Wet cupping (hijama) is a fast-disappearing practice, which is a shame as it was highly recommended by the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and continues to offer many health benefits.
The premise of Islamic medicine is faith in Allah the Exalted and knowing healing comes only from Him, and that there is a cure for every disease.
“There is a remedy for every disease and when the remedy is applied to the disease it is cured with the permission of Allah the Exalted.” (Recorded by Muslim.)
In Islam, health is a very important part of life and there is a great emphasis placed on it.
Narrated Ibn `Abbas: The Prophet ﷺ said, “There are two blessings which many people lose: (They are) Health and free time for doing good.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 6412)
The question is, do we give importance to our life or take time out to learn about the natural remedies that the Prophet ﷺ has told us about?
A Forgotten Sunnah
Hijama Cupping Therapy is an Islamic, natural, holistic, healing therapy. Unfortunately, it is a “forgotten sunnah” that has been erased from our valuable history, due to modern medicine and surgery. We need to revive and establish this practice of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. We need to empower Muslims to be strong, healthy and rise up once again. As Muslims, we need to re-assert ourselves as leaders in the fields of medicine and health, just as we were in the golden age of Islamic science.
Here are the top 10 things you should know about hijama cupping therapy:
1. Hijama Cupping Therapy is a Sunnah
During the Night Journey & Ascension (Laylatu’l-Isra’ wa’l-Mir’aj), our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) experienced many profoundly significant events. He flew on a winged horse (al-Buraq) from Makkah to Jerusalem, accompanied by the Angel Jibreel. He prayed with many other Messengers of Allah, ascended to the highest of the seven heavens, was given the gift of five times daily prayer and tenets of creed by Allah the Exalted.
“Glory to He Who took His servant for a journey by night from the most sacred mosque to the farthest mosque, whose precincts We blessed, in order that We might show him some of Our signs: for He is the One Who hears and sees [all things]”. (Quran 17:1)
Amongst all these amazing miracles, Allah the Exalted also ordered the Angels to instruct Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) to establish hijama cupping therapy;
“I did not pass by an Angel from the Angels on the Night Journey except that they all said to me; ‘Upon you is cupping (hijama), O Muhammad’”(Sahih; Sunan Ibn Majah º3477)
2. “The Best of Medicines”
Hijama was declared the best of medicines by Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), alongside the Quran.
He (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Cupping is the most helpful procedure for human beings to cure themselves.” (Sahih al-Bukhari º5357)
3. Other Cultures Practice Cupping Therapy, Too
Cupping therapy has been practiced for centuries globally. The first documented medical text was found in 1550 BC in Egypt. Cupping was also discovered in China over 5,000 years ago and is still practiced to this day. It was commonly practiced in the Roman Empire, Islamic Empire, Europe, Russia, Central Asia, South Asia, and the United States. It was very popular during the middle ages and 18th and 19th Centuries in Europe. Right now it is most popular in China, Finland, Russia and many Muslim-majority countries.
4. Cupping Therapy vs. Hijama
Cupping therapy is the name of the actual procedure itself. A vacuum is created in a cup and placed on the body. This vacuum causes a negative pressure and pulls the muscles into the cup and therefore, draws the blood to the cupped area. This is known as “dry cupping”. Then you remove the cup in order to make small, shallow incisions in that same area, before putting the cup back on. This pulls out the toxic blood, acids and excess fluids from the body. This is known as wet, or blood cupping.
But what differentiates hijama is the religious and spiritual aspect of the practice. “Hijama” is the Islamic version of cupping therapy. Muslims practice hijama cupping therapy, in accordance to the way of the Prophet ﷺ. It means that the patient and hijama practitioner should have done their ablutions (wudu) and should recite Quran during the hijama procedure.
5. Hijama Returns The Body To A Normal State
“Hijama” in Arabic literally means “to suck” and to “return to a normal state” of internal balance. It ultimately helps the body to create a balance, healthy alkaline environment by removing acidity. This fixes any problem that the body has, by bringing it to its normal state. Hijama cupping therapy is a holistic, super powerful detox which removes toxic and stagnant blood from your body. It expels negative, unhealthy elements from the body, and allows it to replenish itself.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “The best treatment is hijama cupping; it removes blood, lightens the back and sharpens the eyesight.” (Sunan al-Tirmidhi º3053)
6. The Medical Benefits Are Well-Documented
Hijama cupping is an excellent form of preventative and curative therapy. Below are some of the ways cupping helps:
- Boosts the circulatory and immune systems
- Cleanses and detoxifies the body
- Treats illness and relaxes the patient
- Pain relief
- Hijama is also useful for treating many muscular, skeletal, neurological, immune, cardio-vascular, respiratory, digestive and urinary issues.
Some of its benefits were highlighted by Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him):
Ibn Umar reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Hijama cupping on an empty stomach is best. It increases the intellect and improves the memory. It improves the memory of the one memorizing….” (Sahih; Sunan Ibn Majah º3488).
7. It Works On An Emotional Level, Too
Islamic medicine is holistic and works on the levels of mind, body and soul. Hijama cupping therapy is a minor, surgical procedure which has immediate physical effect. However, it also serves to alleviate, mental, emotional, spiritual and metaphysical issues. It is very relaxing and dispels anxiety and depression. According ibn Al Qaiyum, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) had Hijama performed upon his head to remove black magic which had been cast upon him;
Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) mentions that the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) was cupped on his head when he was afflicted with magic and that it is from the best of cures for this if performed correctly. [Zad al-Ma’ad (4/125-126)]
8. There Are Sunnah Points On Your Body
The traditional sunnah points for hijama therapy are on the upper back, which essentially target the heart, lungs, brain and spine. All are major foundations for optimal health.
“Hijama cupping on the back of the neck treat seventy-two illnesses” (Collected by al-Tabarani)
Hijama serves to cleanse and unblock the major arteries and veins.
Anas narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to have hijama cupping done on the veins on the side of the neck and the upper back. (Sunan al-Tirmidhi)
9. There Are Ideal Times To Do It
Hijama cupping is both a preventative and curative remedy. It is recommended that you should have a hijama detox, and then use hijama as a form of maintenance 2-4 times a year if you are healthy. If you have serious medical conditions, it can be performed more often. It is best to have hijama performed on the “Sunnah Days” according to hadith:
“Whoever performs Hijama cupping in the 17th, 19th and 21st day (of the Islamic Lunar month), then it is a cure for every disease”. (Sahih; Sunan Ibn Majah º3861).
10. The Hijama Therapist Has A Special Status
Imagine having a career in a blessed profession that the Holy Prophet Muḥammad (peace and blessings be upon him) has praised himself;
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “If there is anything good in the medicines with which you treat yourselves, it is in the incision of the hijama therapist, or a drink of honey….” (Muslim º2205)
We encourage as many Muslims as possible to learn how to perform hijama professionally, in order to:
- Counter the negative side effects of alophathic medication and chemicals
- Treat the diseases that are untreatable even with modern medicine
- Have this treatment available to more people
- Have a satisfying and spiritually rewarding career
- Revive the forgotten sunnah of hijama.
The career of a professional hijama therapist is fulfilling and benefits the practitioner in this life and the next.
Now, armed with this phenomenal knowledge, be proactive. Here is your action list to be part of the revival of the sunnah of hijama cupping therapy:
- Book a hijama treatment and get treated – experience it first hand.
- Learn how to perform hijama and treat your family and friends safely
- Expand your skill set and get qualified as a certified hijama Practitioner
- Start treating the community professionally and safely
- Promote hijama, spread the word and educate the Muslim community
- Establish the sunnah of hijama cupping therapy
“Whoever revives a Sunnah from my Sunnah and the people practice it, s/he will have the same reward of those who practice it without their reward diminishing…” (Sunan Ibn Majah º209)