‘No contagion, no pessimism, no Haammah and no Safar’
October 04 2019 12:55 AM
The Great Mosque of the Mourides in the Senegalese capital Dakar.
The Great Mosque of the Mourides in the Senegalese capital Dakar. The mosque which can accommodate 30,000 worshippers is touted as the largest in West Africa.

Khutbah by Shaykh Saalih Aal Ash-Shaykh

O believers in Allah and His messenger! Fear Allah and glorify Him as He deserves to be. Know that this life is nothing except a very short period of time, so act righteously herein. He who does so will have a great and pleasant consequence by the mercy and favour of Allah and he who is neither conscious nor fearful of Allah will not have a way out of his hardships and will have an evil end.
Servants of Allah! Abu Hurairah (radhiallah ‘anhu – May Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “No contagion, no pessimism, no Haammah and no Safar” (Bukhari). The meaning of this Hadith is as follows: Haammah is a type of bird; the pre-Islamic Arabs used to think that whenever this bird landed on anyone’s house, somebody who lived in that house would definitely die. This is of course a type of superstition. As for Safar, this is another type of superstition; one group of Islamic scholars held the view that the pre-Islamic Arabs were highly superstitious regarding the month of Safar while another group held the view that Safar is in fact a worm which used to dwell in the bodies of some animals (as a disease) and that this disease was contagious.
In this Hadith the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) negated and refuted the prevalent belief of the disbelievers at that time. These false beliefs would affect the hearts of the people so greatly that it would weaken their reliance on Allah and lead them to doubting Him and even attributing evil to Him. Also, these beliefs would lead people to attribute deficiencies to Allah, either by them claiming that He has incapabilities or by them ascribing partners to Him in acts of worship, or in controlling destiny.
So the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) was addressing all those who truly believe in Allah and in His control over everything by saying: “No contagion, no pessimism, no Haammah and no Safar.”
The words “No contagion” mean that contagion is not independently effective, because the Pre-Islamic Arabs used to believe that contagion was itself a characteristic of a disease and that it had no external control over it. They also believed that there was nothing that could prevent contagion from occurring and that nothing could eliminate it.
When the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “No contagion.” He certainly did not mean that contagion itself does not exist, nor did he mean that diseases and sicknesses do not spread from one person to another due to them coming into close contact, rather, this is something that obviously occurs. However, what the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) was doing was refuting the belief that the disbelievers had which was that if a sick person happened to come close enough to a healthy person, then sickness would definitely be passed onto the healthy person. The disbelievers used to believe that this transfer was beyond the control and will of Allah and that it was bound to happen.
Therefore, what the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) was explaining was that sickness does not spread simply by mixing healthy people with sick ones, rather, it happens with the decree and command of Allah; contagion may or may not occur because it is not necessarily the case that every contagious disease will spread from a sick person to a healthy one unless and until Allah permits this to occur. If Allah does not permit it to happen then it cannot and will not ever occur, because that is by the decree and command of Allah.
Contagion is nothing but a means that will only have an effect if Allah decrees for it to occur, it is not something that necessarily takes place. Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “A sick one should not go into the presence of a healthy one, nor should a healthy one go into the presence of a sick one.” (Muslim). He (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said this regarding camels because allowing them to mix is a means of spreading disease among them. Therefore, in this Hadith, the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) proves that contagion actually exists, but he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) only proved its existence as a means and not as an end.
This is exactly the same as saying, for example, that if a person were to do something that could result in his death, then by doing it, he would die – if Allah decreed that to happen. It is also the same as saying, for example, that if a person were to eat and drink then he would satisfy his hunger and quench his thirst. In reality, these actions are nothing but means to an end that will only occur if Allah has decreed it to do so.
Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “Run away from a person with leprosy as you would run away from a lion.” (Ahmad and Bukhari). This is because mixing with such a person is a means of spreading the sickness from a person with leprosy to a healthy one. So this Hadith of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) explains that although these are nothing but means and that their effect will not take place without the decree of Allah, we still have to exert our utmost efforts in avoiding these means that may result in disease, destruction or tribulations. Moreover, we must rely on Allah in all cases.
This is why on one occasion the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) sat next to a man who had leprosy and ate with him from the same plate, he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) even put his hand in the same food that the man was eating from to prove to people that diseases spread only if Allah wills for them to do so. He (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) also did this to show that it is not a must that contagious sicknesses will spread and that it is only Allah who gives the ability for these means to take effect. Then, after eating, he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “No contagion and no pessimism.”
He (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “No pessimism” because during Jaahiliyyah, or the pre-Islamic period of ignorance, the disbelievers were extremely pessimistic about everything. Ibn Mas’ood, may Allah be pleased with him, said that “Each one of us had this (i.e., pessimism), but Allah replaced it with our reliance on Him.” (Abu Daawood and Tirmidhi). This saying means that at that time, the people’s hearts were full of pessimism. For example, people used to feel pessimism when they felt the wind blowing strongly, or if some of them intended to set out on a journey and subsequently saw something that they disliked, they would be sure that they would meet a calamity or even death during the forthcoming trip, so they would be overcome by pessimism.
However, a believer must completely rely on Allah as Ibn Mas’ood, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “Allah replaces pessimism with reliance on Him.” Pessimism is a false and futile concept; it has no effect in determining events because they are all under the control and decree of Allah. This is why the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) used to hate pessimism and love optimism; for one who is always optimistic has a high opinion of his Lord, which the believer is commanded to have. As for pessimism, this leads a person into thinking evil of his Lord, which was the belief of the people during Jahiliyyah. Due to these reasons, the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) forbade us from being pessimistic by saying: “No pessimism.”
Then, he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said “No Haammah” which refers to the bird already mentioned which the disbelievers had false beliefs about. For example, they believed that a person who was murdered would have this bird in his grave screaming for revenge. They also thought that the Haammah bird contained the soul of a dead person and flew it between different neighbourhoods. There were countless other false beliefs which were prevalent at that time, so the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) had to refute and negate them because these beliefs were contrary to the sound creed that a Muslim is commanded to have. The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) clarified the concept that everything occurs due to the decree and command of Allah and nothing else.
Another falsehood which the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) wanted to eliminate from its roots was regarding the month of Safar. Many scholars are of the view that Safar was a month in which the pre-Islamic Arabs were particularly pessimistic. Therefore, when the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said, “No Safar”, this was an indication that he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) wanted to refute and negate all the false beliefs that the disbelievers used to harbour regarding that month. The disbelievers used to think that during the month of Safar, all problems, disasters, calamities and other evils would occur. Therefore they would avoid getting married in this month as they thought that such a union would be doomed; nobody would trade during this month as they thought that it would be fruitless; they also thought that all other endeavours during that month would end in problems, hardships and even death. These are the types of beliefs that the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) countered due to their falsity.
Safar is just one of 12 months that Allah has given us; nothing happens in this month except what Allah has decreed to happen within it, Allah did not specify a certain month of the year where all difficulties, hardships and calamities would afflict people. In fact, if one looks at history, he will discover that many conquests and victories occurred during the month of Safar for the Muslims; it may be that some people are ignorant of this and therefore it becomes incumbent on us to pay attention to facts like these and convey them to the masses. By doing this we are going back to the fundamentals and bases of these false concepts and cutting them off from their roots. Therefore, in this particular case, we know that believing that Safar as an ‘unlucky’ month is a false and frivolous belief, both from the words of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) and by practical experience of the fact that there has been a lot of goodness in this month throughout history. Therefore, all forms of pessimism regarding minutes, hours, days and months are negated by Islam – our faith must be sound and distinct from that of the disbelievers.
The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) exerted all possible efforts in explaining these concepts to us. He (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) made it clear that we need to purify our hearts from thinking evil of our Lord or being pessimistic regarding places, times or dates. For example, we must refute and negate the belief that some have which is to think that Wednesday is a day on which all evil takes place, so they avoid doing certain things on that day.
Dear believers! We must pay close attention to such matters, our belief must be sound and correct, and we must not allow our hearts and minds to be invaded by such falsities. We must not be pessimistic regarding specific times and places because the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) forbade us from doing this. Also, it goes against the sound belief that we are required as Muslims to possess. I ask Allah to guide me and you all and to make us among those who always think highly of their Lord.
Also, we must know that favours and bounties cannot be attained except by being obedient to Allah and that hardship, calamities and problems can be reduced if not terminated by supplicating to Allah or by being obedient to Him. Therefore, whoever relies on Allah, He is sufficient for him. Allah says that which translates as:
“...And whoever fears Allah – He will make for him of his matter ease.” (At-Talaaq: 4).
Nothing can avert the decree and command of Allah except supplication. Destruction and calamities cannot be stopped except through obedience to Allah. I ask Allah to make me and you all among those whom He has mercy upon. Allah says that which translates as: “By time, Indeed mankind is in loss, Except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience.” (Al-Asr: 1-3).

The arrows of Satan
Satan readies himself and chooses his prey carefully. He is determined as he shoots the arrows of looks to go through your eyes, tearing the veils of modesty and chastity. This arouses the desires of the weak heart, which commands the body to pursue the satisfaction of such desires. The tongue speaks, the legs walk, and thus, unlawful acts are committed and the soul falls into the mire of sin.

“That is purer for them”
In order to ward off this Satanic cycle, Allah The Almighty instructed his believing slaves, both men and women, to lower their gaze. He told them that this would purify them. Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {Tell the believing men to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts. That is purer for them. Indeed, Allah is acquainted with what they do. And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts.} [Qur’an 24:30-31]
Ibn al-Qayyim, may Allah have mercy upon him, said in his well-known book Al-Fawaa’id: A collection of Wise Sayings that Sahl ibn ‘Abdullah, may Allah have mercy upon him says, “Abandoning the order is greater than committing the prohibition in the Sight of Allah because Adam, may Allah exalt his mention, was forbidden to eat from the tree and when he, may Allah exalt his mention, ate from it Allah accepted his repentance, but Satan was ordered to prostrate to Adam, when he refused and Allah did not accept his repentance.”
Again Ibn al-Qayyim, may Allah have mercy upon him, says in his another famous book in Ad-Daa’ wad-Dawaa’, “Look at the accuracy of the Qur’anic expression in the order to lower the gaze, as if Allah The Almighty reminds us that not lowering the gaze causes the doom of the doer and his suffering in this life and in the Hereafter. Failing to lower one’s gaze is the basis for the problems that afflict man. An unlawful look generates thoughts, then thoughts generate ideas, then ideas generate desires, then desires generate will, which develops into resolve and determination, then the action inevitably takes place if there is nothing to prevent it.”
This is the destructive cycle of Satan, which traps the one who does not lower his gaze, then records the images and scenes seen by his treacherous eyes. The cursed Satan waits for the moment of weakness in man’s faith to release these images and scenes in his mind and soul, igniting his sexual desire, which dominates the heart that commands the body to disobey Allah The Almighty, and so on in a consecutive sequence. The more the images vary, the easier arousal and falling into sin will be. On the other hand, the less the images and scenes, the weaker their impact and influence on the heart will be. According to a saying, “Patience over lowering the gaze is easier than patience over the pain of its consequences.”
O Muslim who does not lower his gaze, if your eyes roam around looking at the charms of beautiful women, you would plant in your heart thorns of loss and regret.

“Allah knows that which deceives the eyes”
Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {He knows that which deceives the eyes and what the breasts conceal.} [Qur’an 40:19] This is a great verse and the interpreter of the Quran, Ibn Mas‘ood, may Allah be pleased with him, tells you its meaning, “It refers to a man who enters a person’s house where there is a beautiful woman among them, or that a beautiful woman passes by them, and while they do not notice him, he looks at her; when they see him, he lowers his gaze. However, Allah The Almighty Knows that he inwardly wishes to see her private parts.”
The great scholar, Al-Ameen Ash-Shinqeeti, may Allah have mercy upon him, said in his book Adhwaa’ Al-Bayaan, “The verse contains a warning for the one who betrays with his eyes by looking at what is unlawful for him. The slave of Allah will stand before Allah and be questioned about his senses. Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {Indeed, the hearing, the sight and the heart - about all those [one] will be questioned.} [Qur’an 17:36]
If you will be questioned on the Day of Resurrection about your stares and looks, have you prepared an answer for this?

The fornication of the eyes
To make this act more repugnant to the souls, the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, called it adultery of the eyes. It was narrated on the authority of Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “Allah has written for the son of Adam his inevitable share of adultery. The adultery of the eye is looking (at what is prohibited), the adultery of the ears is listening (to what is prohibited), the adultery of the tongue is uttering (what it is unlawful to utter), the adultery of the hand is doing (what is prohibited), the adultery of the legs is walking (to what is prohibited) and the heart desires and wishes for (adultery) and the private parts affirm that or contradict it.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
In Sharh Saheeh Muslim, An-Nawawi, may Allah have mercy upon him, said, “The meaning of the Hadith is that a share of adultery is written for the son of Adam. Some people commit actual adultery such as a male commits sexual intercourse with a female who is unlawful to him. Other people commit adultery in the figurative sense by looking at the prohibition or listening to adultery and its relevant affairs, or by touching with the hand a non-Mahram (marriageable) woman or kissing her, or by walking to commit adultery, seeing, touching, or forbidden talking with a non-Mahram woman, or by inner thoughts. All these things belong to metaphoric adultery. By “The private parts affirm that or contradict it” it means that adultery might actually happen through the private parts or might not take place by entering the male genital organ into the female genital organ even if he is close to doing it. Allah knows best.”

Destruction of homes
It is noticeable that one of the most important causes of problems in many homes is failing to lower the gaze. When the husband releases his gaze, a comparison will seep into his heart between his wife and the corrupting programmes made by some people to tempt others. This comparison causes many problems in homes, when the husband asks his wife to give him what he sees from dissolute women and provocative images are imprinted in his mind.
It is also noticeable that releasing the gaze is one of the main reasons for the delay in marriage. That is because the young man already has in his mind multiple examples of beautiful girls, especially those whom he watches on television and searches hard to get one like them. Yet, he will not get what he wants, because what he sees on television is generally deceptive beauty and false femininity, and thus leads him to delay his marriage and affects the marriage of Muslim girls with him.

Article source: http://www.islamweb.net/emainpage/

War against an open enemy
The greatest thing that can be used as a defence against devils is sticking to the Book and the Sunnah, by one’s knowledge and by one’s actions. The Book and the Sunnah present the straight path, and it is Satan (Shaytan) who struggles to steer us from this straight path. Allah says in the Qur’an:
“And He (commands you, saying:) This is My straight path, so follow it. Follow not other ways, lest you be parted from His way. This has He ordained for you, that you may ward off evil.” (al-Anaam 153). The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) explained this verse. He once drew a straight line with his hand and said, “This is the straight path of Allah.” Then on its left and on its right he drew other lines and he said, “These paths all have Satan calling (people) to them.” And then he recited the above verse. [This was narrated by Ahmad, al-Haakim, who called it sahih, and al-Nasa’i]
If the person follows what has come from Allah in his beliefs, actions, words, worship, law, and so on, and avoids what He has forbidden, then he will be protected from Satan. Allah says in the Qur’an:
“Oh you who believe, Come, all of you, into submission (unto Him); and follow not the footsteps of Satan. Lo! He is an open enemy for you” (al-Baqara 208). The Arabic word al-silm in that verse refers to Islam while some say it means obeying Allah and Muqaatil says it refers to all acts in which there is righteousness. From that we see that it is an order to apply all of the branches of Islam and all the aspects of its laws according to one’s abilities; and the verse prohibits the following of the footsteps of Satan. Whoever does not follow any part of Islam has, in fact, followed in some of the footsteps of Satan. Therefore any kind of allowing what Allah has prohibited or vice-versa is a following of Satan. Eating any forbidden and foul foods is all part of following in the footsteps of Satan that has been declared prohibited for us.
“O mankind! Eat that which is lawful and wholesome in the earth, and follow not the footsteps of the devil. Lo! he is an open enemy for you” (al-Baqara 168).
Sticking to the Book of Allah and his Sunnah in one’s words and actions will rebuke Satan and will greatly infuriate him. It is recorded in Sahih Muslim, Musnad Ahmad and Sunan Ibn Majah on the authority of Abu Hurairah that the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said,
“When the son of Adam reads a verse of prostration and then prostrates, Satan departs from him and cries, saying, ‘Woe to me. The son of Adam was ordered to prostrate and he did so and, therefore, he will be granted paradise. I was ordered to prostrate and disobeyed and, therefore, I will get the hell-fire.”

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