Reciting Quranic verses on water for the sick.

Q. A girl who claims to be salafi told me that to recite quranic verses and blow on the water to give to the sick is not proved by sunnah. Also to write quranic verses on a paper and then dissolve it in water to drink is also not proved by the sunnah. Please give me reference as to if doing this is correct or not.

A. It is permissible to recite Quranic verses and blow on water for the sick to drink and it is also permissible to write Quranic verses on a paper and then dissolve it in water to drink. These actions do not contain any form of shirk and are accepted in Islam. The act of reciting Quranic verses or Allah’s beautiful names and then blow one’s breadth over a sick person as a treatment is referred to as ‘Ruqyah’ which is normally translated as ‘incantation’. This can be done by reciting Quranic verses or duas (supplications) upon a person and can also be done by reciting on water (which a person will drink) and may be recited upon earth (soil) which is then placed on the body of a person. Many incidents of ‘Ruqyah’, done by the Prophet (SAS) and the sahabahs have been narrated in authentic traditions and upon these proofs, the scholars have stated that ‘Ruqyah’ is permissible as long as it is free from shirk (associating partners to Allah). In this regard, Sahih Muslim has the tradition of Awf Ibn Malik in which he (Awf Ibn Malik) said, ‘We practiced Ruqyah (incantation) in the Pre Islamic days and we said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! What is your opinion about it? He (the Prophet (SAS) ) said, ‘let me know your incantation and said, ‘There is no harm in the incantation which does not have shirk’. (Sahih Al Muslim)

In another tradition, Jabir Ibn Abdullah (RA) narrated, ‘Allah’s Messenger (SAS) prohibited incantation. Then, the people of Amr Ibn Hazm came to Allah’s Messenger and said, ‘We know an incantation, which we use for curing the sting of the scorpion but you have prohibited it. They recited the words of the incantation before him, whereupon he (the Prophet) said, ‘I do not see any harm in it, so he who amongst you is competent to do good to his brother should do that’. (Sahih Muslim)

It is also narrated that Aisha (RA) said that when any person fell ill with a disease or he had any ailment or he had any injury, the Messenger of Allah (SAS) would place his index finger on the ground (after placing his saliva on it) and would lift it by reciting the name of Allah (and place it on the body of the ailing/sick person). While doing so, he would say, ‘the dust of our ground, with the saliva of one of us, in order that an ill person amongst us would be cured, with the permission of our lord’. (Bukhari, Muslim)

Here, it is clearly evident that the Prophet (SAS) did Ruqyah. He recited words (of the supplication) upon the saliva and dust/clay that he had on his finger and then placed it on the patient.

Abu Dawood reported in his Sunan that the Prophet (SAS) came to Thabit Ibn Qais who was sick and recited the dua upon him, ’O Lord of Mankind, take away the harm from Thabit Ibn Qais’. Then he (the Prophet) took some earth from Buthaan (a place in Medina) and then put it in a container and put water in it. After, doing this, he then splashed the water on Thabit’. (Abu Dawood)

In another tradition, it is narrated from Abdullah bin Abbas (RA) that he said, ‘If a woman who is about to give birth, cannot bear the pain (of the process of giving birth) she should write verse 46 of chapter 79 and verse 35 of chapter 46 of the Holy Quran along with the following dua on a sheet of paper and then she should wash and drink it. The dua is, ‘ Bismillah, La ilaaha Illallaah Al Haleem, Al Kareem, Subhaanallah Rabbus Samaawaati As Sab’i wa Rabbul Arshil Azeem’. (Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaiba)

So the above, as well as other narrations show that it is permissible to use water, saliva and earth while performing Ruqyah, if the recitation is acceptable and provided the purpose of using the water, earth and saliva is to transmit the effect of the Ruqyah on the body of the patient. It is for this reason that many early and contemporary scholars are of the view that it is permissible to recite the Quran on water and then blow on it, after which the person will drink. Wahb bin Munabbih, Imam Ahmad, Hafiz ibn Taymiyyah, Hafiz Ibn Al Qayyim, Shaikh Ibn Baaz, Ibn Uthaymeen, and Sahikh Ibn Ibraaheem Aal Ash Shaikh have all said that it is permissible to perform Ruqyah in this way. (Musannaf Abdur Razzak vol.10 pg.80; Fathul Majeed Sharh Kitabut Tauheed pg.113; Fatawa Islamiyya vol.1 pg.50).

And Allah knows best.

Mufti Waseem Khan