How have the scholars explained this hadith: Sahih Muslim (5544) where Salim relates on the authority of his father. that Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said: "Kill the snakes having stripes over them and short-tailed snakes, for these two types cause miscarriage and they affect the eyesight adversely." So Ibn 'Umar used to kill every snake that he found. Abu Lubaba b. 'Abd al-Mundhir and Zaid b. Khattab saw him pursuing a snake, whereupon he said: "They were forbidden (to kill) those snakes who live in houses."
the Fatwa Department Research Committee - chaired by Sheikh `Abd al-Wahhâb al-Turayrî
Al-Nawawî writes about this hadîth in his commentary on Sahîh Muslim, entitled al-Minhâj:
This is a call from the Prophet (peace be upon him) to kill these types of snakes.
Some scholars said the Muslim may kill any snake, except for what is found in the houses of Madînah.
Other scholars said the exception is for snakes found in houses, whether in Madînah or elsewhere. These should not be killed as a general rule.
However, the types of snakes mentioned in this hadîth should be killed wherever they are found.
The reason for killing such snakes is as said in the hadîth, they may cause miscarriage. This is because when a woman sees them, she will be frightened and may lose her pregnancy due to the fear.
Al-Nawawî also discusses the question of blindness, He mentions that some people take this literally, that merely looking at the snake can expose someone to the danger of blindness, while others take it as a consequence of a snake’s attack. Al-Nawawî writes:
In this regard, there are two sayings for the people of knowledge; the first was mentioned by al-Khattâbî and others that these snakes have the ability of causing blindness merely by looking at them for a remarkable ability Allah has made in their sights if confronted by the human’s sight. This is supported by the narration of Muslim that these snakes “steal human sight". The other saying is that these snakes will threaten the human’s sight by stinging or biting.
He finally seems to make a reference to the spitting cobra (a snake he calls al-nâzir). The term “spitting cobra” refers to a number of snakes of the genus Naja that can project their venom and often aim for the eyes. If its venom reaches the eyes, it can sometimes be fatal for the victim, but it usually causes permanent blindness.
Also, the The Rinkhals cobra (Hemachatus haemachatus), which does not belong to the genus Naja, is closely related and can spit venom. The Rinkhals is one of the most effective venom spitting snakes.
And Allah knows best.
Source: Islam Today
-- Al Arabiya Digital