بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم

اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِيْن،وَالصَّلاۃ وَالسَّلامُ عَلَی النَّبِیِّ الْکَرِيم وَعَلیٰ آله وَاَصْحَابه اَجْمَعِيْن۔

Can Camel’s milk and urine cure sickness or ailment?

Before we get into discussing the theme in detail, let me share translation of three sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that are recorded one after the other in Sahih Bukhari:

1. Abu Saeed Khudri (RA) narrates that a person visited Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and said, “My brother is suffering from stomach ache.” Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “Give him honey.” Then the second time the same person came (and shared the same problem). This time, too, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) told him to give honey to his brother. Then the person came for the third time (and said that honey was given but his brother did not get cured). Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) again told him to give honey to his brother. He came again and said, “(according to your instruction) I gave honey (but my brother is not cured).” Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “Allah alone is Truthful and your brother’s stomach is telling a lie. Give him honey again.” So the person once again gave honey to his brother and he was cured. (Sahih Bukhari)

2.  Thaabit (RHA) narrates referring to Anas (RA) that some people were sick. They said, “O Apostle of Allah! Give us shelter and food. Then when they became healthy they said, “The weather of Medina is not suitable for us.” So Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) made arrangements for their stay in Harra with some of his camels and said, “Drink their milk.”However, when they became healthy, they killed the shepherd of the Prophet (PBUH) and took away his camels. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) sent some people to catch them and (the way they treated the shepherd) the Prophet (PBUH) got their hands and feet cut and heated pieces of iron were passed over their eyes.  Anas (RA) says he saw one of them licking the earth with his tongue, and he died licking. (Sahih Bukhari)

3.  Qataadah (RHA) narrates referring to  Anas (RA) that the climate of Madinah did not suit some people (from Urainah) so Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) asked them to go to his shepherd i.e. his camels, and drink their milk and urine (as a medicine). So they went to Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) shepherd and drank camels’ milk and urine. When they became healthy they killed the shepherd and took away the camels. When Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) got to know about the incident, he (PBUH) sent some people in their pursuit. When they were brought before Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), by his (PBUH) orders their hands and feet were cut and heated pieces of iron were passed over their eyes. (Sahih Bukhari)

Important details of the aforementioned incident:

Nearly eight people from the tribe of Urainah and the tribe of Askal came to Madinah and declared that they had embraced Islam. They suffered from Marzul Jawaa‘. It is an abdominal disease in which the stomach swells and the person feels extremely thirsty. This disease is also called Istisqaa. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) sent them a little outside the city of Madinah to his herd of camels that he had received in Sadaqah (alms) so that they could live in open and breathe fresh air. As per the saying of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) recorded in Sahih Bukhari, the Prophet (PBUH) asked them to drink camel milk. Whereas, according to another saying of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) recorded in Sahih Bukhari, the Prophet (PBUH) asked them to drink milk and urine of camel. So they became healthy. In return of Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) favour and generosity they demonstrated such treachery and wickedness that they mercilessly killed Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) shepherd and passed over heated pieces of iron through his eyes. When Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was informed of this incident he sent few of his men to chase them down so that they could be arrested and brought before the Prophet (PBUH). When they were arrested and brought before Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) he got them killed exactly the way they killed the Prophet’s (PBUH) shepherd. So he (PBUH) got their hands and feet cut and heated pieces of iron were passed over their eyes. As mentioned in the explanation given towards the end of the Hadeeth in Sahih Bukhari, this incident took place before the verse prohibiting Muthalah was revealed.  Qataadah (RHA) narrates that Muhammad bin Sireen (RHA) narrated a saying of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that this incident took place before restrictions were revealed (such punishment was prohibited later through revelation). Muthalah means to severe or deform the body parts of a dead person.

Even Halaal animals’ urine is unclean:

Before we make an attempt at understanding the topic under discussion we have to understand another point here is that if the urine of Halaal animals (animals we can eat) such as goat, cow, buffalo, and camel etc. is clean or unclean? In the light of the verses of the Holy Quran and the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Imam Abu Haneefa (RHA), Imam Shaafa’i (RHA) and other jurists such as Imam Sufiyaan Thauri (RHA) have the opinion that just like the urine of human being urine of all animals is unclean. According to an account, Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal (RHA) also has the same opinion. However, Imam Maalik (RHA) and several other Ulama have the opinion that urine of those animals that could be eaten is clean whereas urine of those that cannot be eaten is unclean.  Imam Maalik (RHA) has given two arguments in this regard. The first argument is the aforementioned saying of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that Qataadah (RHA) narrated from Anas (RA) wherein there has been a mention of drinking the urine. The premise of the argument is that had urine not been clean why would Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) ask the people to drink it? The second argument is based on a saying of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) wherein he (PBUH) has said, “You can offer prayer inside the goat shelter.” The premise of the argument is that had goat urine been unclean why would Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) give permission to perform prayer inside the area where goats are kept? However, on the basis of these two sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) it is objectionable to state that Halaal animals’ urine is clean because the first saying of the Prophet (PBUH), at the most, makes a case for using urine in the case of illness. Therefore, most of the Ulama have called this event a special one or an exceptional incident, while the complete wordings of the second saying of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) are, “you can offer prayer inside goat shelter but you should not offer prayer inside the camel stable” categorically support our stance that even Halaal animals’ urine is unclean because Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has prohibited us from offering prayer inside the camel stable. Detailed response to both the arguments will be provided shortly.

The jurists and Ulama [namely Imam Abu Haneefa (RHA), Imam Shaafa’ee (RHA) and Imam Sufiyan Thauri (RHA)] who maintain that urine of all the animals is unclean seek recourse to that saying of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in which Prophet (PBUH) said, “Stay clean of urine for punishment in the grave is generally because of not staying clean of urine” (Mustadrak Haakim, Ibne Maajah, Dar Qutni, Sahih Ibne Khuzaimah). Sheikh Haakim (RHA) has called this Hadeeth authentic as per the conditions laid down in Sahih Bukhari. Allama Haithami (RHA) too has recorded this Hadeeth in Majmaul Zawaaid. Suffice it to say that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has in general commanded believers to stay clean of urine. He (PBUH) did not specify any human being or animal in this regard (urine of a particular animal or human being believers should stay clean of). The second argument is predicated on the Haidth mentioned in Musnad Ahmad in which it has been stated that, after the burial, when a dead body was pressed and crushed badly by the grave, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “This chastisement was because the deceased did not stay clean of urine.” So the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) have to do with staying clean of urine. In his entire life, not even once did the Prophet (PBUH) outline some kind of demarcation between the urine of Halaal and Haraam animals..

Moreover, whether we seek recourse to Shariah or medicine, one simply cannot understand any connection whatsoever between the flesh and urine of an animal, animals that can be eaten, their urine is clean and animals that cannot be eaten their urine is unclean. Similarly, one is not able to understand the logic behind ideas such as excreta of the animals that can be eaten is unclean whereas their urine is clean, urine of human being is unclean whereas urine of animals that can be eaten is clean. There is not a single clear cut argument found among the verses of the Holy Quran or sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that supports the case of clean urine only with respect to animals that can be eaten. Even if we were to suppose that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) allowed those people to drink camel’s urine for the cure of their ailment, it is quite possible that, at that point in time there was no other cure available for that ailment which is why the Prophet (PBUH) asked them to drink camel’s urine. However, how can this infer that only Halaal animals’ urine is clean? And as far as that saying of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is concerned wherein he (PBUH) has permitted believers to offer prayer inside the goat shelter, the complete saying of the Prophet (PBUH) says, “You can offer prayer inside goat shelter but you should not offer prayer inside the camel stable.” The meaning of this Hadeeth is that goat’s urine generally does not go that far which is why inside a goat shelter one can find a clean place and offer his prayers there, but camel’s urine reaches even distant areas which is why it is impossible to find a clean place inside a camel stable, so do not offer prayer inside the camel stable. As a matter of fact, this saying of the Prophet (PBUH) only supports the stance taken by Imam Abu Haneefa (RHA) that even camel’s and goat’s urine is unclean.

Use of camel’s milk and urine in the treatment of several ailments:

Only one incident of this nature had happened in the entire life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). After that even in the period of the companions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) no incident of this nature took place. As far as the Hadeeth recorded in the Sahih Bukhari’s Baab Al-dawaa bi abwaalil ibil (Chapter on Medicine from Camel’s Urine) is concerned, Ulama of Hanafi and Shaafa’ee persuasion have offered various responses to it out of which four are the following:

1. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was informed by Allah that the people will not recover and live unless they drink camel urine. That way these people come under the category “needy” and for a needy person it is allowed to use impure stuff. It means that in case a person is dying then in order to save his life even a forbidden article can be used for his treatment.

2. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) did not command the people to drink camel urine but to apply it externally. The actual wording of the saying has the word Azmadu which means to apply a layer of something.

3. Various witnesses say that this incident took place before the sixth year of Hijrah. Qataadah (RHA) himself, the narrator of the Hadeeth, stated that Muhammad bin Seereen told him that this incident took place before the restrictions were revealed (later a revelation forbade such punishment), meaning this incident happened before Muthalah was forbidden, whereas the saying of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that speaks of punishment in the grave for not staying clean of urine is an instruction that came later because it is narrated by  Abu Hurairah (RA), a companion of Prophet (PBUH) who embraced Islam in the seventh year of Hijrah. Therefore, the Hadeeth by Qataadah (RHA) narrated on the authority of Anas (RA) stands cancelled (Mansookh). Moreover, the Haidth mentions that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) observed Muthalah for them [those who killed the shepherd and ran away with Prophet’s (PBUH) camels] and it remains uncontested that Muthalah stands cancelled. Therefore, it seems reasonable that this commandment too (to use camel urine as a medicine) got cancelled and the most forceful indicator of it is that the Prophet (PBUH) never recommended a cure of this kind to anyone in his entire life nor do we have records of any companion of the Prophet (PBUH) curing someone this way.

4. In Sahih Bukhari only, right before this Hadeeth, another Hadeeth is recorded that is narrated by Thaabit (RHA) on the authority of  Anas (RA). In that Hadeeth, only milk (camel milk) is referred to with reference to cure for the same set of people and camel urine is not even distantly referred to. Therefore, such a disease could also be cured by only giving camel milk. Moreover, in Sahih Bukhari, right before these two sayings of the Prophet (PBUH) there is a Hadeeth recorded wherein honey is prescribed in relation to curing an abdominal ailment. Therefore, it is better to avoid drinking urine for cure if there is another cure available. In fact, in the light of the sayings of the Prophet (PBUH) recorded in Sahih Bukhari, firstly curing should be done by giving honey, then camel milk or other medicines and only then, in case none of the medicines is working and patient’s life is in danger, camel urine could be used to cure the ailment.

Famous and renowned writer from Saudi Arabia Mr. Muhammad bin Abdul Lateef Aal Al-Sheikh has written an article on this topic. The piece can be read online on the well-known website Al-Arabia. It seems appropriate that at this point I present a gist of that article so that we gain more clarity on the issue. He has written right in the beginning that although he has absolute faith in the Holy Quran and sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and on the authenticity of Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim as texts, he is not fully satisfied with the words of that Hadeeth of Sahih Bukhari wherein camel urine is prescribed for cure. It seems better that with reference to this particular saying of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) we go by the stance of one of the most remarkable jurists  Abu Haneefa (RHA) that it was a special case wherein Allah revealed onto the Prophet (PBUH) that without drinking camel urine it will not be possible for those people to recover and remain alive. It means that, contrary to the way some of our respected Ulama have understood it, this Hadeeth does not carry a general instruction that anyone could use camel urine and feel better. As a matter of fact, this is a special case, the way majority of Ulama have called a Hadeeth recorded in Sahih Muslim a special case in which Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) asked the wife of  Abu Huzaifah (RA) that she should give her breast milk to  Abu Huzaifah’s (RA) slave  Saalim (RA) so that Hurmat (mother-son relationship) could be established between the two, even though in the light of the Holy Quran and sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) the entire ummah agrees that if a woman gives her breast milk to anyone older than two years of age, it cannot lead to Hurmat (they could become mother and son and therefore each other’s Mahram). So the way majority of Ulama have called this incident recorded in Sahih Muslim as a special and exceptional one, similarly the one referring to cure by camel urine should also be treated as an exceptional and special case because from medicinal point of view as well one cannot understand how can drinking of urine – that carries poisons of various kinds – help in any kind of treatment. Moreover, these people [who had come to Prophet (PBUH)] were infidels before Allah and it is quite possible that Allah informed Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) through revelation that these people will die as apostates and, therefore, Allah kept infidels’ recovery and health in an unclean thing. The author (Mr. Muhammad bin Abdul Lateef Aal Al-Sheikh) further writes that notwithstanding the authenticity of the Hadeeth, one could very well discuss the usage of the word urine used in the Hadeeth the way Sheikh Muhammad Uthaimeen (RHA) expressed his dissatisfaction regarding the wordings and meaning of the famous Jasaasah Hadeeth recorded in Sahih Muslim.

Suffice it to say that just like human and forbidden animals’ urine, Halaal animals’ urine is also unclean and the incident recorded in Sahih Bukhari of curing an ailment by using camel urine is a special and exceptional case. Moreover, there are several doubts in relation to this saying of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) because the Hadeeth recorded immediately before this one narrates the same incident but mentions only camel milk with reference to cure. Camel urine is not even distantly referred to in that Hadeeth. Further, this Hadeeth also has reference to Muthala which was later made impermissible. So we can use camel urine for curing the ailment only in a situation when no treatment for the ailment is found across the world and the patient’s life is in danger.

Mohammad Najeeb Qasmi (