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Laws of Religion

Laws of Islam Concerning Food


14.  Medicinal Foods and Drinks


from the Holy Qur’an, major hadith collections

and Islamic jurisprudence



14.  Medicinal Foods and Drinks

From Islamic Source Documents: Qur’an and Hadith


Honey is said to be medicinal in both the Qur’an and in a number of hadiths,[1] and Muhammad recommends honey specifically for abdominal problems and diarrhea.[2] Muhammad says that black cumin in the nostrils fights all diseases except death itself.[3] He also says that eye disease should be treated with the juice from truffles.[4] Talbina is said to relieve grief.[5] Water – or Zam Zam water – should be used to cool a fever.[6] (Zam Zam is a well located near the Ka‛ba in Mecca.)


Muhammad said that the effects of poison or magic can be avoided for a day by eating seven ‘ajwa dates[7] or dates from the land between two lava plains[8] in the morning. Muhammad said that the ‘ajwa dates have a heating effect that is an antidote early in the morning.[9]


Muhammad prescribed camel milk and urine[10] or only camel milk[11] as medicine. In other hadiths, he sends the ailing people to the camels and they drink the milk and urine as medicine without explicitly being told to do so by Muhammad.[12] The

original Muslims would treat themselves with camel urine.[13]



Medicinal Foods and Drinks

From Islamic Jurisprudence (fiqh§):  Reliance of the Traveller


Reliance of the Traveller recommends drinking Zam Zam water for whatever religious or this-worldly purpose one intends.[14] (This could include medicinal purposes.)




§The more general term sharia is often used loosely to mean the specific derived laws of fiqh, such as those summarized here.



Laws of Religion is a project of the Religion Research Society.


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Abbreviations used in footnotes:

QR:   Qur’an, with surahs (chapters) and ayahs (verses) numbered as in most modern translations, including those found here, here and here.

BK:    Hadith collection of al-Bukhari as found here (USC/CMJE website) and here (ebook download). In a few instances, the hadiths on the USC website differ from those in the ebook download, either by having slightly different numbering of the hadiths or because the hadith appears only on the USC site and not in the ebook download. Such cases are noted in the footnotes by putting either “(USC)” or “(ebook)” after the relevant hadith number when it applies to only one of these two sources.

ML:    Hadith collection of Muslim as found here and here.

DJP:  The Distinguished Jurist’s Primer, by Ibn Rushd, translated by Imran Ahsan Khan Nyazee, published by Garnet Publishing Ltd, Reading, UK. Volume 1, 1994. Volume 2, 1996. Full text online and download for Volume 1 is here and here and for Volume 2 is here and here.

RT:    Reliance of the Traveller: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law by Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, translated by Nuh Ha Mim Keller, revised edition 1994, published by Amana Publications, Beltsville, Maryland, USA.

SR:    al-Shafi‛i’s Risala: Treatise on the Foundations of Islamic Jurisprudence, translated by Majid Khadduri, Second Edition, published by The Islamic Texts Society.

●  The sources cited are described on the page Source Texts Used for Laws of Islam.


[1] QR 16:68-69, BK 7:71:584, BK 7:71:585, BK 7:71:587, BK 7:71:603, ML 26:5468

[2] BK 7:71:588, BK 7:71:614, ML 26:5492

[3] BK 7:71:591, BK 7:71:592

[4] BK 7:71:609, ML 23:5084, ML 23:5085, ML 23:5086, ML 23:5087, ML 23:5088, ML 23:5089

[5] BK 7:65:328, BK 7:71:593, BK 7:71:594, ML 26:5491

[6] BK 4:54:483

[7] BK 7:65:356, BK 7:71:663, BK 7:71:664, BK 7:71:671, ML 23:5081-5082

[8] ML 23:5080

[9] ML 23:5083

[10] BK 1:4:234, BK 5:59:505, BK 6:60:134, BK 7:71:590, BK 7:71:623, BK 8:82:794, BK 8:82:797, BK 9:83:37, ML 16:4130, ML 16:4131-4132-4133

[11] BK 7:71:589

[12] BK 2:24:577, BK 4:52:261, BK 8:82:796

[13] BK 7:71:672

[14] RT j11.6 (page 349)