What is the meaning of Yarhamukallah and why do we say it when someone sneezes?

The meaning of yarhamuk allah is “May Allah have Mercy on you”. It’s a short prayer or dua made in response to a person who has sneezed and has said “alhamdulillah”. 

You may be wondering, where does this tradition come from and is there any authethic sources that verify why Muslims say this?

The answer is yes, it is the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (saws) to say Yarhamukallah to a person who has sneezed. This is cited in many different narrations.

Hadith On Sneezing:

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “When one of you sneezes he should say: ‘Al-hamdu lillah (praise be to Allah),’ and his brother or his companion should say to him: ‘Yarhamuk-Allah (may Allah have mercy on you).’ When he says this he should reply: ‘Yahdikum-ullah wa yuslihu balakum (may Allah guide you and render sound your state of affairs).”‘

Riyad As-Salihin [Al- Bukhari]
Arabic/English book reference: Book 6, Hadith 879

ANOTHER HADITH ON SNEEZING:

Abu Hurairah (May Allah bepleased with him) reported:

Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “A believer owes another believer five rights: responding to greetings, visiting him in illness, following his funeral, accepting his invitation, and saying ‘Yarhamuk-Allah (May Allah have mercy on you),’ when he says ‘Al-hamdu lillah (Praise be to Allah)’ after sneezing”.

[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

There are over 10 hadiths which discuss matters of sneezing and replies to the one who sneeze.

Yarhamuk allah in arabic text

In Arabic, yarhamuk allah is written:

يَرْحَمُكَ اللَّهُ

Yarhamuk Allah Pronunciation:

Here’s a video on how to properly pronounce Yarhamuk Allah.

Dua For Sneezing:

Here’s is a breakdown of what a typical situation would look like for someone who sneezed:

Person #1 (sneezes) and says:
Alhamdu lillah (Arabic: الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ)
Translation: All praises and thanks are to Allah.

Person #2:
Yarhamukallah (Arabic: يَرْحَمُكَ اللَّهُ)
Translation: May Allah have mercy upon you .

Person #1: Yahdeekumul-lahu wa yuslihu balakum (Arabic: يَهْدِيكُمُ اللَّهُ وَيُصْلِحُ بَالَكُمْ)
Translation: May Allah guide you and set your affairs in order.

Hadith on response to a non-muslim who sneezes:

In hadith narrated by Abu Musa in book Jami At-Tirmidhi we should not reply with yarhamukallah when a non-muslim sneezes but instead reply with something else:

The Jews used to sneeze in the presence of the Prophet (ﷺ) hoping that he would say: ‘Yarhamukumullah (May Allah have mercy upon you).’ So he said: ‘Yahdikumullahu Wa Yuslihu Balakum (May Allah guide you and rectify your affairs).'”

Grade: Sahih (Darussalam)
English reference: Vol. 5, Book 41, Hadith 2739
Arabic reference: Book 43, Hadith 2958

 

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