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Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ - Social Etiquettes - Sneezing in Public

Sneezing as defined by Medical Encyclopedia is a sudden, forceful, uncontrolled burst of air through the nose and mouth. Sneezing can occur for a variety of reasons that have in common an irritation of the lining (mucous membranes) of the nose or throat. It is rarely a sign of a serious illness.

This sudden burst of air which is generally moist in substance and if one does not immediately cover one's nose and mouth, its moist vapours can fall on people around and this can be very embarrassing. However, the very act of sneezing is very rewarding for the overall health of the body as the discharge of this burst of air travelling at the speed of about  100 miles per hour is said to containing a million germs that exit of which necessary for cleansing of the body from bacteria and viruses.

Therefore one should be thankful to Allah for having us rid of harmful germs through act of sneezing. Since Islam is embodiment of etiquettes of various segments of our social life, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ has very specifically mentioned the response of a believer when he sneezes both when alone and in public. There is a Hadith in Sahi Bukhari number 6224 which is about sneezing: 
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, " If anyone of you sneezes, he should say 'Al-Hamdu lil-lah الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ ' (Praise be to Allah), and his (Muslim) brother or companion should say to him, 'Yar-hamuka-l-lah يَرْحَمُكَ اللَّهُ ' (May Allah bestow his Mercy on you). When the latter says 'Yar-hamuka-llah", the former should say, 'Yahdikumul-lah wa Yuslih balakum يَهْدِيكُمُ اللَّهُ وَيُصْلِحُ بَالَكُمْ ‏"‏‏.‏ ' (May Allah give you guidance and improve your condition).

At another occasion, Abu Huraira has been quoted as saying (Sahi al Bokhari Volume 8, Book 73, Number 242):

The Prophet said, "Allah likes sneezing and dislikes yawning, so if someone sneezes and then praises Allah, then it is obligatory on every Muslim who heard him, to say: May Allah be merciful to you (Yar-hamuka-l-lah). But as regards yawning, it is from Satan, so one must try one's best to stop it, if one says 'Ha' when yawning, Satan will laugh at him." 

It has also been narrated by Anas bin Malik (Sahi AL Bokhari Volume 8, Book 73, Number 240):

Two men sneezed before the Prophet. The Prophet said to one of them, "May Allah bestow His Mercy on you," but he did not say that to the other. On being asked (why), the Prophet said, "That one praised Allah (at the time of sneezing), while the other did not praise Allah." 

By acting upon these hadiths, we not only thank Allah, but also induce a response by other believers around, for which we pray for them by saying "May Allah give you guidance and improve your condition." Needless to mention here that when one sneezes, he must cover his nose and mouth so that others around are saved of the moist air that follows the sneezing.

May Allah help us to follow the commands of Allah contained in the Qur'an and sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ for not being a good Muslim but also be a useful member of our society. Aameen

Please refer to our reference page: Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ to know more about sunnah of Prophet of Allah. You may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.

Disclaimer: The material for this post has been collected from the references as given below. If any one differs with the material contained in this post, one may consult the references and their authors.  If someone has more material about the subject, he/she is most welcome to share in the comments box to make the post all encompassing.
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Reading the Qur'ān should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully. We should also follow the Sunnah of  Prophet Muhammad ﷺ which augments what is written in the Qur'an.

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