What is Islamic Healing?

الحَمْدُ لِلهِ وَالصَّلاَةُ وَالسَّلاَمُ عَلَى رَسُوْلِ اللهِ وَعَلَى آلِهِ وَصَحْبِهِ وَمَنْ وَالَاهُ وَبَعْدُ

What is Islamic healing?

My attempt at briefly describing it:

1. Using various means of seeking Allah’s ﷻ shifa.

2. Removing obstacles to receiving His shifa.

3. Seeking beneficial knowledge of the above two as well as our theological and ontological understanding of it.

4. Sharing practical observations (tajrīb) of what methods have been observed to heal certain ailments anecdotally or repeatedly.

That’s basically it.


These above categories can become quite expansive and diversify into several subcategories, such as:

– Turning to Allah ﷻ in a private moment and seeking His guidance regarding the illness. We only see what He shows us. We only know what He teaches us. We only get what He gives us. Go to Him and He fixes your problems. He sends you help. He heals you and no one else.

– Working with the Divine Names. Sins, certain behaviors, histories, thought patterns, beliefs, etc can cause us to lose one or more of the Names. Removing the reason they were lost and using various methods to rebalance and regain those Names is helpful. One method for this is actually righteous suhba, especially with murids and murshids who may have strong Names and their presence can be a means of Allah ﷻ quickly restoring you.

– Learning the lesson. Certain ailments may carry a spiritual lesson we need to learn and once we learn it, it may be removed.

– Using physical means. These can lead to a cure or a management of the disease until the cure is given. When we take medicine, it’s just another form of asking Allah ﷻ to cure us. We want powerful and complete healing and we must know that this only occurs if Allah ﷻ grants it. So we can choose to look vertically at things, as shifa coming from only Allah ﷻ and this created medicine or food is only a means. Even dietary changes are still a means. He is the provider and not the food or farmers or Earth or water. It’s His gift to us. So we can look at the science, but that can become a veil very quickly and especially in our modern age where the ideas of the disenchantment of Europe are so prevalent. Rather, we’re just looking for Allah’s ﷻ shifa, and you find out what He has in a means for you after you take it. Some may abandon all physical means and just use spiritual means.

– Increasing in ibadat based on Allah’s ﷻ guidance for you within the Shari’a.

– Improving our knowledge of aqida and traditional sunni Islamic thought.

– Using du’a and adhkar and connecting to Allah ﷻ as a means of seeking His shifa. Dua is the essence of worship and it can be a very powerful means if healing.

– Identifying and addressing any issues from the unseen (ruqya). This is a very nuanced topic and it’s hard to learn about without being a victim yourself or being around them. Firstly we want to avoid falsehood. We don’t want to falsely link an illness to external unseen forces nor overlook it. Verse 2:257, that Allah ﷻ is Al-Walī of those who believe, is a good verse to use in seeking His protection. Some have spiritual gifts enabling them to investigate and precisely pinpoint these issues, but almost all methods prevalent today are an educated guess or based on obvious symptoms.

– Cleaning the heart, for a sound heart is important for a sound healthy body. This topic is profound but this is a brief introduction to its importance. Blocks in the heart can lead to blocks in the healing. This can get complex because only Allah ﷻ knows everything going on in any heart. Things can get stuck in our hearts like misunderstandings, IE thinking a harmless pollen is harmful then reacting to it on exposure. We also can hurt ourselves subconsciously as a result of past or present sins or misunderstandings from various sources, such as the nafs. It actually can intentionally harm you to send you a message or try to influence you. In these “self harm” cases we want to stop the self harm and be healed from its harmful effects and prevent future recurrence. Another example is we may hurt ourselves as the result of something bad we have seen and an image of something is stuck inside of us, though we may be unaware of the harm it is causing. Remove it and replacing it with goodness (takhliya and tahliya in tasawwuf) are a method of removing the source of this sickness.

Cleaning and opening up the heart to receiving what Allah ﷻ wants for us, which is only goodness, is a big part of many paths to healing. We want to be open to receiving His light.

Reliance on Allah ﷻ

A key here is aligning with Allah ﷻ and not relying on the self but on Him through all steps of the healing process, in our heart work, and also in our return to Allah ﷻ generally in all things. Realize as well that other human beings can only help you inasmuch Allah ﷻ Wills.

Relation to Other Sciences

In terms of categorizing Islamic healing I would say it is its own science, though it interacts with several sciences, including the natural sciences. It interacts with the Qur’an and hadith as recitation of Qur’an is a means of healing and from these primary sources we can find greater understanding and knowledge of healing, theology and ontology behind it, and supplications, healing methods, and means of healing. The most significant overlap I think is with tasawwuf due to the importance of one’s relationship with Allah ﷻ in the process and the significance of the heart and internal state and well-being.

Inshallah as I grow in knowledge of this science I hope to share what I learn and teach those who are interested in learning more. May Allah ﷻ grant me greater knowledge and ability in Islamic healing to the extent He wants for me, amīn.

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