Hadith versus Quran

9EFE102F-4F53-4452-B7A0-4D820AC22B6BThe clergy misguide people in a number of ways:

1). Misinterpretation

2). Ignoring the context of the evidence

3). Propagating opinions or culture instead of actual evidence

4). Elevating the position of a hadith or saying of a Companion above the Quran

 

All of these imply poor researching skills. Today, I want to take a closer look at Number 4 – Elevating a hadith or saying of a Companion above the Quran.

 

Now, of course belief in ahadith or the Sunnah of the Prophet is a fundamental part of being a Muslim. We need to know the Sunnah so we know how to pray, exactly how to pay Zakah, and so on as well as the character of the greatest example of all time.

 

The problem arises when one or several ahadith are taken and followed without looking at the Quran. This is extremely corrosive to our understanding of the religion because the Quran, being Divine Scripture, the word of Allah, is protected while ahadith can be weak and were sometimes recorded in shortened versions where key bits of information are missing. 

 

Let’s take a look at a couple of examples;

 

Narrated Ibn Muhairiz:

 

I entered the Mosque and saw Abu Said Al-Khudri and sat beside him and asked him about Al-Azl (i.e. coitus interruptus). Abu Said said, “We went out with Allah’s Apostle for the Ghazwa [battle at which Muhammad was present] of Banu Al-Mustaliq and we received captives from among the Arab captives and we desired women and celibacy became hard on us and we loved to do coitus interruptus. So when we intended to do coitus interruptus, we said, ‘How can we do coitus interruptus before asking Allah’s Apostle [Muhammad] who is present among us?” We asked (him) about it and he said, ‘It is better for you not to do so, for if any soul (till the Day of Resurrection) is predestined to exist, it will exist.”

Bukhari

 

This hadith from Bukhari is often quoted to claim sex slavery is permitted in Islam. Yet, the Quran states exactly the opposite in Surah An Nis’a, verse 25.

 

وَمَن لَّمْ يَسْتَطِعْ مِنكُمْ طَوْلاً أَن يَنكِحَ الْمُحْصَنَـتِ الْمُؤْمِنَـتِ فَمِنْ مَّا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَـنُكُم مِّن فَتَيَـتِكُمُ الْمُؤْمِنَـتِ وَاللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ بِإِيمَـنِكُمْ بَعْضُكُمْ مِّن بَعْضٍ فَانكِحُوهُنَّ بِإِذْنِ أَهْلِهِنَّ وَءَاتُوهُنَّ أُجُورَهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ مُحْصَنَـت غَيْرَ مُسَـفِحَـتٍ وَلاَ مُتَّخِذَاتِ أَخْدَانٍ فَإِذَآ أُحْصِنَّ فَإِنْ أَتَيْنَ بِفَـحِشَةٍ فَعَلَيْهِنَّ نِصْفُ مَا عَلَى الْمُحْصَنَـتِ مِنَ الْعَذَابِ ذَلِكَ لِمَنْ خَشِىَ الْعَنَتَ مِنْكُمْ وَأَن تَصْبِرُواْ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

 

And whoever of you have not the means wherewith to wed free believing women, they may wed believing girls from among those whom your right hands possess, and Allah has full knowledge about your faith, you are one from another. Wed them with the permission of their own folk (guardians) and give them their due in a good manner; they should be chaste, not fornicators, nor promiscuous. And after they have been taken in wedlock, if they commit Fahishah, their punishment is half that for free (unmarried) women. This is for him among you who is afraid of being harmed in his religion or in his body; but it is better for you that you practice self-restraint, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

 

As you can see, the Quran commands men to marry these women NOT to take them as sex slaves!

 

Interestingly, the above hadith has several versions but all seem to go back to the same narrator – Ibn Muhairiz. Ibn Muhairiz narrated one other hadith in Sunan Ibn Majah which was categorised as weak (It reads: “I asked Fadalah bin Ubaid about hanging the hand (of the thief) from this neck, and he said: ‘It is sunnah. The messenger of Allah (saw) cut off a man’s hand then hung it from his neck”).

 

Additionally, there is a lack of information about this narrator and so his credibility should set off alarm bells for anyone seeking the truth.

 

Once we elevate or prioritise ahadith over the Quran, like a scientist who desperately wants his/her hypothesis to be proven true, we are likely to misinterpret other evidence. (See my blog on ‘Sex slavery’ if you are interested – for more on this subject).

 

Another example is the issue of divorce. The ‘scholars’ remain divided on whether stating ‘divorce’ thrice at one time constitutes an irrevocable divorce. Here it is not an issue of hadith versus Quran but a saying of a Companion prioritised over the Book of the Creator.

 

Many ‘scholars’ claim a husband saying ‘divorce’ three times at one time means that he has divorced his wife and they cannot re-marry until she marries another man. Their view is based upon the actions of Umar ibn Al Khattaab when he was Caliph. Umar passed this as law to teach the people not to take divorce lightly although this is not what the Quran states. In fact, the Quran clearly states each declaration of divorce has a waiting period of 3 menstruation cycles.

 

Surah Al Baqarah, verses 228,

 

وَالْمُطَلَّقَـتُ يَتَرَبَّصْنَ بِأَنْفُسِهِنَّ ثَلَـثَةَ قُرُوءٍ وَلاَ يَحِلُّ لَهُنَّ أَن يَكْتُمْنَ مَا خَلَقَ اللَّهُ فِى أَرْحَامِهِنَّ إِن كُنَّ يُؤْمِنَّ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الاٌّخِرِ وَبُعُولَتُهُنَّ أَحَقُّ بِرَدِّهِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ إِنْ أَرَادُواْ إِصْلَـحاً وَلَهُنَّ مِثْلُ الَّذِى عَلَيْهِنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَلِلرِّجَالِ عَلَيْهِنَّ دَرَجَةٌ وَاللَّهُ عَزِيزٌ حَكُيمٌ

 

And divorced women shall wait (as regards their marriage) for three menstrual periods, and it is not lawful for them to conceal what Allah has created in their wombs, if they believe in Allah and the Last Day. And their husbands have the better right to take them back in that period, if they wish for reconciliation. And they (women) have rights (over their husbands as regards living expenses) similar (to those of their husbands) over them (as regards obedience and respect) to what is reasonable, but men have a degree (of responsibility) over them. And Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.

 

  • The verses which follow (229 & 230) tell us about the maximum number of three divorces before the divorce becomes irrevocable and the woman must then marry someone else.

 

In other words, many of the clergy are following what Umar did as opposed to what the Quran dictates.

 

There must be a hierarchy if we want to follow the actual religion and the primary source must come first.

 

1). The Quran

2). Hadith 

3). Sayings of the Companions and the Tab’ieen (the generation after the Companions).

 

So, this hierarchy means we must look at the Quran first and foremost. Then, ahadith must only be taken as evidence if they do not contradict the Quran. Subsequently, the opinions of the Companions can only be followed when they are in line with ahadith and the Quran. Opinions are after all opinions and not truth (There are, in fact, many records of the Companions differing in their views).

 

I believe it is easy to take ahadith without checking whether they are in accordance with the Quran and use them to propagate a certain view and give the masses a fatwa/judgement.  Over time, the more people propagate the same ahadith, the more the judgment attached to them is perceived as ‘truth’. Yet, it is not.

 

To research ahadith properly and actually study the Quran can take years and a lot of sustained effort. But, this is our religion, our path to Jannah and salvation does not come easily. As Muslims, our beliefs and actions must be based upon truth even when the path to truth is a struggle.

MUSLIM ADDICTS

11862983-04CA-48C4-86FE-4C423C6B91B3Addiction whether it is to drugs, alcohol, gambling, online gaming, shopping, eating, starving or pornography is a serious problem. It affects people from all walks of life, regardless of race, religion, and affluence.

 

So, of course, there are Muslims who are tormented by addiction or suffering because a loved one is an addict. The BBC reported in an article published in 2011 and entitled, ‘British Bangladeshis battle against drugs’ that:

 

“Social workers and community leaders are perplexed as to how a very traditional and hardworking community, with conservative religious and social values, acquired this problem.”

 

Interestingly, another article entitled, ‘How Muslim Drug Dealers Square Their Job with Their Faith.’ Published on vice.com in 2017 about Muslims in Bradford, included the following:

 

“Although alcohol is strictly prohibited under Islam, most of the guys drank it, and some were heavy drinkers. But while they were happy to become involved in drug dealing and taking, in other respects, Qasim saw, they were religiously strict. For example, none of them would touch meat that was not halal, let alone pork. He also noticed that jail time usually strengthened their faith. However, this heightened faith was more likely to lead to them insisting on their sisters wearing hijabs, rather than preclude them from selling drugs.

 

“They drank alcohol, slept around with girls and were involved with the consumption and sale of drugs,” says Qasim. “But the boys considered Islamic faith to be imperative. They were selective as to which of Islam’s teachings they adhered to and which they did not want to adhere to. It could be argued that faith was a coping strategy in difficult times.”  

 

(I have underlined what I want to draw attention to)

 

People usually turn to the Muslim clergy for guidance. The clergy usually advise the addicted are reminded what they are doing is forbidden in Islam, that the person should fear Allah and death and so on. 

 

I believe this approach is of limited value. Too little, too late as addictive behaviours are not so easily changed. Advice is simply not enough. 

 

I believe the problem lies in outsourcing the religion. When we as a Muslim community believe the understanding, the comprehension, and the responsibility of the religion lies with the ‘scholars’ – this is our first mistake.

 

The second, is a by-product of the first. When we neglect knowledge and a deeper understanding of the religion, we are left with just the rituals of the religion. Not eating pork for example or women covering.

The lack of knowledge on a personal level means our youth are growing up DOING without really understanding what it is they believe in.

 

So, what should we do?

A common thread in the psychology of addicts seems to be a lack of coping skills or a lack of purpose/direction. Islam offers both. 

 

Allah states in Surah Ad Dhariyaat, verse 56:

وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالإِنسَ إِلاَّ لِيَعْبُدُونِ 

 

And I created not the Jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me.

 

The purpose of life is to worship and this, while being a simple statement has powerful impact. Understanding and believing your life has a goal, a direction, forms the basis for morals and values as well as a good work ethic. Children need to be taught that life is meant to be hard and taught that gratitude, prayer and keeping a connection with the Lord will help them cope during tough times. In other words, they need to be true believers, armed with knowledge as opposed to just doers of superficial rituals.

 

When our beliefs are correct from the start, the religion becomes part of who we are and we make the right choices in life. There is no doubt, we will always come across troubled times. Knowledge and sound belief in Islam ensure you come out the other side.

The DEFICIENT Muslim woman

D2FF4AA0-AAE6-4444-BCB0-2B1ED683E1B2This hadith and its alternate versions are often used by imams in mosques to claim that women are deficient and lesser than men in Islam and to portray women as temptresses who lead men astray.

 

حَدَّثَنَا سَعِيدُ بْنُ أَبِي مَرْيَمَ، قَالَ أَخْبَرَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ جَعْفَرٍ، قَالَ أَخْبَرَنِي زَيْدٌ ـ هُوَ ابْنُ أَسْلَمَ ـ عَنْ عِيَاضِ بْنِ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ، عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ الْخُدْرِيِّ، قَالَ خَرَجَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فِي أَضْحًى ـ أَوْ فِطْرٍ ـ إِلَى الْمُصَلَّى، فَمَرَّ عَلَى النِّسَاءِ فَقَالَ ” يَا مَعْشَرَ النِّسَاءِ تَصَدَّقْنَ، فَإِنِّي أُرِيتُكُنَّ أَكْثَرَ أَهْلِ النَّارِ “. فَقُلْنَ وَبِمَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ قَالَ ” تُكْثِرْنَ اللَّعْنَ، وَتَكْفُرْنَ الْعَشِيرَ، مَا رَأَيْتُ مِنْ نَاقِصَاتِ عَقْلٍ وَدِينٍ أَذْهَبَ لِلُبِّ الرَّجُلِ الْحَازِمِ مِنْ إِحْدَاكُنَّ “. قُلْنَ وَمَا نُقْصَانُ دِينِنَا وَعَقْلِنَا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ قَالَ ” أَلَيْسَ شَهَادَةُ الْمَرْأَةِ مِثْلَ نِصْفِ شَهَادَةِ الرَّجُلِ “. قُلْنَ بَلَى. قَالَ ” فَذَلِكَ مِنْ نُقْصَانِ عَقْلِهَا، أَلَيْسَ إِذَا حَاضَتْ لَمْ تُصَلِّ وَلَمْ تَصُمْ “. قُلْنَ بَلَى. قَالَ ” فَذَلِكَ مِنْ نُقْصَانِ دِينِهَا

Bukhari

 

It is usually translated as the following;

 

Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri:

Once Allah’s Apostle went out to the Musalla (to offer the prayer) on ‘Id-al-Adha or Al-Fitr prayer. Then he passed by the women and said, “O women! Give alms, as I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-fire were you (women).” They asked, “Why is it so, O Allah’s Apostle ?” He replied, “You curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. A cautious sensible man could be led astray by some of you.” The women asked, “O Allah’s Apostle! What is deficient in our intelligence and religion?” He said, “Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?” They replied in the affirmative. He said, “This is the deficiency in her intelligence. Isn’t it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses?” The women replied in the affirmative. He said, “This is the deficiency in her religion.”

 

This has puzzled, confused and sometimes, angered many a Muslim woman. All because the translation and explanation has been done by those looking at it while wearing sexist spectacles and just like the rose-tinted kind, these spectacles affect the understanding and outlook of all those who wear them.

 

In fact, there are a number of corrections necessary here. 

 

1.   وَتَكْفُرْنَ الْعَشِيرَ

 

This should read ‘ingratitude to the one(s) who supports the woman’. Of course, this is not synonymous with husband. It could be her father, her brother, her relative and so on.

 

The evidence for this is in the Quran in Surah Al Hajj, verse 13.

 

يَدْعُو لَمَنْ ضَرُّهُ أَقْرَبُ مِن نَّفْعِهِ لَبِئْسَ الْمَوْلَى وَلَبِئْسَ الْعَشِيرُ

 

He calls unto him whose harm is nearer than his profit; certainly an evil ally and certainly an evil helper/supporter. 

(Obviously, it is clear from this verse the word ‘a’sheer’ does not mean ‘husband’!)

 

The reason why this is important is that some Muslim men then link the rest of the Hadith to the spousal relationship using it against their wives to criticise and lower a woman’s intellectual capabilities. 

 

2.    مَا رَأَيْتُ مِنْ نَاقِصَاتِ عَقْلٍ وَدِينٍ أَذْهَبَ لِلُبِّ الرَّجُلِ الْحَازِمِ مِنْ إِحْدَاكُنَّ

 

This does not mean ‘I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you.’ Rather, the Prophet was stating, ‘I have not previously recognised, that despite being ‘Naqisaat’ (ie. ‘with something missing’ – see below), one of you could overcome a resolute/strong-willed man’.

 

To completely understand this, we must go back to the context. The women were asked to give in charity. They were advised to take heed in the matters of cursing and ingratitude. Then, the Prophet said something motivating to instil hope in the hearts of the women – that women have the capabilities despite being ‘Naqisaat’ to match and even overcome a man.

 

3.  قُلْنَ وَمَا نُقْصَانُ دِينِنَا وَعَقْلِنَا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ قَالَ ” أَلَيْسَ شَهَادَةُ الْمَرْأَةِ مِثْلَ نِصْفِ شَهَادَةِ الرَّجُل”. قُلْنَ بَلَى. قَالَ ” فَذَلِكَ مِنْ نُقْصَانِ عَقْلِهَا، أَلَيْسَ إِذَا حَاضَتْ لَمْ تُصَلِّ وَلَمْ تَصُمْ “. قُلْنَ بَلَى. قَالَ ” فَذَلِكَ مِنْ نُقْصَانِ دِينِهَا

 

The usual translation (see above) is incorrect.

 

It would be better translated as – “The women asked, “O Allah’s Apostle! What is missing in our knowledge/understanding and religion?” He said, “Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?” They replied in the affirmative. He said, “This is what is missing in her knowledge/understanding. Isn’t it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses?” The women replied in the affirmative. He said, “This is what is missing in her religion.”

 

For those who would like more insight into the Arabic, the term ‘nuqsaan’ translates to ‘missing/absent’. ‘Aql’ does not refer to intelligence. Rather if we look at its usage in the Quran, it refers to ‘understanding based upon knowledge’. 

 

There are many examples in the Quran but I will just point out one (Surah Al Baqarah, verse 73),

فَقُلْنَا اضْرِبُوهُ بِبَعْضِهَا كَذَلِكَ يُحْىِ اللَّهُ الْمَوْتَى وَيُرِيكُمْ آيَـتِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ

 

So We said: “Strike him (the dead man) with a piece of it (the cow).” Thus Allah brings the dead to life and shows you His Ayat (proofs, evidences, etc.) so that you may understand.

 

The Prophet was expressing that a woman despite the fact that, in a specific situation (See Al Baqarah, verse 282) is called as a witness as part of a pair and despite the fact that she misses prayers when she is menstruating, a woman is still able to triumph over a man. 

 

There are those out there who will always point to women as sexual beings, as temptresses. Again, this depends upon the spectacles they are wearing for their world view. 

 

Upon scrutiny, it is clear that this hadith is not about women being inferior. It is not about women as sexual beings. It is the recount of the Muslim women at the time being asked to give in charity. It is also for us to take heed of being grateful to those who work to support us and to be careful of cursing. Yet, it is also an affirmation that women should not be underestimated either by themselves or the men around them.

 

My advice to anyone out there who has read this hadith or any other and felt confusion, injustice, depression, anger, or any other emotion is to always question what the clergy offer. To search for the truth endlessly until you find it. The religion is never the problem. The Lord is Just and Fair. Sexism both within the Muslim world and the wider society is the real issue. Indeed, it is the spectacles the male clergy wear that are causing confusion and misleading us.

Its time for us to see the truth for ourselves.

 

ISLAM. Religion of peace?

26751977-9F91-491A-A124-DC1A1A401B02Many a Muslim in the Western world, will claim Muslims are a peaceful people. This is based upon their translation of the Arabic word ‘Islam’ as ‘peace’. Others (Muslims and non Muslims alike) may find this idea of Islam as a religion of peace paradoxical. They see the contradiction in the wars and battles mentioned in Islamic history.

 

Understandably, this causes people to progressively lose trust in what Muslims are saying.
I wanted to take a closer look at the definition of the term ‘Islam’. As usual, I looked to the Quran first.

 

The Quran does call the path/religion to be followed ‘Islam’.

 

For example, in 5:3,

الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِى وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الأِسْلاَمَ دِيناً

This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion

 

So, on to what ‘Islam’ actually means according to divine scripture. A little knowledge of the Arabic language and one sees that the word ‘Islam’ is a noun derived from the verb ‘aslama’ which means ‘to submit’. I found a number of verses containing ‘aslama’. I have given you three here.

 

إِذْ قَالَ لَهُ رَبُّهُ أَسْلِمْ قَالَ أَسْلَمْتُ لِرَبِّ الْعَـلَمِينَ

When his Lord said to him, “Submit!” He said, “I have submitted myself to the Lord of the `Alamin (mankind, Jinn and all that exists).”)

Al Baqarah, verse 131.

 

أَفَغَيْرَ دِينِ اللَّهِ يَبْغُونَ وَلَهُ أَسْلَمَ مَن فِى السَّمَـوَتِ وَالاٌّرْضِ طَوْعًا وَكَرْهًا وَإِلَيْهِ يُرْجَعُونَ

Do they seek other than the religion of Allah, while to Him submitted all creatures in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly. And to Him shall they all be returned.

Al Imran, verse 83

 

وَلِكُلِّ أُمَّةٍ جَعَلْنَا مَنسَكًا لِّيَذْكُرُواْ اسْمَ اللَّهِ عَلَى مَا رَزَقَهُمْ مِّن بَهِيمَةِ الاٌّنْعَـمِ فَإِلَـهُكُمْ إِلَـهٌ وَحِدٌ فَلَهُ أَسْلِمُواْ وَبَشِّرِ الْمُخْبِتِينَ

And for every nation We have appointed religious ceremonies, that they may mention the Name of Allah over the beast of cattle that He has given them for food. And your God is One God, so you must submit to Him Alone. And give glad tidings to the Mukhbitin.

 

Surah al Hajj, 34

 

Subsequently, ‘Islam’ means ‘submission to God’. Not ‘peace’.

أَسلَمَ to submit (verb)
إسلامً Submission (noun)

 

The reason it is often defined as ‘peace’ is due to its root being confused with ‘salaam’ like in the Muslim greeting ‘assalamu alaikum’ which loosely translates as ‘peace be upon you’. As I have mentioned in an earlier post, Arabic is a very rich language with similar words sometimes conveying completely different meanings. Anyhow, the evidence that ‘Islam’ is NOT synonymous with ‘peace’ is there, as clear as day.

 

 

Furthermore, there is this clear hadith in the collection of Bukhari.

 

On the authority of Umar (may Allah be pleased with him), who said: One day while we were sitting with the Messenger of Allah, there appeared before us a man whose clothes were exceedingly white and whose hair was exceedingly black; no signs of journeying were to be seen on him and none of us knew him. He walked up and sat down by the Prophet (pbuh). Resting his knees against his (the Prophet’s) and placing the palms of his hands on his thighs, he said:

O Muhammed, tell me about Islam.

The Messenger of Allah (may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: Islam is to testify that there is no god but Allah and Muhammed is the Messenger of Allah, to perform the prayers, to pay the Zakah, to fast in Ramadhan, and to make the pilgrimage to the House  if you are able to do so.

(The hadith goes on but this is the part relevant here).

 

In the Prophet’s definition of Islam, there is absolutely no mention of ‘peace’.

 

Perhaps, some Muslims want to propagate a softer religion to appease the critics. I can understand that especially when we have seen acts of terror committed using the banner of religion. Yet, that doesn’t make things better.

 

Propagating Islam as ‘peace’, is first and foremost, not true and I believe religion must always be based upon truth. Secondly, we lose the focal point of the religion. Instead of paying attention to self improvement, the spotlight is turned away to social impact and global harmony. A top down approach, if you like. Making the religion easier because we can spend our lives looking outwards instead of looking in which would force us to work to improve our spiritual shortcomings.

 

Furthermore, trying to fit in by changing ourselves will never work. The parameters are constantly changing. How can you fit into something which is not concrete? In fact, it is being true Muslims and sticking to the evidence which is the best advert for the religion. A religion based upon submission to God in all that you do, demanding good from yourself and pushing away evil, displaying the best of manners and adding gentleness to your dealings with people, when a simple smile is charity, facing the world with the best version of you. Because a better you means a better world for all of us.

 

 

CAN THE QURAN HEAL ALL?

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I think we all know someone who either seems to be afflicted by jinn, black magic, marital discord, a chronic physical ailment or mental health issues. The common Muslim response to all these issues is reciting Quran (usually referred to as ‘ruqya’, meaning ‘incantation’) over these struggling souls.

 

Often, a ‘Raqi’ is called upon to carry out the ruqya. Raqis offer many different approaches, including coming up with a ‘diagnosis’, reciting Quran, writing down prayers/invocations put into water as a drink for the ‘patient’ and one can even buy ruqya oil or water! These ‘Raqis’ are not paid for their services but interestingly, do accept ‘gifts’ (usually of money).

 

For a long time now, many of the ‘scholars’ claim the words of the Quran are a cure for all ailments – incorrectly, according to the Quran and going against the example of the Prophet when they claim the whole Quran can be used in this way. This practice has now become widespread but, like many other elements of Muslim lives, is not actually based upon Islam.

 

If like me, you have ever wondered, despite these claims, HOW exactly the words of the Holy Book can cure people, then, read on.

 

Many years ago, I decided to have a look at what the Quran itself contains about this concept.

 

In Surah Al Isra’, there is the following:

 

وَنُنَزِّلُ مِنَ الْقُرْءَانِ مَا هُوَ شِفَآءٌ وَرَحْمَةٌ لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَلاَ يَزِيدُ الظَّـلِمِينَ إَلاَّ خَسَارًا

 

17:82. And We send down of the Qur’an that which is a cure and a mercy to the believers, and it increases the wrongdoers in nothing but loss.

 

And, in Surah Fussilat,

 

قُلْ هُوَ لِلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ هُدًى وَشِفَآءٌ وَالَّذِينَ لاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ فِى ءَاذَانِهِمْ وَقْرٌ وَهُوَ عَلَيْهِمْ عَمًى أُوْلَـئِكَ يُنَادَوْنَ مِن مَّكَانٍ بَعِيدٍ

 

41:44. Say: “It is for those who believe, a guide and a cure. And as for those who disbelieve, there is heaviness in their ears, and it is blindness for them. They are those who are called from a place far away (so they neither listen nor understand).

 

So, here, in both verses, Allāh states the Quran is ‘a cure’ alongside it being a guide and a mercy for those who believe. Just as in modern medicine, a cure in itself is wonderful but one needs to know which ailments it will relieve so as to administer it correctly.

 

If you keep looking, you find the answer in the words of our Lord in Surah Yunus, verse 57.

 

يَأَيُّهَا النَّاسُ قَدْ جَآءَتْكُمْ مَّوْعِظَةٌ مَّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَشِفَآءٌ لِّمَا فِى الصُّدُورِ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةٌ لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ

 

O mankind! There has come to you a good advice from your Lord (Qur’an), and a healing for that which is in your breasts, a guidance and a mercy for the believers.

 

A true epiphany! The Quran is a cure for what is in the breast/chest. In other words, the words of the Quran, its message is the cure for every spiritual disease of the HEART (e.g. disbelief, doubt, polytheism, hypocrisy etc). There is no mention, however, of the word ‘Ruqya’ in these verses and it is definitely NOT a cure for all physical and mental/emotional issues.

 

So, armed with this knowledge, an examination of the example of our Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) to explore what ‘ruqya’ actually is (as it clearly isn’t reciting any words of the Quran as if they were some ‘spell’ which can eradicate any harm!), if we can indeed use any part of the Quran in this way and when it should be done, is absolutely necessary.

 

Firstly, it is clear ‘ruqya’ implies ‘dua’ or invoking Allah.

 

In Sahih Muslim, Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

 

Jibril (Gabriel) came to the Prophet (ﷺ) and said: “O Muhammad (ﷺ)! Do you feel sick?” He (ﷺ) said, “Yes.” Jibril supplicated thus (i.e., he performed Ruqyah): “Bismillahi arqika, min kulli shay’in yu’dhika, min sharri kulli nafsin aw ‘ayni hasidi, Allahu yashfika, bismillahi arqika. [With the Name of Allah. I do ruqya for you, from all that troubles you, and from every harmful mischief and from the evil of the eyes of an envier. Allah will cure you; and with the Name of Allah, I do ruqya over you].”

 

 

Secondly, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “There is no ruqyah except in the case of the evil eye or fever.” (al-Tirmidhi, Abu Dawood)

 

As well as,

 

The Prophet (pbuh) instructed the use of ruqya to anyone who was under the influence of the evil eye as Aisha (RA) narrated: “The Messenger of Allaah (pbuh) commanded me, or he commanded (the people) to use ruqya to deal with the evil eye.” (Bukhari)

 

The wording of the hadith above makes the matter crystal clear. Ruqya is only for EVIL EYE or FEVER.

 

In terms of WHAT can be recited from the Quran,

 

Aisha (may Allaah be pleased with her) said, “When someone fell ill from the Prophet’s family he did ‘nafath’ on them (to blow three times over them reciting the two chapters of seeking refuge -Soorah al-Falaq and Soorah An-Naas). When he himself fell ill, the illness which lead to his death & I would (similarly) do ‘nafath’ on him and would wipe him with his own hands for it was more blessed than my hands.” (Muslim)

 

And in Sahih Al-Bukhari, Abu Said Al Khudri narrated,

 

Some of the companions of the Prophet (saws) came across a tribe amongst the tribes of the Arabs, and that tribe refused to take them in as guests. While they were in that state, the chief of that tribe was bitten by a snake (or stung by a scorpion). They said, (to the companions of the Prophet), “Have you got any medicine with you or anybody who can treat with Ruqya?” The Prophet’s (saws) companions said, “You refuse to entertain us, so we will not treat (your chief) unless you pay us for it.” So they agreed to pay them a flock of sheep. One of them (the Prophet’s (saws) companions) started reciting Surat-al-Fatiha and gathering his saliva and spitting it (at the snake-bite). The patient got cured and his people presented the sheep to them, but they said, “We will not take it unless we ask the Prophet (saws) (whether it is lawful).” When they asked him, he (saws) smiled and said, “How do you know that Surat-al-Fatiha is a Ruqya? Take it (flock of sheep) and assign a share for me.”

 

These ahadith clearly show the religion highlights Surahs An Naas, Al Falaq and Al Fatiha as the parts of the Quran used for ‘Ruqya’. Hence, it is clearly not correct to use other parts of the Quran as an attempt to cure someone (Religion must be based upon evidence as opposed to mere opinions).

 

Furthermore, if you take just a few minutes to look at these, you recognize that they are ‘duas’ – you are asking Allah for protection (An Naas and Al Falaq) or help and guidance (Al Fatiha).

 

This will be difficult for some of us to process. For so long, so many have stated the Quran heals all and it is understandably somewhat comforting to feel that you can do something productive to help one you love and care about.

 

However, sometimes immediate relief provides not a solution but further torment. Most importantly, one is adding something to the religion which we have all been warned against. Sadly, it can also mean that we, as a Muslim community, don’t give people the support they desperately need (e.g. counselling, medical intervention and so on).

 

From now on, let us not allow desperation to cure our loved ones blind us from the truth. If we open our minds and look at the actual evidence instead of listening to the voices of the clergy for a quick fix, we understand this issue and in the long term, the beauty of Islam.

 

In conclusion then,

  • The Quran is a cure for the diseases of the heart (e.g. doubt, hypocrisy, disbelief, polytheism).
  • ‘Ruqya’ is a type of ‘dua’.
  • There are certain parts of the Quran (ie. An Naas and Al Falaq as well as Al Fatiha) which, due to their nature of being invocations or duas, may be recited in cases of evil eye or fever. There is no basis to use other parts of the Quran.
  • Any cure or healing then, comes from the Lord only. For surely, the claim that the cure is in the actual words of the Quran is to contradict the fundamental belief that only the Lord has that power.