Ruqyah (plural: ruqa)
derives from the past-tense verb raqa. It consists of words said or written in the form of dud or Dhikr for the
purpose of protection or cure. It is sometimes accompanied with other actions, such as blowing or wiping over the
thing to which it is applied.
A synonym for ruqyah in Arabic is "ta'with" and "ta'withah", from which derives the
description "al-Mu'awwidhat" (the protecting ones) for the last three suras of the Qur'an, and
"al-Mu'awwidhatan" (the two protecting ones) for the last two suras only (cited below).
People from most cultures and religions use various forms of ruqa. They are usually referred
to in English as spells, charms, incantations, and so on. Most of those ruqa contain magic, shirk, senseless
words, lies, etc. Because of this, the Prophet (Peace and Blessing upon Him) prohibited using ruqa at first.
Ibn Masud (RA) reported that the Prophet (Peace and Blessing upon Him) said:
'Indeed, ruqa, amulets, and tiwala*, are all acts of shirk.' Recorded by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, and
others. Verified to be authentic by al-Albani in as-Sahihah no. 331. (*Tiwala: Beads or other objects,
usually worn around the neck, believed by some people to have the power of making a husband love his
Later on, he (Peace and Blessing upon Him) allowed people to use only the ruqa that he
approved, or that did not contain shirk. Jabir Bin 'Abdillah (RA) reported that Allah's Messenger (Peace and
Blessing upon Him) prohibited ruqa. Then, some people from the tribe of 'Umr Bin Hazam came to him and said,
"We have a ruqyah that we used to use for scorpion and snake stings; but you have now prohibited using ruqa."
And they showed it to him. He (Peace and Blessing upon Him) said:
'I do not see anything wrong in it. Anyone among you who can benefit his brother should do
Conditions for a Permissible Ruqyah
There are some important conditions that must be satisfied in a ruqyah to make it permissible.
They were summarized by Ibn Hajar (AR):
"There is a consensus among the 'ulama that ruqa are permissible when they satisfy three
To be with Allah's words or His names and attributes
To be in Arabic or of an intelligible meaning
And to believe that they do not have effect by themselves but by Allah ('Azza wa Jalla)." Fath
ul Bari 10/240
In what follows, we discuss each of these conditions:
Must Be with Allah's Words, Names, or Attributes
As we will see below, all forms of ruqa reported in the Sunnah satisfy this condition. They
either consist of specific portions of the Qur'an, such as al-Fatiha or Ayat ul-Kursiy, or contain a praise
of Allah ('Azza wa Jalla) and an invocation of His help and protection.
Must Be with Clearly Understood Words
This is an important condition that must be satisfied in order to eliminate any magic factors
from the ruqyah.
Believing That the True Benefit Is from Allah ('Azza wa Jalla)
Similar to our earlier discussion of medicines, one must always believe that the true and ultimate protector is
Allah ('Azza wa Jalla) alone, and that ruqa and medications are means that He created and He controls as He wills.
Thus trust must be put in Him and not in the means that He created. Allah ('Azza wa Jalla) commands His Messenger
(Peace and Blessing upon Him):
"So seek refuge with Allah (only); verily, it is He who is all-Hearer, all-Seer." (Al Ghafir