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10 Things You Should Know About Hijama Cupping Therapy

Wet cupping (hijama) is a fast-disappearing practice, which is a shame as it was highly recommended by the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and continues to offer many health benefits.

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?

A Forgotten Sunnah

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:

1. Hijama Cupping Therapy is a Sunnah

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)

2. “The Best of Medicines”

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)

3. Other Cultures Practice Cupping Therapy, Too

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.

4. Cupping Therapy vs. Hijama

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.

5. Hijama Returns The Body To A Normal State

“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)

6. The Medical Benefits Are Well-Documented

Hijama cupping is an excellent form of preventative and curative therapy. Below are some of the ways cupping helps:

  • Boosts the circulatory and immune systems
  • Cleanses and detoxifies the body
  • Treats illness and relaxes the patient
  • Pain relief
  • Fertility
  • Hijama is also useful for treating many muscular, skeletal, neurological, immune, cardio-vascular, respiratory, digestive and urinary issues.

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).

7. It Works On An Emotional Level, Too

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)]

8. There Are Sunnah Points On Your Body

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)

9. There Are Ideal Times To Do It

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).

10. The Hijama Therapist Has A Special Status

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:

  • Counter the negative side effects of alophathic medication and chemicals
  • Treat the diseases that are untreatable even with modern medicine
  • Have this treatment available to more people
  • Have a satisfying and spiritually rewarding career
  • Revive the forgotten sunnah of hijama.

The career of a professional hijama therapist is fulfilling and  benefits the practitioner in this life and the next.

Action Items

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:

  • Book a hijama treatment and get treated – experience it first hand.
  • Learn how to perform hijama and treat your family and friends safely
  • Expand your skill set and get qualified as a certified hijama Practitioner
  • Start treating the community professionally and safely
  • Promote hijama, spread the word and educate the Muslim community
  • Establish 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)

Visit Hijama Nation for a free ebook about Hijama Cupping Therapy.

What is the Sunna Method of Seeking a Cure to an Illness?

Answered by Shaykh Ilyas Patel

Question: I’m aware as a Muslim we should seek medical care first then leave the cure in Allah swt hands. I gathered that from the Musa alayhis salaam tooth ache hadith.

My question is what is the sunnah way of taking medications? For example first do i make intention? Give sadaqah? Any other Islamic practices to along side? I want to take medication the way Allah swt wants us to take it and the way Prophet Muhammed saw advised us.

Also regarding a du’a, “Allahumma rab an naas adh hib ba’sa washifi anta shifa la shifa illa shifa uk shifa la yughadiru saqaman.”

Can i change the “washfi” to ishfini so i’m supplicating cure me instead of cure us?

And can i say in my du’a “Allahumma, ishfini shifa’an kamilan ajilan”

Answer: Wassalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,

I hope you are in good health.

1) The Prophet ( Allah bless him and give him peace) recommended specific manners and duas for specific illnesses, but in general it would be a good practice to give a little sadaqah before taking medicine, recite bismillah, prayer on the prophet and then the specific dua for illness. Although there are numerous, one can recite all, alternate, or recite some and leave some.

I recommend you read Medicine of the Prophet by Ibn Qayyim al Jawziyya.

2) It would be better to keep the blessed words of the dua as they are as Allah knows it is recited for you. The blessed words of the Prophet ( Allah bless him and give him peace) will have a profound effect in sha’ Allah.

3) Yes you can say, “Allahumma, ishfini shifa’an kamilan ajilan”

And Allah alone gives success

Wassalam,

Ilyas Patel

The Place of Prophetic Medicine in the Sacred Law

Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question:  My question is regarding the various hadith regarding certain medical treatments apparently recommended by the Messenger of God (sullAllahu alayhi wasalaam), specifically:

Do they relate to a general recommendation to seek out what is known to be effective medicine in the society of the time, or are they themselves being recommended?

I ask because some of the things that have been relayed to me do not seem to have the properties that are attributed to them, at least not according to modern medical practice.

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and faith.

Your question returns to a general issue of the place of prophetic medicine in the Sacred Law, and whether prophetic treatments are recommendations based on revelation or based on mere trial-and-error of the times.

A Problematic Position

Some scholars maintain that the medical treatments and related issues mentioned by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) are not part of the Sacred Law that we are obliged to believe in and act upon.

For example, Ibn Khaldun states in his Muqaddima that the Arabs had inherited a tradition of medicine based on trial-and-error (tajriba), and that the medicine discussed in prophetic hadiths were from this tradition, and were not from revelation (wahy). The hadiths of fecundating date-palms, in which the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, ‘You are more knowledgeable of your worldly affairs,’ is indicative of this. An exception, however, would be treatment used by way of ‘seeking the blessings’ (tabarruk), which is not medicinal per se but rather based on his role as prophet. The treatment of honey for stomach illness is also such an exception.

Scholarly Rebuttal and A More Balanced Position

However, Mufti Taqi Usmani comments that such an attitude is one of immense danger, if what is meant is that prophetic medicine is based solely on inherited tradition based on trial-and-error, and that hence some of the treatments prescribed by him (peace and blessings be upon him) do not correspond with reality. Likewise, Ibn Khaldun’s statement that none of those treatments are from revelation: this is impossible to be certain of.

Rather, some prophetic treatments could very well be from revelation, while some could be based on trial-and-error. Hence, one cannot be certain that none of them are based on revelation.

What we can be certain of, though, is that none of the treatments that the Prophet prescribed as certainly effective, which have reached us through sound narrations, are contradictory to reality, regardless of whether or not human science has confirmed these treatments. This is because it is inconceivable that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) would prescribe something as certainly effective while in reality it proves ineffective.

If a treatment is based on revelation, then of course it would correspond with reality. If it were not based on revelation, then it still cannot contradict reality, because he (peace and blessings be upon him) affirms nothing with certainty if it contradicts reality.

As for the incident of fecundating date-palms that Ibn Khaldun uses as proof for his position, it is not an example of the Prophet affirming something with certainty; rather, it was his personal opinion, due to which he said, “It is only my personal opinion, and do not take me to account for personal opinion.”

The most that can be said, in this discussion, is that the treatments narrated from the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) are not part of the “message” (risala) that he was ordered to convey to humanity, and hence not part of the Sacred Law, i.e., they are not part of what must be followed by all Muslims in every time and place.

The Categorization of Hadiths by Shah Wali Allah

As Shah Wali Allah al-Dehlawi states, in general, narrations from the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) are of two types:

(1) That which pertains to conveying the message (risala), regarding which the Qur’an explicitly states, “That which the Messenger brings forth, take it; and that which he forbids, refrain from it” (59:7).

It includes knowledge of Judgement Day and the wonders of the unseen realm, all of which is based upon revelation (wahy).

It also includes legal rulings of the Sacred Law; some of this is based upon revelation, and some is based upon his ijtihad. Yet his ijtihad (peace and blessings be upon him) is akin to revelation, since Allah Most High protected him from his opinion affirming an error.

(2) That which does not pertain to conveying the message (risala), which includes his statement in the incident of fecundating date palms, “I am only a human: if I command you to do something in your religion, then take it; but if I tell you to do something based on personal opinion, then [realize] that I am only human.”

This category includes prophetic medicine; it is based upon personal experience and trial-and-error (tajriba). It also includes things he did based on custom rather than worship, or what he did coincidentally rather than intentionally. It also includes things he mentioned similar to what his people would mention, such as the hadith of Umm Zur`. [Dehlawi, Hujjat Allah al-Baligha]

[Taken from Mufti Taqi Usmani, Takmila al-Fath al-Mulhim (4:173-74)]

And Allah knows best.

wassalam

Faraz

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani