The Prophet’s guidance on treating skin rashes, scabies
December 10 2020 09:46 PM

In the books of Imams Al-Bukhari and Muslim, may Allah have mercy upon them, it is narrated that Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “The Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam (may Allah exalt his mention), has allowed Abdur-Rahman Ibn ‘Awf and az-Zubayr Ibn al-’Awwam, may Allah be pleased with them, to wear silk garments because of a skin rash they had.” In another narration, “Abdur-Rahman Ibn ‘Awf and az-Zubayr Ibn al-’Awwam complained to the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, during a battle that they had a skin rash, and he allowed them to wear silk garments which I saw them wearing.”
There are two areas of interest regarding this narration, one in the area of Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence) and another medical.
In the area of Fiqh, in principle, wearing silken garments is allowed only for women and is disallowed for men, except when there is a legitimate need. For instance, men are allowed to wear silken garments in cold weather, when one has only a silken garment to wear and when complaining from mange, rashes, mites or lice, as evident by the last narration.
According to Imams Ahmad and Shafi’I, may Allah have mercy upon them, wearing silken garments is allowed for men if a necessity warrants it. The permission given to some Muslims due to special circumstances applies to all those who face similar circumstances.
Several scholars said that the narrations that prohibit silken garments for men apply in general. They said that the aforementioned narration might entail a specific permission for only ‘Abdur-Rahman Ibn ‘Awf and Az-Zubayr. They say that it is possible, though, that this permission applies to other Muslims. When there is a probability regarding a certain ruling, adhering to the general text is warranted. This is why some of the narrators of this narration commented: “I do not know if the permission does apply to whoever comes after them (‘Abdur-Rahman Ibn ‘Awf and Az-Zubayr).”
The correct opinion is that the permission is general in its indication and that there is no evidence that it is specific or restricted. Similarly, the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, once said to Abu Burdah: “This permission applies to you and none else after you.” Also, Allah said to His Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, regarding the woman who offered herself in marriage to the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, (what means):
“...A privilege for you only, not for the (rest of the) believers...” [Qur’an, 33:50]
In the medical area, silk is produced by an animal and is a remedy. Silk has many benefits, such as soothing and strengthening the heart and helping relieve several of its ailments. Silk also helps against black bile and whatever ailments it might cause. Further, silk strengthens the eyesight when used as eyeliner. Raw silk, which is used in preparing medications and remedies, is hot and dry in the first degree. When silk is used in clothes, it is mild and heats the body. Sometimes it could chill the body.
Ar-Razi, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: “Silk is hotter than linen, colder than cotton and develops the flesh. Every type of thick clothes weakens the body and hardens the skin.”
There are three types of clothes, one that brings warmth and also heats the body. Another type of clothes brings warmth but provides no heat to the body. The third type does not bring warmth or heat. There is no type that brings heat but not warmth to those wearing it. For instance clothes made of wool and animal hair elevate body temperature and bring warmth to the skin. On the other hand, silk, Kittan (linen) and cotton garments only bring warmth to the skin. Kittan clothes are cold and dry, wool clothes are hot and dry, while cotton garments are moderate. Silken garments are softer and less hot than wool. The author of Al-Minhaj stated that wearing silk, “Does not bring as much warmth as cotton, because it is milder.”
Every type of soft, polished clothes heat the body less and in less effective in helping the decomposition process.  That is why it is better that this type of clothes is worn during summer and in hot areas.
Since silken garments are neither dry nor thick as the other types of clothes they help as a treatment for skin rashes that result from dry, thick material. Hence, the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, allowed Az-Zubayr and ‘Abdur-Rahman to wear silken garments due to their skin rash. Also, silken garments are the least hospitable to mites or lice, for it is not the best environment where mites live and thrive.
The types of body wear that neither elevates the body temperature nor brings warmth are made of iron, lead, wood, sand, and so forth.
If one asks, “since silk provides the best type of clothes and the most suitable for the body, why was it prohibited for men by the Islamic legislation, which is the most honourable, perfect legislation and which allows the good and pure things and only prohibits the impure things?
Scholars answered this stating different reasons, such as, that Islam prohibited silken garments for men so that they observe patience and abandon wearing them for Allah’s sake. Others say that silk was prohibited because it leads to arrogance and pride.
Yet others say that silk was prohibited because of its softness on the skin that leads to feminine behaviour while weakening manhood and masculinity. Hence, you rarely see a man wearing silken garments who is not affected by its softness by inadvertently imitating feminine behaviour and softness, even if he was among the most masculine men. Wearing silken garments will certainly diminish the manly qualities and masculinity, although these qualities will not disappear all together.
As for those who do not comprehend these facts, let them submit to Allah’s wise decisions and adhere to the texts that prohibit it for men.
The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “Allah has allowed silk and gold for the females of my nation and prohibited them for the males of my nation.” [An-Nasa’i]
In another narration, the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “Wearing silk and gold is prohibited for the males of my Nation and allowed for the females.”
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What is Hijaamah (cupping)?
The word hijaamah (cupping) comes from the word hajm which means sucking, as in the phrase hajama al-sabiy thadya ummihi (the infant suckled his mother’s breast). Al-Hajjaam means the cupper, hijaamah is the profession of cupping, and the word mihjam is used to describe the vessel in which the blood is collected and the lancet used by the cupper.)
In Fiqh (jurisprudence) terminology, the word hijaamah is applied by some scholars to the extraction of blood from the nape of the neck by means of cupping after making an incision with the lancet. Al-Zarqaani, may Allah have mercy upon him, stated that cupping is not limited to the nape of the neck, rather it may be done on any part of the body. This was also the view of al-Khattaabi, may Allah have mercy upon him.
In conclusion, hijaam refers to the extraction of blood from the body by means of cupping using a suitable vessel or whatever modern equipment serves the same purpose.
Cupping was known since ancient times. It was known to the Chinese, the Babylonians and the Pharaohs. Their relics and carved images indicate that they used cupping to treat some diseases. At first they used metal cups or bull’s horns, from which they would remove the air by sucking it out after placing the cup on the skin. Then they used glass cups from which they would remove the air by burning a piece of cotton or wool inside the cup.

Virtues of cupping:
Al-Bukhari, may Allah have mercy upon him, narrated from Sa’eed Ibn Jubayr from Ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, (may Allah exalt his mention), said: “Healing is in three things: drinking honey, the incision of a cupper, and cauterising with fire, but I forbid my Nation to use cauterising.”
Al-Bukhari and Muslim, may Allah have mercy upon them, narrated that Anas Ibn Maalik, may Allah be pleased with him, was asked about the earnings of the cupper, and he said:
The Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, was treated with cupping by Abu Taybah, may Allah be pleased with him. He, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, ordered that he (Abu Taybah) should be given two saa’ (quantity unit) of food, and he spoke with his masters so that they reduced what they used to take from his earnings. And he, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “The best medicine with which you treat yourselves is cupping, or it is one of the best of your medicines.”
It was narrated that Jaabir Ibn ‘Abdillaah, may Allah be pleased with him, said: I heard the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, say: “If there is anything good in the medicines with which you treat yourselves, it is in the incision of the cupper, or a drink of honey or cauterisation with fire, but I do not like to be cauterised.” (Al-Bukhari, Muslim).

Benefits of cupping:
Cupping has real benefits in treating many diseases, past and present. The diseases which have been treated by cupping and for which it has been of benefit by Allah’s Leave include the following:
1-     Circulatory diseases
2-     Treating blood pressure and infection of the heart muscle
3-     Diseases of the chest and trachea
4-     Headache and pains in the eyes
5-     Pain in the neck and stomach, and rheumatic pain in the muscles
6-     Some diseases of the heart and chest, and pain in the joints
In addition, cupping may offer a unique treatment which may reduce pain, and it does not have any side-effects. For more information on the benefits of cupping see Zaad al-Ma’aad by Ibn Al-Qayyim, may Allah have mercy upon him.

How cupping is done:
The mouth of the cupping vessel (nowadays they use glass vessels) is placed on the skin at the site chosen for cupping. Then the cupper rarefies the air inside the vessel by burning a small piece of paper or cotton inside the vessel (the old method), so that the mouth of the vessel will cling to the skin. Sometimes a machine is used instead of the method described above. The vessel clings to the skin and is left for a period of three to ten minutes.
Then it is lifted off and a very small incision is made in the skin using a clean sharp instrument such as a razor blade or the like. Then the cup is put back in the same manner as described above, until it is filled with the bad blood that comes out of the veins. Then it is taken off, and may be put back once more if needed. When it is finished and the cup is taken away, a dry dressing is placed over the site of the incision.
Before ending we should point out that no one should undertake cupping except one who can do it well, because of the harm that may result if it is done by one who is incompetent.
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Guidance on treating wounds and cuts
In the books of Imams Al-Bukhari and Muslim may Allah have mercy upon them it is narrated that Sahl Ibn Sa’d, may Allah be pleased with him, was asked about how the Messenger’s, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam (may Allah exalt his mention), injuries in the battle of Uhud were treated. Sahl said: “The Prophet’s, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, face was injured, his tooth was broken and the helmet he was wearing was smashed on his head. Fatimah, may Allah be pleased with her, the daughter of the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, was washing the blood off while ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, was pouring water on her hands with his shield. When Fatimah realised that the bleeding did not stop, she took a burned mat (of palm leaves) and inserted the ash in the wound of Allah’s Messenger, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, and the bleeding stopped.”
The ashes of burnt palm leaves are very effective in stopping bleeding, because it is a strong drying agent and because it has the least burning effect (on the exposed skin). Other strong drying remedies have a burning effect on the skin and cause the blood to be irritated and the bleeding to intensify. Further, when the ashes of palm leaves are applied alone or mixed with vinegar in a bleeding nose, it will stop the bleeding.
The author of Al-Qanoon, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: “Al-Bardi (papyrus) is effective in stopping bleeding and coating exposed flesh when it is placed on a wound. In old Egypt, paper was made of the Bardi which had a cold, dry condition. Bardi ash is effective in treating oral fungus and infection, hemoptysis (spitting up blood) and also prevents malignant infections from spreading.”

Using honey, cupping and cauterising as remedies

The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “There is cure in three substances, a drink of honey, a slash with a knife used for cupping and cauterising by fire. I forbid my Nation from cauterising by fire.” [Al-Bukhari]
Abu ‘Abdullah Al-Maziri said plethoric (excessive substances) conditions are either sanguineous (bloody), bilious, phlegmy, or melancholic. Curing sanguineous plethora entails extracting the blood. If plethora was from the other three types, its cure is in softening the stool as warranted for each disease. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, has indicated that honey is used as a laxative and that cupping is used to extract [septic] blood. Some people said that when the slash by a cupping knife does not work, the last resort is branding by fire (cauterising). The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, mentioned branding by fire as a last resort when the body has a strong resistance against medicine, rendering it ineffective. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, then said: “I forbid my nation from branding by fire (cauterising),” and in another narration: “I do not like to be branded by fire.”
Cauterising by fire should be the last resort and only used when warranted. The fire should not be the first choice because of the intense pain it causes and which will be used to remove a lesser pain!
Some doctors said that diseases related to the temperament are either material or non-material. The material types are either cold, hot, wet or dry or a combination of these conditions. The four conditions, hotness and coldness are effected, while the other two, wetness and dryness, are usually affected. When one of the two effective temperaments is stronger than the other, it is usually accompanied by one of the affected temperaments. Every type of temperament in the body has two parts, effective and affected.
Temperamental ailments are usually caused by whichever effective condition is stronger, hotness or coldness. The Prophet’s, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, statement directs us to the origin of ailments, hotness and coldness. If the ailment was hot, the cure entails extracting the blood by cupping or puncturing the veins, both of which help extract the septic matter, cooling the temperament. If the ailment is cold, we treat it with heat, such as by taking honey. If we also need to extract the cold material that has caused the ailment, honey also helps in this case because it leads the various substances to maturity along with its other qualities of cleansing, softening, soothing and purging the affected organs. In this case, the septic material will be gently extracted while saving the body the annoyance of using strong laxatives.
Physical ailments are either acute, not needing cauterisation because they would soon be neutralised, or chronic ailments, for which cauterising the proper organ is the best remedy after extracting the septic substances. Chronic diseases usually result from thick, cold septic substances residing in the affected organ, ailing it, spoiling its constitution and, thereby, inflaming the parts of the body that are directly connected to the affected organ. Therefore, cauterising should be used to dissipate and extract the septic substances in the affected organ with fire.
The narration explains treatments for all types of physical ailments, just as we learned the treatment method for all simple ailments (accompanied by fever) from the narration: “The heat of the fever is a breath of the Hell Fire: cool it with water.”
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Soothing ginger
And amongst them will be passed round vessels of silver and cups of crystal — crystal-clear, made of silver. They will determine the measure thereof (according to their wishes). And they will be given to drink there of a cup (of wine) mixed with zanjabeel (ginger), a spring there called salsabeel. And round about them will serve boys of everlasting youth. If you see them, you would think them scattered pearls. And when you look there (in Paradise), you will see a delight (that cannot be imagined), and a great dominion.” [Qur’an 76:15-20]
Ginger is another soothing herb to contemplate. It is actually the stem of a plant that grows downward — below ground. Peeling the brown outer skin reveals a juicy food that has a distinctive taste and emanating fragrance. Curiously, ginger is mentioned in the Qur’an in the chapter Al-Insan (Qur’an 76:17) as camphor. While the two herbs are pungent and strong in characteristic, they have complementary and contrary properties for the same soothing effect. While camphor is cooling, ginger is warming. Both come from a gushing spring, and will both be mixed to form a drink in Paradise that is served in an elegant cup as a reward for those that were righteous and patient.
According to Imam Ibn Katheer, may Allah have mercy upon him, salsabeel will run continuous with a flowing, rich current; its warmth is to make the drink balanced with the contrasting coolness of the camphor (Safiur-Rahman al-Mubarakpuri, 2003). The servants mentioned in these verses are youthful, with an array of colours, fine clothing, and ornaments. Since there is nothing more beautiful than seeing pearls in a place that is dazzling beyond our imagination, let’s take some time to ponder ginger in this life as we know it.
As the third most frequently used complementary and alternative herbal substance (Alexander, 2006), ginger has plenty of medicinal uses.
There are genetic differences in our perceptions of the spiciness and mildness of many flavours, such as ginger (Duffy, 2007). Current studies theorise that ginger acts to calm the gastrointestinal system (Golding and Gresty, 2005); however, it is noteworthy that its relieving effects are more prevalent in women than men. Approximately 250mg ginger in teas or tablets reduces nausea and vomiting during pregnancy (Vutyavanich and Ruangsri, 2001; Lane, 2007). Other studies in complementary medicine for cancer patients confirm that ginger is effective for the nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy (Mansky & Wallerstedt, 2006; Taiziang and Mechanick, 2005). Ginger is also used to combat abdominal pain (Scholl & Allen, 2007). In addition, it has the ability to lower microbial enzymes, thereby fighting against and preventing colon cancer (Manju & Nalini, 2006). More recently, ginger is being studied for use in soothing the joint pains in osteoarthritis (Fajardo & Di Cesare, 2005).
Although the jury is still out, ginger may modify or stimulate the thyroid gland (Tamler & Mechanick, 2006). By a similar thread, and since ginger may influence the amount of energy we use from the foods we consume, more studies are needed about the relationship between weight loss and ginger consumption (Riccardi et al., 2005). As a cautionary note, ginger changes the way the body thins the blood and uses anaesthesia; therefore, people with diabetes, heart, or blood vessel problems or people undergoing surgery should discuss their use of ginger with their healthcare provider to determine if it is safe or beneficial for them (Alexander, 2006; Canwell-Bruce, 2007). This herb, mentioned in the Qur’an as being part of what people of Paradise drink, has been widely used by man who is still discovering numerous uses for it.
Ordinary use of ginger in our diets can be beneficial to our health, but how can we get it in our diet? Most people in the West eat sweetened ginger, such as ginger with fruit or honey, or as a zing to cakes or breads. Some prenatal healthcare professionals suggest pregnant women eat ginger cookies before getting out of bed (Davis, 2007). Ginger tea is soothing to the bowel (Merchant, 2007), and an infusion can promote relaxation. Ginger can also be used to spice up coffee and black tea. Some eat pickled ginger alone others use it to garnish foods like vegetable sushi. Alternatively, ginger pieces add flavouring to rice, lentils, seafood, or meats. If you are not sure, ask someone in your local Masjid or neighbourhood—you can learn about your community while adding it to your cuisine.
Ginger is a soothing, warm herb that reminds us of the richness of Paradise. With that in mind, we need to be constantly making efforts to attain these rewards. In both Saheeh (Saheeh Al-Bukhari and Muslim), we are given simple advice on how to achieve the gardens and treasures of Paradise. The Companion Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, has reported that Allah’s Messenger, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “Two are the expressions which are light on the tongue, but heavy in scale, dear to the Compassionate One. Exalted is Allah and praise is due to Him, Exalted is Allah, the Great.” (Khan, 1997; Siddique, 2000). As we use and remember ginger in this world, let’s seek Allah’s pleasure in the Hereafter.
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