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The Islamic Ruling On the Use of Medicinal Treatment (at-Tadaawee) - Part 3

Posted by HealthyMuslim on Friday, April 10, 2009
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In previous articles in this series, we covered the issue of medicinal treatment being not obligatory, and the view of some of the scholars that it is merely permissible (mubaah).

In this article we provide fatwas representing the view that it is desirable (mustahabb). We will take some fatwas of Shaykh Abdul-Azeez bin Baaz (rahimahullaah) as a representation of this view:

The first:

Question: Concerning the issue of medicinal treatment, some of the people of knowledge say, what can be summarised [as follows] that it is not obligatory to use medicinal treatment against an illness, even if he deemed it beneficial, and that abandoning it is better. [That] this has been reported from Imaam Ahmad - may Allaah be pleased with him - because it is closer to reliance (at-tawakkul), and due to the narration of [Abu Bakr] as-Siddeeq, and so on. We hope for a concise statement on this matter, and what is the narration from [Abu Bakr] as-Siddeeq, and what is the view of your eminence?

Answer: That which is correct regarding medicinal treatment is that it is desirable (mustahabb), and legislated (mashroo'), an-Nawawee has mentioned it, and so have others [as being the view] of the majority of the Scholars, and that the saying of the majority of them is that it is desirable (mustahabb).

And some of the people of knowledge have tended (to the view) that it is equal on both sides, it is neither desirable, nor is it detestable, rather it is lawful (halaal). And others are (of the opinion) that abandoning it is better, and it is reported about [Abu Bakr] as-Siddeeq that when it was said to him regarding a doctor, he said, "the doctor (i.e. Allaah) has made me ill (i.e. showing submission to the decree)", however I do not know the authenticity of this from as-Siddeeq, I do not know of its authenticity from as-Siddeeq.

So the intent here is that that which the majority of the people of knowledge are upon, and that which is correct, is that medicinal treatment (at-tadaawee) is desirable (mustahabb) with the use of legislated, permitted treatments which contain nothing of the unlawful (haraam), such as treatment through recitation of the Qur'aan, and ar-Ruqyah (incantation), treatment through cauterization (al-Kayy), when there is no other treatment present, to treat with cauterization, there is no harm in it when there is a need for it. [And] treatment through other permitted things, there is no harm in that, and it does not negate reliance (at-tawakkul), for reliance comprises both affairs, dependence upon Allaah, submitting the affair to Him alongside adoption of the means (asbaab).

And it is not permissible for a person to say, "I rely (upon Allaah), and [therefore] I will not eat, and nor drink, and nor adopt the means, and nor buy or sell (as a means of subsistence), and nor will I cultivate (plants for food), and nor manufacture (goods, for sale, commerce etc.) and nor do anything besides that. This is an error. Adopting the means (asbaab) does not negate reliance (upon Allaah), rather it is from reliance (itself). Similarly, medicinal treatment is from reliance (upon Allaah). For this reason the Prophet (sallallaahu alayi wasallam) directed (his Ummah) to medicinal treatment (at-tadaawee). He was asked about incantations (ar-Ruqaa) and [other] treatments, and he said that they are from the decree of Allaah ...

And in another fatwa:

Question: The reality of reliance upon Allaah comprises adoption of the means (asbaab), however I have heard some of the mashaayikh say: If a person was afflicted with an illness and if he did not make use of treatment his reward would be greater than the one who used the treatment and did not show patience over this harm (of illness).

Answer: What is correct is that treatment is better, this is what the majority of the people of knowledge are upon. The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) treated (himself) and the Companions treated (themselves), and they are the best of people.

The ill person, when he abandons treatment, there is no objection against him (for doing so), however if he was to get himself treated, then that is better. And taking the permitted, beneficial treatment is better.

And from [such] treatment is recitation upon the ill-person, this is from treatment (ad-dawaa), and also from it is cauterization (al-kayy) for whomever cauterization is appropriate, and blood-cupping (al-hijaamah) for whomever blood-cupping is appropriate, and drinking honey for whomever drinking honey is appropriate, and phlebotomy (blood-letting from a vein) for whomever phlebotomy is appropriate and so on.

Thus, adopting the means is a legislated matter due to the hadeeth, "Servants of Allaah, seek medicinal treatment", and when they (the Companions) said to the Messenger of Allaah that "there are incantations we use and treatments we treat ourselves with, so do they repel anything from the decree of Allaah?" He replied, "It (the treatment) is from the decree of Allaah (itself)". Thus adopting the means is from the decree of Allaah.

And when 'Umar returned from ash-Shaam when the plague broke out there, when he consulted with the other Muslims about returning from (the journey), and he was determined to do so, it was said to him regarding that, "Shall we free from the decree of Allaah?", he said, "We flee from the decree of Allaah to the decree of Allaah". So we flee from the decree of Allaah, meaning from that which contains danger to the decree of Allaah, (meaning) to that which contains safety. Then 'Abdur-Rahmaan bin 'Awf came and narrated to him from the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) that he said, "When you hear of the plague in a land, then do not advance to it, and when it befalls and you are in (that land) then do not leave it, (trying to) flee from it (the plague)". He then praised Allaah that Allaah had granted him success in being in agreement with the hadeeth and so he returned to Madeenah.

So in essence, medicinal treatment (at-tadaawee) and adoption of the means (asbaab) is a legislated and requested matter, and (the one making use of it) is better than the one who abandoned it.

And sometimes some of the means (asbaab) may be obligatory (waajib), such as a person eats so he does not die, and he drinks, so this is a means that is obligatory. [Likewise], to beware of what will harm him, such that he does not go down a well, or descend from a mountain and whatever resembles that [of subjecting oneself to danger], all of this is binding upon him.

Thus adopting the ways and means which a person needs is a requested legislated matter, and avoiding the destructive ways and means is an obligatory, imperative matter. And Allaah created the servants upon this [instinct], and the Messengers (alayhim us-salaatu was-salaam) came with this [too] and it does not negate reliance (upon Allaah), reliance is holding fast to Allaah, depending upon Him, and relegating [the affair] to Him, whilst having faith that He is the Creator of all the causes and means (asbaab), and that everything occurs by His ordainment and decree. And from that is to act with the means. So the reliant person (al-mutawakkil) depends upon Allaah, holds fast to Him and knows that everything is by Allaah's ordainment and decree, and alongside that he adopts the means. Thus he eats so that he does not become hungry, and drinks so that he does not become thirsty, and he repels the cold (from himself) in the winter and other such means that Allaah has legislated for his Servants.


  • In this viewpoint, medicinal treatment is from the legislated ways and means (asbaab) that are part of reliance, and the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) resorted to it and also enjoined it upon his Ummah .

  • Such treatments include that which is reported in the Sunnah such as blood-cupping (hijaamah), recitation of the Qur'aan, honey, incantations (ruqyah), the black seed and so on, and includes medicinal treatments in general that are permissible and do not involve that which is unlawful.

  • There is no objection to anyone not wishing to resort to medicinal treatment, however, it is from the ways and means that the Sharee'ah has come with.

  • From the ways and means are those that are obligatory (i.e. food and drink) and from them are those that are desirable (i.e. in this case, medicinal treatment).

  • There is a difference as to which is superior and better. The one who leaves the treatment (resorting to pure reliance upon Allaah), or the one who resorts to treatment, adopting the ways and means (asbaab) thereby. This depends on which view is held regarding the ruling on medicinal treatment - permissible (mubaah) or desirable (mustahabb). In the former (mubaah), the one leaving the treatment is said to be resorting to a greater means, which is reliance upon Allaah alone, this being indicative of his stronger faith. And in the latter (mustahabb), the one adopting the ways and means as part of reliance is said to be better, as he is using the legislated ways and means which are part of reliance upon Allaah.

So far in this series we have covered:

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