By Mohammad Shekaib Alam
This article is completely based on the exposition made by Moulana Anees-ur-Rahman Nadwi in a booklet entitled “the prophecy of the emergence of the coronavirus in the hadith of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)” in Urdu language, published by Furqania Academy Waqf, Bangalore, India, 2020.
The author has collected related hadiths that look as if Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him (pbuh)) is predicting a global pandemic that will seize the day to day activities of people in the last time before the Hour and create havoc in society leading to starvation and cruelty.
This piece attempted to highlight the significant and salient points regarding the matter without discussing them in detail as well as without including additional information on the matter, separating it into four headers; nature of coronavirus, prediction of its emergence, mechanism of handling it, and its consequences.
Nature of Coronavirus
A hadith compiled and narrated by Naim ibn Hammad and Abu Huraira (RA) respectively in the Book of Trials pronounces that:
الفتنة الرابعة عمياء مظلمة تمور مور البحر، لا يبقى بيت من العرب و العجم إلا ملأته ذلا و خوفا، تطيف بالشام و تعشى بالعراق و تخبط بالجزيرة بيدها و رجلها، تعرك الأمة فيها عرك الأديم و يشتد فيه البلاء حتى ينكر فيها المعروف و يعرف فيها المنكر لا يستطيع أحد يقول: مه مه، و لا يرقعونها من ناحية إلا تفتت من ناحية، يصبح الرجل فيها مؤمنا، و يمسي كافرا.
The fourth trial will be shady and blind. It will give the impression like a wave of the sea that appears after a little pause. It will spare not a single house that is filled with humiliation and terror. It will visit Syria, then it will appear in Iraq, and then enfold the hands and legs of the Arabian Peninsula. People will get trapped in this trial completely and the disaster will be so severe that the goodness will be considered evil and the evil will be considered goodness. No one will dare to say to stop it. If it gets well-maintained by one side will get unlocked from another. During that time, a man would be a Muslim in the morning and an unbeliever in the evening (Hadith Number: 651).
This hadith explains a few characteristics of this trial including this will be a global phenomenon as such that no house will be free from its effect which is being observed today as it has spread throughout the world. Secondly, it will get stretch out through legs and hands when people will move from one place to another or touch own or others’ body. Thirdly, people will be terrified thinking may it will inflict them and get humiliated due to loss of income and cash when they request help from people.
Fourthly, people always will be suspect of good and evil because of its severity. Fifthly, the trial will be too frightening, it may fade in one place but the possibility of its recurrence will not vanish. Lastly, it will be shady and blind which is a metaphor for the virus as it will be such tiny that even it becomes difficult to watch out through a microscope and will not move by itself but it is people who will catch and pass to each other by walking around.
At that time, if Prophet had mentioned it as a virus, may people have not understood it. That’s why he used the metaphor which is clearly understood today.
Mechanism of handing it
عن عبد الله بن مسعود قال: سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول: تكون فتنة النائم فيها خير من المضطجع ، والمضطجع فيها خير من القاعد، والقاعد فيها خير من الماشي، والماشي فيها خير من الراكب، والراكب خير من المجري؛ قتلاها كلها في النار . قال: قلت: يا رسول الله ! ومتى ذلك؟ قال: ذلك أيام الهرج . قلت: ومتى أيام الهرج ؟ قال: حين لا يأمن الرجل جليسه . قال: قلت: فما تأمرني إن أدركت ذلك ؟ قال: اكفف نفسك ويدك، وادخل دارك . قال: قلت: يا رسول الله ! أرأيت إن دخل رجل علي داري ؟ قال: فادخل بيتك . قال: قلت: أفرأيت إن دخل علي بيتي ؟ قال: فادخل مسجدك، واصنع هكذا (وقبض بيمينه على الكوع)، وقل: ربي الله، حتى تموت على ذلك .
Abdullah ibn Mas’ud narrates that he has heard that Prophet (pbuh) was saying there will be a trial in which the one who is sleeping will be better than the one who is laying down, the one who is laying down will be better than the one who is sitting down, the one who is sitting down will be better than the one who is standing, the one who is standing will be better than the one who is walking around, and the one who is walking around will be better than the one who is running. The companion asked when it will happen Oh, Prophet? He (pbuh) replied it will happen in the days of “Haraj”. The companion asked when will be the days of “Haraj”? He (pbuh) replied when people will feel unsecured from their neighbours. The companion asked what should I do if I find such time? He (pbuh) replied that stay at home. The companion asked what if someone enters the home? He (pbuh) replied then enter into your prostrating room and then do like this while he grabbed his right hand on the elbow and say, by Allah (you will not shake hands) until you die on that. (Musnad Ahmad, 4286; Sahih ibn Hibban, 5965).
This hadith explains some effective remedies for the coronavirus which have been adopted by the entire world today that are staying back at home or being home quarantined and not shaking hands with each other as Prophet demonstrated to hold them such that even person has to die in that condition should die in it but should not offer to shake hands. Similarly, hadith explains the degree of risk by unfolding numerous movement forms. Where the safest therapy is indwelling at home and in this trial, every person will feel insecure from another nearby person as people are experiencing now.
Prediction of its emergence
The hadith noted above elucidates when this trial will be taking place by saying “in the days of “Haraj”. The wordings of ‘the days of Haraj’ have appeared in about 30 hadith books including Sahih al-Bukhari. Haraj means intensified and plenty of killing. Based on a few pieces of research including the one published by Harvard University that COVID-19 may affect about 70% of the world population, the writer argues this is the illustration of intensified and plenty of killing predicted by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) a few centuries ago.
The writer spotted another controversial point from his arguing that this virus is man-made because Prophet (pbuh) used the word “intensified and plenty of killing and not the word “death”. Thus, death is a natural, God-made phenomenon while killing is an unnatural, human-made subject. For this, the author offered many arguments including many countries’ own biological warfare today and this could be done by any one of them intentionally or unintentionally. Similarly, many movies predicted the COVID-19-like situation the world will be facing during this time which we are witnessing.
He also mentioned what Bill Gates had stated in 2018 that very soon the world will confront a grave pandemic among other arguments. Those who are interested to know more, may ‘Google’. My intent here is to highlight points related to hadith more compared to others. The forthcoming hadith is very crucial in this regard.
عن عوف بن مالك عن النبى صلى الله عليه وسلم قال: بين يدي الساعة… موتان يأخذ فيكم كقعاص الغنم.
‘Auf ibn Malik narrates that Prophet (pbuh) states when the Hour will be close, animals’ disease will spread out and you will die like animals (Sahih al-Bukhari, 3176).
The hadith firstly explains this trial will take place when the Hour will be near and as per the signs mentioned in Ahadith books look, the present time is nearest to the Hour. Secondly, the origin of this trial will be associated with animals and it is noted that COVID-19 emerged from a bat. The word “موتان” in hadith has two connotations; one is the excessive death and second is death which is associated with animals especially with sheep. Similarly, “قعاص” has two meanings; one is a disease that inflicts to sheep and causes immediate death, secondly, a disease that happens in the chest.
It is noticed that COVID-19 patient faces difficulty in breathing and the virus infects the lung firstly. However, earlier the author had argued this COVID-19 is a man-made anticipating on the word “Harja” that means killing and not death but here specifically the word “موت” has occurred that contradicts his earlier claim. And it can be argued both are separate incidents that will take place when the Hour is near. Allah knows the best.
The consequences of Coronavirus
Regarding the consequences of the coronavirus, it is mentioned it will cause unthinkable death which is being perceived today. Other costs are pointed out by Ali RA in the forthcoming hadith.
ألا إن أخوف الفتن عندي عليكم، فتنة عمياء مظلمة، خصت فتنتها وعمت بليتها، أصاب البلاء من أبصر فيها، وأخطأ البلاء من عمي عنها، يظهر أهل باطلها على أهل حقها حتى تملأ الأرض عدوانا وظلما، وإن أول من يكسر عمدها ويضع جبروتها وينزع أوتادها الله رب العالمين.
Listen, in my opinion, the grave trial, you all will confront is the one that is shady and blind. The trial will be specific but its effects will be common. It will infect the one who will meet it but it will not affect the one who avoids it. In this trial, people who are corrupted and ill-faith will become victorious over those who are faithful and honest causing tremendous injustice and aggression. The one who will first root out this trial, the one who will make this insignificant, and the one who will destroy its props is Allah SWT (Musanaf ibn Abi Shaibah, 37734).
This hadith explains some major points this trial will fetch. Firstly, this trial will affect specific people but its effects will include everyone as everyone is scared that may it will infect them too. Secondly, it will contaminate those who expose themselves to it but those who stay back at home will be protected. Thirdly, at this moment, the earth will be filled with injustice and aggression by people who are unfaithful and corrupt.
This phenomenon is also being observed today as many used this to defame others. Financially weak people and countries will face difficulty in getting the vaccine and the economics of many countries are suffering and getting collapsed today, thus the exploitation will become easier. The author had also quoted the statement made by Henry Kissinger recently that the world is about to adopt a new order. The first hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah, recorded by Naim ibn Hammad contains some other words at the end which are:
و لا ينجو منها إلا من دعا كدعاء الغرق في البحر، تدوم اثني عشر عاما، تنجلي حين تنجلي، و قد انحسرت الفرات عن جبل من ذهب فيقتلون عليها، حتى تقتل من كل تسعة سبعة.
The one who will be spared out from this pandemic is the one who prays like a drowning person in the sea. And this trial will be prolonged for 12 years. At this time, the river of Euphrates will dry and a mountain of gold will emerge within causing people to slay each other in order to acquire the gold until seven out of nine will be slain.
The meaning of this hadith is self-explanatory as it states the only thing that makes people rid of this situation is excessive prayer. Secondly, this pandemic will prolong for 12 years. Although, people have discovered or developed the vaccine today but to vaccinate every individual in the world will demand several years. Similarly, this hadith indicates during or after this pandemic, a great war will take place in the Middle East.
The above description in hadith about the pandemic resembles the newly emerged COVID-19 virus in various ways. It also establishes that this pandemic will not go away so soon and people will suffer greatly. However, it has offered its remedy that people are required to quarantine themselves and should beg for supplication from Allah SWT .***
(The writer, Mohd Shekaib Alam is a postgraduate student from the Department of Political Science, KIRKHS)