What do the scholars and muftis of the noble Shari’ah say regarding the following matter; there are many diseases these days and some of them are contagious. Do we have to stay away from people afflicted with such (contagious) diseases?
Questioner: Nida from UK
بسم اللہ الرحمن الرحیم
الجواب بعون الملک الوھاب اللھم ھدایۃ الحق والصواب
The view that a disease is contagious is false. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ has refuted this view in sound narrations:
قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ”لاَ عَدْوَى”
Translation: “No disease is contagious.” [Sahih al-Bukhari, hadith no. 5707]
Prophetic narrations with a similar meaning are also recorded in reliable books other than Bukhari and Muslim.
It is in Sahih Muslim:
قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «لَا عَدْوَى وَلَا صَفَرَ وَلَا هَامَةَ» فَقَالَ أَعْرَابِيٌّ: يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ فَمَا بَالُ الْإِبِلِ تَكُونُ فِي الرَّمْلِ كَأَنَّهَا الظِّبَاءُ، فَيَجِيءُ الْبَعِيرُ الْأَجْرَبُ فَيَدْخُلُ فِيهَا فَيُجْرِبُهَا كُلَّهَا؟ قَالَ: «فَمَنْ أَعْدَى الْأَوَّلَ؟»
Translation: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “There is no contagious disease; nor Safar; nor Hama.” A bedouin said, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! What about the camels which, when on the sand (desert) look like deers, but when a mangy camel mixes with them they all get infected with mange?” The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Then who conveyed the (mange) disease to the first (mangy) camel?” [Sahih Muslim, hadith no. 2220]
Regarding staying away from a person who is afflicted with such a disease, the Shari’ah states that if a person is worried about causes and does not have firm reliance upon Allah ﷻ, it is appropriate for him to stay away from the one afflicted with the disease. The person should not consider that the disease is contagious, rather he must think that he might be afflicted by the same disease as per the decree of Allah ﷻ. Because, if in case he is afflicted by that disease, he should not be influenced by Satan in believing that it was caused due to sitting near the patient. Therefore, it is permissible to stay away from a diseased person with this intention. Otherwise, he may harm his religiosity due to weakness of faith.
There is no harm in a person, whose faith and reliance upon Allah are strong, meeting a diseased person. It is better for a person with weak faith to stay away from a diseased person in order to protect himself from the false view that diseases are contagious. Thus, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ stated:
وَفِرَّ مِنَ المَجْذُومِ كَمَا تَفِرُّ مِنَ الأَسَدِ
Translation: “Run away from the leper as one runs away from a lion.” [Sahih al-Bukhari, hadith no. 5707]
Imam Ahmad Rida Khan (may Allah have mercy upon him) states: “If a person is worried about causes and does not have true reliance upon Allah ﷻ, then it is appropriate for such a person to stay away. The person should not consider that the disease is contagious, rather he must think that he might be afflicted by the same disease as per the decree of Allah ﷻ. He should not be influenced by Satan in believing that it was due to a certain act, else it would not have occurred. One’s religiosity is harmed in believing so. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ stated:
فان ”لو” تفتح عمل الشیطان
Translation: ‘The word ‘if’ opens the gates of satanic deeds’.
There is no harm in a person, whose faith is firm and who relies upon Allah, in mixing (with the diseased). It is better for a person, whose faith is weak, to abstain in order to protect his religiosity.” [al-Fatawa al-Ridawiyyah, vol. 21, pg. 101]
واللہ تعالی اعلم ورسولہ اعلم صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم
کتبہ ابو الحسن محمد قاسم ضیاء قادری
Answered by Mufti Qasim Zia al-Qadri
Translated by the SeekersPath Team
Read the original answer in Urdu here – [Q-ID0437] Do we have to stay away from people who have contagious diseases?