Coronavirus Is an Epidemic and Is Different from the Plague
Fatwa No: 418081

Question

Assalamualikum. Can plauges enter madina bcoz of the hadith in bukhari which says angels guard the city from plauges and dajjal, and if it can't , does that mean we should never stop pilgrims in masjid nabawi in case we fear an outbreak of a disease as like that of coronavirus ?

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  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

It was authentically narrated on the authority of Abu Hurayrah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “There are angels guarding the entrances (or roads) of Madeenah; neither the plague, nor the Dajjaal (Antichrist) will be able to enter it.” [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim] Moreover, Anas  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him reported that the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “The Dajjaal will come to Madeenah and find the angels guarding it. Neither the Dajjaal, nor the plague will be able to come near it, Allah willing.” [Al-Bukhaari]

The coronavirus disease is an epidemic and not a plague. The term “plague” mentioned in the Hadeeth refers to the specific known plague disease, which causes wounds and ulcers on the body and leads to death. It is very scarce that a person afflicted with the plague survives it, unlike the coronavirus; although it spreads rapidly, yet most of the infected people recover from it, Allah willing. Therefore, it is not the plague, and most scholars make a distinction between an epidemic and the plague. They do not consider every epidemic to be a plague. Ibn Hajar Al-Haytami  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said in his book Al-Fataawa Al-Fiqhiyyah Al-Kubra, quoting As-Suyooti  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him: “An epidemic is different from the plague, which is a specific kind of epidemic … This differentiation between the epidemic and plague is the opinion of most scholars.” [End of quote]

Since it is established that the coronavirus epidemic is not the plague, then it is possible that it breaks out in Madeenah just like in any other city in the world, and the State should take the necessary measures to prevent its spread.

Allah Knows best.

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