The Qur'an as a Cure
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 agreed 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
A Summary of the Methods of Ruqyah
- Reading alone.
- Reading and blowing with dry air.
- Reading and blowing 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 Methods of Ruqyah in Detail
Method 1: Reading Alone
This means to read, without blowing, spitting, touching, or wiping.
From the evidence for this:
From 'Aa'ishah that the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) when he would go to a sick person or when they would be brought to him would say: "Make the sickness go away, Lord of Mankind! Cure [it], for You are the Curer. There is no cure but Your cure, a cure that leaves behind no illness."Recorded by al-Bukhari, no. 5657, and Muslim, no. 2191.
From 'Aa'ishah that she said, "When the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was troubled (by sickness), Jibreel would perform ruqyah, saying: 'In the name of Allāh, may He rid you [of this], and from every illness cure you, and from the evil of the envier when he envies and from the evil of every one who gives the evil eye."Recorded by Muslim, no. 2185, and Ahmad, no. 25272.
From Abu Sa'eed that Jibreel came to the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and said, "O Muhammad! Are you troubled (by sickness)?" He said, "Yes." Jibreel said, "In the name of Allāh, I perform ruqyah for you, from everything that harms you, and from the evil of every person or envious eye, may Allāh cure you. In the name of Allāh, I perform ruqyah on you."Recorded by Muslim, no. 2186, Ahmad, no. 11225, and at-Tirmidhi, no. 972.
Method 2: Reading and Blowing with Dry Air
This means to blow gently without the blowing containing any spittle.
an-Nawawi said, "The [scholars] reached consensus regarding its permissibilty in ruqyah, and the majority of the companions and the taabi'een and those after them considered it to be recommended."an-Nawawi's Explanation of Saheeh Muslim, 14/182.
From the evidence for this:
From Aa'ishah that the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) used to blow (with dry air) during ruqyah.Recorded by an-Nasaa'i in al-Kubraa, no. 7506, Ibn Maajah, no. 2843 and Ibn Abi Shaybah, no. 23564.
From Aa'ishah that the Messenger of Allāh (may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) when he was troubled (by sickness) used to read over himself the surahs of seeking refuge, and blow (with dry air).Recorded by al-Bukhari, and Muslim.
In the wording of Muslim, she said, "The Messenger of Allāh (may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) if one of his family became sick would blow over them with the surahs of seeking refuge."
Method 3: Reading and Blowing with Spittle
The Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) approved of two of his companions, both of whom used spittle while performing ruqyah.
From the evidence for this:
The hadeeth of Abu Sa'eed, which contains: "Then, he began to read Umm al-Qura'n (i.e., al-Faaithah), and he gathered his spittle and he blew with spittle, and [the man] was cured."
The hadeeth which Khaarijah ibn as-Salt narrated from his uncle, which contains: "Then they brought the man afflicted by madness, and I read the Opening of the Book (i.e., al-Faatihah) for three days, morning and evening, and I would gather my spit and then blow with spittle...It was as though he was released from chains." This wording is that of al-Bukhari, no. 5736, and Muslim, no. 2201.
From Muhammad ibn Haatib that he said, "A cooking pot fell on my hand, and my hand was burnt, so my father took me to the Messenger of Allāh (may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and he blew on it with spittle and said, 'Make the sickness go away, Lord of Mankind.' And I think that he said, 'Cure [it], for You are the Curer."Recorded by Ahmad, no. 18281, an-Nasaa'i in al-Kubraa, no. 9944, Ibn Abi Shaybah, no. 23562, and at-Tabarani, in al-Kabeer, no. 537. al-Haythami said, "The men of its chain are the men of Bukhari and Muslim" and al-Arna'oot declared it to be fair in his checking of Musnad al-Imam Ahmad.
Method 4: Readng into the Hands without Blowing, and Wiping
From the guidance of the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is that he would wipe his right hand over the sick person when he would read ruqyah over them. This is on the condition that the person is one who is permissible to touch, and it is well known that the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) would not touch a non-mahram woman, not even to shake her hand, and he said: "For one of you to be stabbed in the head with an iron needle is better than touching a woman whom it is not permitted."
From the evidence for this method of ruqyah:
From 'Aa'ishah that when the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) would perform an incantation [of ruqyah] on some of his family, he would wipe with his right hand and say, "O Allāh, Lord of Mankind! Make the sickness go away! Cure [it] - You are the Curer. There is no cure but Your cure, a cure that leaves behind no illness."Recorded by al-Bukhari, no. 5743, and Muslim, no. 2191.
From Talq ibn 'Ali that he said, "I was stung by a scorpion while I was with the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), so he performed ruqyah on me, and he wiped over it with his hand."Recorded by Ahmad, no. 16298, at-Tabarani in al-Kabeer, no. 8262 and 8263, Ibn Hibban, no. 6093, at-Tahaawi in Sharh Ma'aani al-Aathaar, 4/326, al-Haakim in al-Mustadarak 4/416 (he declared it authentic, and adh-Dhahabi agreed, as did al-Albani in Saheeh Mawaarid ad-Damaan, no. 1191).
From 'Urwah that 'Aa'ishah informed him that the Messenger of Allāh (may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) if he was troubled (by sickness) would blow over himself with the surahs of refuge, and he would wipe over himself with his hand. When he became sick with the illness from which he died, I would blow over him with the surahs of refuge that he used to blow over himself with, and I would wipe with the hand of the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) over him.Recorded by al-Bukhari, no. 4439, and Muslim, no. 2191.
From 'Aa'ishah regarding her ruqyah of the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) in the sickness which lead to his death, she said, "I would wipe the chest of the Messenger of Allāh (may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) with his hand, and I would say: 'Remove the sickness, Lord of Mankind!"Recorded by an-Nasaa'i in al-Kubraa, no. 10787, and the wording of Bukhari and Muslim has already been mentioned.
Method 5: Reading and Putting the Hand on the Place of Pain
From the guidance of the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is that he would put his hand on the place of pain, or he would command the sick person to do so, then wipe with it. As for the raaqi putting his hand, then the previous note regarding contact with non-mahrams applies. The alternative is to ask the patient to do it themselves.
The difference between this method and the previous one is that in this method the hand is placed on the area of the pain, followed by wiping, and the previous method is wiping only.
From the evidence for this method:
From Aa'ishah bint Sa'd that her father said, "I was troubled (by sickness) in Makkah and the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) came to visit me. He put his hand on my forehead then he wiped my chest and my stomach and said, 'O Allāh, cure Sa'd, and complete for him his hijrah."Recorded by al-Bukhari, no. 5659, and Abu Dawood, no. 3104.
From 'Uthmaan ibn Abil-'Aas ath-Thaqafi that he complained to the Messenger of Allāh (may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) of a pain that he was experiencing in his body since becoming Muslim. The Messenger of Allāh (may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said to him, "Put your hand on that which causes you pain in your body and say, 'Bismillah' three times, then say seven times, 'I seek refuge with Allāh and His power from the evil of that which I feel and fear.'"Recorded by Maalik, no. 1686, Muslim, no. 2202, Abu Dawood, no. 3891, at-Tirmidhi, no. 2080, and Ibn Maajah, no. 3522
In the wording of an-Nasaa'i: "Put your right hand on the place which is causing you trouble and wipe over it seven times, saying: 'I seek refuge with the might of Allāh and His power from the evil of what I feel' each time you wipe."Recorded by an-Nasaa'i in al-Kubraa, nos. 10771 and 10772.
Method 6: Reading, Blowing and Wiping
The Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) approved of reading along with blowing and wiping in ruqyah.
From the evidence for this:
Some of the narrations of the hadeeth of Abu Sa'eed, with the wording, "So I began to read the Opening of the Book (i.e., al-Faatihah), and I wiped the place that was stung, until he was ridden [of the sickness]."Recorded by 'Abd ibn Humayd, no. 864, and an-Nasaa'i in al-Kubraa, no. 7490.
In another narration of the above hadeeth: "He began to read Umm-al-Qur'an (i.e., al-Faatihah, and gather his spit, and blow, and the man was ridden [of his sickness].)"Recorded by an-Nasaa'i in al-Kubraa, no. 10800.
If we join between all of the different narrations (as we should do when it is possible to do so), we see that Abu Sa'eed joined between reading and blowing with wiping, and the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) approved his action.
Method 7: Spittle, Earth, and Touching
This method is proven by the hadeeth of 'Aa'ishah:
The Messenger of Allāh (may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), when a person would complain to him of some (illness), or they were wounded, he would do this with his finger - and Sufyān (Ibn 'Uyaynah) put his index finger on the earth then raised it - and he would say, "In the name of Allāh, he earth of our land with the spittle of one of us, to cure by it our sick, with the permission of our Lord."Recorded by al-Bukhari, in shortened form, nos. 5745 and 5746, and Muslim, no. 2194.
an-Nawawi said about this method, "The meaning of the hadeeth is that he took some of his spittle on his index finger, then he put it in the earth, so some of the earth became attached to it, and placed it on the place of the wound or the sickness, and read these words at the time of wiping."
The scholars disagreed as to whether the 'earth' mentioned is specific to Madeenah (or to the lands of Islam). an-Nawawi and Ibn-ul-Qayyim both mentioned that the majority of scholars said that the meaning is any type of earth. This is the correct opinion in shā' Allāh because there is no evidence to make it specific to Madeenah.
Method 8: Salt in Water while Reading
This method is specifically mentioned as a means of treating bites and stings.
The evidence for this is the hadeeth of 'Ali:
"While the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was praying one night, he put his hand on the earth and was stung by a scorpion. The Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) struck it with his sandal and killed it. When he finished, he said, 'May Allāh curse the scorpion! It does not leave a person who is praying or anyone else - or he said, 'a prophet or anyone else'. Then, he called for salt and water, and he poured them both in a vessel, and he began to pour it over his finger where he was stung, while wiping it and reciting over it the surahs of refuge."Recorded by Ibn Abi Shaybah, no. 23553, at-Tabarani, no. 5890, Abu Nu'aym in Akhbaar Asbahaan, 2/23, al-Bayhaqi in Shu'ab al-Imaan, nos. 2340 and 2341, and Ibn Maajah narrated it in shortened form, no. 548. al-Haythami said, "It's chain is fair." al-Albani declared it authentic.
In one wording, "He read: Qul Yaa Ayyuhal-Kaafiroon, Qul A'oodhu bi Rabbil-Falaq, and Qul A'oodhu bi Rabbin-Naas."Recorded by at-Tabarani, see previous footnote.
In another wording, "He began to wipe over it while reading: Qul Huwa-Allahu Ahad, Qul A'oodhu bi Rabbil-Falaq, and Qul A'oodhu bi Rabbin-Naas."Recorded by Abu Nu'aym and al-Bayhaqi, see previous footnote.
Method 9: Reading 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]."