Is cupping/getting one’s blood drawn sunnah? If it is sunnah, is there a certain time to do it? Does cupping invalidate fasting and wudu?

Details of the Question

Is cupping/getting one’s blood drawn sunnah? If it is sunnah, is there a certain time to do it? Does cupping invalidate fasting and wudu?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Cupping (hijamah) means to get one’s blood drawn with the intention of protecting one’s health or for treatment.

It is known that cupping was a method of protecting health and treatment before and during the time of the Prophet (pbuh), that he had cupping and that he encouraged others to have cupping. Accepting cupping as one of the best treatment methods (1), the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and his Companions are narrated to have had cupping in general for pains and headache (2) on their heads, shoulders, neck veins, hips and feet (3) and it is narrated that the Prophet said cupping strengthened the intellect and memory (4).

Cupping is advised on Monday, Tuesday or Thursday, and on the seventeenth, nineteenth and twenty-first days of the lunar months (5); in addition, there is some information about what parts and veins/vessels of the body are appropriate for cupping and some examples of cupping practice. (6) Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya states that the advice and information in the hadiths coincide with what the doctors of the period agreed and that according to the view of those doctors, blood pressure increased based on the movement of the moon and that the best time for cupping was the middle of the lunar month and the week that followed and that this period is more useful for cupping unless there is an emergency. (7) Scholars like Ibn Hajar and Ayni state that Bukhari did not include the hadiths mentioned above in his book because he found them weak and that there is no certain time for cupping. (8)

It is known that tides occur based on various positions of the moon in its orbit in the sea and even on land and in the atmosphere and that they reach the highest level in the phases of the new moon and full moon. Some researches done today show that the moon has similar effects on human body, that changes are observed in the hormone and liquid balance in the body in full moon and that the puerperal and menstrual bleeding in women are more severe then. Therefore, it is understood that if the hadiths that advise certain time periods are examined in terms of hadith technique and evaluated under the light of new scientific research, interesting results will be obtained.

It is known that the Prophet (pbuh) paid some money to Abu Tayba, who was a slave, for cupping. (9) When Anas b. Malik was asked whether cupping fee was halal, he answered it by reporting this incident. (10) It is not clearly stated in his narration whether the payment was the fee for cupping but Ibn Abbas said, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) paid the fee in this incident and added: "If it were haram, the Prophet would not have paid any money." (11) On the other hand, it is narrated that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) prohibited blood money (12) and that he said the income of the cupper was dirty (13). Some scholars interpreted the blood money in the first hadith as the money received directly by selling blood while others interpreted it as cupping fee. If it is taken into consideration that Abu Juhayfa, who narrated the hadith, bought a slave that practiced cupping and broke his instruments he used for cupping and when he was asked why he did so, he narrated that hadith, it can be thought that at least the view of the narrator is like that. (14)

Due to those different narrations, different ijtihads were made beginning from the time of the Companions. Some scholars attribute the prohibition of the Prophet (pbuh) to the profession of cupping being usually practiced by slaves and regarded as a low profession in terms of social status and they say it is not permissible for free people to charge money for cupping; some scholars say the reason for the prohibition is that it is a service and duty that needs to be done freely among Muslims. According to a view, it was forbidden to charge money previously and that the prohibition was removed afterwards; according to another view, the prohibition in the hadith does not show that it is haram but that it is makruh tanzihi.

It is stated in hadith resources that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said the fasting of both the person who performed cupping and the person who had cupping would be invalidated (15), that he had cupping when he was fasting (16) and that cupping would not invalidate fasting (17).

Anas b. Malik said they did not have cupping when they were fasting and attributed it to the fact that it would cause trouble to the person who was fasting. (18) According to Hanafis, who base their view on the first hadith, cupping invalidates fasting. However, the majority states that cupping does not invalidate fasting claiming that this hadith was abrogated. Nevertheless, even those scholars advise that cupping should be made after iftar since it could cause trouble to the person who is fasting.

When those two hadiths and the other narrations are evaluated together, the hadith "the fasting of both the person who performs cupping and the person who has cupping will be invalidated" should be understood as "the fasting of both the person who practices cupping and the person who has cupping face the danger of being invalidated." For, the person who performs cupping sucks blood and it is possible for blood to go down his throat and the person who has cupping can become too weak to continue fasting. As a matter of fact, Anas b. Malik stated that cupping was not regarded appropriate because it would weaken the person who was fasting. (19) Therefore, to give blood does not invalidate fasting.

It is known that the Prophet (pbuh) had cupping when he was in ihram (20); therefore, it is permissible for a person who is in ihram to have cupping. If some part of the body is shaved before cupping, according to some scholars, the general decrees about shaving are valid; however, according to others, a special permission is in question here and fidyah is not necessary, or this state is regarded as a matter of extenuation while determining the amount.

The views of the madhhabs related to bleeding are valid as to whether cupping invalidates wudu or not. According to Hanafi, Hanbali and Zaydi scholars, who hold the view that bleeding invalidates wudu, bloody cupping invalidates wudu; according to Shafii and Hanbali madhabs, cupping does not invalidate wudu. (21)

Footnotes:

1. Bukhari, Tibb, 13; Muslim, Musaqat, 62, 63.
2. Bukhari, Tibb, 15; Abu Dawud, Tibb, 3.
3. Bukhari, Tibb, 14, 15; Abu Dawud, Manasik, 35, Tibb, 4. 5; Tirmidhi, Tibb, 12; Ibn Majah, Tibb, 21.
4. Ibn Majah, Tibb, 22
5. Abu Dawud, Tibb, 5; Tirmidhi, Tibb, 12; Ibn Majah. Tibb, 22
6. Abu Dawud, Tibb, 5; Ibn Majah, Tibb, 21
7. Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, at-Tibbbun-Nabawai (published by Adil al-Azhari-Mahmud Faraj al-Uqda), Cairo 1410/1990, p. 42, 45
8. Ibn Hajar, Fathul-Bari, XXI, 266-267; Ayni, Umdatul-Qari, XVII, 374-375
9. Bukhari, Tibb, 13
10. Muslim, Musaqat, 62
11. Bukhari, Ijarah, 18; Muslim, Musaqat, 66
12. Bukhari, Buyu, 25, 113
13. Abu Dawud, Buyu 1, 38; Tirmidhi, Buyu, 46
14. Ayni, Umdatul-Qari, IX, 287-288; Ibn Hajar, Fathul-Bari, IX, 165, 300-301
15. Bukhari, Savm, 32; Abu Dawud, Savm, 29; Tirmidhi, Savm, 60
16. Bukhari, Savm, 32, Tibb, 11; Abu Dawud, Savm, 30
17. Abu Dawud, Savm, 31; Tirmidhi. Savm, 24
18. Abu Dawud, Savm, 30
19. Bukhari, Savm, 32
20. Bukhari, Savm, 32, Tibb, 12. 14. 15; Abu Dawud, Menâsik, 35
21. see Diyanet İslam Ansiklopedisi, Hacamat item.

 

CUPPING (HIJAMAH)

Hijamah (cupping) means to get one’s blood drawn from between two shoulders, the back, the back part of the head or some other place of the body through a glass, cup, bottle or horn with the intention of treatment. It is among the advice of the Prophet (pbuh) about health and a sunnah that he himself practiced.

Cupping is a general method of treatment that is used in order to eliminate the disorders caused by extra blood in the body rather to treat a certain disease.

This method, which was used by an instrument called "cupping knife", was replaced by drawing blood through an injector. A cupping knife is an instrument resembling a comb that makes a series of scratches on the body. Knives that are attached to a spring with a trigger in a copper box with many slits on it come out of the slits when a button is pushed and scratches occur on the body. Blood is drawn from the scratches by using a glass, cup, etc. A kind of leech is also used for it. The leech is placed on the painful place of the body and it sucks the dirty blood.

No matter what instrument and method is used, what matters is to get blood drawn. Cupping that is made upon the examination and advice of a specialist is a useful treatment method that is permissible in Islam.

Actions are dependent upon intentions. Cupping that is made with the intention of following the Sunnah and for the health of our body, which is entrusted to us, is regarded as worshipping. For, we can worship and fulfill our duties only with a healthy body.

There is definitely a meaning and wisdom behind the things that the Prophet (pbuh) did and advised us to do. His life is an example for us: "Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of Allah." (al-Ahzab, 33/21)

Abdullah b. Abbas narrates that a group of angels that the Prophet (pbuh) passed by said to him, "Order cupping to your ummah!" (Ali Nasif, at-Taj, III, 203)

Hz. Prophet (pbuh) himself had cupping by Abu Tayba; he got blood drawn from his head, paid money for it and said, "The best way to get blood drawn is cupping. (Or, cupping is one of the best ways of treatment.)"(Bukhari, Tibb 13; Muslim, Musakat 62, 63; Abu Dawud, Nikah 26, Tibb 3)

Hz. Prophet (pbuh) had cupping when he was in ihram too. (Bukhari, Savm, 22; Muslim, Hajj 87, 88; Abu Dawud Manasik 35). Scholars unanimously agree that cupping is permissible in ihram unless one has his hair cut. Similarly, the Prophet (pbuh) had cupping when he was fasting too. That is, he got his blood drawn. (Bukhari, Tibb II; Abu Dawud, Siyam 29)

According to what is reported from Nafi, Ibn Umar said to him, “Blood has eaten me (by accumulating). Fetch me a cupper and find a young one. Do not chose an old one or a child.”

Nafi says, Ibn Umar said, I heard the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) say, "To have cupping when one is hungry is more useful. To have cupping increases the intellect and memory. It strengthens the ability of a hafiz to memorize. He who wants to have cupping should do so on Thursday by mentioning Allah's name." (Ibn Majah, Kitabut-Tibb, 22)

Ibn Hajar gives the following in Cupping part of the explanation of Bukhari as follows: Bukhari has a chapter called "What time to have cupping" in his Sahih and he reports that Abu Musa had cupping at night and that Ibn Abbas states in a hadith that the Prophet (pbuh) had cupping when he was fasting.

Ibn Hajar writes the following regarding the issue: There are a few hadiths about the appropriate times for cupping but none of them is in compliance with the condition Bukhari lays. It seems to me that Bukhari wanted to say that cupping could be done when it was necessary and that there was not a certain time to do it. For, he narrated that cupping was practiced at night and the hadith that the Prophet (pbuh) had cupping when he was fasting.

It is based on a medical fact that cupping, that is, getting blood drawn, is useful to human health. The benefit of cupping is observed especially in treatment of some dermatological diseases.

Halid ÜNAL

 

GETTING BLOOD DRAWN

Blood is an important substance for life; it flows in veins, reaching the smallest cells of the body, carries food to them. On average, a person has blood at a rate of about one twelfth to one fifteenth of his body weight. 

In today’s science of medicine, blood is drawn from a person for three purposes: For examination and analysis, for treatment; for transfusion.

1. For examination: A little or a big amount of blood can be drawn based on the situation. A little amount of blood can be taken from fingertips or earlobes and from heels of babies. A few drops of blood taken by pricking the fingertip is enough to count leukocytes and erythrocytes and to examine their forms and properties. In some diseases, it is necessary to take more blood in order to search whether some substances like sugar, urea and cholesterine exist in the blood. This amount is taken from the vein in the elbow cavity.

2. For treatment: If blood pressure goes up suddenly, if some poisonous substances accumulate in the blood, etc., as much blood as necessary is taken from the vein in the elbow cavity with injectors or by cutting the vein in order to heal the patient.

3. For blood transfusion: Blood is drawn from a healthy person from a vein with a thick injector in order to give it to an ill or wounded person.

Drawing blood was applied in the form of cupping in the past; cupping is sometimes used today too. In order to treat some illnesses, it is necessary to accumulate blood somewhere on the skin or by scratching the skin to draw some blood. This application is called "cupping". Bottles, cups, horns, etc. were used for cupping. On the other hand, blood is sucked by attaching a leech on the body.

In diseases like afflux of blood in the lungs, bronchitis, nephritis and pericarditis, the method of "dry cupping" is applied on the skin on these organs. The air in the glass, bottle or cup is emptied with fire; therefore, blood afflux is seen in the skin there; and this part first becomes red and then dark purple. This operation takes two or three minutes. In this method of cupping, it is possible to save the inner organs from blood afflux by drawing the blood to the skin from the organs inside.

The second method used in cupping is "bloody cupping". The places that turn red and dark purple after dry cupping are crushed with a cupping knife or a sterilized knife. Blood starts to flow out from those places. They are wiped with cotton and cupping glasses are placed again. The cups suck the places that are crushed and blood fills in the cups slowly.

The method of bloody cupping is generally applied related to diseases like blood afflux to lungs, pneumonia, severe infections in the respiratory tract, pericarditis and nephritis. On the other hand, it is known that cupping is useful for fat people and people having a lot of blood though they do not have any apparent diseases.

In today’s developing medicine, very effective new drugs and methods of drawing blood are used.

Getting blood drawn (hijamah) is something that the Prophet gave importance and encouraged his ummah. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) himself got his blood drawn several times. It is narrated that he had cupping on the seventeenth, nineteenth and twenty-first of lunar months. (see Tirmidhi, Tibb, 12; Abu Dawud, Tibb, 5)

According to what Anas b. Malik narrates, the places where the Prophet (pbuh) got blood drawn were the two veins at the back sides of his neck and the part between two shoulders. (Ibn Majah, Tibb, 21). Ibn Abbas reported the following from the Messenger of Allah (pbuh): "On the night of Miraj (Ascension), all of the groups that I encountered said to me, "O Muhammad! Continue to get blood drawn and order your ummah to do it." (Tirmidhi, Tibb, 12; Ibn Majah, Tibb, 20; Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, I, 354).

The Messenger of Allah states the following about when to have cupping and its medical benefits: "It is more appropriate to have cupping when one is hungry. There is cure and barakah in it. On the other hand, having cupping strengthens the intellect and memory." (Ibn Majah, Tibb, 22).

It is possible and permissible to get blood drawn in Ramadan while fasting. However, it is makruh if it weakens the body and makes fasting difficult. It is narrated that the Prophet had cupping when he was fasting but it is also narrated that he prohibited others from having cupping while fasting. (see Bukhari, Tibb, II, Sawm, 32; Abu Dawud, Sawm, 28, 29, 30; Tirmidhi, Sawm, 59, 61; Ibn Majah, Siyam, 18; Ahmad b. Hanbal, V, 363, 364, I, 248). Accordingly, it is more appropriate to have cupping at night in Ramadan unless there is a necessity.

Hamdi DÖNDÜREN

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