* Courtesy of Masjid al – Furqaan (Cape Town)
* Courtesy of Masjid al – Furqaan (Cape Town)
Beginning right now, make an intention that this Ramadan will be a time of great spiritual effort and sincerity. To help turn that intention into reality, make checklists of both daily goals for Ramadan (read a section of Quran or a beneficial lecture every day, etc.) and goals for the overall month (visit a home for the elderly, invite two non-Muslim friends for a chance to experience iftar, etc.).
Make sure you are up to par physically by adjusting the amount and quality of your food intake. Start by eliminating snacks and have smaller meals in the weeks leading up to Ramadan. Also reduce your caffeine intake so that the lack of your morning coffee or afternoon tea doesn’t debilitate you in the first few days of the holy month. Of course, if you’re fasting during the month of Sha’baan, you’re halfway there.
Make sure to get your medical business in order before Ramadan arrives. If you suffer from a particular illness, check with a doctor, preferably one who understands the importance of fasting, on whether fasting is a reasonable option for you. If you are taking medication, ask your doctor if you can take your doses during non-fasting hours instead of during the day. Also, check if there are options to take your medication via injection instead of orally, as in the Hanafi school injections do not break your fast.
Voluntary (nafl) fasts are a great way to help prepare the mind, body and soul for Ramadan. If you can do it, follow the Prophetic sunna and fast the month of Shaaban, which comes just before Ramadan. If that proves too difficult, try to implement some of these other sunnas: fasting on Mondays and Thursdays, or fasting on the ‘white days’ of each Islamic month: the 13th, 14th and 15th.
Many people aim to do a complete reading of the Quran at least once during Ramadan. If you don’t have a habit of reading the Quran daily, take this as an opportunity to incorporate that habit into your life. This will enable you to read longer sections of the book during Ramadan. Even if doing a complete reading of the Quran during Ramadan is too difficult, making a habit of reading one page or even a few verses a day will bring many blessings during the holy month and afterwards, as the Prophet (pbuh) said: “The most beloved of actions to Allah are the most consistent ones, even if in little amount.”
If you have no missed obligatory prayers to make up, start to pray voluntary sunna prayers to prepare yourself for the extra prayers that take place in Ramadan. If you do have missed obligatory prayers, use the time you would give to the sunna prayers to make some of them up. Don’t feel that you are missing out on the opportunity to do voluntary sunnas, because God says in the famous Hadith Jibreel, “My servant draws near to Me by nothing more beloved to Me than that which I have made obligatory on him.”
Use the weeks leading up to Ramadan to increase your acts of charity, be that in the form of giving money to needy people or worthy causes. These could be anything from sponsoring a Syrian refugee family, to supporting scholars and students of sacred knowledge through SeekersHub’s #SpreadLight campaign. Giving charity is a way to purify your wealth, and you can enter the month of Ramadan in a greater state of purity. It also opens doors for great good in your life, for the Prophet (pbuh) has told us, “Allah says, ‘Spend, O son of Adam, you will also be spent on.’”
Spend some time before Ramadan to find a local charity or community service opportunity to work with, whether it be in an Islamic environment or in the wider community. If you begin well before Ramadan starts, you will adjust to the environment before you begin fasting, so that you can explain to co-workers why you can’t join them for a coffee break or a meal.
Imam al-Ghazali discusses the inner dimensions of the fast in his Revival of the Religious Sciences , which you can observe before Ramadan arrives. He mentioned that one must learn to fast with all the limbs, from all that harms the heart. You can, for example, avoid certain television shows to keep the eyes from seeing nudity, leave particular conversations to keep the ears from hearing foul language, and control the ego to keep the tongue from argument or backbiting. The inner fast is among the most important aspects of fasting Ramadan and is often more difficult than the physical fast from food, water and sexual relations, so the earlier you begin to practice this, the better.
One of the major concerns about how Muslims practice Ramadan today is the high level of overconsumption and waste that takes place during the holy month – a reality which is completely antithetical to the Prophetic tradition. Imam Zaid Shakir and others have spoken about ‘greening’ Ramadan as practiced today in the Muslim community, while Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad has suggested that Muslims use Ramadan to support ethical, fairtrade companies.
Imam Zaid’s mosque in Oakland, California offers a great model for doing this. With a little bit of extra organization and commitment, communal iftars are served on borrowed crockery and silverware (from friends, neighbors or a local Muslim restaurant) instead of their disposable variation. Washable handclothes are used instead of paper towels. The amount of trash saved by these actions – especially over the course of the month – is enormous, and embodies the Prophetic example of being, as the Quran describes, “a mercy to all the worlds.” See: Global Warming and Wasterfulness
Dr. Rehan Zaidi shares important strategies for a healthy Ramadan. Dr. Zaidi discusses how we can easily detoxify ourselves during Ramadan for more energy, clarity and overall health. The detox process includes tips and advice on food selections.
I know it is haram to take medicine that has haram elements in it (like gelatin capsules) if there is a reasonable alternative (such as tablets). So as a muslim psychiatrist, many of our medicines have extended release formulations that have many advantages over the immediate release formulations. The immediate release formulations do not have gelatin capsules, and right now, that’s really their advantage. For example, effexor XR has a decreased risk of side effects including nausea and people only have to take it once a day, and this is why the immediate release tablets have fallen out of favor (though the IR tablets have no gelatin). The other thing is that compliance with psychiatric medications is found to be low, and once daily medications are more likely to have increased compliance as well. The other consideration is that extended release formulations have less risk of withdrawal syndromes (which are non-fatal but really really uncomfortable and can make you sick) compared to immediate release formulations.
Is it haram to prescribe XR on the basis of the issue of gelatin and I can only recommend IR to my patients (even if they are non-Muslim) as to avoid direct assistance in sin?
Day 27: Benefit Your Body
Our bodies are a trust from Allah, given to us for a short period of time. Our bodies enable us to live a fulfilling lifestyle, as well as perform various types of worship. These could be anything from ritual prayers to helping others.
Moving forward, why not make a commitment to benefit your body? It could be in the form of taking a few minutes out of your day to go for a short walk or get some exercise. You could also choose to make an effort to eat some healthy meals, or take some vitamins that you may be lacking. Do this with the intention of keeping your body strong for a life of health and wellbeing in the service of Allah.
Bring new life to this Ramadan by enrolling in a FREE On-Demand course.
As we’ve mentioned previously, true health occurs when the whole person is functioning harmoniously on all levels, and is able to fulfil his or herself socially and spiritually. The goal of every true physician should be to guide each patient to this point as much as is possible through medicine.
Holistic therapies such as homeopathy and traditional Chinese acupuncture reach the dynamic level of the human being, the level of pure energy, the Vital Force or Qi in Chinese Medicine. The Vital Force or Qi is where the real disturbance is, and when healing takes place on this level, the curative effect ripples throughout the whole organism, from centre outwards.
Given the above, it is natural to ask, how can holistic medicines practically help someone in the religion?
There is a strong connection between medicine and religious practice, and both are obviously invaluable in our lives. Just as we need this world in order to succeed in the next, we need medicine to grant us the ability to have mental and physical health to be able to fulfil our religious objectives.
This is why Imam al Shafi’i (May Allah be pleased with him) said, ‘Indeed, knowledge is of two types: knowledge of the religion and knowledge of the world. The knowledge of religion is to achieve understanding (fiqh) and the knowledge of the world is medicine.’ [Adab al Shafi’i].
Holistic medicine can greatly assist someone in the religion and in spirituality, or even someone who may not be particularly spiritual, but seeking more profound or alternative meanings in an overwhelmingly materialistic world.
Mr Ahmad comes for treatment for multiple sclerosis. During the consultation we find that since childhood he has always had a fear of poverty. During his twenties, he developed a tendency to buy useless items and hoard them. He has a fear of the dark and is terrified of death. He describes himself as religious though very materialistic. He finds it a struggle to progress in the religion in the way he feels he should. He finds faults with others very easily, has a very suspicious nature, and admits that he backbites people all the time. At the same time, he never desires to be alone and needs company. He feels an inner restlessness but doesn’t know why. This has caused many difficulties his personal and work.
After the 5 weeks of treatment, the patient reports in the first month an inner sense of calm as opposed to his restlessness. Over the course of treatment, the improvement steadily continues and Mr. Ahmad doesn’t feel the fear of poverty so intensely, though it is still there and can be quite crippling. The MS is still there but not as intense. At the eight month follow up he declares that he has started to get rid of some of his hoarded goods, and genuinely feels much more energetic and positive. Others have also noticed a change in his character, describing him as more affable and cynical.
Just over a year later, he states that he no longer senses a fear of poverty, and any thoughts of darkness and death are few and far between, and almost negligible. This has made a big difference in his whole outlook to life, work and his relationships, and most importantly his religious aspirations. He states that whereas reading the Qu’ran previously felt like a chore, he now was eager to read it daily, and he has started feeling some of the old zeal for the religion slowly coming back. His MS has disappeared completely.
These types of cases are very common. What happened is that the treatment affected the patient’s deepest being, and this in turn created an awareness within him of his diseased state. By becoming inwardly aware that his fears, delusions, and reactions, were disproportionate to real life, he was able to subconsciously let go, so that he no longer feared poverty, and was no longer terrified of the dark and of death, which was no doubt in this case a fear of losing material wealth, after all what is death but a step into the unknown, the dark, and a parting from the worldly possessions?
The treatment had an effect on all levels of his being, healing the physical manifestation of the inner disease (MS in this case), and changed his whole perception and dealings with everything and everyone around him.
One may view the role of such treatment as a ‘clearing out,’ ‘getting rid of unwanted baggage’ and ‘putting things in order.’ This is usually very difficult for people to do on their own. You can tell a person to get over an abnormal fear, to snap out of depression, or find ways to deal with chronic anxiety, but more often than not, they simply can’t. They just don’t have the will power or creativity to move forward, and so they remain stuck.
Because correct treatment reaches the higher planes of a person, it instigates the person to rouse up from the rut they find themselves in and see the reality of their situation. The person’s perceptions and reactions change, and they find themselves with a new inner strength and self-confidence, which enables them to think and decide with new found clarity, far-sightedness and purpose. When his takes place, the person starts to make the necessary changes in life they need in order to move towards their goal, productively and creatively.
In summary, it frees up the person to be open to, as Samuel Hahnemann said, ‘the higher purpose of our existence’.
Hering’s Law, named after Constantine Hering, the physician who observed and formulated the law, refers to the direction in which the symptoms of the patient will disappear during a cure under natural treatment. It is indispensable in practice. The Law states that real cure takes place:
From within outwards.
From above downwards.
From a more important organ to a less important one.
In the reverse order of their coming.
There’s a lot that can be said in regards this Law and how it aligns one’s natural vibration (discussed previously), however what is worth deducing from it for our benefit here is that it is applicable in the cure of us as individual believers and as an Ummah.
Allah Most High tells us in the oft quoted verse, ‘God changes not what is in a people, until they change what is in themselves’ [13:11]. In order for change to occur, it has to start within. As individuals and as a nation, we have to look at the ills that we have as a community and work towards improving and finding solutions to those issues. When we change as individuals, as communities, and as an ummah, then this will have an effect on everything around us. Inner order leads to outward order, healing is from within outwards.
Likewise, a just leader who takes himself into account and sets a good example, instils goodness into his subjects and guides them to goodness in both worlds, and in this way, whole nations are healed and guided. Like a father and mother guiding their children, from above downwards, the more senior figures set the standard in their own lives and through their own behaviour, and this has a rippling effect on those under their care. Such were the leaderships and guidance of the Prophets, the Rightly Guided Caliphs, and the pious leaders of our communities.
Why can families, communities and nations grow so strong when pulling together in the same direction? Because everyone’s vibration is in tandem. And when this harmony occurs, ‘The similitude of believers, in their love, mercy, and compassion for each other, are like one body.’ [Muslim]
Finally, we should end this series with the reminder that while discussing the many benefits and wonders of natural holistic medicine, it is ultimately Allah alone that heals, and not through any power of the medicine, nor any ability of the physician.
Just like fire does not have the intrinsic power to burn, nor the knife the inherent ability to cut, it is our belief that no substance has healing properties in of themselves, but rather, it is Allah who creates the relationship between the medicine and the healing effect through his Will and Power.
‘O Lord of the people! Remove the difficulty and bring about healing as You are the Healer. There is no healing but Your Healing, a healing that will leave no ailment.’ [Sahih al Bukhari]
One of the first thing that attracted me to homeopathy was that every single homeopath that I had ever read about, or met, believes in a Creator. The reason for this is that homeopathy demands the practitioner to observe not only the world around one, but also the inner world within one. The only conclusion any sincere seeker can come to, is that the universe, with its intricate order and balance, can only exist through a single Creator.
God created man, and from him, He created his pair, and from this pair, multiples were created. Allah tell us that, ‘All things We have created by pairs, that haply ye may reflect,’ and the Prophet ﷺ said, ‘There is no disease that Allah has created, except that He also has created its remedy.’ [al Bukhari]. Disease and cure are a pair, and it is the task of medicine to search the vast creation of Allah to look for the remedy to each disease in each person.
Traditional therapies hold that there is only ever one disease in the body at one given time. It is not possible to have two diseases in one body. Despite plurality of symptoms manifesting in the one body, whether on the psychological or physical level, these are merely manifestations of the one root disease, or central disturbance.
Ask a physician to explain the concept of health, and you’ll probably get an answer like, ‘feeling well in both mind and body’, or ‘being free from illness or injury,’ etc. which are all fine and true. However, it falls short of the concept of real health.
Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy, gave a magnificent description of health, when he wrote, ‘In the healthy condition of man, the spiritual vital force, the dynamis that animates the material body, rules with unbounded sway, and retains all the parts of the organism in admirable, harmonious, vital operation … so that our indwelling, reason-gifted mind can freely employ this living, healthy instrument for the higher purpose of our existence.’ [Aphorism 9, The Organon].
This vital force that Hahnemann speaks of, the dynamis that animates the material body, is another name for the Qi, the energy force in Chinese Medicine. They are one and the same thing.
Another equally sound explanation of health is given by professor G. Vithoulkas, when he says, ‘Health is freedom from pain in the physical body, having attained a state of well-being; freedom from passion on the emotional level, having as a result a dynamic state of serenity and calm; and freedom from selfishness in the mental sphere, having as a result total unification with Truth‘. [The Science of Homeopathy]
We can see then that the two (homeopathic) definitions of health, though differing in words, carry the same meaning. The body is an instrument to help one fulfil their ‘higher purpose’ in life, which is of course explained by Allah Most High in his words, ‘I created the jinn and humankind only that they might worship Me.’ [51:56].
Before we move onto the concept of disease, it would be useful to briefly understand something about the Universal Law of Frequency and Vibration.
Science, through the field of Quantum Physics, is showing us that everything in our universe is energy.
Everything has its own vibrational frequency, whether animate or inanimate, governed by The Law of Vibration. A chair may look solid and still, but in reality, there are millions of subatomic particles in motion, all moving with energy. Everything that appears solid is the frequency of the vibration of the energy that makes it up.
Everything, even our thoughts, feelings, and sounds have their own vibrational frequency. These vibrations set up resonance with whatever possesses identical frequency. This gives the phrases such as ‘good vibes’ or ‘negative vibes’ some basis. In other words, your thoughts are inseparably connected to the rest of the universe.
The Mantra preceding meditation for Hindus and many Buddhists is the word, ‘Om’. This word is believed by these religions to be representative of the ‘universal sound’, referring to an ultimate reality, or truth.
For Muslims, we have a much clearer, unambiguous and direct understanding of the focus of our thoughts and meditations, which is only Allah, Exalted is He. Allah tells us, ‘The seven heavens and the earth, and all beings therein, declare His glory: there is not a thing but celebrates His praise; And yet ye understand not how they declare His glory!’ [17:44].
Everything in the universe is in remembrance and glorification of the Creator, whether it be from the kingdoms of plant, animal, or mineral, or the naturals elements of water, air, earth and fire. Everything praises Him, and it is only men who do not perceive this, and who chooses to praise Allah or be heedless of Him.
This praise of everything in the Universe for the Creator can be viewed in the context of the Law of Vibration. Given the above verse, it would not be far-fetched to say the universal ‘sound’ or ‘vibration’ of the created universe is one of remembrance of Allah.
In many chronic cases of disease (though obviously not all cases, especially when there is a clear reason for emotional or physical pathology), there is an inner turmoil within the human heart and psyche, which is usually a precursor to emotional and physical sickness, as we discussed in our first article.
From whence does this inner turmoil begin? Quite often, it occurs when the will of a person is not fully aligned to the Divine Will. For many people, inner conflict occurs because their desires, hopes, and thoughts are in contrast to the Divine Commandment and Decree, either desiring that which is not permitted, neglecting that which is commanded, or being discontent with Allah’s Decree.
In this conflicted state, there is usually inner restlessness and agitation in the heart, for it looks for inner peace and repose in that which Allah has not placed peace and repose in, namely created things. Two inconsistent attitudes cannot exist in one person without conflict, because ‘God has not assigned to any man two hearts within his breast’ [33:4]
Looked at in another way, man is a part of creation, not separate to it (were we not created from earth?). If man’s will is ill-directed will and he is in state of heedlessness (ghafla), then man’s frequency of vibration is out of sync with the natural vibration of the universe, which as we mentioned is in constant praise of Allah. When this occurs, man is in a state of agitation.
When a person aligns his will to the Will of God, and relinquishes the desires and opinions of his ego, fulfilling His commands, and keeping away from His prohibitions, and remembering and thanking Him, the inner turmoil disappears and one finds contentment and peace, even if the world around them is in turmoil. ‘Those who believe, and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah: for without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.’ [13:28].
The goal then, is to return to a pure state, the fitrah, where the heart is attached and submits to, and is in praise of Allah Most High. This gives real meaning to the idea of ‘being as one with the universe’. In this pure state, man can truly take his place as God’s khalifah (viceroy) on earth.
This is one of the reasons why spiritual training is so important and why it works. In the course of training, the true spiritual guide is redirecting the disciple’s will to the Will of the Divine.
If inner conflict and restlessness is neglected for a long period of time and left unresolved, like a toxin, it spreads in the heart, the mind and the body, and disease occurs.
Once we have understood the concept of true health, it’s easy to understand disease. In contrast to health, we may define disease as simply ‘bondage.’ Physical pain creates the bondage of the body, lower desires and passions leads to the bondage of the emotions, and the selfishness of the ego creates the bondage of the spirit. All of which prevents one from moving forward and fulfilling the ‘higher purpose’ of one’s existence.
In disease, one’s vibration is out of sync with the pure or natural order, as we have mentioned. This internal discord could have occurred during the person’s own life, or passed down through generations.
When inner disorder persists, it manifests in outward disorder. Inner chaos can lead to outward chaos. This can affect individuals, or whole societies. In a compensated state, inner chaos can make a person fastidious and leads to OCD and waswasa, as they try to control their outward environment in order to allay the inner disorder, which they are unable to control. Clinical experience shows that behind all of these states, there is almost always some underlying fear buried deep down, whether connected to worldly matters or religious matters, and these need to surface and be resolved.
Like a guitar that needs to be finely tuned, a person’s vibration, and in turn, their will, needs to be tweaked, altered and re-aligned. This is the job of two disciplines: 1) that of certain natural medicines, which align the individual’s vibration to the harmonious vibration of the natural universe, and 2) spiritual training at the hands of a genuine spiritual guide, which guides and enhances the individual’s will to submit to the Will of God.
For lasting physical, emotional, and spiritual health through the various stages of man’s life, to combine both natural therapy and spiritual guidance is ideal.
So far, we have been discussing the theoretical relationship between natural medicine and Islam. In our next, and final article, we will be looking at how the principles of natural medicine can be of practical benefit to people, as well as discussing the Law of Cure.
Imam al Haddad tells us in The Book of Assistance, ‘God never mentioned the inward and the outward in His Book without beginning with the inward. And the Prophet used to pray (may blessings and peace be upon him), ‘O God! Make my inward better than my outward, and make my outward virtuous.‘
Mankind has been preoccupied with disease and healing since time immemorial. The ancients, and nearly all nations throughout history, right up to the last great native nations and tribes, understood the concept of man as a being with an inward and outward dimension. They understood the reality of man’s destiny, and because of this, their philosophies, discoveries, and even everyday life, bore the profundity of man’s existence in mind.
Medicine was no exception. The purpose of treating man at times of sickness meant promoting healing in both the body and spirit. It was Plato who said, ‘The greatest mistake in the treatment of diseases is that there are physicians for the body and physicians for the soul, although the two cannot be separated.’
We also acknowledge that the disbelief and rejection of God, the soul, and its final destiny, has also existed since ancient times. However, with the rise of brutal colonial powers, the horrors of the World Wars, the industrial revolution, increasing corporate capitalism, and most alarmingly, the rise of atheism, mankind, specifically ‘western’ man, entered into a new, unprecedented psychological posture, and with it, religious truths gave way to a new breed of science and an insatiable appetite for the material.
With man’s technological and scientific advances, increasingly secular agendas, and major shifts in world wealth and power, God, the hereafter, and the fate of man’s soul were consigned to the past.
Western medicine inevitably followed suit. Modern theories, advanced technological instruments and machines, supported by powerful chemical drugs, ensured that the role of the spirit, as well as the mental-emotional levels, were separated from the physical body, and no longer deemed necessary in the treatment of chronic disease. This is the reason why a depressed, suicidal patient with multiple sclerosis will be referred to two or more types of doctor rather than one, and given different medicines rather than one medicine, though the two symptoms are nothing but the same disease process.
Before the word ‘Medicine’ became monopolised and synonymous with only the western medical model (and everything else became ‘alternative’, ‘complementary’, or even ‘quackery’), and before ‘real science’ became the yardstick to measure and verify every human experience and observation (including the existence of God and religion), other nations, particularly those in the East, were healing people on deep and profound levels for thousands of years.
Modern medicine has many benefits, particularly in emergency situations and surgery. In these areas, it is invaluable, unsurpassed, and a blessing from God. Likewise, we should all appreciate and acknowledge the unquestionable sacrifice, devotion, and skill of many doctors around the world. However, it is true to say that modern medicine and its drugs struggle to deal effectively with the chronic diseases of man.
The simple reason for this is that humans are natural beings in a natural world, and treatment of such a being must not only follow the observed Laws of nature (we’ll talk about laws of nature in a later article), but the treatment must take into account the dimensions and subtleties of man’s constitution as a physical and spiritual entity.
As believers, and bastions of the last and complete message from the Divine, it is our duty to tend to both our physical bodies and our spiritual growth. In the treatment of human disease, it is essential that we also do not follow the pack and separate the two, or turn to unnatural solutions for our physiological, emotional, and psychological conditions. For to do so, would be abusing our God-given human nature, which is indeed a miraculous organism that deserves reflecting on. ‘We will show them Our Signs in the universe, and in their own selves, until it becomes manifest to them that this [the Quran] is the truth.’ [41:53]
Unlike most nations, for whom the afterlife seems to have receded into a distant memory, the Muslims, while fully engaging and benefiting from this world, have traditionally always kept the Hereafter at the forefront of their thoughts in all aspects of life. It is our duty to preserve this priority in our lives.
On the fundamental level, what is needed are three things:
1) A return to our religion, in both outward and inward observances, the starting point being our return to the Qur’an, and helping each other in building our relationship with the Book of Allah. Why is this so important? Because Allah Most High tells us, ‘We send down in the Qur’an that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe.’ [17:82]
This ‘healing’ of the Quran is explained by the scholars of Quranic exegesis, ‘The Quran, [whether in] small portions or large portions, is a healing from the manifest and outward sicknesses … And a healing from the inner spiritual sicknesses … And what is meant by ‘Mercy’, is blessings in this life and the next life.’ [Hashiyah al Khalwati].
2) Building strong and stable families and communities. In a world where the social fabric of people, Muslims included, is fast dissolving, with people feeling as isolated as ever, and mental health issues, in both children and adults, are on a meteoric rise, it is imperative that we unite and work towards creating cohesive, safe and resilient communities, which fulfil our worldly and religious-spiritual needs.
3) In times of sickness, both short-term and long-term conditions, it is important for us to utilise medicines and therapies, that can at the minimum, flow in the same direction of the innate healing mechanism and immune system that Allah Most High has created in us, and not oppose it.
The effects of hammering down our immune systems with endless supplies of anti-biotics, anti-histamine, anti-inflammatory, anti-depressants (as well numerous Inhibitors and Blockers), not only affects our physical health, but if taken over a long enough time, can deeply disturb our psychological and spiritual health. We must be pro-body and not anti-body!
Ideally, we should seek out potent, natural medicines and therapies, which can not only work with the body in a natural way, but that are able to reach beyond the mere physical level of man, and instigate healing on the non-physical level as well. Such systems of medicine do exist, and we will discuss examples in a later article. Optimally, such modes of treatment would be accompanied by the support and guidance of qualified and adept religious and spiritual persons.
We leave you with a beautiful story of the relationship between emotional and physical sickness (as well as an exemplary model of bed-side manner that all physicians should take heed of!). A young lady, previously full of life, youth and beauty, suddenly, without apparent reason, fell ill. Much to her family’s anguish she began to wither away, pale and withdrawn in both body and spirit. The concerned family sought the advice of the best physicians in the town but none could make a diagnosis, nor find a cure, except that they knew that she was dying.
Finally, the family consulted the celebrated physician Ibn Sina, who agreed to come to the family house to see the girl. He sat with the girl, and proceeded to take her pulse. As he sat beside her, he spoke to her informally, asking her about the area she lives, how long they have lived there, and whether she knew this place and that person and so on. Upon mentioning a particular house, the girl’s pulse picked up a little. Noticing this, Ibn Sina asked the girl whether she knew the family, and again her pulse picked up a little more. He then inquired whether she knew the older children in the house. Her pulse started to pulsate. He then asked if she knew the son, and at this, the girl’s pulse started to race hard and fast.
The case clear, Ibn Sina turned to the family and said, ‘Your daughter is dying from a broken heart.’ And it was indeed true, for the young man she loved had married another.
Such anecdotes may seem somewhat crude, especially to the ‘scientific’ mind, however the principle is the same and holds true, in the same way that the physical and spiritual sicknesses that ail man today, are the same throughout history, because essentially, man is always the same.
The current writer’s own clinical experience, as well as those of his teacher’s, repeatedly attests to the fact that chronic diseases of the body are, without exception, preceded by disturbances on the spiritual and mental-emotional sphere. Outward symptoms of pathology are the pleading expression of the internal disorder. All we need to do is observe, listen, and have the right, gentle tools to answer that plea, not ignore or drown out its voice.
We hear the word ‘Holistic’ used everywhere now, from medicine, to eating habits, to child rearing and education, even in business strategies. However, in reality, being Holistic is nothing new, it’s just we forgot what it is to be really human.
In our next article, we will be discussing this idea of internal disorder more. We will also consider the concepts of health and disease, and how the philosophy and practice of natural systems of healing reflect the teachings, guidance and practice of Islam.
All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the Worlds.
The premise of Islamic medicine is faith in Allah the Exalted and knowing healing comes only from Him, and that there is a cure for every disease.
“There is a remedy for every disease and when the remedy is applied to the disease it is cured with the permission of Allah the Exalted.” (Recorded by Muslim.)
In Islam, health is a very important part of life and there is a great emphasis placed on it.
Narrated Ibn `Abbas: The Prophet ﷺ said, “There are two blessings which many people lose: (They are) Health and free time for doing good.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 6412)
The question is, do we give importance to our life or take time out to learn about the natural remedies that the Prophet ﷺ has told us about?
Hijama Cupping Therapy is an Islamic, natural, holistic, healing therapy. Unfortunately, it is a “forgotten sunnah” that has been erased from our valuable history, due to modern medicine and surgery. We need to revive and establish this practice of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. We need to empower Muslims to be strong, healthy and rise up once again. As Muslims, we need to re-assert ourselves as leaders in the fields of medicine and health, just as we were in the golden age of Islamic science.
Here are the top 10 things you should know about hijama cupping therapy:
During the Night Journey & Ascension (Laylatu’l-Isra’ wa’l-Mir’aj), our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) experienced many profoundly significant events. He flew on a winged horse (al-Buraq) from Makkah to Jerusalem, accompanied by the Angel Jibreel. He prayed with many other Messengers of Allah, ascended to the highest of the seven heavens, was given the gift of five times daily prayer and tenets of creed by Allah the Exalted.
“Glory to He Who took His servant for a journey by night from the most sacred mosque to the farthest mosque, whose precincts We blessed, in order that We might show him some of Our signs: for He is the One Who hears and sees [all things]”. (Quran 17:1)
Amongst all these amazing miracles, Allah the Exalted also ordered the Angels to instruct Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) to establish hijama cupping therapy;
“I did not pass by an Angel from the Angels on the Night Journey except that they all said to me; ‘Upon you is cupping (hijama), O Muhammad’”(Sahih; Sunan Ibn Majah º3477)
Hijama was declared the best of medicines by Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), alongside the Quran.
He (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Cupping is the most helpful procedure for human beings to cure themselves.” (Sahih al-Bukhari º5357)
Cupping therapy has been practiced for centuries globally. The first documented medical text was found in 1550 BC in Egypt. Cupping was also discovered in China over 5,000 years ago and is still practiced to this day. It was commonly practiced in the Roman Empire, Islamic Empire, Europe, Russia, Central Asia, South Asia, and the United States. It was very popular during the middle ages and 18th and 19th Centuries in Europe. Right now it is most popular in China, Finland, Russia and many Muslim-majority countries.
Cupping therapy is the name of the actual procedure itself. A vacuum is created in a cup and placed on the body. This vacuum causes a negative pressure and pulls the muscles into the cup and therefore, draws the blood to the cupped area. This is known as “dry cupping”. Then you remove the cup in order to make small, shallow incisions in that same area, before putting the cup back on. This pulls out the toxic blood, acids and excess fluids from the body. This is known as wet, or blood cupping.
But what differentiates hijama is the religious and spiritual aspect of the practice. “Hijama” is the Islamic version of cupping therapy. Muslims practice hijama cupping therapy, in accordance to the way of the Prophet ﷺ. It means that the patient and hijama practitioner should have done their ablutions (wudu) and should recite Quran during the hijama procedure.
“Hijama” in Arabic literally means “to suck” and to “return to a normal state” of internal balance. It ultimately helps the body to create a balance, healthy alkaline environment by removing acidity. This fixes any problem that the body has, by bringing it to its normal state. Hijama cupping therapy is a holistic, super powerful detox which removes toxic and stagnant blood from your body. It expels negative, unhealthy elements from the body, and allows it to replenish itself.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “The best treatment is hijama cupping; it removes blood, lightens the back and sharpens the eyesight.” (Sunan al-Tirmidhi º3053)
Hijama cupping is an excellent form of preventative and curative therapy. Below are some of the ways cupping helps:
Some of its benefits were highlighted by Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him):
Ibn Umar reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Hijama cupping on an empty stomach is best. It increases the intellect and improves the memory. It improves the memory of the one memorizing….” (Sahih; Sunan Ibn Majah º3488).
Islamic medicine is holistic and works on the levels of mind, body and soul. Hijama cupping therapy is a minor, surgical procedure which has immediate physical effect. However, it also serves to alleviate, mental, emotional, spiritual and metaphysical issues. It is very relaxing and dispels anxiety and depression. According ibn Al Qaiyum, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) had Hijama performed upon his head to remove black magic which had been cast upon him;
Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) mentions that the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) was cupped on his head when he was afflicted with magic and that it is from the best of cures for this if performed correctly. [Zad al-Ma’ad (4/125-126)]
The traditional sunnah points for hijama therapy are on the upper back, which essentially target the heart, lungs, brain and spine. All are major foundations for optimal health.
“Hijama cupping on the back of the neck treat seventy-two illnesses” (Collected by al-Tabarani)
Hijama serves to cleanse and unblock the major arteries and veins.
Anas narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to have hijama cupping done on the veins on the side of the neck and the upper back. (Sunan al-Tirmidhi)
Hijama cupping is both a preventative and curative remedy. It is recommended that you should have a hijama detox, and then use hijama as a form of maintenance 2-4 times a year if you are healthy. If you have serious medical conditions, it can be performed more often. It is best to have hijama performed on the “Sunnah Days” according to hadith:
“Whoever performs Hijama cupping in the 17th, 19th and 21st day (of the Islamic Lunar month), then it is a cure for every disease”. (Sahih; Sunan Ibn Majah º3861).
Imagine having a career in a blessed profession that the Holy Prophet Muḥammad (peace and blessings be upon him) has praised himself;
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “If there is anything good in the medicines with which you treat yourselves, it is in the incision of the hijama therapist, or a drink of honey….” (Muslim º2205)
We encourage as many Muslims as possible to learn how to perform hijama professionally, in order to:
The career of a professional hijama therapist is fulfilling and benefits the practitioner in this life and the next.
Now, armed with this phenomenal knowledge, be proactive. Here is your action list to be part of the revival of the sunnah of hijama cupping therapy:
“Whoever revives a Sunnah from my Sunnah and the people practice it, s/he will have the same reward of those who practice it without their reward diminishing…” (Sunan Ibn Majah º209)
On the weekly compass newsletter