Blood for disinfectant?

Leviticus 14:49-53—”Using blood for disinfectant is unscientific.”

One might as well ask for the scientific logic behind the following:

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.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari: Volume 4, Book 54, Number 537)

“The climate of Medina did not suit some people so the Prophet ordered them to drink camel urine as a medicine.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari: Volume 7 Book 71 Number 590)

“I heard Allah’s Apostle saying, “There is healing in black cumin for all diseases except death.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari: Volume 7 Book 71 Number 592)

Critics totally ignore that Leviticus 14:49-53 is a ritual purification performed only after a house has been pronounced clean. The previous verse (v48) describes how if the disease has not spread after the house was plastered, the disease is healed—which is scientifically sound. The next few verses are describing the ritual “atonement” (v52) or purification that was intended to remind Israelites of the deeper spiritual truth that death can ultimately only be averted by sacrifice. The whole ritual law of Leviticus was intended to relate everyday affairs to this central religious truth that blood must be shed to atone for sin and avert death. We find the same concept in the ‘aqiqa , where a goat is sacrificed while saying,

اَللَّهُمَّ هَذِهَ اْقِيِقِةِ اْبِنْى(فُلاَنٍ ) دَمُهَا بِدَمِ ه وَاَحْمُهَا بِلَحْمِ ه وَعِظَمُهَا بِغِظَمِه وَجِلْدُهَا بِجِلْدِ ه وَ ثَعْرُهَا بِثَعْرِه اَالَّهُمَّ اجْعَلْهَا فِدَاًء لاِبْنِىْ مِنَ النَّارِ بسْمِ اللَّهِ اللَّهُ ا كْبَرُ

O God! This ‘aqiqa is for my son ____. The blood of the sacrifice is a ransom for the blood of the child; its flesh is the ransom for the flesh of the child; its hair is the ransom for the hair of the child; and its bones are a ransom for the bones of the child. O Allah, accept it.1

One may just as well criticize how the ‘aqiqa sacrifice has any scientific benefit for the child—it must be explained in symbolic religious terms. So too the ritual purification described in Leviticus must be described in symbolic religious terms.

  1. Maulana Fazlul Karim, Shariat Shiksha (Islam Mission Library, Dacca 1959) p.154.

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