Question # 449: I would like to know if it is permissible to perform ruqyah on a non-muslim person based on the hadith of Abu Sa’id al-Khudri in Bukhari and Muslim?
bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,
Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).
First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.
Shorter Answer: There is nothing wrong with performing ruqyah for a non-Muslim, especially when you hope that he may become a Muslim. The scholars take as evidence the hadith of Abu Saeed al-Khudri (رضي الله عنه) which has been quoted below in the ‘Long Answer’. Their evidence is that the tribe near whom they camped and from whom they sought hospitality were not Muslims, and the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) did not denounce that.
Long Answer: There is no reason why one cannot do this. Allah has created healing in the Qur’an, as He has created healing in honey and oil and other things. These are means of healing and Allah is the Healer, so there is nothing wrong with performing ruqyah for [a non-Muslim], especially since you hope that this kaafir may become a Muslim.
There is also a report in a sahih hadith that supports that idea that it is permissible to perform ruqyah for a non-Muslim. Abu Saeed (رضي الله عنه) said: “A group of the Companions of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) set out on a journey and travelled until they made came near one of the Arab tribes. (These people were either kaafirs or very stingy, as Ibn al-Qayyim mentioned in al-Madaarij). They asked them for hospitality but they refused to do so. Then the leader of that tribe was stung, and they tried everything but nothing helped him. Then some of them said, ‘Why don’t you go to those people who are staying (nearby)? Maybe some of them have something.’ So, they went to them and said, ‘O people, our leader has been stung and we have tried everything and nothing helped him. Do any of you have something?’ One of them said, ‘Yes, by Allah. I will perform ruqyah for him, but by Allah we asked you for hospitality and you did not give us anything, so we will not perform ruqyah for you unless you give us something in return.’ So, they agreed on a flock of sheep, then he started to blow on him and recite Al-hamdu Lillaahi Rabb il-Aalameen. Then he recovered quickly from his complaint and started walking, and there was nothing wrong with him. Then they have them what they had agreed to, and some of them (the Sahabah) said, ‘Let us share it out.’ The one who had performed ruqyah said, ‘Do not do anything until we come to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and tell him what happened, and we will wait and see what he tells us to do.’ So, they came to the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and told him what had happened. He said, ‘How did you know that it is a ruqyah?’ Then he said, ‘You did the right thing. Share them out, and give me a share.’ And the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) smiled. (Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim)
There follow some quotes from the commentary of Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar (may Allah have mercy on him) on the hadith and some additional details.
“‘They asked them for hospitality’ means they asked them to regard them as guests. According to the report of Al-Amash narrated by scholars others than al-Tirmidhi, it says: The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) sent thirty of us and we camped near some people and asked them for a hospitable reception.
‘was stung’ means, he was stung by a scorpion.
‘and they tried everything’ means, they tried every kind of treatment that they usually did to treat him for the scorpion sting, they made the utmost effort to find the right treatment for him.
‘So, they went to them.’ In the hadith of Jaabir, al-Bazzaar added: And said to them, We have heard that your companion has come with light and healing. They said, Yes.
‘Do any of you have something?’ Abu Dawood added in his report: that could help our companion.
‘One of them said’ According to the report of Abu Dawood: A man among the people said, Yes, I will perform ruqyah. The one who said this was Abu Saeed, the narrator of the report. His wording was: I said, Yes, I (have something). But I will not perform ruqyah for him until you give us some sheep. This also appears in the report of Sulaymaan ibn Qattah, with the words: I came to him and performed ruqyah for him by reciting the Opening of the Book [al-Faatihah].
‘So, they agreed’ means, they reached an agreement.
‘on a flock of sheep’ according to the report of al-Amash: They said, we will give you thirty ewes.
‘then he started to blow on him’ means, he blew or spat lightly on him, with little saliva…
‘recite Al-hamdu Lillaahi Rabb il-Aalameen’ According to the report of Shubah: He started to recite the Opening of the Book over him. According to the report of Al-Amash, he recited it seven times.
‘Then he recovered quickly.’ The meaning of nashata (translated here as recovered) is: he got up quickly. From the same root comes the expression rajul nasheet, meaning an active and energetic man…
‘and there was nothing wrong with him’ means, his problem was gone. A problem may be described as qalabah (wa maa bihi min qalabah translated here as and there was nothing wrong with him) because the one who is suffering from the problem may be turned (yuqallab) this way and that in order to find out where the problem is coming from.
‘How did you know that it is a ruqyah?’ Al-Dawoodi said: it means, what told you ? In the report of Mabad ibn Seereen it says: And what told him? This is something which is said to express astonishment and also admiration of a thing, which is quite appropriate in this case. Shubah added in his report: And it was not mentioned that he i.e., the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) disapproved of it. Sulaymaan ibn Qattah added in his report, after the phrase How did you know that it is a ruqyah? I said: it came to me like an inspiration i.e., I was inspired to do it.
‘and give me a share’ means, give me some of them as if he wanted to be extra friendly towards them.
The hadith indicates that it is permissible to perform ruqyah by reciting the Book of Allah, and that it comes under the same category as dhikr and al-duaa al-mathoor (dua’as reported in the Qur’an and Sunnah), and also other dua’as so long as they do not contradict what is in the Qur’an and Sunnah…
In al-Mawsooah al-Fiqhiyyah it says: “There is no dispute among the fuqaha concerning the fact that it is permissible for a Muslim to perform ruqyah for a kaafir. They take as evidence the hadith of Abu Saeed al-Khudri (رضي الله عنه) which has been quoted above. Their evidence is that the tribe near whom they camped and from whom they sought hospitality were kuffar, and the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) did not denounce that.”
(The above reply is based on answers provided by Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid on the same topic)
Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.