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The Ruling on Killing Pests & Harmful Insects

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Seekersguidance.org

Answered by Ustadha Sulma Badrudduja

Question: I recently discovered we have bedbugs in our house. We had someone come in and spray our house since squashing them doesn’t really work. The spray slows them down at first but then they die within a few minutes. Will we be forgiven for this as I know we are meant to use a method that will kill pests instantly? Further, there was some blood on the sheets from when they had sucked blood and then were squashed. I didn’t notice this until after I washed the sheets. So now are all the clothes considered filthy?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

Amongst the compassionate teachings of our religion is kind treatment towards animals. Many narrations (ahadith) testify to this, including the care of the Prophet (May Allah bless him and grant him peace) towards cats and riding mounts, as well as his reminder of the man who was forgiven of his sins because he quenched the thirst of a dog and the woman who was punished for harming and neglecting a cat.

The general rule is that all living things should be treated in a goodly manner. However, if an animal or insect is harmful towards one, then it is permissible (and possibly recommended or necessary depending on circumstance) to kill it, in an appropriate manner. You have mentioned that hitting or squashing the bedbugs is not a successful method of eradicating them. If there is not another successful method other than the spray, then using it would be permissible. Similarly, some scholars have stated the permissibility of using the electric neon light bug killers, since they do not actually kill by way of fire, which the Prophet (peace be upon him) forbade to use as a means of fighting or killing.

Regarding putting filthy clothes in the washing machine, please search for the answer by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani on the SeekersGuidance Answer Blog.

And Allah knows best.

Sulma Badrudduja

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

This answer was collected from Seekersguidance.org. It’s an online learning platform overseen by Sheikh Faraz Rabbani. All courses are free. They also have in-person classes in Canada.

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