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February
16
1990
Scientific topics from sermons- lesson (148): Infection
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Praise be to Allah, the Lord of Creations, and Peace and blessings be upon our prophet Muhammad, the faithful and the honest.
 Oh, Allah, we know nothing but what You teach us. You are the All- Knower, the Wise. Oh Allah, teach us what is good for us, and benefit us from what You taught us, and increase our knowledge. Show us the righteous things as righteous and help us to do them, and show us the bad things as bad and help us to keep away from them.
  O Allah our Lord, lead us out from the depths of darkness and illusion, unto the lights of erudition and knowledge, and from the muddy shallows of lusts unto the heavens of Your Vicinity.

How do we understand these two hadiths?

 The issue of infection was made clear by Allah’s Messenger, Muhammad, (PBUH), more than 14 centuries ago. The venerable Companion, Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, quoted him as saying,

“There is no such thing as infection, yellows, or Hamah (i.e. the spirit, of a killed person, which demands his people to take revenge on those who killed him).”

 An Arabian said, “O Messenger of Allah! What is wrong with my camels? They are as healthy and fast as deer. But as soon as a scabby camel mingles with them, they become scabby, too.” Allah’s Messenger, (PBUH), asked,

“Then what made the first one scabby?!”

 In the above Hadith, Allah’s Messenger, (PBUH), who does not speak out of his own desire, as all that he says is divine Revelation, confirms that there is no such thing as infection, although infection is something that he himself confirms in another Hadith narrated by the venerable Companion, Sa’d, may Allah be pleased with him, which goes,

“If you hear that there is a plague in a piece of land, do not enter it; and if it (plague) visits a piece of land while you are therein, do not get out of it.”

 Why does Allah’s Messenger command us not to enter, or get out of, a place afflicted with a plague? The answer is: for fear of getting infected.

 In the same context, most recent bacteriological studies confirm that there is no such thing as infection. This is because germs or viruses may be transferred from an ill person to a healthy one, yet the healthy person does not get infected. In other words, a healthy person may transfer a certain disease but does not get infected with it. Instead, he/she acquires more immunity against it, i.e. becomes more immune from such disease. A certain disease may sometimes be transferred by a number of healthy people who bear it but do not get infected with it, and then, another healthy person, suddenly and unexpectedly, gets infected with it.

 Now, when Allah’s Messenger, (PBUH), says that there is no such thing as infection, he means that infection does not cause illness but provides a suitable environment for getting infected with such illness. This is most accurate!

 The venerable Companion, Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, also quoted Allah’s Messenger, (PBUH), as saying,

“Fly away from a leper just as you fly away from a lion.”

 The Messenger’s command in this Hadith to fly away from a leper does not at all contradict with his reiteration that there is no such thing as infection. This is because infection does not cause illness but rather provides a suitable environment for getting infected with it.

A question and answer:

 In the same context, a bacteriologist was once asked, “which parts of the body allow infection most?” “The four limbs and the face.” He replied. Here we have to remember the “Woudou’” (i.e. Islamic ritual ablution) in which Allah’s Messenger, (PBUH), taught us not to wash our hands in the vessel but rather to pour water from the vessel to wash our hands outside it. This great Prophetic guidance prevents bacteria from getting into our bodies through our noses, mouths, ears, and hands. Allah’s Messenger, (PBUH), commands us to wash these parts at least five times a day. This shows clearly that Islamic ablution provides utmost protection from getting infected with diseases, as it includes such hygienic procedures as rinsing the mouth and nose and washing the face, the hands and feet with pure clean water.

 Allah’s Messenger, (PBUH), also commanded Muslims to use the Siwak (a special stick for cleaning teeth) more than 14 centuries ago; and it has now been found out that the Siwak contains an anti-bacterial substance. That is why some toothpaste now contains powdered Siwak.

Prophetic hadiths about infection:

 Infection can also take place by means of the respiratory system. That is why Allah’s Messenger, (PBUH), bade one of his Companions while he was drinking water:

“Keep the glass away from your mouth (i.e. do not breathe into it).”

 This Prophetic Hadith shows clearly that Allah’s Messenger, (PBUH), prohibited Muslims from breathing into the vessel while drinking water. Such Prophetic guidance, which was more than 14 centuries ago, conforms to the most recent medical discoveries as regards infections and bacteriology.

 Also, the venerable Companion, Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, quoted Allah’s Messenger, (PBUH), as saying,

“Let not an ill person visit a healthy one.”

 This Prophetic Hadith shows clearly that an ill person should not get in touch with a healthy one. To the same effect, the Prophetic Hadith goes,

“If you hear that there is a plague in a piece of land, do not enter it.”

 Once again, Allah’s Messenger, (PBUH), does not negate infection, but he negates infection being the cause of illness. He bade us to take precautions against diseases, but infection does not, alone, cause illness, as there are lots of other elements and causes that only the Almighty Creator, Allah, Glory to Him, alone, knows. Prophetic guidance is most accurate with this respect, as he does not speak out of his own desire; and what he says is definitely the Maker’s Divine Revelation and Commands.

Translation  : Khaled Al-Athmeh
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