Is It Haram to Say “Medicine Cures Illnesses” Since Everything Comes from Allah?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Sidi Salman Younas

Question: Is it haram to say things like “medicines cure illnesses” or “police officers protect you” to non Muslims? Non-Muslims might not believe that all good/cure/protection etc come from Allah only. Most of my teachers are non-Muslim and sometimes in my assignments I write things like this. Say if for example I am writing an assignment on vaccinations, I would write ‘vaccinations can cure illnesses’ in my assignment, but Allah tells us that only He is able to cure illness. Is it haram to say stuff like this to non-Muslims? Also I keep thinking that I have to correct my teachers. Do I have to tell my teacher that all good comes from Allah alone? If i don’t correct my teachers will i become a kafir?

Answer: assalamu `alaykum

There is no harm in uttering such statements and there is no disbelief feared for one who states them while having sound belief.

It is a necessary belief of all Muslims that Allah is the creator and effectuator of all things. It is stated in the Qur’an that, “Allah created you and your actions” (37: 96) and “Say: Allah is the creator of all things.” (13: 16) These verses are clear and decisive in indicating that nothing apart from Allah has the independent and intrinsic ability to create or effectuate.

Further, it indicates that there is no necessary causation between two occurrences, such as fire burning, medicine curing, water quenching thirst, and so forth.

The Sunna of Allah in Creation

At the same time, Muslims do not deny that there is a normative element at play when it comes to the relationships between what people tend to see as cause and effect. Being normative or habitual means that Allah designated a specific way for how the world operates, how occurrences relate to each other.

Fire does burn but the relationship between the fire and the burning is a normative one, not a causal one. The fire, the effect of burning, and the relation between the two are created by Allah. Thus, fire, in and of itself, does not effectuate, a proof for which is the story of Ibrahim (Allah bless him) when he was thrown into fire by the disbelievers, “Oh fire, be cool and a safety for Ibrahim” (21: 69). Rather, Allah is the one creating the effect of burning and has the power to lift such an effect as well. This is why the way of the rightly guided Muslims is accepting the possibility of miracles (karamat), defined as a break in the normative laws Allah has created in the world. [Bajuri, Tuhfat al-Murid; Dardir, Sharh al-Kharida]

Speaking to People in Language They Understand

One of the salient traits of the Qur’an and the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) is that they would address people in clear and understandable language. The Qur’an clarified the belief in Allah, His oneness, His being the creator of all things but it still did not shy away from talking in a manner that humans can relate to.

Recognizing this sunna of Allah within creation, one will often find references within the Qur’an and the prophetic narrations to these normative and habitual relationships between things.

For example, the Qur’an states that in honey “there is a healing for mankind.” (16: 69) In a narration the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “In the black seed there is a cure for everything except death.” [Bukhari] In another verse it says, “Strike (the ground) with your foot: Here is cool water to bathe, and a drink!” (38: 42). The Qur’an also says, “The Fire will burn their face…” (23: 104) and “let him find out which is the best food (to be had) and bring some to you, that you may satisfy your hunger therewith.” (18: 19)

These verses and narrations more than sufficiently clarify that uttering such statements is not disbelief if done with sound belief.

Correcting Others

As for correcting others, then this follows the ruling of commanding the good and forbidding the wrong. Not doing so is not disbelief and nor does it make one a disbeliever.

The purpose behind commanding the good and forbidding the wrong is to increase the good while reducing the wrong. As such, care needs to be taken in how one proceeds in carrying out such a task.

The basis is that one commands the good and forbids the wrong when one sees a clear, overwhelming benefit in doing so. If one does not, it is best to be circumspect and hold back until clarity is attained. Sometimes, commanding the good and forbidding the wrong may even be forbidden when greater harm is feared. [Nahlawi, Hadhr wa’l Ibaha; Nabulsi, Sharh Tariqa al-Muhammadiyya]

Thus, it is not a legal obligation for you to correct your teachers if you do not feel any benefit coming out of it. For now, it would probably be best to refrain from doing so and simply concentrate on your work without necessarily assuming what another believes or how you need to correct them.



Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani