Dr. Yahya Al-Bahith
Q1. In our community, there are some sheikhs who treat people from evil eyes and other sicknesses by reciting Qur’an and other Dua’a and in return take money for it as well. Is such a practice permissible in Islam?
A1. Treating people from evil eye and other such sickness is called Ruqyah. It is permissible in Islam to seek cure for it by using Ruqyah from the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him) only. It should not be associated with calling another being other than Allah and it should not be mixed with strange, unknown words.
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “Show me your Ruqyahs; there is no harm in Ruqyah as long as there is no shirk.” (Muslim) The best and recommended way is that a Muslim should do it for himself and/or for his/her loved one. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to do it for himself, as narrated by ‘A’isha (may Allah be pleased with her), said, “When the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was ill, he would recite Al-Mu’awidhatayn (Surah Al-Falaq and An-Nas) over himself and spit dryly. When his pain grew intense, I recited over him and wiped him with his own hand, seeking its blessing.” (Al-Bukhari).
Seeking Ruqyah from somebody else is permissible with regard to the following conditions:
1. Believing that Ruqyah is merely means that has no effect except by the Will of Allah, the Exalted.
2. The person who does it should not recite words or Dua’a that include shirk, like supplicating and seeking help from dead people, Jinns or evil spirit.
3. He should only use verses from the Qur’an or authentic supplications in the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
4. If the sick person is a woman then she should seek Ruqyah from a pious woman, and in case the one who does Ruqyah to her is a man, he should do it in the presence of her Mahram (guardian). She should wear complete hijab and he should not touch her.
Giving something to the person who performs Ruqyah is permissible. Narrated on the authority of Abu Saeid Al-Khudry (may Allah be pleased with him), he said, “Some of the Companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) came across one of the Arab tribes, but they refused to extend to them hospitality. In the meantime, the chief of that tribe was bitten by a snake or stung by a scorpion; they asked them, “Have you got any medicine with you or anybody who can treat with Ruqyah? The companions said, “You refused to entertain us, so we will not treat your chief unless you pay us for it.” They agreed on a flock of sheep, so one of them the companions recited Umm Al-Qur’an (Surah Al-Fatiha), then gathered his saliva and spat on the snakebite. The cheif got cured and his people presented the sheep to them, but they said to themselves, “We will not take it unless we ask the Prophet (peace be upon him) whether it is lawful to take it or not.” When they asked him, the Prophet (peace be upon him) smiled and said, “How did you know that Surah Al-Fatihah is a Ruqyah? Take it (the flock of sheep) and assign a share for me.” (Bukhari)
From this Hadith we learn that the opening chapter (Surah Al-Fatiha) can be used for treating evil sicknesses and other such diseases, and it is allowed to give something in return to the person who performs it.
Change of name for a new Muslim
Q2. Is it compulsory for new Muslims to change their names after embracing Islam?
A2. No, it is not compulsory for them to change their names unless the name has a forbidden meaning in Islam, such as Christian, Christina and Christopher (these names refer to the followers of another religion) or embody the meaning of worshiping other than Allah like Abdul Maseeh (Servent of Chris) or Abdul Saleeb (Servent of Cross).
The Prophet (peace be upon him) changed names which did not have a good meaning or if it involved self-praise. Abdullah Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated, that Omar had a daughter whose name was “Asiyah” (meaning disobedient or rude). The Prophet (peace be upon him) changed her name to “Jamilah” (meaning beautiful). (Muslim)
First published in Saudi gazzette