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“The only thing necessary for these diseases to the triumph is for good people and governments to do nothing.”

Muslims and HIV/AIDS

I believe that we can establish a modality in which Muslims can engage in the struggle to rid the world of the scourge of AIDS, while maintaining their religious and moral world view, and not compromise their religious beliefs. This "paradigm of engagement," however, must be deeply ensconced in the traditions and ethical teachings of Islam and operate within the Islamic conceptual framework. First, I argue that it is impossible for a Muslim to discuss AIDS outside of the framework of moral and ethical behavior. In other words, people in the secular world should not expect Muslims to think or operate outside of their religious and spiritual value system, because it is precisely this value system that determines their identity, self-concept and world view, i.e. who they are and what they believe. So, it is within the Islamic framework that I propose the following: 1) That Muslims deal with the person with AIDS as a fellow human being who is ill and draw from the sources of the Holy Quran, which focuses on Allah's mercy and forgiveness:



Say, O my servants who have transgressed against their souls; despair not of the mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins: for He is oft-forgiving, most merciful. (Ibid. 39-53)

2) That Muslims reflect on the essence of Allah's message, which commands them to help those that are less fortunate.

3) That Muslims become advocates in support of more health care and medicines, and education, particularly for African Americans who are witnessing an increase in HIV infections. That they remember the famous words of their Prophet Muhammad who stated:

I heard the Messenger of Allah saying: He who amongst you sees something abominable should modify it with the help of his hand- and if he has not strength enough to do it, then he should do it with his tongue (speak out against it) and if he has not strength enough to do it, then he should hate it in his heart, and that is the weakest of faith. (Hadith 365, reported by Abu Sa'id al_khudri)

4) That Muslims support and become advocates for an increase in funds for HIV/AIDS research. This is supported by the teachings of Islam which state:

It was reported that the Prophet said: "Verily, Allah has not let any malady occur without providing its remedy. Therefore seek medical treatment for your illnesses." (Hadith reported by Anas ibn Mas'ud and documented by Ibn Majah)



5) That Muslims provide education for the Muslim community about ADDS, so that in the event that non-Muslim members of their families are infected, they will know how to care for them.

6) That Muslims develop strategies to care for members of their congregations that are infected but may be too embarrassed to come forward.

7) That Muslims remember what the Quran says about Prophet Muhammad and mercy:

"We have sent you O Muhammad as a mercy to the worlds. "