Sneezing more than three times
Fatwa No: 91115

Question

Is it correct that a person who sneezes says Al-Hamdu Lillaah at the first three times he sneezes only?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger. We ask Allaah to exalt his mention as well as that of his family and all his companions.

 

An-Nawawi may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him stated that there is a consensus among the scholars may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them that it is desirable for a person who sneezes to say: "Al-Hamdu Lillaah" (All perfect praise be to Allaah). The evidence is that Abu Hurayrah may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him reported that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "When a person sneezes he should say: Al-Hamdu Lillaah." [Al-Bukhari] This narration is reported in a general context and we have not come across any Prophetic narration which restricts this to three times. It appears from your question that what you meant is what the scholars may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them stated that it is permissible not to say "Yarhamuka Allaah" (May Allaah have mercy on you) to the person who sneezes more than three times. That is because if a person sneezes more than three times consecutively, it is most likely that he has a cold. The evidence is that Salamah Ibn Al-Akwa'  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him narrated that a man sneezed in the presence of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ). The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) told him: "Yarhamuka Allaah" (May Allaah have mercy on you). When he sneezed the second and third time, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said (after the third time): "This man has a cold." [At-Tirmithi] In another narration he said: "One should say to a sneezing person ''Yarhamuka Allaah" (May Allaah have mercy on you) for the first three times he sneezes, if he sneezes more than three times, then he has a cold."

Allaah Knows best.

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