Sayyid M.B. Kashmiri, Representative of the Supreme Religious Authority in Najaf and Vice Chairman of I.M.A.M., delivers an important message regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) and religious directives from the Marja.

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Editor’s Note: The transcript of the video has been posted below. Please note that the data mentioned in the video is from March 21, 2020 and may have changed following the release of the video.

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

الحمد لله رب العالمين والصلاة والسلام على سيدنا محمد وآله الطاهرين

Dear believers in North America,

Assalamu Alaykum,

As everyone is aware, coronavirus disease is spreading all over the world including the United States of America.  Sadly, based on official statistics, so far, it has affected more than 300,000 people and killed around 12,000.  Consequently, the World Health Organization has officially called it a world pandemic.  Thus, as the liaison office of his eminence Sayyid Sistani, we feel it is necessary to bring a few essential points to the attention of our respected community members given the seriousness of this situation.

First, Health Protection

According to Sayyid Sistani’s opinion, everyone without exception must follow the official instructions and guidance that come from health professionals. This is a serious issue and it certainly needs full attention. Otherwise, you put yourself and other people at serious risk. Al-Mighty God says in the Holy Quran [2: 195] ((وَلَا تُلْقُوا بِأَيْدِيكُمْ إِلَى التَّهْلُكَةِ)) [“do not push yourselves into perdition”]. If you have symptoms or know that someone else is sick, and you don’t take the necessary steps to protect those who are healthy, then you are religiously responsible for the consequences. Sayyid Sistani says you will be considered a killer if your negligence leads to the spread of the disease and subsequent death of another person, and moreover, you will have to pay the diya (penalty) in such cases.

Second, Resort to God

Pandemics are not new to mankind. People have experienced many types of disasters, including the spread of disease. Our duty as believers in such situations is to turn and resort to God with prayers and supplication. These situations remind us that no one can help but God; and just as He has helped all of mankind get through many disasters in the past, He can do so for us too. So, remember Him, and He will take care of you. God says in the Holy Quran [2: 155-157]:

((وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُم بِشَيْءٍ مِّنَ الْخَوْفِ وَالْجُوعِ وَنَقْصٍ مِّنَ الْأَمْوَالِ وَالْأَنفُسِ وَالثَّمَرَاتِ وَبَشِّرِ الصَّابِرِينَ * الَّذِينَ إِذَا أَصَابَتْهُم مُّصِيبَةٌ قَالُوا إِنَّا لِلَّـهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ * أُولَـٰئِكَ عَلَيْهِمْ صَلَوَاتٌ مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ وَرَحْمَةٌ وَأُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُهْتَدُونَ))

[“We shall test you through fear, hunger, loss of life, property, and crops. (Muhammad), give glad news to the people who have patience * and in difficulty say, “We are the servants of God and to Him we shall all return”. * It is they who will receive blessings and mercy from God and who follow the right guidance.”]. So just be patient, resort to God, and leave everything to Him.

Third, Stop Rumors, Gossip and the Spread of False Information

Pay attention that there will be various rumors spreading among people during this worldwide crisis, especially rumors that include so-called religious advice, and which touch on our beliefs. We must identify messages that are authentic from those that are fake. We need to recognize illogical and irrational news that is continuously coming from many different sources and be careful how we use and spread it around. Please, think about what you are hearing and always ask about its true source and its authenticity before spreading it, otherwise, you will be liable for the consequences of that disinformation. Please, stop spreading news that causes anxiety and worry to the community. Try as much as possible to just be yourself, like any other day, continue your normal life, and don’t distract or scare others. God in the Holy Quran says [97: 2]: ((فَبَشِّرْ عِبَادِ الَّذِينَ يَسْتَمِعُونَ الْقَوْلَ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ أَحْسَنَهُ))  ”Give glad news to My servants who listen to the words and only follow the best ones.”

Forth, Cooperate and Help

Strive to help people afflicted with the disease if at all safely possible. Anyone who is capable of helping, especially our beloved youth, young men and women, should strive to give the sick hope and put a smile on their faces. Volunteer your time to the official health services if it is needed. Al-Mighty God says in the Holy Quran [5: 2]: ((وَتَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْبِرِّ وَالتَّقْوَىٰ)), “Cooperate in piety and doing good”. According to the new rulings issued by the Najaf office, Sayyid Sistani considers this type of help as “jihad” or struggle in the way of God. He says, those people who assist anyone with COVID-19 in the current situation are valuable and will be rewarded exactly, same jihad and same effort, as those who fight ISIS. Try to help in funeral and burial services if it is required. Most importantly, if you face a situation that requires a specific religious answer, please visit our website and see the new Q&A segment related to this coronavirus outbreak.

Dear brothers and sisters,

Only a few days remain until the end of Rajab, the month of prayers and supplication, so let’s use these holy and valuable days to ask Al-Mighty God for His protection and a speedy recovery for all sick people.

أَمَّن يُجِيبُ الْمُضْطَرَّ إِذَا دَعَاهُ وَيَكْشِفُ السُّوءَ

اللَّهُمَّ اكشِف عنَّا السُّوء يا الله، يا مُشافي يا مُعافي، شافي جميع المرضى بحقِّ مريضِ كربلاء زينِ العابدين (ع)

والسّلامُ عليكم ورحمةُ الله وبركاته