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 related 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.


Methods

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.
Your cupper should be aware of all this.


Frequency of procedure

One 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. For those with health problems a gap of week is needed minimum. 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.


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!


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:
Exercise,
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!

Friday, July 04, 2014

What is Halal?






Halal and Haram rules our lives without us knowing. It governs our behaviour and here we wish to examine the different facets of Halal/lawful in our lives. Halal is something that is lawful to consume in terms of food or in terms of action, clothes, jobs and other things something to do.

Haram is the unlawful which is very easy in terms of food; pork, consumption of blood, unslaughtered meat and human products, any job that involves interest transactions and so forth.


Food

We advised a friend to look for the suitable for vegetarian signs about food. Due to packaging regulations food companies have to abide by what the ingredients they list or face prosecution.

My friends question do we have to look for them? As long as we check that there is no pork in them, should that no be sufficient? Well it would be in most cases but there are instances where we cannot know all the ingredients. Looking for the 'suitable of vegetarian' makes sense. You see there are ingredients such as E numbers which are not lawful/Halal. L-Cystine which is human hair is not lawful to consume. This is commonly found in pastry or wraps and despite the suitable for vegetarian sign. Vegetarians seem to have little complaint  about eating human hair! Though it could be classed as highly disliked/makruh tahrima. As only the consumption of human flesh would be unlawful totally.

He was beginning to question a system that many had used for years. As it was, to my mind at least, a full proof method. Look for the suitable for vegetarian sign and then check the ingredients for alcohol, meat and pork.


Disagreements

There are other items such as rennet which there is disagreement on. The Shafi's do not allow it and the Hanafi's allow it. Hanafi's allow products or medicine which contain alcohol when they have had their intoxicant quality altered. Like in beans or sauces. This is the same for deodorant sprays or cremes, which is allowed because they are synthetic and not from fermented liquids. Though some scholars, from the indo pak region, do not allow it because of the word alcohol. As they do not differentiate between synthetic alcohol which is not the same as fermented alcohol. So be aware of this when you hear speakers.


Shoes and clothes

The tanning process cleans all animals that have been killed for their meat. (source Quduri ) Whether they have been Islamically slaughtered or not is irrelevant. The Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) was given leather socks of an animal that was not Islamically slaughtered and wore them. So its lawful for you to buy that leather jacket as long you do not act like the Fonz (see Happy days Tv show).

One thing that you have to be aware of is pig skin in leather products. This is very true about shoes. Now this is little tricky because you have to look for three dots together which is a sign of pig flesh. This link has some good information of how to spot pig flesh.  

If you find them then get rid of them because they will do your body harm. The only time in which pig meat is allowed is in a situation of life and death. For example there is no food except pork and if you do not eat it then you will die. Someone is lost in the desert for example. Then you can only eat what will keep you alive and no more; and you do not say bismillah/In the name of Allah.

Gold is lawful for women but unlawful for men. Why because it makes men effeminate. Silk is also unlawful in ties for men but they have to check if the silk is real or synthetic.

Also bear in mind soaps and washing materials. Please see Astonish cleaning products which are better for the environment and suitable for us.


Making the unlawful lawful

This is a dangerous game that some play. They think by saying bismillah changes the product or the thing from unlawful to lawful. Newsflash it does not change anything its unlawful nature stays the same. Also according to Abu Hanifah in Fiqh Al-Akbar, a person leaves Islam. Because of his desire to make the unlawful lawful. Like someone taking a bottle of wine and saying bismillah over it. It does not change it into Halal and you have committed a major sin! Major sins only make one leave Islam with this intention otherwise they do not. Someone who drinks alcohol has sinned but not left Islam. So do not play this game which is like playing with fire, literally in the next world.


Jobs

Jobs need to Halal also. Which means that you cannot involve yourself in interest, betting, any transaction of unlawful product, cheat or deceive when making transactions to the government or anyone else. You have to be honest or else that money is unlawful. Money is the only thing one is asked about twice; how we earned and spent it. All unlawful income belongs to the fire.


Non Muslims view of Halal/Haram

Now many of you reading this live in the west. So when we ask a non Muslim if something is Halal or not. Do not expect them to understand because in all likelihood they will have no concept of it. Of course why should they when we don't understand it! How could they? So it's better to declare yourself as vegetarian thus saving you from a puzzled look from a unsuspecting person. So bear that mind parents who have children in schools who are unable to differentiate between food. Tell the schools they are vegetarians and the job is done.

Also declaring yourself as tea totaled might save you from the office party where alcohol is consumed. Know that the only thing necessary for a disbeliever is faith and their sins can be forgiven if they accept Islam. But we will be punished if we do not explain our religion correctly. Explaining Halal and haram is easily done. 

Say that we can only consume meat that has been slaughtered  according to traditional methods akin to the kosher meat of the Jews. It's almost the same method which has been used for many century. We cannot eat pig meat because its deemed unlawful by the Quran and the Bible. As there are many toxins and diseases that are not removed after cooking at certain temperatures. Is this not a contributing factor to the rise of cancer in the west?

Non Muslims are advised to consider Muslims as vegetarians when they purchase food for them. Please do not offended when we refuse food because its not suitable for veggies.


Animal slaughter

Animals that are lawful to consume have to be traditionally slaughtered. This method sounds brutal but the animal is dead within three to seven seconds. When the throat is cut death is instantaneous. This is not the same as stunning because does not cause death instantly. As the process needs to be repeated and this causes great distress to the animal. 

That pre-packed piece of meat, in the supermarket, might have been distressed greatly before death. however when meat is slaughtered correctly is more humane than stunning. As the time of stunning is different depending on the animal and has it worked. There is a possibility that the animal might still be aware when it is cut up because the stunning is not as effective as slaughtering. The most humane way is to make sure that the animal does not suffer needlessly or for an extending period of time; both which are possible in stunning. 

When an animal is slaughtered death is within three seconds because of heavy blood loss. And there is no possibility of repeating the action when it is done correctly. Because of the uncertainty about the death and suffering of the animal have lead scholars to declare it highly disliked. As a consequence many non-Muslims do not eat meat because of the process than the conditions of the animals in abattoirs. So why should we as Muslims change from a method that is tried and tested? To a method many people do not like themselves!

Please note Muslims cannot eat meat that non Muslims sell in supermarkets. As it is not food from the people of the book as the meat is slaughtered by atheists therefore unlawful. There is no excuse in consuming this food. If you live far away from Muslims then make good use of a freezer. Personally I do not accept the reported news that some meat that supermarkets sell is halal.


Halal and pure

The Quran tells us to consume the "Halal and pure." Now these two parts are essentially one set of rulings; Halal and pure. Halal meaning lawful and pure meaning there is no harm to one health. Now you cannot separate the lawful from the pure by saying something is pure and therefore permissible. Nothing that is pure that is not Halal is not lawful. This is logical fallacy because it has to Halal and if it isn't then it's not lawful and its purity is disregarded!

Although there are times when something is Halal but not pure like that cheese burger dripping with fat! It might be Halal but it's not pure! A moment on the lips is a lifetime on the hips!


Foreigners

It's very difficult for people to come from the Muslim world to the west. Where everything was lawful to consume, to another world where you have to check everything. He is not used to checking anything, he just picked up what he wanted without giving it a second thought. So tell him what he needs to look for and advise him.

Eating at McDonalds in the west is clearly unlawful because they do not separate oils when frying nor do the Milk shakes contain lawful substances etc. But when you are in the Muslim world this picture changes. Because its lawful because government regulations do not allow anything Haram to be sold! So bear that in mind if you want it your way in Saudi! (Burger King motto!)


Further study

Please look into this field a little deeper by looking at the chapters of Hadar wa Ibah or Halal wa Haram in the books of fiqh. This is a very large section and it covers many fields. Ask a trusted scholar about further study in this field. We have not spoken deeply about means of earning a livelihood or other matters. Halal and Haram encompasses our entire lives and if we get this right; how great of an act of worship would that be!