Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick
How can prayer cure every disease? By saying a prayer, you won’t cure sick people. It makes no difference whether you say the prayer or not. Otherwise, why is there a need for medicine?
Would you please clarify?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.
May Allah alleviate our difficulties and guide us to that which is pleasing to Him.
Allah is the Creator of everything in existence, including diseases and cures. The Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) teaches us that when we are ill, to take medicine and supplicate to the Creator of diseases and cures, to cure us. Medicine has no intrinsic ability to cure. Instead, Allah creates the curing effect, which He (usually) does through medicine. We, therefore, pray to Him perchance through our prayers, He allows the cure to take effect, and Allah knows best.
Medicine and Prayers
There is no conflict in taking medicine with praying to Allah for a cure. The same Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) taught both to take medicine and pray to Allah.
The Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “No disease did Allah send down, except that He sent with it a cure. Those who know it, know it; and those who don’t know it, don’t know it.” [Ahmad]
Usamah Ibn Sharik (may Allah be pleased with him) says: I saw the Bedouins asking the Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace): “Is there any harm on us in this? Is there any harm on us in that?” They asked: “O Messenger of Allah, is there any sin on us if we do not use medicine?” He (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “Slaves of Allah, by all means, use the medicine, for Allah, placed no disease except that with it He placed its cure – except for old age.” [Ibn Maja]
Praying for the Sick
The Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) visited Sa’d Ibn Abi Waqqas and said: “O Allah, heal Sa’d,” three times. [Agreed Upon]
The Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) used to place his right hand on the sick person and say: “Take away the pain, O Lord of mankind, and grant healing, for You are the Healer, and there is no healing but Your healing that leaves no trace of sickness.” [Muslim]
The Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “Whoever visits a sick person who is not yet dying, and says seven times in his presence: ‘I ask Allah the Almighty, Lord of the mighty Throne, to heal you, Allah will heal him of that sickness.” [Abu Dawud, Ahmad]
Based on the above Prophetic Narrations, there is no conflict between taking medicine and praying to Allah for a cure. Allah knows best.
Understanding Sickness and Cures
For a thorough understanding of diseases and cures in Islam, we recommend that you read the work, ‘Fleeing from Fate to Fate,’ by the late Shafi’i Mufti, Shaykh Taha Karaan (may Allah have mercy on him) here:
I pray this is of benefit and that Allah guides us all.
[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar, Shaykh Taha Karaan.
Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.
He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.
Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and pursuing his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.