Question Nbr: 2761

Question Date: 2/12/1998

Topic: Hadith: House Fly

I have come across a particularly difficult hadith to interpret. It is the following: Sahih Bukhari Volume 4, Book 54, Number 537: Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said "If a house fly 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." I would like for you to elucidate on the meaning of this hadith since it is so very complexing. Also would you please give me a clear definition as to what the jinn and ifirit are. The Quran says in certain verses that they are evil where Allah is preparing hell for the men and the jinn, but in another verse the jinn are depicted as giving ear to the Quran and percieving it as being a righteous text from Allah. I am confused. Should it be interpreted that just as two kinds of men (the sinful and the righteous) there are two types of jinn? Also what does the Arabic words jinn and ifirit mean and how do they differ? I have heard by someone that the jinn are the genies as in 1001 Arabian nights, but I fear that it is a kafir who has said this. Your responce would be most appreciated.

Dear T. As-salaamu alaykum. We take the Hadith regarding the house fly as is and believe that it is correct, i.e., that one wing of a house fly carries a disease and the other one carries the cure to the disease. We will abstain from giving any scientific interpretation confirming this Hadith until we locate the scientific article that has already claimed to have confirm the Hadith. 
As to the issue of Jinns, some of them are good and other ones are bad. The Jinns are not Genies, they are creatures that exist and are created of fire, and we believe in their existence the same as we believe in the existence of angels who are created from light. The Ifrit is simply a strong Jinn. Even the Qur’an mentions the word Ifrit in Surah an-Naml (27) verse 39. Thank you for asking and God knows best.