Question # 137: Assalaamu alaikum, I have heard of Ruqiya which is a compilation of different Quranic verses related to black magic and things of that sort that is used to cure sicknesses especially incurable ones. I want to ask if it is authentic and originated at the time of Rasoolallah (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam)
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: Ruqyah (incantations) is du’aa or dhikr for the purpose of protection or cure for a sick person, which sometimes is accompanied with other actions, such as blowing or wiping over the thing to which it is applied. The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) granted permission allowing ruqyah in cases of evil eye, stings (from snakes and scorpions) and pustules. The following important conditions must be satisfied in a ruqyah to make it permissible: a) should be performed using Allah’s words or His names and attributes (Qur’anic verses or from permissible supplications from ahadith); b) should not contain elements of shirk or magic; c) should be with the belief that they do not have effect by themselves, but by Allah (سبحانه و تعالى).
However, it is disliked to seek someone to perform ruqyah because such action generally reflects deficiency in one’s full reliance on Allah and being able to directly seek His help.
Ruqyah (plural: ruqa) derives from the past-tense verb raqa. It consists of words said or written in the form of du’aa or dhikr for the purpose of protection or cure. It is sometimes accompanied with other actions, such as blowing or wiping over the thing to which it is applied.
A synonym for ruqyah in Arabic is “ta’with” and “ta’withah”, from which derives the description “al-Mu’awwithat” (the protecting ones) for the last three soorahs of the Qur’an, and “al-Mu’awwithatan” (the two protecting ones) for the last two soorahs only.
People from most cultures and religions use various forms of ruqa. These are usually referred to in English as spells, charms, incantations, and so on. Most of those ruqa contain magic, shirk, senseless words, lies, etc. Because of this, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) prohibited using ruqa at first. Ibn Mas’ud (رضي الله عنه) reported that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Indeed, ruqa, amulets, and tiwalah are all acts of shirk” (Recorded by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, and others; verified to be authentic by al-Albani in as-Sahihah)
Later on, he (صلى الله عليه و سلم) allowed people to use only the ruqa that he approved, or that did not contain shirk. Jabir Bin ‘Abdillah (رضي الله عنه) reported that Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) prohibited ruqa. Then, some people from the tribe of ‘Umr Bin Hazam came to him and said, ”We have a ruqyah that we used to use for scorpion and snake stings; but you have now prohibited using ruqa.” And they showed it to him. He (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “I do not see anything wrong in it. Anyone among you who can benefit his brother should do so.” (Muslim)
CONDITIONS FOR A PERMISSIBLE RUQYAH
Some important conditions must be satisfied in a ruqyah to make it permissible. They were summarized by Ibn Hajar (رضي الله عنه): There is a consensus among the ‘ulama that ruqa are permissible when they satisfy three conditions:
- Must be with Allah’s Words, Names, or Attributes: All forms of ruqa reported in the Sunnah satisfy this condition. They either consist of specific portions of the Qur’an, such as Soorah al-Fatihah or ayat ul-Kursi, or contain a praise of Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) and an invocation of His help and protection. Further, it is best to adhere to the ruqa that have been reported in the Sunnah.
- Must be with Clearly Understood Words: This is an important condition that must be satisfied in order to eliminate any magic or shirk from the ruqyah.
- Believing that the true Benefit Is from Allah: One must always believe that the true and ultimate protector is Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) alone, and that ruqa and medications are means that He created and He controls as He wills. Thus, trust must be put in Him and not in the means that He created. Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) commands His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم): “So seek refuge with Allah (only); verily, it is He who is all-Hearer, all-Seer.” (Soorah Ghafir, 40:56) (Fath ul-Bari)
Seeking Ruqyah from Others: Ibn ‘Abbas (رضي الله عنه) reported that Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “The prophets have been presented to me with their nations; so a prophet would pass with a whole nation, a prophet would pass with a large following, a prophet would pass with ten followers, a prophet would pass with five followers, and a prophet would pass by himself!
Then I saw a great number of people covering the horizon. I asked Jibril, “Are those my Ummah?” He replied, ”No, (they are Musa’s followers,) but look again toward the horizon.” I looked and saw an even greater number, and he said, “Those are your followers; and preceding them are seventy thousand who will be exempt from reckoning and punishment.” I asked, “Why is that?” He replied, “They do not burn themselves (for treatment), nor do they seek ruqyah, nor do they believe in evil omens; and on their Lord do they rely.”
A sahabah named ‘Ukashah Bin Mihsan said, “O Allah’s Messenger, ask Allah to make me one of them.” He said, “O Allah, make him one of them.” Another man asked him, “O Allah’s Messenger, ask Allah to make me one of them.” He said, “’Ukashah has anteceded you to that.” (Recorded by al-Bukhari and others)
Based on this hadith, some ‘ulama consider it disliked to perform or seek ruqyah. Others permit it because the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) allowed it and told some people to seek it. The most appropriate position in this regard, as is pointed by Ibn Hajar and others, is that it is not disliked to perform ruqyah, but only to seek it, because the latter action generally reflects a deficiency in one’s full reliance on Allah and being able to directly seek His help.
Things to Avoid in a Ruqyah
- ‘Awf Bin Malik al-Ashja’i (رضي الله عنه) narrated that he said to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم), “O Allah’s Messenger! We used to apply ruqa during Jahiliyyah. What do you think of that?” He (صلى الله عليه و سلم) replied: “Present your ruqa to me. There is nothing wrong with them as long as they do not involve shirk.” (Muslim)
- Ibn Mas’ud’s wife Zaynab (رضي الله عنه) narrated that he saw on her neck a string and asked her, “What is this?” She replied, “It is a string on which a ruqyah was made for me.” He cut it off her neck and said: “You, family of Ibn Mas’ud, are in no need for shirk. Truly, I heard Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) say: “Indeed, ruqa, amulets, and tiwalah, are all acts of shirk.”
She said, “Why do you say this? I was having spasms of pain in my eye; so I went to such and such a Jewish man, and whenever he treated it with ruqyah, it soothed it.” He replied: “That is the doing of Shaytan. He (Shaytan) pinches it with his hand; and when the ruqyah is applied to it, he removes his hand. It would have been sufficient for you to say what Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) used to say:
أذهب البأس، رب الناس، واشف أنت الشافي، لا شفاء إلا شفاؤك، شفاء لا يغادر سقماً
(Remove the affliction, Lord of the people, and cure – You are the one who cures, and there is no cure except from You – a cure that will not leave any sickness) (Recorded by Abu Dawud; judged hasan by al-Albani (Mishkat ul-Masabih)
The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) explicitly prohibited all magical ruqa. Jabir (رضي الله عنه) reported that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Nashrah is of the doing of Shaytan.” (Recorded by Ahmad and Abu Dawud; verified to be authentic by al-Albani in as-Sahihah)
SEEKING IT FROM MAGICIANS OR SOOTHSAYERS
One may never go to a magician for help, regardless of whether the magician were true or false. False magicians are liars who pretend things to attract people’s awe, money, or both. True magicians rely on jinns and the devil, and apply procedures containing kufr to produce their spells. Thus all of their spells, including ruqa, are prohibited, and any Muslim who seeks their help belies his belief in the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم). Abu Hurayrah (رضي الله عنه) reported that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Whoever goes to a soothsayer or fortuneteller and believes in what he says has indeed rejected that which has been revealed to Muhammad.” (Recorded by Ahmad and al-Hakim; verified to be authentic by al-Albani in Sahih ul-Jami)
APPLYING IT IN PROHIBITED OR STRANGE SITUATIONS
Some people require that a ruqyah be accompanied with bizarre actions or conditions, such as applying it in a graveyard or bathroom, or applying it to a person who is unclean or covered with najasah. These and other similar requirements, besides conflicting with what has been reported in the Sunnah, demonstrate a devilish tendency that must be totally avoided.
As for writing a ruqyah on a piece of paper and attaching it to the body of the patient, or soaking the paper in water and making him drink that water, or blowing and spitting over a water container while reading it and then making him drink that water, all of this has no basis in the Sunnah, and should therefore be totally avoided. (There are some reports indicating that Imam Ahmad and some other ‘ulama of the salaf have allowed some of these actions, but this by no means gives them a stamp of approval without a supportive evidence from the Sunnah)
USING PROHIBITED WORDS OR PHRASES
A ruqyah may not include evil words, such as cursing, offensive descriptions, or profanity. All of this is prohibited, and Allah did not make our cure in anything prohibited.
RELYING ON THE POWER OF THE RUQYAH
Neither the person applying a ruqyah, nor the person to whom it is applied may assume that it has an independent power of cure or protection. They must both put their full trust in Allah, rely fully on Him, and believe that the ruqyah is a means that He created for them.
THE PROFESSION OF RUQYAH-GIVING
Some people have turned ruqyah-giving into a profession for which they devote their full time, and from which they earn a lot of money. This conflicts with the Sunnah and the practice of the salaf. It should be avoided by both the giver (called a reciter or a raqi) and the seeker of ruqyah.
RUQYAH FROM THE SUNNAH
Various forms of supplications for prevention or healing, some of which may be classified as ruqa are mentioned here under:
Ruqyah with Allah’s Book
- ‘Aishah (رضي الله عنه) reported that Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) came into her house and saw with her a woman who was treating her with ruqyah. He told her: “Treat her (only) with Allah’s Book.” (Recorded by Ibn Hibban; verified to be authentic by al-Albani (as-Sahihah))
- Abu Sa’id al-Khudri and Ibn Abbas (رضي الله عنه) reported that a number of the Prophet’s (صلى الله عليه و سلم) companions were on a journey. They stopped one night by the dwellings of a Bedouin tribe who refused to host them and give them food.
The chief of that tribe was then stung (by a snake or scorpion). His people tried everything possible to treat him, but to no avail. One of them suggested to seek help from the travelers. When they came to them, one of them said, “By Allah, I can perform ruqyah; but you have refused to host us. So I would not perform the ruqyah until you pledge to give us an offering.”
They agreed to give them a flock of thirty sheep, and the companion started blowing (with light spit) on the stung man’s sting and reading al-Fatiha. He was immediately cured, like one who was tied and then set free. He stood and walked as if nothing happened to him, and they gave them their pledged offering.
Some of the companions said, “Let us divide this flock among us.” Others said, “No, you may not take any pay for reading Allah’s Book! Let us not divide the goats until we reach the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم), tell him what happened, and see what he commands us.”
When they reached al-Madinah, they came to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and told him what happened. He said (approvingly): “How did you know that it (al-Fatiha) is a ruqyah? You have done well! And indeed, the best thing to be paid for is Allah’s Book. So, divide it among you; and allot a share for me.” (Al-Bukhari, Muslim, and others)
- al-Muawwidhat are the last three soorahs of the Qur’an. The last two of them carry a clear meaning of ruqyah. Soorah al-Ikhlas (112) does not carry such meaning in an explicit manner, but contains concise and strong words of praise for Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), making it an important introduction to the succeeding two Soorahs.
‘Aishah (رضي الله عنه) reported: “When Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) went to bed, he would bring the palms of both hands together, and blow into them while reading “Qul huwa Allahu ahad” (112), “Qul a’udhu bi rabb il-falaq” (113), “Qul a’udhu bi rabbi n-Nas” (114). He would then rub with them whatever he could reach of his body, starting with his head, face, and the front part of his body. He would do this three times. When he got very ill, he asked me to do that for him.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
‘Aishah (رضي الله عنه) also reported: “In the final sickness in which he passed away, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) used to blow over himself with al-Mu’awwidhat. When he became very ill, I blew with them for him, rubbing over him with his own hand because of the blessing in it.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
- Ubayy Bin Ka’b (رضي الله عنه) narrated that he had a harvest of dates. He noticed that it shrunk every day, and decided to watch it at night. He did and noticed a beast that looked like a boy who attained puberty. He gave him salaam, and it responded to him with salaam. He asked it, “Are you human or jinn” It replied, “Jinn.” He told it, “Show me your hand.” It showed him its hand, and he saw that it looked like a dog’s, with fur like that of a dog covering it. He exclaimed, “Is this how jinn are like?” It then told him, “All jinns know that there is no one among them stronger than me.” He asked it, “What brought you here?” It replied, “We have been informed that you like to give charity, so we came to get some of your food.” He asked it, “What would protect us from you?” It replied, “This ayah from Soorah al-Baqarah: (Allahu la ilaha illa huwa Al-Hayy ul-Qayyum) (2:255, Ayat al-Kursi) – whoever says it in the evening will be protected from us until the morning, and whoever says it in the morning will be protected from us until the evening.” In the morning, Ubayy came to Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and told him of that incident. He told him, ‘The evil one has said the truth!’ (Recorded by an-Nasa’i and others. Verified to be authentic by al-Albani)
(The above is an extract from the book ‘Sickness – Regulations & Exhortations’ by Muhammad al-Jibaly)
Ruqyah with Other Supplications
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “…It has been confirmed that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) would utter Ruqyah over his Companions (رضي الله عنه). Among the Ruqyahs which he used are:
رَبَّنا اللهَ الذى فى السَّماء، تقدَّسَ اسْمُكَ، أَمْرُكَ فى السَّماء والأرضِ كما رَحْمَتُك فى السَّماءِ، فاجعل رحمتكَ فى الأرض، أنْزِلْ رحمةً من رحمتك، وشفاءً من شفائك على هذا الوَجَع
“Our Lord, Allah, Who is in (i.e. above) the heaven, Sanctified is Your Name; Your Command reigns supreme throughout the heaven and the earth, as Your Mercy is in the heaven, so place Your Mercy in the earth: Send down mercy from Your Mercy, and a cure from Your Cure, upon this ailment.”(Reported by Abu Dawud in the Book of Medicine, in the Chapter on the Method of Ruqyah)
And he would be cured. Other lawful supplications include:
باسمِ اللهِ أَرقيكَ مِن كُلِّ دَاءٍ يُؤذيكَ، مِن شَرِّ كُلِّ نفْسٍ أو عَيْن حاسدٍ اللهُ يَشفيكَ، باسمِ اللهِ أرقيكَ
“In the Name of Allah I utter this Ruqyah, from every sickness which may afflict you, from the evil of every person or from the envious eye. May Allah cure you, in Allah’s Name I utter this Ruqyah over you.” (Reported by Muslim in the Book of Salutations, in the Chapter on Medicine, Illness and Ruqyah)
A person may place his hand on the site of the pain in his body and say:
أعوذُ بِعِزَّةِ الله وقُدرَتهِ منْ شَرِّ مِا أجدُ وأُحاَذِر
“I seek refuge with Allah and His Power from the evil of what I find and that I fear.” (Reported by Muslim in the Book of Salutations, in the Chapter: The Desirability of Putting One’s Hand on the Pain and Supplicating)
Other supplications have been mentioned by the scholars from the ahadith narrated from the Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).” (Fatawa Arkanul-Islam)
TYPES OF PROTECTION
It was narrated that Anas (رضي الله عنه) said: “The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) granted permission allowing Ruqyah in the case of the evil eye, stings [for e.g., snake bite or scorpion stings] and pustules.” (Sahih Muslim)
Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim (May Allah be pleased with him) wrote that An-Nushrah is removing the effects of sorcery/spell from the affected one, and it is of two types:
- The use of magic (sorcery) to remove the effects of another magic and it is an act of Shaytan to which the comment of Imam Al-Hasan Al-Basri (May Allah be pleased with him) ) applies i.e., that the one who performs sorcery and the patient, both get closer to Shaytan by that which he loves. Shaytan then removes the effects of magic from the afflicted.
- The effects of magic can be removed by making recitation of Qur’anic verses; by offering legitimate prayers (Ruqyah) as well as by using pharmaceutical preparations. This type of Nushrah is permissible. (‘An explanation of Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhab’s Kitab At-Tawhid’ by Abd Al-Rahman Al-Sadi)
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.
 Beads or other objects, usually worn around the neck, believed by some people to have the power of making a husband love his wife.
 A magical spell done to counter another magical spell