Stay Away

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Imagine… that a deadly plague or epidemic has broken out in a certain area. Every person infected by this epidemic dies a painful death within hours. However, the area of the epidemic is one of extreme natural beauty, causing it to be a popular tourism destination.

If any sane, sensible person hears of the epidemic in this region, will he take a chance and visit the area anyway, risking his life for a few moments of fun and entertainment? Obviously not!

Epidemic

In a similar manner, places which abound in sin are ‘epidemic areas’. In such areas, one should be very concerned that the punishment of Allah Ta‘ala could ‘break out’, causing each and every person in the vicinity, and even those guilty by mere association, to be ‘infected and afflicted’. This is not mere imagination. It is a reality that is highlighted by the following incident: 

When Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) were proceeding for the expedition of Tabook, they passed by Hijr, the ruins of Thamood. As they came to this area, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) instructed the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) to pass by swiftly and said to them, “Do not enter the dwellings of those who have oppressed themselves (through sinning), except in the condition that you are crying, out of the fear of the same punishment afflicting you.”

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) also instructed them to throw away the water they had drawn from the wells of this area and to also discard the dough that was prepared using this water (due to the effects of the punishment that came in this place).  Thereafter, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) covered himself with his shawl and rode swiftly until he passed through and departed from the area. (Saheeh Bukhaari #3378)

The following aspects are the highlights of this hadeeth:

- Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) hastened out of this area and urged the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum)  to do the same.

- When out of necessity one enters such areas where the punishment of Allah Ta‘ala has descended, one should be conscious of this and pass through there crying.

- Even the water of such places is contaminated and he effects of the punishment remain even after centuries.

- When passing through, one should fear that one is not afflicted by the same punishment.

One should bear in mind that this was the blessed conduct of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), when passing the area of Hijr, despite the fact that more than a thousand years had passed since the punishment of Allah Ta‘ala had descended there. If this was the blessed conduct of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) in a place where a thousand years had passed since the punishment of Allah Ta‘ala rained on the people, then we can well imagine how a Muslim should conduct in a place where due to abundance of sins, the punishment of Allah Ta‘ala could suddenly descend. The tsunami that struck on 26 December 2004, which affected fourteen countries and claimed  230 000 lives, almost within minutes, is a stark   reminder that one should never be heedless and go in the midst of all the nudity, sin and vice. .

During this “holiday season”, when numerous fitnas are on the increase, we make du‘aa to Allah Ta‘ala to safeguard us all and bless us to remain in places where our imaan will remain secure, aameen.

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