This page is being updated regularly. Last updated on 5 April 2020 at 10.30am. To auto-receive updates, join this community WhatsApp broadcast group: http://bit.ly/covidwhatsapp6
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The current NHS advice is that as individual we should stop non-essential contact (including shaking hands, hugging, kissing) and if we go outside, to keep more than 2 metres (3 steps) apart from others. This is part of the UK’s social distancing measure to help slow down the spread of COVID19 – click here for more information.
The best way to protect ourselves is to follow good hygiene practices, including:
- Wash hands frequently with soap/water or hand sanitiser gel
- Catch coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues
- Throw away used tissues (then wash hands)
- If you don’t have a tissue, use your sleeve
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with people who are unwell
Click here for further guidance and useful graphics.
Much of this advice, and an emphasis on cleanliness and hygiene is in line with Islamic tradition. Abu Malik Al-Ash`ari (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “Purity is half of iman (faith).“ [Muslim]
Note: Face masks – It is not advised to wear a face mask unless you are a carer of somebody who has Covid-19, or you have flu-like symptoms yourself and are wearing it to prevent the spread to others. A mask is unlikely to help prevent catching the infection as masks are usually ill fitting, not changed regularly, and can actually make it more likely as the virus can sit on the mask surface increasing the chance of infection if touched
The symptoms of coronavirus are: a cough, a high temperature and shortness of breath. But these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness. The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu.
If you or a member of your household have coronavirus symptoms, you must self-isolate immediately for 14 days from when the symptoms started, meaning:
- not leave your home for any reason, other than to exercise once a day (or use your garden if you have one) – but stay at least 2 metres (3 steps) away from other people
- not go out to buy food or collect medicine – order them by phone or online, or ask someone else to drop them off at your home
- not have visitors, such as friends and family, in your home
If you are in any doubt visit NHS111 Online or call 111. Do not attend your GP practice or pharmacy as this places others at risk. For NHS advice on what self-isolation means, click here.
- Public Health England
- Health Protection Scotland
- Public Health Wales
- Public Health Agency (Northern Ireland)
I’d like to write my will – how do I do this?
Despite the challenges this pandemic has brought, one positive is that it is reminding my people about the importance of proactively having a written Will and keeping it updated, in accordance with Islamic Guidelines.
2. Advice for mosques: Keeping your congregations safe
23 March – UK Government officially announced that all places of worship must close.
16 March Update: MCB calls for the suspension of all congregational activities at UK mosques and Islamic centres. View full press release here.
It is with a heavy heart that mosque management teams across the country have done this, but this is now a legal requirement to do so and worshippers must be educated that it is safer for them to pray at home.
What else can my mosque do?
Click here for the latest Toolkit for UK Muslim Communities (PDF) with advice on how to set-up online / digital alternatives, including live or recorded sermons, programmes and panel discussions.
A range of other organisations are also producing good guidance on this, including:
How can my mosque help/get involved in local volunteering initiatives?
My mosque runs a ghusl facility/burial service but we are inundated – what do we do?
Click here to view Burial FAQs including specific guidance for mosques with ghusl facilities.
I’m worried about finances/not being able to fundraise – what can I do?
Click here to view the financial support section for information on Government support packages for business, charities and individuals
There are numerous ways you can fundraise online for your mosque or charity. Aside from mainstream funding platforms, Muslim-focused platforms include, but not limited to:
I’d like to offer my mosque as a temporary mortuary or field hospital. What can I do?
Several mosques such as this one in Bolton are offering their spaces to local hospitals, as well as establishing temporary cold storage facilities such as in Birmingham, in co-operation with their Local Authorities and funeral service providers
Click here to view a webinar on Tuesday 7th April about setting up a “Nightingale Mosque” run by BIMA or contact [email protected] for more information.
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. Mosques in Britain must similarly prepare for the very likely possibility of suspending iftar programs , congregational tarawih prayers and Eid prayers, and supporting their communities with alternative services remotely..
3. Advice for madrasas / educational settings
On 18 March, the UK Government announced that all schools should close, therefore madrasas and education settings should also close. Madrasas and Muslim faith schools are urged to adapt to providing classes via online means e.g. Skype/other video communication services.
Government School Closures Coronavirus Helpline is 0800 046 8687
Are there any posters/resources I can use in my madrasa / educational setting?
4. Signage/Resources in your mosque, madrasah or community centre
Click here for the latest Toolkit for UK Muslim Communities (PDF) collated by MCB, which can also be found below in a summary poster. Information accurate as of 25 March. In addition, community organisations are welcome to add your own logo onto this poster and circulate amongst their members.
Download Editable Poster version here: bit.ly/COVID-toolkit-edit2 (Microsoft PowerPoint required)
To order hard copies of these and more resources, click here to visit the Public Health England campaign resources page
Mosques, madrassas and other Muslim-led institutions are strongly encouraged to advise their congregation members, volunteers and staff of the above guidelines and display posters visibly in their buildings. It is likely that when places of worship, schools, offices etc are allowed to re-open, the relaxing on restrictions will be gradual and there will still be a need to remind users of your building to follow good hygiene guidance.
5. Coping with stress during COVID-19 pandemic & avoiding fake news
For faith-sensitive and confidential mental health advice, Muslim Youth Helpline offer online chat/email and phone support on 0808 808 2008 available for Muslims of all ages. Inspirited Minds also offer online support. A flyer on mental health support during COVID-19 pandemic can be found below:
The World Health Organisation has published guidelines (PDF) has also produced advice on individuals and communities coping with stress during the COVID-19 outbreak:
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle – diet, sleep, exercise etc.
- Don’t use smoking, alcohol or drugs to deal with emotions
- Get the facts for the authorities – do not base your actions on hearsay
- Limit worry by lessening time you/your family spend listening to media coverage
- Draw on skills you have used in the past to help you manage adversities
Further information on coping with mental health during COVID-19 outbreak is published by the Mental Health Foundation here.
Beware Fake News! – It is important to verify any news you receive/come across before acting upon it or forwarding on.
“Fake news” that causes panic is also easily spread during a crisis like this. Educate yourself and your family/friends on avoiding fake news, including 1) Consider the Source, 2) Read Beyond, 3) Cross Check, 4) Don’t forward every message, 5) Check the date and 6) Don’t panic
6. Advice for parents
With children off school, parents need to interact constructively with their children during this challenging time. Check out these six one-page Healthy Parenting tips produced by the WHO for parents covering planning one-on-one time, staying positive, creating a daily routine, avoiding bad behaviour, managing stress, and talking about COVID-19.
Have fun engaging with these ideas, and let us know if you have any more by emailing [email protected]
7. Deaths/Funeral Rites related to COVID-19
Sadly the number of deaths in the community due to COVID-19 is increasingly rapidly. Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Illayhi Rajioon (To Allah we belong, and to Him we will return). Our thoughts and prayers must be with the deceased and their family, who due to restrictions on visiting, will be unable to be with their loved ones during their final hours.
Read dedicated FAQs on burial/funeral arrangements here. Due to potential differences in jurisprudence opinions, we strongly recommend consulting with your local Imam, scholar or funeral directors for specific advice
The National Burial Council updated guidance as of 16 March here:
8. Get Involved! Local Volunteer Initiatives
Click here to see full list of Local Volunteer Support initiatives here (regularly updated) or email [email protected] to add yours!
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): “Seek out the vulnerable among you. Verily, you are only given provision and support due to your support of the weak.” (Tirmidhi).
- During this COVID19 crisis, social vulnerable may include those community members who are:
- Undertaking social isolation
- Elderly (especially if living alone)
- Feeling unwell/ill
- With disabilities
- Economically vulnerable e.g. loss of income source
- Single parents with children
- No access to a car for transport
- Many Muslim institutions, mosques and activists are turning their centers into hubs of volunteer response efforts, including:
- picking up shopping from supermarket
- picking up prescriptions from pharmacy
- delivering a cooked meal
- having a friendly conversation
- supporting a local foodbank
- …and more!
- Click here to see full list of Local Volunteer Support initiatives here
- How can you get involved this?
- Volunteers – identify able-bodied volunteers who can support those who need support with daily activities e.g. buying food, deliveries. Set-up communication channels and arrange an initial meeting.
- Broadcast / Announcements – Tell people that help is available e.g.:
- Social Media/WhatsApp announcements
- Personal phone calls to community members
- Door knocking to neighbours
- #ViralKindness Postcard (see below Section 5c)
- Regular Check-In – Make a list of socially vulnerable individuals or families in your neighbourhood/community who are likely to need support.
- Task your volunteers with keep in touch with them regularly.
- Use voice or video-messaging as well as text/graphic messages to have a stronger and more human connection and maintain morale.
- The NHS is recruiting volunteers to support key health care service workers.
- Get involved by registering online at: www.goodsamapp.org/NHS
When getting involved, make sure you follow official “How to Help Safely” advice.
The Muslim Charities Forum is also helping to co-ordinate the relief efforts of Muslim-led charities and have issued guidance for volunteers in staying safe whilst volunteering.
9. Financial Support during COVID19 pandemic
The suspension of congregational activities and closure of non-essential shops in line with public health advice means loss of major source of funding for mosques, Muslim institutions, especially donations and Jumuah collections, while basic building / organisational maintenance expenses continue, as well as Muslim-owned businesses or sole traders
In late March, a Government Job Retention Scheme for employers, and Self-Employed Support Scheme for self-employed, was announced, with further details to be provided soon, as well as other financial support schemes and payments deferral mechanisms. In addition, VAT for all businesses will be deferred until the end of June 2020 and the next tax self-assessments will be deferred until January 2021.
Stanmore Mosque have produced a useful guide of financial support packages here.
- Government Business Support Helpline: 0300 456 3565
- HMRC Coronavirus Tax Helpline: 0800 015 9559
- Universal Credit Helpline: 0800 328 5644
Hardship Grants are also available via the Hardship Relief Fund and Housing Fund run by the National Zakat Foundation.
More information and to apply here: https://www.nzf.org.uk/blog/zakat-and-coronavirus/
Other sources of emergency grant funding are expected to be made available in the coming weeks.
10. Advice for Umrah and Hajj Travellers
On 26 February, the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) temporarily suspended all entry into the country for the purposes of Umrah. The issuance of Umrah visas has stopped and the entry for those who have obtained Umrah visas has also stopped.
Furthermore, on 4 March, Saudi Arabia announced that all Umrah pilgrimages entirely are temporarily suspended, including visits to holy sites in Makkah and Medina until further notice. On 19 March, Saudi Arabia announced that all congregational prayers at the “Haramain” complexes in Makkah and Madina are suspended until further notice.
Beware Fake News! – It is important to verify any news you receive/come across before acting upon it or forwarding on.
You should contact your airline or tour operator before you travel. If you have any questions about travel restrictions to Saudi Arabia, you should contact the nearest Saudi Embassy or Visit Saudi.
British Muslims with family or friends who have Umrah pilgrimage trips planned are advised to contact their airline/tour operators or travel agents for further advice and guidance.
Further advice is available from Council of British Hajjis UK (CBHUK) here.
Saudi Arabia Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) statement – 26 February
11. Useful Links
- NHS general COVID-19 advice
- NHS self-isolation advice
- Official public health advice
- Muslim community specialist advice:
- British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA) & MCB guidance for mosques – 12 March
- Open Letter to Muslim Community by BIMA – 16 March
- Mental Health – Muslim Youth Helpline (MYH) Practical Guide
- Muslim Charities – Practical Guide (MCF)
- British Board of Scholars and Imams (BBSI) latest advice
- National (Muslim) Burial Council latest advice
- Council of British Hajjis UK latest advice to Hajj and Umrah Pilgrims
- Other useful advice
This page provides COVID-19 guidance for Muslim institutions in the UK on keeping our communities safe, coping with mental health/stress, death & funeral rites and Hajj/Umrah pilgrims. This page is updated regularly.
To auto-receive updates, join this community WhatsApp broadcast group: http://bit.ly/covidwhatsapp6
With thanks to medical professionals at the British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA) for professional advice in compiling and updating this guidance page.
If you would like to volunteer to support Muslim National Community Response Group efforts in tackling COVID-19, please click here to express interest.
To support MCB in bringing unity to the Muslim communities’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic, click here to donate and Become an MCB Friend.