Definition of Ruqya
Ruqya in Islam is recitation of the Qur’an, the use of authentic supplications and the seeking of refuge in Allah (SWT) using His Perfect Names and Attributes. All of these are means of treatment for a person suffering from ailments such as the Evil Eye, Envy, Jinn possession, Black Magic or other ailments such as fever, depression, cancer etc.
Types of Ruqya and its conditions
There are 2 types of Ruqya:
- Ruqya Shar'iyyah
- Ruqya Shirk'iyyah
This is Ruqya that is free from any forms of shirk (associating partners with Allah) and revolves around recitation of the Qur’an, the use of authentic supplications and the seeking of assistance and refuge in Allaah (SWT) alone. Ruqya Shar'iyyah should meet 3 conditions as mentioned by the scholars, and it is from their consensus that the legalisation of Ruqya is achieved when the 3 conditions are met. They are:
- It must be with the words of Allah (Qur’an), his names and his attributes.
- It must be in the Arabic language or a language that is clearly understood by the people.
- To believe that the Ruqya being done has no benefit by itself, but the benefits and cure are from Allaah alone.
These conditions can be found in ‘Fath Al-Bari’ and in the sayings of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah concerning healing the one who is possessed.
Evidence can be found in the Sunnah of the Prophet ﷺ in regards to Ruqya being allowed; this is encouraged in the following Hadith:
Awf Ibn Malik al-Ashja’i (RAA) narrated that he said to the Prophet ﷺ: “O Allah’s Messenger! We used to do Ruqya during the days of Jahiliyyah (pre-islamic era). What do you think of that?” He ﷺ replied: "Present your Ruqya to me; there is nothing wrong with it as long as it does not involve Shirk." (Sahih Muslim)
Therefore, Ruqya Shar'iyyah is permissible and legal in Islam.
This type of Ruqya leads to sin and destruction upon the individual as it involves calling upon other than Allaah (SWT). It entails seeking assistance from the Jinn, Magicians, Horoscopes, Charms & Amulets etc. Therefore, it is clear that its practice is completely forbidden in Islam, which is evident from the above Hadeeth of the Prophet ﷺ.
Who can perform Ruqya?
The scholars mention that Ruqya is not a practice which can only be performed by a particular individual or individuals, rather anyone can perform Ruqya to themselves or to others. It is possible that a man can do Ruqya to a woman and a wife can do Ruqya to her husband and there is no doubt that piety brings about goodness. Allah (SWT) says in the Qur'an: “Verily, Allah accepts from the Muttaqeen” (Al-Ma’edah: 27)
Question put to Shaykh Abdel-Aziz Ibn Baaz (RA)
Q. There was a debate about those who read Qur’an to treat people with Ruqya. Some people said that it is not permissible for ordinary people to use the Qur’an to treat people with Ruqya. That this should only be done by those who are well-versed in knowledge of the Shariah. Others said that it is sufficient for the one who wants to perform Ruqya to have memorized the Book of Allaah, to have a sound belief, to be righteous and to have Taqwa of Allah. I hope that you can dispel our confusion on this matter and give us the Shar’i ruling.
A. The correct view is that it is permissible for every reader who can recite the Qur’an well, understands its meanings, has a sound belief, does righteous deeds and is of upright conduct to perform Ruqya. It is not essential for him to have knowledge of minor matters or to have studied all branches of knowledge in depth. This is because of the story of Abu Sa’eed and the man who had been stung by a scorpion, “… and we did not know that he ever did Ruqya before that incident,” as is stated in the Hadeeth. (Bukhari & Muslim).
The Raaqi must have a good intention and want to benefit the Muslims. He should not be concerned with money or payment so that his reading will be more beneficial. And Allaah knows best. [Al-Lu’lu’ al-Makeen min Fataawaa Ibn Jibreen, p. 22]
Sincerity of intention
All learning and actions should be done for the sake of Allah alone and in accordance with the Sunnah of the Prophet ﷺ. It is narrated on the authority of Amir ul-Mu’mineen, Abu Hafs, Umar ibn al-Khattab (RAA), that he said: "I heard the Messenger of Allah ﷺ say: “Actions are according to their intentions, and everyone will get that which he intended. Whosoever migrates with an intention for Allah and His Messenger, then his migration will be for the sake of Allah and his Messenger. Whoever migrates for a worldly gain or to marry a woman, then his migration will be for the sake of whatever he migrated for.” (Bukhari & Muslim)
Narrated by the Mother of the Believers, Aisha (RAA), who said: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: "He who innovates something in this matter of ours [Islam] which is not from it, will have it rejected [by Allah]. (Bukhari)
Knowledge is of 2 types:
- Islamic knowledge which includes knowledge of Tawheed, knowledge of what is Halal and Haram, knowledge of the next life and so on
- Worldly knowledge such as knowledge of people and their different natures and other branches of knowledge connected to this worldly life.
The one who wishes to treat others must have these two types of knowledge. He must also have experience which qualifies him to treat people. This includes knowledge of the jinn and devils and their ways, knowledge of how to deal with them and knowledge of the patient and their relationship with Allah (SWT). The one who wishes to treat others must also be aware and pious both outwardly and inwardly. He should be regular in his performance of acts of worship and should strive to increase by offering the recommended acts of worship aswell when possible. All this annoys and overpowers the Shayateen.
Mental illnesses are similar to the illnesses caused by Jinn possession which causes some people to confuse the issue of mental illness with illnesses caused by the Jinn, Evil eye or witchcraft. it is therefore important to be able to differentiate between the two.
How is sickness diagnosed?
In the case where sickness is caused by the Jinn, as is the case of any kind of medical ailment, it is essential to diagnose the problem by finding out what caused it. Once the practitioner becomes aware of the reason(s) for which the person is suffering from the ailment, only then can he begin to treat the patient. If the patient was affected because of witchcraft, the practitioner will offer a remedy that tackles witchcraft. If the sickness was caused by the evil eye, he will use a remedy that deals with the evil eye and so on. In each case he will use the appropriate treatment required.
What a Raqi should look out for?
Below is a general overview of some of the points a Raqi should find answers to when diagnosing a person:
- The type of ailment the person is suffering from.
- When this sickness or problem began.
- From any dreams experienced by the patient, the practitioner may be able to diagnose the cause of the problem. This will help shed light on whether the affliction was caused as an act of revenge, a case of love or caused by witchcraft etc.
- Does the patient feel unable to remember Allah, read Qur’an or listen to the Qur’an?
- Does the patient get sleepy or drowsy. If so, what times?
- Does the patient feel pain moving through their body or any numbness in the private areas?
- Does the patient feel that they want to cry for no reason?
- Does the patient feel extreme tightness in the chest?
- Does the patient experience continual headaches which are not relived by painkillers?
- Are there menstrual irregularities in women?
These are some of the important questions which need to be addressed when seeking to diagnose a person.
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