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Are there any guidelines or conditions with regard to using the black seed?

Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, THE MOST BENEFICENT, THE MOST MERCIFUL

Al-Bukhaari (5688) and Muslim (2215) narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that he heard the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) say concerning the black seed: “In it there is healing for every disease, except as-saam.” Ibn Shihaab said: As-saam is death. 

There are two scholarly views concerning the words “healing from every disease”. It was suggested that it is to be understood according to the general meaning, so it includes all diseases, or that it is general in wording but specific in meaning, so what is meant is some diseases.

Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

It was said that the words “every disease” refer to every disease that could be treated with it, because it is beneficial in the case of cold diseases; as for hot diseases, it is not. 

Al-Khattaabi said:

The words “From every disease” are general terms but what is meant by them is something specific, because there is no medicine made from plants that could be used to treat all diseases; rather what is meant is that it is healing for every disease that is caused by moisture.

Abu Bakr ibn al-‘Arabi said:

According to physicians, honey is more likely to be a remedy for every disease than the black seed. Nevertheless, there are some diseases that if a person drinks honey, it will make matters worse. If what is meant by the description of honey as something “wherein is healing for men” [an-Nahl 16:69] is that it is healing for most diseases, then it is more appropriate to say that with regard to the black seed. 

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said: 

The words “healing from every disease” are like the verse in which Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning): “Destroying everything by the Command of its Lord” [al-Ahqaaf 46:25]. That is, it (the storm or wind referred to in the previous verse) destroyed everything that could be destroyed, and the like. 

Zaad al-Ma‘aad (4/297) 

Shaykh Abu Muhammad ibn Abi Jamrah said: Some people commented on this hadith and made its general statements specific, referring it to the views of people who have medical experience, but the one who says that is obviously mistaken, because if we believe the physicians – whose knowledge is based on experience, the foundation of which is what is most likely to be right – then to believe the one who does not speak on the basis of his whims and desires [i.e., the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him)] is more appropriate [than believing the doctors].

 al-Fath (10/145). 

Al-Karmaani said:

It may be that the general meaning is the intended meaning, that it may bring healing for all diseases, but that is on condition that it is put together with other ingredients, and there should be no haraam component. Rather the general meaning of the text must be what is intended, because the fact that an exception is mentioned indicates that it is general in application. The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said it intending that general meaning; the evidence for that is the fact that he made an exception. Therefore we must accept that it is general in meaning. 

‘Umdat al-Qaari (31/301) 

The fact that the general meaning is what was intended is obvious, because the wording indicates that. It is also indicated by the exception in the phrase “except as-saam (death).” If the general meaning had not been intended, there would have been no need to mention the exception. The fact that an exception is made for death indicates that for all other diseases, black seed may be useful as a remedy, but that is dependent upon there being no impediment and upon the conditions being met. 

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: 

Just taking appropriate means and measures does not necessarily lead to the expected results. If rain falls and seeds sprout, that is not  sufficient for vegetation to grow; rather it is also essential that there be fecundating winds, by Allah’s leave, and it is essential that there be an absence of impediments. It is essential for all conditions to be met and all impediments to be absent, and all of that happens by the will and decree of Allah. 

A child is not born as the result of merely depositing semen in the vagina. How often that happens, but no child is born. Indeed it is essential that Allah should will to create the child, then the woman conceives, then the embryo begins to grow in the uterus, and all other conditions that are needed, and the impediments that must be absent, for the creation of a child. End quote. 

Majmoo‘ al-Fataawa (8/70) 

Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allah have mercy on him) said: 

Many people do not benefit from the means and measures, or from ruqya done by reciting Qur’an or other words, because the conditions are not met and the impediments are not absent. If every sick person could be healed by means of ruqya or medical treatment, no one would die. But it is Allah, may He be glorified, in Whose hand is control of healing. If He wills that, He makes the means thereof easily available, and if He does not will that, the means will be to no avail. 

Majmoo‘ Fataawa Ibn Baaz (8/61) 

Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar (may Allah have mercy on him) stated that the way to treat disease using the black seed varies from one disease to another, and he said: 

What is meant by this seed being a healing for every disease is that it should not be used on its own; rather it may be used on its own or  with other ingredients. It may be used ground up or otherwise, and it may be eaten, drunk, used like snuff, applied as a poultice, and in other ways.  al-Fath (10/144). 

The ways in which it is used vary according to what people of experience and knowledge suggest, or what modern medical research suggests, based on experience and on the properties of the black seed and its effect on disease. 

Al-Bukhaari (5687) narrated that Khaalid ibn Sa‘d said: We went out, and Ghaalib ibn Abjar was with us, and he fell sick. When we came to Madinah he was still sick. Ibn Abi ‘Ateeq visited him and said to us: You should use this little black seed: take five or seven of them and grind them, then mix it with olive oil and put drops in his nose, on this side, and on this side, for ‘Aa’ishah told me that she heard the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) say: “This black seed is a healing for every disease except as-saam.” I said: What is as-saam? He said: Death.


Allah knows best.

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