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Contagious diseases


Assalamu Alaikum

I read an article that if one believes in the concept of contagious diseases, his nikah is broken. I always believed in contagious diseases because I heard thus from my learned Ulama. I am sensitive to my nikah. Is my nikah really broken? What about the nikah of all those who believe in contagious diseases especially doctors. There are 1000s who believe in contagious diseases. I heard Sahaba believed in contagious diseases. So, what happens to everyone’s Nikahs? Please explain the Hadith as well. Should we still exercise precaution and what should we do when some people look down upon us for exercising precaution due to having lower level of Tawakkul?

Please advise.


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

We have been inundated with queries regarding the validity of one’s Nikah due to believing in sicknesses being contagious due to the article in reference. Hereunder is our standard response to similar queries.

It is stated in the following Hadith:

قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ:لاَ عَدْوَى وَلاَ طِيَرَةَ، وَلاَ هَامَةَ وَلاَ صَفَرَ، وَفِرَّ مِنَ المَجْذُومِ كَمَا تَفِرُّ مِنَ الأَسَدِ (صحيح البخاري: 5707)

Translation: Rasullullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wassalam) said, “(There is) no ‘Adwa (contagious sicknesses), nor is there any bad omen (from birds), nor is there any Hamah (superstition regarding owls etc.), nor is there any bad omen in the month of Safar, and one should run away from the leper as one runs away from a lion.”(Saheeh Bukhari: 5707)

In the first part of the Hadith, Rasullullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wassalam) advised

لا عدوى (There is no contagious sicknesses).

However, in the second part of the same Hadith, Rasullullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wassalam) advised

وَفِرَّ مِنَ المَجْذُومِ كَمَا تَفِرُّ مِنَ الأَسَدِ (And one should run away from the leper as one runs away from a lion(to avoid being infected).[i] 

This part of the Hadith apparently contradicts the first part of the Hadith which states

لا عدوى (There is no contagious sicknesses).

There are much academic discussions on reconciling the apparent contradiction in the above quoted Hadith which is discussed in the academic domain. According to one view, the Hadith, لا عدوى (There is no contagious sicknesses) is absolute, i.e. there is no such thing as contagious sicknesses. However, according to another academic view, the Hadith, لا عدوى (There is no contagious sicknesses) means a sickness is not contagious by itself. It is decreed by Allah Ta’ala. However, this part of the Hadith does not necessarily negate the possibility of contagiousness through means like socializing etc., hence, the second part of the Hadith وَفِرَّ مِنَ المَجْذُومِ كَمَا تَفِرُّ مِنَ الأَسَدِ (And one should run away from the leper as one runs away from a lion (to avoid being infected). This is also the explanation given by Hadhrat Ml Khalil Ahmed Saharanpuri (Rahimahullah).[ii]

Hadhrat Ml Ashraf Ali Thanwi (Rahimahullah) states both interpretations have merit. He, however, prefers the second view, that the Hadith لا عدوى (There is no contagious sicknesses) is not absolute in negating contagious sicknesses. A sickness could be contagious based on the second part of the Hadith وَفِرَّ مِنَ المَجْذُومِ كَمَا تَفِرُّ مِنَ الأَسَدِ (And one should run away from the leper as one runs away from a lion (to avoid being infected).

Hadhrat Ml Ashraf Ali Thanwi (Rahimahullah) advises one should adopt a moderate view in such issues. If one prefers the view that there is no such thing as contagious sickness, he should also consider the second view that sicknesses could be contagious to avoid an extremism in Tafweedh (Tawakul). Likewise, those that prefer the second view that sickness could be contagious through means, they should also consider the first view to avoid extremism (Guloo) in believing in means only. Hereunder, is the relevant statements of Hadhrat Ml Ashraf Ali Thanwi (Rahimahullah).[iii]

رہیؔ یہ بات کہ ان دونوں مسلکوں میں ارجح کون مسلک ہے، سو اس میں اپنے مذاق و اجتہاد کے موافق ہر شخص کو اختیار ہے جس مسلک کا چاہے قائل ہو اختلاف أمتی رحمۃ ایسے ہی امور میں وارد ہے تو جس طرح احکام فرعیہ کا اختلاف رحمت ہے، اسی طرح حکم متفق علیہ کے دلائل وعلل کا اختلاف بھی رحمت ہے جس کو جو مسلک اقرب معلوم ہو اس کو اختیار کر سکتا ہے، اور ہر مسلک میں ایک خاص حکمت ہے، چنانچہ جن پر تفویض کا غلبہ ہے اُن کے مناسب مسلکِ اوّل ہے اور جن پر اسباب کا غلبہ ہے ان کے مناسب مسلک ثانی ہے، یا غلو فی التفویض کا علاج مسلکِ ثانی ہے اور غلو فی الاسباب کا علاج مسلکِ اوّل ہے، یہ تو ذوق و حکمت کے اعتبار سے ہے۔ باقی اقرب إلی التحقیق مجھ کو مسلکِ ثانی معلوم ہوتا ہے۔ ولکل وجہۃ ھو مولیہا۔ واللّٰہ أعلم بالصواب

Translation: So, what remains to be discussed is; which of the 2 opinions are preferred? There is scope for every person to choose whichever of the 2 opinions suites him best and appeals to his understanding The Hadeeth “Ikhtilaafu Ummati Rahmah (Difference of opinion in my Ummah is a mercy)” applies to these type of instances, therefore just as the Ikhtilaaf (difference) in Furoo’i laws(sub-laws)is Rahmah (mercy),similarly Ikhtilaaf (difference) in the proofs and reasons of Muttafaq Alayh Masaail (agreed upon issues) is also Rahmah (mercy). Whoever prefers whichever stance has the choice to adopt that particular stance. Both views have their specific wisdoms. Hence, those who are inclined to generally surrender their matters to Allah, the first view will be more appropriate for them, whilst the second view might be more appropriate for those who prefer to adopt means. On the contrary we may say that the second view is a counter balance to those who are extremists in surrendering to fate, whereas the first view is a counter balance to extremism in the use of means. All of this is subject to an individual’s personal preference and judgment. According to my understanding, the second view is more accurate.

The second view is also supported by the following narrations:

كَانَ فِي وَفْدِ ثَقِيفٍ رَجُلٌ مَجْذُومٌ فَأَرْسَلَ إِلَيْهِ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ إِنَّا قَدْ بَايَعْنَاكَ فَارْجِعْ ‏” (صحيح مسلم: 5541)‏

Translation: There was in the delegation of Thaqif a leper. Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) sent a message to him stating (to avoid physically meeting him): We have accepted your allegiance (without physically meeting you), so you may go. (Sahih Muslim: 5541)

عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ، أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ قَالَ ‏ “‏ لاَ تُدِيمُوا النَّظَرَ إِلَى الْمَجْذُومِينَ ‏”( سنن ابن ماجه: 3672)‏

Translation: Ibn Abbas (Radiyallahu Anhu) narrates that Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:

“Do not keep looking/staring at those who have leprosy.” (Ibn Maajah: 3672)

عن الزهري أن عمر بن الخطاب قال للمعيقيب اجلس مني قيد رمح وكان به ذلك الداء (كنز العمال)

Translation: Umar (Radiyallahu Anhu) said to Muaiqeeb (Radiyallahu Anhu) who had a sickness: sit one spear length away from me. (Kanzul Ummaal)

If a person believes that Allah Ta’ala Alone decrees sickness and Allah Ta’ala creates means, for example, interacting and socialising for the sickness to spread, then that is not against our Aqeedah. If a person holds such a view, his Iman is intact. His Nikah is not invalidated by adopting such a view.

According to the information we receive daily that the virus is peaking, our advice is we should exercise precaution to the best of our ability and then place one’s Tawakkul on Allah Ta’ala. Do not be negligent in exercising precaution. That is not Tawakkul.

We also advise people to be tolerant to each other views and practices. A person with Tawakkul should not regard a person exercising precaution to be inferior or having lesser Tawakkul than him.

We also advise all to make Dua to Allah Ta’ala to give Shifaa to all those that are ill and infected, to remove this pandemic and restore our lives back to normal to enjoy the bounties of Deen and Dunya.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Mahmood Suliman

Student Darul Iftaa
Gaborone, Botswana

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

[i] عمدة القاري شرح صحيح البخاري (21/ 247)

(فر من المجذوم) أعلم أَن الله تَعَالَى جعل ذَلِك سَببا، فحذَّر من الضَّرَر الَّذِي يغلب وجوده عِنْد وجوده بِفعل الله عز وَجل

[ii] بذل المجهود في حل سنن أبي داود (11/ 640)

 لا عدوى) العدوى مجاوزة العلة من صاحبها إلى غيره بالمجاورة والقرب، وبظاهره يخالف ما يأتي من أبي هريرة، عن النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم -: “لا يوردن ممرض على مصح”، وأيضًا وقع في “البخاري” (4) وغيره: “فر من المجذوم فرارك من الأسد”، وهذان الحديثان يثبتان العدوى، فاختلفوا في وجه الجمع بينهما، فقال بعضهم: نفي العدوى هو الأصل، وأما الحديثان الآخران فهما محمولان على سد الذرائع لا على إثبات العدوى، وقال بعضهم: إن الأصل فيه هذان الحديثان، أي بأن الله سبحانه على جري عادته يعدي المرض من حيوان إلى آخر بسبب المخالطة،

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