Distinction between Epidemic (Wabaa’) and The Plague and Riding A Bike Down the Street
Fatwa No: 427027

Question

There’s a Hadith that says if you stay in your land in a plague your a martyr in Bukhari but what if you ride your bike down the street is that still your land.

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.

Perhaps the Hadeeth to which you are referring is the one cited in Saheeh Al-Bukhari on the authority of ‘Aa’ishah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her in which she said: “I asked the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) about the plague, and he said: ‘It is a punishment that Allah inflicts upon whomever He wills, but He has made it a source of mercy for the believers. The one who remains in his plague-ridden land while patient and hopeful of the reward (of Allah) knowing that only what Allah decrees for him will happen to him will get a reward equal to that of a martyr.’

Al-Haafith Ibn Hajar  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said in Fat-h Al-Baari: “According to the wording of the Hadeeth, it means that the one who fits the mentioned description will receive a reward equal to that of a martyr, even if he does not die of the plague. There are three possible cases here: a person who fits the description and dies of the plague, a person who fits the description and contracts the plague but survives it, and a person who fits the description and does not contract the plague at all and then dies of another cause sooner or later.” [End of quote]

Most scholars make a distinction between an epidemic (Wabaa’) and the plague (Taa‘oon). 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]

We could not fully understand what you meant by your question, “What if you ride your bike down the street, is that still your land?” If you mean whether or not a person will earn an equal reward to that of a martyr if he does not stay inside his house and rides his bike outdoors, you should know that if the plague mentioned in this Hadeeth includes all epidemics, then whoever remains inside the affected land will earn that reward, whether he rode a bike or a car, or stayed at home.

Allah Knows best.

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