Islamic Studies Personal Development Relationships

The Ailment and Its Cure

by Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya | Translated by Osman Umarji

Part 1 | Part 2

3860463653_032d962cb9_bAll of us know that the Quran is a book of guidance for mankind. We know that the Quran tells us who our creator is, what our purpose in life is, who the Prophets were, and what will occur on the Day of Judgment.  We are also well aware that the Quran informs us how to worship Allah through prayer, fasting, zakat, and hajj. The Quran contain many rulings and laws that are for our general welfare in this life as well as the next. However, one thing that many of us may not pay attention to is that the Quran is also a form of medication and a cure for many sicknesses. This translation of the first few pages of a wonderful book by Ibn al Qayyim will shed some light on this topic insha Allah.

The Ailment and Its Cure

By Imam Ibn al Qayyim al Jawziyya

Imam Ibn al Qayyim was once asked the following question:

Oh dear scholars and leaders of our ummah! What do you say about a man who has been afflicted with a disease and knows that if it persists, that he would lose his dunya and akhira. This man has struggled in every way to cure himself. However, no matter what he tries, his pain and suffering continually get worse. Keeping all of this in mind, what is the solution in fighting off this disease? What are the steps required to discover its cure? May Allah have mercy upon those concerned with the sick, as Allah is always helping His servant as long as he is helping his brother. Please provide us with the answer and may Allah shower his mercy upon you.

Ibn al Qayyim responded by writing this book. Here is his introduction to the subject:

For Every Ailment there is a Cure

All Praise belongs to Allah. Imam Bukhari mentioned the following hadith narrated by Abu Huraira, where the Prophet said, “Allah has not sent down any ailment, except that He also sent down its cure.” A similar hadith has been narrated in Sahih Muslim on the authority of Jabir ibn Abdullah, in which the Prophet said, “For every ailment there is a remedy. If the remedy happens to come upon the ailment, one will recover and be cured.” In a different wording of the hadith, “Indeed Allah has not created an ailment except that He created for it a cure and remedy, with the exception of one ailment.” The companions asked the Prophet, “And what ailment is that?” He said, “Aging.”

The Cure for any Form of Weakness is Asking

This is general and applies to all the ailments of the heart, soul, or the body. The Prophet stated that ignorance was an ailment, and said its cure was asking the scholars. Abu Dawud narrated the following hadith from Jabir, which explains this point. “We went out on a journey, and during our travel a man was struck by a rock, causing his head to split open. The man slept and had a wet dream, and when he woke up he asked his companions, “Do you guys know of any concession for me to make tayammum (dry ablution)?” They replied, “We don’t find any concession for you to make tayammum, since you are capable of using water.” So the man took a shower and passed away. When we came back from our journey, the Prophet was informed of what occurred. He responded by saying, “They killed him, may Allah destroy them! Why did they not ask if they did not know the answer? Indeed, the only cure for the weak [ignorant] is to ask. It would have been enough for him to make tayammum and stop his bleeding or bandage his wound (the narrator was unsure of what was exactly said) with a cloth and wipe over it, and then he could wash the rest of his body.” Here, the Prophet clearly informed us that ignorance was an ailment, and that its cure was to ask (those that know).

The Quran is a Cure and Remedy

Allah has told us that the Quran is a cure and a remedy, as He says, “And if We had sent down this Quran in a foreign language, they would have said, “Why are its verses not explained clearly? What? A book in a foreign language given to an Arab?” Say, “It is a source of guidance and a cure for those who believe.” (41:44) And Allah also says, “And We have revealed in the Quran that which is a cure and mercy for those who believe.” (17:82) The use of the word “in” refers to the entire Quran, and not just some parts of it, since all of the Quran is a cure as stated in the preceding verse. It is a cure for the hearts from the sicknesses of ignorance, doubt, and confusion. Allah has not revealed from the heavens any cure that is greater, more beneficial, or more applicable in removing ailments than the Quran.

There is an authentic hadith from Abu Saeed that has been narrated in Bukhari and Muslim clearly showing this:

“A group of the companions were travelling until they stopped at a town and requested to be taken in as guests, but the Arabs refused to serve them. During this time, the leader of the town was bitten [by a poisonous animal], and the inhabitants tried everything to heal him, yet nothing helped. Some of them said to each other, “You should ask that group of people that just arrived; perhaps some of them have some medication or know how to heal.”

So they brought the group of companions and said, “Of people, indeed our leader has been bitten and we have tried everything and nothing has helped. Do any of you have anything to offer?” One of them responded, “Yes, I swear by Allah that I know how to alleviate his pain. However, I swear by Allah that we asked you to host us and you did not take care of us; so I will not cure him unless you compensate me.” So they reconciled by offering to give them a flock of sheep. He proceeded to recite upon their leader Surat al Fatiha. Immediately after, he was active and had been cured from his paralysis and extreme pain. As they proceeded to leave, the leader of the town said, “Compensate them with what you agreed upon.” Some of the companions said, “Split everything up amongst us.” The one who cured the man said, “We will not do that until we go to the Prophet and tell him what has occurred, and we will wait to see what he commands us to do.”

When they got back and told the Prophet what had happened, he said to them, “How did you know that it was a cure?” Then he said, “You were absolutely right. Split everything up and give me a portion as well.” Then the Prophet laughed.”

This remedy had a profound impact on this ailment and removed it as if it had never occurred. It is the easiest remedy, and if the servant has perfected using Surat al-Fatiha as a treatment, he would see the most amazing results in healing.

I had spent some time in Mecca and was stricken with a number of sicknesses, and I couldn’t find any doctors or medication. So I used to treat myself with Surat al-Fatiha, and I would see the most amazing results. I used to prescribe this to anyone who complained of pain, and many of them would be cured quickly.

However, there is an important issue here that needs clarification and insight. Those du`a’ (supplications) and ayat (verses from the Quran) that are used to treat and cure are intrinsically beneficial and have the ability to cure. However, they require the following:

  1. Appropriate conditions and proper usage that would lead to its acceptance;
  2. Strength and resolve on the part of the one healing;
  3. Usage of the proper medication which would have the desired effects upon the ailment.

Anytime that the remedy does not work, it is due to the following causes:

  1. The weakness of the one treating the ailment;
  2. The lack of acceptance by the one receiving treatment;
  3. A strong prohibitive factor that inhibits the effectiveness of the treatment.

The same holds true in regards to physical diseases and their tangible medications. If there are no effects observed, it could be because the individual’s body naturally rejects the medication. It could also be due to a strong prohibitive that inhibits the effectiveness of the medication. If the body naturally accepts the medication, then the benefit received will vary according to how well the body absorbs that medication. Likewise, if the heart accepts the cure of the Quran with complete acceptance, then this cure will have the desired effects of removing the ailment.

The next chapter will discuss du`a’ specifically, its usage, things that weaken its effects, and the proper way to make du`a’ to Allah.

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  • Excellent article, but I have a question: the third condition for the supplications and verses to work, “Usage of the proper medication which would have the desired effects upon the ailment.”, does this mean that I have to take the medicine even though I made duaa and recited the verses? For instance, if I have a headache, should I recite Surat Al-Fatiha and THEN take an aspirine or a Panadol? Reciting the Surat is not sufficient?

  • Assalamu a`lykum,

    Jazakum Allah khairan for sharing – looking forward to the following posts.

    This reminds me of a recent article by Dr. Qaradawi in which he addresses the issue of using the Quran for healing, and which may answer your question, Sr. Aziza.

    His argument was that the Quran is mainly a cure for spiritual diseases, not physical. He elaborated by citing the following hadith, mentioned in Sahih al-Bukhari:
    (إنما الشفاء في ثلاثة: شربة عسل، أو شرطة محجم، أو كي بنار)
    “Healing is in three things: a gulp of honey, cupping, or cauterization…”

    This hadith includes the three main areas of medicine, even today: medication by mouth or injection (honey), surgery (cupping) and electricity (cauterization).

    There are many other narrations which show that the Messenger of Allah saught treatment from physical illness through physical means and ordered his companions to do so as well.

    A similar article by Dr. Qaradawi (focusing more on ruqya) is available here (Arabic):

  • Asalamu alaikum,

    although it is “mainly” a spiritual cure there are occasions , as we’ve seen from the passage from Ibn Qayyim’s book, when the Quran provides physical cure as well. This being said, it is simply a prelude to a wonderful book with beautiful anectdotes on Tazkiyya. I look forward to this series iA! Do continue 🙂

    Akhuk Arif

  • MashAllah! This is very powerful. I am amazed that there were people like us back in the day of Ibn Qayim. Please, may you give us the link to the entire book? Keep up the effort and perhaps you can send us clones of you to local Masjids in Canada… we need your humor and understanding. Barakallahu feekum. By the way… please, post more articles that are heart-related. As salamu aleykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

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