Food and drink contaminated by flies

It is narrated that the Messenger of Allah said:

“If a housefly falls in the drink of anyone of you, he should dip it (in the drink), for one of its wings has a disease and the other has the cure for the disease.”

Ibn Majah narrated that the Messenger of Allah said:

“One of the fly’s wings carries poison while the other carries a cure. When it falls in the food, dip it, for the sake of Allah, for verily He (Allah) makes the poison (take affect) first and He makes the cure come last.”

Ibn Majah

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

The Prophet ordered the fly that falls on the food to be dipped, thus killing the fly, especially if the food is hot. If the fly’s death inside the food would make the food, impure, the Prophets “s would have ordered us to discard the food. On the contrary, the Prophet sought to salvage the food.

Bees, hornets, spiders, and all similar insects are treated in the same manner as houseflies because the ruling that we derived from the Prophet’s commandment in this Hadith is general. The reason why dead animals are impure is that their blood remains trapped in their bodies, therefore the insects, which do not have blood are pure.

As for the medicinal value contained in the Hadith, Abu ‘Ubaidah said that the purpose behind dipping the fly [in the drink] is to extract the cure from [its other wing] just as the poison was extracted from [the wing that fell on the food].

a black fly perched on green leaf

Houseflies carry poisonous materials as evidenced by the effect of their bites, such as rash and infection, and this poison is the fly’s weapon of defense. When the fly falls into what harms it, it tries to defend itself with the available weapons. The Prophet ordered that we neutralize the poisonous substances produced by the fly with the cure that Allah has kept on its other wing. The fly should then be submerged in the water or the food so that the cure could neutralize the effect of the poison.

This is a remedy that the best medical minds would never be able to discover on their own because it is coming from Prophetic knowledge. 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.

Several doctors have stated that when one anoints the inflammation caused by the scorpion and hornet bites with the housefly, it would calm down the pain due to the cure that the fly carries in its wing. When the head of the housefly is amputated and the body is used to scrub the tumor that appears in the eyelid, it will cure it, Allah willing.


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