Q. Another Hadeeth making its rounds on social media is:
SOCIAL DISTANCING – The Prophet Muhammed Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said: “When you speak to someone (who is afflicted with a contagious illness), there should be between you and them a space of the length of a spear (approximately two meters).” [Musnad Imam Ahmed]
Kindly confirm if this Hadeeth is authentic? Is this the correct translation and interpretation of the Hadeeth? Some words are in brackets which is somewhat funny. Your input will be appreciated.
A. Whilst the Hadeeth appears in Musnad Ahmed which may not be rejected, it should be remembered that it is not permissible for the Muqallideen to refer to Ahaadeeth for Masaail. This was the function solely of the Mujtahideen.
Only a Mujtahid may refer directly to the Qur’aan and Hadeeth for Masaail – not Muqallideen like us. By referring directly to Ahaadeeth, we will make blunders and remember that misinterpreting what Nabi Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said, is undoubtedly Kufr. Thus, it is incumbent that we refer to the Fuqaha.
Even the Ulama have to incumbently refer to the Fuqaha. Let us not refer directly to Qur’aan and Ahaadeeth like the wayward Salafis! No wonder the Salafis (anti-Taqleed morons) are so deviated, insulting great Ulama such as the Four Imaams of Fiqh, and not realizing that they are plodding the path of Baatil and Kufr!
The Hadeeth under discussion has been selectively translated and misinterpreted. The words in brackets (who is afflicted with a contagious illness) are not the words of Nabi Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam, but are the kufr interpretations of the dishonest translator whoever he or she maybe.
The full Hadeeth is as follows. Nabi Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said: “Do not look constantly (i.e. stare) at the Majzoomeen (lepers). And when you speak to them, then there should be between you and them, the distance of a spear.”
The first thing is that the translator conveniently omitted the first part of the Hadeeth and added his own interpretation in brackets for obvious reasons.
Secondly, the Hadeeth refers to lepers. It is misleading to infer that the Hadeeth refers to someone ‘who is afflicted with a contagious illness’ because Nabi Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said: ‘There is no contagion.’ The Hadeeth does not speak about any other illness besides leprosy. When Nabi Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam negated the contagiousness of diseases/illnesses, then it is obvious that this Hadeeth does not refer to Covid-19.
Thirdly, why should one not look at the majzoomeen despite the fact that Nabi Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said: ‘There is no contagion.’? This is because when a leper sees a healthy person, his calamity increases, he feels despondent and his grief increases. Thus, the person should flee from a leper, don’t stare at him and stay a distance of a spear away from him. These commands were for those of weak Imaan so that their beliefs remain correct.
A person with strong Imaan and correct Tawakkul is capable of warding off from himself the false beliefs of contagion which the people of Jaahiliyyah held that one person is the cause of the next person’s illness.
Fourthly, the distance of a spear relates to speaking – not Salaat. In Salaat, the lepers, etc. stood shoulder to shoulder with the rest. There was no social distancing in Salaat. Nabi Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam practically refuted the Kufr idea of disease being contagious, by eating together with a leper from the same bowl.
And most importantly, health and illness are in the Hands of Allah. Diseases do not operate on their own. Diseases are under the Divine Control of Allah Ta’ala. All such Ahaadeeth which the protagonists of social distancing have cited, were to refute corrupt beliefs. ‘Social contact’ does not transmit diseases. This is the Islamic concept stated with clarity by Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam. When Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said: ‘Laa adwaa’, a Bedouin said: “O Rasulullah! My camels in the desert are (healthy) like wild bucks. When a camel with scurvy mingles with them, they all get scurvy.”
The mushrikeen held the same belief as the atheists of today regarding diseases being contagious. In refutation of this corrupt belief, Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam asked the Bedouin: “Who infected the first camel?” That Being who gave the disease to the very first camel, is the One Who gives the disease to the others.
While Allah Ta’ala directly caused the disease to infect the first one, He uses this one as the worldly vehicle to transmit the disease to all those whom He has earmarked. Without Allah’s command, the disease will not befall those who have not been destined to contract it. Thus, all the measures of Shaytaan being adopted are in vain. The progress of the virus will not be thwarted. It will take in its grasp and stride everyone whom Allah Azza Wa Jal has targeted.
Finally, the Zindeeqs are arguing in favour of social distancing between healthy people whereas Nabi Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam did not advocate healthy people staying apart from one another due to others having illnesses. The Hadeeth has no relevance to social distancing and healthy people standing a spear’s length or two meters apart from one another. Nabi Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam did not state that people should be apart from one another for the fear of contracting a disease. The Zindeeqs should not quote Ahaadeeth just as they feel like, since Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said: