Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 4: Sickness, Expiation of Sins

Introduction to Fiqh-us-Sunnah

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There are many hadith which explain that sickness expiates evil deeds and wipes out sins. Of these, some are given below:

Abu Hurairah narrates that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "When Allah wants to be good to someone, He tries him with some hardship."

Abu Hurairah also reports that Allah's Messenger, peace be upon him, said: "For every misfortune, illness, anxiety, grief, or hurt that afflicts a Muslim -even the hurt caused by the pricking of a thorn - Allah removes some of his sins." Ibn Mas'ud said: "I visited the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, while he had a fever. I exclaimed: 'O Messenger of Allah! You have a high fever! ' He said: 'My fever is as much as two among you [might have]. ' I asked: 'Is it because you have a double reward?' He replied: 'Yes, that is right. No Muslim is afflicted with any hurt, even if it is no more than the pricking of a thorn, but Allah wipes off his sins because of it and his sins fall away from him as leaves fall from a tree'."

Abu Hurairah said: "The Prophet, peace be upon him, remarked: 'The example of a believer is like a fresh tender plant; from whichever direction the wind blows, it bends the plant. But when the wind dies down, it straightens up again. (Similarly a believer is tested by afflictions to strengthen his faith and heart, and he remains patient and firm). And an evil person is like a pine tree which remains hard and stiff until Allah breaks it whenever He wills."

Volume 4, Page 1a: Patience During Illness

Anyone suffering from an illness should remain patient, for there is no reward better or more enriching than that reserved for those who endure in patience.

Suhaib ibn Sinan narrated that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "How remarkable is the case of the believer! There is good for him in everything, but this is not the case for anyone except for the believer. When the believer receives any good, he is thankful to Allah, and gets a reward. And when some misfortune befalls him, he endures it patiently, for which he is (also) rewarded."

Anas narrates: "I heard the Prophet, peace be upon him, saying: 'Allah says: "When I afflict a servant of mine with respect to his two most beloved things (meaning his eyes), and he endures it patiently, I grant him paradise in return'."

'Ata ibn Rabah related that he heard Ibn 'Abbas say: "Shall I show you a woman of Paradise?"I said: "Yes, indeed." He said: "A black woman came to the Prophet, peace be upon him, and said: 'I suffer from epileptic fits, and because of these, (at times) my body becomes uncovered. Would you invoke Allah, the Exalted One, to cure me of this disease? ' The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: 'If you wish, you can be patient and you will attain Paradise (for this suffering). But if you prefer, I will pray to Allah, the Exalted, to cure you of it?' The woman said: 'I will be patient,' then added: 'I become uncovered (when I have fits), so invoke Allah for me that I do not become uncovered. ' So the Prophet, peace be upon him, prayed for her."

Volume 4, Page 2: To Complain of One's Illness

It is permitted for a patient to complain of his pain and illness to a physician or a friend, provided he does not do so to express his or her anger or impatience. It was mentioned earlier that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "My fever is as severe as that of any two of you." Once 'Aisha complained to the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, about her headache, lamenting: "O my head." He retorted: "Nay, rather (I should say) O my head!" Likewise it is reported that 'Abdullah ibn Al-Zubair asked his ailing mother, Asma bint Abi Bakr, "How are you feeling now?" She replied: "I am in pain."

A patient should thank and praise Allah, before talking about his distress and complaint

Ibn Mas'ud said: "If one thanks Allah before complaining about his pain or disease, then it is not considered impatience. Indeed, to refer one's complaint to Allah, is quite lawful." Jacob (the prophet), said: "I complain of my distraction and anguish only to Allah." The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, himself prayed: "O Allah! to You I complain of my weakness."

Volume 4, Page 2a: A Sick Person is Rewarded for All the Good Deeds that He Would (usually) Perform in a State of Health

Abu Musa al-Ash'ari reports that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "If a servant (of Allah) falls sick or goes on a journey, he (continues to be) rewarded for the good deeds that he used to do when he was healthy or at home."

Volume 4, Page 3: Visiting the Sick

It is Islamic etiquette to visit a sick Muslim, to provide him moral support, and to make sure that he or she is well taken care of.

Ibn 'Abbas said: "The first visit to a sick person is sunnah, while any subsequent visit is a voluntary act (a good deed)." Abu Musa reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "Feed the hungry, visit the sick, and free the captives."

The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "A Muslim has six obligations to another Muslim." "What are these?" they asked. He replied: "To greet another Muslim when you meet him; to respond when he invites you; to give him your (sincerest) advice when he seeks it; to say 'may Allah have mercy upon you' when he sneezes and says ' may Allah be praised '; to visit him when he falls ill; and when he dies, to attend his funeral."

Volume 4, Page 3a: Reward for Visiting the Sick

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: "A caller from heaven calls out to the person who visits a sick person, 'You are good and your path is good. May you enter your residence in Paradise'."

Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: "Verily, Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, will say on the Day of Judgement: 'O Son of Adam! I fell ill, but you did not visit Me.' The human will ask, 'O my Sustainer! How could I visit You when You are the Sustainer of the Worlds? And how can You fall sick?' He, the Almighty, will say, 'Did you not know that such and such a servant of Mine was sick. But you did not visit him. Did you not know that, had you visited him, you would have found Me by his side? O Son of Adam! I asked you for food, but you fed Me not?' The man will say, 'O my Sustainer! How could I feed You when You are the Sustainer of the Worlds? And You are free from hunger?' He, the Almighty, will say: 'Such and such a servant of Mine asked you for food, but you refused to give him any. Did you not know that, had you fed him, you would have found it recorded here with Me? O Son of Adam! I asked you for a drink, but you did not give Me any.' The man will say, 'O my Sustainer! How could I give You a drink while You are the Sustainer of the Worlds and are free from thirst?' He, the Almighty will say, ' Such and such a servant of Mine asked you for a drink, but you did not give him any. Had you given him a drink, you would have surely found that recorded with Me."'

Thawban reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "Verily, when a Muslim visits his sick Muslim brother, he is, as it were, in one of the gardens of Paradise (enjoying its ripe fruits) until he returns to his home."

Ali said: "I heard the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, saying: 'When a Muslim visits a sick Muslim in the morning, seventy thousand angels pray for him, and they continue praying for him until that evening. When one visits the sick in the evening, the angels pray for him and continue praying for him until the next morning. Moreover, he will be rewarded with the choicest fruits of Paradise."

Volume 4, Page 4: Etiquette of Visiting the Sick

It is recommended that the visitor pray for the recovery and health of the patient and that he should urge him to endure his trouble patiently. He should say nice words to cheer him up and keep his spirits high. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "When you visit a sick person, give him hope for a long life. This will not avert anything, but will please the patient and give him comfort." When the Prophet, peace be upon him, visited a sick person he used to say to him: "Do not worry! It is a means of cleansing (you) of sins, Allah willing."

It is preferred to shorten the visits and to make them less frequent as far as possible, lest they should become burdensome for the patient, except when the patient himself desires longer and more frequent visits.

Volume 4, Page 4a: Women Visiting (Sick) Men

Bukhari reports: "Umm ad-Darda went to visit one of the Ansar who used to come to the mosque.'' It is narrated from 'Aishah that she said: "When the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, migrated to Madinah, both Abu Bakr and Bilal fell sick. So I went to see them, and I said: 'O dear father! How are you (now)?' And, 'O Bilal! How are you now?' She (further) said: 'When Abu Bakr had high fever he would recite:

Every man is amongst his family, yet death is nearer to him than his shoe laces.

And when Bilal recovered from fever, he would recite: Would that I could stay overnight in a valley wherein I should be surrounded by izhkhir and jalil (kinds of fragrant grass). Would that one day I could drink of the water of Majinna, and would that (the two mountains) Shama and Tafil would appear to me.

'Aishah added: "Then I went to Allah's Messenger and told him about it, whereupon the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: 'O Allah! Bestow on us the love of Madinah as we love Makkah, or even more than that. O Allah ! Make it healthy and bless its sa' and mudd (measures of food) for us, and divert its fever to (the place called) al-Juhfah."

Volume 4, Page 5: Muslim Visiting a Non-Muslim Patient

It is permissible for a Muslim to visit a sick non-Muslim person. In the chapter, "Visiting a Sick Polytheist," Bukhari says: It is narrated on the authority of Anas that "a Jewish boy, who used to serve the Prophet, peace be upon him, once fell ill. The Prophet, peace be upon him, visited him and invited him to Islam, saying: 'Submit to Allah's will.' So he accepted Islam." Similarly Bukhari narrates from Sa'id ibn al-Musayyab that he reported from his father that "when Abu Talib (the Prophet's uncle and an idolater) was on his deathbed, the Prophet, peace be upon him, visited him."

Volume 4, Page 5a: Visiting an Eye Patient

Abu Daw'ud narrates that Zaid bin al-Arqam said: "I suffered from an eye disease and the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, came to visit me."

Volume 4, Page 5b: Asking the Sick for a Prayer

Ibn Majah narrates on the authority of Umar that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: "When you visit a sick person, ask him to pray for you. Indeed, the prayer of a sick person is like the prayer of angels." According to the author of Az-Zawa' id, the chain of narrators of this hadith is broken, yet it is sound and trustworthy, because otherwise it is authentic and narrators are trustworthy.

Volume 4, Page 5c: Seeking Medical Treatment

There are many hadith which encourage the Muslims to seek medical treatment.

Usamah ibn Shuraik narrated: "I came to the Prophet, peace be upon him, and found him with his companions. They were calm and serene as if there were birds over their heads. I greeted them and sat down. Then some bedouins came from various places. They askezhim: 'O Allah's Messenger! Should we seek medical treatment for our illnesses?' He replied: 'Yes, you should seek medical treatment, because Allah, the Exalted, has let no disease exist without providing for its cure, except for one ailment, namely, old age'." (Reported by Ahmad and the six sunnan. Tirmizhi considers it a sound hadith.)

Anas ibn Mas'ud reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "Verily, Allah has not let any malady occur without providing its remedy.

Therefore seek medical treatment for your illnesses.'' ( Nasa'i, Ibn Majah, and al-Hakim.)

Jabir narrated that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: "There is a cure for every disease. Whenever an illness is treated with its right remedy, it will, by Allah's permission, be cured." (Muslim)

Volume 4, Page 6: Using Prohibited Things As Medicine

The majority of scholars hold that the use of wine and other prohibited things as medicine, is unlawful. They base their arguments on the following hadith:

Wa'il ibn Hujr al-Hadrami reported that, "Tariq ibn Suwaid asked the Prophet, peace be upon him, if he could use liquor as medicine. The Prophet replied: 'It is not a cure, but a disease'.'' (Muslim, Abu Daw'ud, and Tirmizhi.)

Umm Salamah, the wife of the Prophet, peace be upon him, reports that he once said: "Allah has not placed a cure for your diseases in things that He has forbidden for you.'' (Reported by Baihaqi; Ibn Hibban considers this hadith to be sound.Bukhari has also related it on the authority of Ibn Mas'ud.)

Abu ad-Darda reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "Allah has sent down both the malady and its remedy. For every disease He has created a cure. So seek medical treatment, but never with something the use of which Allah has prohibited.'' (Reported by Abu Daw'ud. Among the natrators of this hadith we find Isma'il ibn 'Aiyash, who is considered trustworthy by the Syrians, but regarded as a weak narrator by the scholars of Hijaz.)

Abu Hurairah narrated: "The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, prohibited the use of a harmful medicine, namely, poison."(Ahmad, Muslim, Tirmizhi, and Ibn Majah.)

Using a few, unnoticeable drops that cannot induce intoxication, is not prohibited, provided they are a part of a compound medicine. For example, the use of a small amount of pure natural silk in a woven fabric, as explained in al-Manar.

Volume 4, Page 6a: Treatment by a non-Muslim Physician

In his book, Al-Adab ash-Shar'iah, Ibn Muflih writes that Shaikh Taqiyyuddin Ibn Taymiyyah said: "A credible Jew or Christian who has medical expertise may treat a sick Muslim. Such a person may, likewise, be entrusted with funds or other financial transactions, for Allah, the Exalted, says: 'Among the People of the Book are some who, if entrusted with a hoard of gold, will (readily) pay it back; others, who, if entrusted with a single silver coin, will not repay it unless you constantly stand over them demanding it'.'' (Qur'an 3.75)

We find in a sound hadith that the Prophet, peace be upon him, hired a polytheist as a guide at the time of his migration to Madinah, so he entrusted him with his life and money. The people of the tribe of Khuza'ah, who were both Muslims and non-Muslims, acted as scouts for the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him. It is also reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, ordered Muslims to seek treatment from Al-Harith ibn Kaldah, who was a disbeliever. But when a Muslim physician with the expertise is available, one should seek his or her treatment and not turn to anyone else. The same applies when one has to entrust a person with funds or deal with him in business. If a Muslim has to confide in or turn to someone from the people of the Book for medical treatment, he may do so. It is not prohibited to befriend Jews and Christians. And when the Muslim has an opportunity to talk to them, he should address them in ways that are polite and sincere. Indeed, Allah, the Exalted, says: "And do not argue with the people of the Book, except in ways that are best." Qur'an 29.46

In a hadith on the Treaty of Hudaibiyah, Abu Al-Khattab tells us that "the Prophet, peace be upon him, sent a man of the Khuza'ah tribe to gather intelligence, and the Prophet, peace be upon him, accepted his report despite the fact that he was a disbeliever." This proves, according to Abu Al-Khattab, that it is quite permissible to take the advice of a non-believing physician for diagnosis and treatment, provided he is not suspect and his fidelity is not doubtful."

Volume 4, Page 7: Permission for a Woman to Seek Medical Treatment from Men

In cases of necessity, it is permissible for a man to treat a woman, and for a woman to treat a man. Bukhari reports from Rubayyie' bint Mu'awwizh ibn 'Afra that she said: "We participated in battles with the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, and we (women) provided the people with water, looked after them, and brought the wounded and the dead back to Madinah." (Bukhari, Chapter on "Can a Man Treat a Woman, or a Woman a Man?")

In his book, Al-Fath, Al-Hafiz writes: "When necessary, it is permissible to treat strangers with whom one is not related or not consanguine. Therefore, looking at, probing, and touching, etc., in such cases are also allowed."

In Al-Adab al-Shar'iah Ibn Muflih writes: "If a woman is sick and no female doctor is available, a male doctor may treat her. In such a case the doctor is permitted to examine her, including her genitals. The same applies to a male doctor treating a sick man. Ibn Hamdan says: "If a man is sick and there is no male doctor available to treat him, then he may be treated by a female doctor. She is permitted to examine him, including his genitals." AlQadi writes: "A physician is permitted to look at a woman and her private parts in case of necessity. Likewise, if need be, a woman or a man is permitted to look at the private parts of a man."

Volume 4, Page 8: Use of Incantation and Supplications in the Treatment

The use of incantation and supplications is allowed for treatment, provided their content is the remembrance of Allah and they are written in a comprehensible language. Otherwise their content might well contain something polytheistic without one being aware of it. 'Awf ibn Malik reported: "We practiced incantation in the pre-lslamic days so we asked the Messenger of Allah, 'What is your opinion about it?' He said: 'Let me see your incantations.

There is nothing wrong with the incantation that does not contain any polytheistic statements'." (Muslim and Abu Daw-ud)

Ar-Rabi ' says: "I asked Ash-Shafi ' i about incantation. He replied: 'There is nothing wrong in using the Qur'an for incantation or any other words that contain Allah's remembrance.' Then I asked him: 'Is it permissible for Muslims to approach the Christians and the Jews for incantation? ' Ash-Shafi'i replied: 'Yes, provided they use the revelation from Allah and words that contain His remembrance'."

Volume 4, Page 8a: Some Supplications Found in Hadith

'Aishah reports that the Prophet, peace be upon him, used to seek refuge in Allah for some of his family members. He used to touch them with his right hand, saying: Allahahuma Rabbin nas azhhabal ba'sa, ashfi wa antashafi, la shifa' illa shifa'uka shifa' la yughadiru saqma "O Allah! The Sustainer of mankind! Remove the illness, cure the disease. You are the One Who cures. There is no cure except Your cure. Grant (us) a cure that leaves no illness." (Bukhari and Muslim)

'Uthman ibn Abu Al-'As relates that "once he complained of pain in his body to Allah's Messenger, peace be upon him. The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: 'Put your hand where you feel pain in your body and say, "Bismillah (in the name of Allah)," and say, "A 'uzhu bi 'izzatillah wa qudratihi min sharri ma ajidu wa uhazhiru (I seek refuge in the might of Allah and in His Power from the evil that I find and that I fear)," seven times'." 'Uthman continued: "I did that a few times and Allah removed my pain. I always advised my family and others to do the same." (Muslim)

Muhammad ibn Salim reported: "Thabit Al-Banani said to me: 'O Muhammad ! When you have any pain, put your hand where you feel pain, then say: Bismallaha'uzhu bi'izatillah min shari ma ajidu min waj'i hazha

"In the Name of Allah! I seek refuge in Allah's might from the evil of this pain. " Then remove your hand, and repeat the same for an odd number of times. Then he said to me that Anas ibn Malik had told him that Allah's Messenger, peace be upon him, had taught this to him." (Tirmizhi)

'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "When someone visits a sick person whose time of death has not come, and says seven times: As'alu Allah al 'azim Rabbil 'arshil azim an yshfiaka 'I ask Allah, the Mighty, the Lord of the mighty throne, to cure you,'Allah will cure him of that illness." (Reported by Abu Daw'ud and Tirmizhi, who says it is a hasan (good) hadith. Al-Hakim says that it is sound according to Bukhari's criteria)

'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas also narrates that "the Prophet, peace be upon him, used to seek protection for Al-Hasan and Al-Hussain (his grandsons) with the words: A'uzhukuma bi kalamatillahi tamah min kulli shaitanin wa hamatin wa min kulli 'ainin lamatin 'I seek protection for you with Allah's perfect words from every satan and crawling creature and every evil eye.' He also added: 'Your father (Ibrahim) sought protection for Ismai'l and Ishaq with these same words'." (Bukhari)

Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas reports that "the Prophet, peace be upon him, visited him while he was sick and said: 'O Allah, make Sa'd well! O Allah, make Sa'd well! Make Sa'd well!"' (Muslim)

Volume 4, Page 9: Prohibition of Using Amulets

The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, prohibited the use of amulets. 'Uqbah ibn 'Amir narrates that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: "If anyone wears an amulet, may Allah not help him in fulfilling his wish. If anyone wears a sea-shell around his neck, may Allah give him no peace." (Narrated by Ahmad and Al-Hakim who consider it a sound hadith)

An amulet (tamimah) is a string of shells or beads that the Arabs used to put around their children ' s necks, believing that it would protect them from the evil eye. Islam abolished this superstitious practice. The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, prayed against those who wore an amulet out of superstitious belief.

It is reported from Ibn Mas'ud that "once, when he entered his home, he noticed his wife wearing a knotted object round her neck. He took it away and broke it. Then he remarked: 'The family of 'Abdullah has become so arrogant that they now associate with Allah those for whom He has sent down no authority.' Then, he added: 'I have heard the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, saying: 'Verily, incantations, amulets, and love charms are acts of shirk (associating false gods with Allah).' The people said: 'O Abu Abdullah! We are familiar with incantations and amulets, but what is a love charm (altawlah)'?'He replied: 'It is a sort of magical formula by which women sought to gain their husbands' love'." (Related by Al-Hakim and Ibn Hibban, and both consider it a sahih hadith) 'Imran ibn Hasin reports that "the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, saw a man wearing a bracelet of copper on his arm. The Prophet, peace be upon him, exclaimed to him: 'Woe be to you' What is this? ' The man replied: 'I am suffering from weakness (al-wahinah).' (Al-wahinah is a disease that causes pain in the shoulders and hands. The man was wearing a copper bracelet believing it would relieve his pain and suffering. The Prophet, peace be upon him, prohibited him from wearing it because he regarded it as an amulet) The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: 'It will give you nothing but pain. Throw it away. Had you died while wearing it, you would never have achieved salvation'." (Narrated by Ahmad) 'Isa ibn Hamza said: "I went to see 'Abdullah ibn Hakim and his face was red due to high fever. I said to him: 'Why don't you use an amulet?' He said: 'We seek refuge with Allah from it. The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: "Whoever wears anything as an amulet will be entrusted to it"."' (Abu Daw'ud)

Volume 4, Page 10: Pendants with Words from the Qur'an or Hadith

'Amr ibn Shu'aib relates from his father and from his grandfather, 'Abdullah ibn 'Amr ibn Al-'Aas, that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "If one of you is frightened while sleeping, one should say: A'uzhu billah min hamazatish shayatin wa an yahdrun ' I seek refuge in Allah's perfect words from His anger, His chastisement, from the evil of His creatures, and from the suggestions and approach of devils.' Then one will never be harmed." 'Amr ibn Shu'aib related further that 'Abdullah ibn 'Amr "used to teach this prayer to his older sons who could comprehend and memorize. For those who were not able to do so, he wrote these words down, wrapped them as pendants, and made them wear these around their necks." (Narrated by Abu Daw'ud, Nasa'i, and Tirmihi, who says it is an acceptable but unknown hadith. Al-Hakim says it is sound)

'Aishah, Malik, and most of the scholars of the schools of Ash-Shafi'i and Ahmad ibn Hanbal also subscribe to this view. Nevertheless Ibn 'Abbas, Ibn Mas'ud, scholars of the Hanafi school, and some scholars of the Ash-Shafi'i and Hanbali schools, according to one study, are of the opinion that it is not permissible for a person to wear anything as an amulet in the light of the above mentioned general prohibition regarding amulets.

Volume 4, Page 11: Prohibition of Someone with a Contagious Disease Living Among the Healthy

Anyone with a contagious disease may be prohibited from living among healthy people. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "A sick person must not be brought among the healthy." The Prophet, peace be upon him, prohibited the owner of sick camels from mixing them with the healthy ones of another owner, even though he also stated: "No contagious disease is transmitted without Allah's permission, nor is there any bad omen." It is also reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, accepted the oath of allegiance from a leper from outside Madinah and did not permit him to enter the city.

Volume 4, Page 11a: Prohibition of Entering Or Leaving a Plague-Stricken Area

The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, forbade people to leave or enter a land where there is a plague, in order to check the spread of the contagious disease and confine it to a limited area. In medical terminology this is known as "quarantine." Usamah ibn Zaid said: "The Prophet, peace be upon him, remarked in reference to the plague, 'It is a remnant of the chastisement inflicted upon the Israelites. If a plague breaks out in a place where you are, do not leave that place, and when you hear of its spread in another place, do not go there." (Narrated by Tirmizhi, who considers it a sound hadith)

Ibn 'Abbas reports: "'Umar ibn al-Khattab went to Al-Sham (Syria). When he reached Sargh, the army commanders, Abu Obaidah ibn al-Jarrah, and others received him. They informed him that a plague had broken out in Al-Sham."Ibn Abbas continued, "'Umar assembled the leaders from among the Muhajirin and sought their opinions. They offered conflicting opinions. Some said: 'We have come for a certain objective, and so we should not turn back from it.' Others said: 'With you are others, including some companions of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him. We do not believe that you should expose them to this plague.' 'Umar said: 'You may leave.'Then he gathered together the Ansar and asked their opinion. They were unanimous in their advice to him. They said: 'We believe that you should return with the people and you should not expose them to the plague.' Then 'Umar addressed the people, announced that he was going back the next morning, and asked them to be prepared to leave in the morning. ' At this Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah said: 'O 'Umar! Are you running away from the decree of Allah!' 'Umar replied: 'O Abu Ubaidah! I wish someone else had said this. Yes, we do run from the decree of Allah to the decree of Allah. What if you had a herd of camels and you took them to a valley that had two slopes, one green pasturage and the other dry and barren. Would you not be fulfilling the decree of Allah if you let your herd graze on the green pasture rather than keeping them on the dry barren land?' Just then came Abdurrahman ibn 'Awf. He had been away on some errand. He said: 'I have some knowledge concerning this issue. I heard the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, say: "If you hear that an epidemic has broken out in a land, do not approach it. If it attacks a land where you live, then do not leave that land in a bid to escape from it".' Hearing this 'Umar praised Allah and then he departed. This is reported by Bukhari.

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