Seeking Knowledge

‘Irq an Nasa

The Prophet’s Guidance on Curing Sciatica

Ibn Maajah (rahimahullaah) narrated in his Sunan (collection of Hadeeth) that Anas (radhiyallaahu ‘anhu) said: “I heard the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) saying, “Curing sciatica is accomplished by melting the fat from the tail of a nomad’s ewe, then the fat is divided into three parts and one part per day is to be drank on an empty stomach.”

Sciatica is an ailment that starts from the hip-joint, then descends to the thigh from the backside of the body. Sometimes, sciatica reaches the ankles and the longer the ailment remains, the lower it descends and the weaker the legs and thighs become.

There are two beneficial understandings in the hadeeth mentioned:
  • Medicinal
  • Linguistic
Linguistically: The Hadeeth proves that we are allowed to call this ailment an ‘Irq (nerve) Nasa (sciatic nerve), to the contrary of the opinion of some people. They said that the Nasa is the nerve itself and thus the two words together are redundant.

Answering this claim takes two forms. First, the word ‘Irq (nerve) is more general then the word Nasa (sciatic nerve). Hence, the term ‘Irq An Nasa is an ailment that attacks the nerve and thus the word Nasa should be included in the name given to the ailment (as it specifies the area where the nerve is causing pain). It was reported that the name ‘Irq An Nasa is called as such because it makes the people forget (Nasa) any other pain. The sciatic nerve starts from the hips until the bottom of the foot from behind the ankles.

The Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), as we have noticed in previous ahaadeeth, may use two types of meanings in his expressions.
  • One meaning may be general for all conditions and people.
  • The other specific, (its meaning and indications are specifically directed at some particular people or situation.
The hadeeth in this section is the specific type. It is directed at the ‘Arabs and the people of Hijaaz in particular, including the Bedouins of those areas.

The remedy mentioned in the hadeeth is the best cure for the people of those areas as ‘Irq An Nasa is caused by dryness or thick, septic accumulations.The best treatment for this ailment is using a laxative.
The fat on the ewe’s tail has two qualities; bringing the septic substances to maturity and softening (the stool in this case) both are required to cure ‘Irq An Nasa. Also, the nomad’s ewe has several qualities, such as being small in size, producing lesser excrement and having a soft essence. The nomad’s ewe also grazes on beneficial wild plants, such as wormwood and lavender cotton, and so forth. When the ewe feeds on these wild plants, they will mix and soften the ewe’s flesh, especially the fatty tail. Although the ewe’s milk carries in it effective ingredients of the wild plants,the tail has two qualities that the milk doesn’t have, (being a laxative and leading the septic substances to maturity making them ready to be extracted from the body).

We mentioned before that the regular medicines and remedies of different nations and peoples are based on the type of diet that the people are used to. Indians and Bedouins have a simple diet, therefore they do not use complex medicines. As for the Romans and Greeks, they use compound medicines. They all agree, however, that the best treatment for an ailment is a specific diet. Otherwise, the doctors will first prescribe simple then compound medications when necessary.

If the diet is simple, then simple medications are suitable for the simple aliments. The compound ailments on the other hand, usually occur due to a complex diet and this is why compound medicines are suitable in those cases. Allaah Knows Best.

Healing with the Medicine of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam)
Imaam Ibn Qayyim al Jawziyyah (rahimahullaah)
Pages 74 – 76

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