The Qur'an gives general guidance about keeping physically and spiritually healthy. More specific advice about what to do during an epidemic is found in the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad.
Epidemics have been found throughout history, including during the early years and centuries of Islam. The Prophet Muhammad lived during a time when illness such as influenza was not yet well understood, yet he gave his followers at the time some sound advice:
- Limit travel. Do not travel in or out of an affected area. On this point, the Prophet Muhammad said, "'If you hear about an outbreak of plague in a land, do not go to it; and if plague breaks out in a country where you are staying, do not run away from it."
- Wash frequently. The ablutions of daily prayer and other cleanliness practices in Islam become even more important when illness is spreading.
- Quarantine those who are ill. The Prophet Muhammad said that “a sick person must not be brought to visit a recovering person.”
- Continue to maintain a healthy diet. The Prophet Muhammad advised moderation in diet, and instructed people to drink plenty of fluids. (The stomach should have "one-third for food, one-third for drink, and one-third for breath (digestion)."
- Seek correct information and keep an eye out for symptoms. Muslims are advised to verify information before sharing it, to avoid the spreading of hurtful rumors. One excellent place to get accurate information is from the About.com Cold and Flu page.