Are there bad omens in a woman, a house, and a horse?

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    Last Updated on 29th July 2022

    A lady mentioned the interpretation done by the Promised Messiahas of the first part of the following hadith of the Holy Prophetsa to Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa:

    لاَ عَدْوَى وَلاَ طِيَرَةَ،إِنَّمَا الشُّؤْمُ فِي ثَلاَثٍ فِي الْفَرَسِ، وَالْمَرْأَةِ، وَالدَّارِ

    She then requested Huzooraa for an explanation of the second part of this hadith according to which “Misfortune or bad omen lies only in three things: a horse, a woman, a house”, as people raised objections against it. 

    Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa, in his letter dated 29 May 2021, provided the following guidance on this issue: 

    Hadith commentators have interpreted this hadith in various ways: 

    “For instance, Ibn Arabirh says that the things that have been specified in this hadith as being ominous, are not so by virtue of their intrinsic nature; rather, they are so due to their habits or circumstances. Moreover, it has also been said by some that if a bad omen is possible, then it can be in these three things. 

    “Similarly, it has been suggested by some that a woman’s not bearing any children, a horse’s not being used in war and a house’s having a bad neighbour are ominous aspects of those things. 

    “Ibn Qutaybah, on the other hand, states that it was during the jahiliyyah, the period of ignorance preceding the advent of Islam, that people believed in evil omens. So, the Holy Prophetsa forbade [them from auguring based on] them and told them that evil omens were a myth. Nevertheless, they continued to hold on to the belief in the existence of evil omens in these three things. (Fath al-Bari fi Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitabu l-jihadi wa s-siyari, babu ma uzkaru min shu’mi l-faras)

    “Some have also said that the Holy Prophetsa did not state his own point-of-view in this hadith but the belief of the people of that time. This interpretation is also supported by a narration of Hazrat Aishara according to which, when she was informed that Hazrat Abu Hurairahra had narrated that the Holy Prophetsa had said that there were evil omens in horses, women and houses, she became extremely angry and said that the Holy Prophetsa had never said any such thing; rather, the Holy Prophetsa had said that the people of jahiliyyah considered these three things to be the cause of misfortune. (Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Kitab baqi musnad al-ansar, bab baqi al-musnad al-sabiq, hadith no. 24841) 

    “And according to another narration, Hazrat Aishara denied the statement of Hazrat Abu Hurairahra and said that Hazrat Abu Hurairahra had only heard the last part of the Holy Prophet’ssa statement and not the first part. She went on to say that the Holy Prophetsa had in fact said, ‘May Allah destroy those Jews who say that there are evil omens in these three things.’ (Musnad Abi Dawud Al Tayalisi, Kitabu ‘ahadithi n-nisa’i, babu ’alqamata ibn qays  ’an ‘Aisha)

    “Some have in fact interpreted this hadith to mean that it refutes the misconception of the time of jahiliyyah about bad omens and indicates that if one’s house is such that he dislikes living in it, or if one’s wife is such that he dislikes her company or if one’s horse is such that he dislikes riding on it, then he should separate himself from these things. Yet others have suggested that a violent horse, a wife who is unfaithful to her husband, and a house that is far from the mosque where the call to prayer is not heard are ill-omened. (Fath al-Bari fi Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitabu l-jihadi wa s-siyari, babu ma uzkaru min shu’mi l-faras)

    “Anyhow, these are the various interpretations that the commentators have done according to their own understanding. However, if one ponders over this hadith while keeping the teachings contained in the Holy Quran and the hadith in mind, then this hadith can absolutely not be interpreted to mean that a woman, a horse or a house could be bad omens. This is so because the Holy Prophetsa liked all of these three things and praised them. Houses, as well as horses, were used by the Holy Prophetsa while he also had a very close relationship with the women in his life; his mother, wives and daughters. Hence, the Holy Prophetsa said about mothers that Paradise was under their feet. (Sunan al-Nasa’i, Kitabu l-jihad, babu r-rukhsati fi t-takhallufi li mun lahu walidah) 

    “He said that a pious wife was the greatest blessing of this world. (Sahih Muslim, Kitabu r-rada’, babu khayri mata’i d-dunya al-mar’atu s-salihah) 

    “He declared the good moral training and education of a daughter [by her guardians] to be a means of their entering Heaven and salvation from Hell. (Sahih Muslim, Kitabu l-birri wa s-silati wa l-adab, babu fadli l-ihsani ila l-banat) 

    “He declared the husband who treated his wife well the best of men. (Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Kitabu r-rada’, babu ma ja’a fi haqqi l-mar’ati ’ala zawjiha) 

    “And of the things of this world, he said, he loved women and perfume. (Sunan al-Nasa’i, Kitabu ’ishrati n-nisa’i, babu hubbi n-nisa’i)

    “Similarly, the Holy Quran has described horses as a source of beauty for human beings (Surah al-Nahl, Ch.16: V.9). It describes the expression of Prophet Solomon’sas extraordinary love for horses as resulting in his remembering God. [He said, ‘The love of horses is dear to me because they remind me of my Lord.’] (Surah Saad, Ch.38: V.33-34) 

    “Moreover, while referring to the extraordinary significance of horses, the Holy Prophetsa said that all kinds of good and blessings had been placed in the foreheads of horses till the Day of Resurrection. (Sahih Bukhari, Kitabu l-juhadi wa s-siyar, babu l-khayli ma‘qudun fu nawasiha l-khayru ila yawmi l-qiyamah) 

    “Regarding houses, the Holy Prophetsa declared the houses of Banu Najjar, Banu Abd al-Ashhal, Banu Harith and Banu Sa‘idah to be the best houses of the Ansar. (Sahih Bukhari, Kitabu l-manaqib, babu fadli duri l-ansar) 

    “Then it is also mentioned in hadith literature that if one buys a new house, a new mount [i.e. vehicle] or welcomes a new bride, one should give charity. This is so that Allah may protect one from any evil aspects of these things and one may be blessed through them.

    “Thus, the fact that the Holy Quran and the Holy Prophetsa have declared these things to be praiseworthy in this way, proves that the above-mentioned hadith cannot be interpreted or understood in any way that would make it objectionable.

    “Apart from all these matters, the essential principle to understand this hadith is that which the Promised Messiahas, the Hakam ‘Adl of this Age, has stated in his work Nur-ul-Haqq, while interpreting [ta’wil] the first part of this hadith (which you have also quoted in your letter). He states, ‘All the effects of contagious diseases [‘adwa] etc. are in the hands of God Almighty and no one is able to affect anything in this circular world of generation and corruption except His command, intention and will.’ (Nur-ul-Quran, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. VIII, p. 15) 

    “That is, the good and bad effects of everything in the world are in the hands of God Almighty, and nothing can affect anything positively or negatively without God’s command and will.

    “Therefore, according to this interpretation of Huzooras, the next part of the hadith under discussion will also mean that whether it is a woman, a mount or a home, the good or bad effects of all these things can only influence another person by the permission of God Almighty. In other words, we can say that a man benefits or receives harm from his wife, his mount or his house only according to the will of God Almighty.

    “Nevertheless, it is also worthwhile keeping in mind that this should not create the misconception that God was solely responsible for everything that happened, without man having to bear any responsibility for the good or bad outcome of his actions. It has been very clearly elucidated from various angles in the Holy Quran, the hadith and the discourse of the Promised Messiahas, that Allah Almighty produces the outcome according to Man’s own deeds. Hence, while addressing the believers in Surah al-Taghabun, He states: ‘Surely among your [spouses] and your children are [some that are really] your enemies.’ (Surah al-Taghabun, Ch.64: V.15-16) 

    “Then, in Surah al-Nur, it is said that bad (women) are for bad men, and bad men are for bad (women). And good (women) are for good men, and good men are for good (women) … (Surah al-Nur, Ch.24: V.27) 

    “It is also mentioned in a hadith that a pious wife, a good house and a good mount are the cause of happiness and good fortune for a person and an evil wife, a bad house and a bad mount are the cause of misfortune for a person. (Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Musnadu l-‘asharati l-mubash-sharina bi l-jannah, musnad abi ishaqa sa‘ad ibn ‘abi waqqasinra, hadith no. 1368) 

    “The Promised Messiahas states in this regard: 

    “‘[E]very human action is followed by a corresponding action on the part of God. For instance, when a person closes all the doors and windows of his room, his action is followed by a divine action whereby the room becomes dark. All the inevitable consequences of our actions that have been appointed by God Almighty under the law of nature are all God’s actions, inasmuch as He is the Cause of causes. For instance, if a person swallows poison, his action would be followed by the divine action that he would suffer death. In the same way, if a person acts in some improper way which attracts an infectious disease, his action would be followed by the divine action that he would be afflicted with that disease. Thus, as we observe clearly that in our worldly life, there is an inevitable result for every action of ours, and that result is the act of God Almighty, the same law operates in religious matters also. For instance, it is said:

    الَّذِيۡنَ‭ ‬جَاهَدُوۡا‭ ‬فِيۡنَا‭ ‬لَنَهۡدِيَنَّهُمۡ‭ ‬سُبُلَنَا‭ ‬ؕ

    “‘[“… (as for) those who strive in Our path – We will surely guide them in Our ways.” (Surah al-Ankabut, Ch.29: V.70)]

    فَلَمَّا‭ ‬زَاغُوۡۤا‭ ‬اَزَاغَ‭ ‬اللّٰهُ‭ ‬قُلُوۡبَهُمۡ‭ ‬ؕ

    “‘[“So when they deviated (from the right course), Allah caused their hearts to deviate.” (Surah al-Saff, Ch.61: V.6)]

    “‘This means that in consequence of the full striving of a person in seeking God, the inevitable act of God is to guide him along the ways that lead to Him. [In] contrast, it is said: When they deviated from the right course and did not desire to tread along the straight path, the divine action followed in that their hearts were made perverse.’ [The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam (English), (Tilford: Islam International Publications Ltd., 2017), pp. 120-121]”

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