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Superstitious Hadith and Science

A blog insipidly called Replies to Islam-Sikhism, henceforth abbreviated to RI-S, posted a response titled: Reply to the article ‘SUPERSTITIOUS HADITHS EXPLAINED’ to an article we originally published in our rebuttal of Jaskaran Singh. Rather than lend supportive credence to his outlandish accusation of Muslims believing in superstitious hadith, RI-S opted for a completely different line of attack: science. To this end, however, RI-S has disingenuously resorted to plagiarising material from the notoriously disingenuous Christian-run website, Answering-Islam. Be that as it may, our objective is to refute them and refute them we shall, God-willing.

Our original reply to Jaskaran is in Italics bold.

HADITH OF THE FLY

Jaskaran and others like him are winging it (pun intended) by labelling hadith that do not make sense to their limited comprehension as superstition.

Evidence has been unearthed by the scientific community that there is more to the hadith of the fly than meets Jaskaran’s myopic eye.

An experiment coordinated by Dr Saleh as-Saleh and supervised by Dr Jamaal Haamid of the Dept. of Medical Microbiology College of Science at Qassim University, Saudi Arabia, revealed that the “complete dipping” of a fly into three separate petri dishes each containing E. Coli bacteria, Coynebacterium Dephtheroid bacteria and Staphylococcus sp. type bacteria, not only resulted in the “entire disappearance” of these “pathogenic (disease causing) bacterial colonies”, but more remarkably led to “new bacteria growing … as Actinomyces … from which useful antibiotics can be extracted”.

Unfortunately, the author tried to sidetrack the issue by not discussing anything about hadith.

The hadith clearly says two things:

  1. Fly carries disease on one of its wings and the other wing has the cure for that disease.
    2. So if a fly falls in your food then one should immerse it once more.

Let’s discuss these two things from scientific point of view. Here is what the medical world says:

To the contrary, it is RI-S that has failed to grasp the underlying argument. It was never to do with whether undeniable scientific evidence exists to substantiate the directives given by Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), but rather to prove that this hadith could not, by definition, be deemed superstitious.

N.B.: RI-S has completely ignored Jaskaran’s original line of argument and opted for an alternative approach.

There are many bacteria and parasites that infest the fly, making flies a major factor in spreading many diseases by touching surfaces with their legs or their saliva. After walking on much excrement, flies may carry up to as many as 6 million bacterias on their feet. (Source: http://library.thinkquest.org/C0117442/html/diseases.html)

At no point have we disputed the fact that flies are pathogenic carriers (and neither would we in the face of so much evidence); thus, the above citation adds nothing to the actual debate at hand. In fact, we cited a source in our original article that alluded to the very same thing:

Far from spreading diseases, as flies usually do, this particular pest might be used to control them. [1] (bold, underline ours)

Even if there should exist such a disease that is only carried on one wing of a fly, and the antidote always coming on the other wing (any scientist of bacteriology will reject such a theory as impossible), what about all the other diseases on the feet of the fly?

Firstly, it does not logically follow that the presence of other diseases somehow disproves the presence of said antidote, and nor does it prove that said antidote could not cure all the other harmful diseases. This is merely presuppositional on the part of RI-S.

As for the Prophet’s (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) mentioning of the disease and its cure being found on the two wings, then given the obvious limits of science and in light of the principle that ‘an absence of evidence does not necessarily imply evidence of absence’, it would be logically false to prematurely conclude that the absence of scientific evidence means that evidence will never be discovered. Moreover, RI-S has not provided any evidence to support their contention let alone proven it beyond reasonable doubt.

More significantly, however, RI-S has failed to deal with the underlying import of the hadith, which provides a Prophetic remedy on how to successfully neutralise the potential harm of imbibing said contaminated drink and making it safe for consumption. This is made clear by the interpreter of Sahih al-Bukhari, Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani [2] (d.852CE/ 1449CE), who in his magnum opus – Fath al-Bari – quotes Abu Tayyib at-Tabari as stating:

The Prophet – peace and blessings of Allah be upon him – did not intend by this hadith a pronouncement of cleanliness and impurity, but rather a cure against the harm caused by the fly. [3]

And the efficacy of this remedy is not only supported by scientific evidence, but also by strong anecdotal evidence in the form of historical and contemporary reports.

ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE SUPPORTS THE ‘HADITH OF THE FLY’

For example, the renowned 14th century Muslim scholar, Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (d. 721AH/ 1350CE), said:

This Hadith contains two areas of interest, Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence) and medicinal. As for the Fiqh part, the Hadith states that when a fly falls in water or fluids, it does not make it impure, according to the majority of the scholars. None among the early generations contradicted this ruling. [4] (bold, underline ours)

In other words, those who are considered the best of generations in Islam, i.e. the earliest predecessors, did not contradict this ruling precisely because they practiced it and knew of its medicinal benefit. In this respect, Ibn Hajar reports a tradition from the companion Thumamah who said that once when he and others were with Anas, “it so happened that a fly fell into his [drinking] container” whereupon “Anas with his finger plunged it [the fly] three times into the container, then said: ‘In the name of Allaah (bismillah),'” and added that “truly, the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah) ordered them to do that”. [5]

Furthermore, Ibnul Qayyim said in regards to the medical community of his time:

The doctors who have good knowledge and comprehension submit to this Prophetic remedy and admit that he who was sent with it, is indeed the perfect human being who is supported by divine revelation that is beyond human power. [6] (bold ours)

There then exists contemporary anecdotal evidence for the successful use of this prophetic remedy especially in those parts of the world where people live in poverty or for whom food and water is not a luxury but a necessity. This point was eloquently put by Shaykh ‘Abd al-Wahhab al-Turayri:

Most of us might find the idea of dunking a fly in our beverage, removing it, and then taking a drink unsettling to say the least. This is especially the case if we have had the privilege of living our lives in a modern society, free of hunger and starvation, where a certain standard of cleanliness is maintained in the environment and it is relatively easy to protect our food and drink from flies and other pests.

However, a ruling such as the one mentioned in the hadith becomes painfully relevant to those who live with hunger and in less sanitary environments where protecting food from flies is not so simple and throwing away food and drink is not so easy an option. Such an environment was that of Arabia 1400 years ago, and regrettably, there are still many places in the world where we find scarcity and what by today’s assessment are sub-standard living conditions.

People under such circumstances quite often do consume food and drink that has come in contact with flies. If they had to discard all such foods, it would impose a serious hardship upon them. [7] (bold, underline ours)

The historical and contemporary reports for the successful use of this remedy cannot just be uncritically brushed aside.

Why is Muhammad making sure with his instruction that the fly gets a full body ablution in your drink, transfering the maximum number of bacteria and diseases into it?

Dipping has an inhibitory effect on the microbial flora as a whole, yet is probable that pathogenic microorganisms are more liable to this retarding effect. This is in harmony with the saying of the Holy Prophet of Islam concerning the effect of complete dipping of house fly on antagonising the disease

What does RI-S mean by “maximum number of bacteria and diseases” and how is this quantified? Does it mean: until the person falls ill? Further, can RI-S prove that all these bacteria and diseases are not neutralised after said Prophetic remedy is enacted? And more importantly, can RI-S show that if any bacteria and diseases do survive this practice that they will be harmful to humans?

In essence, what RI-S fails to address is the underlying and inescapable point of the overall argument, which is that there exists scientific and strong anecdotal testimonies, both historical as well as contemporary, to support the case that said Prophetic practice renders any drink made “impure” by a fly safe for consumption.

Let us furnish further evidence to strengthen this hypothesis. As with the Muslim doctors of Ibnul Qayyim’s time, contemporary scientists from King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and Ain Shams University in Cairo, Egypt, decided to test the prophetic hypothesis in 1990:

The words given by our Prophet about the house fly attracted the attention of many religious specialists as well as muslim [sic] scientists and was a subject of a lot of arguments. …

Samples of house fly (Musca domestica) were collected from Jeddah and Makkah regions and transferred directly to the laboratory for microbiological analysis.

What is of significance is that these samples were taken from the actual birthplace of Prophet Muhammad, Makkah, in order “to find any difference of microbial counts between falling house flies in sterile water and milk without dipping the flies and falling house flies followed by dipping them in sterile water at pH 7 and 4”. [8]

Although they did not say whether the antimicrobial properties on the “surface” of the fly were found on any of the wings, they were able to confirm the following:

It was also evident that most cases of dipping treatments, showed lower microbial densities than their corresponding natural falling treatments. Although dipping of fly in water is expected to result in higher contamination than natural falling, yet the present results showed a reverse data. This indicates that there are some antimicrobial factors released from the insect in the water, during dipping treatments. [9]

They further found that “although dipping has an inhibitory effect on the microbial flora as a whole, yet is probable that pathogenic microorganisms are more liable to this retarding effect. This is in harmony with the saying of the Holy Prophet of Islam concerning the effect of complete dipping of house fly on antagonising the disease”. [10]

Another website has this to say about flies:

“The two-winged flies constitute a larger order of insects and well over 110,000 different species are known throughout the world. This group forms one of the most highly specialized of insect orders and many species are of the utmost significance in regard to human welfare. If there is anything as ‘harmless as a fly’, it is certainly not the common housefly or any of its relatives.

Diseases, e.g., malaria, dysentery, sleeping sickness, onchocerciasis, elephantiasis and yellow fever are carried or transmitted from man to man by bloodsucking dipterous flies. Many other diseases are transmitted mechanically by flies due to the habit exhibited by many species of sucking liquid from excreta and other decaying organic matter and then settling on and vomiting on your food.

The fly was made to distribute quantities of pathogenic disease organisms. Its 6 feet are equipped with bristles and sticky pads and its proboscis is hairy. A sticky liquid comes out of the hollow hairs on their feet allowing them to walk upside down and on glass, etc. The fly’s digestive tract is an incubator for germs! A well fed fly defecates at least once every 5 minutes! (Source: http://www.thebestcontrol.com/bugstop/control_flies.htm)

Again, we have not disputed the above. It is clear, nevertheless, that this Prophetic practice constitutes an exception to what is generally known of flies as being pathogenic carriers; that is to say, a drink would certainly be considered impure without actualising this remedial procedure.

No doubt, the stress put on a fly by drowning it, would only cause it to vomit and defecate even more, releasing an extra portion of germs into your drink!

That sounds reasonable; but, there is more to the fly than meets the eye, as evidenced in the aforecited study:

“Although dipping of fly in water is expected to result in higher contamination than natural falling, yet the present results showed a reverse data.” [11]

The above explanation is enough to prove that if a fly falls on your food then instead of immersing it once more as mohammad said, one should completely avoid consuming that food.

In actuality, it is the above explanation that has failed to address the scientific evidence that currently exists in support of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).

How can such a person be called a prophet of God who asked his followers to follow such an unhygienic practice?

Although dipping of fly in water is expected to result in higher contamination than natural falling, yet the present results showed a reverse data. This indicates that there are some antimicrobial factors released from the insect in the water, during dipping treatments.

As we have shown so far, RI-S has neither furnished any relevant corroborative evidence to support their arguments nor addressed the evidences we have collated. Additionally, by blinkeredly labelling this practice as unhygienic, RI-S also ignores the testimonies of Muslims who have utilised this remedy for centuries and attested to its success.

Hence, in light of all this, RI-S’ aversion seems to be nothing more than an emotionally-driven one void of any proofs.

What we have presented thus far only succeeds in further adding to the overwhelming body of evidence that already exists in objectively proving the prophethood of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). As the Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta’ in Saudi Arabia put it:

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 [divine revelation] 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). [12]

How many muslims today are willing to follow such an unhygienic practice and how many times has the author of the article himself followed this practice? Give an honest answer.

Another question RI-S would do well to ask is whether this practice is mandatory or a matter of personal choice. Shaykh ‘Abd al-Wahhab al-Turayri answered:

Also, this hadith is not obligating Muslims to drink beverages in which flies have fallen. It is just advising them as to what to do in case they wish to do so. A Muslim does not have to eat or drink anything that he feels an aversion to consuming. Today, most of us would understandably be repelled by the notion of drinking a beverage from which a fly had taken a sip, let alone fallen into.

Islamic Law takes such natural aversion into account. We can see how Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), when he was served a spiny-tailed lizard to eat, refrained from partaking of it. Khalid b. al-Walid noticed this and asked if eating the meat of the spiny-tailed lizard was unlawful. The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: “No. It is just that it is not found in the land of my people, and I find myself disinclined to it.” He did not eat it, simply because it did not agree with his disposition. It was not a question of whether or not its flesh was permitted by Islamic Law.

We can apply the same ruling to a drink in which a fly has landed. [13] (bold, underline ours)

Understanding, therefore, that the implementation of this practice is entirely a personal choice renders the question of how many times we have practiced it as irrelevant. What matters instead is not our practice of this remedy, but that it has been successfully tried and tested by Muslims throughout the centuries, and right down to the present day, without any adverse effects.

Not only this, there are many other unscientific things said by mohammad. For eg consider the following quote from quran:

002.222 PICKTHAL: “They question thee (o muhammad) concerning menstruation. Say: It is an illness, so let women alone at such times and go not in unto them till they are cleansed. And when they have purified themselves, then go in unto them as allah hath enjoined upon you. Truly allah loveth those who turn unto him, and loveth those who have a care for cleanness.”
(Quran)

According to quran, menstruation is regarded as an illness during which time women should be left alone but science has proved that menstruation is a normal biological process. So, science has disproved the nonsense of quran.

IS MENSTRUATION (HAYD) AN ILLNESS?

Why restrict oneself to the translation of Pickthal? Why not cite the more popular Abdullah Yusuf Ali who translated the same word as “a hurt and a pollution”? Is it because the former better supports RI-S’ spurious argument?

Whatever the case, the Arabic word translated as “illness” by Pickthal et al. is “adha”; hence, the critical question that arises is: in what sense is adha to be understood in this context?

It is the failure in correctly answering this question that has led RI-S and many others before them to forward this oft-repeated strawman.

Instead of opportunistically opting for one translation over another, what RI-S should have at least attempted is to simply make recourse to the scholastic elite of Islam so as to correctly understand and interpret this verse. In doing so, not only would they have not committed the fallacy of isolation, but they would also have understood that the ruling cannot be said to be grounded in science, but Islamic Jurisprudence.

The context of the verse revolves around menstruation, which in Islamic Jurisprudence comes under the category of ‘Purification’. So, for example, Saudi Arabia’s Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta’ categorises this subject under Fiqh – Taharah, meaning: Jurisprudence – Purification.

In fact, if one were to simply take a cursory look at the classical hadith collections, such as, Sahih al-Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, Sunan at-Tirmidhi, or Sunan abu-Dawood, one would find that either the chapter on purification precedes that of menstruation (hayd), or the hadiths regarding the issue of menstruation have been included under the category of purification.

The irony here is that even the Qur’anic verse in question, 2:222, strongly hints at this association, re. purity and menstruation, since Allah states on three occasions: “… till they are cleansed. And when they have purified themselves …. Truly Allah … loveth those who have a care for cleanness.” (bold ours)

Shaykh Salih al-Fawzan states in this regard:

[I]t is prohibited for her husband to have sexual intercourse with her until her period is over and she takes a ritual bath. …

The phrase “…keep away from wives during menstruation” [Qur’an 2:222] means not to have sexual intercourse with them within that period. The Prophet (PBUH) also said:

“You can do everything (with your wives during menstruation) except sexual intercourse (or ‘copulation,’ as in another version).”

It is permissible for the husband of a menstruating woman to enjoy her by kissing, touching, and the like, except for having sexual intercourse with her. …

Once the menstrual blood stops discharging, a woman becomes pure and her menstrual period is deemed over. [14]

The same explanation for said verse is forwarded by the classical exegete Ibn Kathir:

There is a sin for whoever has sexual intercourse with his wife while she is menstruating. …

“And go not unto them till they are purified” is an explanation of “Therefore, keep away from women during menses.” Allah has forbidden sexual intercourse with one’s wife as long as the blood is still present, and it means that when the blood is gone, then it is lawful to have sexual intercourse with one’s wife. …

Ibn Abbas said: “till they are purified.” means purification from blood. “And when they have purified themselves” means when they have washed themselves with water. This has also been said by a number of the followers. [15] (bold, underline ours)

In this context, what must, therefore, be the most accurate translation of the word adha in this verse? According to Edward William Lane’s (d.1876 CE) monumental Arabic-English Lexicon, adha means:

Also A thing held to be unclean, dirty, or filthy: so in the Kur [Qur’an] ii. 222. (Mgh, Msb.) [Filth; impurity: often used in this sense in books on practical law.] [16] (bold ours)

Similarly, the Arabic-English Dictionary of Qur’anic Usage delineates that the word adha appears nine times in the Qur’an and can be translated as follows subject to the context in which it appears:

disease, affliction, injury, ailment, to trouble, ill-treatment, offence, insult, little hurt, trifling damage, hardship, inconvenience, to be afflicted by affliction, painful condition, impurity and soiling.

But, when it comes to the verse in question, adha is again translated to carry the meaning of impurity and uncleanliness:

painful condition, impurity, soiling (2:222) … and they ask you [Prophet] about menstruation, say, ‘Menstruation is an impurity/ painful condition.’ [17] (bold ours)

In light of all the above then, Pickthal was wrong to translate adha vis-á-vis verse 2:222 as “illness”, [18] even though in any other context it could potentially carry this meaning. Contextually speaking, therefore, translations that accurately translate adha as “impurity” [19] are right on the mark. As for Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s rendering of “a hurt [20] and a pollution [21]“, then it is certainly closer to the mark than Pickthal’s since it accurately conveys the jurisprudential meaning of the menstrual cycle being impure, unclean and a painful experience.

Lastly, some translations render adha as being “harmful”. [22] For example, rather than provide a direct translation, the Saudi effort by Muhsin Khan and al-Hilali instead forward a parenthetical explanation that describes adha to be “a harmful thing for a husband to have a [sic] sexual intercourse with his wife while she is having her menses”. In this respect, it seems that what is meant by adha being “a harmful thing” is not from the angle of health, although an argument for health has been suggested by some prominent scholars and academics, but that the husband is, as Ibn Kathir highlights, harmed by the sin incurred in having sexual intercourse with his menstruating wife; and Allah knows best.

As for the underlying reason behind sexual intercourse specifically being forbidden during the menstrual period, then, as alluded to above, this is due to the blood expelled from the body being considered impure. While declaring that “blood belongs to the category of impurities”, [23] the Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta’ elaborate further by explaining:

Upon becoming Tahirah (ritually pure) after her monthly period or her postpartum period, the Ijma’ (consensus of scholars) is that a woman should perform Ghusl (full ritual bath following major ritual impurity). Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says: (Part No. 5; Page No. 416)

They ask you concerning menstruation. Say: that is an Adha (a harmful thing for a husband to have a sexual intercourse with his wife while she is having her menses), therefore keep away from women during menses and go not unto them till they are purified (from menses and have taken a bath). And when they have purified themselves, then go in unto them as Allah has ordained for you (go in unto them in any manner as long as it is in their vagina).

It is Wajib (obligatory) on her to purify herself. It is impermissible for her neither to perform Salah (Prayer) nor have sexual intercourse with her husband before performing Ghusl. As for her clothes, she should only wash the parts soiled with blood. Both her clothes and her sweat are Tahir (ritually pure). If her clothes are soiled with some blood, only the affected places should be washed as stated by ‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) that they used to wash the parts soiled with menstruation blood. In brief, the clothes worn by a woman during her monthly period or her post partum period are Tahirah. Neither her sweat nor her sleeping in them renders them impure except for the parts soiled with blood that should be washed off. If she wants to wash the whole garment, there is nothing wrong in doing so. However, the impure parts are only those soiled with blood. Therefore, it suffices if she washes off the stains of blood. If she washes the whole garment, there is nothing wrong with that. [24]

In all, science has no bearing on verse 2:222 whether it be in respect to the word adha or the subject of menstruation.

FEVER FROM THE HEAT OF HELL

Another example of the metaphysical in Sikhism is the belief that Sri Guru Granth Sahib contains the jott (divine light) of Waheguru. Can Jaskaran empirically prove or show the existence of this jott? If not, then is he willing to dismiss this belief as mere superstition or will he appeal to it being part of the unseen world?

The above explanation by muslims shows the double standards of muslims. First they said that waheguru’s jott can’t exist inside humans i.e. sikh concept of god is wrong. But now in order to defend the hadith they are saying: “If Waheguru’s jott can exist inside humans then why can’t fever be caused due to heat of hell”.

Again RI-S attempts to shift the goal posts towards a non-issue. As we said before, our response was to expose the double standards of Jaskaran Singh who, on the one hand, readily believes in the unseen world of Sikhism without considering it superstition – and the example we cited was that of Waheguru’s jott (divine essence) residing in humans – while on the other condemns Muslims for their belief in an unseen world. How on earth can we be guilty of double standards in this regard when we have not used this nonsensical yardstick to accuse others of superstition?

Our argument against Waheguru being a physical part of his creation, and at the same time being transcendent, is entirely logically based.

So muslims are now in a catch-22 situation because sikhs can also ask a similar question: “If muslims can have a belief that fever is caused due to heat of hell that why can’t sikhs have a belief that god exists inside each and every one of us?”

As explained above, this question is completely irrelevant to the issue being discussed.

In light of this, what can be seen is that a genuine difference of opinion exists in the interpretation of said hadith. All the same, a literal or figurative understanding is of no significance given Jaskaran’s catch-22 situation. If it is taken literally, then any answers to the question of how a fever could arise in such a way would necessarily be premised on the Islamic understanding of the unseen world and the metaphysical laws that govern it. Hence, Jaskaran would be guilty of employing double-standards if he were to interpret it literally and accuse Muslims of believing in superstition.

There is a difference between scientifically not proven and scientifically proven wrong. The hadith has been proven scientifically wrong. According to Medilexicon’s medical dictionary:

“Fever is a complex physiologic response to disease mediated by pyrogenic cytokines and characterized by a rise in core temperature, generation of acute phase reactants, and activation of immune systems.”

So increase in body’s temperature is not due to heat from hell but it is one of the ways our immune system attempts combat an infection. Usually the rise in body temperature helps the individual resolve an infection.

How can science disprove the metaphysical when science by its own standards only deals with the physical? In other words, how can science test a supernatural explanation and conclude that such a phenomenon, like the heat from hell, cannot play a part in fever? The answer is that it cannot, just as it cannot prove or disprove the supernatural existence of God.

This explanation is, simply put, obvious, and it is embarrassing for us to even point out something so elementary to those behind the RI-S blog.

MEDICINAL PROPERTIES OF CAMEL URINE

It is important to identify what the illness was that these people were suffering from. Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (d. 751AH/ 1350CE) identifies the ailment as dropsy:

The proof that these people were complaining from dropsy, is from Imam Muslim who narrated in his Sahih from the same Hadith above that the Bedouins said, “We have not found Al-Madinah suitable for us and our stomachs swelled, our organs became weak…” until the end of the Hadith.

Dropsy is a physical disease that occurs when a harmful cold substance penetrates the external organs of the body and also the body organs other than those that are used in digestion, causing them to swell.

Although the hadiths do not specify exactly how the milk and urine were to be taken, Ibnul Qayyim cites al-Israili as offering a possible prescription that could have also been used at that time:

Fresh, warm camel’s milk is beneficial against dropsy, especially when taken with fresh, warm camel urine, thus making the combination more salty and adding strength to its effectiveness in dissolving harmful fluids and as a laxative. If the [combination of milk and urine] did not purge the stomach, then one should take a stronger laxative.

The celebrated polymath Avicenna is also quoted by Ibnul Qayyim as stating:

Do not listen to those who claim that milk does not provide cure from dropsy. Rather, know that camel’s milk is an effective cure, because it cleanses gently and easily, due to its other qualities. This type of milk is so beneficial that if a person substituted water and food with camel’s milk, he would be cured [from dropsy and other ailments]. Some people tried this remedy and were soon cured. We should state that the best camel urine is that of the camels of Bedouin people.

Camel urine was found to cause a significant cytotoxic effect in the bone marrow cells of mice:

“Camel urine treatment was found to cause a significant cytotoxic effect in the bone marrow cells of mice. This cytotoxicity at higher doses was comparable with that of standard drug cyclophosphamide (CP). However, unlike CP, the camel urine treatment failed to induce any clastogenicity. The cytotoxicity induced by camel urine treatment was substantiated by the reduction of liver nucleic acids and glutathione levels and increased malondialdehyde (MDA) contents in the same animals. CP treatment was found to be highly clastogenic, cytotoxic and it reduced the levels of nucleic acids, proteins, glutathione and increased malondialdehyde concentration due to its prooxidant nature. The non-clastogenic nature of camel urine was attributed to the antioxidant and antimutagenic compounds present in camel urine. Pretreatment with camel urine increased the cytotoxicity of CP and intensified the CP induced reduction of liver nucleic acids, glutathione and increased the MDA concentration. The increase of CP induced cytotoxicity appears to be partly due to the additive effect of the two treatments on cellular lipid peroxidation. Cytotoxic means the quality of being toxic to cells.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8771453

What is bewildering to note is that the above citation has been quoted from the very same research we refer to in our original reply to Jaskaran. Now; we cannot say for certain whether RI-S has unwarily shot itself in the foot, or purposefully cited this in an attempt to contradict the conclusion we initially reached. We suspect, however, that it is the former because all RI-S has done is lazily copy-and-paste the abstract, which is freely available on the internet. The actual research paper is only available through subscription, which it seems was inaccessible to them.

Whatever the real reasons, we, unlike RI-S, were careful in our research and evaluation and, thus, acknowledged the following:

Their results showed that “CP treatment was found to be highly clastogenic, cytotoxic and it inhibited the levels of proteins, nucleic acids, glutathione and increased the malondialdehyde concentrations” (bold ours). However:

Unlike treatment with CP, the camel urine treatment was devoid of any clastogenic activity …. Despite the presence of a number of mutagenic ingredients such as purine bases, urea derivatives and hypoxanthine (Peterson and Peterson, 1979; Emerit et al., 1985; Bonatti et al., 1986; Cole et al., 1991; Moore et al., 1991; Nagao et al., 1991; Matsuda et al., 1991; Liber and Denault, 1991; Asita et al., 1992; Wood et al., 1992; Basu et al., 1993; Gruz et al., 1993; Shcherbakova and Pavlov, 1993) the camel urine was not found to be clastogenic. The non-clastogenic nature observed in the present study appears to be due to the effect of antioxidative and antimutagenic components of camel urine such as creatinine and uric acid (Ames et al., 1981; Glazer, 1988; AI-Bekairi et al., 1991a, 1991b). [25] (bold, underline ours)

The report concluded:

Our results demonstrate the cytotoxic and non-mutagenic nature of camel urine and support its folkloric claims. Further studies are in progress to explore the cytotoxic activity of camel urine and its active constituents in cancer cells. [26] (bold, underline ours)

All of which completely undermines whatever allusions RI-S was trying to convey.

Study says that camel urine resulted in incresed levels of malondialdehyde (MDA). Increased levels of malondialdehyde (MDA) can result in coronary heart disease. Here is the proof: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10992710

Ibid.

Similarly low levels of glutathione can result in variety of diseases. See this link: http://www.glutathionediseasecure.com/low-glutathione-levels.html

We should state that the best camel urine is that of the camels of Bedouin people. – Avicenna

Just simply quoting things willy-nilly does not prove anything. Despite the possibility that all these diseases could be caused by the presence of glutathione, can RI-S provide any evidence to show the likelihood of the occurrence of said diseases in camel urea? What about when camel urea is mixed with camel milk as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah) prescribed; can RI-S say for certain that this mixture, whose success as a remedy is again supported by anecdotal evidence, does not mitigate the harm of said diseases or eliminate them altogether?

Not just this, camel urine contains hippuric acid: http://www.jbc.org/content/64/3/615.full.pdf

One stumbling block in citing this report is that the camels were from North China and were given “a standard diet consisting of sorghum leaves, sweet potato vines, and salt” after which the urine was collected and tested. The question that we wish to ask RI-S is how the constituent elements identified contradict the findings of much more recent and relevant research vis-á-vis the potential medicinal properties identified by current science?

Recall also that the celebrated polymath Avicenna was quoted by Ibnul Qayyim as saying:

We should state that the best camel urine is that of the camels of Bedouin people. [27]

This begs the question of how relevant the aforecited report is when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would have been referring to Arab camels while this study not only refers to camels from a different region altogether, but camels fed with a diet markedly different to their desert-dwelling counterparts? Or will RI-S flippantly dismiss such concerns as being unnecessarily and overly pedantic?

It seems as though RI-S is willing to throw anything and everything together, including the kitchen sink, in an attempt to find fault no matter how irrelevant or absurd.

Hippuric acid (also known as benzoylaminoacetic acid) is toxic in nature. It is a skin and respiratory irritant along with severe eye irritant and may cause serious eye damage. http://msds.chem.ox.ac.uk/HI/hippuric_acid.html

That is all very well, but again the prescription recommended by Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) of taking a combination of camel urea and milk said nothing about the exclusive use of pure Hippuric acid, which the aforecited link is referring to! How, then, is this relevant to the subject? It is not.

The Physical and Theoretical Chemistry Laboratory Oxford University seems to be a site that is merely recommending guidelines. The hilarious thing to note is that while including the name of the prestigious “Oxford University” in its title, the site not only acknowledges that it is “not an official Oxford University web site”, but has published a disclaimer warning:

The information has not been independently verified, so we cannot guarantee its accuracy or that it is up-to-date. …

Please treat this site as a source of general information about safety and the potential hazards of chemicals, not as a definitive statement of the hazards associated with any particular chemical or a reliable interpretation of safety law. If you buy a chemical to use in the laboratory, ask the manufacturer for a complete MSDS sheet. (bold ours)

It is truly astonishing to see the lengths and depths some Sikhs will go to; may Allah protect us from the disease of blind-following.

So when islam-sikhism talks about medicinal properties of camel urine, they should also discuss the harmful effects of camel urine and then see the net effect of it.

Firstly, it is disingenuous on the part of RI-S to say that we are the ones talking about this. All we have done is cited studies published by bona-fide scientists, who are researching and discussing the medicinal properties of camel urine, in an attempt to show that this hadith cannot. by definition, be labelled as superstition.

Secondly, at no point in our original reply to Jaskaran did we come close to suggesting that said evidence is definitive. In fact, we were prudent enough to say:

[P]reliminary research conducted by modern medical experts into the health benefits of camel urine could point towards avenues leading to some potentially revolutionary breakthroughs and possible advancements in medical science. (bold, underline ours)

We even quoted one study with the proviso that “[m]ore scientific studies are required to investigate different aspects of camel urine due to its different composition as compared with urine of other animals”. [28] The report went on to conclude:

Further studies are in progress to explore the cytotoxic activity of camel urine and its active constituents in cancer cells. [29] (bold, underline ours)

Hence, the curtain has not fallen on this issue; to the contrary, it seems that the research is in its infancy and more is required to reach a definite conclusion.

Crucially, although Muslims recognise the milk and urine of camels in Arabia to possess some medicinal benefit, to our knowledge no Muslim scholar has gone so far as to advocate including this as a part of the staple diet. We actually cited the African Journal of Agricultural Research as stating that in Islam “camel urine is permitted in case of necessary medical treatment (Al-Bukhari)” (bold, underline ours). [30]  That is to say, this remedy would only be prescribed under exceptional circumstances of medical necessity.

SATAN SLEEPS IN THE NOSE

Again Satan is a living creature that exists as part of the unseen world.

Muslims beleive that the satan is a red giant sitting in some place called hell.

Either RI-S has Islam confused with another religion or this is a barefaced lie. From where did RI-S dream up this nonsense? What RI-S needs to do is temper their imagination by learning more about Islam.

They don’t know that real evil is immoral thinking that sprouts in the mind of a merciless and stone hearted person. It is influence of lust, anger, greed and egotism that causes a person to perform inhuman and immoral acts. Rape, murder, robbery, violence etc are all result of devilish thinking that comes from the mind of a person who has no moral guidance. If satan exists outside us then why people are punished eternally in the hell? So, satan is not an outward entity.

What has this got to do with anything? We are not obliged to entertain such red-herrings.

Also, if satan can exist inside our nose, sleep and urinate there then why can’t God exist inside us?

The reasoning exhibited here is truly astounding! Is RI-S going to next ask why God cannot eat and drink, sleep and wake up, lie and deceive if humans can?

The answer is very simple: unlike Satan who as a created being requires sustenance that must then be egested, and sleep after a hard day at the office, and an abode within the realm of creation he exists in, God does not since He is all-powerful and self-subsisting for eternity. To put it more lucidly, it is a violation of God’s absolute perfection if we believe that He sleeps because of fatigue and tiredness, or urinates after ingesting fluids, or is a part of His creation. God cannot do impossible things, i.e. He cannot be both nirgun and sargun where He is both transcendent and immanent, thus, making him temporarily eternal at the same time, and both attributeless and attributed at the same time.

Also where is the satan’s urine gone? It violates the law of conservation of energy and matter because if satan urinated in somebody’s ear then firstly that urine should be present in his ears only.

Forget grabbing a hold of the wrong end of the stick, RI-S has grabbed a hold of some other stick in some alternate dimension somewhere yonder.

Nonetheless, in answer to the question: Satan is part of the unseen world.

Secondly when satan was urinating in his ears then didn’t his sleep broke due to it?

Ibid.

I can’t really understand how can people believe in such funny and nonsense things.

It is no more funny than believing that “God [can] exist inside us”; would that include being up our nose?!

PROHIBITION OF EATING WITH THE LEFT HAND

It is no more superstitious to believe in Satan as an unseen entity, protect ourselves from his evil plots and refrain from imitating his evil ways as it is to believe in God as another unseen entity and striving to listen and obey Him.

There is also a matter of how far Jaskaran and those like him will go in applying this arbitrary label. Will he apply it to anything related to Satan and his antics? How about anything to do with angels? A point that Jaskaran et al. would do well to consider is that it is not illogical for God to create other species that are, in general, hidden and unseen. This is entirely within His capability.

A variety of studies suggest that 10% of the world population are born left-handed. So the hadith is a complete disrespect to those 10% people to the world. It proves that islam treates people unequally – be it slavery, unequal status to woman or condemning left handed people.

Moving on past the red herrings, it is a hasty generalisation to claim that Islam condemns left-handed people based on this prohibition especially when there is more to this whole affair than RI-S’ misrepresentative approach.

Unlike the marginalisation of people with certain impairments and disabilities in Sikhism (see: Karma, Equality & Sikh Discrimination), this prohibition not only has concessions, but also has alternative options.

One alternative is to learn how to use the right hand. Muslims born left-handed have, since the very inception of Islam, learned how to use their right hand for the purpose of eating and drinking. Hence, successfully learning to use the right in this regard is known and established in the Muslim world.

Extensive research has been conducted into the origins and development of handedness, as well as the associated socio-cultural implications. Evidence accumulated in this area supports the contention that handedness can be learned. For example, Rajamanickam opines:

The reason for using left hand in most of the works by some people may be due to practice right from childhood period. It is also a kind of learning. In some it becomes a habit. Whichever hand one uses in his personal works, it is left to his conveniences. … Generally, it is observed that handedness is also a kind of skill one has developed in some task by learning or developing a habit by doing the task repeatedly (Metfessel, 1932). [31] (bold ours)

More specifically, the findings of a study conducted amongst the Chinese “indicate[d] that a naturally left-handed individual can be successfully trained from early childhood to use his right hand for eating and writing; yet he may continue to prefer his left hand for other skilled activities, such as cutting with scissors” (bold ours). [32]

The ability for left-handers to train themselves to use the opposite hand has also been observed. For example, one study found that of the 10.4 per cent of medical students surveyed at St. Mary’s Hospital in London who wrote with their left hand, “3.3 per cent … had written with the left hand when young and had later been trained to use the right hand”. [33]

Given that Islam places emphasis on the use of the right hand for the purposes of eating and drinking and the use of the left hand for those acts deemed unclean and impure, it could, therefore, be inferred that the success exhibited since the inception of Islam could potentially have been achieved by the 10% of Muslim left-handers; that is a lot people.

As made clear in our original reply to Jaskaran, Muslims do to not eat with their right hand out of superstition; they do so to develop a healthy habit of maintaining hygiene given that cleanliness and purity is such an important part of being a Muslim and a true worshipper of God. In fact, Muslims are expected to maintain the highest standards of cleanliness especially in light of the following incentives and persuasions articulated by our Creator (one of which coincidentally is the verse on menstruation discussed above):

In it [in Quba’] there are men who love to purify themselves, and Allah loves those who purify themselves. (Qur’an 9:108)

Truly Allah loves those who turn [to Him] in repentance, and He loves those who keep themselves pure. (2:222)

While the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) succinctly said:

Purity is half of Faith. (Sahih Muslim)

In the langar accept only what you will be able to eat, and eat using your right hand. (The emphasis on the right hand is not specifically Sikh, but part of general South Asian custom.) – Eleanor M. Nesbit

In this respect, Allah instructed the believers to do certain tasks, which require the utmost level of cleanliness, with their right hand. Since approximately 90% of humans are right-handed, culminating in the vast majority of tasks and activities not considered unclean being done with this hand, it only makes sense that for the sake of maintaining consistency and uniformity all those occasional unclean tasks be done with the left. What is more, only a very small number of tasks from the vast majority not considered unclean are mandatorily required to be done with the right hand because of the importance of cleanliness they demand, e.g. eating and drinking. Everything else like writing, ball throwing, sewing, etc., is discretionary and can be done with either hand.

Shaykh ‘Abd al-Wahhab al-Turayri was asked the question about a left-handed three-year-old girl who is interested in writing, but “becomes completely discouraged and gives up as she struggles to hold even the pen properly” when using the right. He answers:

There is nothing wrong with a person writing with his or her left hand if that is easier for the person. The same goes for any other activity that requires a high degree of manual dexterity.

It is Sunnah to give preference to the right hand in all everyday clean actions that do not require any extra degree of manual dexterity, like putting on one’s shoes and combing one’s hair.

‘A’ishah relates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to like to start with the right side when putting on his sandals, combing his hair, engaging in his ritual purifications, and in all of his activities. [Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim]

This, however, is a Sunnah and is not obligatory.

It is only obligatory for a Muslim to eat with his or her right hand. It is impermissible for the Muslim to eat with the left hand. …

If the child is left-handed, that is perfectly alright. The child can write with his or her left hand without any problem. It is unnecessary to insist upon the child writing with his or her right hand or using the right hand when engaging in other activities requiring an extra degree of manual dexterity.

Forcing a left-handed child to use his or her right hand for such activities can have detrimental consequences for the child’s confidence, education, and self-esteem.

And Allah knows best. [34]

It is this practical and systematic inculcation that has allowed the Muslim community to strictly maintain such high standards of hygiene since the very beginning.

However, what is interesting to note is that this relationship between right- and left-handedness and purity and impurity is not just restricted to Islam. There exists other weltanschauungen that have also gravitated towards the implementation of this practice.

D.V.M. Bishop has noted that “[i]n many non-Western societies … [c]hildren are trained to use the right hand for activities such as eating and the left for unclean activities such as bottom-wiping”. [35]

According to Marian Annett, the “strongest pressures to use the right-hand in eating are probably exerted by cultures where it is the practice for individuals to take food from a common bowl. The right-hand must be reserved for ‘clean’ and the left for ‘unclean’ functions”. She has observed that “[l]ess than 1% of Japanese schoolchildren used the left-hand for eating … (Komai and Fukuoka, 1934)”. [36]

While Stanley Coren cites a study that perfectly correlates with what we have clarified above regarding Islam:

In their study of Chinese elementary school and college students living in Taiwan, Teng et al. (1976) found that those left-handers who switched to the right hand for eating and writing continued to use the left hand for such tasks as striking a match, hammering a nail, brushing teeth, cutting with scissors, and throwing a ball. [37]

In fact, Antony Flew states that “in ‘traditional Chinese societies’ … ‘a strong social pressure for right-handed writing and eating” is still exerted”. [38]

But, is eating with the right hand restricted to the Muslim, Chinese and Japanese societies only? What about India; what about the Punjab? In order “[t]o succeed in business or socially” in India, we are recommended to “[e]at willingly with your right hand if the occasion calls for it”. [39] Why? Because the dominant religion of India – Hinduism – favours the right hand for important religious tasks, ceremonies and day-to-day activities:

A form of ritual purification, commonly performed at the beginning of a puja and other ceremonial acts of worship, is known as achamana. Water is taken in the hollow of the right hand, sipped and swallowed. … Afterwards the name of the god Vishnu is spoken a fourth time, and water from the right hand is allowed to trickle into the copper dish before the worshipper. …

Bathing and external cleansing of the body is done before all religious rituals and cooking. … The kitchen is the area of ritual purity, and women bathe before the preparation and cooking of food. Footwear and soiled clothing are ritually impure: these are not allowed in the kitchen. For the entire cooking process only the right hand is used to touch the food, when preparing the dough for making chapattis, for example. …

Rules about purity and pollution also govern the serving of cooked food and its consumption. … The right hand is used to convey solid foods, such as rice, vegetables and chapattis, to the mouth. [40] (bold ours)

This emphasis of using the right hand in India seems to have also affected Sikhism in spite of RI-S’ incredulity, for according to Eleanor M. Nesbitt:

In the langar accept only what you will be able to eat, and eat using your right hand. (The emphasis on the right hand is not specifically Sikh, but part of general South Asian custom.) [41] (bold ours)

Hence, the principle behind the use of the right-hand in Islam is also the same for other religions, societies and cultures, two of which include the largest populations on the planet: China and India.

Finally, there are the concessions. As stated above, Islam places great emphasis on the use of the right hand for tasks that legislatively require the highest level of cleanliness baring a legitimate excuse. The polymath Imam an-Nawawi (d.676AH/ 1277CE) said:

The objection to eating and drinking with the left hand applies so long as there is no excuse. If there is an excuse which prevents one from eating and drinking with the right hand because of sickness, injury etc, then it is not makrooh. [42]

However, simply finding it difficult to eat with the left hand is not considered an excuse as Shaykh Sulayman at-Tuwayjiri declared when asked: “I am left-handed. I have tried on a number of occasions to eat with my right hand but I find it difficult to do so. I use my left hand for everything. Is it permissible for me to keep eating with my left hand?” He replied:

The left hand is used by a person to clean up filth, wash himself after going to the bathroom, and other similar activities. The right hand is used for clean practices like eating and shaking hands.

It is not permissible to eat with the left hand. Whoever does so has engaged in something unlawful and has committed a sin. …

No one should eschew giving preference to his right hand unless that person has suffered the loss of his right hand or suffers from some genuine affliction that makes using the right hand truly difficulty [sic].

It is not a legitimate excuse for someone who has no injury to the right hand to merely claims [sic] that he has tired [sic] to eat with his right hand but finds it difficult to do so. A Muslim is obligated to put the teachings of Islam into practice and not be neglectful of them. [43]

This is not the case for genuine concessions. For example, the Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta’ were asked by an individual: “I cannot use my right hand in making Wudu’ (ablution) or slaughtering animals, I use my left hand for both; is there anything wrong with that? What do you recommend in this regard; particularly that I have had this problem since my early childhood?” to which they answered:

If the case is as mentioned, there will be no blame on you and we recommend that you train yourself to use your right hand as much as you can. Perhaps you will be able to work with it one day. [44]

Similarly, the Committee also said:

[I]f a person’s right hand is incapacitated or has been amputated, it is permissible for them to use their left hand for Madmadah, Istinshaq, [inhaling and exhaling water nasally during ablution for which the right hand must be used under normal circumstances] etc. [45]

Here it should also be mentioned that being left handed is not a disease.

Again this is a red herring since we never said that left-handedness is a disease.

Also, what about a person who is disabled and doesn’t have a right hand. How will he eat? He will have to use his left hand to eat.

Ibid.

Infact in his book Right-Hand, Left-Hand, Chris McManus of University College London argues that the proportion of left-handers is increasing and left-handed people as a group have historically produced an above-average quota of high achievers. He says that left-handers’ brains are structured differently in a way that increases their range of abilities, and the genes that determine left-handedness also govern development of the language centres of the brain.

This is all very well and good, but since we have not contested any of the above it really does not add to the debate.

In a 2006 U.S. study, researchers from Lafayette College and Johns Hopkins University concluded that there was no scientifically significant correlation between handedness and earnings for the general population, but among college-educated people, left-handers earned 10 to 15 % more than their right-handed counterparts.

So what?! How is this relevant when the hadith being debated is to do with eating and not earnings?

There has been discrimination against left handers for centuries perhaps due to cultures like islam in which left-handedness is a symbol of satan:

As we established above, the vast majority of tasks done in life are not subject to the mandatory use of the right hand except a very few which require the practitioner to strictly uphold and maintain cleanliness and hygiene.  Hence, it is a flagrant misrepresentation to insinuate that Islam holds to fault a person who uses the left hand per se. To the contrary, a person who does not have a legitimate reason is considered at fault and only in regards the reasons provided.

And to repeat, Islam is not forcing the use of a particular hand in opposition to one’s natural disposition, just as Shaykh ‘Abd al-Wahhab al-Turayri warned:

If the child is left-handed, that is perfectly alright. The child can write with his or her left hand without any problem. It is unnecessary to insist upon the child writing with his or her right hand or using the right hand when engaging in other activities requiring an extra degree of manual dexterity.

Forcing a left-handed child to use his or her right hand for such activities can have detrimental consequences for the child’s confidence, education, and self-esteem.

And Allah knows best. [46] (bold ours)

Unlike writing, eating with the right hand neither requires that “extra degree of manual dexterity” nor does it lead to “detrimental consequences” vis-á-vis a person’s “confidence, education, and self-esteem” as evidenced by the availability of anecdotal reports from both the Islamic world and other societies.

“For centuries, left-handers have suffered unfair discrimination in a world designed for right. Approximately 8-15% of the world’s population is left-handed. However, as well as inconvenience, left-handed people have been considered unlucky or even malicious for their difference by the right-handed majority.”

That is not the case with Islam; left-handedness is neither considered Satanic nor are left-handed people discriminated against; and if they are, then this is in violation of what Islam teaches.

“Due to cultural and societal pressures, many left-handed children are encouraged or forced to write and perform other activities with their right hands. This conversion can cause multiple problems in the developing left-handed child, including learning disorders, dyslexia, stuttering and other speech disorders.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bias_against_left-handed_people

Ibid.

ADDENDUM

Fixated by the Hadith of the Fly, RI-S replied, albeit partially, to the above rebuttal as follows:

Reply to the article ‘SUPERSTITIOUS HADITH AND SCIENCE’

Firstly, it does not logically follow that the presence of other diseases somehow disproves the presence of said antidote and nor does it prove that said antidote could not cure all the other harmful diseases. This is merely presupposition on the part of RI-S.

Science has already proved that there is no such disease which is carried only on one wing of fly and its cure only coming on the other wing. Any scientist of bacteriology would reject such a theory as impossible because flies gather germs from garbage and sewage, where they usually live and breed.

It is difficult to determine whether RI-S are painfully inept at argumentation or have naively taking a chance and hoped that we would somehow overlook the falsity of this argument. Whatever the case, either RI-S is unconcerned over how poor their rebuttals are, or believe that the name of the game is to simply churn out responses without due care over what makes a strong or weak argument.

Surely a cursory look at our website would have alerted them to the likelihood that we would demand, as we did the first time around when we accused RI-S of having “not provided any evidence to support their contention let alone prove it beyond reasonable doubt”, some kind of evidence from these, as yet, unknown and unnamed scientists.

Why did RI-S ignore this demand in the first instance? Is it because they have nothing to substantiate their assertions or are they indifferent to making unsubstantiated claims? Do they not know that the burden of proof is upon the claimant, i.e. it is upon them to furnish evidence to support their arguments, something they have, thus far, failed to do?

Now according to probability theory both wings of a fly have equal probability of gathering disease causing germs from sewage and garbage. But still if islam-sikhism thinks otherwise then they should prove it and name the disease which is carried only on one wing and name the cure of that disease which is carried on the other wing.

Again this is a strawman which tells us that either RI-S are not reading our responses carefully, or they are only concerned with publishing a response for the sake of publishing a response.

We made it clear before that “given the obvious limits of science and in light of the principle that ‘an absence of evidence does not necessarily imply evidence of absence’, it would be logically false to prematurely conclude that the absence of scientific evidence means that evidence will never be discovered. Moreover, RI-S has not provided any evidence to support their contention let alone prove it beyond reasonable doubt” (bold, underline ours). To put it as simply as we can: we have not come across any scientific evidence to support the Prophet’s claims; but, then neither have we argued that science corroborates said claims. As we said, the burden of proof is squarely on RI-S’ shoulders.

Also majority of diseases carried by flies are on its legs which the hadith doesn’t talk about. So, it clearly proves that the hadith is completely unscientific.

What kind of convoluted reasoning is RI-S employing here by arguing that a failure in mentioning something implies an absence of that knowledge? The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was specifically speaking of a disease, but there is nothing in the hadith to suggest that he was speaking about all the diseases. Given that the hadith does not negate the possibility that other diseases could be found elsewhere on the fly, RI-S’ argument is false.

For example, the renowned 14th century Muslim scholar, Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (d. 721AH/ 1350CE), said: This Hadith contains two areas of interest, Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence) and medicinal. As for the Fiqh part, the Hadith states that when a fly falls in water or fluids, it does not make it impure, according to the majority of the scholars. None among the early generations contradicted this ruling.

Can 14th century evidence (when science was not much developed) be a valid proof of something?

Perhaps RI-S’ have an agenda of purposefully misrepresenting their opponent’s argument so as to give the false impression of having refuted it. This again is a strawman because we did not quote Ibnul Qayyim to support a claim for science, and what made that conspicuously obvious was the title under which this was cited (in big bold CAPITALS):

ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE SUPPORTS THE ‘HADITH OF THE FLY’

Given their apparent mediocre command of the English language, it would serve RI-S well to have a dictionary to hand so as to look up the meaning of the word: anecdotal.

Why is islam-sikhism ignoring contemporary evidence of many diseases carried by flies on its wings and legs and giving 14th century evidence?

Where did we ignore “contemporary evidence of many diseases carried by flies on its wings and legs”?

In our original clarification which, lo and behold, RI-S has conveniently ignored, we clearly stated:

At no point have we disputed the fact that flies are pathogenic carriers (and neither would we in the face of so much evidence);

Hence, this again is a strawman.

Here is a piece of reasoning for RI-S to consider: it does not logically follow that supporting the presence of a disease and its cure on the wings of a fly entails a negation of any and all other diseases existing elsewhere on the fly.

There is also some past evidence about many astrologers making correct predictions. So according to author’s logic, it should be enough to make him beleive in astrology. But the fact is astrology has no scientific basis just like the hadith has no scientific basis.

That is rich coming from those who are so prone to misrepresenting their opponent’s arguments.

What does RI-S mean by “maximum number of bacteria and diseases” and how is this quantified? Does it mean: until the person falls ill? Further, can RI-S prove that all these bacteria and diseases are not neutralised after said Prophetic remedy is enacted? And more importantly, can RI-S show that if any bacteria and diseases do survive this practice that they will be harmful to humans?

It is not just about illness.

When it comes to the underlying import of the hadith, then it has everything to do with illness and this is something RI-S cannot ignore. As Ibnul Qayyim stated that “when a fly falls in water or fluids, it does not make it impure, according to the majority of the scholars. None among the early generations contradicted this ruling” (bold ours). What is the ruling of the hadith from the point of view of Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence)? As Ibn Hajar quoted Abu Tayyib at-Tabari as stating:

The Prophet – peace and blessings of Allah be upon him – did not intend by this hadith a pronouncement of cleanliness and impurity, but rather a cure against the harm caused by the fly. (bold ours)

We have furnished both scientific and anecdotal evidence in support of this, i.e. those who have used this remedy have testified to its efficacy, and RI-S has done absolutely nothing to contest these evidences; walillaahil hamd (and all praise is due to Allah alone).

Food contaminated due to flies can even cause death. For understanding this we will have to understand how flies feed themselves. It has a peculiar system of feeding itself. At first it releases saliva and digestive juices over food and drink and then sponges up the resulting solution. One can well imagine what we are drinking after a fly has taken a ‘sip’ of our drink. Some of the most common diseases spread by the housefly are typhoid, tuberculosis and dysentery, all of which, if left untreated even for a short while, can cause death.

And what has the fly’s peculiar way of feeding got to do with refuting the evidences we have cited? Nothing.

In actuality, it is the above explanation that has failed to address the scientific evidence that currently exists in support of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).

Islam-sikhism talked about two studies: one by Dr Jamaal Haamid and other by Ms Joanne Clarke. First of all, both the studies don’t prove or say anything about a disease which is only carried on one wing of fly with its cure always coming on the other wing.

Again a strawman since these studies and all the others have only been cited in support of the underlying contention that the fly has some medicinal benefits that have been acknowledged by science and are currently being explored.

So, studies don’t support the hadith because the reason given in the hadith for immersing the fly in drink is that there is a disease which is carried on only one wing of fly with its cure always coming on the other wing. Also, i have already proved how this is impossible.

No; RI-S has made a non-evidential assertion; thus, the possibility of proving an assertion void of any evidence is impossible.

Now let us first talk about study done by Ms Joanne Clarke. Ms Joanne Clarke study says this which was also quoted by islam-sikhism:

“The antibiotic material is extracted by drowning the flies in ethanol, then running the mixture through a filter to obtain the crude extract.”

The above line is very important because it mentions ethanol only and not any other liquid. 95% ethanol is used in the microbiology lab to disinfect surfaces. This is a precaution necessary to avoid contamination of samples and supplies.

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_are_the_uses_of_ethanol_in_microbiology_lab

So we can very easily conclude that if water or any other drink would have been used (other than ethanol) then all the disease causing germs would have been transferred to the drink and remained there along with antibiotic material. But as ethanol was used (which is a disinfectant), so all the germs were killed and only antibiotic material was left.

This is a complete misrepresentation of our argument. No where did we suggest that the methodology employed in extracting the antibiotics somehow supports the underlying import of the hadith. It is clear from our original reply to Jaskaran that this was cited as a proof to rebut his claim of superstition precisely because science had acknowledged what Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) indicated over 1400 years ago that flies had medicinal properties.

We even said as much after citing the experiment conducted by Dr Jamaal Haamid that “[t]he process of extracting such antibiotics has also been achieved” by Ms Clarke. In other words, our objective in citing her research was to prove that science had succeeded in extracting antibiotics from flies. As for the scientific techniques in achieving this, then this is entirely at the discretion of the scientists which has absolutely no bearing over the efficacy of the Prophetic remedy.

So instead this study proves the hadith wrong because hadith mentions all the drinks and not just ethanol whereas germs would only be killed in case of ethanol.

Ibid.

So we would be consuming a large number of germs (which can even cause death) if we immerse a fly in our drink.

Not according to the scientific and anecdotal evidence we have furnished. This Prophetic remedy has been successfully used for centuries and RI-S has done nothing to contradict these evidences.

Also as far as i know no muslim takes ethanol as a drink. So the hadith is obviously referring to those drinks in which the solvent is the water and the above study is not applicable to those drinks.

To repeat, the citation of Ms Clarke’s research was not in support of the methodological remedy per se, even though the researchers coincidentally used the same technique suggested by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), i.e. “drowning the flies in ethanol” similar to his instructions of dipping the fly back into the fluid it had landed in, but to prove that flies are a source of cure.

And neither do we know of any Muslims who would take ethanol as a drink, which makes the Prophetic remedy even more remarkable since it is proven to successfully work without any ill-effects and without the use of some additional source.

So the following statement by muslims:

There is yet more. The journal reports a remarkable moment of coincidence during the course of the experiment when the team unknowingly replicates the Prophet’s (peace and blessings of Allah) instructions of dipping the fly back into the fluid to acquire the cure.

shows their utter lack of knowledge and research. They are generalising ethanol for any fluid which is not a right thing to do for the reason i have already explained.

As shown above, it is RI-S that have once again grabbed a hold of the wrong end of the stick by failing to correctly understand our argument thereby attacking a strawman.

Some studies have also found that tissues and surface of cockroach contains antibiotics:

http://www.aolnews.com/2010/09/07/cockroaches-the-antibiotics-of-the-future/

Now does that mean that we should immerse cockroaches in our drinks just because its tissues have antibiotics?

Not at the suggestion of someone as ignorant as RI-S. As Muslims, we know without a shadow of doubt that, unlike the 10 Gurus, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was a true Messenger of God. Hence, as Muslims we submit to the truth he has brought us. In the case of the Hadith of the Fly, anecdotal evidence has shown him to be right and scientific evidence supports his contention that flies are a source of cure for certain diseases.

What RI-S and other doubters should ask themselves is: how could an illiterate man living 1400 years ago in the middle of the desert have known about the medicinal properties of flies?

Any sane person will not try doing that considering some serious diseases which can be caused due to cockroaches:

http://www.orderroachcontrol.com/diseases.html

Thank God that the progression of science is not in the hands of narrow-minded blind-followers like RI-S.

Both – the surface of fly and cockroach contain antibiotics. Now if muslims say that it is ok to immerse flies in the drink then they should apply similar logic for cockroaches too i.e. from now on they should not only immerse flies in their drinks but also cockroaches.

RI-S is mixing categories; Muslims have not chosen to use the Prophetic remedy because today’s science has unearthed supportive evidence, but because they believe the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) to be as-saadiq al-masdooq – the truthful one; the one who spoke the truth. Moreover, as we said above, a Muslim is not obliged to use this remedy; it is an entirely discretionary measure.

Tommorow if a study finds about the surface of some other insect having antibiotics then they should immerse that insect also.

Ibid.

It should also be noted that RI-S has not bothered to answer the rest of our rebuttal.

As a side note: RI-S needs to seriously go back to the drawing board and either learn how to argue coherently and with some due care, or leave the job of argumentation to someone who is more qualified.

It is also interesting to note that RI-S is quick to attack Islam, but painfully slow to defend Sikhism. Perhaps the old saying is true that it is easier to try and point fingers at others.

Also, this hadith is not obligating Muslims to drink beverages in which flies have fallen. It is just advising them as to what to do in case they wish to do so. A Muslim does not have to eat or drink anything that he feels an aversion to consuming. Today, most of us would understandably be repelled by the notion of drinking a beverage from which a fly had taken a sip, let alone fallen into.

The hadith mentions the word ‘should’ which means that it is mandatory for every muslim to immerse the fly in the drink.

RI-S has failed to provide any evidence either from the point of view of the Arabic language or from Islamic jurisprudence to substantiate this claim. We already cited Shaykh ‘Abd al-Wahhab al-Turayr’s fatwa (religious edict) in which he categorically declares that “this hadith is not obligating Muslims to drink beverages in which flies have fallen. It is just advising them as to what to do in case they wish to do so” (bold, underline ours).

Also, muslims themselves said that none among the earlier generations of islam contradicted this ruling.

Not contradicting a ruling does not imply an absence of choice in its implementation. So, for example, the early generation never contradicted the general ruling of fasting on a Monday and Thursday, as their Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) practiced, and yet it was optional and not obligatory.

So, if best of muslims never contradicted this ruling then what made islam-sikhism say that it is optional to follow the hadith?

RI-S has a bad habit of misrepresenting us. As we said above, it was Shaykh ‘Abd al-Wahhab al-Turayr, whom RI-S lopsidedly references below, who declared it as such and not us.

Are muslims suggesting that it is optional for a muslim to follow mihammad and his sayings?

Who else is going to suggest this, Sikhs?!

The reason is clear and simple. Due to scientific proof available today every muslim knows it is unhygienic to dip the fly in the drink.

Which RI-S have failed to prove.

It is also acknowledged by muslims like Shaykh ‘Abd al-Wahhab al-Turayr (whom islam-sikhism quoted) when he says:
“Most of us might find the idea of dunking a fly in our beverage, removing it, and then taking a drink unsettling to say the least.”

So muslims whom islam-sikhism quoted themselves beleive that it is an unhygienic practice.

But why quote the Shaykh out of context? The answer: because RI-S seems unconcerned with misrepresenting others.

Immediately after declaring the ruling to be optional and not mandatory, the Shaykh argues:

A Muslim does NOT have to eat or drink anything that he feels an aversion to consuming. Today, most of us would understandably be repelled by the notion of drinking a beverage from which a fly had taken a sip, let alone fallen into.

Islamic Law takes such natural aversion into account. (bold, capitalisation ours)

Hence, the Shaykh has not said that beverages treated with said Prophetic remedy are unhygienic, but rather supported his initial declaration of the hadith “not obligating Muslims to drink beverages in which flies have fallen” into by reminding Muslims of the basic Islamic understanding that Allah has provided them an allowance by taking into consideration their socio-cultural tastes and habits in foods.

So how can they expect a non-muslim to beleive that dipping a fly in the drink can be hygienic?

Based on the scientific and anecdotal evidence we have already cited, which, as we have said, RI-S has miserably failed to address.

Subhanakallaahuma wa bi hamdika, ash-Shahaadu al-Laa ilaaha illa Ant, astaghfiruka wa atoobu ilayka.

[1] Antibiotics – The Ointment In The Fly, (The Economist, Vol. 333, Issues: 7892-7895, 03 Dec 1994), p. 101.
[2] Dr Nurdeen Deuraseh has claimed:

Ibn Hajar (773-852/1372-1449) also discusses another interpretation of the statement “fa inna fi ihda janahayhi (for on one of its wings).” It carries an abstract meaning as the words of God “wakhfid lahuma janah al-dhull (and out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humanity) (surah al-Isra (17): 24).” This implies that the poison may be understood the pride (takabbur) occurring in one’s soul causing him to disdain eating that food or avoid and discard it altogether, while the antidote takes places by suppressing the soul and forcing it to be humble (25).

–  N. Deuradeh (2006), Health And Medicine In The Islamic Tradition Based On The Book Of Medicine (Kitab Al-Tibb) Of Sahih Al-Bukhari, (Journal of the International Society for the History of Islamic Medicine (JISHIM), vol.5, No.9 – April; accessed: 28 Dec 2011), p. 6.

It should be noted, however, that Ibn Hajar does not give any credence to the figurative (majaazi) interpretations he cites, for he makes clear:

And the benefit derived from this narration is in relation to the interpretation of the disease mentioned in this chapter’s hadith that what is intended by it is poison (samm). Thus, there is no need for the (figurative) explanation (takhreej) that some interpreters have burdened themselves with, as one said: “In the wording is a metaphor ….”

Hence, Ibn Hajar fully accepted the literal understanding of the hadith.
[3] A. ibn A. ibn Hajar al-Asqalani (1986), Fath al-Bari Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari, (Dar ar-Riyan lit-Turat; accessed: 24 Dec 2011).
[4] Ibn Q. al-Jauziyah (2003), Healing with the Medicine of the Prophet, (Darussalam), pp. 104-5.
[5] A. ibn A. ibn Hajar al-Asqalani (1986), op. cit.
[6] Ibn Q. al-Jauziyah (2003), op. cit.
[7] A. al-Turayri, Fly in the Drink, (Islam Today; accessed: 19 Dec 2011).
[8] N.A. Baeshin, M.J. Sejiny, M. Zaki and A.M. Abdel-Hafez (1990), Effect of Natural Falling and Dipping of House Fly (Musca domestica) on the Microbial Contamination of Water and Milk, (J.K.A.U.: Set, vol. 2, pp. 45-52), p. 46.
[9] Ibid., p. 47.
[10] Ibid., p. 49.
[11] Ibid., p. 47.
[12] A. ibn Qa’ud, A. ibn Ghudayyan, A-R. Afify, A-A. ibn A. ibn Baz, Hadith of ‘If a house fly falls in the drink of anyone of you, you should dip it…’, (The General Presidency of Scholarly Research and Ifta; Fatwas of the Permanent Committee; accessed: 19 Dec 2011).
[13] A. al-Turayri, op. cit.
[14] S. al-Fawzan (2005), A Summary of Islamic Jurisprudence Volume 1, (Al-Maiman Publishing House, Riyadh), pp. 76-7.
[15] M.N. ar-Rifa’i (1998), Tafsir Ibn Kathir part 2 – Abridged, (Al-Firdous Ltd, London), p. 188-90.
[16] E.W. Lane (1968), An Arabic-English Lexicon – Part 1, (Librairie Du Liban; Beirut, Lebanon), p. 44.
[17] E.M. Badawi, M. A. Haleem (2008), Arabic-English Dictionary of Qur’anic Usage, (Brill; Leiden, Boston), p. 24.
[18] We found one other translator who made the same mistake, viz. Bijan Moeinian.
[19] These include: Aisha Bewley, Ali Ünal, Faridul Haque, Maududi, Muhammad Aqib Qadri, Taqi Usmani and Wahiduddin Khan.
[20] Similar synonyms like: hurt, hurtful, stress, mild harm, painful condition and discomfort are preferred by: Ahmed Ali, Ali Quli Qara’I, Ali Ünal, Arberry, Edward Henry Palmer, Hamid S. Aziz, M.A.S. Abdel Haleem, Muhammad Ahmed and Samira, Muhammad Mahmoud Ghali, Shakir and Syed Vickar Ahamed.
[21] “Pollution” is also opted for by: Abdul Majid Daryabadi, Amatul Rahman Omar, George Sale, Hamid S. Aziz, John Medows Rodwell and Syed Vickar Ahamed.
[22] “Harmful” is also the preference of: Amatul Rahman Omar, Maulana Muhammad Ali, Umm Muhammad (Sahih International).
[23] Ruling on getting nosebleed while offering Salah, (The General Presidency of Scholarly Research and Ifta; Fatwas of Nur ‘Ala Al-Darb; accessed: 20 Dec 2011).
[24] The Wajib on woman upon becoming Tahir and the ruling on her clothes, (The General Presidency of Scholarly Research and Ifta; Fatwas of Nur ‘Ala Al-Darb; accessed: 20 Dec 2011).
[25] M.M. AI-Harbi, S. Qureshi, M.M. Ahmed, M. Raza, M.Z.A. Baig, A.H. Shah (1996), Effect of camel urine on the cytological and biochemical changes induced by cyclophosphamide in mice, (Journal of Ethnopharmacology 52, 20 Feb), pp. 134-5.
[26] Ibid., p. 135.
[27] Ibn Q. al-Jauziyah, trans. J. Abual Rub (2003), Healing with the Medicine of the Prophet, (Maktaba Dar-us-Salam, King Fahd National Library), p. 56.
[28] Ibid., p. 130.
[29] Ibid., p. 135.
[30] A.H.A. Al-Abdalall (2010), The inhibitory effect of camel’s urine on mycotoxins and fungal growth, (African Journal of Agricultural Research Vol. 5(11), 4 June), p. 1332.
[31] M. Rajamanickam (2004), Experimental Psychology With Advanced Experiments (in 2 Vols.), (Concept Publishing Company, New Delhi), p. 237.
[32] E.L. Teng, P-H. Lee, K-S. Yang, P.C. Chang (1976), Handedness in a Chinese Population: Biological, Social, and Pathological Factors, (American Association for the Advancement of Science; Science, New Series, Vol. 193, No. 4258, Sep. 17), p. 1149.
[33] G.B.D. Scott (1955), Cranial and Cerebral Asymmetry and Handedness, (Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland; Man, Vol. 55 (May, 1955), pp. 67-70), p. 69.
[34] A-W. al-Turayri, Allowing left-handed child to write with the left hand,(Islam Today; accessed: 20 Dec 2011).
[35] D.V.M. Bishop (1990), Handedness and Developmental Disorder, (Cambridge University Press), p. 13.
[36] M. Annett (2005), Handedness and Brain Asymmetry: The Right Shift Theory, (Psychology Press, E. Sussex), p. 17.
[37] S. Coren (1990), Left-Handedness: Behavioral Implications and Anomalies, (Elsevier Science Publishers, Netherlands), p. 238.
[38] A. Flew (2003), Social Life and Moral Judgment, (Transaction Publishers, New Jersey), p. 7.
[39] R.T. Moran, P. R. Harris, S. V. Moran (2010), Managing Cultural Differences: Global Leadership Strategies for Cross-Cultural Business Success, (Routledge), p. 349.
[40] O. Cole, V.P. Kanitkar (2010), Hinduism: An Introduction, (The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., US).
[41] E.M. Nesbitt (2005), Sikhism: A Very Short Introduction, (Oxford University Press), p. 94.
[42] An-Nawawi, Sharh Muslim, 13/191.
[43] S. al-Tuwayjiri, Eating with the left hand,(Islam Today; accessed: 20 Dec 2011).
[44] A. ibn Ghudayyan, A-R. ‘Afify, A-A. ibn A. ibn Baz, Doing anything with the left hand, (The General Presidency of Scholarly Research and Ifta; Fatwas of the Permanent Committee; accessed: 22 Dec 2011).
[45] B. Abu Zayd, S. Al-Fawzan, A. ibn Ghudayyan, A-A. Al Al-Shaykh, A-A. ibn A. ibn Baz, Istanja’ by someone whose right hand is amputated, (The General Presidency of Scholarly Research and Ifta; Fatwas of the Permanent Committee; accessed: 20 Dec 2011).
[46] A-W. al-Turayri, op. cit.

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