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Hijama in Ramadan: Is it permissible to be cupped when fasting and what are the health benefits?

With the blessed month of Ramadan fast approaching and due to begin around the 11th of March, we look to focus on the permissibility in Islam of having Hijama (wet cupping) in the month of Ramadan and whether there is any benefit to having this therapy whilst fasting.

There is much conversation around this topic, especially as some say that it is permissible to have Hijama while fasting, whereas others say that it should be avoided as it is believed to break the fast. We aim to add some clarification to the conversation, in order for our readers to gain a better insight into the topic as a whole.

Hijama is considered to be from among the best types of remedy for all ailments. The following hadith explains:

Narrated by Anas R.A, The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said “The best medicines you may treat yourself with are cupping and sea incense.” (Sahih Al Bukhari, 69, 7:599).

There is no doubt that Hijama wet cupping is best performed on a person who has not eaten for several hours and it is common advice given to patients, that before they attend their cupping session, they should fast for at least 3 to 4 hours beforehand. Many people know this, especially as there are hadith which relate specifically to cupping being performed on an empty stomach. It is said to be beneficial in many ways, the following hadith demonstrates this:

Ibn Umar reported that the Messenger ﷺ of Allah said, “Hijama on an empty stomach is best. It increases the intellect and improves the memory. It improves the memory of the one memorising.” (Sahih Sunan Ibn Majah, 3488).

The goal of fasting is to put our bodies into a metabolic state that promotes cellular repair and increase waste disposal. Growing scientific evidence seems to support that going without food puts our bodies into a mode where we conserve energy, make repairs and prioritise physical and mental functions.

When deprived of food, the body becomes able to redirect blood from its digestive tract to other cellular structures, particularly the brain. With Hijama being performed on the fasting person, it aids with increased waste disposal of toxins from the body (detoxification) and improves the circulation of fresh, nutrient-rich blood to the brain.

Hijama also benefits the muscles, organs and skin. It alleviates pain, reduces inflammation and improves the function of the immune system and the nervous system.

Having said this, the only main point of concern in regards to having Hijama while fasting, is that it can cause weakness, as shown in the following hadith:

Anas bin Malik was asked whether they disliked the cupping for a fasting person. He replied in the negative and said, “Only if it causes weakness.” (Bukhari, 1940).

However, the majority of scholars hold the opinion that Hijama does not break the fast, but in case where the person may become weak, then it is makrooh (disliked).

A person is more likely to become weak from having Hijama performed on them only if they are fasting consistently, on a daily basis, over a period of time. Whereas most people will follow the sunnah of fasting occasionally, on the three white days of the month (these days are the 13th, 14th and 15th of every month in the Islamic calendar). 

However, during the month of Ramadan which requires one to fast every day for the entire month, it is advised to avoid Hijama wet cupping during the daylight hours of the fast itself. Instead, it is recommended to schedule Hijama sessions before or after the fast to avoid any potential health problems relating to weakness, from occurring. Such as fainting, nausea, dizziness and hypotension.

Our mobile Hijama clinic, which is run by our fully qualified and certified therapist, serves the whole of London and surrounding areas, such as Slough and Windsor and we will be completely operational during the month of Ramadan. We are happy to take bookings during this period and encourage anyone who would like to reap the numerous health benefits of having Hijama in this blessed month, to contact us to arrange a home visit appointment in the evenings, after Iftar.

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