Wet Cupping Therapy in the Islamic Tradition

In the Islamic tradition, there are numerous authentic ahadith (narrations of the Prophet Muhammad-pbuh) encouraging Muslims to get Wet Cupping Therapy (called Hijama in Arabic) done when facing health issues.  The Prophet (pbuh) himself had it done at some occasions.


“The best treatment you can use is Hijama.” (reported by Bukhari)

This narration can be understood in a medical point of view. In fact, in medicine to choose the appropriate treatment for a patient, we will first compare the benefits and the risks of this treatment. If the benefits are superior to the risks, then it will be prescribed. In that sense, WCT is an excellent treatment because the risks are really minor (when it is properly performed!) while the benefits can be great.

The Prophet (pbuh) emphasized the benefits of the WCT at other occasions: “If there was something excellent to be used as a remedy then it is Wet Cupping (hijama).” (reported by Abu Dawud and Ibn Maajah)


Wet Cupping and lunar cycle: Sunnah days

The best times to be treated with wet cupping are the seventeenth, nineteenth or twenty-first.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi). The Islamic calendar is based on the lunar cycle and this narration is a recommendation to get WCT done during the odd days of the waning gibbous moon. Also, when using the lunar calendar, the days start the night before.

Therefore, for those who would like to follow this recommendation, the Prophet (pbuh) recommended to be treated on:

– 16th after sunset to 17th before sunset
– 18th after sunset to 19th before sunset
– 20th after sunset to 21st before sunset


Can WCT (Hijama) be performed outside the Sunnah Days?

When did the Prophet (pbuh) had WCT done?

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had WCT done on his back, feet, head and hip at different occasions. However, in the narration reporting his treatments, nothings refer to a specific day of the month. Rather, he had WCT performed on him when he experienced symptoms. This is an important point to understand that the Prophet (pbuh) didn’t restrict the practice of WCT to a specific time, not even for himself.

So, following the Sunnah (his practice and lifestyle), means that WCT is recommended whenever there is a need: discomfort, pain or illness.