Cupping Therapy

Moon & Cupping

Scientific Basis


What is cupping (hijama)?
Cupping (hijama) is the best remedy recommended and used by the Messenger r. The Messenger said, “Indeed the best of remedies you have is cupping (hijama)…” [Saheeh Ul-Bukhaari (5371)].
He also said that on the night of Israa (Meraj: his ascension to the heavens) he did not pass by an angel except that it said to him, “Oh Muhammad, order your Ummah (nation) with cupping (hijama).” [Saheeh Sunan Tirmidhee (3479)].
This shows the importance and greatness of this Sunnah.
‘Hijama’ in Arabic is derived from ‘Hajm’ which means ‘sucking’. Cupping (hijama) is the process of applying cups to various points on the body by removing the air inside the cups to form a vacuum.
Benefits of Al-Hijamah
Al-Hijamah has stimulating and strengthening effects so it successfully treats the following conditions:
  • Constipation and Diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Back pain
  • Arthritis
  • Period pain
  • Injuries
  • Asthma
  • Cellulite
  • Fatigue
  • Anemia
  • Depression
  • Emotional problems
  • Atrophy
  • Sciatica
  • Common cold and flu
  • Skin problems
  • Weight loss and much more.

Even though Al-Hijamah is a very simple procedure, it has dramatic effects. Our health and well-being are tied up with the immune system and are totally dependent on the flow of blood and Qi (energy) and body fluids like hormones and lymphatic fluid. Traditional medicine tells us that all pain is due to stagnation of these symptoms. The cups used in Al-Hijamah have a wonderful pulling power and this is a dramatic technique in reducing pain and enhancing the feeling of well-being.
Importance of the skin
Any stimulus that is directed to influence and manipulate the internal or external organs must start with the skin. The body’s first contact with the outside world is through the skin and it is true to say that the skin is the mirror of our health. If a person has good health, his or her skin will be shiny, tight and smooth and will respond to temperature and will be warm when touched. The skin protects the body from pathogens and plays a role in a number of body functions. It is the main organ of sensation, through many millions of nerve endings contained in its structure.
The main fourteen channels with a direct link to the internal organs lie within the skin. When stimulating a particular point through Al-Hijamah, the organ’s blood and Qi is manipulated. In Chinese medicine the skin is directly controlled and influenced by the lungs. The lungs spread the Qi and fluids all over the body through the skin.
Blood is transformed from the essence of food produced through the functional activity of Qi that circulates through the blood vessels and nourishes the body tissue. Blood is derived from food and Qi and produced by the spleen. (Blood will be discussed in detail in the section about the anatomy of the body)
Qi is the invisible life force – like air and wind. The West tries to define Qi as ‘the energy of life’, ‘vital force’, ‘life force’, ‘energy’, but there is no Western equivalent. When we are ill we feel weak and have a low energy level but when we feel better we feel more energetic and much stronger. So we all experience the existence of Qi continuously.
Movement of any kind requires Qi and often this is manifested as heat. Lack of energy is signified by cold.
When treating a disease at the Qi level, the external pathogen is still fighting at the skin and the body’s overall resistance is still good. Some clinical manifestations of this are a high fever, a cough with thin yellow phlegm, wheezing and thirst. Al-Hijamah treatment at this level is very effective.
Stagnation of body systems can be the result of lack of movement, injury, stress, a lack of blood, Qi or the invasion of cold into the body and joints. Cold drinks and foods or irregular feeding habits can also cause accumulation problems. All these impair the Spleen’s function of transformation and transportation. Clinical manifestations of this are restlessness, vomiting, the production of phlegm, diarrhea, constipation, a hardened stomach and painful abdomen. Al-Hijamah relieves all these symptoms.
Regardless of the cause, Al-Hijamah can be applied to specific points of the body like what is done in acupuncture, to the area that is dysfunctional. After a short time the patient will feel warmth and there will be a reduction of pain.
Fluids in the body can also become stagnant and they are necessary to help the stomach carry out its proper digestive function.
Al-Hijamah therapy regulates the flow of Qi and blood. It also helps draw out and eliminate pathogenic factors like wind, cold, damp and heat. Al-Hijamah also moves Qi and blood and opens the pores of the skin, thus, assisting the removal of pathogens through the skin.
Beauty therapy
Al-Hijamah is also beneficial in beauty therapy as it promotes the production of hormones, encourages blood flow and body fluid movement in the bowels and internal organs. In this way toxins are removed and this is important because toxins speed up the aging process and cause other negative conditions.
Authentic holistic therapy balances all aspects of the body. The aging process speeds up when individual cells dry out, or too much sun. Kidney weakness also speeds up the aging process and leads to dry and damaged hair, early graying or hair loss. Imbalance in ladies also manifests in the early signs of menopause with hot flushes, night sweats and dry skin. Simply applying external lotion to the skin or hair does not access the root cause.
Stimulating and strengthening effects
The benefits of Al-Hijamah are uncountable due to its stimulating and strengthening effects. It has treated bowel conditions, headaches, back pain, arthritis, menstrual pain, injuries, asthma, cellulite, fatigue, anemia, depression and emotional problems, atrophy, sciatica, common cold and flu, skin problems, blood pressure, weight loss and ladies problems.
The negative role of toxins in the degeneration of health is of ever-increasing importance. Even though modern medicine has eradicated many epidemics there is an increase in what is called civilization diseases (metabolism diseases). These diseases are caused by the great quantity of chemicals a person takes during his or her lifetime. A recent American statistic on food additives shows a 100-pound intake per person in his life span. The average American takes about 1000 tablets a year. This is a health catastrophe. Modern medicine differs greatly from its ancestors who maintained that the body functions are interrelated in a network.
Release of toxins and impurities
One of the main functions of Al-Hijamah treatment is that it releases toxins with minimal additional stress to internal organs. It also directly de-acidifies tissues, enhances blood circulation, stimulates the immune system and reduces stress as it releases chemicals in the brain that reduce stress and depression. Another benefit of Al-Hijamah therapy is that it facilitates a sufficient flow of nutrition to the affected tissues and stimulates the flow of blood and lymph to the affected area. In this way, it improves blood and lymph flow, and activates the function of the organs. Performing Al-Hijamah on the corresponding organ points is used to treat disorders such as liver and kidney problems, respiratory diseases, digestive disorders and some gynecological disorders.
In ancient times, Al-Hijamah did not have specific indications and was mainly used to drain blood and pus from abscess and for sucking blood from poisoned wounds and snakebites. However, in later times this therapy expanded to encompass illnesses related to internal medicine such as pulmonary tuberculosis, rheumatism, abdominal pain, stomach ache, indigestion, headache, hypertension, common cold, lumbago, backache, swelling and eye pain and boils. In some places, Al-Hijamah therapy was used in conjunction with acupuncture. Today, Al-Hijamah is used to treat colds, lung infections and problems in the internal organs. It is also used to treat muscle spasms especially in the back. It can also be used to treat painful joints, stomachache, vomiting and diarrhea. Since Al-Hijamah stimulates the flow of blood it helps to treat blood stagnation, poor circulation, and asthmatic conditions.
Al-Hijamah strengthens the body’s resistance and eliminates pathogenic factors and so prevents illness. It also regulates the function of the blood and promotes general good health. By creating localized bruising, it activates the body’s defensive cells to heal the bruised area.
In the past, people who were not ill often had Al-Hijamah done twice a year; in the spring and the autumn believing that thinning the blood would promote good health. This continued to the 19th century and was a regular practice.
Pearl divers in the Arabian Gulf used to undergo Al-Hijamah before the diving season in the belief that this would prevent diseases during the three months at sea. It was also thought to be very effective against dizziness.
Dr. Katase from Osaka University maintained that Al-Hijamah influences the composition of blood as it increases red and white blood cells and changes acid blood into alkaline or neutral blood thereby leading to the purification of blood. It also purifies the body of accumulated irritants that cause inflammation.
Recent studies indicate that having Al-Hijamah done at specific points on the back increases immunity by increasing the white blood cell count. In addition to enhancing the body’s defenses, Al-Hijamah regulates blood circulation throughout the entire body. The flow of blood in the human body is very important as it regulates, coordinates and unifies the organs via the blood vessels. The flow of blood is the life force that maintains health and each organ receives its requirements of nourishment to maintain a healthy, normal state. The blood flows throughout the body nourishing tissues and enhancing the immune system.
Effect on circulatory system
Al-Hijamah also has a positive effect on the circulatory system. Due to the pull of low pressure, the flow of blood in arteries and veins increases and in the veins localized congested blood appears then disappears. With Al-Hijamah therapy it is possible to ease the interruption of blood circulation and congestion and to eliminate the inflammatory fluids from the tissues. So the greatest characteristic of Al-Hijamah is the facilitation of blood flow.
Effect on muscles
The pull of low pressure Al-Hijamah therapy activates the blood vessels within the muscles. The expansion of the blood vessels in the muscles facilitates the flow of blood and has a remarkable effect on stiff shoulder. After Al-Hijamah, the skin will glow because of the rise in skin temperature and muscles because of the increased blood flow.
Effect on diseases
Almost all diseases respond to Al-Hijamah. The following are some of the most common:
Pain related conditions
Al-Hijamah eases pain, especially that which is related to headache, menstrual cramps, dental pain, tennis elbow, muscle pain, back pain and sciatica.
Headache and migraine
In the 18th century Al-Hijamah was considered to be an effective remedy for headache and it was highly recommended for migraine. The Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) used Al-Hijamah as a treatment for migraine.
Rheumatic diseases
Many rheumatic disorders simply disappear after just a few sessions of Al-Hijamah therapy. It has a great effect on back and joint problems and is especially helpful for conditions such as rheumatism, lumbago and stiff neck and shoulders because it increases blood circulation and mobility. By supplying more oxygen, hormones and essential enzymes to local tissues and joints, Al-Hijamah keeps local tissues warm and this increases elasticity and flexibility in muscles and joints. It also relieves muscle spasms and stiffness in muscular tissue and the pain that is associated with it. It has a remarkable effect on a stiff (frozen) shoulder. It is also effective for chronic joint rheumatism as it facilitates the flow of blood to the joints. It also removes congested blood and solves problems that cannot be solved with acupuncture.
In the beginning, Al-Hijamah was recommended for the treatment of arthritis and pain as well as gout. When treating arthritis the treatment is concentrated on the area of the joints concerned. If it is a mild case it is possible to have a complete cure.
Low back pain
Al-Hijamah relieves low back pain and in chronic cases it can be used along with acupuncture.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome is long-standing severe fatigue without substantial muscle weakness and without proven physical or psychological causes. It has been found that Al-Hijamah along with acupuncture is an effective treatment.
Fevers and local inflammation
Chinese doctors believe that a number of diseases are the result of blood stagnation and heat. They used Al-Hijamah to remove stagnant blood, activate blood circulation and dispel pathogenic factors. Al-Hijamah was used on patients suffering from flu, headache and fever.
Chest and heart diseases
Al-Hijamah is also recommended for the treatment of lung diseases, especially chronic cough, pleurisy, bronchial congestion and asthma. It was also advocated for the treatment of congestive heart failure until the 1930s. As recently as 1942, medical textbooks advised Al-Hijamah for high fever pneumonia and acute pneumonia. Al-Hijamah also successfully treats hypertension.
Gastrointestinal diseases
The stomach, spleen and intestines are considered to be the most important engines of the human body. From these areas the natural healing power of the body derives its energy. Dry Al-Hijamah stimulates the insides of these organs, their movement and secretion of digestive fluids and so strengthens the power of digestion, the absorption of nourishment and the power of secretion. It relives chronic gastroenteritis and constipation. These organs also benefit from Al-Hijamah treatment applied to the back as it stimulates the spinal nerves and automatic nerves as well as strengthening the muscles of the respiratory system.
Urinary diseases
Al-Hijamah therapy is known to treat stones, abscess and urine retention. Cups can be applied to the lumber region to treat urine retention.
Dermatologic diseases
The skin disorders that are well-known to be treated by Al-Hijamah are: boils, abscess, herpes, acne, cellulite and urticaria. Sometimes acupuncture is used in conjunction with Al-Hijamah.
Al-Hijamah therapy is also known to stimulate hair growth through direct physical stimuli on hair roots and the expansion of blood vessels of the skin through the pull of low pressure.
The skin is benefited in many ways through Al-Hijamah treatment as it stimulates the flow of lymph fluids which helps remove bacteria and carry proteins. This strengthens the power of the skin and its resistance to many harmful conditions, meaning it would regenerate faster if it is cut or wounded. The enhancement of blood circulation encourages a sufficient supply of nutrition to skin tissue. After Al-Hijamah, skin temperature rises and increases blood flow. Al-Hijamah also improves skin respiration and promotes gaseous exchange within cells. It also promotes metabolism within skin tissues and accelerates the functions of both sweat and sebaceous glands leading to the secretion of salts, sebaceous material and the excretion of sweat.
The essential point of Al-Hijamah is not only to expel stagnant blood but also to expand blood vessels to facilitate blood flow and remove toxic substances from the surface of the skin.
Psychological diseases
Al-Hijamah therapy is like massage and is effective against anxiety and worry. Hence, insomnia is treated with Al-Hijamah in conjunction with massage. It also helps balance hormones, which is very effective when treating depression.
Infectious diseases
In the 18th century Al-Hijamah was considered an effective remedy for cholera and in America Al-Hijamah was encouraged during yellow fever epidemics. Furthermore, mumps was treated by applying water Al-Hijamah over the swollen glands.
Varicose veins
Al-Hijamah removes stagnant blood from these fine capillaries. Al-Hijamah should never be done directly on the main varicose veins.
Most conventional doctors are trained to perform surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy to treat cancer. As the rate of cancer patients is soaring worldwide every available therapy should be utilized. Although there is no documented evidence that Al-Hijamah cures cancer, it is known to dramatically improve the condition of the patient. Some practitioners use it to rebalance energy in the body that has been blocked by certain tumors. Al-Hijamah is effective for undoing the damage done to patients by conventional therapies of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Al-Hijamah has found a place in cancer therapy, not yet as a cure, but as a complementary therapy that helps patient feel better, detox, relieve pain and recover faster. During chemotherapy the immune system is depleted and Al-Hijamah helps repair the immune system and strengthens it to withstand further attack.
Al-Hijamah should not be performed on open wounds or around skin ulcers. It is contraindicated on irritated skin or over allergic skin or where any skin lesions are present. It should also be avoided in elderly people with thin, delicate skin. If the patient has a bleeding disorder Al-Hijamah should not be done. It is also unadvisable to perform Al-Hijamah wherever there are great vessels, and it is also not beneficial if the patient has serious heart disease.

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Cupping (Hijama) Is The Best Of Remedies
Anas ibn Maalik y reported that the Messenger r said, “Indeed the best of remedies you have is cupping (hijama)…” [Saheeh al-Bukhaari (5371)].
Abu Hurairah t reported that the Messenger r said, “If there was something excellent to be used as a remedy then it is cupping (hijama).” [Sunan abi Dawud (3857),Sunan ibn Maajah (3476)].

The Angels Recommending Cupping (Hijama)
Abdullah ibn Abbas y reported that the Messenger r said, “I did not pass by an angel from the angels on the night journey except that they all said to me: Upon you is cupping (hijama), O Muhammad.” [Sunan ibn Maajah (3477)].
In the narration reported by Abdullah ibn Mas’ud y the angels said, “Oh Muhammad, order your Ummah (nation) with cupping (hijama).” [Sunan Tirmidhee (3479)].

Cupping (Hijama) Is A Preventative Medicine
Anas ibn Maalik y reported that the Messenger r said, “Whoever wants to perform cupping (hijama) then let him search for the 17th, 19th and 21st day (of the Islamic, lunar month) and let none of you allow his blood to rage (boil) such that it kills him.” [Sunan ibn Maajah (3486)].
Anas ibn Maalik y reported that the Messenger r said, “When the weather becomes extremely hot, seek aid in cupping (hijama). Do not allow your blood to rage (boil) such that it kills you.” [Reported by Hakim in his 'Mustadrak' and he authenticated it and Imam ad-Dhahabi agreed (4/212)].

In Cupping (Hijama) There Is A Cure And A blessing
Abdullah ibn Abbas y reported that the Messenger r said, “Healing is in three things: in the incision of the cupper, in drinking honey, and in cauterizing with fire, but I forbid my Ummah (nation) from cauterization (branding with fire).” [Saheeh al-Bukhaaree (5681),Sunan ibn Maajah (3491)].
Jaabir ibn Abdullah y reported that the Messenger r said, “Indeed in cupping (hijama) there is a cure.” [Saheeh Muslim (5706)].
Ibn Umar y reported that the Messenger r said, “Cupping (hijama) on an empty stomach* is best. In it is a cure and a blessing…” [Sunan ibn Maajah (3487)].
* ‘alaa ar-reeq in arabic means to fast until after being treated with cupping. Once the treatment of cupping has been completed, one may eat and drink.

Cupping (Hijama) In Its Time Is A Cure For Every Disease
Abu Hurairah t reported that the Messenger r said, “Whoever performs cupping (hijama) on the 17th, 19th or 21st day (of the Islamic, lunar month) then it is a cure for every disease.” [Sunan abi Dawud (3861)].

The Best Days For Cupping (Hijama)
The best days for cupping (hijama) are the 17th, 19th and 21st of the Islamic, lunar month which coincide with Monday, Tuesday or Thursday.
Anas ibn Maalik y reported that the Messenger r said, “Whoever wants to perform cupping (hijama) then let him search for the 17th, 19th and 21st…” [Sunan ibn Maajah (3486)].
Ibn Umar y reported that the Messenger r said, “Cupping (hijama) on an empty stomach* is best. In it is a cure and a blessing. It improves the intellect and the memory. So cup yourselves with the blessing of Allah on Thursday. Keep away from cupping (hijama) on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday to be safe. Perform cupping (hijama) on Monday and Tuesday for it is the day that Allah saved Ayoub from a trial. He was inflicted with the trial on Wednesday. You will not find leprosy except (by being cupped) on Wednesday or Wednesday night.” [Sunan ibn Maajah (3487)].
Ibn Umar y reported that the Messenger r said, “Cupping (hijama) on an empty stomach* is best. It increases the intellect and improves the memory. It improves the memory of the one memorising. So whoever is going to be cupped then (let it be) on a Thursday in the name of Allah. Keep away from being cupped on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Be cupped on a Monday or Tuesday. Do not be cupped on a Wednesday because it is the day that Ayoub was befallen with a trial. You will not find leprosy except (by being cupped) on Wednesday or Wednesday night.” [Sunan ibn Maajah (3488)].
* ‘alaa ar-reeq in arabic means to fast until after being treated with cupping. Once the treatment of cupping has been completed, one may eat and drink.
As for the Islamic day and night, the night enters before the day. So at sunset on Tuesday, Wednesday night comes in. Cupping (hijama) is best performed during the daytime between the adhaan of fajr and the adhaan of maghrib because yawm in arabic means daytime.
The Sunnah days for cupping (hijama) every month are when the 17th, 19th or 21st of the Islamic, lunar month coincide with a Monday, Tuesday or Thursday. These are the best and most beneficial days for cupping (hijama). If one is not able to be cupped on the 17th, 19th or 21st (coinciding with Monday, Tuesday or Thursday) then any Monday, Tuesday or Thursday of the month. The most beneficial days for cupping (hijama) after the Sunnah days are the closest Monday, Tuesday or Thursday to the 17th, 19th or 21st of the Islamic, lunar month and Allah knows best.

Cupping (Hijama) May Be Used For:

Salma t, the servant of the Messenger r said, “Whenever someone would complain of a headache to the Messenger of Allah r, he r would advise them to perform cupping (hijama).” [Sunan abi Dawud (3858)].

Ibn al-Qaiyum (may Allah have mercy on him) mentions that the Messenger r was cupped on his head when he was afflicted with magic and that it is from the best of cures for this if performed correctly. [Zaad al Ma'aad (4/125-126)].

Abdullah ibn Abbas y reported that a Jewish woman gave poisoned meat to the Messenger r so he r sent her a message saying, “What caused you to do that?” She replied, “If you really are a Prophet then Allah will inform you of it and if you are not then I would save the people from you!” When the Messenger r felt pain from it, he r performed cupping (hijama). Once he travelled while in Ihram and felt that pain and hence performed cupping (hijama). [Ahmed (1/305) the hadeeth is hasan (good chain with all the paths)].

Strengthening One’s Intelligence And Memory
Ibn Umar y reported that the Messenger r said, “Cupping (hijama) on an empty stomach* is best. In it is a cure and a blessing. It improves the intellect and the memory…” [Sunan ibn Maajah (3487)].
* ‘alaa ar-reeq in arabic means to fast until after being treated with cupping. Once the treatment of cupping has been completed, one may eat and drink.

Jaabir ibn Abdullah y reported that the Messenger r fell from his horse onto the trunk of a palm tree and dislocated his foot. Waki’ t said, “Meaning the Messenger r was cupped on (his foot) for bruising.” [Sunan ibn Maajah (2807)].

Cupping (Hijama) While fasting Or In The State Of Ihram
Abdullah ibn Abbas y reported that the Messenger r was cupped on his head for a unilateral headache while he was in Ihraam. [Saheeh al-Bukhaaree (5701)].
Abdullah ibn Abbas y reported that the Messenger r was cupped while he was fasting. [Saheeh al-Bukhaaree (5694)].
Anas ibn Maalik y was asked: “Did you dislike cupping for the fasting person?” He said, “No except for the reason of one becoming weak.” [Saheeh al-Bukhaaree (1940)].
This is not affected by the hadeeth, “The cupper and the one being cupped have broken their fast.” [Saheeh see Irwaa al-Ghaleel (931)]. This is because the hadeeth is abrogated as Sheikh al-Albaani and ibn Hazm (may Allah have mercy upon them) showed by the following hadeeth:
Abu Sa’eed al-Khudhree t said, “The Messenger r validated cupping for the fasting person.” [Saheeh see Irwaa al-Ghaleel (4/74)].
It appears that cupping (hijama) is allowed but disliked as Anas ibn Maalik y mentioned because the fasting person becomes weak if they perform cupping (hijama) and Allah knows best.

Areas of Cupping (Hijama)
Anas ibn Maalik y reported that the Messenger r was treated with cupping (hijama) three times on the two veins at the side of the neck and the base of the neck. [Sunan abi Dawud (3860), ibn Maajah (3483)].
Abdullah ibn Abbas y reported that the Messenger r was cupped on his head. [Saheeh al-Bukhaari (5699)].
Abdullah ibn ‘Umar y reported that the Messenger r used to cup his head and would call it (the place at the top of the head) “Umm Mugheeth.” [Saheehah (753), Saheeh al-Jaami' (4804)].
Jaabir ibn Abdullah y reported that the Messenger r was treated with cupping (hijama) on his hip for a pain in that area. [Sunan abi Dawud (3863)].
Anas ibn Maalik y reported that the Messenger r was treated with cupping (hijama) when he was in Ihram, on the top of his foot, for a pain in that area. [Sunan abi Dawud (1836)].
Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said, “Cupping (hijama) under the chin is beneficial for pain in the teeth, face and throat, if it is performed in its proper time. It purifies the head and the jaws.
Cupping (hijama) on the top of the foot is a substitution for the puncturing of the Saphena, which is a large vein in the heel. It is beneficial for treating ulcers that occur on the thighs and calves, the interruption of menses and skin irritation on the testicles.
Cupping (hijama) at the bottom of the chest is beneficial for the treatment of sores, scabies and mange on the thighs. It helps against gout, hemorrhoids, elephantiasis and itchiness on the back.” [Zaad al-Ma'aad, 4/58].

Cupping (Hijama) For Women
Jaabir ibn Abdullah y reported Umm Salama (may Allah be pleased with her) asked permission from the Messenger r to be treated with cupping (hijama). So the Messenger r ordered Abu Teeba t to cup her. Jaabir ibn Abdullah y said, ” I think he r said that Abu Teeba t is her brother through breastfeeding or a young boy who didn’t reach puberty”. [Saheeh Muslim (5708), abu Dawud (4102), ibn Maajah (3480)].

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What is cupping therapy (hijama)?
Cupping (hijama) is the best remedy recommended and used by the Messenger r. The Messenger said, “Indeed the best of remedies you have is cupping (hijama)…” [Saheeh Ul-Bukhaari (5371)].
He also said that on the night of Israa (Meraj: his ascension to the heavens) he did not pass by an angel except that it said to him, “Oh Muhammad, order your Ummah (nation) with cupping (hijama).” [Saheeh Sunan Tirmidhee (3479)].
This shows the importance and greatness of this Sunnah.
‘Hijama’ in Arabic is derived from ‘Hajm’ which means ‘sucking’. Cupping (hijama) is the process of applying cups to various points on the body by removing the air inside the cups to form a vacuum.
Cupping is a method of relieving local congestion by applying a partial vacuum that is created in a cup(s), either by heat or by suction.
Types of Cupping
Cupping (hijama) is of three types:
  • Dry cupping (hijama) – This is the process of using a vacuum on different areas of the body in order to gather the blood in that area without incisions (small, light scratches using a sterile surgical blade).
  • Dry massage cupping (hijama) – This is similar to dry cupping (hijama) but olive oil is applied to the skin (before applying the cups) in order to allow easy movement of the cups. 70% of diseases, pains and ailments are due to the blood being unable to reach certain parts of the body. Dry cupping (hijama) and dry massaging cupping (hijama) allow the blood to reach these places. Dry and massage cupping (hijama) may be administered any time of the day, any day of the week or month. There are no restrictions. Although dry and massage cupping (hijama) are very beneficial, they are not from the Sunnah. However, they fall under the general hadeeth: The Messenger said, “For every disease there is a cure so if the medicine comes upon the disease it cures it by the will of Allah, the Most High.” [Saheeh Muslim (2204)].
  • Wet cupping (hijama) – This is the process of using a vacuum at different points on the body but with small incisions in order to remove ‘harmful’ blood which lies just beneath the surface of the skin. (It is recommended that wet cupping (hijama) is only administered by a cupping therapist). Wet cupping (hijama) is from the Sunnah. To obtain maximum benefit from cupping (hijama), it is recommended that all three methods of cupping are used.

History of Hijama:
Cupping has been used for thousands of years. Although it is often associated with Traditional Chinese Medicine, the entire world once knew this of therapy and used it. The Ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Chinese used cupping therapy. The oldest recorded medical textbook, Ebers Papyrus, written in approximately 1550 BCE in Egypt, mentions cupping (Curtis, 2005). In the UK, the practice of cupping therapy also dates back a long time in one of their leading medical journals, The Lancet. It was named after this practice as it refers to the surgical instrument that can scrape the skin to perform a style of cupping.
Is cupping (hijama) a cure for every disease?
Cupping (hijama) is a cure for every disease if performed in its correct time. The Messenger said, “Indeed in cupping (hijama) there is a cure.” [Saheeh Muslim (5706)]. Said, “Whoever performs cupping (hijama) on the 17th, 19th or 21st day (of the Islamic, lunar month) then it is a cure for every disease.” [Sunan abi Dawud (3861)].
Conditions Which Can Benefit From Cupping
Conditions that can benefit from cupping include headache, back pain, joint and muscular pain, infertility, sexual disorders, rheumatic diseases, hypertension, breast enhancement, bed wetting, common colds and flu, insomnia, stroke, fever, constipation and diarrhea, chest pain, asthma and blood disorders.
Precautions and Contraindications
Always take sensible precautions when using cupping or be sure that the therapist you seek cupping treatment from follows these precautions.

  • Sterilization: this is the main key to success.
  • Use suitable cups for the area being treated.
  • Take extra care with children and the elderly.
  • Do not apply strong cupping to the face.
  • Do not treat pregnant women.
  • Do not use cupping on inflamed or cut skin.
  • Take extra care when scraping the skin and do not cut a vein or artery.
  • Do not treat people with a serious heart disease.
Scientific Medical Achievements of Cupping
The official broadcasting station of London (BBC), in one of its main news bulletins on 12.08.2001, declared the following:
The Syrians were used to betake themselves to the British capital seeking for channels of treating their diseases of which they were desperate, or they came to make medical checkups or to perform some complicated medical operations. Such a way of acting on the part of the Syrians seemed very normal, but the unexpected act was the change in their destination from Great Britain towards the Syrian capital. A scientific medical team representing the British Royal Family began communications and dialogues with a group of Syrian physicians in Damascus in search for the cupping operation for the treatment of the hereditary disease, hemophilia. The disease confirmed its recovery in a number of sick people in Syria by means of cupping operations.
A spokesman on behalf of the professor Abdul-kader Dayrani, a verifier and a publisher of the books of the Damascene erudite who vitalized the cupping operation and restored its correct methods. The spoke man added that a delegation communicated with him to acquaint themselves with the medical studies done on hundreds of Syrian and Arab patients through the precise and accurate procedures which led to astonishing results for most diseases, especially hemophilia. He also mentioned that the first start for cupping in history was during the era of the most highborn the Arab Messenger. He also added that the scientific techniques and procedures of cupping were lost as time passed until the late Damascene erudite and scholar Mohammad Amin Sheikho brought the procedures of cupping to light anew.
Dr. Abdulmalek Al-Shalati, a specialist in neural diseases from UK and a professor in Damascus University, said to the BBC, in his talk, that the performance of cupping operations in its strict regular conditions on a group of patients gave amazing results in the complete recovery of many cases of cancer, paralysis, the problematic hemophilia, angina pectoris, Hodgkin’s disease, and some improvements in asthma, rheumatism, and other cases of disease. All these cases were confirmed foundings in clinical examinations, radiological and laboratory investigations performed on patients.

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Relation between the Moon and Cupping
What secret it was that made the Messenger (the communication with God and Peace are through him) apprise of the time of cupping to be in the springtide with the progression of the lunar month from only the seventeenth day until the twenty-seventh day of it.
We know that the moon has a pull effect on the earth despite its little diameter (3478 km),and its mass constitutes one part out of (80) parts of the mass of the earth, and the distance of it from the earth is a distance of (385.000 kms), this short distance makes its pulling force have a great influence on the oceans where they rise to form the tide, even the earth’s crust is never free from these effects. The crust of the north American continent heaves up to fifteen centimeters when the moon interposes its sky. The moon has also another effect which helps sap to rise in its circulation in the high trees.
The two French professors (Jubet and Galieh de Fond) noticed that the moon has an effect on animals from its birth as a crescent until it becomes a full-moon. The sexual activates increase gradually in animals, poultry and birds. They also noticed that poultry give more eggs in this period more than the period of senility when the moon begins its gradual atrophy to hunchback phase, then to the last lunar quarter, and to waning. According to special notice, it is found that there is a period of activity and much energy in animals connected with the lunar stages. They also noticed that poultry and some domesticated animals, and fishes, animals and lobsters of the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea produce more eggs in certain periods of the moon faces.
The moon reaches the climax of its effect when it is full-moon. It affects blood pressure producing higher level of pressure and in stimulating the blood circulation, so the sexual craving is excited. Also some western countries suffer much from the increase in the rate of crimes and assaults in nights and days of the full-moon.
During the first days of the lunar month, i.e. from the first day until of the fifteenth day, blood-flow is stimulated and it reaches its maximal limit and eventually it pokes all the blood residues and impurities which precipitated along the walls of the deep and superficial and in all the ramifications of the blood vessels in the tissues (exactly as, in turn, it – as a big spoon- stirs the water of the seas so as the salts in them don’t precipitate).
Likewise, when the moon begins to decrease from (17 – 27), the blood can carry these residues and impurities to the calmest parts of the body where they settle in the shoulder blades area. The tide of the seas due to the lunar pull begins to weaken from 17 to 27 of the lunar calendar. Since the cupping operation is performed in the morning after sleep and rest for the body and the blood circulation, and the moon is still rising despite the sunrise in the morning. The moon will have a little tidal effect during the performance of cupping. This situation is very good for our work for the moon still has the effect of pulling the blood from inside to the outside (the inner blood of the peripheral blood and the peripheral blood surrounding the opening of the cup). This situation has an excellent effect in performing a successful and profitable cupping operation to release the body from its impure blood.
If the cupping operation is performed in the middle of the lunar days (12-13-14-15), the strong pull of the moon stimulates the blood, and the blood will lose much of its young corpuscles, the Merciful God does not wish that for his servant-mankind. But the first days of the moon (crescent) do not let it do its job in carrying the blood residues and impurities from the inside to the outside in order to gather in the upper part of the back as it has been mentioned before.

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Scientific Basis of Cupping
Some of the scientific aspects regarding the mode of action of Al-Hijamah (Cupping Therapy) as follows:
Dr. Naseer Saleh has written that; Al-Hijamah (cupping therapy) is the process to extract nitrate toxicosis in humans which occurs through enterohepatic metabolism of nitrates to ammonia, with nitrite being an intermediate. Nitrites oxidize the iron atoms in hemoglobin from ferrous iron (Fe2+) to ferric iron (Fe3+).
An Egyptian Physician Dr Sahbaa has written that Cupping exerts marked improvement on the clinical condition of patients especially visual analogue scale of pain, it significantly reduces the laboratory markers of disease activity and it modulates the immune cellular conditions particularly of innate immune response NK cell % and adaptive cellular immune response SIL-2R.
Dr. Katase from Osaka University maintained that Hijama (cupping) influences the composition of blood as it increases red and white blood cells and changes acidic blood into alkaline or neutral blood, resulting in its purification. It also cleanses the body of accumulated irritants that cause inflammation.
In the British Medical Journal Feb. 23, 1924 P; 352, Dr Robert J. Simons (French) has concluded that cupping is worthy of a place in modern therapeutics on the basis of following reasons:
After performing cupping, we observe that the coloring of the skin changes from clear pink to dark red, due to extravasation of blood from the capillaries into the flesh. This deep tissue blood falls into decay, the red globules break up and set free the antitoxins that impregnate them. Besides that, we observe extensive polynucleosis, which enables the patient to resist infectious pathogens. In surgery, cupping is used in the treatment of deep abscesses, boils, and anthrax after the incision. It draws up the matter, almost without pain, and allows rapid healing of the wound.
In the Internet Journal of Alternative Medicine. 2007. Volume 4 Number 1, it is stated: At a biological level, similar to acupressure and acupuncture, cupping therapy works by stimulating or activating (1) the immune system; (2) Enkephalin secretion; (3) neurotransmitter release; (4) vasoconstriction and vasodilatation, and (5) the gates for pain in the CNS which interpret the pain sensation (NIH Consensus Development Panel, 1998). Lastly, it is believed that stimulation of cupping points can lead to the pain gates being overwhelmed by the increasing frequency of impulses, ultimately leading to closure of the gates and hence reduction in pain (Oumeish, 1998; Cad well, 1998).
In the American Journal of Chinese Medicine, Vol. 36, No. 1, p 42, it has been written that the mechanism of wet-cupping is dominated by influences in neural, hematological, and immune system functioning.
In the neural system, the main effect is likely regulation of neurotransmitters and hormones such as serotonin (of platelet), dopamine, endorphin, CGRP (Calcitoni-Gene Related Peptide) and acetylcholine. Moreover, it seems that wet-cupping has an effect on the negative charge of neuronal cells.
In the hematological system, the main effect is likely via two pathways: (a) regulation of coagulation and anti-coagulation systems (e.g., decrease in the level of hematological element such as fibrinogen), and (b) decrease in the HCT (Hematocrit), followed by increase in the flow of blood and in the end organ oxygenation.
In the immune system, the main effect is likely via three pathways:
  1. Irritation of the immune system by producing local artificial inflammation, followed by activation of the complementary system and increase in the level of immune products such as interferon and TNF (Tumor Necrotizing Factor);
  2. Effect on the thymus;
  3. Control of traffic of lymph and an increase in the flow of lymph in lymph vessels.
Now let us revive the forgotten Sunnah of Our Beloved Prophet and get blessings of Allah in this world and Hereafter.

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Prophet’s Guidance on requiring compensation from those unqualified to practice medicine

روى أبو داود، والنسائىُّ، وابن ماجه، من حديث عمرو ابن شعيب، عن أبيه، عن جده، قال: قال رسول ُالله صلى الله عليه وسلم: "مَنْ تطبَّبَ ولم يُعْلَم مِنْهُ الطِّبُّ قَبْلَ ذلك، فهو ضَامِنٌ".

Abu Dawood, Nasaii and Ibn Majah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: "These who practice Tibb, but are not knowledgeable in this profession are responsible for their actions".

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