I would like to know what is the status of medication in Islam

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Date: Wednesday , July 06, 2011




I would like to know what is the status of medication in Islam


I would like to know what is the status of medication in Islam. WHether one would be accountable and considered negligent in Ilsam if one hasnt taken the prescribed drugs?


Muhtaram / Muhtaramah

In the Name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāh wa-barakātuh.


Traditions of the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alaiyhi Wasallam) in seeking remedy:
Islam considers disease as a natural phenomenon and a type of tribulation that expiates the sins of the believers. Not only the patient who suffers in dignity will be rewarded in the hereafter, but also his family who bear with him the ordeal (trial). Even the visitors of such a person will get their reward from Allah.

The Prophet Mohammed صلى الله عليه و سلم himself sought remedy when he was ill, ordered his family, companions and Muslims at large, to seek the appropriate remedy for their ailments. He said: “Never does Allah Ta’ala send a disease without sending its cure.” (Sahih Bukhari).

  • Jabir ibn Abdullah Al-Ansari رضى الله عنه said: the Prophet Mohammad صلى الله عليه و سلم said:” For each ailment there is a cure and medicament. If the proper medicine is used, the disease will be cured by the will of Allah.” (Sahih Muslim)

· Abdullah ibn Mas’ud رضى الله عنه, another companion of the Prophet Mohammad صلى الله عليه و سلم narrated that the he said: there is no disease that Allah sent without sending for it a cure. Some will know that cure, while others will not.”(Al Mustadrak Hakim)

· Usama Ibn Shareek رضى الله عنه said: The Bedouin Arabs came to the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم and asked: Should we seek remedy? He replied: O servants of Allah seek remedy for Allah in his Glory did not put a disease without putting for it its cure, except one ailment. They asked: which aliment? He said: Old age. (Sunan Tirmizi and Abu Dawood)

· Jabir ibn Abdullah Al_Ansari said: The prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم visited his maternal cousin Sa’ad ibn Abi Waqaas رضى الله عنه and found him ill (after emancipation of Makkah). He put his hand on Sa’ad رضى الله عنه chest and said: Call for Al Harith ibn Kaldah, the brother of Thaqif (a tribe living in Taif near Makkah), for he is a man who practices medicine.” (Sunan Abu Dawood)

The Prophet Mohammad صلى الله عليه و سلم , not only sought remedy for himself, his family and companions, but also he used and advised certain medicines e.g. black cumin (black seed, Nigella sativa), Aloe Vera, Senna, Henna (Lawsonia inermis), Hijama (blood letting and cupping) and using honey for many ailments.

Imam Bukhari (R) compiled 118 authentic hadiths i.e. sayings and acts of the Prophet Mohammad صلى الله عليه و سلم in a chapter of his compilation called “Book of Medicine.”

Imam Muslim wrote a similar number of hadiths regarding medicine and seeking remedy. In fact, every book of hadith contains a fairly large number of hadiths regarding Medicine.

Some authors wrote individual books on what they termed “Tibbi Nabawi” (Prophetic Medicine). The earliest one is that of Imam Ali Rizza who wrote a treatise in preventive medicine called “The Golden Message” written in 200 AH.

The second was Abdul Malik ibn Habib Al Albiri Alandalusi (R) (died in 238H/851G). The most well known is Tibbi Nabawi of Ibn Al Qayim (R) which has been widely circulated and in the modern era and published in many editions with comments. It has been translated to many languages including English. The other well-known book is Tibbi Nabawi of Imam Az-Zahabi (R), which was published in several editions. There are more than 20 books labelled Tibbi Nabawi; many of them are still in manuscripts.

Conversely, there are also certain hadiths of Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم, which encourage reliance upon Allah Ta’ala and abstaining from remedy. They are:

a) “There are 70,000 of my people who will enter paradise without being questioned; they are the ones who do not seek remedy by ruqia (incantations), the ones who don’t believe in omens, the ones who do not cauterize themselves (for remedy); and they completely resign their matter to their Lord.”
Tirmizi Shareef)

b) An African lady once complained to the Prophet
صلى الله عليه و سلم that she suffers from convulsions do to which parts of her body become exposed. She asked him to pray for her to get cured. He said: “if you persevere and be patient you will enter paradise”. She said: “I will be patient but I don’t want to become exposed (i.e. naked); he said: “I will pray for you that you might not become exposed”

She continually suffered from attacks but never became exposed after that incident. (Sahih Bukhari)

The status of seeking remedy in Islamic Jurisprudence:
There are basically three outcomes of remedies which will affect the ruling of the medication in each instance:

· The first type is where the medication is certain and guaranteed to be effective.

· The second type is where the medication has a high probability of effectiveness.

· The third type is where there is a presumption and presupposition that the medication will be effective.

First Types: Obligatory
It will be incumbent to utilize such types of remedies or requisites for human life wherein recovery is certain. The Jurists present the examples of food and / or water for starving and thirsty patients. In such cases, it is certain that by drinking water or eating food, the patient who was dying of thirst or starving of hunger will save his life. In such a situation, not partaking of the food or water will not be considered as Tawakul (trust in Allah); hence it will be Haram to refrain from the food and water when there is a possibility of the death of the patient.

واعلم ان مزيل الضرر ينقسم إلى مقطوع به كماء وخبز لإزالة عطش وجوع وإلى مظنون كفصد وشرب مسهل وسائر علاجات الطب بالإضداد كحرارة ببرودة ونحوها وإلى موهوم ككي ورقية أما المقطوع به فليس تركه من التوكل بل تركه حرام عند خوف الموت (جامع الفصولين ج 2 ص 190(

Second Type: Encouraged / Discretionary
In regards to such medication or treatment wherein there is no absolute surety of effectiveness but there exists a good possibility of its efficacy, it will be preferable for the majority of people to utilize it. Utilizing this type of medication will not negate one’s resignation to the will of Allah. However, for the elite and pious ascetics, it will be preferable to abstain from using it.

المظنون فاستعماله لا ينافي التوكل و تركه ليس بمحظور بل يكون أفضل من فعله في بعض الأحوال في حق بعض الأشخاص وسئل النبي- صلى الله عليه وسلم – عن الدواء والرقي هل يرد من قدر الله تعالى قال هي من قدر الله (جامع الفصولين ج 2 ص 190(

Third Type: Abstention Preferred
In regards to such treatment wherein there is mere conjecture and presumption in its effectiveness such as cauterization and incantation; it will be a precondition of Tawakul to refrain from utilizing it. This is based upon the Hadith of Rasulullah صلى الله عليه و سلم : “There will be 70,000 people of my Ummah who will enter paradise without reckoning. He was asked who they will be. He replied by saying they will be the ones who do not seek remedy by means of Ruqia (incantations), the ones who don’t believe in omens, the ones who do not cauterize themselves (for remedy); and they completely resign their matter to their Lord.”

وأما الموهوم فتركه شرط التوكل إذ به وصف النبي- صلى الله عليه وسلم – المتوكلين قال عليه السلام: ((أرأيت الأمم بالموسم فرأيت أمتى قد ملأت السهل والجبل فأعجبني كثرتهم وهيئتهم فقيل لي أرضيت فقلت نعم قال مع هؤلاء سبعون ألفاً يدخلون الجنة بغير حساب قيل من هم يا رسول الله قال الذي لا يتكوون ولا يتطيرون ولا يسترقون وعلى ربهم يتوكلون ( جامع الفصولين ج 2 ص 190(

In all cases, whether one utilizes the medication or not and whether he is cured or not, he should maintain the conviction that Allah Ta’ala decrees what He wills and what He decrees will come to pass. If Allah wills, the medication will produce a positive effect through His decree. If Allah wills, the medication will fail to produce any effect. The medication does not have any intrinsic and inherent effect without the decree of Allah.

And Allah knows best
Darul Iftaa

Madrasah Inaa’miyyah



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