Sciatica – Tibb-e-Nabawi


رَبَّنَا هَبْ لَنَا مِنْ أَزْوَاجِنَا وَذُرِّيَّاتِنَا قُرَّةَ أَعْيُنٍ وَاجْعَلْنَا لِلْمُتَّقِينَ إِمَامًا

Prophet’s Guidance on curing Sciatica

روى ابن ماجه فى (سننه) من حديث محمد بن سِيرين، عن أنس بن مالك، قال: سمعتُ رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول: دواءُ عِرْقِ النَّسَا ألْيَةُ شاةٍ أعْرَابِيَّةٍ تُذَابُ، ثمَّ تُجزَّأُ ثلاثةَ أجزاءٍ، ثُمَّ يُشْرَبُ على الرِّيقِ فى كلِّ يومٍ جُزْءٌ.

Ibn Majah narrated in his Sunan (collection of Hadith) that Anas bin Malik Radi Allaho Anh said; I heard the Messenger of Allah Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam saying:

“Curing sciatica is accomplished by melting the fat from the tail of a nomad’s ewe, then the fat is divided into three parts and one part per day is drunk on an empty stomach”.

Sciatica is an ailment that starts from the hip joint, and then descends to the thigh from the backside of the body. Sometimes, sciatica reaches the ankles and the longer the ailment remains, the lower it descends and the weaker the legs and thighs become.

There are two beneficial understandings in the Hadith mentioned, medical and linguistic.

Linguistically, the Hadith proves that we are allowed to call this ailment as Irq (nerve) Nasa (sciatic nerve), to the contrary of the opinion of some people. They said that the Nasa is the nerve itself and thus the two words together are redundant.

Answering this claim takes two forms. First, the word lrq (nerve) is more general than the word Nasa (sciatic nerve). Hence the term ‘Iraq An-Nasa’ gives the general and the specific meanings desired. Second, the Nasa is an ailment that attacks the nerve and thus the word Nasa should be included in the name given to the ailment [as it specifies the area where the nerve is causing pain]. It was reported that the name ‘lrq Nasa‘ is called as such because it makes the people forget (Nasa) any other pain. The sciatic nerve starts from the hips until the bottom of the foot from behind the ankles.

The Messenger of Allah Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam, as we have noticed in previous Ahadeeth, may use two types of meanings in his expressions. One meaning may be general, for all conditions and people, while the other specific, its meaning and indications are specifically directed at some particular people or situation. The Hadith in this section is the specific type; it is directed at Arabs and the people of Hijaz in particular, including the Bedouins of those areas. The remedy mentioned in the Hadith is the best cure for the people of those areas as ‘Irq An-Nasa’ is caused by dryness or thick, septic accumulations. The best treatment for this ailment is using a laxative. The fat on the ewe’s tail has two qualities, bringing the septic substances to maturity and softening (the stool in this case); both are required to cure Irq An-Nasa.

In addition, the nomad’s ewe has several qualities, such as being small in size, producing lesser excrements and having a soft essence. The nomad’s ewe grazes on beneficial wild plants, such as wormwood, lavender cotton and so forth. When the ewe feeds on these wild plants, they will mix with and soften the ewe’s flesh, especially the fatty tail. Although the ewe’s milk carries in it the effective ingredients of wild plants, the tail has two qualities that the milk does not have, being a laxative and leading the septic substances to maturity [making them ready to be extracted from the body].

We mentioned before that the regular medicines and remedies of different nations and peoples are based on the type of diet that the people are used to. Indians and Bedouins have a simple diet; therefore they do not use complex medicines. As for the Romans and the Greeks, they use compound medicines. They all agree, however that the best treatment for an ailment is a specific diet. Otherwise the doctors will first prescribe simple and then compound medications, when necessary.

If the diet is simple, simple medications are suitable for the simple ailments. The compound ailments, on the other hand, usually occur due to a complex diet and this is why compound medicines are suitable in those cases. Allah Knows the best.