Hijama: Cure for the Mind, Body and Soul
“I did not pass by any group of angels on the night of Al-Isra, unless they said to me, O Muhammad (SAW), tell your Ummah to do Hijama”
(Narrated by At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah)
‘Hijama‘ is the Arabic for an ancient method of healing known in English as Wet Cupping or bloodletting. It is a therapeutic process that involves creating negative pressure against the skin by means of vacuum (induced manually, electrically or by fire) using any of the various vessels such as horns, glass jars, bamboo cups or more recently disposable plastic cups. It then involves superficial scratches on the skin to help release pathogens, toxins and the ‘excess’, rendering this therapy the best and fastest detox known to man! It is also a very effective therapy in promoting blood circulation, boosting immunity, rebalancing body hormones and energy, making it the best therapy for general health and well-being for those individuals who wish to have Hijama performed as a preventive measure but also as a treatment and cure for tens of ailments from body aches and pains including sports injuries all the way to cholesterol, diabetes, blood pressure, headaches and migraines, asthma, anaemia, menstrual problems and infertility, sexual problems, skin conditions, psychological disorders including stress, depression, anxiety and insomnia…etc. Hijama is noticeably effective for the treatment of metaphysical and spiritual conditions such as Evil Eye, Black Magic and Jinn possession or for those conditions that medical practise can not account for.
Hijama Therapy is a safe procedure if performed correctly, and unlike drugs and pharmaceutical medications, Hijama has no side effects and does not inject substances in the body or prescribe internalising anything. It in fact releases toxic build-up out of the system as opposed to increasing chemical and toxic accumulation.
History of Cupping Therapy:
Cupping was widespread throughout the whole of Europe (including the UK), Asia and more so in the Islamic societies where this ancient prophetic practice was and still is an acceptable practice used as a remedy and supported by religious beliefs.
The Ancient Egyptians, Greeks as well as the Chinese used this therapy. An indication of the long history of cupping is evident as the, Ebers Papyrus, recognised as the oldest medical textbook written in approximately 1550 BCE in Egypt mentions the art of cupping (Curtis, 2005).
Cupping was also practiced by famous Arab physicians as Al-Razi (865-925) and Ibn Sina or best known to the west as Avicenna (980-1037).
It’s worth mentioning that in mainly rural Bangladesh a similar practice by the name of ‘Shinga’ has been practised by particular individuals. Many Muslims in Bangladesh seem to associate it with witchcraft and other possibly unislamic practises, which discourages many Muslims from having the therapy done. It must be highlighted that this does not detract from the fact that if done correctly and by the right practitioner in the right context, it is an effective method of healing and after all an authentic Sunnah of the prophet (SAW).
In the West, cupping remained an important part of medicine and therapy, both- conventional / alternative, and folk-based, until the early 20th century. The surgeon Charles Kennedy wrote, in 1826:
“The art of cupping has been so well-known, and the benefits arising from it so long experienced, that it is quite unnecessary to bring forward testimonials in favour of what has received not only the approbation of modern times, but also the sanction of remotest antiquity.”
Today Cupping therapy is enjoying resurgence in popularity as more and more people learn about it and experience its healing power for themselves. This therapy is drawing interest from celebrities like Oscar winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow who had cupping done. As a result and on 9th July 2005 this therapy enjoyed a worldwide coverage by all types of media fuelling discussions on the subject and in fact participating greatly in its resurgence!
Today there are a multitude of centres around the world offering dry/wet cupping therapy, spanning from Malaysia, Middle East, Turkey and an upsurge of companies and practitioners offering the therapy in the United kingdom.
Hijama in Islamic Practice
The Prophet Muhammed (SAW) advised cupping in over 28 holy instructions, and urged the people to use it. It is beyond the scope of this article to elaborate on all those narrations but we have selected a few that emphasise the importance of this beneficial practice.
Alongside the Hadith at the start of the article, the following are some essential information from the Prophetic tradition about Hijama.
The Prophet (SAW) said: “If there is anything good in the medicines with which you treat yourselves, it is in the incision of the Hijama therapist, or a drink of honey or cauterization with fire, but I do not like to be cauterized.” (Narrated by Muslim)
The Prophet of Allah (SWT) used cupping on his honourable head for migraine (Al-Bukhari), on his honourable hip joint (Abu Dawud) and back of the neck (Kahill) lateral sides of the neck and between shoulders (Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah) and said that “cupping on the back of the neck [elkamahdowa] treats 72 illnesses! (At Tabarani).
Ibn Al-Qayyum mentions that the Messenger (SAW) was afflicted with black magic and was cupped on the head to treat it. He also highlights that Hijama is one of the best cures to treat black magic if performed correctly (Zaad al Ma’aad)
Islamic research as well as medical research in this area is highly recommended for health conscious Muslims and students of knowledge, as this constitutes a huge Dawa potential, let alone the potential health benefits for mankind! Remember that the Prophet (SAW) said: “the Strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah (SWT) than the weak one”! Also it is imperative for Muslim preachers to revive this much forgotten Sunnah and effective method of healing by having it done themselves first and by raising awareness about it amongst the masses. Thus far, there is little coverage of this important subject in Islamic discourse and consequently little practice.
On a final note, we must always remember that Shifaa comes from Allah (SWT) alone and to implement and revive the practice of His beloved Rasool (SAW) will no doubt bring about His blessings and hopefully cure insha’Allah (SWT).
Cupping, the technique, is very useful and very safe and can be easily incorporated into your family health practices.
By: Abdul-Karim Qatifan
Director of Hijama Health Clinic and Hijama Therapist.