Will you give information about the Hadiths related to the Black Cumin? Is the Black Cumin remedy for all kinds of Illnesses?

The Details of the Question

The Prophet (pbuh) advised the use of black cumin (nigella sativa). Did he give any information about its dosage? How much black cumin should be used a day? Should it be eaten? Should it be swallowed without being chewed? Should it be taken while hungry or full? Should it be eaten alone? Should it be mixed with something? How did the Prophet use the black cumin and how did he advise it to be used?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

2. (3986)- Abu Hurayra (radiyallahu anh) narrates: "The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

"There is healing in black cumin for all diseases except death." [Bukhari, Tibb 7; Muslim, Salam 89, (2215); Tirmidhi, Tibb 5, (2042), 22, (2071)]


It is stated in the hadith above that the black grain that is called black cumin will heal all diseases except death. The hadith reached us in various versions. Ibn Hajar states that he found an explanation about how to use the black cumin for the common cold accompanied by extreme sneezing in a version of the marfu narration of the hadith:

"The black cumin is cleaned and crushed into fine powder; then, it is mixed with olive oil; three drops are placed in each nostril." In another narration, it is explained how to use it without the name of the disease being mentioned:

"It was asked: "What is black grain?" He answered: "It is Shuniz (black cumin)" He was asked: "How shall I use it?" He said, "Take 21 grains of black cumin; tie them in a piece of cloth. Then, put it in water and keep there for one night. Let one drop into your right nostril and two drops into your left nostril in the morning.  Let two drops into your right nostril and one drop into your left nostril the next morning.  Let one drop into your right nostril and two drops into your left nostril in the third morning." Ibn Hajar continues his explanation as follows:

"What is concluded from the narration above is this: What is meant by black cumin's healing all diseases does not mean that it should be used on its own for all diseases. On the contrary, it may be used on its own at times; it may be used by being mixed with something else; it may be crushed finely and used; it may be used without being crushed. It may be eaten; its oil may be drunk; it may be used as drops, etc."

Some scholars found the phrase "all diseases" mentioned in the hadith as something general and wanted to make it particular by the phrase "that can be treated with it..." They said, "It is good for cold diseases, not for hot diseases."

Scholars explaining the hadiths made some explanations whose details we will not mention here and regarded it appropriate to limit its general decree covering all diseases by saying "some diseases". Even Abu Bakr Ibnu'l-Arabi agrees with this opinion and says,

"According to doctors, honey is superior to black cumin in terms of curing all diseases; however, there are such diseases that if those who suffer from them eat honey, they get worse. What is meant by the verse about honey stating, "wherein is healing for men" (an-Nahl, 16/69) is most diseases; therefore, it is better to interpret the phrase "all diseases" as "most diseases" about black cumin, too."

Ibn Abi Jamra, who is among those who opposes limiting the general decree of the hadith, states the following:

"Some scholars wrote about this hadith and limited its general decree; they dared to explain the hadith through the words of doctors and people's experience. It is clear that they are mistaken. For, if we approve the words of doctors, we will base our views on the people whose knowledge is based on experience that is based on zann al-ghalib (strong probability). It is definite that it is better to approve the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), who does not talk of his own desire, than their words."

After mentioning those different views, Ibn Hajar settles the issue as follows:

"We showed that the black cumin was meant to be taken in various mixtures and various ways, not on its own, stating that its meaning was general in essence. There is no drawback to approaching the meaning of the hadith like that; doing so will not mean moving away from the apparent meaning of the hadith."

In fact, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) does not promise that any medicine can cure any disease for sure; as it was mentioned before, he limits it by saying "with the permission of Allah". If the dosage, mixture and way of taking the black cumin, which is in question now, as Ibn Hajar mentions, can be determined, there should be no drawback to saying "for all diseases" though these kinds of phrases are used for confirmation. Since the hadith is general, it is more appropriate to accept that the black cumin has a healing, whether small or big, effect for all diseases within the framework of the conditions mentioned by hadith scholars. For, whatever the Prophet (pbuh) says is true and right; it is free and away from exaggeration and deception.

(Prof. Dr. İbrahim Canan, Kütüb-ü Sitte Tercüme ve Şerhi)

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