Hadith Encyclopedia

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Swine influenza (H1N1)

Swine influenza (H1N1), now a pandemic around the world has striked fear into our hearts. The total number of confirmed and reported pandemic 2009 influenza cases to date (24th August) is 253,169 including 2,572 deaths. The world continue to report new cases while predictions around the world paint a gloomy future. As muslims, we should all start with seeking help from Allah to face the pandemic, especially when we know that this tribulation, like others that have past, will not only hit the wrongdoers! Rather, it will be a tribulation that will engulf all in general.

وَاتَّقُوا فِتْنَةً لَا تُصِيبَنَّ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا مِنْكُمْ خَاصَّةً وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ
And fear the Fitnah (affliction and trial) which affects not in particular (only) those of you who do wrong, and know that Allah is severe in punishment.”

Shaikh Abu Bakr al-Jaza’iri said: “Fitnah means punishment that you will be tested with, for example: drought, illness or overcomed by the enemy.”
[Aysar at-Tafasir]


عَنْ حُذَيْفَةَ بْنِ الْيَمَانِ عَنْ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ وَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ لَتَأْمُرُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَلَتَنْهَوُنَّ عَنْ الْمُنْكَرِ أَوْ لَيُوشِكَنَّ اللَّهُ أَنْ يَبْعَثَ عَلَيْكُمْ عِقَابًا مِنْهُ ثُمَّ تَدْعُونَهُ فَلَا يُسْتَجَابُ لَكُمْ

On the authority of Huzhaifah bin al-Yaman from the prophet (SAW) who said: By He in Whose Hand is my soul! You will must enjoin righteousness and forbid evil (amar ma’ruf nahi munkar), or Allah will send a punishment upon you from Him; you will supplicate then to Him, but the supplication will not be answered for you.”
[Ahmad, Tirmizhi (no. 2095) – Hasan lighairihi]

Nevertheless, the following are some advices on how to minimise the spread of this pandemic:
1. We must always keep in mind that all matters are in the Hands of Allah. He may test us or He may keep us healthy.

قُلْ لَنْ يُصِيبَنَا إِلَّا مَا كَتَبَ اللَّهُ لَنَا هُوَ مَوْلَانَا وَعَلَى اللَّهِ فَلْيَتَوَكَّلِ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ

Say: ‘Nothing shall ever happen to us except what Allah has ordained for us. He is our Protector.’ And in Allah let the believers put their trust.”

We are told that infection can occur through close contact (less than 3 feet or 1 meter) with the infected person or contaminated surfaces and that it is airborne. And we are also told by the one who was sent by the Creator of all creation:

عن أَبَي هُرَيْرَةَ قالُ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ لَا عَدْوَى وَلَا طِيَرَةَ

On the authority of Abu Hurairah (RA): The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: There is no infection and no evil omen
[Sahih al-Bukhari (no. 5316)]

In other words, infection will not happen except with Allah’s will and permission. Hence, we should put our trust in Allah knowing that everything is within His Power and Will.

2. This tawakkul (trust) in Allah should not make us neglect the universal rule of cause and effect (which is also created by Allah). We have to take steps to safeguard ourselves from being exposed to the virus.
Quarantine the sick.

عن أَبَي هُرَيْرَةَ قال قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ لَا يُورِدَنَّ مُمْرِضٌ عَلَى مُصِحٍّ

On the authority of Abu Hurairah: The prophet (SAW) said: Don’t let the sick go near the healthy.”
[Sahih al-Bukhari (no.5328)]

Stay away from the sick.

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ قَالَ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَقُولُ فِرَّ مِنْ الْمَجْذُومِ فِرَارَكَ مِنْ الْأَسَدِ

On the authority of Abu Hurairah who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (SAW) say: "Flee from the leprous (the way) you fear from a lion.”
[Sahih al-Bukhari, Ahmad (no. 9345)]

3. Maintain general cleanliness as a preventive measure. It is well-known that Islam enjoins cleanliness, saying:

عَنْ أَبِي مَالِكٍ الْأَشْعَرِيِّ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ الطُّهُورُ شَطْرُ الْإِيمَانِ

On the authority of Abu Malik al-Asy’ari: The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: Cleanliness is half of faith.”
[Sahih Muslim (no. 328)]

Islam even goes to the smallest detail as in the hadith:

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ الْإِيمَانُ بِضْعٌ وَسَبْعُونَ أَوْ بِضْعٌ وَسِتُّونَ شُعْبَةً فَأَفْضَلُهَا قَوْلُ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَأَدْنَاهَا إِمَاطَةُ الْأَذَى عَنْ الطَّرِيقِ

On the authority of Abu Hurairah: The messenger of Allah said: "Faith is more than seventy or sixty branches, the best is saying ‘There is no deity except Allah’ and the lowest is removing harm from the road.”
[Sahih Muslim (no. 51)]

So, constantly clean yourself, as Islam recommends to continuously renew the ablution (wudhu), which includes entering the water into the mouth and nose unless during fasting.

وَلَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا إِلَى أُمَمٍ مِنْ قَبْلِكَ فَأَخَذْنَاهُمْ بِالْبَأْسَاءِ وَالضَّرَّاءِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَضَرَّعُونَ فَلَوْلَا إِذْ جَاءَهُمْ بَأْسُنَا تَضَرَّعُوا وَلَكِنْ قَسَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَزَيَّنَ لَهُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ

Verily, We sent (Messengers) to many nations before you. And we seized them with extreme poverty and loss of wealth so that they might believe with humility. When Our torment reached them, why then did they not believe with humility? But their hearts became hardened, and Syaitan made fair-seeming to them that which they used to do.” [al-An’am:42-43]

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