Honey: Medical Treatment?
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Is Honey a Medical Treatment?

Questioner

Mohamed

Reply Date

Oct 17, 2016

Question

I have four questions: 1. The Quran says "there comes forth from the bees bellies honey diverse in color wherein is healing for mankind"; does that mean that honey cures all diseases, symptoms, conditions? 2. If answer to above is yes, then how much should I take, how many times a day how long should I take it to cure very harsh side effect of chemotherapy? 3. Does that mean honey is the best medicine of all medicines? 4. Where do you find someone who treats with honey?

Mufti

Answer


Wa `alaykum as-salamu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Brother, thank you for your question and interest to know about the Qur’an and its verses.

Responding to your question, Dr. Hatem Al-Hajj, Dean of Shari`ah Academy of America, stated,

I would like to begin by asking Allah, the Great Lord of the Great Throne, to give you a complete cure and immense reward for your suffering.

As for honey, the verse most pertinent to your question, as you mentioned, says, “And your Lord revealed to the bee saying: Make hives in the mountains and in the trees and in what they build: Then eat of all the fruits and walk in the ways of your Lord submissively. There comes forth from within it a beverage of many colors, in which there is healing for men; most surely there is a sign in this for a people who reflect. (An-Nahl 16: 68-69)

Notice that there is no indication here that honey cures from all diseases. It is a great medication, or even the greatest, but not a panacea. After all, the Prophet himself used other types of medications and prescribed them. In fact, the one possible panacea from the apparent textual implications of the Sunnah is Black Seed, not honey. The Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) said, “In the Black Seed there is cure from every disease except from death.” (Al-Bukhari)

However, as the luminary scholar Ibn Hajar indicated in his encyclopedic hadith commentary, Fath al-Bari, some of the verifying scholars of the past have clearly stated that this would be of the category of the general in wording, yet specific in implication. Such is not uncommon in the language of the revelation. The context then determines the specific implications.

I would interpret it, in light of the new medical discoveries, to mean that it would help against disease in general by promoting a healthy immune response. So, the qualification here would be in the extent of help rather than the scope of diseases. There is no doubt that honey is superior to the Black Seed, yet still not a panacea.

Also, while there is a cure from all diseases, as the Prophet ‎‎(peace and blessings be upon him) said, it is the will of Allah ‎that we may not always find that cure. ‎

In a report of At-Tabarani in Al-Awsat, there is an addition ‎to that hadith, which reads, “…whether or not someone knows it…” We were ‎encouraged to do our best in seeking that cure. If there is one panacea, and it is known, then the Prophet’s statement here above would be difficult to interpret.

The medications mentioned in the revelation would help if:

  1. They were used for the diseases against which they are effective,
  2. The dosage and method of intake were appropriate,
  3. The recipient was ready to benefit from them and there were no factors to prevent them from producing their desired outcome.

There is a hadith collected by Al-Bukhari and Muslim and reported from Abi Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allah be pleased with him) in which the Prophet ‎‎(peace and blessings be upon him) prescribed honey for a companion and when his brother returned to him saying that it didn’t work, the Prophet ‎‎(peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Allah said the truth and your brother’s stomach lied. Feed him honey.” (Al-Bukhari)

Now, the wisest of all men was not blaming the patient for the failure of the treatment, but rather pointing out that even when the medicine is suitable for the disease, the recipient’s body may not be ready for cure. When the patient had more honey, he recovered.

Keep in mind that Allah is the One Who created health and sickness, as He is the One Who created wealth and poverty. He has wisdoms that are only partially comprehensible by us. The trial of sickness is another trial, like the trial of poverty, loss of loved ones, subjugation to human tyranny…etc. There is immense reward awaiting the patient ones. Allah says, “Be sure we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil), but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere, Who say, when afflicted with calamity: “To Allah We belong, and to Him is our return”: They are those on whom (Descend) blessings from Allah, and Mercy, and they are the ones that receive guidance.” (Al-Baqarah 2: 155)

As for the usage of honey, I would certainly recommend that we use it in the treatment of all ailments, since we don’t know the specific indications for its use with certainty and it is such a benign substance to consume. I would still do that under the guidance of an experienced physician, who is aware of the benefits of complementary and alternative medicine.

Use it with complete reliance in Allah and trust in Him. The cure is all from Allah and all in His Hands. Honey is only a cause that works by the power of the ultimate effector, Allah. Use it in larger amount than you would usually do for non-medical use.

I don’t, personally, know someone who may be accessible to you, and treats with honey. However, if you eat it daily in amounts of two tablespoons three times a day, then I hope from what I heard from some practitioners of alternative medicine that it would help insh’Allah.

Finally, don’t underestimate the power of the remembrance of Allah and supplication. The Prophet ‎(peace and blessings be upon him) advised us to rely on supplication. He said: “Allah will replace the grief and anxiety of any slave with happiness if he says: ‘O Allah! I am Your servant, son of Your servant, son of Your maidservant, my forelock is in Your hand, Your command regarding me is inevitable and Your decrees are all just. I ask You by each name of yours which You named Yourself with, revealed in Your Book, or taught to any of Your creation, or You have preserved in the knowledge of the unseen with You, that You make the Qur’an the life of my heart and light of my chest, and a cure of my distress and a relief from my anxiety.” [Ahmad]

May Allah cure you until there is no trace of disease in your body.

Allah Almighty knows best.




About Dr. Hatem Al-Haj

Dean of the Shari`ah Academy of America

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