Assalamualaikum ustaz. I would like to ask about the status of the hadith which has been widely shared since the outbreak of Covid-19 which states: “In the end of times, there will come a spread of contagious disease in the world. Only my ummah will be saved as they observe their wudu’” – Narrated by al-Thabrani. My question is, is this hadith sahih?
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
First, there are syara’ evidences which state there will be outbreaks of contagious disease upon later generations of this ummah. Among them is what is stated in a hadith narrated by Ibn Umar R.Anhuma. He stated that the Prophet PBUH said:
لَمْ تَظْهَرِ الْفَاحِشَةُ فِي قَوْمٍ قَطُّ حَتَّى يُعْلِنُوا بِهَا إِلاَّ فَشَا فِيهِمُ الطَّاعُونُ وَالأَوْجَاعُ الَّتِي لَمْ تَكُنْ مَضَتْ فِي أَسْلاَفِهِمُ الَّذِينَ مَضَوْا
“Immorality never appears among a people to such an extent that they commit it openly, but plagues and diseases that were never known among the predecessors will spread among them,”
Sunan Ibn Majah (4019)
Here we state some opinions of the scholars on the status of the above hadith:
- Imam al-Hakim al-Naisaburi states: هَذَا حَدِيث صَحِيح الْإِسْنَاد “this hadith’s isnad is sahih”. Refer Al-Mustadrak ‘ala al-Sahihain, Al-Hakim (4/582).
- Imam al-Bushiri states that: هذا حديث صالح للعمل به means “this hadith is soleh (good) to be practiced”. Refer Misbah al-Zujajah fi Zawaid Ibn Majah, Al-Bushiri (4/186).
- Syeikh Shu’aib al-Arna’uth then stated that this hadith is hassan li ghayrih. Refer Sunan Ibn Majah tahqiq Syu’aib al-Arnauth (5/150).
Coming back to the question asked, after doing thorough research on the text of hadith in the hadith books by Imam al-Thabrani like al-Mu’jam al-Saghir, al-Mu’jam al-Awsath and al-Mu’jam al-Kabir, we did not find any hadith which is close or exactly the same as the text of the hadith.
Hence, we state here that there is no sahih and sarih (clear/direct) hadith that indicates that taking ablution may prevent contagious disease to those who observe it. This is because, according to the sahih hadith, when a disease or calamity from Allah befalls a nation, it will also fall on the pious and believers among them. It is mentioned in a hadith narrated by Ummu Salamah R.Anha where she said that the Prophet PBUH said:
إِذَا ظَهَرَ السُّوءُ فِي الْأَرْضِ أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ بَأْسَهُ بِأَهْلِ الْأَرْضِ ، قُلْتُ: يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ، وَإِنْ كَانَ فِيهِمْ صَالِحُونَ؟ قَالَ نَعَمْ وَإِنْ كَانَ فِيهِم صَالِحُونَ، يُصِيبُهُمْ مَا أَصَابَ النَّاسُ، ثُمَّ يَرْجِعُونَ لِرَحَمَةِ اللَّهِ
When there is a rise of evildoings in the world, Allah will befall His torment to the whole world. I (Umm Salamah) asked: Even if among them are pious people? Then, the Prophet PBUH answered: Yes, even if among them are pious people. They will fall into the same thing the public fall into, then they will return back to Allah’s mercy.
Narrated by al-Thabrani in Mu’jam al-Awsath (2089)
This hadith clearly states that if Allah SWT’s torment befalls a nation, then it will encompass all of them whether there are pious people among them or not. In fact, this is strengthened by a hadith narrated by Ibn Umar RA, where he said that the Prophet PBUH said:
إِذَا أَرَادَ اللَّهُ بِقَوْمٍ عَذَابًا أَصَابَ الْعَذَابُ مَنْ كَانَ فِيهِمْ ثُمَّ بُعِثُوا عَلَى أَعْمَالِهِمْ
“When Allah intends to chastise a people, He chastises all of them then they would be raised according to their deeds.”
Sahih Muslim (2879)
Syeikh Muhammad al-Amin al-Hariri al-Shafi’e in his commentary upon this hadith said: “(Torment) will encompass all among the people of a nation; among the pious and the sinners.” Refer Al-Kaukab al-Wahhaj Syarah Sahih Muslim (26/58).
The same is stated by Syeikh Abu al-Abbas Ahmad bin Umar al-Qurthubi which states: “Allah will destroy all of them with His torment which He sent to all people including the pious and the sinners among them. While the torment that falls on the pious is to elevate their rank as well as adding to their rewards that he will be resurrected with his good intention”. Refer Al-Mufhim (7/144).
It is also strengthened by a hadith narrated by Zainab bint Jahsy R.Anha where she said:
أَنَهْلِكُ وَفِينَا الصَّالِحُونَ قَالَ "نَعَمْ إِذَا كَثُرَ الْخَبَثُ"
Allah's Messenger, would we be perished in spite of the fact that there would be good people amongst us? Thereupon he said: “Of course, but only when the evil predominates.”
Sahih al-Bukhari (7059)
In conclusion, we summarize this statement into several following points:
- It is undeniable that contagious disease will spread in the end of times and we should be aware of this according to the sahih hadith which explain this.
- There is no specific and sahih evidence which states that ablution may prevent someone from any contagious disease. We are not denying the virtues of taking ablution which is able to clean our body from dirt.
- Even the pious and believers cannot run from the torment if Allah SWT intends to send it to a nation like what is mentioned in sahih hadiths that we mentioned earlier.
- The hadith mentioned in the above question is a mawdu’ (fake/fabricated) hadith which contradicts the sahih narrations and of no origin. Still, this does not deny the virtues of taking wudu’ as mentioned in the sahih hadiths.
- It is to be emphasized that spreading mawdu’ hadith is a sinful act and haram. Unless, if it is mentioned to explain on its fabrication.
Lastly, we pray to Allah SWT to be blessed with the correct understanding in this religion. Amin.