Praying for Blessings Upon Sneezing

Musa Kâzım GÜLÇÜR

When a Muslim sneeze, they say, Alhamdulillah (All praise and gratitude are for God) If another Muslim is nearby, he or she says, Yarhamukallah (God have mercy on you.) The recipient of this prayer then replies, Yahdina wa yahdikumullah (may God guide you and me to the right path).

Out of courtesy to those nearby, when one sneezes it is best to cover one’s mouth, to try to limit the noise made, and to avoid spraying others by moving the head back and forth. [See Abu Dawud, Adab, 142; Tirmidhi, Istizan, 31; Ibn Maja, Adab, 15; Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, 4/289, 303]

Abu Hurayra said, “The Messenger of God told us, ‘If your brother or sister (in faith) sneezes up to three times, say yarhamukallah. If they sneeze more than three times, they have a cold.” [Abu Dawud, Adab, 100, 5036; Tirmidhi, Adab, 5, 2745; Ibn Maja, Adab, 20, 3714] In another hadith Abu Hurayra again related, “God is pleased with sneezing, but displeased with yawning. Thus, if one of you sneezes and thanks God, other Muslims should say yarhamukallah. But yawning is from Satan. If one of you catches yourself yawning during the prayer, control yourself and do not make a yawning sound, for this is from Satan, who is making a mockery of you.” [Bukhari, Adab, 125, 128; Bad al-Khalq, 11; Muslim, Zuhd, 56, 2994; Abu Dawud, Adab, 97, 5028]

In yet another hadith related by Abu Hurayra, “When God’s Messenger sneezed, he would cover his face with his hands or garment and muffle the sound.” [Abu Dawud, Adab, 98, 5029; Tirmidhi, Adab, 6, 2746]

Anas ibn Malik recalled, “Two people sneezed near the Prophet. He said yarhamukallah to one of them, but not the other one. When he was asked why, he said, ‘This one thanked God, and that one did not.” [Bukhari, Adab, 127; Muslim, Zuhd, 53, 2991; Abu Dawud, Adab, 102, 5039]

Abu Hurayra reports that the Prophet said, “Every Muslim has six rights over every other Muslim: When you meet each other, greet each other; when you are invited to someone’s house, accept the invitation. If a Muslim asks advice from you, advise them. And if a Muslim sneezes and praises God, say yarhamukallah (God have mercy on you) in response. If they become ill, visit them; if they die, be willing to attend the funeral.” [Bukhari, Janaiz, 2; Muslim, Salaam, 4–6]

Translated by Jessica ÖZALP

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