset by lesser ones', I affirm that all health and legislative regulations issued by concerned bodies must be adhered to," Al Tayyeb said, adding that these include regulations related to personal hygiene, social distancing, staying at home, suspension of Friday prayers as well as prayer congregations in mosques while performing them all on time.
"All these are necessities according to Islamic law and disobeying them is equivalent to disobeying Allah’s words," Al Tayyeb said while quoting a verse from the Holy Quran, "Do not throw yourselves with your own hands into destruction" (Quran, 2:195).
"My message to all those that have suffered at the hands of COVID-19 here in Egypt and around the world; we are with you wholeheartedly and pray to Almighty Allah for your speedy recovery and for mercy on those that have lost their lives while bestowing patience and solace on their loved ones."
At the end of his statement the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar said, "Islamic law urges all those that have the ability to help to do so towards those afflicted, regardless where they live in the world. This is also a humanitarian duty and a show of fraternity, which has been put to test during this current crisis and which will reveal how deep we believe in these humane principles.
"My advice during these trying times is to follow all necessary health and medical precautions that have been ordained by Islamic law. We must also continue to give charity through prayer and supplication to Allah to end this crisis by helping his servants and inspiring researchers to find a cure for this dangerous virus."
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