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Sneezing is a normal biological reaction in man. It could be caused by a lot of actions and or reactions within and without the human body. Islam, in its universal nature in encompassing the daily activities, actions and reactions of man did not leave this very important aspect of one's life untouched. The holy Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him said:


"Verily Allah loves sneezing (i.e. loves it when one sneezes) and dislikes yawning (i.e. dislikes it when one yawns)…"




Al-Baraa ibn al-Azib may Allah be pleased with him said "The Prophet of Allah peace be upon him ordered us to observe seven (things) and forbade us from seven (other things); he, peace be upon him ordered us to follow the funeral, to visit the sick, to answer or respond to invitations, to help the oppressed (or that who is wronged), to fulfill our oaths, to return greetings of peace, and pray for that who sneezes…"




And when one imbibes these manners and observes the etiquettes sincerely for Allah's sake he is bound sure of attaining Allah favour and reward.




The etiquettes to be observed when one sneezes include the following:


1. Praising Allah. The one who sneezes is to praise Allah for relieving him by the effect of his sneezing. Abu Hurairah reports that the Prophet of Allah peace be upon him said: "If one of you should sneeze then let him say Al-hamdulillah (all praise is due to Allah). He who sneezes is expected to first praise Allah before his fellow brethren shower their prayers over him.


2. Praying for that who sneezes. The Prophet is narrated to have said: "If one of you sneezes and then praises Allah, it becomes a right upon every Muslim who hears him to (pray for him) by saying, 'yarhamuka Allah' (May Allah have mercy on you)". In another narration the holy Prophets said; " The rights of a Muslim upon another Muslim are five; replying the salaam (the greetings of peace), visiting the sick, following the funeral (to where it is buried), honouring the invitation, and observing tashmeet (i.e. praying for) that who sneezes".


3. Reducing the sound produced by sneezing. Abu Hurairah related that, "When the Prophet peace be upon him would sneeze, he, peace be upon him would cover his face with his hand or with his garment, and with that (i.e. his hand or garment) he would reduce the sound of it (i.e. of the sneeze)."


4. If one should sneeze three times consecutively then tashmeet (i.e. praying to Allah to have mercy on him) should be observed. But, by the time it exceeds three times then he is assumed to be ill; as in inflicted with cold and then those who hear him would have to pray to Allah to cure and relieve him of his ailment by simply saying "shafaaka Allah" (May Allah cure and relieve you).


5. It is also okay that a Muslim should pray for the non Muslim Jew or Christian when they sneeze for Allah's guidance as Abu Musa narrated that "the Jews would feign sneezing in the presence of the Prophet peace be upon him hoping that he would say to them "may Allah have mercy on you" but he, peace be upon him would rather say to them: "May Allah guide you and rectify or better your situation."


6. One that sneezes whie praying may praise Allah as expected of him but, it is not right for others praying along with him to observe the tashmeet (i.e. praying to Allah to have mercy on him).




The aforementioned represents a concise but encompassing brief on the etiquettes to be observed when on sneezes, and as regards yawning, we shall discuss it in our next write up, in shaa Allah (by the grace of Allah)! And until then, may the Almighty be with you all.






The Book of Manners, by Fu'ad Ibn Abdul-Azeez Ash-Shulhoob


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