Tuesday, December 6, 2022 - 12 Jumada al-Ula 1444

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Symptomatic COVID-19 Carriers evading Quarantine

What is the ruling on COVID-19 carriers who conceal their infection to evade quarantine? 

Answer

Quarantine is a strategy prescribed by Islamic law to protect and safeguard the lives of people. Towards this end, Islamic law has dictated preventive measures in the context of epidemics and transmission of diseases with the aim of preventing and controlling infection. The Prophetic tradition, “Flee from the leper as you would flee from a lion,” provides an analogy to our current situation. Leprosy is a severe infectious disease spread by droplets via the nose and mouth. The general meaning of the tradition which applies no less today (in the context of COVID-19) than it did during the Prophet’s time, is based on the principle we now know as social distancing. In light of the dangerous nature of infectious diseases, the Prophet’s words provide sensible guidance for people on keeping well and avoiding infectious diseases.

Concealing one’s COVID-19 infection and avoiding quarantine is a grave offence equivalent to spreading corruption and harming others. God Almighty warns against this, saying, “Do no mischief on the earth, after its reformation, but call on Him with fear and aspiration (in your hearts): for the Mercy of God is (always) near to those who do good.” The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) likewise said, “Do not cause harm nor reciprocate harm. Whoever harms others, God will harm him and whoever is harsh with others, God will be harsh with him.”

COVID-19 carriers who evade quarantine will bear the consequences of their actions for they may be the cause of the death of many innocent individuals. Anyone infected with COVID-19 should therefore take all precautionary measures to protect others from infection by following the instructions of the relevant authorities and experts.

Islamic law has granted the political authority the right to enforce the necessary measures to ensure the welfare of the people and determined that the actions of a ruler is based on interest through which he seeks to apply the universal objectives of Islamic law and realize public interest, one of which in our current health crisis is quarantine.

Based on the above, it is obligatory to follow the directions and guidelines of the relevant authorities mandating quarantine for infected patients with the aim of curbing the spread of the fatal COVID-19 virus which has been declared a global pandemic. It is established in Islamic law that repelling harm takes precedence over promoting benefit as does public interest over individual interest.

The preservation of life is the most important of the universal five objectives in all faith traditions. COVID-19 patients should therefore comply with the decisions and preventive measures of their respective countries to limit the spread of this deadly virus.

And God Almighty knows best.