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Friday, July 11, 2014

What is Hijamah/cupping? What are you bleeding talking about?

Hijamah comes from an Arabic word to mean cup for medical purposes. This is a Prophetic Sunnah that was given to one of the Prophets (upon them all peace) and confirmed by the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him). 

Here are some hadiths on cupping:

الترمذي في الشمائل عن أنس قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: "إن أمثل ما تداويتم به الحجامة"،

 وثبت في سنن أبي داود وابن ماجه 

Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) said, "The best of what you treat yourselves is cupping." Ibn Majah, Abu Dawood, and Al-Tirmidhi in Al-Shamial

من حديث أبي هريرة قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: "إن كان في شيء مما تداوون به خير ففي الحجامة"، وثبت عند ابن ماجه 

Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) said,"There is not something better treatment for you that cupping." Ibn Majah.

من حديث ابن عباس قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: "ما مررت ليلة أسري بي بملأ من الملائكة إلا كلهم يقول لي: يا محمد عليك بالحجامة"

Ibn 'Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) said,"I did not pass, on the night journey, a group of angels except that they all said, "O Muhammad perform cupping."

سنن أبي داود من حديث أبي هريرة رضي الله تعالى عنه قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: "من احتجتم لسبع عشر وتسع عشر وإحدى وعشرين كان شفاءً من كل داء"، 

Abu Dawood reports from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) said,"Whoever cups perform it on the 17th, 19th and 21st; it is a cure for all illness."

وثبت عند الترمذي عن ابن مسعود قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: "إن خير ما تحتجمون فيه يوم سبعة عشر ويوم تسعة عشر ويوم إحدى وعشرين".

Al-Tirmidhi reports from Ibn Masud (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) said,"The best days of cupping is 17th day, 19th day and 21st."

What does it do?

Cupping is a process that draws dead blood to the surface of the skin, via the cupping glass, and small incisions are used to draw out jelly like dead blood. After this dead blood is taken out, the liver produces new blood this kills infection in the body. Then the liver normalises the kidney which normalises everything else. 

Cupping/blood letting was a medical procedure that was carried out in England up until the turn of the 19th Century (By the local barber (The red-and-white-striped pole of the barbershop, still in use today, is derived from this practice: the red represents the blood being drawn, the white represents the tourniquet used, and the pole itself represents the stick squeezed in the patient's hand to dilate the veins. Bloodletting was used to "treat" a wide range of diseases, becoming a standard treatment for almost every ailment, and was practiced prophylactically as well as therapeutically - thanks Arshad Mahmood) then it was abandoned, oh dear!

Beneficial for?

Anyone who has health problems especially those related to blood or anything at all. Many people who had problems have seen a marked improvement of their health. Sometimes the liver needs assistance to filter dead blood out of your system and this gives your body a major health boost.

Helps with temporary pain relief for back pains, arthritis and rheumatism.

Men or women

Women are lucky in that their monthly bleeding cycle removes most, if not all, dead blood. Unless they are ill with something then they should consider cupping otherwise its good for women over the age of menopause.

For men it’s okay for then after the age of twenty one years old, normally, then onwards. It’s not beneficial for those who are unable to move without much assistance.

Also not recommended for those on blood thinning medication or Haemophiliacs (People who’s skin does not heal easily after cuts). Or those already on a course of treatment like chemotherapy.


Glass cupping is by using glass to be placed on the back and using it to draw dead blood to the surface.

Plastic cupping is the similar instead they either use a pump as suction or draw it out using their mouths.

Glass cupping is my preference because the suction is more effective.

Places of the body

There are many places that cupping can be done on the body but the main place is the back between the shoulder blades. There are many places on the back and the legs, arms etc.

The main place is the back. Be warned that many cuppers are interested in making money; so do an all over body cupping session. This is not only dangerous but also against the Sunnah because the Sunnah is that it be done for specific places of the body for specific aliments not all over. It’s not like Brute perfume that you splash all over! You see for many cuppers their price increases with more cups. See where I am coming from? To be honest it’s not a business unless you are charging high prices.

The head is a place which cupping can be performed but this is only done by experts and not for first timers. This is only if you are suffering from some ailment there.

There are many ‘happy slashers’ cuppers who make large incisions which is more akin to bloodletting/fasd than cupping because cupping gets the dead blood out not the living blood!

Period of the year

The warmer times of the year are better for cupping as are the colder parts of the year do not enable the process. So the summer months especially good and it’s the latter half of the Islamic month and odd days; 17th, 19th and 21st etc.   Best Days are Monday and Thursday.  Best of the best is Monday the 21st. Wednesday should be avoided.
Your cupper should be aware of all this.

Frequency of procedure

Once a year for someone who has no health problems is sufficient. More for those who are suffering from health problems may be needed. This depends on the situation and what needs to be done. A gap of week is needed minimum between procedures. Do not exceed this! As it takes this long for the full benefit to manifest in the body.

People with diabetes, heart problems, stomach problems, back problems and even cancer have all noticed a marked improvement in their health because of cupping.

Warning, if one has no major health problems then doing it more than twice a year is not good as it might make the liver lazy.

Unfortunately, there are cuppers who are trying to make as much money as possible. So they cup more than these guidelines. I cannot understate this, it is dangerous to your health to have cupping more than twice a year - if you do not have any MAJOR health problems. You are putting your own life at risk because the liver will become lazy. There are people who are bedridden because of bad cuppers. 

Who shall I get to cup me?

Well it should be someone known to cup well or someone you know their teachers. He or she should have studied the process for an extended period of time with their teacher. Do not be fooled by false paper proofs.

Having a piece of paper is not sufficient to be a good cupper! So ask around and find out who are the ones that people go to.  It’s best to ask scholars who might know someone reliable.

Also be warned of those who are ‘self taught’ cuppers or what we call ‘wahabi’ cuppers! They have read about it in a book and then thought I can do this! Such people should be avoided at all costs. Every Islamic discipline is taught under those who have ijaza so they in turn can give ijaza. Just because you can read a book about brain surgery does not mean you can perform it!

Many people buy cupping sets, do not go under any formal training and then cup people. Messing with the health of people is a dangerous business and they will be responsible before Allah (the Exalted).

In any case prefer those people who do not make large incisions. Avoid those who put lots of cups on for no reason. This is not Sunnah cupping this is chinese cupping, so beware! Many of those cupping are cupping using the Chinese method and calling it Sunnah! Sunnah is two on the back and if there is a reason, other places, depending on need of the person not on how much money one can make.

Before cupping

Do not have a bath the day before at all.  (They can have a bath the day before as long as its before 10pm)

Avoid the following:
glass of milk,
Meat after 10pm the night before.
Get a good night’s rest so your cupping has the most effectiveness.
No food before cupping on the day but you can have a few glasses of water – Recommended to avoid dehydration.

After cupping

Arrive at ease and sit comfortably. During the procedure it will feel like some is pinching your back but that’s normal. Have a day in which you rest after the session. Avoid milk and meat for four hours, exercise and have a bath the next day.

You should be able to take the plasters off later that night but just be careful not to scratch! Within a week you will feel some benefit.

There is a rush that one feels as well after the session. This is normal so do not get excited!

More can be read about cupping here. Most important of all is the choice of cupper and be warned there are many people who are just interested in making money. More cups means more money so be careful! There is no such thing as all over body cupping session! This is Chinese treatment and not the Sunnah!

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