Friday, June 19, 2009

AL HIJAMAH/BERBEKAM - English Version Part 1

Al-Jami` al-Sahih (Sahih al-Bukhari) of Imam Bukhari Al-Jami` al-Sahih, known as Sahih al-Bukhari, is a recognized collection of hadiths of the Prophet SAW. It was compiled by Muhammad b. Isma`ilal-Bukhari (194-256/ 810-870). The hadiths were arranged in 97 books (kutub, the plural of kitab) with 3,450 chapters (abwab, its singular is bab). They were classified according to subject matters on Fiqh. In addition, the other subjects such as theology, ethics and medicine are found as a separated kitab in Sahihal-Bukhari. The Sahih al-Bukhari is recognized by the overwhelming majority of the Muslim scholars to be one of the most authentic collections of the hadith or Sunnah of the Prophet SAW. Imam Bukhari spent sixteen years compiling the hadiths of the Prophet SAW, and ended up with 2,602 hadiths (9,082 with repetition). Sahih al-Bukhari has been commented by many scholars.

Al-Bukhari’s criteria for acceptance of hadiths into his collection were amongst the accepted criteria of Muslim scholars of hadith. Each report in his collection was checked for compatibility with the Qur’an, and the veracity of the chain of reporters had to be painstakingly established. It is not merely its authenticity that makes this particular collection arising interested by Muslim scholars, but also the vital role it played in developing the concept of health medicine, prevention and treatment of disease relevance to this age.


Two Hadith were narrated by Ibn `Abbas and another was by Jabir b. Abd Allah.

First: “Healing is in three things: a gulp of honey, cupping, and branding with fire (cauterizing), however, I forbid my followers to use branding with fire (cauterization) (al-Shifa’ fi thalatha: sharbat `asal, wa shartah mihjam, wa kayyah nar, wa anha ummati `an alkayy).

Second: “Healing is in three things: cupping, a drink of honey and cauterization (branding with fire) but I forbid my followers to use cauterization (al-Shifa’ fi Thalatha: fi Shartati Mihjam, aw Sharbat Asal, aw Kayy bi Nar, wa Anha Ummati an al-Kayy).”

In another version, it was narrated by Jabir bin Abdullah that he heard the Prophet said: “If there is any healing in your medicines, then it is in cupping, a drink of honey or branding with fire (cauterization) that suits the ailment, but I don’t like to be (cauterized) branded with fire”

In his interpretation of the above hadiths, Ibn Hajar (773–852/1372-1449) reminded us that the treatment of disease does not predestine only three methods of healing namely a gulp of honey, cupping, and branding with fire (cauterizing). In trying to answer the question, why did the Prophet SAW mention only three methods of healing?, Ibn Hajar clarified that the Prophet SAW mentioned only three methods of healing mainly because they were usul al-ilaj, the principle of treatment of disease. In addition, it was widely known among the Arab in that time.

It is possible that this belief was the result of Muslim’s discoveries during that time that the cause of disease was mainly blood (damawi) or yellow bile (safrawi) or black bile (sawdawi) or phlegm (balghi). This implies that the Arab in that time viewed the nature of disease in terms of philosophy and looked upon it as a disturbance in the equilibrium of the body’s blood, yellow bile (safrawi), black bile (sawdawi) and phlegm (balghi). Thus, the disease, which is caused by one of them should be treated either by hijamah (taking the impure blood from the body) or honey. If we failed to treat a disease by the mentioned method, then, it must be treated by cauterization
or surgery as in our time. The latter could not be more than a last option to which physicians had to consider when a gulp of honey, cupping(al Hijamah) and pharmaceutical treatments failed.


* Senior Lecturer Faculty of Human Ecology Universiti Putra Malaysia 43400 UPM Serdang,
Selangor, MALAYSIA



  1. Hi Teratai

    Interesting post, especially the bit about balancing humours in the body, given many alternative medicines like acupuncture are also concerned with rebalancing the body so that it can heal itself.

    We are a group of people interested in hijama and therefore are running a blog on the subject of hijama: where therapists and patients can connect with each other and share their knowledge and experience.

    Please take part by contributing your comments and maybe even a guest blog-post if there is any hijama-related topic that you want to discuss.



  2. Thank you very much. Insya ALlah I will share whatever I know about Hijama.