On it being disliked to leave a place where there is plague to flee from it, and it being disliked to go where there is plague

Riyad as-Salihin (The Meadows of the Righteous)

by Imam Nawawi

361. Chapter: On it being disliked to leave a place where there is plague to flee from it, and it being disliked to go where there is plague

Allah Almighty says,"Wherever you are, death will catch up with you, even if you are in impregnable fortresses" (W4:77; H4:78) and the Almighty says, "Do not your cast yourselves into destruction." (W2:194; H2:195)

1791. Ibn 'Abbas reported that 'Umar ibn al-Khattab set out for Syria and reached as far as Sargh where the commanders of the armies, Abu 'Ubayda ibn al-Jarrah and his companions, met him and informed him that the plague had broken out in Syria. Ibn 'Abbas said, "'Umar said to me, 'Call the early Muhajirun for me,' and so I called them and he consulted them and informed them that the plague had broken out in Syria. They disagreed. Some of them said, 'You have set out on a matter and we do not think that you should retreat from it.' Others said, 'With you are the rest of the people and the Companions of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and we do not think that you should expose them to this plague.' He said, 'Leave me.' Then he said, 'Call the Ansar for me,' and I called them and he consulted them. They behaved as the Muhajirun had done and disagreed as they had disagreed. He said, 'Leave me.' Then he said, 'Call for me those who are here of the elders of Quraysh who emigrated before the Conquest of Makka.' So I called them, and there were not two of them who disagreed about it. They said, 'We think that you should return with the people and not expose them to this plague.' So 'Umar made an announcement among the people: 'I am travelling back in the morning, so travel back then as well.' Abu 'Ubayda ibn al-Jarrah said, 'Are you fleeing from the decree of Allah?' 'Umar said, 'If only someone other than you had said that, Abu 'Ubayda!' 'Umar did not like his opposition. 'Yes, we are fleeing from the decree of Allah to the decree of Allah. Do you think that if you had camels and they went down into a valley which had two sides, one of which was fertile and the other barren, and you grazed them on the fertile side, that that grazing would be by the decree of Allah, and if you grazed them on the barren side, that that grazing would not be by the decree of Allah?'" He said, "Then 'Abdu'r-Rahman ibn 'Awf, who had been absent on some errand, came up and said, 'I have some knowledge of this. I heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, "When you hear that it is in a place, do not go forward to it. If it comes to a land where you are, do not flee from it."' 'Umar praised Allah Almighty and left." [Agreed upon]

1792. Usama ibn Zayd reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "When you hear that there is plague in a place, do not enter it. When it arrives in a place where you are, do not leave it." [Agreed upon]