Charities CRG Activities

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These are the list BIMA has played an active role in the Charities Response Group (CRG),  please note that this is a summary of the work involving many organisations and individuals. Given how many activities were undertaken during the pandemic it is possible that many things have been missed out from this list.

  1. Bringing together via the Muslim Charities Forum the majority of main Muslim charities to discuss what can be done to assist the community during this time.
  2. Individual charities doing great work to help the community e.g. Islamic Relief allocated £500,000 to COVID response in the UK.
  3. Setting up a National Solidarity Campaign by MCF to provide assistance to individuals who are struggling from economic impact of COVID.
  4. MCF shared the work of Muslim charities on social media including PPE donations.
  5. Online App developed for volunteering activities but not launched due to time constraints.
  6. MCB and Launchgood (with help from BIMA) building SupportOurMosques webpage and brand and encouraging mosques to participate. Has raised more than £440,000 so far.
  7. Weekly webinars as well as one to one training delivered by Launchgood to mosques to help assist them moving to online donations platform and system.
  8. Mosques provided with different posters and social media advice to help promote SupportOurMosques page.
  9. Jummah Grants campaign created to incentivise weekly giving every Friday to mosques online. MCB and Launchgood combined to secure funding from charities and others + create grant giving system.
  10. Publicity material and PPE equipment company set up by one of the Launchgood team which with all profits going to SupportOurMosques campaign.

Publicity CRG Activities

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These are the list BIMA has played an active role in the Publicity (CRG),  please note that this is a summary of the work involving many organisations and individuals. Given how many activities were undertaken during the pandemic it is possible that many things have been missed out from this list.

  1. Branding of CRG material.
  2. Promoting StaySafeStayAtHome message.
  3. Promoting RamadanAtHome campaign.
  4. Promoting EidUnderLockdown campaign.
  5. Bringing together most Muslim TV channels including Eman Channel, Islam Channel, Channel S, Iqra, BMTV etc… to coordinate activity and content especially in case of an emergency.
  6. Bringing together publicity experts (e.g. Muslim Influencer Network, Ilmfeed, individual journalists) to discuss publicity strategy for CRG activities.
  7. Free to print posters for mosques to put up during the COVID-19 pandemic – Infographic on avoiding spreading of fake news.
  8. Informing community what to expect on how to come out of Lockdown in a smart way.
  9. Challenging the appointment of Trevor Phillips to help in the BAME excess impact enquiry.
  10. CFMMUK successfully challenging misleading headline on imported COVID from Pakistan.
  11. MCB drafting and releasing statements on Government statements and actions 

Medical CRG Activities

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These are the list BIMA has played an active role in the Medical Community Response Group (CRG),  please note that this is a summary of the work involving many organisations and individuals. Given how many activities were undertaken during the pandemic it is possible that many things have been missed out from this list.

  1. Providing consistent and clear medical advice to all other CGRs requests.
  2. Working with MCB to advocate closure of mosques 1 week before Government-mandated this by giving presentations, making phone calls and having meetings up and down the country to build a consensus of the medical emergency that was coming.
  3. Publishing a statement from more than 200 Muslim healthcare physicians recommending to the community that congregational prayers should be suspended.
  4. Calling for a lockdown one week before the government. mandated it. 
  5. Hadiths/ ayah about how to prevent the spread of COVID poster – these were printed and shared widely.
  6. Hadiths about the need to avoid a 2nd wave poster shared.
  7. Ramadan Rapid Reviews – bringing together a crack team of experts across many specialities to do a rapid review of the literature as it relates to Ramadan + getting it accepted by Oxford CEBM.
  8. Organising 2 emergency COVID edition ACE FY1 induction courses for Final year medical students being fast tracked to the front line.
  9. Discussion with Naz Shah MP re: visitation rights.
  10. BIMA ghusl guidelines FAQs for COVID-19.
  11. BIMA Ghusl explainer video for COVID-19.
  12. Presenting on Hope in team of fear HAI webinar.
  13. Presenting on Islam Channel multiple times.
  14. Presenting on Channel A of Turkish TV.
  15. Presenting on TRT.
  16. Presenting on radio stations inc. BBCR4, LBC, BBC regional stations.
  17. Creating National funeral and burial volunteer checklist with the East London Mosque.
  18. Advice on visitation rights of relatives vs needs of hospital staff during COVID pandemic.
  19. Set of 6 videos on palliative care related to COVID and general use. These were translated into multiple languages.
  20. Regular COVID debrief sessions for clinicians.
  21. Webinar by BIMA webinar team regarding COVID.
  22. Guidance on 2m vs 1m rule/ masks/ indoor vs outdoor risk.
  23. Guidance with Malaysian org on guidance for head coverings for clinicians during COVID-19.
  24. Discussion with Lord Victor Adebowale (Chair of NHS Confederation) regarding being part of the Race Observatory.
  25. Daily podcast/ radio broadcast on Ramadan Radio throughout Ramadan on topics such as “What every Doctor wishes the public knew”, “How to avoid the 2nd wave”, “Domestic violence” and more, all from a health perspective.
  26. Article in BMJ by Salman and Hina (MDA) regarding COVID impact on BAME clinicians and public.
  27. Believers guide to COVID series – translated into different languages.
  28. Duaas for protection during COVID. 
  29. Study tips during COVID video and guide.
  30. Guidance on who should and should not go to mosque infographic
  31. Guidance on screening at mosque entrance infographic.
  32. Guidance on what to do if someone develops COVID from the congregation infographic.
  33. Guidance on how to spread out the prayer spaces to reduce transmission risk infographic.
  34. Plan for reopening Hospital prayer rooms infographic.
  35. Bringing together Muslim and non-Muslim BAME medical organisations for joint action on a group. 
  36. Using BAME medical/ healthcare groups to challenge the appointment for Trevor Phillips to BAME impact enquiry.
  37. Submitting written response to PHE enquiry re BAME excess impact
  38. Leading the next steps discussion on how to challenge the BAME excess impact report.
  39. Promoting Nightingale mosques through webinar and helping provide SOP for any other mosques that may be interested in setting up a similar system.
  40. Promoting the NW COVID group Eid poster competition.
  41. Promoting the NW COVID stay at home this Eid messages in different languages and hosting on BIMA youtube.
  42. Presenting at Racism, Islamophobia, COVID triple pandemic for ELM
  43. ACE-PreReg and ACE DFT events being planned for induction into pharmacy/dentistry.
  44. Dr Saeed presenting at COVID-19 Acute cardiovascular and internal medicine webinar for Sudanese Medical Association.
  45. Keeping a record of all Muslim healthcare professionals who have passed with COVID.

National CRG Activities

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These are the list BIMA has played an active role in the National Community Response Group (CRG),  please note that this is a summary of the work involving many organisations and individuals. Given how many activities were undertaken during the pandemic it is possible that many things have been missed out from this list.

  1. Bringing together informal network of Muslim organisations an individuals to tackle the COVID-19 emergency for Muslims in UK.
  2. Working together with Muslim Council of Scotland (MCS) and Muslim Council of Wales (MCW) to tailor advice and guidance to their areas respectively. 
  3. Working with BIMA to advocate closure of mosques 1 week before Government mandated this – the importance of this cannot be overstated. This took dozens of meetings and hundreds of conversations with many different people from scholars and Imams to microbiologists and community leaders to build a consensus that this action needed to be taken and taken quickly. 
  4. Key points infographic for UK Muslim community about Coronavirus.
  5. COVID-19 toolkit for Muslim community covering communication plans, avoiding hoarding, volunteering and tips during self-isolation.
  6. Weekly webinars bringing together experts from across the Muslim community to educate, inform and direct COVID response.
  7. Setting up, delivering and promoting the RamadanAtHome campaign.
  8. Putting out Ramadan Factsheet with summary of key points for medical and general public.
  9. Ramadan Under Lockdown advice to Muslim community – National, Scotland, Wales.
  10. Survey of mosque committees, scholars and community leaders about their thoughts on mosque reopening.
  11. Regional webinars run in each region by MCB (in Scotland by MCS/ in Wales by MCW) as a listening exercise to gather experiences, ideas, concerns and expectations from mosques directly from the ground.
  12. Gathering expert lawyers, health and safety specialists and others to vet all advice on mosque reopening + help answer queries from mosques.
  13. Creating 9 step guide on how to reopen mosques.
  14. Creating summary 9 step guide on how to reopen mosques + translating into multiple languages.
  15. Organising training programme with 2 webinars aimed at the COVID safety officers and volunteers on mosque reopening.
  16. Organising public awareness with 2 webinars aimed at general community on mosque reopening.
  17. Collating the best Risk Assessments available and sharing them on the MCB website + having them reviewed by Health and safety experts.
  18. Speaking on online meeting for Princes Trusts regarding impact of COVID on BAME community.
  19. Every time a government guideline or update comes out – the MCB produces a a summary of what this means for the Muslim community.
  20. Capturing 100+ local Muslim community initiatives and volunteering activities for COVID-19 – from delivering food packs to front line workers to provide shopping to elderly neighbours.
  21. BIMA and MCB advising the Abdullah Quilliam Mosque on their PPE initiative to provide PPE at bulk price to mosques across the country.
  22. Advising Salahspace app team on GDPR requirements and registering with ICO.
  23. Hajj webinars organised by CBHUK x 3 answering questions by the community about Hajj cancellation.
  24. Presenting on Al-Balagh webinar on COVID-19 and reopening mosques.

NHS National Uniforms and Workwear policy update

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On 2nd April 2020 following peer reviewed research in the BMJ Open and a grassroots campaign from BIMA, the BMA and NHS Employers, NHS England and NHS Improvement updated the National Uniforms and Workwear policy for the NHS. See the new guidance here.

This means that for the first time in the history of the NHS, national guidance now recommends:

🥁NHS staff from a variety of faith backgrounds may wear their full cloth headcoverings in surgical theatres- this includes hijab, sikh turbans and jewish kippah
🥁They do not need to wear an overlying surgical cap
🥁If trusts refuse to allow this against national guidance then single use disposable head garments may be worn instead

🥁Alternatives to bare below the elbows have been re-emphasised for example 3/4 length sleeves, disposable oversleeves or full length sleeves if not giving direct patient care
🥁Crucially direct patient care has now been redefined to the patient bedspace or any activity that involves patient contact- this means that if you are sat at the nurses station or have just walked onto a general ward you no longer need to be BBE (unless you are in ED, ITU or in surgical theatres)

🥁The document also directly references our research, cites BIMA members as authors and names BIMA as a collaborating organisation

Please bear in mind hospitals retain responsibility for setting their own local dress code policy, this guidance is not mandatory for trusts and BIMA still advises that staff and students be compliant with their local policy or seek local exemptions from infection control teams.

However it brings trusts in line with the legal requirement of public sector equality duty, provides a national standard for best and uniform practice and has been developed in association with national experts in infection control including the Healthcare Infection Society and the Infection Prevention Society.

Trusts that do not follow this guidance continue to have responsibility to conduct equality impact assessments. If staff can demonstrate a negative impact on their training or career, religious harassment or bullying or a negative impact on working relationships due to hospitals not offering these options they leave themselves open to challenge.

A national campaign by NHS England, NHS Employers and the BMA will follow to raise awareness of the change in policy and call upon hospitals to implement the new guidance.

We also call upon our members to approach infection control, equality and diversity teams, chaplaincy/faith networks and local union representatives to inform them of the change.

Top Tips for Studying During Ramadan and Lockdown

BIMA Coronavirus, Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Struggling to balance Ramadan and studying?

Many of us have had disruptions and adjustments made to our exams and assignments. In these unique circumstances with our Ramadan spent in Lockdown, we can often feel overwhelmed and our motivation dwindles. 😰📚

Worry Not!

BIMA have put together these TOP TIPS FOR STUDYING IN RAMADAN & LOCKDOWN. With a change of mindset and applying these top tips, we hope you can maximise your productivity both academically and spiritually insha Allah! 📈🏆🤲🏼

Poster:

Video:

Guide To Safe Wearing of Headcoverings/Hijab During COVID-19

BIMA Coronavirus, Uncategorized Leave a Comment

📝There has been guidance from NHSE on appropriate levels of PPE in different clinical settings. Head coverings, however, have not been advised or mentioned.

🤲🏼 Many Healthcare workers wear head coverings as part of their faith – including Muslims, Sikhs and Jews.

📝 We have developed brief but clear guidance on head coverings. This is to facilitate good practice and minimise any risk of infection to patients.

See full PDF here: BIMA COVID19 Hijab Statement

Nightingale Mosque: COVID-19 Community Mosque Support

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📿 Do you want to be part of the National Effort against COVID-19 and use your mosque as a Nightingale facility?

📣Join BIMA as we discuss the Masjid Ghousia Community Mosque Support, led by Dr Mohammad Jiva MBE in Bolton.

🏨They are working with the NHS to create a 60-bed unit in the mosque, open to all, to relieve pressure on hospitals.

📣Find out what work is required and how you can look to set up something similar in your area: from commissioning, logistics, infrastructure, workforce and funding. A short presentation by Dr Jiva followed by an extended Q&A, open to all members of the community. Mosques and community clinical practitioners strongly recommended to join live.

📣Register live event on:

🗓 Tuesday 7th April
⏰ 8pm
💻 bit.ly/BoltonCMS

 

[email protected]
www.britishima.org/covid

Calming the Heart: Pt II

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Calling all frontline healthcare workers!

Feeling overwhelmed? Low? In need of a spiritual boost?

Join us online this evening for part 2 of Calm during the storm

This is the second in an uplifting self care series “Calming the Hearts of the Helpers” by Shaykh Idris Watts – especially created to support our frontline workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Weekly spiritually uplifiting webinars brought to you by BIMA People

Let us help you, our helpers on the frontline, experience the calm that comes from recentering through spirituality in the midst of calamity.

At BIMA we value our healthcare workers and feel it is important that you take care of yourself as well as others during this difficult time.

Register now: bit.ly/calminghearts

Missed out on the first episode?

Watch it now:

For queries, email: [email protected]

BIMA: Unite | Inspire | Serve

Muslim Mental Health in the pandemic

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Muslim Mental Health Organisations Unite!

Muslim Mental health during the pandemic poster

Asalaamu ‘alaikum,

Muslim mental health organisations in UK have united to provide a range of services to tackle mental health problems arising from the coronavirus pandemic.

Each organisation specialises in a different aspect of mental health.

Please share this with those who may be suffering – whether anxiety, loneliness due to isolation or just want to talk – we are all here for you.

myh.org.uk  |  inspiritedminds.org.uk  |  mcapn.co.uk  
britishima.org  |  sakoon.co.ukmwnhelpline.co.uk
mindworksuk.co.uk  |  approachableparenting.org.uk

Ghusl for Deceased Persons with COVID-19

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There have been several fataawa in the last few days from various scholars regarding ghusl of those who have died from Covid-19.

Some have said it is permissible with conditions. Others have said that it is exempt due to the dangers associated and the sparsity/ lack of familiarity with personal protective equipment (PPE).

In our professional opinion the differing views are not necessarily contradictory. Following discussions with Medical specialists, Islamic scholars and the National Burial Council, we have summarised how it is possible to achieve a balance between the normative obligation of ghusl and the safety / logistical issues specific to COVID-19 and what to do when this is not possible.

Clickable image to download PDF guidelines below:

  1. British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA) guidance on the performance of ghusl for deceased persons with suspected or confirmed COVID-19

2. Pathway to follow preparing deceased during COVID-19 pandemic

British Islamic Medical Association
[email protected]

Coronavirus self-care

bima-admin Coronavirus Leave a Comment

Feeling overwhelmed? Low? In need of a spiritual boost?
We proudly present Calming the Hearts, BIMA’s weekly spiritually uplifting webinars with Shaykh Shafi Chowdhury.

Join us every Sunday starting from 20:00hrs – 21:00hrs GMT

Let us help you, our helpers on the frontline, experience the calm that comes from recentering through spirituality in the midst of calamity.

Register now: http://bit.ly/calminghearts

ACE FY1 2020

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BIMA ACE FY1 2020 poster

BIMA proudly presents our ACE FY1 course!

Hit the ground running and be that confident FY1 (or FY0 👀) who knows what to do and how to do it!

Due to Covid-19 this is an extra special edition and will be online only for the first time ever!

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better …. it’s FREE!

Time: Sunday 5th April 2020 2pm
Place: Your front room

Register your interest here: bit.ly/f1induction

Stay at Home: Managing Stress & Wellbeing During the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic

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It is understandable to be worried: Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations.

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to increasing anxiety, stress and fears of uncertainty. It is normal to feel like this. In these difficult times, you should make sure to be in tune with your emotions and mental well-being. If you are feeling overwhelmed, remember to turn to Allah.

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “If anyone constantly seeks pardon (from Allah), Allah will appoint for him a way out of every distress and a relief from every anxiety, and will provide sustenance for him from where he expects not.” [Abu Dawud].

Stress can manifest in different ways 1 

  • Racing heart, feeling tense and anxious.
  • Feelings of sadness, increased irritability and overwhelmedness.
  • Changes in sleeping patterns and habits.
  • Loss of appetite or change in eating habits.
  • Difficulty in concentration or lack of interest.

Tips on Limiting Stress While Social Distancing and Staying Indoors:

  1. You don’t have to be mentaly isolated when in physical isolation. Reach out to friends & ​family and create those human connections. Loneliness can worsen anxiety. 
      • Try video calls instead of emails, phone calls instead of messages. Why not have a virtual catch up over coffee!
      • Remember to check in and call the most vulnerable and the elderly.
  2. Separate spaces. Keep an appointed space for work, a space for sleeping, and a space for​ relaxation & ibadah, even if they all end up needing to be in the same room. This will help you focus and be more productive 2
  3. Fresh air & sunshine. Go out for a walk in your garden if you have one. If you don’t then open​ your windows and let the daylight in. Reflect on the beauty of Allah’s creation all around you.
  4. Exercise. Keeping healthy is not only a Sunnah but also triggers feelings of positivity. It is even​ more important now as our physical health is adversely affected by reduced social contact. Try some simple exercises at home. You could try skipping, push-ups, lunges or sit-ups. There are many useful online exercise videos, and many more being posted due to Covid-19.
  5. Limit your consumption of media. It seems like every media outlet is reporting on the​ pandemic, however try to limit your time watching and following the news. Try to focus on credible sources of information from the NHS 3, WHO 4, or the government 5
    • Do not spread misinformation. It is our duty to verify any information we spread
  6. Maintain a routine. Waking up at the same time will help you feel less tired and more refreshed,​ allowing you to concentrate better through the day. Get ready as you would normally, shower, get dressed and be ready for the day ahead. A personal routine helps to lessen anxiety.
  7. Maintain a healthy diet & stay hydrated. Be inspired by the Prophet’s dates, turnip, olives, black seed & honey. Don’t over eat and drink plenty of fluids (ZamZam if available).
    • The Prophet ﷺ said, “Use the Black Seed for indeed, it is a cure for all diseases except death.” [Bukhari]
    • “Honey is a remedy for every illness and the Quran is a remedy for all illness of the mind, therefore I recommend to you both remedies, the Quran and honey.” [Sahih Bukhari]
  8. Be God Conscious and remember Muraqabah. Spend time engaged in meditation/​mindfulness 6 (sitting in a quiet place, clearing your mind and reflecting on Allah), engage in frequent dhikr and Qur’an recitations. Designate a calm and tranquil place in your home where you engage in these activities. Make sure you disconnect from your phone at this time and try to establish a daily routine incorporating Muraqabah into your day alongside prayers. 
  9. Make time to do things you enjoy. We all have things we enjoy doing and it’s important to put​ aside time to do these. As we need to stay at home, why not try things you always put off because you didn’t have the time.
    • If you have children set aside some time to talk to them and keep them busy with fun activities or hobbies which may keep you occupied as well.

How to relieve symptoms of anxiety and stress

  • Be aware of your stress levels. Recognising the symptoms of stress & anxiety early makes​ them easier to manage. Identify the triggers that cause you to feel stressed.
  • Breathe. Focus on your breathing. Focus on the natural rhythm. Focus only on this.​
  • Listening to the Quran 7 . This can be very relaxing, there are many Qari to choose from. You​ could even try to improve your recitation by copying them, taking an ayah at a time.
  • Notice the good around you. It can sometimes be difficult when there is so much stress and​ uncertainty around you. Find something good around you, focus on it and squeeze the goodness out of it. Keep a look out for all that is good.
  • Be more independent and take a step back. Try to remove yourself from the current stressors​ and look at life as a bigger picture: What has been good? What have you achieved? Who are the positive people around you? What are you grateful for?
  • Write down what is worrying you. Problems can be easier to manage when written down.​
  • Create a ‘worry time’. Allocate time in the day or evening to think about what worries you. If you​ come across things during the day, try not to think about them until your ‘worry time’. You could even try and make this time a time you make du’a to Allah and talk to Him about your worries. 
  • Speak to family or friends. Identify at least one person who you feel comfortable talking to.​

Islamic Guidance on Dealing with Stress

At times of hardship, we are advised to turn to Allah. Whilst you can make dua in your native language for whatever you may wish, there are Prophetic and Quranic supplications that you may want to incorporate into your routine. 

اللُّهمَّ إِنِّي أَعْوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الهَمِّ وَ الْحُزْنِ، والعًجْزِ والكَسَلِ والبُخْلِ والجُبْنِ، وضَلْعِ الدَّیْنِ وغَلَبَةِ الرِّجال

” O Allah, I seek refuge in You from worry and grief, from incapacity and laziness, from cowardice and miserliness, from being heavily in debt and from being overpowered by men .” [Al-Bukhari]

It is narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “There is no one who says in the morning of every day and the evening of every night, three times but nothing will harm him.” [Tirmidhi]

بِسْمِ اللهَِّ الَّذِي لاَ یَضُرُّ مَعَ اسْمِهِ شَىْءٌ فِي الأَرْضِ وَلاَ فِي السَّمَاءِ وَهُوَ السَّمِیعُ الْعَلِیمُ

“In the name of Allah with Whose Name nothing on earth or in heaven harms and He is the All-Hearing the All-Knowing and is then harmed by anything .”

رَبَّنَا وَلاَ تُحَمِّلْنَا مَا لاَ طَاقَةَ لَنَا بِهِ وَاعْفُ عَنَّا وَاغْفِرْ لَنَا وَارْحَمْنَا أَنتَ مَوْلاَنَا فَانصُرْنَا عَلَى الْقَوْمِ الْكَافِرِینَ

“ Our Lord, and burden us not with that which we have no ability to bear. And pardon us, and forgive us, and have mercy upon us. You are our protector, so give us victory over the disbelieving people. ” [Qur’an,2:286]

This is the du’a of Prophet Yunus, mentioned in Surah Anbiya, Verse 87. From this dua, we are reminded that we should be patient in all of our affairs and constantly beseech Allah. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said regarding this du’a: “Every person in a state of distress who has used this supplication has had God remove his distress” [Tirmidhi].

لا إِلَهَٰ إِلَّا أَنتَ سُبْحَانَكَ إِنِّي كُنتُ مِنَ الظَّالِمین

“ There is no God but You, glory be to You, I was one of the wrongdoers .”

Seeking Allah’s protection from illness, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم would say:

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّى أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الْبَرَصِ وَالْجُنُونِ وَالْجُذَا مِ وَمِنْ سَیِّئِ الأَ سْقَامِ

Anas reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, would say, “ O Allah, I seek refuge in you from leprosy, madness, degenerative diseases, and evil sicknesses .” [Sunan Abi Dawud, Hadith: 1549]

Tips for Mosque to Ensure the Well-Being of the Community:

  1. Consider arranging daily talks or events via audio or video links. Some masjids have daily talks​​ during the day & Quranic recitation in the evenings.
    • This may help those who relied on the mosque for their well-being and sense of community to feel engaged and uplifted.
  2. Consider setting up volunteer groups to support the vulnerable and elderly, particularly those​​ with health conditions, mobility restrictions or those in isolation: 
    • These groups could help obtain groceries or supplies if needed, or provide emotional support.
  3. Engage potential volunteers. Many members of the community might have more spare time​ and will benefit from being involved in community work, even if it’s online.
  4. Signpost people to local services. Some may be struggling financially8. Some may need mental​ health support. 

When and How to seek Medical Attention:

If you are still struggling despite self help measures9 then call your GP, local mental services10 or one of the helplines:

  1. Muslim Youth Helpline, www.myh.org.uk , tel: 0808 808 2008
  2. Muslim Counsellor And Psychotherapist Network, www.mcapn.co.uk, email: [email protected]
  3. www.sakoon.co.uk , email: [email protected], tel: 07943 561 561
  4. https://muslimcommunityhelpline.org.uk/ , tel: 0208 908 6715
  5. www.inspiritedminds.org.uk

There is wisdom behind the challenges we are currently facing, these are truly extraordinary times. There is a reason why you have been chosen to face these challenges. Use it as an opportunity to work on strengthening your connection with Allah. Every opportunity is a blessing. 

 

British Islamic Medical Association

Tuesday 24 March 2020

[email protected]

An open letter to the Muslim community.

bima-admin Coronavirus, Statements Leave a Comment


As Muslim Healthcare Professionals we have all been worried by the gap between the concerns around #COVID19 and the corresponding actions in our community.

We have put this open letter together to simply and clearly highlight the clinical urgency and seriousness of the situation, on the continuation of congregational activities in Muslim institutions in light of the pandemic.

Some will think the letter is going too far, others will think it does not go far enough – This is why we have chosen the form of words as we have.

If you agree that we must all act promptly to reduce the impact of this disease then please sign here to show your support http://bit.ly/COVID19LetterBIMA  

Please share with your friends and colleagues and help us in reducing the impact of this disease in our communities.

The Letter


We, the undersigned, are frontline Muslim health professionals writing to inform our community about the harms of ongoing congregational activities during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which continue to have a significant impact on societies across the world.

Today the Prime Minister announced that we all should be taking measures to avoid social contact, and the Chief Scientific Advisor has advised us to avoid gatherings “big or small”.

We seem to be on a similar trajectory as that of Italy which has suffered a dramatic spread of the coronavirus, where in just 3 weeks more than 2,100 Italian lives have been lost so far.

There are genuine fears the impact could be similar, if not worse, here in the UK. Plans are being made for 8 million people to be hospitalised in the UK due to the coronavirus and cases are expected to double every 5-6 days.

Evidence shows that the elderly and those with conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, immunosuppression and chronic lung disease are at a higher risk of mortality from the coronavirus. Those over 80 years of age have an almost 15% chance of dying if infected with the virus.

We have appraised the situation and evidence for our community based on what we know about the coronavirus. We have certain characteristics that place us at higher risk than the general population. These include:

  • an increased incidence of long-term illnesses such as diabetes and high blood pressure
  • an elderly population that often live with extended family making isolation difficult
  • frequent community congregations for social events (e.g. weddings) and religious purposes (e.g. madrassah & mosques) 

Alongside this we have specific risk factors for spreading the virus, which include: 

  • Densely populated spaces with general lack of adequate ventilation
  • Handshaking and hugging amongst congregants
  • Prostration on carpets where the virus may remain infectious
  • Sharing of ablution facilities

In light of the above, we must emphasise our strong concern that mosques and madrassahs – confined public spaces that fulfil the above criteria – can contribute to significant viral transmission in our populations.

Individuals may have the coronavirus and be contagious without demonstrating any symptoms, for up to 2 weeks.

Measures to advise only those who are unwell or at risk to stay at home are unlikely to be effective, as apparently ‘healthy’ individuals may become infected off each other and transmit the coronavirus back to their families and thus spread it further.

It is also important to highlight that there are simply insufficient hospital beds, particularly in the intensive care units, to handle the anticipated surge in demand.

In Italy doctors have been asked to actively decide who is offered treatment based on patients’ age, medical history and whether they have children. The Chief Medical Adviser has also indicated we are to expect deaths as a result of health service being overwhelmed.

We do not want our community to panic or act rashly, especially in our duty to Allah and His houses of worship, and are aware of the comfort and security our community institutions and mosques offer us in times like these.

But we must stress that it is unsafe and harmful to continue business as usual, or even with significant adjustments​ that some institutions have made to date. 

We recognise this is a decision for scholars, imams and mosques committees to make and we urge them to take steps to mitigate harms.

Our aim and intention is to clearly outline the harm that continuing any congregational activities will have on our communities, especially to our elders and those most vulnerable, even with restrictions in place.

Allah is the Disposer of all our affairs, the Protector of us all.

Updated: COVID-19 Guidance for Mosques in the UK

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This is an update of previous guidance published on the 6th of March 2020 found here

Last updated 12 March 2020

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Dear Mosque Leaders, Staff and Volunteers,

Asalaam alaykum, Peace be with you

This is an update to the guidance issued on 6 March 2020 regarding the coronavirus, COVID19.[1] Emergency legislation will be introduced next week as containment measures to control the spread of the virus in the UK have not been successful.[2] The World Health Organization has now declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic.[3] This will have a significant impact on mosques, madrasas and Islamic centers due to frequent congregation and social contacts. 

What has happened?

At the time of writing, 456 cases have been diagnosed in the UK, and sadly 8 people have died.[4] This number is expected to significantly rise within days, particularly affecting the elderly, and action by everybody is required now to prevent the disease from overwhelming the health system. The worldwide fatality rate for those aged over 80 years is currently 14.5%. COVID-19 is also more deadly in people with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, immune suppression, and chronic lung disease.[5]

What are the plans now?

The UK’s Chief Medical Officers and public health bodies are using a model of ‘reasonable worst case scenario’ which draws on a variety of situations, some of which may never occur.[6] These are balanced between the impact to the economy, society and public order. For instance, the premature closing down of public spaces can create fatigue, quickly become ineffective and contribute to panic. As local communities, it is imperative that we prioritise the safety of congregants specifically, over and above the economy.

In order to control the spread of COVID-19, mosques, madrasas and Islamic centers in the UK are strongly advised to take the following actions urgently:

1.  Plan for suspension of congregational activities

This is not being currently advised but is highly likely in the coming days, should the outbreak continue at the projected rate. Therefore, it is advised that urgent action is taken to consider and organise the following, which may require a graded introduction to support the community:

  1. Communication – establish communication channels with attendees e.g. through WhatsApp, Telegram, email, website, or social media 
  2. Fundraising – set up online fundraising channels and donation portals for attendees to be able to support the mosque remotely if they are unable to attend
  3. Seriously consider shortening activities – reduce khutbah, salah and any reminders to shortest time possible. Suspend praying of sunnah and nawafil prayers in the mosque, as well as external events.
  4. Monitor – check guidance from public health bodies which suggest suspension may be necessary, and if advised by public health bodies, be prepared to announce suspension of Jum’ah and daily fardh salah in congregation
  5. Online services – consider live-streaming programmes or showing programmes through a video-link so as to still be able to provide a service and reach congregants

2.  Advise congregants to keep good hygiene

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said “Cleanliness is half of faith”. With the COVID-19 outbreak, it is now more important than ever to advise congregants to:

  1. Avoid attending – strongly advise attendees to not attend if they have any symptoms of being unwell no matter how minor or trivial
  2. Avoid physical contact – educate attendees on avoiding handshaking, hugging and close physical contact
  3. Regular cleaning schedule – clean the building regularly and thoroughly, particularly the carpets and wudhu facilities using the appropriate equipment and products[7]
  4. Use hand gel – provide hand sanitiser throughout the building, especially at entrances
  5. Use disposable towels – advise using disposable paper towels if wudhu has to be done in the mosque, and remove communal towels from the wudhu area
  6. Prepare at home – recommend attendees to perform wudhu at home and bring their own prayer mats
  7. Read advice posters and resources – prominently display hand hygiene advice, in different languages if required [8]
  8. Identify and maintain an isolation room – for symptomatic attendees

3.  Support for socially vulnerable and isolated

“Social distancing” is a strategy designed to limit public interaction to delay the spread of the disease and limit its impact on health services. This can be from self-isolation as result of suspected COVID-19, or from not having the usual access to the mosque community and space. This isolation could affect the most vulnerable in our communities, in particular the elderly.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Seek out the vulnerable among you. Verily, you are only given provision and support due to your support of the weak.” (Tirmidhi). Therefore it is strongly advised to:

  1. Volunteers – identify volunteers who can support those who need support with daily activities e.g. buying food, deliveries, in case they have to self-isolate due to symptoms.
  2. Broadcast – consider broadcasting reminders and services on social media, radio and other media to maintain the link with the vulnerable during isolation.
  3. Regular check-ins – if necessary, establish regular pastoral support with the community via telephone or video-messaging to maintain morale.

What about madrasas/schools?

Current guidance does not support closing schools, but this too is highly likely and remains under constant review. Madrasas may wish to review the above guidance and follow it accordingly. Please be aware that whilst children are not thought to be severely affected by COVID-19, they can pass it onto elderly and vulnerable people.

What about Friday Jum’ah Prayers? Friday Jum’ah prayers constitute a large gathering and the recommendation to temporarily suspend them is very likely in the next few days. The current advice is not to suspend them, however a graded approach to reducing core services at the mosque is recommended to prepare the community for this (see action 1 above).

What about Muslim burials?

Current guidance from the National Burial Council is available on how to handle, wash and bury deceased Muslims who have died due to COVID-19.[9] It is important that mosques and the community are aware family members may not be able to attend the Janazah prayer due to selfisolation and should offer appropriate support/alternative arrangements for these families.

Will it affect Ramadan?

Looking at epidemiological data from other countries, it’s likely that the pandemic will stretch well into Ramadan during April/May 2020. Authorities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have decided to suspend iftar and itikaf in Masjid Al Haram at present. UK mosques must similarly prepare for the very likely possibility of suspending iftar programs and congregational tarawih prayers.

Update on Hajj and Umrah

The suspension on travel for Umrah in Saudi Arabia remains. If you have members of your congregation who were planning to travel for Umrah or Hajj, please advise them to contact their travel operator and monitor the situation with the Saudi government channels. The Council of British Hajjis has issued guidance on this.[10] The effect on Hajj this year remains uncertain. 

Please note: In situations such as this, there will always be a wide spectrum of opinions on what are appropriate precautions to take given the circumstances, so consulting your local scholars early is essential, as well as bearing in mind the importance placed in Islam on the preservation of life. We would advise everyone – especially those who may disagree with some of the above guidance – to weigh up their position against the impact in what may be a life or death situation, especially for the most vulnerable in our community.

Collated by:

British Islamic Medical Association
Muslim Council of Britain
Thursday 12 March 2020
[email protected] 
www.mcb.org.uk/coronavirus  


[1] https://www.britishima.org/covid19guidanceformosquesandislamiccentres/

[2] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk51786936

[3] https://www.who.int/dg/speeches/detail/whodirectorgeneralsopeningremarksatthemediabriefingoncovid1911march2020

[4] https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronaviruscovid19informationforthepublic#numberofcases

[5] https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019ncov/specificgroups/highriskcomplications.html

[6] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirusactionplan/coronavirusactionplanaguidetowhatyoucanexpectacrosstheuk

[7] https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/how-to-prevent-germs-from-spreading/  

[8] https://campaignresources.phe.gov.uk/resources/campaigns/101-coronavirus-/resources

[9] http://nbc.org.uk  

[10] http://cbhuk.org/news/general-news/coronavirus-outbreak-advice-hajj-umrah-travellers/