Islam, as a matter of fact, cares about health and medicine. It is highly recommended for every Muslim to maintain strong body and good health. This is clarified by numerous Qur’anic verses and Prophetic Hadiths. For example, showing his great concern for the necessity of preserving personal hygiene, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) made it recommended for Muslims to stick to purification and cleanliness, saying, “It is the right of Allah upon every Muslim that he should take a bath (at least) once every seven days and should wash his head and body.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari)
Islam encourages Muslims to seek cures for their ills. The hadith of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) reads: “Seek medication, O servants of Allah, for Allah never created an illness without creating a cure for it.” At the same time, a Muslim is always commanded to seek medications that are derived from lawful origins.
Sheikh M. S. Al-Munajjid, a prominent Saudi Islamic lecturer and author, states the following: “Manufacturing medicines from non-animal sources may be of two types:
1. Where they are made from permissible materials, so they are permissible, such as making them from permissible herbs.
2. Where they are made from materials which are haram or najis, so the medicine is haram according to the consensus of the Muslim jurists, because the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Allah does not put your cure in that which He has forbidden for you.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari)
If the medicine is made from animal products, it may be one of three types:
1. If it comes from an animal whose meat may be eaten and it has been slaughtered correctly (in Islamic way), then it is permissible to use it as medicine.
2. If it comes from an animal whose meat may be eaten but it has not been slaughtered correctly, then it is not permissible to use it for medicine, because it is haram. This is in accordance to the above-mentioned Hadith.
3. If it comes from an animal whose meat cannot be eaten, then it is not permissible to use it as medicine, for the reasons stated above. This includes pork.
Ibn Qudamah said: “It is not permissible to treat disease with haram things, or anything that contains unlawful things, such as the milk of female donkeys, or the meat of something that is haram; the same applies to using wine as medication, because the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), said when he was told about nabidh (date wine) that was used for medicinal purposes, ‘It is not a cure, it is a disease.’”
In his answer to the question “is it permissible to treat disease with alcohol?”, Shaykh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him), said: “Using alcohol for medicinal purpose is haram, as stated by the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him). This is the view of the vast majority of scholars. It was reported in As-Sahih that he (peace and blessings be upon him) was asked about alcohol that was made for medicinal purposes, and he said: ‘It is a disease, it is not a cure.’ And, in As-Sunan it is reported that he (peace and blessings be upon him) said: ‘It is forbidden to treat disease w
ith Khabith (evil) things.’ Ibn Mas`ud said: ‘Allah does not put your cure in that which He has forbidden for you.’ Ibn Hibban reported in his Sahih that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Allah does not put the cure for my Ummah in that which He has forbidden for them.” In As-Sunan it is reported that he (peace and blessings be upon him) was asked about frogs which were used for medicinal purposes. He forbade killing them, and said, “Their croaking is tasbih (glorification of Allah).”
This rule does not apply to eating carrion out of necessity, for that achieves the purpose of keeping the person alive when there is no alternative; and if a person is forced by necessity to eat dead meat, but he does not eat it and dies as a result, he will go to Hell. But in the case of treating disease, attaining cure is something under possibility and there is a variety of medicine which one may take, i.e. Allah may bring about a person’s recovery through a variety of means. Seeking medication for disease is not obligatory according to the majority of scholars, so there is no analogy in this case.”