Thursday, 27 August 2009

Strengthening the Memory.

Frankincense (‘Lubbaan’ in Arabic) is an aromatic resin produced by a certain genus of trees grown mainly in Yemen, Somalia and Oman, and is traditionally used in perfumes, incense and as a medicine. The resin is tapped and allowed to harden, before being powdered. It is most commonly very light yellow in colour and is discussed as one of the medicines used in the treatment of forgetfulness.

[Page 337 of Healing with the Medicine of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) - Darussalam 2003]

While a number of Hadith have been presented in this above book which suggest the use of Frankincense was promoted by the Blessed Companions of Rasool'Allah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) for forgetfulness, I have been unable to verify their sources as of yet or confirm if they are Sahih.

According to texts translated from the works of Ibn al Qayyim (rahimullah), the application of Frankincense as a remedy has a simple and clear reasoning. Mild amnesia, forgetfulness or a weak memory of past experiences, events or words results from a corrupt humour somewhere in the body. This corrupt humour affects different parts of the brain, causing ill-disposition, particularly in people with cold, damp temperaments. This condition produces defective memory and thus blocks the brain’s natural ability to retain messages in sequence or to store information.

Frankincense, which contains the opposite attributes, thus helps to repair and balance the bodily humours. This helps ultimately to remove the blockage and restore the memory. Amongst the other numerous benefits of frankincense; it aids the treatment of tuberculosis, stomach ache and diarrhoea, and it helps the digestion, helps expel wind, relieve eye sores / refreshes the eyes, treats infections and helps heal cuts and bruises when used in a bandage. It also helps treat a speech impediment (both tongue-tie and stuttering). Burning frankincense helps repel mosquitoes and other flying insects.

The brothers at the site say that a 'tea' can be made by tying the frankincense resin in a small cloth like a piece of muslin, and adding it to boiling water. Let the water simmer for around 5 min before extracting the frankincense and allowing the tea to cool down before drinking.

Both the resin and the oil can be purchased online. 
My recommendation is food-grade Hujari frankincense which can be purchased here -

You can find more information about frankincense here -, including on how frankincense is graded -

A weak memory may also sometimes be due to dryness and can be overcome by increasing the intake of water and other fresh, clean, pure fluids.

Remedies for Forgetfulness which are substantiated by the Sunnah.

I would encourage all those who are looking to improve their memory to use the remedies below in combination first.


A very beneficial treatment for weak memory is Hijama (wet cupping) and although I have not come across any Sahih Hadith directly pertaining to the use of Hijama for improvement of the memory, there are plenty of strong sources praising the excellence of Hijama in general and that it is a cure for a wide range of illnesses. There are also strong evidences from the Sunnah that Hijama was used by the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) to cure ailments of the head.

It was narrated by Jabir bin 'Abdullah (rahimullah) that he paid Al-Muqanna a visit during his illness and said, "I will not leave till he gets cupped, for I heard Allah's Apostle (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) saying, "There is healing in cupping [Hijama]." 
Sahih al Bukhari Volume 7, Book 71, Number 600.

It was also narrated by Ibn Abbaas (radhi Allahu anhu) that the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was cupped on his head for an ailment he was suffering from while he was in a state of Ihram. at a water place called Lahl Jamal located on the road to Makkah. Ibn 'Abbas further said: Allah s Apostle was cupped on his head for unilateral headache while he was in a state of Ihram.
Sahih al Bukhari Volume 7, Book 71, Number 602

Caution will be required when applying Hijama on the head. Cupping at the back of the head (on the occipital bone) carries a high risk of causing further memory loss. Excessive cupping on other parts of the head may also cause the same, and Allah Azzawajjal knows best. The Hijama practitioner should take extra care and not remove a lot of blood. The top middle  part of the head (crown) is the Sunnah point - Sahih al Bukhari Vol. 3, Book 29, Hadith 62

You can find out more about the benefits of Hijama by clicking here.


The established Hadith confirm that the Recitation of the Qur'an was performed by the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) to treat people (mainly those inflicted with Magic or Evil Eye) and that there is no harm in reciting it yourself as long as it is only from the Qur'an;

A'isha (radhi Allahu anha) narrated that Allah's Apostle (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) used to treat with a Ruqyah saying, "O the Lord of the people! Remove the trouble The cure is in Your Hands, and there is none except You who can remove it (the disease)." 
Sahih al Bukhari Volume 7, Book 71, Number 640.

For strengthening the memory and progressing in Islamic Knowledge, the following verse of the Holy Qur’an should be recited (in Arabic) an odd number of times everyday after the Salaah and thereafter make supplication to Allah Azzawajjal with the intention that He strengthen your memory;

“My Lord! Expand for me my breast [with assurance]. Ease my task for me. Remove the knot [impediment] from my tongue. So that they may understand my speech.”

[Qur'an 20:25-28]

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Talbina (Barley Broth).

Talbina is one of the foods in the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu alayhi wasallam) which is more strongly established from the Hadith and was eaten by those suffering from illness or grief.

A'ishah (radhi Allahu anha) narrated that whenever one of her relatives died, the women assembled and then dispersed (returned to their houses) except her relatives and close friends. She would order that a pot of Talbina be cooked. Then Tharid (a dish prepared from meat and bread) would be prepared and the Talbina would be poured on it. A'ishah would say (to the women),"Eat of it, for I heard Allah's Apostle (sallAllahu alayhi wasallam) saying, 'The Talbina soothes the heart of the patient and relieves him from some of his sadness.' "
Sahih Al Bukhari Volume 7, Book 65, Number 328

And also;

It was narrated from A'ishah (radhi Allahu anha) that “You should eat the beneficial thing that is unpleasant to eat: Talbinah,” meaning broth. If any member of the family of the Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu alayhi wasallam) was sick, the cooking pot would remain on the fire until one of two things happened, either the person recovered or died.
Sunan Ibn Majah  Book 31, Hadith 3572. Classed as Hasan by Darussalam.

And also;

It was also narrated by A'ishah (radhi Allahu anha) that “If any of his family members became ill, the Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu alayhi wasallam) would order that some broth be made. And he would say: ‘It consoles the grieving heart and cleanses the ailing heart, as anyone of you cleanses her face of dirt with water.’”
Sunan Ibn Majah  Book 31, Hadith 3571. Classed as Hasan by Darussalam.

Ibn Al Qayyim (rahimullah) describes Talbina as being made from Sawwiq (wholemeal barley flour) cooked in milk or water, or both, and has the consistency of a thin porridge. Since Talbina is cooked with ground barley, it is highly beneficial and nutritious because it can be digested faster and the nutrients are absorbed into the body more effectively.

It is delicious served hot in the mornings for breakfast with a drizzle of honey, particularly on cold days.

Imam Ibn Al Qayyim (rahimullah) also said that "it [Talbina] has relaxation for the heart of the sick person", and it is assumed that this is because it is nutritious and filling and it warms and soothes the stomach. Sorrow and sadness tends to dry up one’s body, particularly the stomach, and of course, lack of wanted to eat food has much to contribute to that. Barley broths and soups help to moisten this dryness and flush away unnecessary accumulations or toxins related to illness. It soothes the body, comes to its defence, reduces tension, balances the different types of liquids and gasses in the body, lifts the spirit and helps the patient regain his/her poise.

Talbina Recipe.

Talbina is made by adding 1-2 tablespoons of barley flour (must be 100% wholegrain barley flour) to one and a half cups of water or milk, or a mixture of both. Add a few grains of salt, then cook and stir on a low heat for 10-15 minutes until the mixture thickens. It can be sweetened with honey and served with a dollop of quince jam if you like.

Recipe adapted from HealthMeansWealth.

Monday, 13 July 2009

The Benefits of Breastfeeding.

It is important to note that the very best of Allah’s human creations, His blessed Messengers (alayhisalaam) were breastfed. Allah inspired the mother of Musa (alayhisalaam) to put her baby in a basket in the river to save him from Pharaoh’s killing decree, Pharaoh’s family found him and wanted to keep him and looked everywhere for a wet-nurse to breastfeed him and Allah caused baby Musa (alayhisalaam) to refuse to be breastfed by any woman except his own mother.

Our beloved Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) in his childhood, suckled from his mother Lady Aminah (radhi Allahu anha), Thuwaybah – a slave girl of his uncle Abu Lahab, Umm Ayman and Halimah as-Sa’diyyah (radhi Allahu anha). And Allah Azzawajal knows best.

The children of the Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) were also breastfed. His son Ibrahim had a wet-nurse during his short life and when he passed away he was only a year and 10 months old, so there were two months of suckling left for him. Because of this, the Prophet (sallAllahu alayhi wasallam) said, as narrated by Al-Bara ibn Azib in Al Bukhari, "There is a wet-nurse for him in Jannah."

It is only in modern times that the wide use of artificial forms of baby-feeding, cow’s and goat’s milk formulas, have been used and sadly our sisters have left their homes in pursuit of careers which make them leave the superior role that Allah Azzawajjal has given them and pulled them away from the home to serve others and leave their own families. Unfortunately, some Muslim mothers feel breastfeeding will adversely affect their bodies, or be a hindrance to losing post-pregnancy weight, or they may think it is uncomfortable and painful.

Allah The Supreme tells us the recommended time of suckling a child in the Qur’an:

“And the mothers are to suckle their infants for two years, for those who wish to complete the suckling” 
(Surah Baqarah 2:233)

And also;

“We have enjoined upon the human being to treat his parents kindly. His mother bore him with strain upon strain, and his weaning is in two years.” 
(Surah Luqman 31:14)

The importance and blessing of breast-feeding has been mentioned by Allah the Sublime Himself, in not one, but a number of places in the Holy Qur’an, as the preserved Criterion for all eternity. Such is the status of this blessed act that it elevates a woman in rank and provides the complete nutrition our newborn babies need.

Fourteen hundred years after this verse was revealed, international organisations such as the World Health Organisation have issued many statements calling on mothers all over the World to breastfeed their children, whereas Islam enjoined that fourteen centuries ago.

The benefits of breastfeeding for the child include the following:

1. The mother’s milk is sterile, containing no germs.

2. The mothers milk contains all the complex amino acids and proteins required to help the newborn fight off childhood diseases and allergies. Breastfed children grow up healthier and stronger than their bottle-fed counterparts.

3. The mother’s milk cannot be imitated by any milk prepared from the milk of cows, goats or camels. It is composed in such a way as to meet the child’s needs day after day, from birth until weaning.

4. The mother’s milk contains sufficient amounts of protein and sugar that suit the infant completely, whereas the proteins in cow’s, goat’s and buffalo’s milk are difficult for the child’s stomach to digest, because they are suited to the offspring of those animals.

5. The development of children who are breastfed is faster and more complete than that of children who are bottle-fed.

6. The psychological and emotional bond between the mother and her child is strengthened to a great degree. Children grow up remaining close to their mother and respectful of her wishes insha’Allah.

7. The mother’s milk contains various elements that are essential to the child’s nourishment, in the right amounts and formats needed by his body, and in a form that is suited to his ability to digest and absorb. The nourishing content of the milk is not fixed; it changes day by day according to the child’s needs.

8. The mother’s milk is kept at a suitable temperature that meets the child’s needs, and can be given to him or her at any time.

9. Breastfeeding can be a natural means of contraception for some mothers, and is free of the complications that may accompany use of birth control pills, the coil (IUD) or injections.

10. The good character of the Muslim mother (patience, affection, wisdom and intelligence) is passed from her to the child during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

11. Because of the closeness and affection displayed at the time of breastfeeding, the newborns grow up with better manners and their mothers Du’as to Allah for them are always listened to.

The child feels ultimate comfort and security through being so close to his or her mother and their special bond is strengthened, so much so that in Islam if a non-related woman breastfeeds a child she becomes a foster mother to him or her and her children are foster sisters and brothers to him or her who he/she cannot marry! As the Holy Prophet (pbuh) said as is related in a number of Hadith, “Indeed, Allah has prohibited [marriage] among suckling relatives, as He has prohibited it among birth [or blood] relatives.”[Recorded by Sahih Al-Bukhari, Muslim]

There really is no contest between breastfeeding and bottle-feeding.

It is permissible with the parent’s joint agreement to have a child breastfed by another woman and that wet-nurse is entitled to a wage.

However, it is better if no one breastfeeds the child but his/her mother; because that is more beneficial, and that may be obligatory for her if the child will not accept the breast of anyone else or any other milk.

In Islam, unless there is a legitimate excuse, the mother is required to breastfeed her baby. It is an obligation upon both parents – the mother provides the milk and the father provides the material support for the mother even if they are divorced. If a parent thinks there is a need to wean the baby before the end of two years it is permissible after consultation and joint agreement.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

The Benefits of Dates.

Fresh ripe dates were the food Allah The Exalted provided for our Mother Maryam (on whom be peace) after she gave birth to 'Isaa (alayhisalaam) under the palm tree, as Allah says in the Qur'an;

"And shake toward you the trunk of the palm tree; it will drop upon you ripe, fresh dates."

Dates are considered one of the essential foods from the Sunnah and are prized in Middle Eastern culture for their sweetness and wholesomeness. They have the ability to metabolize quickly in the body, providing an essential energy boost for those who have been fasting all day.

It is recorded in the works of Imaam Al Bukhari (rahimullah) that Dates and Water where the only two foods available in the house of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) on most days;

Our Mother A'ishah (radhi Allahu anha) said to Urwa (radhi Allahu anhu), "O, the son of my sister! We used to see three crescents in two months, and no fire used to be made in the houses of Allah's Apostle (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) [i.e. nothing used to be cooked]." 'Urwa said, "What used to sustain you?" A'ishah said, "The two black things i.e. dates and water, except that Allah's Apostle had neighbors from the Ansaar who had some milch she-camels, and they used to give the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) some milk from their house, and he used to make us drink it."
Sahih Al Bukhari Volume 8, Book 76, Number 466

Foods which accompanied Dates in the meals of the Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

There are a number of authentic Hadith which report that the Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) sometimes ate dates with other foods. These foods are considered to be the best accompaniments for dates in terms of balancing their temperament and nutrients.

Fresh Ripe dates with [Snake] Cucumber.

Abdullah ibn Ja'far (radhi Allahu anhu) narrated that, "I saw the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) eating fresh dates with snake cucumbers."
Sahih Al Bukhari Volume 7, Book 65, Number 358

Dates with [Musk] Melon.

It is recorded that our Mother A'ishah (radhi Allahu anha) narrated, "The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) used to eat melon with fresh dates, and he used to say: "The heat of the one is broken by the coolness of the other, and the coolness of the one by the heat of the other.""
Classed as Hasan by Al Albani - Sunan Abi Dawood Book 27, Hadith 3827

Musk melon can be grown organically in the UK in a heated greenhouse or outside in the garden in a tunnel -

A drink of dates soaked overnight in water - Nabeez.

Nabeez is a drink made by soaking either dates or raisins overnight in water and it was provided for our Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) during his lifetime as reported in the authentic narrations. It's easy to make and nutritious and makes a great breakfast drink. More info can be found here -

Dates with Sawwiq [wholegrain barley flour].

It was narrated by Abu Burda (radhi Allahu anhu) that, "When I came to Medinah, I met Abdullah bin Salam (radhi Allahu anhu) and he said, "Will you come to me so that I may serve you with Sawiq (i.e. powdered barley) and dates, and let you enter a (blessed) house that in which the Prophet (sallallahu alahyi wasallam) entered?"...
Sahih Al Bukhari Volume 5, Book 58, Number 159

Occasions from Qur'an and Hadith relating to when dates were eaten.

As we can see from the above where Allah Azzawajal mentioned how Maryam (as) was provided with dates after having given birth, dates are a highly beneficial energy booster for new mothers.

Occasions from Hadith;

Before proceeding out for the Eid ul Fit'r Prayer [as a breakfast] - 
It was narrated by Anas bin Malik (radhi Allahu anhu) that, "Allah's Apostle (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) never proceeded (for the prayer) on the Day of 'Id-ul-Fitr unless he had eaten some dates. Anas also narrated: The Prophet used to eat odd number of dates.
Sahih Al Bukhari Volume 2, Book 15, Number 73

and also reported as Sahih in Jami` at-Tirmidhi Vol. 1, Book 5, Hadith 543

Dates should be shared with companions in a gathering, particularly if they are hungry - 
It was narrated by Jabala that "We were in Medinah with some of the Iraqi people, and we were struck with famine and Ibn Az-Zubair used to give us dates. Ibn 'Umar used to pass by and say, "The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) forbade us to eat two dates at a time, unless one takes the permission of one's companions." 
Sahih Al Bukhari Volume 3, Book 43, Number 635

For example, it would be a great blessing therefore to offer dates in the Mosque during Ramadhan at Iftaar for those who have prayed.

Dates for breaking the Fast - 
It was narrated by Anas ibn Malik (radhi Allahu anhu) that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) used to break his fast before praying with some fresh dates; but if there were no fresh dates, he had a few dry dates, and if there were no dry dates, he took some mouthfuls of water.
Classed as Hasan Sahih by Al Albani - Sunan Abi Dawood Book 13, Hadith 2349

The Sunnah is to consume an odd number [reported as 3 in Riyad As Saliheen, At Tirimithi] and in sha Allaah this is extremely beneficial for our health and should be practiced regularly because it helps not over-eating food at Iftaar time. The body processes the nutritional value of dates very quickly, preventing us from feeling the subsequent need to eat a lot.

Ibn Al Qayyim's commentary on dates.

Ibn Al Qayyim (rahimullah) said that eating fresh dates is particularly beneficial for people who have a cold temperament. They help to rectify a cold, stagnant stomach. But for those who have never eaten fresh dates before or are not used to it, it would cause more harm to start eating them frequently. Dates are beneficial in treating and preventing a number of different illnesses, including constipation, intestinal disorders, weight gain, heart problems, sexual weakness, diarrhoea and abdominal cancers.

In the Middle East, dates are consumed in a number of different ways; like mixing the paste of crushed dates with milk, nuts, yoghurt, or consuming it with bread and clarified butter.

The best dates are grown in the city of Madinah. They are generally sweeter and have a higher fibre content, which helps to provide an important energy boost at breakfast and normalise digestion. 

Dates are said to have the highest fibre content of all dried fruits and a daily serving of 20-35 grams of fibre in dates is recommended by the American Cancer Society. Dates are one of natures most highest sources of potassium; a mineral which is vital to the regular and healthy contractions of the heart muscle. Potassium is also required by the human body to balance the digestive system and nervous system.

It is also said that eating just one date each day guards against weakening eyesight for a lifetime.

The profound blessings of Ajwa' Dates.

Ajwa' dates are smaller and darker in colour and slightly less sweet than other varieties. Ma sha Allaah it is for this reason that I have personally found them more to my liking [easier to eat] than varieties which are larger and sweeter.

There is no doubt that the sand of Madinah where the Ajwa' date palm plantations stand even to this day is blessed and full of Shifa due to the sacred status of this city, and Saad bin Abi Waqaas narrated that God’s Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said, “Whoever eats seven Medinah dates [Ajwa'] for his breakfast will suffer from neither poison nor witchcraft for that day.” (Bukhari and Muslim).

King Saud University researchers find Awja Date's cancer prevention properties -

Purchase Ajwa' dates in the UK -

Friday, 3 July 2009

Hair care.

Maintaining the health and condition of the hair is an important aspect of the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). In Sahih al Bukhari, it is narrated that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said, “Whoever has hair, let him look after it properly.”

General Hair-care Recommendations;

Wash the hair regularly.

As recorded in Al Bukhari, the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) used to pour water three times on his head, and then rub the hair gently but thoroughly to ensure the whole scalp and roots of the hair had been wetted. The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) first perfumed his head with any beautiful scent which was available; taking it in his hands first he rubbed the right side of the head, then the left side, and finally the middle with the scent. That scent remained on him even after he had finished bathing.

Studies have shown that the best frequency for washing the hair is after every couple of days. The use of a mild medicated shampoo is recommended and it is advised not to shampoo the hair more than once at each washing unless it is very soiled otherwise it may result in brittleness and split ends. A separate rinse with a hair conditioner is also beneficial as it adds softness and helps with combing.

Women who have very long hair which is always plaited must undo the plaits and wash the hair thoroughly after completing the menses. It is not permissible just to make the hair wet or just to wet the tips of the hair.

Starting from the right hand side when combing the hair.

Our Mother A'ishah (radhi Allahu anha) narrated that "The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) used to like starting from the right in performing ablution, combing his hair and putting on his shoes."
Sahih al Bukhari Volume 7, Book 72, Number 745

Care when combing wet hair.

Using a fine-toothed comb on wet hair can cause immense stress on the hair shaft when it is wet, which leads to breakage and hair loss. Use a wide-toothed detangling comb and apply a little olive oil if required. Never pull at the hair when combing it.

Allow wet hair to dry naturally.

Using heated blow dryers can strip the hair of its natural moisture, causing split ends, wiriness and breakage. The hair is also more likely to become dry, frizzy and difficult to style.

Massage the scalp regularly with hair oil.

The use of hair oil is directly mentioned in the Sunnah;

Our Mother A'ishah (radhi Allahu anha) also narrated that "The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) used to (put) bend his head (out) to me while he was in Itikaf in the Mosque during my monthly periods and I would comb and oil his hair."
Sahih al Bukhari Volume 3, Book 33, Number 245

Massaging gently and regularly (once a week or so) using the fingertips, with any one of the following oils is recommended for increasing circulation and blood-flow to the scalp, thus strengthening the hair roots and conditioning the hair shaft. The best type of olive to use is Olive oil;

It was narrated from ‘Umar (radhi Allahu anhu) that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said; "Season (your food) with olive oil and anoint yourselves with it, for it comes from a blessed tree.”
Sunan Ibn Majah  Book 29, Hadith 3444. Classed as Sahih by Darusalaam.

The hair oil can be left on the hair for between 2-4 hours in sha Allah.

Using Henna.

Chemical-based hair colourants and highlights cause great damage to the hair and leak harmful toxins into the blood stream through the pores in the scalp. Henna is a natural dark red dye made from the dried and crushed leaves of the Henna plant. 100% pure Henna is safe to use even by pregnant women. It has hair-strengthening properties and also helps cool down the scalp, reduce headache and migraine, slow down the greying of hair, heal flakiness/itchiness, remove dandruff and kill lice. The use of Henna was the Sunnah of the Companions of our beloved Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), namely Abu Bakr As Siddique (radhi Allahu anhu) who applied it to his blessed hair and beard.

You can find out more about Henna by clicking here.

Henna should be mixed with an acidic liquid like lemon juice until the mixture forms a thick paste. This should then be covered and left to sit for 24 hours before more lemon juice can be added to make the consistency easier to apply. Henna can be left on the hair for between 2 and 8 hours.

The stain of pure Henna is always dark red/orange in colour. So called ‘Black Henna’ or ‘Brown Henna’ should never be used as it is most certainly a composition of toxic chemicals which could cause a very serious allergic reaction.

Sleeping properly.

Good quality sleep relieves stress which has been linked to hair loss. At the same time it is important to note that over-sleeping does not benefit the body at all and is not recommended. It was the practice of Rasool'Allah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and the Companions to sleep for a portion of the night then wake up in the last third of the night for Qiyyam ul Layl.

Improving dietary habits.

The old cliché of eating well really does have a significant impact on the condition of the hair. Eating a balanced diet, low in saturated fat and high in protein, vegetables, fresh fish, vitamins and minerals encourages strong, shiny, bouncy hair. Hair loss can be lessened by avoiding anything which leads to crash dieting, hormonal imbalances, poor blood circulation and anaemia. Regularly drinking a little whole milk, eating almonds, sesame seeds and dried fruit all help the condition of the scalp and hair.

Treating head lice according to Sunnah.

The cure for head lice according to the Sunnah of the beloved Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) is to shave the hair of the head, where Ka'b bin 'Umra (radhi Allahu anhu) narrated that, "Allah's Apostle (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) stood beside me at Al-Hudaibiya and the lice were falling from my head in great number. He asked me, "Have your lice troubled you?" I replied in the affirmative. He ordered me to get my head shaved. Ka'b added, "This Holy Verse:--'And if any of you is ill, or has ailment in his scalp (2.196), etc. was revealed regarding me. "The Prophet then ordered me either to fast three days, or to feed six poor persons with one Faraq (three Sas) (of dates), or to slaughter a sheep, etc (sacrifice) whatever was available.
Sahih Al Bukhari Volume 3, Book 28, Number 42

The reason for shaving the head is to allow the pores on the surface of the scalp to open and for excess moisture on the scalp to evaporate. This drying process aids the effectiveness of the next step. After shaving the head, one should apply a mixture of cayenne pepper and vinegar to the head, which helps to detach the lice and their eggs from the roots of the hair follicles. After this, they can be washed away. Female children and women need not shave their heads but should apply the mixture of vinegar and cayenne by separating their hair into sections to make the scalp easier to reach.

References -

"And complete the Hajj and 'umrah for Allah . But if you are prevented, then [offer] what can be obtained with ease of sacrificial animals. And do not shave your heads until the sacrificial animal has reached its place of slaughter. And whoever among you is ill or has an ailment of the head [making shaving necessary must offer] a ransom of fasting [three days] or charity or sacrifice. And when you are secure, then whoever performs 'umrah [during the Hajj months] followed by Hajj [offers] what can be obtained with ease of sacrificial animals. And whoever cannot find [or afford such an animal] - then a fast of three days during Hajj and of seven when you have returned [home]. Those are ten complete [days]. This is for those whose family is not in the area of al-Masjid al-Haram. And fear Allah and know that Allah is severe in penalty."

The Qur'an [2:196]

Friday, 26 June 2009

Hijama (Wet Cupping).

In Islamic Medicine, Hijama (wet cupping) is used by the permission of Allah for the treatment of every type of physical and mential illness or disease and its excellence is recorded in many of the Sahih Hadith.

There are basically two forms of cupping, wet and dry. The procedure of Dry cupping involves heating up a glass cup shaped like a miniature fish bowl with a flame. The warm glass cup is then placed on a fleshy part of the body (normally the back) and the skin, blood vessels and muscle underneath the cup is drawn upwards into it by the vacuum created inside the cup. This leaves a characteristic round mark on the skin after the cup is removed. This mark usually fades after a couple of days.

Wet cupping [Hijama] is only different in that tiny incisions are made on the surface of the skin before the cup is reapplied. Through the reapplication of the vacuum inside the cup, stagnated blood, other toxins and heat is sucked out of the body through the incisions.

The benefits that Allah provides in Hijama are endless and due to its stimulating and strengthening effects and cupping has been used successfully to treat bowel conditions (IBS, constipation and diarrhoea), headaches, black magic, back pain, arthritis, period pain, injuries, asthma, cellulite, fatigue (ME), anaemia, depression and emotional problems, atrophy, sciatica, common cold and flu, skin problems, blood pressure, menstruation problems in women, weight loss, and more.

According to books translated from the works of Ibn Al Qayyim (rahimullah) and others, administering Hijama between the shoulder blades helps cure shoulder pain, pains in the upper arms and pains of the throat. Hijama over the two posterior neck veins helps treat tremors of the head, and other conditions of the head, for example, of the face, teeth, ears, eyes, nose and throat.

Applying Hijama under the chin helps reduce face pain, toothache, and throat pain and helps to cleanse the head when applied at the proper time. Hijama on top of the foot helps against inflammation of the testes, leg ulcers and eases suppressed menses. Cupping behind the knee helps in the treatment of chronic abscesses, haemorrhoids and septic ulcers of the leg and foot. Hijama on the inner thighs is a good treatment for irritation of the back, gout and piles. Hijama can also help ease high blood pressure and high blood sugar.

The excellence of Cupping (Hijama) as a remedy.

It was narrated from Abu Hurairah (radhi Allahu anhu) that the Prophet (sallAllahu alayhi wasallam) said, "If there is any good in any of the remedies you use, it is in cupping [Hijama]."
Sunan Ibn Majah Book 31, Hadith 3605. Classed as Hasan by Darussalam.

And also;

Jabir bin 'Abdullah (radhi Allahu anhu) narrated that he paid Al-Muqanna a visit during his illness and said, "I will not leave till he gets cupped, for I heard Allah's Messenger (sallAllahu alayhi wasallam) saying, "There is healing in cupping."
Sahih Al Bukhari Volume 7, Book 71, Number 600.

And also;

Jabir bin 'Abdullah (radhi Allahu anhu) also narrated that, "I heard the Prophet (sallAllahu alayhi wasallam) saying, "If there is any good in your medicines, then it is in a gulp of honey, a cupping [Hijama] operation, or branding (cauterization), but I do not like to be (cauterized) branded."
Sahih Al Bukhari Volume 7, Book 71, Number 603.

When to get cupped;

Narrated by Abu Hurayrah (radhi Allahu anhu); "The Prophet (sallAllahu alayhi wasallam) said: If anyone has himself cupped on the 17th, 19th and 21st it will be a remedy for every disease."
Sunan Abi Dawood Book 28, Hadith 3852. Classed as Hasan by Sh. Al Albani (rahimullah).

The 17th, 19th and 21st [of the month] mentioned here is referring to the Lunar calendar.

It is generally understood that when the Moon is full, it has the strongest possible gravitational pull on the earth and its inhabitants.

The effect in human beings is that the volatile bodily fluids and humors are pulled into the uppermost part of the body during the 1 day either side of the full moon (and on the full moon). As the phases of the full Moon subside to the 17th, 19th and 21st of the lunar month, the volatile humours subside too and the underlying humours are pulled up into their place. It is within these underlying bodily fluids and humours that the patient might be suffering toxicity. Once these underlying humours come close to the skins surface within the upper body, any toxicity or excess can easily be extracted through Hijama.

This might also explain why the key sunnah Hijama points are always located on the upper part of the body (above the waist).

However, it's important to note that the patient does not need to wait for these dates if they are ill and have an urgent requirement to get cupped. Cupping can be applied on any day.

Hijama points of application from the Sunnah.

Top, middle of the head (crown).
It was also narrated by Ibn Abbaas (radhi Allahu anhu) that the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was cupped on his head for an ailment he was suffering from while he was in a state of Ihram. at a water place called Lahl Jamal located on the road to Makkah. Ibn 'Abbas further said: Allah s Apostle was cupped on his head for unilateral headache while he was in a state of Ihram.
Sahih al Bukhari Volume 7, Book 71, Number 602

Above the thigh [hip area].
Jabir ibn Abdullah (radhi Allahu anhu) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu alayhi wasallam) had himself cupped above the thigh for a contusion from which he suffered.
Sunan Abi Dawood Book 28, Hadith 3854. Classed as Sahih by Sh. Al Albani (rahimullah).

Either side of the neck (at the back) and on the shoulder.
It was narrated Anas ibn Malik that "The Prophet (sallAllahu alayhi wasallam) had himself cupped three times in the veins at the sides of the neck and on the shoulder. Ma'mar said: I got myself cupped, and I lost my memory so much so that I was instructed Surat al-Fatihah by others in my prayer. He had himself cupped at the top of his head."
Sunan Abi Dawood Book 28, Hadith 3851. Classed as Sahih by Sh. Al Albani (rahimullah).

Top of the Foot.
It was narrated from Jabir (radhi Allahu anhu) that the Prophet (sallAllahu alayhi wasallam) fell from his horse onto the truck of a palm tree and dislocated his foot. (One of the narrators) Waki’ said: “Meaning that the Prophet (sallAllahu alayhi wasallam) was cupped because of that [on the surface of the foot] for bruising.”
Sunan Ibn Majah  Vol. 1, Book 31, Hadith 3485. Classed as Sahih by Darusalaam. Also recorded in Abi Dawood Book 10, Hadith 1833 and confirmed as Sahih by Sh. Al Albani (rahimullah).

More information can be found here for general cupping points which are established by the Hijjaams.

Hijama for the one who is fasting;

There are a number of hadeeth on the matter of cupping during fasting and it seems as though it was initially outlawed.

It was narrated by Thawban that the Prophet (sallAllahu alayhi wassallam) said, "A man who cups and a man who gets himself cupped break their fast."
Sunan Abi Dawood Book 13, Hadith 2364. Classed as Sahih by Sh. Al Albani (rahimullah).

The reason may have been due to the hardship and weakness it causes upon the body, and Allah Azzawajjal knows best. But there are also narrations in Al Bukhari which suggest that the Holy Prophet (sallAllahu alayhi wassallam) was cupped while he was fasting.
Reference to Vol. 7, Book 71, Hadith 597.

And also;

It was narrated by Thabit Al-Bunani (radhi Allahu anhu) that Anas bin Malik (radhi Allahu anhu) was asked whether they disliked the cupping for a fasting person. He replied in the negative and said, "Only if it causes weakness."
Sahih Al Bukhari Volume 3, Book 31, Number 161.

My personal advice is to avoid it during fasting hours if the days are long and you fear it will cause weakness. It can always be performed during the night instead. However, there is no harm in those who are strong having it performed.

Hijama is permitted for the one who is in Ihram;

It was also narrated by Ibn Abbaas (radhi Allahu anhu) that the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was cupped on his head for an ailment he was suffering from while he was in a state of Ihram. at a water place called Lahl Jamal located on the road to Makkah. Ibn 'Abbas further said: Allah s Apostle was cupped on his head for unilateral headache while he was in a state of Ihram.
Sahih al Bukhari Volume 7, Book 71, Number 602

It is strongly encouraged to give payment to the Hajjaam (cupper), but my understanding is that it is forbidden to request payment, such as that they will not provide the treatment unless they are paid.

It was narrated by Anas bin Malik (radhi Allahu anhu) that the Prophet (sallAllahu alayhi wasallam) sent for a slave who had the profession of cupping, and he [the slave] cupped him. The Prophet ordered that he be paid one or two Sa's, or one or two Mudds of foodstuff, and appealed to his masters to reduce his taxes.
Sahih Al Bukhari Volume 3, Book 36, Number 481.

In other authentic narrations it is also mentioned that Rasool'Allah (sallAllahu alayhi wasallam) never withheld payment from the Hajjaam but at the same time, there are narrations which suggest that taking a payment for the price of blood, whereby Hijama treatment will not be provided unless the Hajjaam is paid, is forbidden;

`Aun bin Abu Juhaifa (radhi Allahu anhu) narrated that "My father bought a slave who practiced the profession of cupping. (My father broke the slave's instruments of cupping). I asked my father why he had done so. He replied, "The Prophet (sallAllahu alayhi wasallam) forbade the acceptance of the price of a dog, or blood, and also forbade the profession of tattooing, getting tattooed and receiving or giving Riba, (usury), and cursed the picture-makers."
Sahih Al Bukhari Vol. 3, Book 34, Hadith 299

Consideration must be made for the cupper since they incur expenses for equipment, traveling and time spent with the patient, particularly if they have no other source of income. It is strongly recommended that they be gifted with payment as indeed Allah loves those who have good manners and courteousness.

Hijama is a key weapon from Allah against sorcery.

Hijama is one of the ways in which Allah Azzawajjal cures sorcery in those who are touched by the Jinn and it is recommended for them to get Hijama performed by an experienced Hajjaam in their area and it must be performed at the right time. By the permission of Allah, they will be cured after a couple of sessions.

Ibn Al Qayyim (rahimullah) mentioned in his work Zaad al Ma'aad that the Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu alayhi wassallam) was cupped on the top of his head when he was afflicted with Sihr (witchcraft) and that it is of the best of cures for this ailment if it is performed correctly.

There is no authentic prohibition on applying Hijama on certain days of the week, particularly if the patient is very ill.

A few hijama practitioners choose not to cup their patients on a Wednesday due to the following Hadith;

Nafi’ (radhi Allahu anhu) is purported to have related that “Ibn ‘Umar  (radhi Allahu anhu) said: ‘O Nafi’! The blood is boiling in me. Bring me a cupper and let him be a young man, not an old man or a boy.’ Ibn ‘Umar said: ‘I heard the Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu alayhi wasallam) say: “Cupping on an empty stomach is better, and it increases one’s intellect and memory. And it increases the memory of one who has a good memory so whoever wants to be cupped, (let him do it) on a Thursday, in the Name of Allah. Avoid cupping on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Have yourselves cupped on Mondays and Tuesdays, and avoid cupping on Wednesdays, for that is the day on which the calamity befell Ayyub, and leprosy and leucoderma only appear on Wednesday or the night of Wednesday.”
Sunan Ibn Majah Vol. 1, Book 31, Hadith 3488.

This Hadith has been classed as Da'if (weak) by the consensus of scholars at Darussalaam. However in order to reconcile all the various hadith on the point of cupping days (and to make it easy upon the Muslims), it may be taken that it is acceptable to cup on a Wednesday if that day falls on either the 17th, 19th or 21st of the lunar month. But a Monday, Tuesday or Thursday are more preferred if any of them also fall on the 17th, 19th or 21st.

Healing from the Qur'an - Milk.

Milk is considered a blessed drink created by the Almighty Allah. It is both a food and a drink at the same time. Regarding Milk, Allah Azzawajal says in the Holy Qur’an, 

"And indeed, for you in livestock is a lesson. We give you drink from that which is in their bellies, and for you in them are numerous benefits, and from them you eat."

“In cattle is a lesson for you; We give you a drink they carry in their glands, that issues from between a secreting mucus (of the pituitary gland) and blood…” 

Allah the Exalted also mentions Milk as being present in Paradise;

"Is the description of Paradise, which the righteous are promised, wherein are rivers of water unaltered, rivers of milk the taste of which never changes, rivers of wine delicious to those who drink, and rivers of purified honey, in which they will have from all [kinds of] fruits and forgiveness from their Lord, like [that of] those who abide eternally in the Fire and are given to drink scalding water that will sever their intestines?"

Ibn Al Qayyim said that the best type of milk to drink is that which is fresh, has a bright white colour and a delicate sweetness. Milk helps alleviate depression and distress in adults and also helps to calm the spirit. 

Rinsing the mouth after drinking Milk is from the Sunnah.

It is important to rinse the mouth with water after drinking milk as this was the Sunnah of God’s beloved Messenger (pbuh) who once commented, because “it contains fat.” - Narrated by Ibn Abbas (radhi Allahu anhu) recorded in Sahih al Bukhari in Volume 1, Book 4, Number 210

The milk must come from an animal which is fed an organic vegetarian diet.

Nowadays, the milk sold in supermarkets in the West is from commercial dairy cattle which are pumped full of harmful vaccines and fed on a diet which contains meat by-products and fodder which is sprayed with pesticides and chemical fertilisers. There is no doubt that these toxins find their way into the animal's meat and milk.

Abdullah ibn Umar (radhi Allahu anhu) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu alayhi wasallam) prohibited eating the animal which feeds on filth and drinking its milk.
Sunan Abi Dawood. Book 27, Hadith 3776. Classed as Sahih by Sh Al Albani (rahimullah).

There is no harm in mixing milk with water as per the following Hadith;

It was narrated by Sahl  ibn Sad (radhi Allahu anhu) that a drink (milk mixed with water) was brought to the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) who drank some of it while a boy was sitting on his right and old men on his left. The Prophet said to the boy, "If you permit me, I'll give (the rest of the drink to) these old men first." The boy said, "I will not give preference to any one over me as regards my share from you, O Allah's Apostle!" The Prophet then put that container in the boy's hand. 
Sahih Al Bukhari Volume 3, Book 47, Number 774

Milk's Benefits.

According to the Dairy Council, the benefits of drinking fresh milk include healthy bone growth due to milk’s composition of calcium, phosphorous, protein and magnesium, and the healthy growth of teeth in children. Milk along with a balanced and healthy diet helps reduce blood pressure, instances of type-2 diabetes, some forms of cancer, cardiovascular diseases and obesity. A little honey can be added to milk that has been gently warmed up and then mixed thoroughly. This sweet milk should then be chilled before drinking. It is important to note that milk sweetened with sugar rather than honey causes plumpness of the body and face.

Milk should never be drunk excessively since it can cause dimness of the sight, aching of the joints, tooth and gum troubles and intolerance to lactose. Adding honey to milk when drinking can help alleviate these symptoms. Cow’s milk is the best type of milk since it is the most balanced and cows tend to graze on a wider range of plants than other animals.

Raw Organic Milk vs Processed Milk.

Without a doubt, raw milk is better for health than the processed and pasteurized milk which we buy at the market. Raw milk contains more nutrients, natural enzymes and probiotics.

The pasteurization process destroys milk's natural enzymes which help the human body assimilate the calcium contained in milk, as well as its other nutrients which the human body needs to grow, fight disease and function well. That is partly why breast milk is far better for babies that formula and also why, by the same token, raw milk is better for everyone than processed milk. Having said this, it's important to source your raw milk from farms where the milking animals have been vaccinated for contagious diseases like TB and Brucellosis and are fed a vegetarian organic diet.

85% of those who are lactose intolorant should be able to digest raw milk without any problems and raw milk does not spoil like pasteurized milk does if it is left out of the fridge overnight and can much easily be made into homemade butter, cream, soft cheese etc.

References - 

Organic Raw Milk (London and Home Counties) -

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

The Benefits of Fenugreek (Methi / Hulbah).

Fenugreek is a green herb with a pungent flavour which is traditionally used in South Asian cooking. It is easy to grow, even in the Western climate. It has a pleasing flavour when cooked and is my favourite herb :)

It is praised highly in Ayurvedic Medicine and is particularly beneficial for women and for cold, wet illnesses like common colds, flu and bronchitis as it can help clear congested phlegm and soothe a sore throat. Some herbal therapists (Hakeems) have said, “If people knew the benefits of fenugreek, they would pay its weight in gold.”

There is no reference to Methi in the Sahih Sunnah.

A number of sites around the net have reported that Rasool'Allah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) encouraged the use of Fenugreek as a treatment for the sick, but I have not been able to confirm that from any source of Sahih Hadith.

However, there is no doubt that Ibn Al Qayyim (rahimullah) did mention it in his works and that it is one of the oldest and most beneficial natural medicines and should therefore not be ignored.

Ibn Al Qayyim's commentary on Hulbah [Fenugreek].

Ibn Al Qayyim (rahimullah) said that the health benefits of this plant could be gained from drinking a concoction of Fenugreek seeds, which could help to sooth a sore throat, clear the respiratory tract,  help conditions like asthma, bronchitis, colic and breathing difficulties, ease hemorrhoids and constipation, relieve an upset stomach and strengthen the heart.

He suggested applying a hot cooked fenugreek concoction to skin eruptions and cold sores to sooth and soften them, and using it for washing hair. He also recommended cooking fenugreek with dates, honey or figs and eating this on an empty stomach to dissolve phlegm and relieve a persistent cough.

A teaspoon of fenugreek seeds can be soaked in a cup of hot water for 5 minutes and then this mixture can be drunk to gain the above benefits insha’Allah. Fenugreek can also be used to relieve an upset stomach, it can be used as an aphrodisiac and it also helps constipation, helps reduce cholesterol levels in the blood, lowers blood sugar levels, relieves water/urine retention and it also is particularly beneficial for women as it stimulates menstrual flow and balances female hormones, assists in childbirth by stimulating uterine contractions during labour and increases breast milk for breastfeeding women. Pregnant women should always consult their doctor before self-medicating with fenugreek or other herbal remedies.

Benefits for women.

Fenugreek ranks high among the ‘must haves’ for nursing mothers. This is due to the presence of diosgenin in the seeds and leaves which increases milk production in lactating mothers. Fenugreek has been known to be helpful in inducing childbirth by stimulating uterine contractions. It is also known to reduce labour pains. But here’s a word of caution. Excess intake of fenugreek seeds during pregnancy could put you in risk of miscarriage or premature childbirth. As well as Diosgenin, fenugreek contains isoflavones with oestrogen-like properties which help reduce symptoms like discomfort and menstrual cramps associated with PMS. These compounds also ease menopausal symptoms like hot flashes and mood fluctuations. 

Women who are in child-bearing age are more prone to iron deficiency due to the monthly loss of blood, also during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Including green leafy veggies like fenugreek in your diet can supply a good amount of iron. But make sure to add tomatoes to the dish when cooking it to enhance the iron absorption.

Fenugreek for medicinal use can come in a number of different forms, young fresh leaves, dried leaves, seeds, essential oil or powdered in capsule form. All of these are available in Indian/Pakistani grocery stores or on the Internet.

Fenugreek can be grown for its mildly spicy leaves and shoots by soaking the seed in water for about 30 minutes and then planting it into the ground or into a window box in a bright sunny spot on the windowsill. Young leaves can be cut and used as a garnish, in fenugreek tea, pakoras, curries, in breads or in stews and casseroles.

References -

Turmeric; beneficial for Skin & maybe even for Cancer.

The use of turmeric is neither from the Qur'an nor the Sunnah, but nonetheless, it is a highly beneficial spice and this is the reason for mentioning it in this post.

Turmeric is derived from the root of a subcontinental plant, where the root is dried and ground to powder to produce a bright yellow spice used mainly in South Asian cuisine. Turmeric has been used in India for over 2500 years; as a dye and an ingredient in food and beauty products. Long renowned for its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, Turmeric proves exceptionally beneficial in the treatment of a wide variety of illnesses including Alzheimer’s, arthritis and some forms of cancer. Turmeric has been used in both Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for centuries.

Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory and antiseptic which helps in healing cuts, burns, stings and bites. When combined in a dish with cauliflower, it can help sufferers of prostrate cancer. A paste made of turmeric can also help reduce skin melanoma. Turmeric is a natural liver detoxifier and has been used in Chinese Medicine as a natural treatment for depression. Sufferers of gallstones or bile obstructions and pregnant women should consult their doctor before using turmeric in natural remedies.

Turmeric is particularly beneficial in evening out skin pigmentation. It can be mixed with besan (gram flour) and cucumber juice and lemon juice to form a paste. The paste should be applied to the affected area for 15 minutes. Used frequently, you should be able to notice a more even skin tone insha’Allah. A tea made with Turmeric root is very good for fighting the bacteria which causes diarrhoea. Turmeric root powder (Haldi) should be used in cooking and can be added to stews and casseroles as well as omelettes and in marinades for meat and vegetables. 


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