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Al-Ḥāfiẓ Ibn Ḥajar on Contagion

Posted by Abu Iyaad
Written February 2022
Filed under Tawḥīd

Ibn Ḥajar (رحمه الله) said, after summarising views on contagion and preferring its negation as the superior view held by the likes of Abu ʿUbayd, al-Ṭabarī, al-Ṭaḥāwī, Ibn Khuzaymah and others:[1]

This reaches extreme verification and precision and it is better in my view than the reconciliation which al-Bayḥaqī mentioned and whoever followed him in that such as Ibn al-Ṣalāḥ and those after him. This is because [this reconciliation between the ḥadīths] negates contagion in principle, completely, as is stated explicitly in the authentic reports.

As for what [appears] to clash with [this negation] from what has been reported [from the Prophet], then it is carried upon putting an end to what may lead to [belief in contagion]. This is opposed to the way which they [the other group] have reconciled [between the reports], for it affirms contagion in general. [Imām] Mālik, when asked about the ḥadīth pertaining not looking at the lepers, said: ‘I have not heard of any dislike regarding it, and I do not see that the prohibition has come regarding it except for the fear that something may happen in a believer’s soul.’ Meaning, he falls into believing in contagion.

After mentioning the various views and attempts at reconciling between what appear to be apparently contradictory texts, Ibn Ḥajar prefers and supports the view of the negation of contagion in principle, and speaking only of the fresh creation of disease instances in each entity through the sum of its causes by Allāh’s decree.

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Al-Ḥāfiẓ Ibn Ḥajar on Contagion
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1. Badhl al-Māʿūn Fī Faḍl al-Ṭāʿūn, (p. 297).

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