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Why do we say Alhamdulillah after sneezing?

Question:

What is the purpose of reciting Dua (al-Hamdulillah) after sneezing?  A non Muslim has posed this question to me. 

Answer:

The narrations of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) encourage us to say “Alhamdulillah” when we sneeze.

“Alhamdulillah” means “All praise is due to Allah”. A rightfully curious mind will wonder why are we supposed to express our gratitude to Allah for the insignificant act of sneezing. On the contrary, sneezing is no insignificant reaction of the body. Sneezing is a great blessing from Allah where various muscle groups come in to play. The muscles of the stomach, chest, neck and eyes are used for this seemingly insignificant reaction of the body.

 

Some of the reasons for saying “Alhamdulillah” are as follows:

 

1)    Harmful substances contained in the body are dispelled when one sneezes. Especially when the harmful substances are strong, an odour can be smelt. We are saved from many sicknesses and diseases by the mere act of naturally sneezing as these harmful substances are expelled. 

 

2)    Our entire lives are in the control of Allah. If Allah wishes, he may cause our bodies to cease where we will not be able to make even the slightest move. When one sneezes, a person’s face becomes distorted for those few seconds. If Allah wished, he could have kept us with the same distorted expression permanently. It is only through the mercy and grace of Allah, that he grants us our normal expressions again. 

 

3)    When a person sneezes, the eyes automatically close. By the eyes remaining open, potential damage can be caused to the eyes. Allah causes the eyes to close to save us from such harm. 

 

4)    Sneezing generally causes the breathing passages to open up, thus allowing a person to breathe easily. In exchange of the many benefits we enjoy from sneezing naturally, it is only fair that we say our heartfelt gratitude to Allah by saying “Alhamdulillah” 

 

And Allah Knows Best

 

Mufti Suhail Tarmahomed

Checked and Approved:

Mufti Ebrahim Desai 

Jamiatul Ulama (KZN) Fatwa Department

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