What Does the Hadith “Every Disease Has a Cure except Old Age” Mean?

Answered by Mawlana Ilyas Patel


I recently read in a hadith that every disease, except old age, has a cure. I’m curious about the scholarly interpretations of this hadith and what it means. Is old age synonymous with getting old because many people get old but still appear young? I’m sure the scholars of the four major madhabs have seen this hadith and have an explanation for it. Please assist me in better understanding this. Provide scholarly interpretations for this Hadith, such as Imam Abu Hanifa and Imam Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on them both).


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.

I pray you are in good faith and health.

عَنْ أُسامَةَ بْنِ شَرِيكٍ قالَ: قالُوا: يا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أفَنَتَداوى؟ قالَ: نَعَمْ، يا عِبادَ اللَّهِ! تَداوَوْا، فَإنَّ اللَّهَ لَمْ يَضَعْ داءً إلّا وضَعَ لَهُ شِفاءً، غَيْرَ داءٍ واحِدٍ، الهَرَمُ. [رَواهُ أحْمَدُ، والتِّرْمِذِيُّ، وأبُو داوُدَ]

Imam Ahmad narrated that Usamah bin Sharik (Allah be pleased with him) said, “I was with the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) when the Bedouins came to him and said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, should we seek medicine?’ He said, ‘Yes, O slaves of Allah, seek medicine, for Allah has not created a disease except that He has created its cure, except for one illness.’ They said, ‘And what is that?’ He said, ‘old age.’” [Ahmad, Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud]

Old Age (Al-Haram)

Al-Haram in the above hadith means old age, elderliness, agedness, and feebleness, as commentated upon in most of the hadith commentaries. [Qari, Mirqat al-Mafatih; Husayn al-Tibi, al-Kashif An Haqaiq al-Sunan Sharh al-Mishkat; Tahir al-Fatani, Majma’u Bihar al-Anwar]

Those that look young may apparently look it, however, they are old. Maybe not feeble and weak.

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I pray this helps with your question.
[Mawlana] Ilyas Patel
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Mawlana Ilyas Patel is a traditionally-trained scholar who has studied in the UK, India, Pakistan, Syria, Jordan, and Turkey. He started his early education in the UK. He went on to complete the hifz of the Quran in India, then enrolled in an Islamic seminary in the UK, where he studied the secular and ‘Aalimiyya sciences. He then traveled to Karachi, Pakistan. He has been an Imam in Rep of Ireland for several years. He has taught hifz of the Quran, Tajwid, Fiqh, and many other Islamic sciences to children and adults onsite and online extensively in the UK and Ireland. He taught at a local Islamic seminary for 12 years in the UK, where he was a librarian and a teacher of Islamic sciences. He currently resides in the UK with his wife. His interest is a love of books and gardening.