Miscellaneous topics- Articles- Article (11): Ruqyah in Islam (Ar-Ruqyah Ash-Shar'iyyah): Conditions and Rulings
Last update:2012-01-28
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Praise be to Allah, the Lord of Creations, and Peace and blessings be upon our prophet Muhammad, the faithful and the honest.
 Oh, Allah, we know nothing but what You teach us. You are the All- Knower, the Wise. Oh Allah, teach us what is good for us, and benefit us from what You taught us, and increase our knowledge. Show us the righteous things as righteous and help us to do them, and show us the bad things as bad and help us to keep away from them.
  O Allah our Lord, lead us out from the depths of darkness and illusion, unto the lights of erudition and knowledge, and from the muddy shallows of lusts unto the heavens of Your Vicinity.

Rules of ruqya in Islam:

 Ruqyah is the recitation of Qur'an, seeking of refuge, remembrance and supplications that are used as a means of treating sicknesses and other problems. It is sometimes called 'spiritual healing' and it is often used to treat the negative effects of magic and the touch of jinns. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) used ruqyah as a treatment for many cases, and so did his companions and other imams (may Allah be pleased with them).
 Later, treatment with ruqyah was distorted and misused by those who used it because it abounded with lies, falsities, and deception to the extent that ruqyah became a type of quackery and charlatanry. Furthermore, many ruqyah performers are ignorant and corrupt to the extent that they started to use and say things that violate the conditions of ruqyah in Islam. In this respect, the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) says,

"There will come after me rulers who will abolish the Sunnah and practice heresies."

[Al-Tabarani in Al-Kabeer on the authority of Abdullah bin Mas'oud.]

Conditions of ruqyah

 The conditions of ruqyah can be summed up as follows:

1. It must not be blasphemous (that expresses disbelief ):

 The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) says,

"Let me hear your incantations (ruqa: plural of ruqyah), for incantations which do not have shirk in them are fine."

[Muslim on the authority of 'Awf bin Malik.]

2. It should not be based on magic:

 Allah, may He be Glorified and Exalted, states

“And the magician will never be successful, no matter whatever amount (of skill) he may attain.”

[Taha: 69]

3. It should not be performed by a fortune-teller, a priest, soothsayer or a monk :

 A ruqyah must be performed by knowledgeable and pious people. Allah says “Verily, Allah accepts only from those who are Al-Muttaqun (the pious” [ Al-Ma'idah: 27]
Seeking these people's help for treatment contradicts the command of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH), who says,

"Whoever goes to a magician or a fortune-teller and believes in what he tells him disbelieves in what has been revealed to Muhammad."

[Abu Dawoud on the authority of Abu Hurairah.]

4. Ruqyah should be uttered lucidly and intelligibly

 Ruqyah must be delivered in an understandable way. If the meanings of what is recited are not clear and cannot be comprehended, the ruqyah may contain some implicit association with Allah and this is plain blasphemy and disbelief. Ibn Hajar said that there is a consensus among scholars that ruqyah would be permissible and acceptable as long as it satisfies three conditions:
 A. It must be uttered using the speech of Allah (Qur'an) or His Names and Attributes.
 B. It must be performed in Arabic, or what is known to be its meaning in other languages,
 C. We must believe that Ruqyah has no benefit by itself, but the benefits are from Allah.

5. Ruqyah must not be performed in an unlawful manner:

 This means that a person, while performing ruqyah, must not be 'Junub' that is ritually impure, nor is he allowed to perform it in a cemetery or in a bathroom. Furthermore, whoever wants to perform ruqyah must not be writing illegible things or looking at the stars, or soiled with blood or other impurities.

6. Ruqyah must not be performed in impermissible or unlawful words and phrases:

 Ruqyah must not include any taboos or expressions such as swears and curses because Allah does not give these impermissible matters any healing power or effect.

7. We should firmly believe that healing comes from Allah through ruqyah.

 Whoever treats with ruqyah and whoever seeks healing through ruqyah must believe that ruqyah itself does not have the power to heal and cure illnesses and other problems. It is the Mercy of Allah and His Will in addition to the sincerity and faith of the seeker of ruqyah that lead to healing and recovery.

Types of ruqyah

 Ruqyah is a means for affecting something. This effect depends on the level of sincerity and belief. It can be divided into two types:

1. Prescribed ruqyah:

 It is the ruqyah that must be performed in certain and known words, numbers, times and manners. These ruqyah formulas may not be changed or modified because they are religious texts.

Ruqyah that is constrained by certain conditions:

 One should not feel free to use whatever words or phrases in performing ruqyah. Scholars of shari'a, who are entitled to approve or reject ruqyah, must approve whatever ruqyah one wants to use. This is done in order to prevent violations that may lead to Satan interference. Trials that may afflict the practitioner of ruqyah
 There are three types of trial or attraction that a performer of ruqyah may undergo:
 - Trial of money: he will be able to accumulate large sums of money from the pockets of other people who will be his victims.
 - Trial of women: the ruqyah performer may have the chance to be alone with women and he will see them in undesirable and forbidden situations.
 - Trial of prestige: he becomes well-known as a result of the propaganda the deceived people make for him, or through the interviews with mass media.
 We seek refuge in Allah from these trials.


 Sometimes, certain ruqyah performers commit certain violations and heresies, chief among which are the following:

1. Seeking jinn's assistance:

 Some of those ruqyah performers claim that they have Muslim jinn who assist them in diagnosing the hidden ailments and disorders that people suffer from. Such ruqyah performers must be insane and lunatic. In so doing, they commit major sins because they are charlatans. Allah says

"And verily, there were men among mankind who took shelter with the masculine among the jinns, but they (jinns) increased them (mankind) in sin and disbelief."

[Al-Jinn: 6]

 It has never been proven that a jinni who possessed a person got out of him or declared repentance or it can be employed by man. All these claims are just satanic whispers. It is taken for granted that the jinn belong to a different world; they can see us but we cannot see them. In general, this unseen world is dominantly aggressive and oppressive. Moreover, how can we tell whether a jinni is a Muslim, a hypocrite or a disbeliever? Therefore, seeking the help of a Muslim jinni in treating people's illnesses, as some people claim, is not permissible (Majmou' al-fatawa).

3. Treatment by cauterization:

 Certain ruqyah performers use cauterization in treatment in order to force a jinni out of the body of a possessed person. Cauterization usually leaves scars and burns that deform the shape of hands, abdomens, legs, etc. It also causes psychological fits; consequently this process is forbidden and unlawful as the Hadith states,

"No one should torture with fire except its Creator."

[Abu Daoud Abdul Rahman bin Abdullah on the authority of his father.]

 Scholars of Shari'a decided that treatment by cauterization is unlawful in accordance with the text
 (It is absolutely forbidden to torture with because only the Creator of fire tortures with it.) Had cauterization been a useful treatment, the Messenger of Allah would have advised us to use it.

4. Excessive beating of the epileptic

 Some ruqyah performers exaggerate in beating epileptic people, and sometimes they use suffocation or electric shocks in treating them. It is true that the Prophet (PBUH) used to gently beat an epileptic with his hand or with a part of his garment. No other practice was reported in this context.
 The late Sheikh Muhammad Safwat Nooreddin, who was the head of Sunnah supporters in Egypt, said, "Those who excessively beat, suffocate or cauterize patients for the purpose of treating them have exceeded the limits of Shari'a and violated the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Had such exaggerated treatment methods been effective in treating epileptic patients, the Prophet could have ordered us to whip them, and thus there would be no need to perform ruqyah for them. In addition to being impermissible, such methods can be risky as they may lead to death, because the heart may stop beating, and some external body organs may get paralyzed. Finally, these practices humiliate human beings whom Allah honored.

5. Using the wolf skin

 Certain imposters and swindlers who claim to perform ruqyah burn parts of a wolf skin and let the patient smell it, or they write talismans and some ayat on it and ask the patient to carry it on them. They believe that the skin will protect the patient from jinn and keep them away because they fear wolves as those imposters claim! These are evil claims. One can ask why not use a donkey instead of a wolf because it was narrated in a Hadith that when a donkey sees a Satan, it brays!!
 The standing committee in charge of such affairs decided that "burning a part of a wolf skin to let the patient smell it in order to tell whether or not this patient is insane or possessed by jinn is an unlawful and wrong practice and it is mere jugglery and false belief. Therefore, this practice must be strictly forbidden.
 Their claim that jinn fear wolves is a groundless superstition.

6. Vaporizing with alum and herbs

 Vaporizing a patient with alum and herbs in order to cure him from diseases, or to drive out jinn and other evil spirits from him in accordance with false beliefs is impermissible and unlawful. Sometimes, conjurers use other blends to protect patients from evil eye, magic and jinn possession such as the trash of perfumers, trash resulting from celebrating the birthday of the Prophet and other nasty materials and herbs that have a foul odor.
 The standing committee in charge of such affairs decided that "It is unlawful to treat the effect of evil eye by vaporizing with alum, herbs or any other stinky and filthy substance because they are not known causes of healing. Moreover, this practice may be used to please jinn and Satans and to seek their help in treating patients. Such ailments and disorders can be treated with ruqyah that is approved in the Qur'an and the true Sunnah.

7. Writing certain Qur'anic verses (ayat) on the patient's body:

 This is done by writing on the hand, leg or chest of the patient, or on other body parts to heal him from what he suffers from. This practice clearly violates the Shari'a and the Sunnah because it humiliates the ayat of the Qur'an, and if impurities touch the Qur'anic ayat, this mounts to disbelief and blasphemy.
 The Messenger of Allah said,

"I am worried that you will get under the influence of your desires of your abdomens, your private parts and your other lusts."

[True Hadith, narrated by Ahmad and Al-Bazzar on the authority of Abi Birzah.]

8. Burning ayat of the Qur'an near the nose of the patient

 Some ruqyah performers write a few ayat of the Qur'an on a piece of cloth, burn it and bring it closer to the nose of the patient under the pretext that it will burn the jinn and torture them. They also claim that the smell of smoke will burn, kill or suffocate the jinn. Some of these conjurors immerse the cloth in musk and then burn it. This practice is a major sin and it is unlawful because it involves humiliation to the Qur'an and it contradicts the right healing procedures known since the time of the Prophet (PBUH).

9. Writing heretic and blasphemous talismans and satanic symbols

 When a patient asks one of those conjurors about the symbols and talismans he writes, he would say that he writes the names of great kings of jinn in order to scare the jinn out of the patient's body. These encrypted words and symbols are usually written in Cyrillic. Ibn Taymiyyah said, "Ruqyah may not be performed by saying or writing something that cannot be understood, especially if it involves associating partners with Allah. Such practices are unlawful and forbidden."

10. Using protective amulets and beads that go back to the Solomon ages

 Some conjurors use the amulets and beads of the claimed seven Solomon ages. They also melt lead on the heads of children in order to rid the child from his fears and other disorders. This practice is also false and a plain lie to Solomon and to the Prophet (PBUH).

11. Suffocating the patient until he faints and the one inside him talks

 This practice is unlawful and causes a serious damage to the patient. In this context, the Prophet (PBUH) says,

"Leave that which puts you in doubt for that which does not put you in doubt."

[Tirmidhi on the authority of Al-Hasan bin Ali].

 Dr. Hilmi Abdul Hafiz Dawoud says: Suffocation leads to the following:
 Suffocation blocks the higher air passages when the throat is squeezed, thus a sudden air shortage occurs in the lungs. This causes the blood not to be oxidized and the oxygen in the blood hemoglobin decreases. Consequently, the airflow to the brain decreases and causes damage to the brain cells. The patient may also have a stroke that leads to hemiplegia.
 This method of ruqyah is not attested in the Qur'an and the Sunnah. Islam asks us to protect our bodies from any kind of danger and harm.

12. The heresy of reciting Qur'an on anything

 This practice involves reading Qur'an every day on the water tank on the roof of a house, on the make-up of women and on the food.
 We should remember that reciting Qur'an and certain supplication on a bottle of water or oil after opening them is permissible. It is also permissible to blow air into them. However, ruqyah performers exaggerate in reciting the Qur'an on everything.
 A scholar once said, "This practice is groundless and this type of ruqyah is only useful when the amount of water is little such as a pot of water at which ayat are recited and air is blown into it. It is unlawful to perform such ruqyahs in order to gain money and deceive people in a way that is apparently good but implicitly dark and evil." Al-Fatawa al-dhahabiyya

13. Seeking the help of magicians and imposters

 When some ruqyah performers fail to treat a patient, they advise him to seek the help of magicians and imposters and this consolidates corruption and falsehood. It also violates the principles on which ruqyah is based. Moreover, it is clearly anti-monotheism. The Prophet (PBUH) says,

"Whoever went to a fortune-teller and believed in what he said, has disbelieved in what was revealed to Muhammad."

[ Ahmad and Al-Hakim on the authority of Abu Hurairah.]

 Shari'a scholars also stated that Allah has made it unlawful to seek healing in unlawful things. The Messenger of Allah says,

"Seek medications but avoid unlawful means."

[ Abu Ya'la in his Musnad on the authority of Abi Al-Darda' ]

14. Being with women alone and looking at ruqyah body parts

 Good people, in the past, used to fear the trial of women despite their piety, old age and loss of vision. However, some ruqyah performers, nowadays, do not hesitate to meet women in isolation without mahram (unmarriageable kin with whom sexual intercourse would be considered incestuous) under false and unlawful pretexts. In so doing, they ignore the Prophetic Hadith in which the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) says,

"Whenever a man is alone with a woman the Devil makes a third."

[Sunan Al-Tirmidhi on the authority of Ibn Umar.]

 Ibn Al-Qayyim states, "Indubitably, allowing women to mix with men is the source of all evil that evokes collective punishments and deadly epidemics."

15. Switching lights off, closing the eyes and letting one's imagination roam

 While treating a patient, some conjurors switch off the lights, close their eyes and let their imaginations roam to imagine certain people and accuse them of having bewitched the patient and caused him harm.
 It is unfortunate that some ruqyah performers switch off the lights, ask the patients to smell certain perfumes, close their eyes, and let their imaginations roam. Then they ask the patients who they saw and they name somebody. The conjuror says that the person whom the patient saw in their imagination is the one who afflicted them with harm. Consequently, this will lead to animosity and hatred between the patient and the person whom they imagined. All these problems are due to the lies of the jinn, illusion and the false imaginations. This only occurs when the ruqyah performer is in contact with the jinn. Can such a practice be used for treatment? We seek refuge in Allah from committing such things.

16. The heresy of tying hands or legs

 Some ruqyah performers tie the end parts of the hands or the legs of the patient in order to keep the jinn inside the body. In so doing, they ignore the fact that Allah enabled the jinn to run in our bodies like blood. It was never reported that Satan could explode the head and abdomen of people, or get out from their bodies through their eyes. All these are claims and illusions because Allah protected us by angels.
 A scholar once said, "This claim is false because Allah enabled the jinn to enter our bodies and get out of them when we are neglectful of remembering Allah and when our faith is weak. Jinn cannot physically harm human beings because Allah says:

“Verily! He has no power over those who believe and put their trust only in their Lord (Allah).100. His power is only over those who obey and follow him (Satan)”.

[ An-Nahl: 99-100.]

17. Reciting certain suras and Hadith a fixed number of times:

 It has never been reported that certain ayat or suras have to be recited a certain number of times. However, there are clear traditions that indicate that certain ayat and suras or hadiths should be recited in a certain number of times: Al-Fatiha: seven times; Al-Mu'awwidhat (Al-Falaq, Al-Nas): three times; the Kursi (Throne) ayah: one time; the last two ayat of surat Al- Baqarah, the Hadith that states "In the name of Allah with Whose Name nothing will cause harm in the earth and heaven," three times.
 Certain clinics distribute leaflets that indicate the number of times certain suras or ayat should be recited. For example, Al-Fatiha should be recited four times.
 Nothing of this sort has been stated in the Prophetic Sunnah.

18. Propagating precautionary rumors

 These rumors include something like:
 - Do not heat the oil! However, what should a patient do when the weather is cold? What is wrong in that?
 - Do not take a bath in the bathroom. You should bathe in the kitchen instead. Stand in a big pot because the water you are using has been recited on. There is no proof for these false claims and precautions. Zamzam water ends in the sewage system.
 - Do not use soap while taking a bath.
 - Listen to taped Qur'an while bathing.
 All these are groundless illusions and claims.

19. Performing ruqyah on more than one person at the same time:

 The performer of ruqyah should first listen to the patient or to his relatives in order to diagnose his problem. Then, he should read the relevant prescribed texts. However, using loudspeakers and blowing air on a group of patients together violate the manner in which ruqyah is performed in many respects. Ruqyah in this manner was not used in the past by our Salaf Al-Saleh (may Allah be pleased with them). A person who is free from illnesses may be affected by the ailments or disorders of the other present patients. The reactions of the attendees include laughter, uproar and hubbub that do not fit the sessions of remembering Allah and reciting Qur'anic ayat. Thus, the place will be in a state of chaos, terror and confusion. In such sessions, the secrets and personal affairs of each patient will be disclosed publicly and these secrets will then be circulated among people.
 The benefits of ruqyah that is performed collectively cannot be compared to those of ruqyah performed individually that is more controlled and closer to the prescribed ruqyah.

20. Using the rule 'Necessity knows no law'

 Under the pretext of necessity knows no law, some clinics extensively used unlawful things and practiced various obscenities that violate standards of modesty or decency.

21. Exploiting patients financially

 Patients who seek the help of conjurors pay a lot of money in return for some water, oil, honey or herbs. Furthermore, outpatient visits cost much more money. Conjurors charge for reciting on water tanks, dining tables, spraying some water in the corners of houses, searching homes for magic amulets and many other matters that have undesirable ends.
 Goal: curing the patient and reforming his affairs

The purpose of this topic is reform and self-criticism

 The topic of ruqyah has been discussed here for the ultimate goal of self-reformation and self-criticism. A committee consisting of members from the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs and the Ministry of Interior should be formed in order to establish a set of criteria that govern and organize the practice of performing ruqyah in accordance with the Islamic Shari'a. This committee is also expected to protect people from the evils of conjurors and imposters. In this context, Abdullah bin Mas'oud said, "to be economical in performing Sunnah is better than practicing heresies and novelties."
 The committee is also expected to put an end to the false and heretic practices that are performed under the flag of religion. Unfortunately, many conjurors and ruqyah performers practice ruqyah under the name of Islam. Most of those people started properly, but through time, they started to violate the proper procedures because there was no censorship on their practices as they became well-known. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) says,

"You must therefore strive to follow my exemplary practice [sunnati], and the exemplary practice of the rightly guided Caliphs [sunnat al-khulafa' ar-rashidin] after I am gone. You must hold on to it with a very tight grip, and doggedly sink your teeth into it. You must beware of novel fashions [muhdathat al-umur], for every novelty is a heretical innovation [bid'a], and every heretical innovation is a deviation from the right path."

[Abu Dawoud and Tirmidhi on the authority of Al-'Irbadh bin Sariyah]

Translation  : Dr. Shehdeh Fareh
Edited by      : Maha Sulieman