An Advice Regarding Sickness & Difficulty, Especially in Relation to Magic
Part Five: Reliance and Medicine
Another pillar of a Muslim’s relationship with his or her Lord is having complete trust in him. This has already been mentioned as one of the fruits of believing in qadar, but it deserves special attention. Look at the advice which the Messenger of Allāh – may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him – gave to ibn ‘Abbās – may Allāh be pleased with them both – when he said:
"Young man, I shall teach you some words [of advice]: Be mindful of Allāh, and Allāh will protect you. Be mindful of Allāh, and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, ask of Allāh; if you seek help, seek help of Allāh. Know that if the ummah were to gather together to benefit you with anything, it would only benefit you with something that Allāh had already prescribed for you, and that if they gathered together to harm you with anything, they would only harm you with something thatAllāh had already prescribed for you. The pens have been lifted and the pages have dried."
So the Messenger of Allāh – may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him – advised Ibn ‘Abbās the greatest of advice; the perfection of tawheed, obeying Allāh in every situation, seeking help from Allāh alone, relying upon Allāh completely and complete belief in qadar.
Reliance upon Allāh is not just one level. It is obligatory upon you that you do not seek help from anyone in something that only Allāh can give you. It is permissible, however, to seek help from people in those things that they can do. The important thing is that the less you ask those people, the closer you become to the highest level of trust and reliance upon Allāh. The more you ask people, the further away you become from trusting in Allāh. The Messenger of Allāh – may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him – said:
"Whoever asks someone to do ruqyah for them is free from [truly] trusting in Allāh."
Yet, there is no doubt that asking someone to do ruqyah is permissible, but because of what it contains in terms of relying upon someone else, and because of how easily your heart can become attached to the person reading, and because of your dependency upon them, your imān and your reliance upon Allāh is not truly complete. Husayn bin ‘Abdur-Rahman said:
"I was once with Sa’eed bin Jubayr when he said, ‘did any of you see the shooting star last night?’ I said, ‘I did.’ Then I said, ‘I wasn’t praying because I was stung.’ He said,‘So what did you do?’ I replied, ‘I asked someone to treat me with ruqyah.’ He asked, ‘What made you do that?’ I said, ‘A hadeeth that ash- Sha’bee related to us.’ He said, ‘What did he relate?’ I said, ‘He reported to us from Buraydah bin Al-Husayb – may Allāh be pleased with him – that the Prophet – may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him – said, "Ruqyah is not [completely effective] but for the evil eye or for the poisonous sting." Sa’eed responded, ‘He does well who acts upon what he heard. But Ibn Abbās – may Allāh be pleased with them both – reported to us from the Prophet – may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him – that he said, ‘The nations were displayed before me. I saw a Prophet with whom there was a small group of people, and a Prophet with whom there was only one or two people, and a Prophet with no one at all. Then a great mass appeared before me, I thought that it was my ummah. It was said to me, ‘This is Musā and his people.’ So I looked, there was another great mass. It was said to me, ‘This is your ummah. Seventy thousand of them will enter paradise without reckoning or punishment.’’ Then he stood to enter his house. The people began wondering who they might be. Some said, ‘Maybe they are the companions of Allāh’s Messenger – may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him.’ Some said, ‘Maybe they are those who were born in Islam, and who never associated anything with Allāh.’ And still others were suggested. Then, Allāh’s Messenger – may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him – appeared before them to tell them. He said, ‘They are those who do not ask people to treat them with ruqyah, nor follow omens, nor get themselves cauterized, and upon their Lord do they trust’…"
The Muslim who pays close attention to this hadeeth sees that the people who are mentioned are those who complete their imān and achieve true tawheed. They trust completely upon Allāh and they rely completely upon him. Allāh rewards them by entering them into Paradise without any account or any punishment, without any pain or any fear. You might say, ‘But they are only seventy thousand – how can I be from them?’ The answer is that Allāh is capable of doing anything He wants. Ask Allāh and He will give you. And there is good news! There is another wording of the narration: "and with every one of them [the seventy thousand], there are seventy thousand more," so do not despair of the Mercy of Allāh. Allāh said:
"Say, "O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allāh. Indeed, Allāh forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful."
Look at the situation of the companions of the Messenger of Allāh – may Allāh be pleased with them all. Some of them gave the pledge of allegiance to the Prophet – may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him – upon the promise that they would not ask anyone for anything. In one narration it is mentioned that one of them would fall off his camel and would not ask anyone to help him get back on. All of this was a part of their complete trust and reliance upon Allāh. Just as you find that they rarely asked the Messenger of Allāh – may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him – to make du’ā for them, except when there was a general benefit for the ummah. We find in the narration of Ibn 'Abbās – may Allāh be pleased with them both – that he said:
"Shall I show you a woman of the people of Paradise?...This black lady came to the Prophet and said, 'I get attacks of epilepsy and my body becomes uncovered; please make du’ā to Allāh for me.' The Prophet said (to her), 'If you wish, be patient and you will have Paradise; and if you wish, I will du’ā for Allāh to cure you.' She said, 'I will remain patient,' and added, 'but I become uncovered, so please make du’ā to Allāh for me that I may not become uncovered.' So he made du’ā for her."
As for doing ruqyah on yourself, it doesn’t affect your trust in Allāh, because it isn’t based upon depending on someone else. The same goes if a person does ruqyah upon you without you asking first. It is authentically reported that the Messenger of Allāh – may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him – said about ruqyah:
"Whichever of you can help his brother, let him do so."
It is authentically reported that Jibreel – may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him – treat the Prophet – may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him – with ruqyah, when he was affected by magic. The same rule applies to taking medicine. The Prophet – may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him – explained that taking medicine is a part of relying upon Allāh, not a contradiction of it. That is because Allāh has made certain things happen because of other things. He is more than capable of curing a sick person without any medicine but He has also made medicine a reason for being cured. He said – may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him:
"There is a cure for every disease except...death."
He also said:
"Seek the cure…"
However, there is a very important condition that is vital to protect your imān; you must believe with all your heart that medicine is simply something that Allāh has made a reason for people getting cured. It is not a cure in itself. The real cure only comes from Allāh. However, the Qur’ān itself is not like any other medicine. It is a cure in of itself, because it is the speech of Allāh, and one of His attributes. Finally, you must also believe that Allāh is capable of curing the sick without any medicine. Allāh says, "When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, ‘Be,’ and it is."
At this point, it is important to mention that even though we strongly encourage people to try ruqyah on themselves first, we recognise that for many people, it is extremely difficult to perform ruqyah by themselves, and they need to ask for help. In this case, it is obligatory for them to ask for help, and they should not remain silent in an effort to increase their imān. This is based on the statement of Allāh, "So ask the people of the remembrance, if you do not know." However, it is often possible to recite by yourself, after having been shown how to recite by someone else, or by sharing the recitation between yourself and someone else. Everyone should look at their own individual situation, and Allāh knows best.
The best form of medicine is to join between Islamic medicine and modern medicine. That is because Allāh has made both of them a cause for people to be cured. There are many types of Islamic medicine; some general and some specific. From the examples of general Islamic medicine and methods of healing are:
- The Qur’ān – Allāh said,"And We send down of the Qur’ān that which is healing and mercy for the believers." Notice that Allāh describes the Qur’ān as ‘healing’ not as ‘medicine’. In other words the Qur’ān goes directly to the heart of the sickness and cures it, whereas a medicine only treats the disease or its symptoms.
- Honey – Allāh said, "There emerges from their bellies a drink, varying in colors, in which there is healing for people. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who give thought." The same that is said about the Qur’ān is said about honey, even if its healing is less than the Qur’ān. That is because honey is created and the Qur’ān is the speech of Allāh; and honey is healing for sicknesses of the body and the Qur’ān is a healing for the sicknesses of the body and the heart. Even so, Allāh has described them both in a way that is more powerful than mere medicine.
- Hijāmah (Cupping). The Messenger of Allāh – may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him – said, "Healing is in three things: drinking honey, the incision of a cupper, and cauterizing with fire; but I forbid my ummah to use cauterization." The same point about the word ‘healing’ as opposed to ‘medicine’ applies here. It is very important to note that hijāmah should only be done by someone who is trained in it. Hijāmah is also very effective against the jinn and magic.
- Zamzam water, as it is the purest and most blessed water on the earth. The Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him said: "The water of Zamzam is for whatever it is drunk for." Ibn-ul-Qayyim wrote in Zād-ul-Ma’ād: "Myself and others tried seeking healing with Zamzam water and saw wondrous things. I sought healing with it from a number of illnesses, and I was healed by the permission of Allāh. I saw someone who nourished himself with it for a number of days, half a month or more, and he did not feel hunger; he performed tawāf along with the other people just as they did. He told me that he consumed nothing but Zamzam water for forty days and he had the strength to have intercourse with his wife, to fast and to perform tawāf numerous times". Water in general is mentioned in numerous āyāt and ahādith; that it is mubārak and that it purifies and cleans you, and it is said that rain water is the best substitute for Zamzambecause Allah said, "And We have sent down blessed rain from the sky and made grow thereby gardens and grain from the harvest" [50:9], and because the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to uncover part of his garment when it rained, and he would say, "It has just come from its Lord." [Muslim].
As for specific Islamic medicine, Ibn-ul-Qayyim has an entire volume of his book Zād-ul-Ma’ād dedicated to Islamic medicine, both general and specific. Parts of this have been summarised in the book The Medicine of the Prophet. However not all of the narrations are authentic. Therefore, it is a good idea to cross-reference it along with going back to Zād-ul- Ma’ād – see the book list at the end.