What is Sunnah Cupping?
Sunnah Cupping is the removal of blood and toxins from the surface of the body usually with the aid of a suction cup or point bleeding techniques.
Conditions under which HCupping is performed:
Rasulullaah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) had cupping done both in health and as a treatment for particular pains and ailments.
Hijamah-bi-Sihhat -Hijamah in the condition of strength
The simplest method of Hijamah is that used for general health promotion and Nabi (صلى الله عليه وسلم) used the most common method. This is traditionally termed as Hijamah-bi-Sihhat (Hijamah in the condition of health). Hijamah in strength refers to performing Hijamah for someone who is of general good health and strength and very importantly their pulse is strong indicating a healthy amount of blood and also a good amount of heat in the blood. They may be suffering from a constitutional blood or heat excess as is common in hot climates
In this type of Hijamah there is no serious complaint by the patient that would warrant a special type of Hijamah or the use of “special” Hijamah points other than the standard points on the back, neck or head.
If the pulse is weak or deep then this type of Hijamah is not indicated as it means that there is deficient blood or the heat of the body is internal and not in the exterior parts of the body.
In Hijamah-bi-sihhat care is taken to observe the rules of Hijamah with regard to the condition of the patient, as well as the season, climate, day of the lunar month and time of the day in which Hijamah is performed as this greatly influences the nature of blood that will be removed. Not observing these and performing this type of general Hijamah outside of its recommended times will not result in any benefit for the patient and will very often result in long term harm for the patients’ health
When applying Hijamah in the condition of strength the areas being cupped are standard, these are mentioned in the Ahadeeth:
Hadhrat Abu Kabsha (رضي الله عنه) narrates that Rasulullaah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) used to undergo cupping on the head and between his shoulders and he used to say, ‘Whosoever removes this blood, it will not harm him that he does not take any other medical treatment.’ (Mishkãt p. 389
Note that women are not in need of regular Hijamah as they do release blood through the menses, if they have experienced menopause then it is fine to do as long as they are still strong and not suffering from blood deficiency in which case one must observe the rules of performing Hijamah in illness.
Days for performing Hijamah in strength
Hijamah in strength should be performed only in the seasons of spring and summer. When the climate is hot. However, in places like Hejaz where it is hot throughout the year it can also be performed in the other seasons.
The recommended dates (17th, 19th, 21st of the Islamic/lunar month) and days (Mon, Tues, Thurs) coinciding with these dates should be adhered to.
Hijama-bil-Mardh – Hijamah in illness
When a patient is complaining of a particular condition, i.e. they are not in good health, but suffering from a particular illness for which Hijamah is indicated then this is termed Hijama-bil-Mardh.
In illness the rules of Hijamah are different. For this reason Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (رحمة الله عليه ) would have Hijamah at any time of the month and hour of the day as a result of the need for performing Hijamah due to illness. When performing Hijamah for a specific illness it should be done at those points of the body indicated for the illness and the rules of the amount of blood being removed should be observed.
This type of Hijamah is very specialized and involves two major aspects, the correct selection of points (or superficial veins) to bleed and removing the correct amount of blood in order to effect cure of the patient’s illness. It is also highly recommended to use herbal preparations in association with the Hijamah address deficiencies/excesses present and treat cold or heat that is present.
How often should Hijamah be done?
- For a normal, healthy person it is good to do Hijamah once or twice a year during the spring or summer months.
- Sometimes the benefits are noticed immediately but short lived, in particular when dealing with long-standing or multiple problems.
- If a person is not cured by one Hijamah, then Hijamah may be repeated from three to seven times with a gap of at least 2 weeks to a month between sessions because it is considered from the Prophetic medicine and Nabi (صلى الله عليه وسلم) advised people to perform it.
Reasons for having Hijamah
Besides the general effects of Hijamah in improving and maintaining good health, especially in the hot regions, Nabi (صلى الله عليه وسلم) also used and recommended Hijamah for specific illnesses.
Jaabir ibn Abdullaah (رضي الله عنه) reported that Rasulullaah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) fell from his horse onto the trunk of a palm tree and dislocated his foot. Waki ‘ (رضي الله عنه) said, “Rasulullaah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was cupped on (his foot) for bruising.” [Saheeh Sunan ibn Maajah (2807)].
Salma (رضي الله عنه), the servant of Rasullullah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said,
“Whenever someone would complain of a headache to Rasulullaah (صلى الله عليه وسلم), he (صلى الله عليه وسلم) would advise them to perform Hijamah.” [Saheeh Sunan abi Dawud (3858)].
Sihr (black magic)
Ibn al-Qayyum (رحمة الله ) mentions that Rasulullaah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was cupped on his head when he was afflicted with sihr and that it is from the best of cures for this if performed correctly. [Zaad al Ma’aad (4/125-126)].
Abdullah ibn Abbas (رضي الله عنه) reported that a Jewish woman gave poisoned meat to Rasulullaah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) so he (صلى الله عليه وسلم) sent her a message asking, “What caused you to do that?” She replied, “If you really are a Nabi then Allah will inform you of it and if you are not then I would save the people from you!” When Rasulullaah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) felt pain from it, he (صلى الله عليه وسلم) performed Hijamah. Once he travelled while in Ihram and felt that pain and hence performed Hijamah. [Ahmed (1/305) the Hadeeth is Hasan].
These four conditions mentioned in the Ahadeeth for which Nabi (صلى الله عليه وسلم) had Hijamah done give us an indication as to what type of diseases Hijamah is useful for viz.:
- External injuries
- Internal disorders which are either due to heat, poor circulation or build up of toxins
- Sihr (black magic)
- Poison (this can also be natural poisons such as heavy metal toxicity etc.)
From: Islamic Cupping and Hijamah A Complete Guide By Dr Feroz Osman Latib