Did the Prophet (ﷺ) predict Biological warfare?

Pandemic or a Biological war

Published in: World
Date: 20 / 07 / 20

The Hadith

The Prophet (saw) said, " My Ummah will be destroyed by a millitary strike and 'Ta'oon'. Aisha (ra) asked, "O Messenger of Allah we know what a millitary strike is, but what is Ta'oon? He (saw) said, "It is an attack/piercing by your unseen enemies. And in both is martyrdom (for Muslims)" (Musnad Imam Ahmed, vol 4, 390, Mustadrak Hakim, vol. 2 pg. 93, Fathul Bari, Kitab Tibb)

The Explanation

Shaykh Hamza Yusuf explains this hadith and makes an interesting observation that why did the Prophet (saw) join the two words-Ta'na (warfare) and Ta'oon (epidemic)? Did He (saw) by this mean a "biological attack"? Because the first word "ta'na" means warfare and the second word is now understood to be an epidemic/pandemic. The Prophet (saw) goes on to describe what 'Ta'oon' essentially is. He says, "Its a piercing from your unseen enemies". The word used is "Jinn", but this word means everything that is unseen from the naked eye. Like the Arabic word for Paradise- Jannah- is also from the same root which means 'hidden, unseen from the naked eye'.

What is a Biological war?

It is the use of infectious agents like bacteria, viruses, fungi etc with an intent to kill or incapacitate people/nations etc. The US, China and other nations have dedicated bioweapons labs in many locations. The US in particular has been accused of using bioweapons throughout its history, closely followed by Japan, UK, Germany etc. The Biological Weapons Disarmament Convention of which 183 nations are signatories, is the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning the production of an entire category of weapons. However, Israel is not a signatory to it.

Safiyyah Sabreen Syeed

About the author

Safiyyah Sabreen studied Mechanical Engineering and is currently pursuing her Master's in Philosophy. She is the Content Director for KNOW. Being interested in the field of Islam and Science and Islamic Eschatology, she produced a documentary on the Golden Age of Islam and directs the Second Golden Age series.

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