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Last Updated: 2011/04/20
Summary of question
Are we forbidden to go to a somewhere that divine punishment has taken place?
question
Are we forbidden and prohibited to go to a place in which divine punishment has taken place?
Concise answer

We have not come across a hadith in Islamic resources which forbids us from going to a location where divine punishment has taken place, although, there is a hadith in which Imam Ali (as) states: “It is not permissible for a prophet or the successor of a prophet to pray in such an area” and he himself would abstain from doing so.

In view of the fact that the Imam did not forbid others from residing or prohibit them from praying in the said locations, we can deduce that praying and living there is legal.

Nevertheless the reason why Imam Ali (as) said: “It is not permissible for a prophet or the successor of a prophet to pray in such an area” and he himself would abstain from doing so, seems to be because such locations are despised and cursed by God and the prayer of Prophets or the successors of prophets brings nobleness to that site, and that’s why they would avoid praying there.

Detailed Answer

We have not come across a hadith in Islamic resources which forbids us from going to a location where divine punishment has taken place, although, there is a hadith that Imam Ali (as) states: “It is not permissible for a prophet or the successor of a prophet to pray in such an area” and he himself would abstain from doing so.

Given the importance of the issue, we will mention a segment of the above hadith: “It has been narrated from Juvairah bin Mushar that: we were accompanying Ali ibn abi Talib (as), returning from the battle of the khawarij before we reached the land of Babel (Babylon). It was time for Asr prayer, the Imam (as) settled there along with the rest of the soldiers. Then the Imam said: Oh people, this land is cursed and despised by God and up to today it has witnessed divine punishment three times (in other hadith, two times) or it’s people have been punished and this land is one of the lands of mu’tafikah (i.e., lands that have been ruined and destroyed, an example being the lands of Prophets Lut’s people that God buried into the ground) and this is the first place where idols were paid homage and recognized as gods, therefore it is not acceptable for a prophet or the successor of a prophet to ever pray here, but whoever from you that wants, can pray here. So, everyone moved to the two sides of the path and the Imam mounted the mule of the prophet (sa) and rode off…”.[1]

In view of the fact that the Imam did not forbid others from residing or prohibit them from praying in those areas, praying and living there is legal.

Nevertheless, the reason why Imam Ali (as) said: “It is not permissible for a prophet or the successor of a prophet to pray in such an area” and he himself would abstain from doing so, seems to be because such locations are despised and cursed by God and the prayer of Prophets or the successors of prophets brings nobleness and sanctity to that site, and that’s why they would avoid praying there.

Related entries:

Divine tests and punishments and the ways to distinguish between the two, 169 (website: 1244).

Natural Disasters (Floods, Earthquakes, Storms, etc.) and Divine Punishment, 288 (website: 434).



[1] Sheikh Saduq, Man La Yahduruhu al-Faqih, vol. 1, pg. 203, Jame’eh Mudarresine Qom Publications, 1413 (AH).

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