The Hadith: 'If a housefly falls into the drink of any of you'

Q 9: A Hadith is mentioned in “Jawahir Al-Bukhari” which states that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “If a housefly falls into the drink of any of you, let him dip it (entirely into the drink) and then throw it away, for in one of its wings there is a disease and in the other there is a cure (antidote for it).” Narrated by Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him). (Part No. 4; Page No. 425) It is known that flies carry disease only; how can there be a cure for disease in one of its wings? It is claimed that this contradicts ‘Aql (reason). Is this Hadith Sahih (authentic)? How can we answer such claims?

A: The Sanad (chain of narrators) of this Hadith is Sahih, narrated by Al-Bukhari, and there is other narrations that support it on the authority of Abu Sa‘id, reported by Al-Nasa’y and Ibn Majah, and on the authority of Anas ibn Malik reported by Al-Bazzar. Its Matn (text of the Hadith) does not contradict reason, which cannot judge whether or not the two wings of a fly carry cure or disease, or one of them carries disease and the other the cure for the disease. This can only be known either through test or analysis of the substance of two wings of the fly and carrying experiments, or through Wahy (Revelation) to the infallible Messenger (peace be upon him). Nothing has been proven through experimentation and analysis so far, so that one can claim that it agrees or contradicts the Hadith. This is just due to natural human disgust at such an idea. As for the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), he did not know about this through experimentation or analysis, as he was unlettered and lived in an illiterate nation who knew nothing about all this. He (peace be upon him) was informed of this through Wahy from Allah (Exalted be He) Who created everything and perfectly knows their characteristics, as Allah says (what means), Should not He Who has created know? And He is the Most Kind and Courteous (to His slaves), All-Aware (of everything). (Surah Al-Mulk, 67: 14). Since the Sanad of the Hadith is confirmed to be correct, and it was revealed by Allah, the All-Knower of everything to the honest, truthful Prophet (peace be upon him), we should acknowledge the authenticity of the Hadith, and the claim that it contradicts reason is merely based on conjecture and guessing at the Ghayb (the Unseen). (Part No. 4; Page No. 426) Thus, it should be discarded, so that truth becomes manifest to all and falsehood vanishes, as falsehood is ever bound to vanish.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.