Diseases as expiations of sins

Q 2: Please clarify for us the authenticity and meaning of the following Hadith: On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: A Bedouin came to the Prophet (peace be upon him). The Prophet asked him: 'Have you been afflicted by Um Maldam?' The Bedouin said: 'What is Um Maldam'? The Prophet answered: 'Hotness between skin and flesh i.e. fever.' The Bedouin replied: 'No.' The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: 'Have you ever had Sada`?' The Bedouin said: 'What is Sada`?' The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: 'Wind which gets in a person's head and harms the veins i.e. headache.' The man replied: 'No.' He (Abu Hurayrah) said: 'Who would like to see a man destined for Hell- fire" [i.e. The Bedouin].'" This Hadith is related by Al-Bukhari in his book Al-Adab Al-Mufrad under the number 381 and it is declared as Sahih (authentic) by Al-Albany. However, Fu'ad `Abdul-Baqy commented on the Hadith: "It is not mentioned in any of the Six Hadith Books 'Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Al-Tirmidhy, Al-Nasa'y, and Ibn Majah'." My question is whether this Hadith means that whoever is not afflicted by these diseases will be amongst the dwellers of Hell-fire? Clarify the matter for us, please. May Allah bless you.

A: This Hadith is not only related by Al-Bukhari in his book Al-Adab Al-Mufrad. Rather, it is related as well by Imam Ahmad in his book (Al-Musnad 'Hadith compilation' vol. 2 pp. 332-366), Al-Nasa'y in his Book (Al-Sunan Al-Kubra vol. 4 p. 749), Ibn Hibban in his (Sahih Book of Hadith vol. 7 p. 178 under the number 2916), Abu Ya`la in his book (Al-Musnad vol. 11 p. 432 under the number 6556), Al-Hakim in his book (Al-Mustadrak vol. 1 p. 347), Al-Bazzar in his book (Kashf-ul-Astar vol. 1 p. 369 (Part No. 2; Page No. 495) under the number 369), and Hannad ibn Al-Sirry in his book (Al-Zuhd, vol. 1 p. 246 under the number 426). The Hadith in question is classified as Sahih by Ibn Hibban. Moreover, Al-Hakim commented saying: "This Hadith is Sahih according to the criterion set by Imam Muslim though it is not related by him." Al-Haythamy wrote in his book "Majma` Al-Zawa'id, vol. 2 p. 294.": "Its Sanad (chain of narrators) is Hasan (good)."After relating the Hadith in his Sahih Book of Hadith, Al-Hafizh Ibn Hibban explained: "The statement of the Prophet (peace be upon him): Let them who want to look at a man amongst the dwellers of Hell-fire look at this man. Is to reproach people who are proud of not being afflicted by diseases and those who are not patient when they become ill. It is worth mentioning that Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) makes diseases, distresses, and sorrows that may afflict Muslims in this world a cause for their sins to be forgiven. The Hadith thus implies that people are not infallible and that whoever sins is subject to be punished in Hell-fire unless Allah forgives them. The Hadith signifies that diseases expiate some of a person's sins, but it does not state by any means that whoever is physically fit in this world will be punished in Hell-fire." The Shaykh of Islam Ibn Taymiyyah clarified reasons for which Allah pardons His believing servants, saying: "When a believer commits a sin, he may be forgiven through ten means: Turning to Allah in Tawbah (repentance) which He accepts, for those whose Tawbah from a sin is accepted it is as if they had not sinned at all; making Istighfar (seeking forgiveness from Allah) so that Allah forgives them; performing good deeds that expiate bad ones; having believers offer Du`a' (supplication) and Istighfar on their behalf while they are living (Part No. 2; Page No. 496) and after they pass away; having believers grant them the reward of some of their deeds so that Allah accepts their Shafa`ah (intercession); Allah accepting the Shafa`ah of His Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) for them; Allah afflicting them with some calamities that expiate their sins; Allah sending upon them Sa`qah (blast) during Barzakh (period between death and the Resurrection) so that their sins are expiated; Allah trying them by some of the terrors of the Day of Resurrection so that they are forgiven; or that Allah The Most Merciful grants them His Mercy. Whoever is not entitled to receive any one of these means for forgiveness should blame no one but himself." (Majmu` Al-Fatawa vol. 10 p. 45).In addition, it is stated by Al-Hafizh Ibn Rajab in his explanation of the Hadith which reads: Fever is a blow of Hell-fire, and when a believer has fever, this will expiate their portion of fire in the Hereafter. "Thus, the Hadith tells that fever is a blow of Hell-fire and that if a believer is afflicted by it, this expiates their portion of fire in the Hereafter. This means, and Allah knows best, that when a believer is afflicted by fever in this world, it expiates their sins and purifies them until they meet with Allah on the Day of Resurrection sinless and deserving to dwell in Allah's Jannah (Paradise). This applies only to believers who have sincere faith in Allah and have only sins that can be expiated by fever. However, there are many Hadith Mutawatir (a Hadith reported by a significant number of narrators throughout the chain of narration, whose agreement upon a lie is impossible) to the effect that diseases and difficulties expiate sins... (Part No. 2; Page No. 497) The Prophet (peace be upon him) mentioned that not being afflicted by fever and headache is a sign that a person is subject to be punished in Hell-fire and vice versa. It is thus related in Al-Musnad and Al-Nasa'y (books of Hadith) on the authority of Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said to a Bedouin: "Have you been afflicted by Um Maldam?..." The wording of the Hadith is thus not confusing. The Bedouin who is mentioned in the Hadith was subject to be punished in Hell-fire for committing sins which were not expiated in this world. This was a matter of Ghayb (the Unseen) about which Allah (Exalted be He) informed His Prophet (peace be upon him). And Allah knows best.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.