Chapter 44: Medical treatment, charms, omens, stars, castration, branding, dogs, and compassion to slaves

44.1 Charms and medical treatment

44.1a. Making charms

There is nothing wrong in using charms (ruqa) against the evil eye and other things, nor in using prayers for refuge.

[ Charms (written or spoken) can be used against bites of scorpions and snakes. The evil eye is a poison which Allah puts in the eye of the looker when he admires something and does not ask for blessing. If he asks for blessing when he sees him, nothing befalls the person he looks at since the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said to the one with the evil eye, "Did you not ask for blessing?" There is no disagreement that it is permitted to make charms using the Names of Allah and His Book.

There is nothing wrong with using the refuge prayer. Muslim reports that when the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, had a complaint, he recited the refuge verses over himself: al-Ikhlas, al-Falaq and an-Nas and spit without actually spitting on his hand and wiped the part of his body which was afflicted.]

44.1b. Medical treatment

There is nothing wrong in using medical treatment, drinking medicine, being bled and cauterisation. Cupping is good.

[ Using medicines for illness is acceptable. Cupping is recommended at all times.]

44.1c. Kohl

It is permitted for men to use kohl for treatment and it is a cosmetic for women.

[ Kohl is antimony. Men only use it for necessity.]

[Hashiyya: This is one of two positions from Imam Malik. The other position is that it is permitted at night.]

44.1d. What one is not permitted to use in treatment

Wine, impurities, that which comes from carrion or anything which Allah Almighty has forbidden are not used for medical treatment.

[ It is not permitted to use wine inside or on the outside the body. Nothing of carrion is used since it is unclean. It is not permitted to treat the itch by wearing silk, although there is some disagreement about that.]

44.1e. Cauterisation and charms (ruqa)

There is nothing wrong in cauterisation and using charms with the Book of Allah or using good words.

[ Good words means words in Arabic. It is related by al-Bukhari and Muslim that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, uttered a refuge prayer for one of his family. He stroked the person with his right hand said, "O Allah, Lord of people, remove the harm. Heal. You are the Healer. There is no healing but Your healing, a healing which does leave any illness behind."

One does not use charms consisting of unclear words since Malik was asked about foreign words and said, "What will inform you? Perhaps they are disbelief." The ruling in that is that it is not permitted to use for a charm that whose meaning is not known.]

44.1f. Amulets

There is no harm in amulets which contain something of the Qur'an.

[ These are used for protection, whether for someone ill or healthy after it is put inside something.]

44.1g. Plague

If the plague breaks out in a land no one should enter it and those there should not flee from it.

[ One does not flee from the plague because the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, forbade that. It is disliked.]

44.2. Portents

The Messenger, peace be upon him, said about evil omens, "If they exist, they are in houses, women, and horses." The Prophet, peace be upon him, disliked bad names and liked good omens.

[ Bad omens in a house is in the form of bad neighbours. In a woman it is like her lack of lineage or bad character, and in a horse, it is the fact that it has not been ridden in expeditions. The Prophet disliked names like Hanzala (colocynth) and Harb (war).

He liked good omens, In the Sahih it is reported that the Prophet was asked, "Messenger of Allah, what is the good omen?" He said, "A good word which one of you hears when he leaves on a journey or to visit a sick person and did not intend to hear." He hears something like, "O Ghanim (successful)! O Salim (safe)." If he intends to hear the omen so as to act on it, that is not permitted. That is akin to arrow drawing. They had three arrows. One said "Do it", the second "Do not do it" and the third was blank. When the person drew the one that said, "Do it", he would do what he was going to do. If "Do not do it" came out, he went back. If he drew the blank, he repeated the process.]

44.3 Curing the effect of the evil eye

The manner of washing on account of the evil eye is that the person responsible for the evil eye washes his face, hands, elbows, knees, ends of his feet and under his waist-wrapper over a basin. Then that water is poured over the one afflicted.

[ He must do this, And he is forced to do it if he refuses when death is feared for the one afflicted and that is the only means of saving him. By under the waist-wrapper he means the area near the private parts. ]

44.4. Stars

One should only look at the stars to find the direction of qibla and the time of the night and not other things.

[ A third purpose is permitted, and it is to use them for direction when travelling since Allah Almighty says, "It is He who has appointed the stars for you so you might be guided by them in the darkness of the land and sea." (6:98) Other things means things like astrology.]

44.5. Dogs

Dogs should not be kept in houses in the towns nor in houses in the countryside except for those used for guarding crops or livestock where the dog accompanies the flock into the desert and then comes home with them, or dogs used for hunting for livelihood, but not for sport.

[ They are said to be permitted for guarding houses. If the dog is vicious, then it is forbidden to keep it unless it is a guard dog or a sheep dog. The general prohibition is one of dislike.]

44.6. Gelding animals

There is nothing wrong in castrating sheep and goats if it improves their meat. It is forbidden to geld horses.

[ It is forbidden to geld horses because that weakens them and removes the possibility of using them for stud. It is permitted to geld mules and donkeys. There is consensus that it is unlawful to castrate a human being.]

44.7. Branding animals

It is disliked to brand on the face. There is nothing wrong in branding them elsewhere.

[ It can be done elsewhere on the animal other than the face because the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, forbade branding on the face and allowed marking the ear because the owner needs to distinguish his animals.]

44.8. Kindness to slaves

One should be kind to slaves and not oblige them to do work they are incapable of doing.

[ One should be kind to them in eating, drinking and work. The master is not permitted to oblige his slave to do what is hard for him or what he or she cannot physically do.]

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