Helping Muslims With HIV is Not a ChoreThursday, November 24, 2011 Read more → Current-Affairs, Health, muslim diaries, organisations, social taboo, sport In the name of God, entirely Compassionate, especially Merciful | Peace be with you
Guest writer for MUSLIMNESS, Mohammad Shakir works at International HIV Fund and shares his thoughts on why taboo diseases should not prevent Muslims from visiting the ill. Contact Mohammad on firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Islam, Muslims are encouraged to help people who are ill. Supporting them at a vulnerable time is a rewarding act. I would like to remind readers that HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a disease much like a cold, flu or cancer. A previous Friday Nasiha post on MUSLIMNESS left an important message about illness from Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him,
"God did not send down an illness for which He did not send a cure." (Bukhari)
When a person sneezes a Muslim is obliged to show mercy on them by replying, Yarhamukullah, may God have mercy on you. Similarly, when a person is chronically ill, Muslims are told to show them mercy by visiting them and praying for them.
There are illnesses in this world which divide us. The world has been aware of HIV for 30 years, according to the BBC. It is a virus which can affect anyone. Muslim or non-Muslim, male or female, the virus does not discriminate who it infects and so we should not discriminate against someone living with HIV.
HIV as an illness
A person living with HIV in the simplest term is ill. The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) attacks the body’s immune systems and increases the risk of developing serious infections and diseases such as cancer (NHS).
The Qur’an and Sunnah (prophetic tradition) explain how Muslims should behave and treat a person who is unwell or infirm. The rewards for simply visiting with a smiling face and asking about their health are immense. Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said,
"[If a] Muslim visits a (sick) Muslim in the morning seventy thousand angels will bless (and pray for) him until the evening, and if he visits him in the evening, seventy thousand angels will bless (and pray for) him until the morning, and fruits from Paradise will be his." (Tirmidhi 3:292)Visiting the sick builds the bonds of unity, respect and understanding. This understanding then helps to breakdown those barriers and reduces discrimination and stigma towards an otherwise taboo illness.
Muslims believe in a day of Judgement, and so we have to remember that one day we will all be judged in front of Allah, and we will be asked about how we treated others during our time on earth.
In the Hadith Qudsi (prophetic statement derived from God), Allah subhanahu wa ta`la will say on the Day of Judgment: “O son of Adam I was sick and you did not visit Me. He will say: O Lord how can I visit You. You are the Lord of the worlds? He says: Did you not know that My servant so and so was sick yet you did not visit him? Did you not know that if you had visited him you would have found Me with him?” (Muslim).
We have to remember that people living with HIV humans just like us and are ill and need our help, support and understanding.
Different ways of supporting a person with HIV
The International HIV Fund is organising a skydive which will raise money for their project, Mothers of Sudan. North Sudan is currently witnessing a looming HIV epidemic. The total number of adults and children living with HIV is estimated to be over 122,216. Children are also affected with over 27,000 children orphaned due to HIV.
We want to help them by helping the Mothers of Sudan through HIV awareness and skills that will enable them to afford the important HIV drugs that will keep their families together and alive.
A Skydive? Tell me more!
International HIV Fund are organising two skydive challenges – one in November 2011 and another in January 2012 – where you can raise funds for the project and take part in a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
To participate, all the organisation asks is for a £50 deposit to sign up and to get really creative with fundraising ideas. Each skydiver has a challenge to raise an easy £500 for Sudan by getting sponsors and supporters. Think you can do it?
Your contribution will go a very long way in changing not just one life, but a whole community.
For more information visit the International HIV Fund website.
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About International HIV Fund
The International HIV Fund (IHIVF) is a global initiative aimed at enhancing collaboration between Muslim and non-Muslim organisations in combating HIV and AIDS. They work in partnership with different organisations and within communities around the world to ensure the next generation lives HIV-free.
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