Killing spiders because of arachnophobia
Fatwa No: 339418

Question

Assalaamu alaykum. I have had a phobia of spiders for a long time. I cannot look at them or be close to them, so removing them in a normal manner is not possible. I mean the spiders that appear in one's home in the UK. I was staying alone once, and I saw a few, and then in my room where I slept, I felt like one was following me. I had to leave the house and stay at my aunt's place. I was advised to read Surah Al-Baqarah and put camphor balls everywhere. I do not know why I have this problem. I understand that arachnaphobia is something that people can have from spiders. I have anxiety, so I am like this with other things in life, but I cannot cope at all with spiders. I cannot rely on others to be there and remove them, nor can I stop the decree of Allaah when they came on my bed or on my hand, but I cannot deal with it normally and end up in a bad state. I have ended up killing them with a mop without looking at the bigger ones directly. I use water to slow them down. I am looking at ways to keep them away and catch them and may buy equipment for that, but I am not sure I can do this myself. Will I be sinful for killing them due to my intolerance due to fear? If they are smaller, I manage to take them out without much fear, but from a far away distance using a mop and then shake them off out of the window when it is night time. If they are not killed or removed, they tend to reappear later. I am praying that I can be healed or that my faith raises as I do not see that a Muslim or believer should be living like this or commit crimes against these insects. Is it a big sin to kill insects or remove them from your home or room if you have a phobia? Has Allaah said anything about how to deal with spiders in particular? I do not know how harmful they are in the UK, but if anything, it is my anxiety and fear that is not controllable, and I worry about how I will be in life going forward, but I hope to try to overcome this. Can you advise please? May Allaah reward you.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

We will answer your question from two aspects:

First, the religious ruling on killing the spider. Shaykh Ibn Baaz  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him wrote:

"Historians related that when the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, was hiding in the Cave of Thawr, a spider weaved a web on its entrance and two doves or pigeons perched on a branch of a tree. This is a false story ... Many people respect spiders and claim that they must not be killed because a spider made a web to protect the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. They say that if the gecko is to be killed because it blew into the fire that Ibraaheem (Abraham) was thrown into, but the spider is to be respected and spared. We say: No; the spider is to be killed if it harms, just like any other insect or animal. Spiders cause harm to people sometimes as they make their webs on walls and books, so they are to be killed. Rather, there is a hadeeth, though a weak one, that orders that the spider is to be killed."

For more benefit, please refer to fatwa 86039.

Second, intense fear of the spider, which is a small, weak insect, is a symptom of a phobia (arachnophobia, as you mentioned). So we advise you to see a doctor specialized in this condition, if any is available.

Allah knows best.

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