BY ‘spiritual health’ I don’t mean some kind of pseudo-science type of health craze. Islam is full of reference to the creation of Man beyond our physical bodies. ‘“He began the creation of man from dust. Then He made his progeny of an extract of water held in light esteem. Then he made him complete and breathed into him of His spirit and made for you ears and eyes and heart.” (Qur’an 32:7-9). The belief that we’re not just bodies in a physical form destined to rot, but something much more, something deeper, a ‘spirit’ or ‘soul’ within, is a concept many people know to be true.
Spiritual health refers to the idea that the way we see life, our spritual beliefs, our outlook on the world, our recognition of a greater diety (Allah) and our spiritual practices can all have an impact on our health. It’s widely known for example, that negative thinking and stress has a negative effect on our bodies. Spiritual health goes a step further, and realises that spirituality can positively affect our lives. We know that the unseen aspects of the world exist, and that they can affect us, just as for example, we may not be able to see ‘gravity’ but we know it’s at work nonetheless, we don’t argue that we ‘believe’ in gravity, gravity simply ‘is’ and so it is with the rest of the Unseen.
The number of internal and external factors which can affect our health are so diverse and great in number it wouldn’t be possible to write them all here, but in today’s modern day and age we don’t have to look far to see the connections; stress, emotional and mental pressure, finances, social problems, love of the dunya, greed, jealousy and envy, all amount to affect us from some degree to another.
Islam, like with all aspects of life has given us a practical and simple treatment for all of these things – and best of all, it’s free. This treatment is known as ‘Ruqyah’. ‘Ruqyah’ is an Arabic word and can most easily be described as a ‘healing prayer’ by which a person invokes Allah for healing and cure from any type of ailment – mental, spiritual, emotional, physical or psychological. An individual can use anything from the following; sunnah supplications (particularly those pertaining to cure and health), Quranic surahs or ayat, the names of Allah or personal duas. The two most common ways ruqyah is performed is by either; reciting and blowing over oneself or reciting on water and drinking/bathing with the recited water.
Even worship can be a form of asking Allah for health as you’re performing good deeds in the hopes of being granted cure e.g. praying a voluntary prayer and asking Allah in dua for cure – and that would be a totally acceptable way to do it. I will be going into more detail about the various other ways ruqyah can be performed, in sha Allah. All forms of ruqyah are permissible as long as it doesn’t contain shirk or innovation (i.e. using innovative forms of worship). I could therefore, use any ayah of the Quran to recite over myself as ruqyah because that does not contain shirk, whereas calling upon anyone other than Allah in dua does amount to shirk and that would cause more harm than any good.
The evidence for using the Quran for healing is related in the Quran itself where Allah states; ‘We send down (stage by stage) in the Quran that which is a healing and mercy to those who believe’. [Quran 17:82].
And believe me, heal it does, with success stories of people treating cancer patients through a daily Quranic recitation of 3 hours per day. Allah is the one who cures.
In the times of the early Muslims, ruqyah was the first ‘go-to’ treatment when a person fell ill or was harmed in any way. The Prophet ﷺ would employ ruqyah for others and for himself;
Narrated ‘Aisha (RA): “During the Prophet’s serious illness ﷺ, he used to recite the Mu’auwidhat (Surat An-Nas and Surat Al-Falaq) and then blow his breath over his body. When his pain became intense, I used to recite those two Suras and blow my breath over him and make him rub his body with his own hand for its blessings.” [Sahih Bukhari Hadith (vol. 7, 631)]
Narrated ‘Abdul ‘Aziz (May Allah be pleased with him) Thabit and I went to Anas bin Malik. Thabit said, “O Abu Hamza! I am sick.” On that Anas said, “Shall I treat you with the Ruqya of Allah’s Apostle?” Thabit said, “Yes.” Anas recited, “O Allah! The Lord of the people, the Remover of trouble! (Please) cure (Heal) (this patient), for You are the Healer. None brings about healing but You; a healing that will leave behind no ailment.” [Sahih Bukhari Hadith (vol. 7, 638)]
So it can be used as a spiritual cure for physical ailments. The reality is that no ‘medical’ treatment can be successful without the permission of Allah. Two patients could have the same condition, be on the same protocol and one can feel better whilst the other stays ill. I mention this because in this day and age where science and even alternative medicine is appreciated above spirituality, people find it hard to come to grips with the fact that the unseen plays a major role in their health.
Tawheed (belief in the Oneness of Allah) is central to ruqyah (or any other treatment for that matter) as it is the basis by which we ask for cure and expect cure from illness. We ask our Maker, the Creator of the illness and the cure to change our condition. He created us, created every atom, every cell in our bodies and this understanding should be the centre of every treatment and of our hope to heal.
I’ve mentioned that ruqyah can be used for physical ailments but there’s other types of ‘sickness’ that people can be affected by, those which are based in the unseen and if they’re not acknowledged they can be left untreated, made worse, or people may find their attempts of treatment futile due to the wrong avenues of help being sought. These are; evil eye, jinn possession and black magic. Proof of black magic, evil eye and jinn possession can all be found in the Quran and authentic hadith.
“And they followed what the devils had recited during the reign of Solomon. It was not Solomon who disbelieved, but the devils disbelieved, teaching people magic and that which was revealed to the two angels at Babylon, Harut and Marut. But the two angels do not teach anyone unless they say, “We are a trial, so do not disbelieve [by practicing magic]…” [Quran 2:102]
Narrated Um Salama (May Allah be pleased with her);
The Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) saw in her house a girl whose face had a black spot. He said, “She is under the effect of an evil eye; so treat her with a Ruqya.” [Bukhari (vol.7, 635)]
Black magic, evil eye and possession can amount to have serious consequences in people’s lives and on those working in this field. I’m all too familiar with it: unexplainable health problems, psychological problems, divorce, infertility, you name it, it can happen, all by the will of Allah.
This is why it’s important for us to have concrete belief in the reality of the unseen, it’s one thing to say ‘we believe’ and it’s another to see and accept it as something that affects our daily lives. Ruqyah itself, is calling out to Allah, we can’t ‘see’ Allah but we know Allah and we know His reality is true. Once we know this to be true, we can work on using ruqyah to our benefit and advantage no matter what health problems we may have, we know ultimately, Allah’s got it covered.
Next month In-sha Allah, I’ll be going in-depth about the how-to and guidelines of ruqyah so that we can use ruqyah for ourselves and loved ones. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, please post them in the comments.