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Hijama and Fasting

Many clients often ask me if they should eat before having hijama and if they can eat after having hijama. I also get asked if its ok to have hijama while fasting.

Whenever I get a new client I always tell them that hijama should be done on an empty stomach and to not eat for at least 3 hours prior to having hijama, especially if they’ve had a heavy meal containing meat. Meat takes a long time for the body to digest.

According to the book on Prophetic Medicine by Ibnul Qayaim Al Jawziyyah hijama should be done on an empty stomach. This in in accordance with the sunnah and hijama is best performed that way. Cupping after having eaten or on a full stomach can cause a person to feel sick and really should be avoided completely. It is also less affective as after eating as the blood in the body is concentrated in the stomach for digestion after eating.

There are a Few Sahih Hadith Which Mentions Cupping Breaking the Fast:

The Prophet said: "The cupper and the one cupped have broke the fast." Jami` at-Tirmidhi 774

We would not allow a man who was fasting to get himself cupped due to abomination of hardship. Sunan Abi Dawud 2375

“I heard the Prophet (ﷺ) say: ‘The cupper and the one for whom cupping is done both break their fast.’” Vol. 1, Book 7, Hadith 1680

There are Also Narrations of the Companions Having Hijama While they were Fasting Too in the Following Sahih Hadith:

Anas (RAA) narrated, ‘The first time cupping was dis-liked for the one who is fasting was when Ja’far bin Abi Talib had himself cupped while fasting and the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) came across him and said, "Those two have broken their fast (meaning Ja'far and the man who was cupping him.)" But later on the Prophet allowed cupping for the one who is fasting.

Anas used to have himself cupped while he was fasting. Related by Ad-Daraqutni, who regarded it as a strong hadith. Bulugh Al Maram Book 5, Hadith 688

It is narrated that the Prophet Muhammed ﷺ had hijama while he was fasting. Jami` at-Tirmidhi 776

Actually, I was first taught to do hijama during Ramadan while many of us were fasting and it was the opinion of the sisters who ran the workshop that it didn’t break the fast. I didn’t think about it much until a few years later that I started to hear of the opinion which seemed to be quite strong about cupping breaking the fast.

As a result of this I personally chose not to do any hijama and avoid treating clients with hijama during Ramadan specifically. However when it comes to sunnah fasting I would keep my fasts and not worry about practicing hijama or having hijama being done on myself during fasting. That way if it’s a sunnah fast its not obligatory and so if I break it by any means there is no sin on me.

Alhamdolilah it seems very clear from the above hadith that hijama does not break the fast as the earlier prohibition had been abrogated.

I still avoid doing hijama while fasting during Ramadan just because that is what I’m used to. I also personally prefer not to do hijama on someone during Ramadan in case they would feel the need to break their fast because of it.

It is a very serious offence in Islam to break the Ramadan fast with no reason so it really isn’t something to be taken lightly. If one breaks their fast during Ramadan without a valid reason the person has to repent as you cannot do anything to make up for a missed fast that was obligatory that you broke for no reason. Even so you should still try to make it up but as you were sinful by breaking it you must make tawbah.

Not only that but when you consider that there is a possibility of one becoming increasingly weak immediately after hijama as a result of their blood sugar dropping low it’s not a good idea. If you are considering doing hijama while fasting in Ramadan then I would suggest it should only be done for a client who has had hijama several times before and knows that the hijama will not affect them negatively. There are many people who do have hijama while fasting and can continue fasting without any issues.

I don’t personally criticise people for doing hijama during Ramadan as the hadith show that it is permissible but I wouldn’t like to be someone’s reason for feeling they wanted to break their fast during Ramadan. Especially in the UK and similar countries where we have really long hours fasting during the summer I think that a person should take it easy on themselves.

Another factor to consider is the benefits of fasting itself such as it being a detox and the way that fasting helps to regenerate the bodies cells and helps the body to begin to heal itself. So, fasting itself is also healing. During Ramadan we are doing it for a period of extended days over the month and for most of us anywhere between 20 and 30 days.

We should therefore take this seriously and try to maximise the benefits of fasting by choosing to eat a health conscious and highly nutritious diet.

I have done hijama in Ramadan however for a few selected clients at times when both of us were not fasting due do menses. I have also done hijama for clients during Ramadan after maghrib and Qiyam Al Layl but before fajr so the client had broken their fast at maghrib with a lither meal and then was cupped 3 hours after that on an empty stomach. Then they ate again their suhur (pre dawn meal) after the cupping.

Have you had wet cupping while fasting inside Ramadan or otherwise? If so how was your experience? Comment below and let me know.

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