It is another natural act of a man, but unlike yawning, sneezing is liked by Allah. Sneezing, for the state of health and joy, is a mercy and grace of Allah. It lightens the brain and makes us feel comfortable. If the mists of the nose are not released and the wetness remains stuck, the person will experience discomfort. That is why Allah likes it, and several commands are associated with sneezing.
It is commanded that one who sneezes should say ‘Alhumdulillah’ when he/she sneezes. Narrated Abu Hurairah (RA): Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said, “If anyone of you sneezes, he (she) should say ‘Alhumdulillah’ (Praise be to Allah) and his brother or his companion (i.e. one who is with him/her) should say ‘Yarhamuk Allah’ (May Allah have mercy on you). When the latter says ‘Yarhamuk Allah’, the former should say ‘Yahdikumullah, wa yuslihu balakum’ (May Allah guide you and set your affairs straight).”Book of Al-Adab, Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 8: Hadith No. 6224
Therefore, it is mandatory to say ‘Alhumdulillah’ when we sneeze, and the one who is with us should respond, and again the sneezer has to respond to his supplication (as mentioned in above given narration).
The hadith mentioned in previous section says clearly that when our colleague sneezes, we have to respond by saying ‘Yarhamuk Allah’. It is very important is it for a Muslim to respond to the one who sneezes.
It was narrated for Ibn Al-Musayyab that Abu Hurairah (RA) said: Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said, “There are five things that a Muslim must do for his brother (i.e. a fellow Muslim): 1. Return his greeting(Salam), 2. Say ‘Yarhamuk Allah’ to the one who sneezes, 3. Accept invitations, 4. Visit the sick, and 5. Follow the funeral.” Book of Etiquette, Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 5: Hadith No. 5030 Therefore, responding to one who sneezes is a must for a Muslim.
It was narrated that Abu Hurairah (RA) said, “Say ‘Yarhamuk Allah’ to your brother three times, and if he sneezes any more than he has a cold.”Book of Etiquette, Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 5: Hadith No. 5034
Therefore, we have to respond minimum up to three times when someone else sneezes. If he/she sneezes more, than it is up to us whether we respond or not from fourth sneeze onwards.
Yes, there is one such situation when a Muslim should not respond to another Muslim’s sneeze. Following hadith explains this to us beautifully.
Anas bin Malik (RA) narrated that two men sneezed in the presence of the Prophet (PBUH), he responded to one of them and did not respond to the other. The one who was not responded to, said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger (PBUH)! You responded to this person and did not respond to me?’ So the Prophet (PBUH) said, “He praised Allah while you did not praise Him.”Chapters on Manners, Jami’ At-Tirmidhi, Vol. 5: Hadith No. 2742
One who does not say ‘Alhumdulillah’ after sneezing, does not deserve the supplication in response. However, if the sneezer is ignorant, it is our duty to teach him/her to say ‘Alhumdulillah’ after a sneeze.
Above rules do not apply when we are with a Non-Muslim and he/she sneezes. Let us go through one hadith to make matters clear.
It was narrated from Abu Burdah that his father said: The Jews used to sneeze in presence of the Prophet (PBUH), hoping that he would say to them ‘Yarhamuk Allah’, but he used to say ‘Yahdikumullah, wa yuslihu balakum’.Book on Etiquette, Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 5: Hadith No. 5038
It is clear that we are not supposed to respond to sneeze of a Non-Muslim in the manner similar to like that of a Muslim. Either we should remain silent, or we may say ‘Yahdikumullah, wa yuslihu balakum’ (when a Non-Muslim sneezes) as our beloved Prophet (PBUH) used to do.
Sneezing helps keep your body safe and a sneeze is one of the ways our bodies protect us from harm. "Sneezing is an important part of the immune process, helping to keep us healthy and sniffle-free." Sneezes protect your body by clearing the nose of bacteria and viruses.
hese are some manners associated with sneezing. The narrations discussed here constitute another beautiful example of the greatness of Islam, a religion in which even these things have been taken care of, a religion which is a complete religion.