“KHANDAQ” A COVID-19 STRATEGY & IMPLEMENTATION PLAN
In 627 AD, the Muslims of Madinah faced an overwhelming enemy both in size and strength. Instead of confronting the enemy head-on in open warfare outside the city limits or inside the city in close combat, Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) adopted a grand strategy of isolation, containment and deferment at strategic advice of Hazrat Salman Farisi (R.A). KHANDAQ or trenches were dug around the city to protect and isolate/lockdown the population of Madinah from the enemy invasion. Preparations were made for the lockdown by reaping early harvest, with stored stocks. The enemy encamped at the city limits, fought skirmishes but was unable to infiltrate and break the isolation of the KHANDAQ. Attrition, weather and other natural factors held off the enemy, who eventually retreated, with limited loss of lives in the city. In this lockdown, Muslims faced famine and harsh restrictions with good grace, though were victorious due to the KHANDAQ strategy. This historical strategy has valuable lessons for us that isolation, containment and deferment can counter an overwhelming force of COVID-19. If executed with unity and preparation it can block, avoid and eventually repel the full force of COVID-19 impacting our citizens. Isolation/protective zones need not be by a physically dug KHANDAQ but can be a hypothetical barrier or boundary around an existing economic or social unit. For example, a community or a factory, and fortified by standard operating procedures (SOPs) and other means to protect those inside.