What is Cupping?
Cupping is a method of treatment in which a jar is attached to the skin surface to cause local congestion through the negative pressure created. An incision lightly made to allow the congested blood to ooze out. This type of treatment has been practised by the chinese and the Arabs for thousand of years.Cupping is a therapeutic process of removing this unclean blood from the body . It is a form of medical treatment which has been recommended by Shari’ah.In Malay this practice is known as ‘BEKAM’ and in Arabic it is called ‘AL-HIJAMAH’ while in China ‘gua-sha’. In Arabic this method of therapy was popularised by our Prophet Muhammad(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) as stated in many Hadith.
Indication and Diseases that respond to Cupping:
The cupping method has the function of warming and promoting the flow of energy in the blood thus dispelling cold, dampness, toxins and winds. It also diminishes swellings and pains.
The following problems respond very well to Cupping :-
Disease caused by dampness, such as low back pain, lumbago, sciatica, pain in the arms and shoulders, pain in the legs and muscular parts of the body, stomachache, vomiting, headache, migraine, sprains, insomnia, etc.
Few Hadith About Cupping:
Ibn Abbas(R.A.) reported Allah’s messenger(sallallhu alaiyhi wassallam) as saying ” There is a remedy in three thing: The Incision of a cupping glass, a drink of honey, or cauterization by fire, but I forbid my people to cauterize.”
During the battle of Khaibar in 7 A.H. with the Jews, a jewish woman prepared some meat which she filled with deadly poison and presented to Rasullulah(sallallhu alaiyhi wassallam). Upon tasting the meat, the poison affected Rasullulah (sallallhu alaiyhi wassallam). Rasullulah(sallallhu alaiyhi wassallam) then used to undergo cupping in order to relieve himself from effects of the poison in his blood ( Shamaail Tirmizi )
Rasullullah (sallallhu alaiyhi wassallam) was once hurt on his leg, hence (probably due to the clogging of the blood), he underwent cupping on his leg. (Mishkat p. 389)
Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi Wasallam) said, ‘Jibraaeel (alayhis salaam) repeatedly emphasised upon me to resort to cupping to the extent that I feared that cupping will be made compulsory.’ (Jamal Wasaail p. 179).
Hadhrat Anas (Radhiallaahu anhu) reports that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu aayhi Wasallam) said, ‘The best medicine is cupping.’ (Shamaail, chapter of Cupping)
Hadhrat Abu Kabsha (Radhiallaahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi Wasallam) 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.’ (Mishkat p. 389)
Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi Wasallam) praised a person who performs cupping, saying it removes blood, lightens the back and sharpens the eyesight (Jamal Wasaail p. 179) The above quoted Ahaadith are clear that cupping was practised by Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi Wasallam) himself and strongly recommended by him.
Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi Wasallam) has also given some guidelines regarding cupping. Once he came across a fasting person who underwent cupping and became weak. Hence, he said, ‘The person who underwent cupping broke his fast.’ (Jam?l Wasaail p. 179) Mullah Ali Qari (Rahmatullaahi alayhi) while explaining the Hadith states that since a person is already weak by fasting, undergoing cupping weakens him further. Thus such a person due to feeling extremely weak may be forced to break his fast.
He further states that in the light of the principle understood from the Hadith, cupping should not be administered immediately after having a hot bath, or while the belly is full.
Time of Cupping:
Hadhrat Abu Hurayrah (Radhiallaahu anhu) reports that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi Wasallam) said: ‘One should not undergo cupping during the 13, 14 and 15 of the lunar month.’ Some Muhadditheen explain that on those days the full moon has a gravitational impact on many things on earth. For example, the sea has high tides due to the full moon. Similarly, the flowing of the blood is also affected and flows faster during the full moon. One may loose much blood in these days if one undergoes cupping.
Therefore, Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi Wasallam) advised that one should undergo cupping on the 17, 19 and 21 of the lunar month. (Mishkat p. 389). Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi Wasallam) advised that cupping should not be done on a Tuesday, since there is a certain time on a Tuesday that flowing blood does not stop. (Mishkat p. 389). Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi Wasallam) also advised that cupping should not be done on Saturdays and Wednesdays as this could lead to leprosy. (Mishkat p. 389). As the need may arise, cupping may be performed at any time according to the condition or urgency.
There are various types of cups – rubber, bamboo, glass and plastic, animal horns, etc and also the techinique of cupping varies from place to place or form country to country.
Among the Kelantanese Malays, they used buffalo horns, drinking glasses and bamboo as cups. It is said that the ancient Chinese and Arabs had used animal horns for cupping.
Cupping Techniques Today:
Today, there are various types of cups to choose for cupping such as rubber cups, bamboos, cupping glasses or plastic cups.
There are two types of cupping more prevalent today:
Traditional Cupping and
Traditional Cupping are the one that need some kind of fire to create a vacuum, while the vacuum cups ( a newer type) have a pump so that no fire is needed.
The scholars advise that administering medicine requires medical expertise. Therefore, with regard to any medical treatment recommended by Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi Wasallam), due to health and medical intricacies, one must exercise caution and consult with a physician. Similarly, with regard to cupping, although it is strongly recommended by Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi Wasallam), one must consult with a medical practitioner before undergoing cupping.
Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi Wasallam) himself underwent cupping many times and encouraged others to do so too. May we revive this Sunnah and benefit from it’s therapeutic effects