Category Archives: Tibb Medicine

Cauterization and Cupping

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Medieval Cupping

Medieval Cupping

It is narrated in sahih Bukhari that Ibn ‘Abbas, God be pleased with him, quoted God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم as saying: “If the final cure lies between using a syrup of honey, scarification by cupping or cauterization by fire, I utterly forbid my followers to use cauterization.”

On this subject, hakim Abu ‘Abdullah al-Maziri said: “Congestive diseases are due to blood, yellow bile, phlegm, or black bile. When blood is the cause, then bloodletting is the remedy. Moreover, if the other three humors are the cause, then their remedies consist of using the respective cleansing purgatives.” In the above prophetic saying, it appears as though God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم favors the use of honey as an important abluent and a mild prurient over acerbic laxatives, and he gave precedence to the use of scarification by cupping over cauterization. Some commentators interpreted venesection (phlebotomy) as a branch of scarification by cupping, and when medication is ineffectual, then cauterization by fire is the last resort.

In another prophetic tradition, God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم said: “I personally do not like to use cauterization.” Here, God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم suggested cauterization as a curative only when other decongestive medications fail, and that expelling minor pain may not require resorting to sustaining extreme pain due to branding by fire. Sa’id al-Khattabi narrated that God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم cauterized Sa’ad bin Mu’az to prevent a hemorrhage which would have been fatal if not treated immediately.

Some physicians (hakims) contend that humoral diseases are caused by either interaction with body fluids or without them. As we earlier stated, the four humors can be either hot, cold, moist, or dry, or they manifest as compounded and are known in Arabic as akhlat. The temperaments of hot and cold are effective, while the moist and dry ones are passive. Ordinarily, an effective temperament occurs with a passive one. As such humors exist in a kinetic state, interspersing with the elements of the body, they constantly adjust to any imbalance of body fluids. Therefore, the substance of the prophetic saying concerning the basic nature of treating a hot or cold diseases is in the cleansing of the blood with bloodletting by either cupping or venesection. Such procedures involve purgation and consequently prove cooling to the humor. On the other hand, treating a cold temperament requires heating of the elements, and such property exists in honey and therefore does not require purgation, because honey is an aperient, a refurbisher, a solvent, and an abluent. Such humoral imbalance will be cured gently and safely in contrast to the discomfort associated with using a strong purgative.

As for administering cauterization by a hot element, God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم approved of its use only as a last resort because a humoral disease can either be: (1) acute and therefore will expire expeditiously without the need for cauterization; or (2) chronic, whereby cauterization is best performed on the affected limb after administering blood purgation. Moreover, such disease will become chronic once a cold and dense element burrows under the skin to develop a cold and thick crust that will obstruct the balanced function of the humor and that will spread and convert the cells next to it to its own kind. Such contagious disease can be cured by cauterization as a last resort in order to extricate the causative agent. Thus, from such prophetic traditions we learned about the treatment of obstinate diseases when the constitution defeats the strongest of medicines, as we learned the basic treatment of simple diseases from his saying: “The intensity of fever is a scorching torridity that is vented from the boiling of hell-fire, so cool it down with water.”

Cupping
As for the treatment of diseases by bloodletting through cupping as a therapeutic measure, several prophetic sayings are related in sahih Bukhari and in the collection of traditions narrated by Ibn Maja among others. Ibn ‘Abbass also narrated that God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم said: “Blessed is a servant who practices cupping. It cleanses the blood, dries out internal inflammations, and brightens one’s vision.” He also said: “Cupping (hijama) is one of the best medicines.”

Abu Huraira narrated that God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم said: “The seventeenth, nineteenth, and the twenty-first days of the (lunar) months are the best days for administering bloodletting through cupping.” Ibn Maja also narrated that God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم said: “Some of your best treatments lie in taking medicinal snuff (of natural herbs), in venesection, in cupping, and in purgation.” This particular saying is more applicable for the dwellers of the Arabian peninsula and countries of hot climate.

Benefits of Cupping

Cupping

Cupping

Cupping is a treatment for a variety of skin diseases. Cupping draws out blood through the skin pores, cleanses the skin of affected parts and draws the natural healing forces to the area. Sometimes, cupping is more effective for skin diseases than venesection, though bloodletting through venesection is a better treatment for abysmal diseases. Deciding to administer one of the two operations depends on several conditions including time, place, age, humors in hot climates, hot seasons and the individual’s hot temperaments if his blood is agitated. Cupping is also helpful for a woman in provoking her menstrual flow. In such case, cupping brings out what venesection cannot. Cupping is better for younger people and for those who cannot brave venesection. Hakims also agree that cupping is a better treatment in hot countries and venesection in cold ones. Cupping should be performed in the middle of the lunar month and when the moon is waning, and particularly during the third quarter of the month. This is because during the first half of the month, blood humor is cooler, uncongested, and is in a state of passive hyperemia. Though each humor ripens at varying intervals, they all reach the peak of their coction in the middle of the month and during the third quarter of it. The same opinion is stated by Avicenna, adding that “cupping should not be administered during the waxing of the moon because the humors and their compounds (akhlat) are not congested or coctant then, and during the last quarter of the month, the intensity of such coction will be inadequate to draw the full benefits of cupping.”

Cuppping Cups

Cupping Cups

The particular emphasis of this prophetic tradition on cupping is made for those who live in hot climates, and because their blood is thinner and is drawn closer to the surface of the skin. In hot climates, such attraction of the blood by the heat of the sun’s rays may congest in various areas beneath the skin. Although dwellers of hot climates have larger pores, nevertheless sometimes during such heat they may feel exhausted and debilitated. For such prognosis, venesection is dangerous, while cupping causes a natural break up of any formation of blood congestion beneath the skin. This natural treatment accelerates a chain of metabolic processes in the blood humor which is followed by natural purgation and cleansing or flushing of the arteries, and particularly those arteries and veins that cannot be easily venesected. The flushing that occurs in each artery provides dedicated benefits. For example the blood flushing of the basilic vein abates the congestion and inflammations of the liver and the spleen. It also benefits in reducing pulmonary infections, pleurisy and most of the ephemeral blood diseases affecting circulation from the area under the knees and up to the hip joint. As for the median vein of the arm, flushing of its blood will prove beneficial in eliminating transient general bloating of the body if it is caused by the blood humor as well as general blood infection or toxemia. Flushing of the cephalic vein helps balancing ephemeral tremor of head, neck pain and blood congestion or symptoms of cyanosis caused by lack of oxygen or abnormal hemoglobinic condition in the blood. As for the blood flushing of the jugular veins, it helps in cardiac spleen, asthmatic disorder, chronic headache, herpetic eruption and heaviness of eyelids.

Imam Bukhari narrated in his sahih that Anas, God be pleased with him, said: “God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم was cupped between the shoulder blades and the two posterior neck veins.” ‘Ali, God bless his countenance, narrated that it was the archangel Gabriel that prescribed such cupping to God’s Prophet, upon whom be peace. Also in the _sahih_ it is narrated that God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم used cupping for a headache he endured during the pilgrimage while wearing _ihram_. Also in the traditions of Abu Dawoud, Jabir related that God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم applied cupping to his hip because of some strains he sustained.

Administering cupping between the shoulder blades (kahil) helps cure shoulder pain, pains in the upper arms and pain of the throat. Cupping over the two posterior neck veins (akhda’ain) helps treat tremor of head and other conditions of the head (i.e., face, teeth, ears, eyes, nose, and throat) whether such conditions originate from blood infection or from bloating caused by the blood humor.

Points of Application
Tibb medicine holds different opinions concerning cupping the vertex of the skull (jawzat al-qamhouda). On this subject, Abu Na’im al-Asfahani in his book, also called “Medicine of the Prophet”, narrated that God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم said: “Apply cupping to the vertex of the skull, for it cures five diseases,” among which he cited leprosy. In another correct tradition (sahih) he also recommendedwounds_july2014_yu_f1-2 the same treatment, adding: “…for it cures seventy-two diseases.” Hakims who researched this prophetic tradition have mentioned some of its benefits, such as: abnormal protrusion of the eyeball (exophthalmic goiter), swelling out of the frontal bone of the skull (frontospheniodal process), besides other indications, including heaviness of eyelids and eyebrows. Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal required about the prophetic tradition of cupping of the vertex of the skull, though when he himself needed such treatment, he applied the treatment to the two sides of the vertex. As for Avicenna, he disliked its use, and said: “When administered often, it begets forgetfulness.” The same opinion is stated in another prophetic tradition which says: “The vertex of the skull is the point of memorization; cupping it begets forgetfulness.” Hakims who argue the authenticity of this prophetic saying contend that such cupping will only enfeeble the back of the brain (occipital) when unnecessarily performed, otherwise, when used to overcome blood congestion of the brain or an apoplectic stroke it will certainly be of benefit according to both medical and religious code.

Applying cupping under the chin helps reduce toothache, face pain, cleanses the head and reduces throat pain when used at the proper time. Cupping on the top of the foot and over the ankle bone is a preferred substitute for venesection (phlebotomy) of the saphena (Arb. al-safin) which is a large vein of the leg and ends over the ankle bone (malleolus). Such cupping helps against inflammation of testicles, leg ulcers, and suppressed menses, while cupping behind the knee (popliteal space) helps in the treatment of aneurysm, chronic abscesses, hemorrhoids, and septic ulcer of leg and foot, and cupping on inner thighs is a good treatment for irritation of the back, gout, and piles.

Prophetic Guidance on The Best Time to Apply Cupping

Chinese Cupping

Chinese Cupping

Imam al-Tirmithi also reported the earlier-mentioned prophetic saying which is narrated by Ibn ‘Abbass that God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم said: “The seventeenth, nineteenth, and the twenty-first days of the (lunar) months are the best days for administering bloodletting through cupping.” In another tradition, he also said: “Treat yourselves with cupping and do not let high blood pressure (hyperemia; Arb. tabayyugh) kill you.” However, hakims agree that bloodletting through cupping is a beneficial treatment at any other time during an illness. In the traditions of Abu Dawoud, a similar saying is narrated by Abu Huraira, That God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم once added: “It is a cure for every disease,” meaning every disease that is caused by increase of the blood flow in an organ or tissue or by blood congestion (hyperemia). Al-Khallal narrated that Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal treated himself with cupping to quell blood agitation without regard to date or time. As for Avicenna, he recommended “cupping to be administered around two or three o’clock in the afternoon immediately after taking a hot bath except where there is increase in the viscosity of the blood, whereby one should take a bath and allow himself to sweat for an hour before applying cupping glasses.”

Cupping should not be administered after a meal, for it may cause indigestion, and particularly after eating a coarse meal where it may endanger discharge of drops of humors, and/or swelling with gout. God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم said: “Cupping on an empty stomach is a medicine and on a full stomach is a disease.”

In essence, giving preference to date and time for administering cupping is mostly a matter of precaution against unnecessary application for a healthy person. Otherwise, in case of illness, and if the physician finds it indispensable, then one must apply the cupping procedure when and where needed. As for the prophetic saying: “Treat yourselves with cupping and do not let high blood pressure (tabayyugh) kill you,” this tradition relates mostly to those who actually suffer from high blood pressure, wherein the cupping procedure alleviates such tension, and we pointed out earlier the practice of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal who treated himself with cupping without regard to date or time.

The Best Days to Apply Cupping
In his book al-Afrad, al-Darqotni related that ‘Abdullah bin Omar quoted God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم as saying: “Cupping increases one’s memory and wisdom. Apply cupping in the name of Allah, but do not apply it on Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday, while Monday is the best.” Al-Khallal in his collection of prophetic traditions asked Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal: “Which days of the week do you dislike to apply cupping?” He replied: “In this matter, I know that Saturday and Wednesday are reported in the traditions, and some say Friday.” Abu Bakr, God be pleased with him, used to dislike cupping on Tuesday, and referred to the prophetic saying: “On Tuesday blood does not readily clot” (Reported by Abu Dawoud). As for cupping on Wednesday, Abu Huraira, God be pleased with him, narrated another prophetic saying: “Let one who uses cupping on Saturday or on Wednesday and then suffers from leukemia or leprosy blame only himself.”

Conclusions on the Benefits of Cupping
From the above explanations, we conclude that according to prophetic traditions, medical treatment is necessary, and cupping is recommended and must be applied to the needed part of the body. Cupping can be performed during the pilgrimage even if it requires shaving of one’s hair for medical reasons without the need for ceremonial redemption or fidya (Islamic Law). Cupping may not break one’s fast except under one of the following three conditions: (1) when fasting is prescribed; (2) when one is not on a journey; and (3) when no illness requires its application. However, Imam Bukhari did report in his sahih that “God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم applied cups during fasting,” and this is perhaps the case of voluntary fasting (nafl). Allah knows best.

 

VENESECTION AND CAUTERIZATION

Ottoman Surgical Practice

Ottoman Surgical Practice

Jabir bin ‘Abdullah narrated that “God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم sent a physician to Abye ibn Ka’ab who bled him from a vein then cauterized it” (sahih Bukhari). It also quoted in the correct traditions (sahih) that “when an arrow wounded Sa’ad bin Mu’az in his forearm (akhal), God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم cauterized it with a heated thin arrow (mishkhas). Later on, the wound became swollen and infected and he bled it, then cauterized it again.” Abu ‘Ubaid narrated that a wounded person was brought before God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم who said: “Cauterize his wound, then compress it with a (washed and) heated rock.” Although God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم used cauterization as a last resource, nevertheless he affirmed: “If there is a choice in treatment between venesection and cauterization, I personally do not like cauterization” (Bukhari and Muslim). In another prophetic saying, we quoted earlier, God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم forbad cauterization, but he did also say: “…We were faced with trials, but we did not succeed at overcoming them, nor did we take heed (to God’s guidance).” [fabtulina fama aflahna wa la anj’ana] (Tirmithi).

Al-Khattabi commented that “the wound of Sa’ad bin Mu’az was cauterized to help his blood clot, and God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم was concerned that if it were not treated immediately, Sa’ad would have bled to death.”

Cauterization should be used only as a medical treatment, and is permitted only under dire need just as it is vital in the case of amputation. As for its prohibition, it is intended to counter a social belief that it is manly and that one may die unless he braves such treatment even for a minor cut. That is why God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم forbade its use as a social custom and because of such declared intention. This attitude became clearer in the case of Omran bin Hasin, who strongly believed in cauterization and branding as cure for every disease. God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم recognized, in the case of Omran, that cauterization of his particular wound would be dangerous, and he forbade its application. In this instance, it appears that the prohibition applied to critical areas in the body, God knows best. On this subject, Ibn Qutaiba indicated that “there are two kinds of cauterizations: (1) By ‘social customs’, as in the case of a healthy person, which is the one meant by God’s Messenger’s saying: “One who utilizes branding does not trust in God;” and (2) medical, as in the case of a festered wound, or after amputation, and this is what is meant by “as a cure.” When cauterization is recommended as a potential cure, but without certainty, then it is not favored.

It is narrated in the sahih that God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم said: “Seventy-thousand people among my followers will enter paradise without reckoning –those who do not secretly listen to people’s private conversations, those who do not cauterize, and those who are not pessimistic, and those who place their entire trust in their Lord.” Thus, the prophetic traditions spoke of cauterization and branding in four distinct ways: (1) to use it; (2) not to use it; (3) to praise one who forgoes such therapy; and (4) to prohibit it. All praises be to God Almighty –there is no contradiction between these four opinions, for one may use such treatment when medically needed, making it permissible though disliked. As for its prohibition, it is a matter of choice and personal disposition, and particularly when used as a ‘social custom’– God knows best.

Balancing One’s Diet

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Balancing One’s Diet as A Primary Preventive Medicine

It is related in the two correct prophetic traditions (Bukhari and Muslim) that ‘Abdullah bin Ja’afar said: “I saw God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم eating fresh ripe dates with cucumber.”

The Benefits of Eating Fresh Dates and Cucumbers

dates

Ripe dates

It is essential to maintain good health by controlling one’s diet and balancing one’s intake of food and fruits. Creating equilibrium of food will dispel any harm they may contain, and optimize their benefits. Fresh ripe dates (Arb. ratib) are hot and moist in the second degree. They relieve symptoms of bad temperament of the stomach caused by low caloric value in one’s diet, and relieve the condition of cold-natured substances in the stomach. They also agree with the stomach, relieve intestinal malabsorption and correct weakness of digestion, as well as they rectify hot constitution of the body when combined with an oxymel* or with bitter pomegranate. However, ripe dates deteriorate rapidly. Fresh ripe dates also increase male’s seminal fluid and sexual power, though eating excessive ripe dates will agitate the blood, develop headache, obstruct blood vessels, develop ache of the bladder, increase thirst, and damage one’s teeth. On the other hand, cucumbers are cold and moist in the second degree. They quench the thirst and stimulate one’s energies even by their fragrant smell. They cool bad temperament of the stomach, balance gastrointestinal functions, and abate fever. When cucumber seeds are dried, ground, sifted and then emulsified, drinking such emulsion will quench the thirst, act as a diuretic, and relieve ache of the bladder, while brushing one’s teeth with ground dried cucumber seeds whitens the teeth, among other benefits.

Fresh cucumber

Fresh cucumber

Altogether, fresh ripe dates are hot and cucumbers are cold. Each one of them will compensate for the other, balance the body’s natural defenses, and smooth the digestive process. The bad effects of dates can also be neutralized by eating almond and poppy seeds. In fact, countering each bellicose substance with its opposite will balance it, nullify its malignancy, and bring forth its benefits. This is in essence the basis of the natural law of opposites, and this is the basis of medical treatment, the foundation of preserving a healthy and strong body, and moreover, it is the core of medical science. It is narrated in the traditions that ‘Aisha, God be pleased with her, said: “They nourished me with every type of food to gain weight, yet I did not put on any. They then added cucumber and fresh dates to my diet and that did it.” Thus, cold is treated with hot, hot with cold, moist with dry, and dry with moist. This will expel their harm and balance their effects. Similar to this theory is the prophetic guidance of mixing senna together with ghee and honey (sanüt) as a natural mild laxative, for the sanüt** balances the effects of senna leaves. All praises be to Allah, and may He shower His utmost blessings upon His Messenger, صلى الله عليه و سلم, who was sent to help rectify the conditions of the hearts, give guidance on maintaining good health, and to benefit everyone concerning their welfare in this world and in the hereafter.

*Oxymel: an Eastern preparation made of five parts of honey to one part vinegar.

**Cf. X Dryness of Temperaments, which should be posted soon inshaAllah.

Wearing Silk for the Treatment of Itch

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

It is narrated in the two books of prophetic traditions (Sahïh Muslim and Sahïh Bukhãri) that Qatãda related a prophetic saying reported by Anas bin Mãlik in which God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم gave permission to ‘Abdu-Rahmãn bin ‘Awf and al-Zubair bin al’Awwãm to wear silken garments because of a severe skin irritation they suffered from body lice, and he granted them permission to wear shirts made of silk.

Wearing silk for men deals with two basic aspects: (1) The first is canonical (fiqh); and (2) the second is medical. As for the canonical aspect, it is clearly understood by all Muslims that wearing silk garments is permissible for women and not for men except for dire need, such as in the case of extreme cold weather and have nothing else to clothe oneself with, or for a medical reason where one may wear a silken garment to control severe skin irritation caused by itch, body lice, mange, or scabies. Such treatment is also recognized both by Imam Ahmad and Imam Shãfi’i, who agree on the lawfulness in treating oneself for medical reasons with what is unlawful, although in this case Imam Mãlik forbade its use, substantiating that not all permissions extend beyond the particular medical cases dealt with by God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم. In that regard, it is also reported in the correct traditions (sahïh) that when someone asked God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم about wine, he replied: “Wine is not medicine.”

As for the medical aspect: silk is a fiber which is produced by silkworms (a caterpillar of the Bombycidae family) to form their cocoons. A silken thread is then extracted from cultivated cocoons to make a fabric which is used for clothing. Silk is a noble fiber and has many medical benefits: (1) it strengthens the heart; (2) it is classified as a stimulant; (3) it is considered a treatment for melancholia; (4) it is considered a treatment for the intemperament of the black bile and their complications; and (5) it strengthen one’s sight when used as kohl for the eyes. Silk is hot and dry in the first degree, although some hakïms classify it as hot and moist. As for its long term harm, it is suggested by researchers that when silk is worn by men for an extended period of time, it produces a chemical reaction or a steric hindrance in males, besides other physiological disorders that affect the changing of spermatid into spermatozoon in males’ semen.

The same prohibition applies to wearing gold or using it for men except for medicinal purposes. God is evenly balanced. It also strengthens the heart; it contains a delicate heat; and is a carminative. Therefore, the prohibition against wearing silk and gold for men has much to do with the negative chemical reaction and steric hindrance they produce in males, and subsequently, their harm is greater than their benefits. Hence, at a time when the prophetic wisdom is misunderstood because of lack of knowledge and familiarity, for one to benefit from its guidance, one must unconditionally subscribe to it and not contest it until such time as human knowledge advances, and God Almighty permits access to His infinite wisdom and reveals some of the countless wonders of His creation.

Classification of Dress Categories

Imam al-Rãzi explains that “silk [Arb. harïr; ibrïsam] is warmer than linen and cooler than cotton.” According to him, “wearing silk promotes a healthy skin, while wearing a coarse garment dries out the skin, causes loss of flesh and weight, and vice-versa.” As for Imam Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, he classifies clothing in three categories: (1) a garment that warms up the body and generates heat; (2) a garment that warms up the body but does not generate heat; and (3) a garment that neither warms up the body nor generates heat. There is no such fabric that produces heat but does not warm up the body. Garments made of wool, hair and fur (Arb. wabar), warm up the body and generate heat, while garments made of linen and cotton warm up the body but do not generate heat, and silk is softer and cooler than cotton. Silk does not generate heat as does cotton; instead, it is a temperature material and is less effective in dissolving matters the body needs to purge under heat. Any garment with smooth, soft, and glossy texture and which provides coolness is more suitable for hot climates. Silk embodies no coarse texture and hence allows for the healing of itch, for such skin irritation is aggravated with heat and dryness. Hence, God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم granted ‘Abdu-Rahman bin ‘Awf and al-Zubair bin al-‘Awwam permission to wear shirts made of silk to allow for such recovery. Furthermore, the material nature of silk creates an environment which is opposite to that of body lice, and therefore can help in their elimination.

On this subject, it is reported in the sahih that Abu Musa al-Ash’ari, God be pleased with him, narrated that God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم said: “Allah forbade the men among my followers to wear silk or gold and permitted that for women.” In another narration reported in sahih Bukhari, God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم forbade wearing silk, brocade or gold or to sit on them, and added: “This is for them in this world, and for you in the next.”

Introduction to Islamic Medicine by Hakim Salim Khan

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

The Introduction to Islamic Medicine book

This is the first systematic study of Islamic Medicine by a practising Hakim to be published in the English language and is, with minor revisions, the second edition of the book, which was originally published in 1986. The discipline of Islamic Medicine is based on the four-element paradigm which offers a completely consistent cosmology, physics, physiology, psychology, and diagnostic and therapeutic science. Although it is startlingly unfamiliar to the modern Cartesian-Newtonian mind, it yields indisputable therapeutic results, often in areas where contemporary physicians must scratch their heads and submit to their limitations. The name for this discipline is Ḥikmah or Wisdom, in that it is devoted more to the wisdom needed to live in the best condition of health physically and spiritually, rather than merely dealing with the ill effects of our contemporary lifestyle as modern medicine must do. This work benefits both from Hakim Salim’s deep educational background and his wide clinical experience.

Hakim Salim Khan was born in the Northwest Frontier of Pakistan and studied in England and Pakistan. He has practised Islamic Medicine since 1978 and is widely acknowledged as a Ḥakim – a medical practitioner who has mastered the science of Ṭibb – medicine. Hakim Salim Khan practices at the Mohsin Institute, an Islamic Medicinal clinic and teaching institution in Leicester, England, which he founded and where he now works with his three sons. Having trained as a traditional Islamic Medical Practitioner and also having studied Iridology, Osteopathy, Western Phytotherapy and Homeopathy, he lectures and teaches at least three of these other disciplines, bringing a unique perspective to Medical Practice.

InshaAllah you can purchase the book here. Also there is a series of podcasts on Islamic Medicine on iTunes which you might find extremely interesting and beneficial.

Fever: A Blessing in Disguise

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Fever wipes out ones sins and rids his body from dead substances and germs. It is a blessing in disguise.

The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said: “When a believer gets sick or feverish, it is like metal when put on fire, the bad is gone and the good remains.” [Al-Bayhaqi]

He صلى الله عليه و سلم also describes the intensity of fever by saying: “Fever is coal from hell, get rid of it by using cold water.” [Ibn Maajah]

The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم forbade the cursing of fever by saying: “Do not curse a fever because it abolishes sins like fire abolishes dirt from iron.” [Ibn Maajah]

A bacterial or viral infection usually raises the temperature of a person, antibiotics are useless with viral infections, such as the influenza and the common cold, although the patient might sweat and have a very high fever.

Then what is the cure?
The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم tells us to reduce the fever with water. The same is still applied today. feverPutting cold pads on a patients forehead is still used in a lot of hospitals and by doctors even though fever reducing medicines are abundant, like aspirin, paracetamol (or acetaminophen, which is the active ingredient in Tylenol) and others.

Using water to reduce fevers is not limited to using cold pads. Drinking a lot of fluids is also helpful. This is also understood from the wordings of the Prophetic narration: “cool it with water.” Water is either what the patient drinks, what is given intravenously or what the patient puts on his face or body to cool the fever.

We have seen a lot of patients where fever reducing medicines (antipyretics) were not effective with their rising fever. At the same time, cold water had an immediate effect. That’s why pediatricians advise parents to take a child’s clothes off and give a lot of fluids if a fever occurs. An antipyretic might also be give like paracetamol. Aspirin has been banned for children under 12 years of age.

What is fever?
Fever occurs when the body temperature rises above normal (37 C). There is an area in the brain (an area that lies over the pituitary gland in the front of the head) which is a temperature regulator.

When a germ enters the body, it starts secreting toxins. Toxins affect the temperature regulator causing its temperature to rise. The substances that cause this rise in temperature are called pyrogens. Pyrogens are caused not only by germs but also by the ruined tissues in the body after being affected with germs.

ShowPic.phpWhen the temperature rises in the temperature regulator, the rest of the body has to comply. It increases its temperature in response. Soon, the whole body feels feverish and the patients temperature rises. This explains the saying of the Prophet  when he described the believers in their kindness and affections like the body. If a part of it suffers from a germ or a virus, like inflammation in the respiratory pathways or inflammation of the urinary tracts and others, all of the body suffers from fever and restlessness.

Yes the whole body suffers. The whole body has a rise in temperature and not only where it is affected. When the inflammation worsens, the germs increase and consequently ruin the tissues. The germs and the pyrogens will find the body’s defense system ready to attack and eat the by-products of the germs and rid the body of them. While doing this, it releases to the body fluids a substance called leukocyte pyrogens or endogenous. Therefore the fever remains while the body is cleansing itself from the by-products.

Didn’t the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم say, when a man cursed the fever: “Don’t curse it because it abolishes sins like fire abolishes dirt from iron.”

It is a cleansing of our sins, a cleansing of dead substances such as dead tissue and the by-products of the germs, like fire cleans the dirt from iron.

The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said: “For every ailment, there is a cure. If the cure reaches the ailment, it is cured by the will of Allaah.” [Muslim]

That explains the known phenomena that aspirin does not reduce the temperature of a normal person who is not feverish. That is because he does not have these endogenous in his body to work on the hypothalamus.

How do chills occur and why?
The temperature level in the temperature regulator rises suddenly form its normal level to a higher level, due to damage in the tissues, due to the release of temperature generating substances or due to dehydration. When this happens, the body temperature rises within a few hours to attain the new temperature.

During this period, the patient shivers and feels cold, even though the body temperature is high, because blood vessels in the skin contract. The chills remain until the body temperature reaches the new level set by the temperature regulator.

When the body temperature reaches that level, the chills stop and the patient feels neither warm nor cold. As long as the infection continues and the reason for the rise in temperature continues, the body temperature remains at this new level until Allaah permits recovery.

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Eggs

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Eggs (Baidh)
Imam al-Baihaqi narrated in his book shu’abul ïmãn (Branches of Faith) a sanctioned prophetic saying that one of God’s prophets once complained about general body weakness, and that God Almighty ordered him to eat eggs.

Following this tradition, we say that fresh eggs are better than old ones, and hen’s eggs are the best in comparison with eggs from other birds. There is perfect balance in eggs though they incline to cool temperament. In his

Egg and Shell

Egg and Shell

‘Canon of Medicine’, Avicenna said: “Egg yolk (vitelline membrane) is hot and moist, and it helps the blood-forming organs produce healthy blood.” He also said: “Eggs provide a limited but reasonable nourishment for the body, and a lightly cooked egg does not remain long enough in the stomach for full coction.” Others upheld that egg yolk acts as a calmative and a pain killer, soothes the throat and the trachea, reduces roughness of the chest, and acts as a cough suppressant. Egg yolk also benefits patients suffering from tuberculosis, boils on the surface of the liver, and ulcer of the urinary bladder. Egg yolk also helps reduce hoarseness and hemorrhaging, particularly when eaten with sweet almond butter, and it also helps the maturation of chest rheum, and reduces the coarseness of voice.

In the form of eye drops, egg white (albumen) cools hot swelling and abates pain. Rubbing egg white on minor skin burns can prevent blisters and egg1scarring. Egg white is also used to treat sunburns. Applying a balm of egg white mixed with frankincense (olibannum) to the forehead also helps in the treatment of bronchitis. Avicenna also mentioned egg yolk in the treatment of heart diseases, adding: “Though it is not the principal cure, yet it plays an important role in strengthening the heart. Egg yolk convers quickly into blood, leaves little ejecta, and furthermore it converts into light blood that is homogeneous with that of the heart, and lastly, it is among the best nourishment for preventing common illnesses that affect the basic functions of pneuma.”

The Principles of Healing

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Natural Healing

with The

Medicine of The Prophet

At-Tibbu Nabawi

3

The Principles of Healing

Muslim narrated in his sahïh that God’s Messengerصلى الله عليه و سلم, said: “Every disease has a cure. Knowing the right medicine will cure the disease by God’s leave.” In the chronicles (Masnad) of Imam Ahmad, Usãma bin Sharïk reported that he was present when a group of Arabs came to God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم and asked: “O Messenger of God, should we use medicine?” He replied: “Indeed, O servants of God, use medicine. For every malady Allah created, He also created a cure except one. One who acquires such knowledge will benefit from it, and one who ignores it will forgo such benefits.” The Arabs asked: “Which is the one that has no cure?” He replied: “Old age.” Also in the chronicles of Imam Ahmad, it is related that Abi Khuzãma once asked God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم: “O Messenger of Allah! You see all these amulets (ruqã) we carry, prayers we recite, medicines we take, and other preventive routines we use for recovering from illness -do any of them obstruct God’s decree?” God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم replied: “They are part of God’s decree.”

Such narrations of prophetic traditions (ahãdith) acknowledge the science of cause and effect, and refute the opinions of those who deny them. God’s Messenger’s صلى الله عليه و سلم statement attributing a cure for every disease is a general rule that encourages people to research and understand the medicinal properties needed to cure their illnesses. His saying even goes to the extent of encouraging research of the potency of remedies which if taken without physician’s supervision may kill. Such constant research and trials also will demonstrate physicians’ dependence on what God Almighty has created, and will expand physicians’ horizons. In fact, only God can cure an illness, and people’s knowledge is only limited to what He makes available to their level of understanding. This will explain the Prophet’s comment “…Knowing the right medicine will cure the disease by God’s leave.” For everything Allah created, He also created its opposite, and for every disease He wrote, He also created a particular cure. The aforementioned “right medicine” also means the proper dosage, for should the medicine exceed its required potency, or if taken in large quantities, it will produce additional health complications and, in other words, yield a new illness. However, when the medicine is deficient, or if the dosage is insufficient, the treatment will fail. Each medicine also has a shelf life, beyond which its curative components expire, and it yields no results. On the other hand, if the body rejects the remedy, or if the body is weak and unable to absorb and correctly dispense the remedy, or if the medicine encounters an anti-type, it will cause it to be neutralized, and again it will fail to meet the needed criterion of the “right medicine” described in the saying of God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم. Otherwise, and under the correct circumstances, the “right medicine” will take effect by God’s leave. This is the better of the two possibilities: (1) the general rule of “Every illness has a cure,” and (2) the “right medicine” which is the particular rule.

Another possible interpretation of the prophetic saying: “…For every malady Allah created, He also created a cure” is that when it appears that a drug does not effect the cure, then ridding the body of certain malignant elements provides the ultimate protection and cure. Take for example the destructive windstorm Allah commanded to strike at the people of the city of Sodom, and { …to destroy everything by decree of its Lord } (Qur’an 46 : 25) -that is, to obliterate anything subject to destruction by the command of its Sustainer. Other such stubborn diseases can be found in countless examples even within our close environment. Hence, if one contemplates the creation of opposites in this universe, their constant warfare, and the rule of ecological balance, he will certainly recognize God’s diving omnipotence, His wisdom, perfection Conqueror, and Subduer of everything. One will also concede that for everything Allah has created, He also created its opposite that can certainly become a threat to its existence and continuity and vice-versa. Further examination of the subject will also demonstrate that Allah is self-subsisting (Al-Ghaniyyu), and that He is beyond any need, though the existence of the whole creation depends entirely on Him.

In urging people to ‘use medicine’, God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم did in no way encourage people to abandon trust and reliance (tawakkul) upon the Almighty Lord and Sustainer of the universes. In fact, his teachings clearly correspond to the customary practices of treating the common illnesses of hunger, thirst, heat and cold which must be met by their counterpart: food, water, coolness and warmth without neglecting to trust in God Almighty and to seek His divine guidance to provide them and to grant satisfaction from using them. In fact, one’s faith in God’s Oneness (tawheed) is not complete unless he understand the practical implications of cause and effect (asbãb) which Allah posted as cures; while neglecting to seek such understanding to treat common illnesses contradicts the common faith and practice of the basic religious code of the divine laws (Sharï’a).

Hence, neglecting such pursuit is like refuting the truth, and further generates langour and weakens one’s heart and his faith and trust in God Almighty. On the other hand, satisfying such basic needs strengthens one’s faith and trust in his Lord, and helps his material, spiritual and religious life. Otherwise, one will be contradicting common sense and the prescribed religious code (Sharï’a), for the divine laws are the basic principle of human existence. One’s weakness must not be confused with reliance (tawakkul), and reliance must not be confused with weakness. Hence, this will address those who foster dependence solely on the concept of faith healing, and who argue that: “Since recovery depends on the divine will and predestined measures (qadar), then medicine is of no consequence, and since illness takes place only by His decree, then nothing can obstruct one’s destiny!” This is basically the question that was brought before God’s Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم by the visiting Arabs. However, the more learned companions, God be pleased with all of them, knew Allah, and they had a better understanding of His divine wisdom and attributes. Hence, God’s Messenger’s answer to Abi Khuzãma put an end to such questions by saying that such amulets (ruqã), prayers and medicines “are part of God’s decree.” In fact, only a divine decree can abrogate a previous one, and the properties of the “right medicine” are a predestined divine decree that will cure a predestined illness. Of course, illness is the consequence of one’s sins, and by creating the medicine, Allah manifested the divine mercy and compassion towards His creation in this world, and He thus provided a vehicle for repentance and gratitude.

If one sits back and depends solely on the hand of destiny to come and feed him, quench his thirst, cool his fever and warm-up his body, he will certainly die from hunger, thirst, fever and chill. Thus, illnesses must be met with their antitype, and viruses must be met with their cure, though the propeller, the propelled and the power behind them, all come from God Almighty. Hence, we say to the questioner who believes solely in reliance on faith healing: “If you apply the same principle in everything concerning your life and livelihood, you will produce nothing, bring yourself no benefits or ward off no harm, since you believe that what will happen will take place anyway, and should it not be destined, it will not take effect anywho!” Such attitude will bring about social disorder and eventually destroy one’s faith and bring his existence to contrition and remorse. Only an arrogant and obstinate person will pursue such contention as was shown in the argument of the polytheists when they said: { Had God willed it otherwise, neither we nor our fathers would have worshiped anyone besides Him } (Qur’an 6 : 148). They used this contention to argue against God’s clear signs and message which was the proof of their guilt.

There is a third point we wish to bring forth herein: Allah has created and decreed a chain of consequential occurrences. If the first manifests, the second will occur, and if the third manifests, the fourth will occuer and so forth. Hence, if you produce the cause, the effect will certainly occur, otherwise it will not. The questioner may further argue: “But if it were not my destiny, I would not have done it!” The answer is: “Will you accept this argument from your own child when he disobeys your command? If you do, then never blame one who disobeys you, or swindles your money, or casts slanderous insult against your family, or abuses your rights. Otherwise, if you do oppose them, then why would you not seek the better of God’s decree and obey His commands, to wash away and purify yourself with His further decree of repentance from committing what He forbids?”

It is narrated in the Israelite traditions that God’s bosom friend Abraham, upon whom be peace, asked God Almighty: “My Lord, where does disease come from?” God replied: “From Me!” Abraham asked again: “Then where does the cure come from?” God replied: “Also from Me.” “Then what about the physician?” Abraham further asked. God Almighty replied: “A man through whom I send the cure.”

God’s Messenger said: “Every disease has a cure.” Though his saying صلى الله عليه و سلم concurs with all of his explanations concerning the divine revelations on medicinal remedies, it also comforts the spirit of the patient and encourages his physician to seek and research the “right medicine”. In fact, when the patient feels that there is a cure for his illness, his heart becomes attached to the spirit of hope, the heat of despair will cool, the gate of hope will open, and once his spirit regains its strength, the fever of his natural balancing defences, also called innate heat, will be bolstered to revitalize his innate animal, psychological and natural spirits within him. Once his organs’ systems are nourished, they become a positive force that will overcome and expel the disease. The same principles applies for the physician: once he recognizes that the illness of his patient has a cure, he too will seek to find it.

Thus, the illnesses of the body and those of the heart are alike. Here again, for every illness of the heart God Almighty created, He also created its cure -that is its opposite. When someone whose heart is sick recognizes his disease and counters it with its opposite, he will recover by God’s leave. All praises are due to Allah, Lord, Cherisher and Sustainer of the universe.