Dr. Inamul Bashir
“Hijama” ,in Arabic, literally means “to suck” and to “return to a normal state” of internal balance. Hijama is a wet cupping therapy in which blood is drawn by local suction from a small skin incision. A vacuum is created in a cup and placed on the body at certain specific points. 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 the cup is removed 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 cupping or Hijama.
It ultimately helps the body to create 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 the body. It expels negative, unhealthy elements from the body and allows it to replenish itself.
Cupping therapy has a long history and 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.
This therapy is effective for various diseases and conditions, such as paralysis, blood-related conditions including anaemia and haemophilia, rheumatic diseases including arthritis and fibromyalgia, gynaecological disorders, blood pressure, allergies and infections, asthma, pain management, acne, hypertension and cough. It boosts the circulatory and immune systems, cleanses and detoxifies the body, treats illness and relaxes the patient and improves fertility.
Hijama is also useful for treating many muscular, skeletal, neurological, immune, cardio-vascular, respiratory, digestive and urinary issues.
Wet cupping (Hijama) has remained a popular remedy practiced in many parts of the Muslim world. This is because Hadith from Muhammad al-Bukhari, Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj Nishapuri and Ahmad ibn Hanbal support its recommendation and use by our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Thus , the therapy was often practiced by Muslim scientists who elaborated and developed the method further.
Muslims practice Hijama cupping therapy in accordance to the way of Prophet Muhammad(PBUH). It means that the patient and the Hijama practitioner should have done their ablutions (wudu) and should recite Quran during the Hijama procedure.
This therapy form is an Islamic, natural, holistic and healing therapy. Hijama was gifted to our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) by Almighty Allah during his Night Journey and Ascension (Laylatu’l-Isra’ wa’l-Mir’aj). “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(PBUH)”(Sahih; Sunan Ibn Majah). Hijama was declared the best of medicines by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) alongside the Quran. He (PBUH) said: “Indeed, the best of remedies you have is Hijama” – Saheeh Al Bukhari. 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 ).
Ibn Umar (AS) reported that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “Hijama cupping on an empty stomach is best. It increases the intellect and improves the memory.” (Sahih; Sunan Ibn Majah). . It also serves to alleviate, mental, emotional, spiritual and metaphysical issues. It is very relaxing and dispels anxiety and depression. Ibn al-Qaiyum (AS) mentions that the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) was cupped on his head when he was afflicted with black magic and that it is from the best of cures for this if performed correctly [Zad al-Ma’ad].
The traditional Sunnah points for Hijama therapy are on the upper back, which essentially target the heart, lungs, brain and spine. “Hijama cupping on the back of the neck treat seventy-two illnesses” (Collected by al-Tabarani). Hijama serves to cleanse and unblock major arteries and veins. Anas(AS) narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) used to have Hijama cupping done on the veins on the side of the neck and the upper back. (Sunan al-Tirmidhi). 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).
The Prophet (PBUH) 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.” (Saheeh Muslim).
Despite all these references and recommendations by our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), it is very unfortunate that the Hijama wet cupping is a fast-disappearing practice in modern times. It is a “forgotten Sunnah” that has been erased from our valuable history due to modern medicine and surgery. In Kashmir, the situation is worse. The people here are not much familiar with this Hijama practice and the benefits which it continues to offer. Although there are a few Hijama centres throughout the valley but that is not enough. We need to popularize this practice of Hijama using the print and electronic media. We need to revive and establish this practice of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and 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. This is the time to choose a career in this blessed profession which was recommended and praised by our Holy Prophet Muḥammad (PBUH).The career of a professional Hijama therapist is fulfilling and benefits the practitioner in this life and the next. The least it can do is to help us revive the forgotten Sunnah of Hijama.
The author, a Lecturer in Physics, is currently posted at BHSS, Tral. He can be reached at: : firstname.lastname@example.org