Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is old several thousands of years and continu to arouse the interest of a good amount of experts but also of patients throughout the world, more particularly at our time when conventional medicine pains to solve certain evils when it is not discredited itself by various scandals and/or medical disasters.

The MTC returns to a multiplicity of under-disciplines such as acupuncture, the auriculotherapy, herbalism and other more esoteric disciplines where charlatanism and shamanism (sorcery) mix.

In the case of acupuncture, although its utility is raised in certain pathologies, its mechanisms of operation remain mysterious, the theories known as “energy” do not convince the health professionals since they do not base on any principle of modern medicine.

As Muslims, we can also question us, from another point of view, on the legitimacy of the recourse to a technique whose theories founders take as a starting point the Buddhist beliefs utilizing the concepts of “vital breath” or “pantheism”.

In addition, of the recent studies seem to evoke the implication of the nerve impulses in the mechanisms of action of acupuncture for example.

Lastly, we also know that exists in prophetic medicine, many kind of care techniques and beverages whose effectiveness is attested by the divine inspiration revealed with the Muhammed prophet (alayhi salat wa salam) then by experimentation.

Which attitude have we to adopt consequently?

  1. to reject these techniques since they are based on contrary principles with the Islamic dogma although these therapeutic interests with a certain measurement?
  2. to resort to these techniques if their effectiveness “is shown” by a rigorous experimentation while disuniting with these “pagan” theories?
  3. to resort to these techniques and to believe in their theory under pretext which they do belong to an ancestral “medicine” whose effectiveness crossed the millennium?

In order to clarify these questionings and to bring a brief reply to the Muslim community, I took the initiative to question a scholar of ahl sunna and my choice was turned towards shaykh Abdullah al ‘adani, which since years, invests himself to answer questions of brothers and sisters throughout the world, and in particular in France.

I thank the administrators for the site “dar al hadith shihr” for their devotion and their assistance as for the concretization of this approach.

Here my question:

“Assalamu alaykum wa rahmatullah,

My question relates to Chinese traditional medicine and in particular acupuncture and the hijama. Myself doctor of medicine, hijama practitioner and author of a work on this exemplary technique and the alternative medicines in general, I became acquainted with information alarming during my research on this subject.

Indeed, much of our brothers and sisters experts of Chinese medicine and hijama have studied in Western or Asian schools in which they received a teaching which bases disturb me.

Indeed, these experts believe that there exists an invisible element called vital breath, the chi (or Qi), without relationship with our current knowledge of the medicine nor of the science, which would circulate in our body through ways called meridian lines. When this breath would not circulate correctly that would cause diseases and the remedy would thus consist in posing suction cups or needles on these ways to release this breath.

This theory is part of the Buddhist belief which considers that this breath is at the origin of any form of life on ground and in the universe. Taoist, a branch among Buddhists, tell that this breath existed before any life and that it was shared between all that exists among the human ones, animals and nature. Thus, all creation would be bound by this breath, or this energy according to them.

Nowadays, we know as doctors, that there does not exist any proof with that but more still, of recent studies showed that these ways where this breath would circulate according to Buddhists would be rather a way of particular nerves called C fiber.

As for me, I advise regularly with my brothers and sisters to be satisfied with the vascular and neurological theories which are known in particular in the operation of the hijama and to forsake these other theories which have not any base neither in our religion nor in modern science. As for acupuncture, it has certainly actual profits but its Buddhist theories seem in contradiction with the bases of our belief.

My interrogations are thus:

– believing of this breath of invisible life wouldn’t it be a form of disbelief considering that like accepting a thing that nobody can prove scientifically and that one does not find in the Islamic legislation? Would this be comparable with people who claim to know the invisible?

Yes, because that been part of philosophies (falsafat) of people of Western India, because the origin of their belief comes from Thailand and they have falsafat in India and Thailand more than in China. Thus it is not allowed to accept what is part of their belief, but we can benefit from what is right in medicine while knowing that they mixed the false with the truth.

– This belief that this breath is with the origin of life, and that it is common to any form of life, isn’t similar to those which call with the pantheism among the Sufi?

The Sufi took this belief from them and the Christians who draw the sources of their belief of the philosophers.

– Which advices would you give our brothers and sisters who learn Chinese medicine and who find themselves to accept these theories which seem contrary with our dogma?

That must be studied with prudence, because there are three bad things in their medicine:

  1. False beliefs and superstitions.
  2. charlatanism and sorcery, as well as the use of drugs or of the similar things in which they believe and whose profit is not proven by the experiment. That must be forsaken and these things are numerous in their medicine.
  3. the lie, the trick and the fraud in various manners to obtain money.

And all this under the name of medicine… In conclusion, which is recognized by the specialists as being advantageous, we benefit from it after having checked it. As for the rest, we must be wary about it and draw aside us.

– considering what Chinese medicine does bring a medical benefit, is it authorized to resort there subject with not accepting its theories or is it necessary to deviate from these techniques if we find a way better and surer such as the hijama for example?

As we said previously, there is no evil to benefit from the beneficial things of this medicine. Because there are things which they are the only ones to know, like the use of certain drugs and plants that one does not find in our country, like their knowledge of acupuncture to look after the nerves, and their knowledge of the movements of the blood and their moments as of many things of which they are aware of detailed manner and in which they are tested than of others. We can benefit from it as long as it was confirmed that is really beneficial.

End of the answers of the shaykh ‘Abdullah Al ‘Adani, may Allah preserves him,

Shihr, Yemen, the 11/22/1434 corresponding to the 9/28/2013.