Chinese Medicine in Islam

Rulings for Using the Chinese Medicine in Islam

Using the Chinese Medicine

Question: What is the ruling for consuming medicines from china? The question raised because there was a person who had had an operation, and after that he was given some chinese medicine and the wound healed fast. It is said that the medicine contained the bile of cobra. Is it permissible to consume it? Thanks.


All praises be to Allah, and peace and prayer of Allah be upon His messenger.

First of all, Allah doesn’t put a cure in unlawful stuffs.

This is an important principle for us to understand. This principle is based on a statement of Ibn Mas’ud,

إن الله لم يَجعلْ شفاءَكم فيما حَرم عليكم

Verily, Allah doesn’t create cures for your illnesses in forbidden stuffs for you. (Narrated by Bukhari with an incomplete mentioning of narrators, 7/110).

This statement of Ibn Mas’ud was in accordance with the principle taught by the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- in several of his sayings. Among which is a hadith of Abu Darda’ -may Allah be pleased with him-. The Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said,

إِنَّ اللَّهَ أَنْزَلَ الدَّاءَ وَالدَّوَاءَ، وَجَعَلَ لِكُلِّ دَاءٍ دَوَاءً فَتَدَاوَوْا وَلَا تَدَاوَوْا بِحَرَامٍ

“Verily, Allah has sent down ailments and its cures. And Allah has established for every ailment a cure. Therefore, find the cure, and don’t treat yourselves with forbidden stuffs.” (Narrated by Abu Daud, no. 3874, and classed weak by some scholars).

Second, something forbidden to consume in shari’a shouldn’t be used as a cure, even though it could possibly regarded as beneficial and as a cure. We are very sure that not all forbidden things in shari’a contains 100% dangerous contents. It means that in some of those forbidden stuffs, there are still beneficial elements for mankind. But it is not a reason to justify the stuff as a cure. That is because we are also sure that Allah forbade the stuffs because it possesses greater threat than benefit.

From Abdurrahman Ibn Uthman -may Allah be pleased with him-, that one day, there was a traditional healer who mentioned about medicine alongside the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- and mentioned that frog could be used as medicine.

فَنَهَى رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ عَنْ قَتْلِ الضُّفْدَعِ

Then the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- forbade people to kill frog. (Narrated by Ahmad 15757 , Abu Daud 5269, Ad-Darimi 2041 and classed valid by Shuhaib Al-Arnauth).

According to the medical science at that time, there was an element of medicine inside the frog. However, the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- forbade to use it as medicine because Allah has revealed that frog shouldn’t be killed.

In another hadith, the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- was asked by Thariq bin Suwaid Al-Ju’fi about the law of making intoxicant. The Prophet -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- forbade it. Thariq asked him again, ‘I make the intoxicant for medicinal purpose’. The Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- replied,

إِنَّهُ لَيْسَ بِدَوَاءٍ، وَلَكِنَّهُ دَاءٌ

“Intoxicant is a disease, and not a cure.” (Narrated by Muslim, no. 1984, Turmudzi 2046, and others).

Third, regarding all animal-based medicines, there are two things to note:

A. The lawful state of the used animal

We should make certain that the medicine doesn’t contain an element of forbidden animal, such as pig, dog, or other animals that are forbidden to consume.

B. The one who slaughter it

In the chapter Al Maida (The Table Spread), Allah explained that a lawful slaughtering is a slaughtering that is carried out by a muslim or the people of scriptures (Jews and Christians). The slaughtering of other than those two groups is unlawful, or forbidden to consume, such as the slaughtering of the followers of Confucianism, hindus, animism, atheist, or the followers of any sects. If there are no information about them but their country, then the reference is the majority of its resident.

C. There is no known deviation in the slaughtering process

For example, the animals were electrocuted, or drowned, or beaten to death, or directly grinded.

Among the forbidden animal in shari’a is snake. That is because snake is one of the animals that people are ordered to kill them. From ‘Aisha -may Allah be pleased with her-, the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- said,

خَمْسٌ فَوَاسِقُ، يُقْتَلْنَ فِي الْحِلِّ وَالْحَرَمِ: الْحَيَّةُ، وَالْغُرَابُ الْأَبْقَعُ، وَالْفَأْرَةُ، وَالْكَلْبُ الْعَقُورُ، وَالْحِدَأَةُ

“”There are five intruding animals that the shari’a order to kill them at the halal and haram lands (Mecca and Medina): Snake, abqa crow, rat, vicious dog, and hid’a hawk.” (Narrated by Ibn Maja no. 3087, and classed valid by Al Albani).

– Abqa crow is a kind of crow which has a whitish hue at its back and belly.
– Hid’a hawk is a kind of hawk that likes to steal other people’s meal.

Based on the clauses above, the ruling for chinese medicine could be detailed as follow:

  • Chinese medicine which ingredients are 100% herbal-based. Such medicine is lawful to consume.
  • Chinese medicine which ingredients are containing an element of unlawful stuffs. It is forbidden to consume.
  • Chinese medicine which contains elements of animal. For a safer choice, it is better not to consume it.

Regarding the case that you’ve mentioned; chinese medicine that contains element of snake is unlawful to consume. That is because snake is animal that we are ordered to kill in shari’a.

And Allah knows best.

Answered by Ustadz Ammi Nur Baits

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One thought on “Rulings for Using the Chinese Medicine in Islam

  1. Mohamadrafiq Kundiwala says:

    Centipede capsule (traditional chinese medicine) is permissible to consume ? I am muslim I follow Islam

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