Can Wars & Epidemics co-exist

بســـم اللــه الرحــمــن الـرحـــيــم

▪️Is it true that wars and epidemics do not coexist? Also contains a beautiful admonition regarding this ongoing coronavirus▪️

Our Shaykh, Muḥammad ibn Ḥizām -may Allāh preserve him- was asked the following question:

📩 Question:

The questioner says: Some people say that epidemics and wars do not coexist, [is this correct]?

📝 Answer:

This statement is false. Everything is in the Hands of Allāh. If Allāh wills for them to coexist, they will coexist, and if Allāh wills for one to occur independent of the other, then that will be the case.

In ‘As-Silsilah Aḍh-ḍha’īfah’ of imām Albānī -may Allāh have mercy on him- he makes mention of a very weak ḥadīth:

((لا وباء مع السيف ولا نجاء مع الجراد))

“There’s no epidemic wherever there’s war, and there’s no harvest wherever there’s locusts.”
[Reported by Ibn Shāhīn in ‘Al-fawā’id’ on the authority of Al-Barā’ ibn ‘Āzib]

And within the chain of this ḥadīth there is an individual known as Salm ibn Sālim Al-Balkhī, who is accused (of being a liar). And I say, this ḥadīth may even be fabricated.

Furthermore, there are instances in this Yemeni country of ours where epidemics have occurred alongside wars. In fact, just a few days back, there was a spread of dengue fever, and prior to that, the cholera disease was widespread; all of which occurred alongside this ongoing war.

So everything is in the Hands of Allāh.

{مَا یَفۡتَحِ اللهُ لِلنَّاسِ مِن رَّحۡمَةࣲ فَلَا مُمۡسِكَ لَهَاۖ وَمَا یُمۡسِكۡ فَلَا مُرۡسِلَ لَهُۥ مِنۢ بَعۡدِهِۦۚ وَهُوَ ٱلۡعَزِیزُ ٱلۡحَكِیمُ}

“No one can withhold the blessing God opens up for people, nor can anyone but Him release whatever He withholds: He is the Almighty, the All Wise.”
[Surah Fāṭir 2]

[The Prophet ﷺ would say:]
“O Allāh! None can deny that which You bestow, and none can bestow that which You hold back; and the greatness of the great will be of no avail to them against You.”

So everything is in the Hands of Allāh. He says to it, be! And it is. Therefore, it’s incumbent upon Muslims to return back to Allāh -Glorified and Exalted is He- so that He removes & wards these afflictions from them.

{قُلۡ أَفَرَءَیۡتُم مَّا تَدۡعُونَ مِن دُونِ اللهِ إِنۡ أَرَادَنِیَ اللهُ بِضُرٍّ هَلۡ هُنَّ كَـٰشِفَـٰتُ ضُرِّهِۦۤ أَوۡ أَرَادَنِی بِرَحۡمَةٍ هَلۡ هُنَّ مُمۡسِكَـٰتُ رَحۡمَتِهِۦۚ قُلۡ حَسۡبِیَ اللهُ عَلَیۡهِ یَتَوَكَّلُ ٱلۡمُتَوَكِّلُونَ}

Tell ˹them˺, “Consider then whatever ˹idols˺ you invoke besides Allāh: if it was Allāh’s Will to harm me, could they undo that harm? Or if He willed ˹some˺ mercy for me, could they withhold His mercy?” Say, “Allāh is sufficient for me. In Him ˹alone˺ the faithful put their trust.”
[Sūrat Az-Zumar 38]

It’s incumbent upon the people that they seek refuge in Allāh so that He repels the epidemic from them; this epidemic which has become widespread; which Allāh has sent as a punishment for the disbelievers, and a test and an expiation for the sins of the believers. Muslims must seek refuge in Allāh and flee to Him, begging Him in humility to remove this epidemic from them. (This is what’s required;) seeking refuge in Allāh and fleeing back to Him -Glorified and Exalted is He.

However, some people behave in a very vile manner in the face of these great signs; a manner that is impermissible. So you find some of them turning the affair into a matter of laughter and storytelling. This is among the great signs of Allāh. Allāh -The Mighty and Exalted- has caused unrest amongst the disbelievers by way of a small virus which cannot even be see with the naked eye!!! Look at the greatness of Allāh -Glorified and Exalted is He. If only they took heed, they would have surely raced to accepting faith and embracing Allāh’s religion while they perceive the Might of Allāh -Glorified and Exalted is He.

If the disbelievers had intellect, they would have hastened to embracing Islām and singling Allāh out with worship (Tawḥīd), just as they would have surely believed in Allāh -Glorified and Exalted is He. [Look at] how He has caused such unrest and cast terror into their hearts through a virus that no one can see with their eyes; so small that it can only be seen using microscopes.

Thus, this is among the signs which Allāh has sent to them as a punishment. And Allāh -The Mighty and Majestic- states regarding punishments:

{إِنَّ فِی ذَ ٰ⁠لِكَ لَعِبۡرَةࣰ لِّمَن یَخۡشَىٰۤ}

“Verily, in this is an instructive admonition for whosoever fears Allāh.”
[Sūrah An-Nāzi’āt 26]

So will they take admonition and return back to Allāh with Tawhīd, embracing Islām, and refraining from oppressing people.

Since the enemies of Islām have oppressed, overpowered unjustly and caused great corruption in the lands of the Muslims. So will they return to Allāh, or will they refuse? The one who Allāh grants success will heed these signs.

{إِنَّ فِی ذَ ٰ⁠لِكَ لَعِبۡرَةࣰ لِّمَن یَخۡشَىٰۤ}

“Verily, in this is an instructive admonition for whosoever fears Allāh.”
[Sūrah An-Nāzi’āt 26]

{إِنَّ فِی ذَ ٰ⁠لِكَ لَعِبۡرَةࣰ لِّأُو۟لِی ٱلۡأَبۡصَـٰرِ}

“Truly, in these things is indeed a lesson for those who have insight.”
[Sūrah An-Nūr 44]

And Allāh -The Exalted The Most High-benefits some of the people through these signs, while most of them are heedless of Allāh’s signs.

And another matter we must draw attention to is that Muslims must invoke Allāh. Don’t rejoice that the epidemic has not entered your country, such that you become heedless; lost in play and amusement, storytelling and making jokes. This is not permissible. You must supplicate to Allāh -Glorified and Exalted is He- that he removes this epidemic from the Muslims and their lands.

Seek refuge in Allāh! Seek refuge in Him! Call upon Him in humility!

{فَقُلۡتُ ٱسۡتَغۡفِرُوا۟ رَبَّكُمۡ إِنَّهُۥ كَانَ غَفَّارࣰا ۝ یُرۡسِلِ ٱلسَّمَاۤءَ عَلَیۡكُم مِّدۡرَارࣰا ۝ وَیُمۡدِدۡكُم بِأَمۡوَ ٰ⁠لࣲ وَبَنِینَ وَیَجۡعَل لَّكُمۡ جَنَّـٰتࣲ وَیَجۡعَل لَّكُمۡ أَنۡهَـٰرࣰا ۝ مَّا لَكُمۡ لَا تَرۡجُونَ لِلَّهِ وَقَارࣰا}

“(Prophet Nūḥ said to his people), “Seek your Lord’s forgiveness, ˹for˺ He is truly Most Forgiving.
He will shower you with abundant rain,
supply you with wealth and children, and give you gardens as well as rivers.
What is the matter with you that you are not in awe of the Majesty of Allah,”
[Sūrah Nūḥ 10 – 13]

{وَيَا قَوْمِ اسْتَغْفِرُوا رَبَّكُمْ ثُمَّ تُوبُوا إِلَيْهِ يُرْسِلِ السَّمَاءَ عَلَيْكُم مِّدْرَارًا وَيَزِدْكُمْ قُوَّةً إِلَىٰ قُوَّتِكُمْ وَلَا تَتَوَلَّوْا مُجْرِمِينَ}

“And O my people! Seek your Lord’s forgiveness and turn to Him in repentance. He will shower you with rain in abundance, and add strength to your strength. So do not turn away, persisting in wickedness.”
[Sūrah Hūd 52]

{وَأَنِ اسْتَغْفِرُوا رَبَّكُمْ ثُمَّ تُوبُوا إِلَيْهِ يُمَتِّعْكُم مَّتَاعًا حَسَنًا إِلَىٰ أَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّى وَيُؤْتِ كُلَّ ذِي فَضْلٍ فَضْلَهُ ۖ وَإِن تَوَلَّوْا فَإِنِّي أَخَافُ عَلَيْكُمْ عَذَابَ يَوْمٍ كَبِيرٍ }

“And seek your Lord’s forgiveness and turn to Him in repentance. He will grant you a good provision for an appointed term and graciously reward the doers of good. But if you turn away, then I truly fear for you the torment of a formidable Day.”
[Sūrah Hūd 3]

So hasten Oh slaves of Allāh towards seeking refuge in Allāh and fleeing to Him -The Majestic and Exalted. We must not feel safe from these epidemics. We cannot feel secure for ourselves that Allāh may not afflict us due to our sins. So return back to Allāh! Return back to Him!

Ahlus Sunnah are the best of people, and the best amongst Ahlus Sunnah are the students of knowledge. So do not belittle (the power of) your supplication Oh students of knowledge, but rather invoke Allāh -The Mighty, The Most High-. Invoke Allāh -The Mighty, The Most High in those times where supplications are (most likely to be) accepted; invoke Allāh in Sujūd, during the last third of the night and between the adhān and Iqāmah. Supplicate to him that he preserves the Muslims and their lands and that he removes the epidemic from them. It’s not appropriate for you to leave out this request in your supplications in these times.

Likewise, one should supplicate against the enemies of Islām. The Muslims should never be heedless of them, nor their plots. No one is able to remove this affliction and these pandemics other than Allāh The Exalted. As for the disbelievers, then Allāh punishes them with whatever He wishes. So if they are ones who take heed, let them hasten to (the correct) faith. For indeed, in this there is for them peace, tranquility and success in this world as well as the hereafter. They will be successful through (embracing) this faith. If they had true faith, they would never panic in this manner.

Allāh -The Exalted, The Most High- has promised mankind that if they have faith and perform righteous actions that they will live a pleasant life:

{مَنْ عَمِلَ صَالِحًا مِّن ذَكَرٍ أَوْ أُنثَىٰ وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ فَلَنُحْيِيَنَّهُ حَيَاةً طَيِّبَةً ۖ وَلَنَجْزِيَنَّهُمْ أَجْرَهُم بِأَحْسَنِ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ}

“Whoever does good, whether male or female, and is a believer, We will surely bless them with a good life, and We will certainly reward them according to the best of their deeds.”
[Sūrah An-Naḥl 97]

And Allāh -The Mighty and Majestic- said:

{أَلَا بِذِكْرِ اللهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ}

“Certainly in the remembrance of Allāh do the hearts find tranquility.”
[Sūrah Ar-Ra’d 28]

The prophet ﷺ said:

((ذاق طعم الإيمان: من رضي بالله ربا، وبالإسلام ديناً، وبمحمد نبياً ورسولاً))

“He has found the taste of faith (īmān) he who is content with Allah as his Lord, with Islam as his religion and with Muhammad (ﷺ) as his Prophet and Messenger.”
[Reported by Muslim]

Likewise, the prophet ﷺ said:

((عجبا لأمر المؤمن؛ كل أمره خَيْرٌ، وَلَيْسَ ذَلِكَ لأِحَدٍ إِلاَّ للْمُؤْمِن؛ إِنْ أَصَابَتْهُ سَرَّاءُ شَكَرَ فَكَانَ خَيْراً لَهُ، وَإِنْ أَصَابَتْهُ ضَرَّاءُ صَبَرَ فَكَانَ خيْراً لَهُ))

“How wonderful is the case of a believer; there is good for him in everything and this applies only to a believer. If prosperity attends him, he expresses gratitude to Allah and that is good for him; and if adversity befalls him, he endures it patiently and that is better for him”.
[Reported by Muslim]

Oh you disbelievers! Who is it that unleashed this epidemic upon you and afflicted therewith save Allāh -The Mighty, The Most High-?! Allāh’s (torment) came upon them from where they never expected. And He cast horror into their hearts. So, will they return back to Allāh? Will they submit themselves and return to Him by worshipping Him alone? Where are their (false) deities which they call upon besides Allāh? Can they remove this pandemic from them?!! Where are the idols and rivals which they worship besides Allāh? Can they remove this epidemic from them?!! Certainly not! For nothing is capable of removing it except Allāh whenever He chooses.

{وَلَقَدۡ مَكَّنَّـٰهُمۡ فِیمَاۤ إِن مَّكَّنَّـٰكُمۡ فِیهِ وَجَعَلۡنَا لَهُمۡ سَمۡعࣰا وَأَبۡصَـٰرࣰا وَأَفۡـِٔدَةࣰ فَمَاۤ أَغۡنَىٰ عَنۡهُمۡ سَمۡعُهُمۡ وَلَاۤ أَبۡصَـٰرُهُمۡ وَلَاۤ أَفۡـِٔدَتُهُم مِّن شَیۡءٍ إِذۡ كَانُوا۟ یَجۡحَدُونَ بِـَٔایَـٰتِ ٱللَّهِ وَحَاقَ بِهِم مَّا كَانُوا۟ بِهِۦ یَسۡتَهۡزِءُونَ ۝ وَلَقَدۡ أَهۡلَكۡنَا مَا حَوۡلَكُم مِّنَ ٱلۡقُرَىٰ وَصَرَّفۡنَا ٱلۡـَٔایَـٰتِ لَعَلَّهُمۡ یَرۡجِعُونَ ۝ فَلَوۡلَا نَصَرَهُمُ ٱلَّذِینَ ٱتَّخَذُوا۟ مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ قُرۡبَانًا ءَالِهَةَۢۖ بَلۡ ضَلُّوا۟ عَنۡهُمۡۚ وَذَ ٰ⁠لِكَ إِفۡكُهُمۡ وَمَا كَانُوا۟ یَفۡتَرُونَ}

“Indeed, We had established them in a way We have not established you ˹Meccans˺. And We gave them hearing, sight, and intellect. But neither their hearing, sight, nor intellect were of any benefit to them whatsoever, since they persisted in denying Allah’s signs. And ˹so˺ they were overwhelmed by what they used to ridicule.
We certainly destroyed the societies around you after having varied the signs so perhaps they would return ˹to the Right Path˺.
Why then did those ˹idols˺ they took as gods—hoping to get closer ˹to Him˺—not come to their aid? Instead, they failed them. That is ˹the result of˺ their lies and their fabrications.”
[Sūrah Al-Aḥqāf 26-28]

The Disbelievers are now certain that their idols and false deities which they worship (besides Allāh) cannot help them, so why do they not hasten to embrace Islām and single Allāh out with all acts of worship (Tahwīd)? If they had hearts by which they could understood, then surely they would have hastened to believe in Allāh -The Mighty, The Most High-; the One Who sent this punishment upon them from where they never expected. But still, they continue wandering blindly in their defiance.

{قُلۡ یَـٰۤأَهۡلَ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبِ تَعَالَوۡا۟ إِلَىٰ كَلِمَةࣲ سَوَاۤءِۭ بَیۡنَنَا وَبَیۡنَكُمۡ أَلَّا نَعۡبُدَ إِلَّا ٱللَّهَ وَلَا نُشۡرِكَ بِهِۦ شَیۡـࣰٔا وَلَا یَتَّخِذَ بَعۡضُنَا بَعۡضًا أَرۡبَابࣰا مِّن دُونِ ٱللَّهِۚ فَإِن تَوَلَّوۡا۟ فَقُولُوا۟ ٱشۡهَدُوا۟ بِأَنَّا مُسۡلِمُونَ}

“Say, ˹O Prophet,˺ “O People of the Book! Let us come to common terms: that we will worship none but Allāh, associate none with Him, nor take one another as lords instead of Allāh.” But if they turn away, then say, “Bear witness that we have submitted ˹to Allāh alone˺.”
[Sūrah Āli-‘Imrān 64]

We ask Allāh -The Most Great- Lord of the great Throne to remove this epidemic from the Muslims as well as all the Muslim lands. We ask Allāh -The Most Great- Lord of the great Throne to remove this epidemic and all pandemics from the Muslims and all the Muslim lands. We ask Allāh -The Mighty, The Most High- to preserve Islām and the Muslims. We ask Allāh -The Mighty, The Most High- to preserve the Muslims, their lands and their places of worship. We ask Allāh -The Mighty, The Most High- to safeguard Islām and the Muslims from all evils and trials.

سبحانك اللهم وبحمدك أشهد أن لا إله إلا أنت أستغفرك وأتوب إليك .

Translated by:
Abu Sulaymān ‘Ammār ibn Sufyān Bā ‘Alawī &
Abu Sulaymān Khālid ibn Anwar Al-Ḥātimī

Original Fatwa: