Islam: The Misunderstood Religion
I'd like to begin as we always begin, with the praise of Almighty God, and by sending salutations upon all of his prophets and messengers; upon Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad, may the peace and blessings of Almighty God be upon them all.
I would like to start by thanking God for making it possible for us to gather here today, as well as thanking the brothers and sisters from the Islamic society who organized this event, which is very important to help us understand each other and overcome the barriers that exist, the [EDL protest] outside being enough of an evidence for the need for these kind of events.
I would also like to thank all of you for coming and giving up your time to listen to me talk today about the misunderstood religion.
What this is about (Misconceptions)
Essentially what I want to talk about are the misconceptions that people have about Islam. Traditionally I would begin by explaining what Islam is, but today I'm not going to do that.
Today I'm going to go through the misconceptions that people have about Islam and then talk about what Islam really is removing those misconceptions and misunderstandings.
I'd like to begin by introducing myself very briefly for those of you who don't know me. My name is Timothy Michael Hummel, my mother called me Tim.
I commonly go by the name Mohamed since I became a Muslim at the age of 14 and I've been Muslim for 16 years and I studied Islam both in the UK and abroad.
I came back and my daily job involves teaching Islam to Muslims and non-Muslims, establishing dialogue and communication and removing misconceptions. About guided media and other places where common questions regarding Islam are asked There is a project which is called Guided Media, their domain name is guided.com. The website that I particularly want to draw your attention to, that I think you guys would benefit from is the website talktoIslam.com. It's a website that is built upon questions that most non-Muslims ask about Islam. For example, why do Muslims not eat pork, why don't Muslims not drink alcohol, why don't Muslim men not shake hands with Muslim women, why don't Muslim women shake hands with Muslim me, why do Muslim women cover their hair, all questions that are very commonly asked on a daily basis, data-mined from the most common questions that people ask on Google. This website is a website , full of resources that you can use, talktoIslam.com. Please do have a read of what's on there, there is always new material coming up on the site and some of the material that we're going to talk about today is going to be based upon the answers that were given. Islam misunderstood Now, I do think that Islam is genuinely a misunderstood religion. I'm going to talk about different misconceptions. Some of them are going to be extremely serious, very theological, what do Muslims believe about god, some of them social misconceptions, like forced marriage and we might talk about those that are less serious, like the funny ones to lighten the mood up a bit and give a mix of material here today. Muslim and Islam The first thing that I want to explain to you, is the difference between a Muslim and Islam. It's very subtle but very important. Islam is a religion and as a religion it has a scripture it has a prophet, rules and regulation. A Muslim is a person, there are many Muslims in this room here today and I'm one of them. As a human being I get things right and wrong, I slip up in various things, I make errors, so as a Muslim, am I representative of Islam absolutely? No. The only thing that represents Islam is Islamic scripture. As for Muslims they are human beings who choose to implement a certain amount of Islam, to a greater and lesser extend according to their own free choice. Islam is a religion which does not advocate compulsion, it does not hold that people are to be compelled to do things, except those things that are for the greater benefit of the society, as for the individual actions it is up to the individual. This is especially true in the United Kingdom, because we live in a free and democratic society where people are not forced to do anything and are free to say what they want, and practice whatever religion they want. Every Muslim in the UK is going to apply Islam to a greater or a lesser degree according to their personal circumstances and according to their desires and their ends out of life. Some people are very devout, practicing and traditional, some people are less so, some have a Muslim name and come from a Muslim ethnicity, but they don't identify with Islam at all. I have a neighbor who I honestly did not know he was Muslim for a very long time. I didn't see anything from him that would make me think he is a Muslim at all. There are Muslims who have funny ideas, cultural problems and cultural baggage and this is something that you can see here today in the UK and you can see it from the fact that when new cultures come, people absorb culture of the people they live with. In the Muslim world there are a lot of countries where there are more than one religion. In fact there are very few countries in which the only known religion is Islam. You have Islam with Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, sexism, Buddhism and this means there have been fusions of cultures. Forced marriage There are cultural practices that have nothing to do with Islam at all. One of them we're going to talk about is forced marriage. This is a cultural practice which takes place in some Muslim countries, which has nothing to do with Islam, and Islam specifically prohibits and speaks against it. Are there Muslims that force their daughters into marriage? Yes. I would be lying if I would tell you otherwise. I would suggest to you that there are also Christians and Jews and Hindus and Seeks who do exactly the same, because it is a cultural and not a religious practice. For example if we look at south east Asia, it is common across all social and religious groups. We're going to judge Islam by the scripture. If it says it's right or wrong, we can talk about that. As for whether or not this or that Muslim implements what they are supposed to then I think all of you understand that there are many people of different faiths who implement their religion to a greater or lesser degree. My point is, don't judge Islam by what Muslims do, judge Islam by what the scripture says. I want to begin about the religious misunderstandings, not social issues but the pure concept of god, for Muslims. About Allah and different iterations While I was doing my research for this seminar, I came across a number of things that are said about the Islamic concept of god. The first is people from a Judeo-Christian background who say Muslims worship a different god. Now I think most of you know, that Muslims call god Allah and the misconception that many people have is that Allah is a different god to the god Moses, Noah or Abraham. Some people thought that Allah is a representation of a moon god, some people talk about the fact that the name is different and that it is the god of the pagan Arabs. In Islam we have a number of things that we can show you why this is a misconception. First is the linguistic meaning of the word Allah, which comes from the base of the Arabic word [...] which means god. And so Allah is the one true god, the word means the one true god, the only god. The word [...] is something that is worshiped. Allah comes from that word, meaning the only god that deserves to be worshiped. It has an extra emphasis on the fact that it is the one almighty supreme god. For example you can't make the word Allah feminine, it doesn't have a feminine form. You can't make the word Allah plural. It's a word that is absolutely singular, and has no feminine form, nor does it have an associated gender. It's masculine in form and that's because in the Arabic language it is used that way, but Allah is neither male, nor female, because these are attributes of the creations not the creator. Then we look at it from the point of view of what the Quran says. We see that whenever it mentions the word Allah, and does not describe it as the gods the pagans used to worship. It describes Allah as the god of the bible and as the god of the creator of the prophets and the heavens and the earth. There is yet another point. Arabic speaking Jews and Christians also use the word Allah for god. If you were to go into a church in [...] and the service was in Arabic the minister would say Allah who is in heaven. In every Arabic speaking country, Egypt, Morocco, Syria, Lebanon all of the countries that have mix of Christian and Muslim faiths, likewise the Arabic speaking Jews, they also refer to Allah as Allah. If we look at Aramaic, which was the language that Jesus spoke, you may be surprised to learn that the name of god is almost identical to the word Allah. That would suggest to us historically that Jesus called god Allah or something very close. Hopefully we've clarified that the Muslims do not worship a different god, but it's the same god that the Christians say when they call upon him as our lord the father. Someone might say, you know, you Muslims make things difficult for people. Why didn't you just say god? Why do Muslims love to use the word Allah and not the word god. First of all because it comes into the Quran, which is sacred. Secondly there is something special about the word Allah, that it can't be misconstrued. Imagine I have a gathering of people of the Hindu faith. If I say to them, you and me what do you think about god, what do I think about god. It's likely if I say the word god, they understand god in their concept of god, likewise if I ask a Christian they are going to answer me with their concept of god. The word god can be applied to many religions and many concepts of god, all religious explanations of the word god. When I say Allah in general, nobody has any doubt, even if the Christians use the word Allah they use it for the god in heaven, and not to Jesus. The word Allah is unique and easy for people to understand what I'm referring to. I'm not referring to any other concept of got other than the Muslim concept of god and that's why Muslims like to use the word Allah. Of course we try to explain what it means. Worshiping misconceptions From the misconceptions that I think I found to be the most common misconceptions about Islam, is that Muslims worship Mohammed or in other variations, that Muslims worship the [...] I have a theory behind why this is. Most of the people who have the impression who have the impression that Muslims worship Mohamed, they are simply comparing Islam to Christianity. I had a discussion with my grand-mother. We were talking about Islam and she said, You guys worship Mohamed, like we worship Jesus. And I said no, Islam is the opposite of that. Islam is the only absolutely monotheistic religion, the only religion that has absolute monotheism at its core. Monotheism that takes it to such a level, that the worst crime is to make a partner with almighty god. And the only unforgivable sin is for you to give the rights of god to somebody else. If you're not allowed to give it to Mohamed, Jesus, Gabriel, peace be upon them all, then you're not allowed to give them to anybody. That's how a person becomes Muslim [...] That's how they go from not being Muslim to being Muslim by pronouncing these words, by saying there is nothing deserving of worship except god alone. The concept for a Muslim to worship Mohamed, peace be upon him and all the messengers, is as alien in Islam as a Muslim worshiping, Jesus and anything other than god. Why is it then, that we see these Muslims bowing down before the black building. Prayer Direction The [...] is a prayer direction and it's not an intention to pray to it. It's actually a regular building, you can go inside, of it. It used to have two doors, it was a regular place of prayer, of worship. They closed off one of the door so that they can control who comes in an out and it has remained like this today. If you happen to have an invitation you can go in and pray. For Muslim it's a prayer direction. There is some evidence that many religions had a prayer direction. There is some evidence that many religions had prayer directions. The Jews and the Christians, both faced Jerusalem in their prayers. They would face their holy land in their prayers. Jerusalem was the place that they were commanded to face and Islam is a continuation of the revelation of Moses and Jesus, peace be upon them both. If the people of Moses and Jesus faced Jerusalem then the Muslims did the same. Later it was revealed for the Muslims to change and to turn their direction towards [...] used as a direction of prayer. We believe it to be a holy place, but it certainly isn't worshiped. So when you see people bowing towards it they are bowing down to god. It think there are some satellite channels where people can see people praying in [...] I would recommend our non Muslim guests to see them pray. You will see everybody facing one way and all of the bowing, standing, prostrating and sitting up in unison.
This is a sign of the unity and the common purpose of Islam to worship god. Differences and similarities between Islam Christianity and Judaism One of the next misconceptions that I want to deal with is the issue that Islam is a new and completely separate religion from Christianity and Judaism. I want to deal with this alongside a the misconception that there is no difference between them. We're told in the Quran that the prophet Mohamed, peace be upon him, is told to say: I'm not something new among the messengers. What is meant by that is that I didn't come with anything different to that which Noah and Abraham and Moses and Jesus came with. The laws of diffenret groups and differnet religions, the authentic religions, the laws from people to people changed. So we know that when Jesus came, he abolished some of those laws. Christianity does not see itself as a completely new religion, rather as the continuation of the old testament, with the continuation of Jesus' teachings in the new testament. I'm giving you an idea that Christianity is not a brand new religion. Jesus did change things but the basic laws remained. He preached a continuation of the law of Moses with some changes. The prophet Mohamed simply continued the previous teachings with some changes. Islam affirms the truth of the previous prophets. However we should be careful to explain the second misconception, that there is no difference between Islam and Christianity. I delivered recently in Lincoln University about the similarities between Judaism, Christianity and Islam. At the end of the talk some very devout Christians came up to me and said that there is no difference. There is. The concept of god, as we explained, is absolutely monotheistic. God had no son, he was never born and nobody has the right to do what he does, nor does anyone have the right to do anything other than him. In Islam if god legislate something it's absolute and this is a concept that doesn't exist in any other religion in that form. We also have a difference in our belief about the prophets. When you read the old testament, you'll find not very nice things being said about the prophets. You will find them accused of things that if they were alive today, I would not invite them in my house. You open your testament and it's simple to see that the concept of the prophet is different. In Islam, the prophet is the most perfect example of a human being, not absolutely perfect, however they are the best examples to mankind. Someone may turn around and say if you are critical of that part of the old testament how can you claim that Islam is continuation of that message. You will see that the bible has gone through many changes, it has been lost and found, it has developed and changed over time. We Muslims believe in the original concept. If you study the difference between the Hebrew and the Greek translations of the bible, you will see some differences and additions. As Muslims we affirm the original concept. For example the ten commandments. The first commandment [...] The general concept is that most of these commandments are the same as we find in Islam. When we come to Paul's preaching, we'll see principles that are not taught in Islam and this is a matter of study and debate. Muslims are saying essentially, it's the same in one way and it's different in another way, we believe in all of the people that Jews and Christians believe in, it's the same basic religion, but slightly different. Muslims are all Arabs Another misconception is that Muslims are all Arabs, or all Muslims are foreign and they're saying what they have seen with their own eyes. I went to Saudi Arabia to study in [...] for a while and in that city they invite people to study from all over the world, and they have over 100 ethnicities or nationalities, most of which the people who come from them are from that original ethnicity. You have people in Africa, huge number of Muslims who are ethnically from that area, people who traditionally come from that area. If you look at South America we met Brazilian Muslims, we met Venezuelan, from the Caribbean. In the UK we have a sizeable number of Muslims who don't come from any other ethnic background. We probably have some original English men Muslims, personally my family I believe that it originally comes from Germany at some point. If you look at Europe we've met Spanish, French, Portuguese. If you look at Russia there are many people who have had Muslims there for generations, 100 of years, with states that are predominantly Muslim. We've dispelled the concept that Muslims are Pakistani etc, and that they come from all sorts of different countries. I remember meeting people from countries I never even knew existed. China also has also a sizeable population of ethnic Muslim, so Islam is a global religion. Islam has a simple principle: There is no virtue for an Arab over a non-Arab, nor is there any virtue for a non Arab over an Arab except for piety, so Islam stamped out racism 1,400 years ago. Ask the brothers and sisters from South Africa how long has it been since South Africa stamped out open racism and how long the US has stamped out open racism. You had black people and white people praying in the same row and marrying into each other's families and being like brother and sister and not having issues with that. Now there are Muslims that are racists, but Islam isn't. [...] Terrorism One thing that I wouldn't be doing any justice if I didn't talk about, was the issue of terrorism. Because a big misconception surrounding the Muslims, is that Muslims are sympathetic or empathetic towards terrorism and this is something that couldn't be further from the truth. Not only does Islam explicitly prohibit the killing of the innocent. Islam had the Geneva Convention 1400 years ago on the treatment of prisoners, people on the battlefield, not allowing to kill the innocent. Islam prohibited the destruction of buildings, you wouldn't think that after 9/11, but that's because there is a difference between Islam and a Muslim. Islam tells that it is forbidden to destroy peoples livelihoods, however we see that there are Muslims who have lost their way and indeed are involved in these things and it is our jobs as Muslims to deal with this issue. I genuinely accept those people who say that Muslims have not been active enough in dealing with this issue. For example one of the most famous versus from the Quran is to fight against those who fight against you. This proves that Muslims are violent! What is the next part of the verse [...] Do not go to extremes do not go beyond the limits. You do not find a single verse in the Quran that talks about fighting except that within that page somewhere above or below it there is a verse that talks about being balanced and not go to extremes. On the issue of terrorism the prophet foretold of these people coming. It's well narrated that his cousin [...] who said, if it was not for the fact that I'd fear that you would go to extremes I would have told you the reward of killing these people. The people who use the religion as a justification for terrorizing who fight against the Muslims and who killed many of the noble scholars and who firstly target the Muslims who don't agree with them. There were bombings in [...] These are people who have errors in their belief and in their belief point of view they believe that everyone Muslim or non-Muslim who don't agree with them has to be killed. Islam commands us to fight against them and expose them. This is something that Islam is absolutely against. Muslims don't believe in any form of unnecessary violence. We have a narration which says that god said: I have forbidden oppression against myself, so do not oppress one-another. Another verse says: Do not allow the hatred of the people let you go to excess. This is a well known principle. Islam establishes these common principles and it has been a refuge for other religions. Muslim Spain was a refuge for the Jews of Europe, they sought refuge in the Muslim country because they were persecuted in Christian Europe, another historical evidence to show you that Islam is a religion of Justice. Treatment of Women A couple more points, it's worth mentioning the misconceptions that Muslims treat women badly. I think the opposite is true, I think Muslim men are oppressed by their wives. The prophet said the best of you are the best who best to your women folk, to your family. Yes there are Muslims who are abusive, and cultures who advocate forced marriage. A woman came to the prophet and said oh messenger of Allah my father forced me into marriage. He said, if you wish, I will divorce you from your husband immediately and if you wish you can stay with him. She said I wish to stay with him, but I want the other women to know that this is not something that is allowed in Islam. She wanted to make a point in a society that forced marriages was not allowed. If we find that a woman has been forced into a marriage, we offer her what she wishes to do and it's her choice. If she wishes to leave, she will leave instantly, if she wishes to stay, she will stay with that person and the family will be rebuked according with the UK law. Islam gave rights to Muslim women that were never given even in this country 100 years ago. Islam does not have the same family perspective as in other countries but it doesn't cause any oppression to anyone. Someone might say why is the man the head of the household. We say it very simply, who does the man obey? His mother. It's forbidden for a man to disobey his mother. Islam doesn't say that women are second class citizens. Implementation of the [...] The second last thing that I want to talk about is that Muslims are here to implement [...] This is a common misconception, spread by people who want to sensationalize Islam to push Muslims to the fringes of their societies. The word [...] is a divine law that was revealed by god to a prophet. It's only a scary word when you use it on the front of a paper headline or when Muslims use it incorrectly. For applying [...] to punishments, it's not true. They don't take up a great deal of space inside the Quran, it's about to how you pray, how you're kind to other people. As for Muslims wanting to implement [...] in the UK. If you mean that Muslims want to practice as much of their religion as possible then I think that this is something that all religions have. As for the concept that Muslims want to remove the acts of parliament, this is not true, because they are required, when living in non-Muslim states, to respect the law within the limits of the law while trying not to contradict their religion. This is not to say that we don't want certain laws to change, I'm sure everyone wants parking fines to be abolished, this is something normal that every citizen has, and everyone tries to do it by advocacy. As for some secret cabal that digs around parliament to replace it, it doesn't exist within mainstream courts. What about [...] courts? The reality is that they are no different than any other courts that deal with arbitration. It's no different to the basic rules of arbitration.
If the [...] Muslims don't have fun Big misconception that I want to finish with. And that is that Muslims don't have fun, especially towards Muslim women. The reality is that Muslims have lots of fun, and they are very sociable, probably more sociable than most people, because we have the socializing built around our religion. You don't need alcohol to have a laugh, you need good friends good company, good people. We had a non-Muslim guy at work and he was a bit surprised at first. We took him on holiday with us and the rule is no alcohol for the week. We had some great fun, we went all over the place, had great meals, met great people. Muslims do have fun and there is a concept on the same ideas, Muslim women are just as much into fashion, as non-Muslim women have but they have their limits when their outside, and when they are inside their houses or in a gathering of women or with close blood relations and husbands. Muslim men know that Muslim women are very much into the same things that other women are into. There's lots of other things that I would have liked to talk to you about, but it's been over an hour, so I would like to thank you very much for listening. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Q & A We have a lot of questions and we have 15 minutes so I'm going to get through them by giving succinct answers. I'm going to go through as many as possible. First question: The basis of Christianity is Jesus Christ whom Christians believe is god, therefore can we say that Muslims and Christians have the same god? Very briefly, if you mean that Jesus is god, then no we don't believe in the same god, but if you believe in the creator of the heavens and earth then this is the same god. There is a similarity in the concept of god originally and a difference in the concept of Jesus as the son of god. Where does the idea that events such as 9/11 are based on Islamic ideas come from? This is very easy to misunderstand because people who do such acts use Islam for their own aims, and in religion in general there have been people who misuse religion for their own aims and that is not permissible to do in Islam. What is necessary violence and how can this be defined. Islam tells us in a passage of the Quran. If it were not for the fact that God tested one group of people to fight another then many mosques and churches would have been destroyed. There is a need to fight for the oppressed. If you look at the UN, if their peacekeeping force go into a land where the people are being harmed, this is a violence necessary to protect the innocent. I would say that apart from a small group of ultra pacifist people, almost everybody believes that there are times when the innocent have to be defended with violence, but it has to be appropriate and part of a legitimate army such as for example the police or the army. Why is reference always weighed to the prophet Mohammed for Islamic standards rather than the Quran. In a short statement and a short time of only an hour, we wanted to give you a clearer statement. I give you a verse from the Quran, but many of you may not understand what I'm getting at. If I was to quote all of the evidence for everything I would quote both the Quran and the prophet. [...] Indeed that which the prophet Mohamed makes forbidden, is like what Allah makes forbidden. If Allah is neither male nor female why do we use him? This is standard for Arabic language. Arabic isn't a language that has a word for it and we use it for things that don't have intelligence. In the end it is not a respectable word to use for god and she would indicate god is feminine so he doesn't necessitate that god has a gender. This is something that is a linguistic issue. Is there any reason for the separation between women and men and is it the same when Muslims pray? This is something that is mentioned in Islam not as an original ruling, but as a principle for stopping things that lead to things that are forbidden. In Islam there is a belief that if people mix and socialize in ways that they are not supposed to those may lead to relationships developing outside of marriage. In with regard to prayer the men and the women prayed in the same room, they would not be mixed together in the same row, but they would be in the same room. When we started to build custom mosques we had lady sections and men section. I have found many non-Muslims find to be quite refreshing in gatherings where the men sit with the men and ladies sit with the ladies. It's quite natural and it's not taking away anything from women. Why can't Muslims eat pork, why do Muslim women cover their hair? I would refer you to talktoIslam.com. I apologize but I've got eight minutes. Can a Muslim woman be barefooted? In all seriousness this is something that scholars disagreed over, I personally think it has to be covered. What do Muslims think about organ donations? I slam allows organ donations within limits. There must be a real need for it, consent from the donor and it shouldn't cause any harm to him and if the donor is dead it has to be done with utmost respect for the body. I highly recommend Islamqa.com, however there is no person who is perfect and this has something on it that I personally don't agree with. Why do Muslims refer to themselves as slaves of god? In Islam the highest state you could reach is the state of servitude to god. As for being a slave of a human being it is wrong, because no human being is deserving of you dedicating your life to them such that your entire body and soul are given to them. That's why slavery among human beings it is something that is dispraised. God is deserving of you dedicating your body and service, so the way that we understand this, the most frequent mention of the prophet is as our slave. If I have to turn to a particular direction to pray does this mean this is the only place god is at? No. We have a verse in the Quran that says, wherever you turn your face you will find god. If a Muslim didn't know where [...] was, this is not a problem. The prayer direction unifies the Muslims. God is above the heavens. I'll answer this question out of fairness and I will try to answer it in the most appropriate way possible. What does Islam think about gay people? It's become very difficult to express opposition to homosexuality without being considered to be an extremist. Islam doesn't allow it and considers it to be sinful. It is difficult for me to say any more about this topic, it is an extremely sensitive topic. In our life in the UK I've met many gay people, I had a good chat with Jonathan Miles, he is a gay man, and we came across this topic and he was surprised that I told him he could become a Muslim. Islam doesn't approve of it, however we certainly don't call forth any violence against gay people and this is illegal and we are required to abide by that. Is it ok if another Muslim is believing something is not right in Islam but you keep quiet? In Islam you are required to advise your brothers and sisters, you are required to prevent them from making mistakes. What does Islam teach about forgiveness? That god forgives everything if you repent from it, feel sorry for it and make right whatever wrong you have done. A just god is the one who punishes those who deserve to be punished an forgives those who deserve to be forgiven. Are there any circumstances whereby a man does not have to obey his mother? Only if his mother commands him to do something that is disobedience to god. Anyone who commands you whoever they are to do something against god you're not allowed to do it. If they are asking you to do something within the command of god then a person is required to obey them to the best of their ability. If a woman is working in a certain profession that requires her to dress in an un-Islamic way... There is a rule about the necessity, when there is a necessity to do something, Islam allows that, but it has to be judged whether or not is real or if a solution can be found. I really do apologies for zooming through the question, but that's the best that I could do in a very short time. Thank you very much for listening for being patient with me and I hope that I will be able to see you again at an event in Sunderland or at any other event.
The Qur'an is a cure for the illnesses relating to physical and spiritual heath; body, and mind; medical and psychological conditions
From the mercy of Allah is that Allah sent down this book, as a mercy and a guidance for those who believe, containing guidance, correct and just rulings, and as a light and a mercy for those who believe.
Seeking a cure from the Qur'an represents the most complete form of belief in the book of Allah. Not only this, but belief in it and acting upon it is especially important at these times of trials and tribulations.
The Evidences from the Qur'an for the Permissibility of Seeking a Cure from the Qur'an
"O mankind, there has to come to you instruction from your Lord and healing for what is in the breasts and guidance and mercy for the believers." [Yunus 10:57 ]
Benefits from the aayah:
- Addressed to all of the people, not just to the believers.
- Maw'idhah: An admonition and a reminder; something that Allah is encouraging you and reminding you with - i.e., the Book of Allah.
- Shifaa' - that which causes recovery from sickness, regardless of the type. Note that it is not described as a medicine, because a medicine may work and it may not work. As for healing, it is what happens after you take the medicine - a guaranteed cure.
- Sudoor - i.e., the hearts; a cure from ignorance, misguidance, false notions, and desires.
- A mercy for the believers - why specifically the believers? They are those who benefit from it. As for the disbelievers, it doesn't lead to them acting upon it, remembering it, fearing Allah, or taking an admonition.
at-Tabari explained the words as follows:
"Maw'idhah: Allah's remembrance which reminds you of the punishment of Allah and it makes you fear the threat of punishment; it is from your lord, not from Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), nor did anyone else invent it. This maw'idhah is the Qur'an."
"Shifaa': A medicine for the ignorance which resides in the hearts, by which Allah cures the ignorance of the ignorant people, and by which Allah cures their sickness, and by which Allah guides whoever he wills of his creation."
"Hudan: a clarification of the halal and the haram, and a guidance as to what constitutes obedience and disobedience to Allah."
"A mercy: A mercy with which Allah has mercy on whoever He wills from his creation, saving him from misguidance and destruction, and this is specifically for the believers, rather than those who disbelieve in it. Rather, the one who disbelieves in it is blind to it, and the recompense of his disbelief is an eternity in the hellfire."
Ibn Katheer explained the words as follows:
"Maw'idhah: An admonition against immorality."
"Shifaa': A cure from doubts and false notions, and something which removes filth and impurity."
"Hudan wa Rahmah: By it guidance and mercy are achieved, and this is only for those who believe in it. The evidence is the statement of Allah: "And We send down of the Qur'an that which is healing and mercy for the believers, but it does not increase the wrongdoers except in loss." [al-Israa' 17:82 ] and the statement of Allah: and "...Say, "It is, for those who believe, a guidance and cure..."" [Fussilat 41:44 ].
as-Sa'dee explained the words as follows:
"Shifaa': This Qur'an is a cure for what is in the hearts, whether it is the illness of desire that is uncontrolled, or illnesses of the false notions and the doubts that are spread and smear a person's certain knowledge, since there is in the Qur'an exhortation, encouragement, warning, and a threat and a promise, that causes the slave to hope and fear, and if hope in good and fear for evil are found within a person then it necessitates that they put what Allah loves over what their soul wants. Similarly, the proofs which are found in the Qur'an which Allah has explained in the clearest way, they remove the false notions which smear the truth and they take the heart to the highest level of certainty. And if the heart is healthy and free from illness and cured, then the limbs will follow."
"Hudan: is to know the truth and act upon it."
"Rahmah: is the good which happens and the rewards of this life and the next for those who are guided by the Qur'an."
"Guidance is the most honourable of means, and mercy is the most complete of gains. However, nobody will be guided by this Qur'an and nobody will receive its mercy except for the believers, and if the guidance and mercy of this Qur'an occurs, then so does contentment, success, profit, salvation, happiness, and joy."
Why is the Qur'an Only a Guidance for the Believers?
We mentioned the aayat used by Ibn Katheer:
This is because they believe in, they act upon it, they are guided by its guidance, and they are motivated by its exhortation. When the disbelievers turned away from it, and disbelieved in it, they were forbidden the good of it, and they were forbidden the guidance that comes from it.
- Qatadah said: "Allah made the Qur'an a guidance and a glad tidings for the believers, because when the believer hears the Qur'an, he memorises it, he takes it on board, he benefits from it, he finds tranquility it, he believes in the promise of reward in it, and he is certain of that."
The Evidence in These Ayaat for Using the Qur'an as a Cure
- The Qur'an is a cure for what is in the heart.
- The heart is the place of ignorance, false notions, misguidance, desires, sadness, and depression.
- The extent of piety and corruption of the individual depends upon it.
- When Allah tells us that the Qur'an is a cure for the heart, this clearly shows us that we should be using the Qur'an to seek a cure for all of these illnesses.
- This is a clear proof for the permissibility of seeking a cure for all those things which affect the heart, through reciting the Qur'an, through acting upon the Qur'an, and through seeking a cure from ruqyah performed by the Qur'an.
- Note that "From the Qur'an" - it doesn't mean some of the Qur'an - it means the Qur'an in general.
The Statement of Ibn-ul-Qayyim Regarding Seeking a Cure from the Qur'an
Ibn-ul-Qayyim said: "The Qur'an is the most complete cure from all physical and psychological illnesses - the illnesses of this world and the illnesses of the Hereafter. Not everyone is capable, nor is everyone given the success from Allah to seek a cure from it. If the sick person uses the proper method of using the Qur'an as a medicine, with belief complete faith and acceptance, and firm belief in it as a cure, and he fulfils all of the conditions [of doing so], no disease will ever overcome him. How can a disease overcome the speech of the Lord of the Heavens and the Earth, the speech which if it was sent upon a mountain, would render that mountain to dust. The speech that if it was sent upon the earth, would break the earth into pieces. There is no illness of the heart and the body except that the Qur'an contains the means to guide how to cure it, why it happens, and how to protect from it, for those whom Allah gives the understanding of his book. As for the diseases of the heart, Allah mentions them in detail along with their causes and the method of curing them. So, the one who is not cured by the Qur'an, may Allah not cure him, and the one who the Qur'an is not sufficient for him, may Allah not suffice him in anything! It is known that certain things that we say have particular special qualities and proven benefits, then what do you think of the speech of the Lord of the worlds, the one who the virtue of his speech over the speech of others, is like the virtue of Him over his creation. The Qur'an is the perfect cure, and it is a beneficial means of protection, and a guiding light and a general mercy. If it was sent upon a mountain it would render it asunder from its greatness and its glory."
The Healing is Not Restricted to the Heart
- Words are to be taken in their widest possible context: "shifaa'"
- It isn't for us to restrict it to a certain illness.
- The Sunnah confirms and explains this. It was used to treat general medical illnesses.
Texts for Seeking a Cure with the Qur'an from the Sunnah
Abu Sa'eed: Some of the companions of the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) went on a journey till they reached some of the Arab tribes (at night). They asked the latter to treat them as their guests but they refused. The chief of that tribe was then bitten by a snake (or stung by a scorpion) and they tried their best to cure him but in vain. Some of them said (to the others), "Nothing has benefited him, will you go to the people who resided here at night, it may be that some of them might possess something (as treatment)," They went to the group of the companions (of the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) ) and said, "Our chief has been bitten by a snake (or stung by a scorpion) and we have tried everything but he has not benefited. Have you got anything (useful)?" One of them replied, "Yes, by Allah! I can recite a Ruqya, but as you have refused to accept us as your guests, I will not recite the Ruqya for you unless you fix for us some wages for it." They agrees to pay them a flock of sheep. One of them then went and recited (Surat-ul-Fatihah): 'All the praises are for the Lord of the Worlds' and puffed over the chief who became all right as if he was released from a chain, and got up and started walking, showing no signs of sickness. They paid them what they agreed to pay. Some of them (i.e. the companions) then suggested to divide their earnings among themselves, but the one who performed the recitation said, "Do not divide them till we go to the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and narrate the whole story to him, and wait for his order." So, they went to Allah's Messenger (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and narrated the story. Allah's Messenger (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) asked, "How did you come to know that Surat-ul-Fatihah was recited as Ruqya?" Then he added, "You have done the right thing. Divide (what you have earned) and assign a share for me as well." The Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) laughed thereupon.Recorded by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
- In one narration "30 sheep, one for each companion."Recorded by Ahmad.
- In one narration "He recited it 7 times."Recorded by Ahmad.
Points of benefit from the hadeeth:
- The effect of the Qur'an on the person who was suffering from a medical illness.
- The approval of the Prophet.
- "You have done the right thing", in another narration: "You have done well."
- The Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) took a portion to show the people that the wealth is halal.
- Abu Sa'eed had prior understanding that this was permissible.
- None of the other 29 companions did anything to stop him, showing that they were content with his action.
- In a wording: "The most deserving thing that you take a wage for is the book of Allah."
- In another narration: "Take it from them" - this is evidence that it is permissible in the future.
- The laughing of the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).
The hadeeth of Khaarijah ibn as-Salt, who narrated from his paternal uncle: We came from the Messenger of Allah (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) to a tribe from the tribe of the Arabs, they said we have been informed that you have come from this man with good, so do you have a medicine or a ruqyah because we have a man that is suffering from madness. So they brought the one afflicted by insanity and they read upon him al-Fatihah for three days morning and evening, and he would blow and spit on the person, and the person got up as though he had been released from chains. They gave me a wage and I said, "I will not take any money from you until I ask the Messenger of Allah." The Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, "Devour it." "By my life! There are people who take this money in falsehood and you have taken it by a true ruqyah."
Points of benefit from the hadeeth:
- Again this was for a regular sickness
- "You have devoured this wealth with a true ruqyah."
The hadeeth of Aa'ishah that during the Prophet's fatal illness (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), he used to recite the Mu'auwidhat (Surah an-Naas and Surah al-Falaq) and then blow his breath over his body. When his illness was aggravated, I used to recite those two Surahs and blow my breath over him and make him rub his body with his own hand for its blessings." (Ma`mar asked Az-Zuhri: How did the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) use to blow? Az-Zuhri said: He used to blow on his hands and then passed them over his face.)Recorded by al-Bukhari 5375.
The Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) entered upon Aa'ishah and there was a woman treating her with ruqyah. The Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said to the woman, "Treat her with the book of Allah."
Jaabir bin 'Abdullah reported that Allah's Messenger (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) granted a special sanction for ruqyah in case of the snake poison to the family of 'Amr. Abu Zubair said: I heard Jabir bin 'Abdullah as saying that the scorpion stung one of us as we were sitting with Allah's Messenger (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). A person said: "Allah's Messenger, I use ruqyah (for curing the effect of a sting)," whereupon he said: "He who is able amongst you to benefit his brother should do so."Recorded by Muslim 2199.
- In another wording Jaabir said, that his uncle said "It has reached me that you have forbidden ruqyah, and I use ruqyah to treat scorpion stings, what do you think of that?" The Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, "He who is able amongst you to benefit his brother should do so."
- In another wording: "I see no harm in it. He who is able amongst you to benefit his brother should do so."
One of the companions Awf ibn Malik said, "We used to perform ruqyah in pre-Islamic times so we said, 'O messenger of Allah what do you think of that?' He said, 'There is no harm in ruqyah as long as it does not contain shirk.'"
If this is true of any ruqyah, then the Book of Allah is more deserving.
Conditions For The Validity of Ruqyah
al-Haafidh in al-Fath and an-Nawawi in Sharh Saheeh Muslim both narrated the consensus that the ruqyah must be done with:
- Allah's speech, names, and attributes.
- Arabic, or a language which is clearly understood.
- Belief that ruqyah alone does not benefit, but Allah alone benefits.
All of these conditions are present in the Qur'an.
Methods of Ruqyah
- Ruqyah alone.
- Ruqyah and blowing with dry air.
- Ruqyah with spittle.
- Reading into the hands and wiping over the body, without blowing.
- Reading and placing the hand on to the place of pain.
- Reading and blowing and wiping the hand over the body.
- Reading and putting spittle on the finger, touching the earth, and touching the sick person (some of the scholars said this was specific to the earth of Madeenah, and the correct opinion is that is any earth can be used, as was the opinion of an-Nawawi and Ibn-ul-Qayyim).
- Salt in water while reading over the person, then putting the water on the place of pain.
- Reading over water (see the section below).
Note that the methods which involve touching are not suitable for contact between men and women who are non-mahram.
The Permissibility of Reciting Qur'an Over Water
Reciting the Qur'an upon water is something allowed and permissible according to many of the scholars of Islam, in both early and modern times. In fact, some of the scholars held the opinion that it is recommended to do. Some of the scholars used as evidence the general evidences from the Book and the Sunnah, and others used the hadeeth of Thaabit ibn Qays. However, the hadeeth was declared weak by a group of the scholars of hadeeth.
There is a general principle, namely the permissibility of different types of ruqyah, as long as they do not contain shirk. In Saheeh Muslim, from the hadeeth of 'Awf in Maalik (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said, "We used to perform ruqyah in the period of ignorance (prior to Islam). We said, 'O Messenger of Allah, what do you think of this?' He replied (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) 'Show me your ruqaa (pl. of ruqyah). There is nothing wrong with ruqaa, as long as they do not contain shirk.'"
From the narrations on this topic:
It is narrated from Jaabir (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said, "The Messenger of Allah (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) forbade ruqaa. Then the family of 'Amr ibn Hazm came to the Messenger of Allah (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and they said, 'O Messenger of Allah, there was a ruqyah that we knew of and we used to perform ruqyah with it for a scorpion [sting], and you have forbidden ruqaa.'" Jabir said, "Then they showed it to him. He said, 'I do not see that there is any harm in it, whoever of you is able to help his brother, let him do so.'" Narrated by Ahmad and Muslim.
It is narrated from 'Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said, "A scorpion stung the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) while he was praying. When he had completed the prayer, he said, 'May Allah curse the scorpion, it does not leave a praying person, or anyone else.' Then he called for water and salt, and he began to rub over [the sting] and recite Qul Yaa Ayyuhal-Kaafiroon, Qul A'oodhu bi Rabbil-Falaq, and Qul A'oodhu bi Rabbin-Naas." At-Tabarani reported it in al-Mu'jam as-Sagheer (2/32) and al-Haythami said in Majma' az-Zawaa'id, "Its chain is fair" (5/114) and al-Albaani said, "It is an authentic hadeeth" in as-Saheehah no. 548.
It is narrated from Muhammad ibn Yusuf ibn Thaabit ibn Qays ibn Shammaas, from his father, from his grandfather (may Allah be pleased with him), from the Messenger of Allah (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that he entered [the home of] Thaabit ibn Qays (Ahmad added, "while he was ill") and said, "Take away the illness, O Lord of the People, from Thabit ibn Qays ibn Shammaas." Then he took some dirt from Bathaan [a valley of Madeenah] and he put it in a vessel, then he blew on it along with water and he poured it over him." Narrated in Sunan Abi Dawud quoted from the explanation of the book entitled 'Awn al-Ma'bood - the Book of Medicine - the Chapter of Ruqaa (10/370), no. 3867. Also narrated by an-Nasaa'i in 'Amal al-Yawmi wal-Laylah p. 557, and al-Bukhari in at-Taareekh al-Kabeer (8/377), and Saheeh Ibn Hibban (7/623). al-Albani (may Allah have mercy on him) said, "It has a weak chain." He also said in ad-Da'eefah: "The wording of Ibn Hibban, 'He put it in a vessel in which there was water, then he poured it over him' doesn't mention the blowing."
Furthermore, it is authentically reported from the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that water is a cure for fever, as is found in Saheeh al-Bukharino. 5723 that "Fever is from the heat of the Hellfire, so put it out with water." Refer to the book Ahkaam ar-Ruqaaby Fahd as-Suhaymi.
Likewise, he commanded the one who gives the evil eye to make ghusl to treat the one it has been given to.Saheeh Muslim (no. 2188). Refer to the book Ahkaam ar-Ruqaaby Fahd as-Suhaymi.
Having said that, the scholars mention that there are conditions:
- The ruqyah should be with the speech of Allah the Exalted, or His names and attributes, or with that which is authentically reported from the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), or the remembrance of Allah in general.
- The ruqyah should be with words whose meanings are understood.
- Symbols and signs that are not understood should not be used.
- Both the raaqi and the one who is being recited over should believe that ruqyah in of itself does not have any effect without the permission of Allah and His decree.
- The ruqyah should not contain any form of shirk or disobedience to Allah.
The Permissibility of Reciting Over Water, According to the Early Scholars
Muhammad ibn Muflih said, "Abdullah [ibn Ahmad ibn Hanbal] narrated that he saw his father read 'A'oodhu billah…' in water and then recite Qur'an over it and drink it, and he would pour some of it over himself." al-Aadaab ash-Shar'iyyah 2/441.
Saalih, the son of al-Imam Ahmad (may Allah have mercy on them both) said, "I became sick once, so my father read for me over water, then he blew in it and he told me to drink it and to wash my head [with it]."
Ibn-ul-Qayyim said, "A time came while I was in Makkah that I became sick, and I could not find a doctor, nor any medicine. I used to treat myself with al-Faatihah. I would take a drink of Zam Zam and I would read on it again and again, then I would drink it. I found a complete cure through this, and from then on I used to stick to this for treating many sicknesses, and it contains within it the peak of benefit." Zaad al-Ma'aad 3/188
The Permissibility of Reciting Over Water, According to the Scholars of Our Time
Shaykh Muhammad ibn Ibraheem aal-ash-Shaykh - may Allah have mercy on him - was asked about blowing [Qur'an] in water. He replied, "There is nothing wrong with this. It is permissible. Rather, the scholars have clearly said that it is recommended." Majmoo' Fataawaa wa Rasaa'il 1/92.
Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-'Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) was asked about the ruling of blowing [Qur'an] on water. He replied:
"Blowing on water is of two types; the first type is that the intention is to seek the blessings of the one who is blowing. This is without doubt haraam and is a type of shirk, since the saliva of a person is not a cause for blessings and a cure, and it is not permissible to seek the blessings of things that come from a person, except Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). As for others, it is not allowed to seek the blessings of things that come from them. The things that came from the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) were used for blessings during his life, and similarly after his death, if something of his remained. Umm Salamah (may Allah be pleased with her) had a [thimble?] of silver which contained some hairs from the hair of the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that she would use to cure the sick. If a sick person would come to her she would pour water over these hairs, then she would give the sick person the water. As for other than the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) it is not permissible for anyone to seek the blessings of someone's saliva, or sweat, or his clothing, or anything else. Rather, this is forbidden, and it is a type of shirk. So, if the blowing into water is for the sake of seeking the blessings of the saliva of the one who is blowing, then this is forbidden, and it is a type of shirk. This is because whoever affirms for something a cause which is not Islamic, nor is it known by the senses, then this person has fallen into a type of shirk, since he has made himself a cause for things to happen besides Allah, and attaching the causes of things to events is something which is to be taken from Islamic legislation. For this reason, all those who hold on to a cause for something that Allah has not made a cause, either through what we sense or Islamic legislation, then this person has fallen into a type of shirk. The second type is that the person blows with saliva, reciting the Noble Qur'an; for example, reading al-Faatihah. al-Faatihah is a ruqyah, and it is from the greatest of that which can be used as a ruqyah for the sick. So, reading al-Faatihah and blowing into water, there is nothing wrong with this. Some of the pious predecessors did so. It has been tested and it is beneficial with the permission of Allah. The Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to blow into his hands when he would go to sleep, reciting Qul Huwa-llaahu Ahad, Qul A'oodhu bi Rabbil-Falaq, and Qul A'oodhu bi Rabbin-Naas, then he would wipe over his hands whatever parts of his body he could reach, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. And Allah is source of success." Majmoo' Fataawaa Ibn 'Uthaymeen 1/70-71, no. 35.
Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan (may Allah preserve him) said, "The best thing is for a Muslim to read on his brother by blowing on his body after having read the aayaat, or by blowing on the place of pain in his body. This is ar-Ruqyah ash-Shar'iyyah [Islamic Ruqyah]. And if he reads for him on water, then he drinks it, this way is also [from proper Islamic ruqyah]." al-Muntaqaa 1/72 no. 131.
He also said, "Treating the sick person with ruqyah from the Noble Qur'an if it is done according to the way that is narrated, by reading and by blowing on the sick, or on the place of pain, or on water that the sick person drinks, this action is permissible and it is legislated, since the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) performed ruqyah and had ruqyah performed on him, and he commanded ruqyah to be performed and he declared it permissible" al-Muntaqaa 2/141
Shaykh Saalih ibn 'Abdul 'Azeez Aal-Ash-Shaykh said, "The aim is for the ruqyah and the recitation to reach the sick by blowing on the person, or by blowing on water, then giving it to the sick person to drink or to pour over him; there is nothing wrong with this because the pious predecessors did it, and it is not to be criticised because it has a basis in the Sunnah. However, the more the ruqyah is direct without the use of many things in the middle, the better it is. For this reason, my grandfather Shaykh Muhammad ibn Ibraheem, may Allah have mercy on him and raise his rank in Paradise, said, 'the closer it is to the time? the more beneficial it is, and the less things used in between, the more beneficial it is." ad-Da'wah magazine p. 22, no. 1683 from Dhul-Qi'dah 1419 AH.
Shaykh 'Abdul Muhsin al-'Abbad - may Allah preserve him - said in explaining Sunan Abi Dawud:
"Abu Dawud recorded the hadeeth of Thaabit ibn Qays ibn Shammaas may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) came to him, visiting him when he was sick, and said, "Take away the illness, O Lord of the People, from Thabit ibn Qays ibn Shammaas." and this is a du'aa. As for the statement, "Then he took some dirt from Bathaan [a valley of Madeenah] and he put it in a vessel, then he blew on it along with water and he poured it over him." The evidence in the hadeeth [for the chapter] is his statement, "He blew over it" i.e., he blew ruqyah over the water, then poured it over him. This hadeeth contains evidence for the permissibility of blowing over water and of reading ruqyah over water, and the sick person using it. However, this hadeeth has a weakness in its chain, because the chain contains Yusuf ibn Muhammad and he is of the level "acceptable." It has been narrated from 'Aa'ishah may Allah be pleased with her, a reliable narration in the Musannaf of Ibn Abee Shaybah that she did not see any harm in reading Qur'an over water, then the sick person being given it to drink, or it being poured over the sick person. As for pouring the water over dirt, it is only found in this narration that contains Yusuf, so [using the dirt] is not authentic, and that which is authentic from the narration of Aa'ishah is that she used to consider it permissible to blow over water and for the sick person to drink it, or for it to be poured over him."
Dr. Fahd as-Suhaymi said about the narration of Aa'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) that the chain of narration contains Ma'shar ibn Ziyaad ibn Kulayb al-Handhali about whom Ibn Hajar said, that he was a reliable narrator from the sixth group. He said about the sixth group, "A group of people who lived at the same time as the people from the fifth group, but there is no proof of their meeting any of the companions." If this is correct, then there is a break in the chain in the hadeeth of Aa'ishah.
Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allah have mercy on him) said in his commentary on Fath al-Majeed,"Seeking a cure with the Noble Qur'an and Sidr and the likes are from the permissible medicines and do not fall within the category of innovation, rather they fall within the category of medicine, and the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, "O Slaves of Allah, seek a cure and do not seek a cure from the haraam." And it is authentically reported in Sunan Abi Dawood that the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) read upon water in a vessel and poured it over a sick person. From this we know that seeking a cure by reading over water and honey and the likes are permissible, and there is nothing wrong with them from an Islamic point of view, as long as what is read on them is correct, and the medicine [i.e., water, honey, etc] is something permissible [to eat/drink]."