Cauterization – Tibb-e-Nabawi


رَّبَّنَا إِنَّنَا سَمِعْنَا مُنَادِيًا يُنَادِي لِلإِيمَانِ أَنْ آمِنُواْ بِرَبِّكُمْ فَآمَنَّا رَبَّنَا فَاغْفِرْ لَنَا ذُنُوبَنَا وَكَفِّرْ عَنَّا سَيِّئَاتِنَا وَتَوَفَّنَا مَعَ الأبْرَارِ

Prophet’s Guidance regarding Cauterization and puncturing of the veins

ثبت فى “الصحيح” من حديث جابر بن عبد الله، أنَّ النبىَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم بعَثَ إلى أُبَىِّ بن كعب طَبيباً، فقَطَعَ منه عِرْقاً وكَواه عليه. ولما رُمِى سعدُ بن معاذٍ فى أكْحَلِهِ حسَمَهُ النبىُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم، ثم ورِمَت، فحسَمهُ الثانية. و”الحَسْمُ” هو: الكَىُّ. وفى طريق آخر: أنَّ النبىَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم كَوَى سعدَ بن مُعاذٍ فى أكْحَلِهِ بِمِشْقَصٍ، ثم حسمَهُ سعد بن مُعاذٍ أو غيرُه من أصحابه.وفى لفظ آخر: أنّ رجلاً من الأنصار رُمِى فى أكْحَلِه بِمِشْقَصٍ، فأمر النبىُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم به فكُوِىَ. وقال أبو عُبيدٍ: وقد أُتِىَ النبىُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم برجلٍ نُعِتَ له الكَىُّ، فقال: “اكْوُوهُ وارْضِفُوهُ”. قال أبو عُبيدةَ: الرَّضْفُ: الحجارة تُسخَّنُ، ثم يُكمدُ بها.

Jabir Bin Abdullah Radi Allaho Anh narrated that Prophet Muhammad Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam once sent a doctor to Ubay Bin Ka’ab Radi Allaho Anh and that the doctor used puncturing one of Ubay’s veins and then cauterized the wound (Bukhari).

Furthermore, when Sa’ad Bin Muaaz Radi Allaho Anh was injured in his medial arm vein, Prophet Muhammad Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam had it cauterized and then cauterized again when the wound became swollen. In another narration of this Hadith, our beloved Prophet cauterized Sa’ad Bin Muaaz in his medial arm vein using the tip of an arrow. Afterwards, Sad bin Muaaz or someone else, cauterized the wound again. Another narration states that one of the Ansar was injured in his medial arm vein and Prophet Muhammad Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam ordered that he be cauterized. These Ahadith are narrated by MusIim, Abu Dawood, and others.

Abu Ubayd narrated hat a man, who was prescribed cauterization, was brought to Prophet Muhammad Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam and our beloved Prophet ordered that he should be cauterized. Then hot stones were applied on the wound to close it. In addition; Jabir narrated that the Prophet once cauterized him in his medial arm vein.

Bukhari narrated that Anas said that he was once cauterized because he was complaining from pleurisy while Prophet Muhammad Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam was still alive. Tirmizi narrated that Anas said: “Our beloved Prophet cauterized Asad bin Zurarah Radi Allaho Anh when he came down with a septic finger”.

We have mentioned that Prophet Muhammad Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam said in the Hadith narrated by Bukhari and Muslim.

ومَا أُحِبُّ أن أَكْتوِى

“I do not like to be cauterized”.

Moreover, in another narration, he said:

وأنا أنْهَى أُمَّتِى عن الْكَىِّ

I forbid cauterizing for my Ummah (Nation)”.

Furthermore, [Tirmizi, Abu Dawood and Ahmad] narrated that one of the Sahabah (companions) said that Prophet Muhammad Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam has disallowed cauterizing, but we were tested (i.e. with various ailments) & we did have cauterization, so we neither were successful nor did we acquire an advantage.

Al-Khattabi commented. “Prophet Muhammad Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam only cauterized Sa’ad to stop the bleeding, because he feared that bleeding would not stop until Sa’ad died.

Cauterization is only applicable in the worst cases, such as when a hand or leg is amputated. As for prohibiting cauterizing, it might be specifically directed at whoever was seeking a cure with it (not to close an open wound). In early times, people used to superstitiously believe that whoever did not have cauterization would certainly die and that is why our beloved Prophet disallowed it. It was in addition said that Prophet Muhammad Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam disallowed Imran Bin Husayn in particular from using cauterization because he was suffering from a sore in a delicate place. This is why the prohibition could be specific to cases where cauterizing is dangerous. Allah knows best.

Ibn Qutaybah said that cauterizing is of two types. The first type entails a healthy person using cauterization to fend off illness and it is this type that is referred to by the statement. Whoever reverts to cauterizing would not have practiced Tawakkul (depending on Allah); as such people seek to fend off whatever is destined for them in the future. The second type entails cauterizing infected wounds & amputated limbs, and cauterization is effective in such a condition. As for the type of cauterization that might or might not work, it is apparently disliked.

There is a Hadith narrated in Sahihain about the seventy thousand Muslims who will enter Paradise without reckoning, describing them as:

فى حديث السبعين ألفاً الذين يدخلون الجنَّةَ بغير حساب أنهم (الذينَ لا يَسْتَرقُونَ، ولا يكتوُونَ، ولا يتطيَّرُونَ، وعَلَى ربهِمْ يتوكَّلُونَ)

“There are those who did not seek formulas (Ruqyah); nor cauterization, neither are they superstitious, and they depend on their Lord for each & everything”.

In short, Ahadith that discussed the subject of cauterization fall under four categories, practicing it, disliking it, praising those who do not revert to it and disallowing it. There is no contradiction between these categories. When Prophet Muhammad Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam had someone cauterized, it indicates that practicing it is allowed. Furthermore, our beloved Prophet’s disliking cauterization for his Ummah does not indicate that it is prohibited. Prophet’s praising those who avoid cauterization tells that avoiding it is better. Finally, disallowing cauterization can be explained in general as “either cauterization is disliked, or that it is directed at those who revert to fend off a dangerous illness (as the last option left)”. Allah Knows the best.