Magnetic Bracelets, Really?


What’s with men wearing bracelets like these on their wrists?

According to the manufacturer’s website, these kind of bracelets are supposed to endow the wearer with some kind of magnetic energy. Not only that, the magnets supposedly helps “tissue alkalanization” and “oxygenation”, and also “calms the nervous system”.

So how good are such claims that magnets are able to help the body rejuvenate and regenerate at an optimum rate?

Well, not so it seems. (Emphases are mine.)

Static bipolar magnets embedded in cushioned shoe insoles do not provide additional benefit for subjective plantar heel pain reduction when compared with nonmagnetic insole.

A double-blind study found that magnetic necklaces produced no relief of neck or shoulder pain (Hong 1982).

Another study found no effect using magnets to treat back pain (Collacott et al. 2000)


A review of the world-wide scientific literature regarding magnet therapy found that “the scientific evidence to support the success of this therapy is lacking. More scientifically sound studies are needed in order to fully understand the effects that magnets can have on the body and the possible benefits or dangers that could result from their use” (Ratterman et al. 2002).

And the sarcastic

There is no scientific evidence that magnetizing your water, coffee, wine, fuel, etc. does anyone any good, except for improving the wealth of those hawking these products (Barrett 1998).

Islamic Perspective

So what’s the hukm (religious ruling) on men wearing one of those magnetic bracelet?

Here’s the argument of Ustaz Mohamed Kadir bin Sahak who elaborates comprehensively on the topic, with rehashes here and there:

  • A hadith narrated by Imam Ahmad, Ibn Majah, al-Bazzaar and  Ibn Habbaan:

أَنّ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَبْصَرَ عَلَى عَضُدِ رَجُلٍ حَلْقَةً أُرَاهُ قَالَ مِنْ صُفْرٍ , فَقَال : ” وَيْحَكَ مَا هَذِهِ ؟ ” قَالَ : مِنَ الْوَاهِنَةِ , قَالَ : ” أَمَا إِنَّهَا لَا تَزِيدُكَ إِلَّا وَهْنًا ، انْبِذْهَا عَنْكَ ، فَإِنَّكَ لَوْ مِتَّ وَهِيَ عَلَيْكَ مَا أَفْلَحْتَ أَبَدًا “

“The Prophet – Peace be upon Him – saw a man wearing a copper bangle and said: “What is this?” Said (the man): “This is from al-waahinah (elaboration below).” (The Prophet) said: “Remove it. It doesn’t add anything to you except weakness. And if you died while wearing it, you will not ever be successful.” (takhrij)

  • Conflicting opinions regarding the authenticity (صحّة) of the hadith: The hadith is narrated by al-Hasan (الحسن) from Imran bin Hussain (عمران بن حصين). Scholars have differing views whether the former did hear it from the latter. Also, there is a narrator in the hadith by the name of Mubarak bin Fadhalah (مبارك بن فضالة) whose disparagement and credit (الجرح والتعديل) is somewhat inconsistent among Hadith scholars. More here.
  • In short, there is no consensus on the status of the hadith; whether it is weak (ضعيف) or authentic (صحيح).
  • However, for those who accept the authenticity of the hadith, a deeper understanding of its meaning is required before applying what is being stated.
  • As it is clearly shown that the man was wearing a copper bangle, the question posed by the Prophet when he asked: “What is this?” (“ما هذه؟“) carries other significance. According to al-Sheikh Salih bin Fauzan bin Abdullah al-Fauzan:

فيه دليل على أن الإنسان لا ينكر شيئا حتى يعرف مقصود صاحبه إذا كان الشيء محتملا، فإن كان مقصود صاحبه شرا فإنه ينكره

“There is proof that a person doesn’t deny something before knowing what is its purpose. If the purpose is (for certain) bad, then it should be denied.”

  • When the man answered: “Al-waahinah” (“الواهنة“), the same commentary stated that it means “I’m wearing the bangle to protect myself from al-waahinah“. Al-waahinah is a type of disease that affects the hand, and some Arabs believe that wearing such a bangle will protect them from the disease. Others view that al-waahinah also means weakness, i.e. the user believes that wearing such an item will protect him from being weakened.
  • Still, al-Sheikh Abdul Hakim Belmahdi stated here that

واتفق العلماء على أن علة النهي هي أنها عند العرب تتخذ بمثابة التمائم التي ورد النهي عن تعليقها، انظر في ذلك: غريب الحديث للخطابي (2/445)، وغريب الحديث للحربي (2/1056)، وغريب الحديث لابن الجوزي (2/486) ـ

“The Ulama’ agreed that the reason for the prohibition of wearing such bangles are due to the Arabs regarding them as forms of amulets (that offer protection), which usage were forbidden. See Gharib al-Hadith by al-Khatabi (2/445); Gharib al-Hadith by al-Harbi (2/1056); and Gharib al-Hadith by Ibn al-Jauzi (2/486).”

  • From the views above, it is apparent that the prohibition of wearing al-wahinah is not solely because it is bangle, nor is it a prohibition from healing by wearing bangles (if it is possible). Instead, the prohibition is when it is taken or regarded as a protective amulet. Usage of protective amulets are not supported at all in the Quran nor Sunnah, and is not substantiated from scientific discoveries.
  • So the question that comes again, what are the evidence supporting the effectiveness of magnetic bracelets? None. Refer to the starting of this post.
  • Then, what’s the religious ruling or hukm on men wearing bangles? There are various opinions of the scholars regarding this. Egyptian’s Darul Iftaa’ (Sheikh Hasan Ma’mun, here) quoted Imam al-Rafi’i from his book Syarh al-Wajiz that men are only prohibited from adorning themselves with gold, while other materials are allowed, even when wearing bangles.
  • Also in the same fatwa, the mufti noted from Abu Sa’id al-Mutawalli that since rings are permissible on the fingers of both men and women, there should be no difference between the fingers and any other parts of the body, such as wrists. So adornments are allowed on men, except those made of gold.
  • However, there are also fatwas that viewed men shoudn’t be wearing bracelets (and here). A well-known standard in Islamic ruling is the clear distinction between the attibutes of men and women. This is based on the hadith narrated by Imam al-Bukhari, from Ibn ‘Abbas RA, that the Prophet PBUH said:

لَعَنَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ الْمُتَشَبِّهِينَ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ بِالنِّسَاءِ، وَالْمُتَشَبِّهَاتِ مِنَ النِّسَاءِ بِالرِّجَالِ

“Allah curses the men who imitates women, and women who imitates men.” (takhrij)

Of course this doesn’t mean that women can’t wear pants. Instead, it goes back to the normative practice in that particular community, of what is accepted as exclusively women’s clothing, and men’s attires, and those which are shared between the two.

But since normative ideals evolves from one generation to another, it may be just a couple generations from now when we will see every single person to have tattoos. So does that mean that tattoos will be acceptable in Islam? It goes back to who you want to follow. Is it the customs of the consumer-based culture of the generations, or is it the ideals and norms exemplified by our early predecessors, the Prophet Muhammad and his Companions, who led the Muslim way of  life, void of material trappings and worldly adornments?

Frankly, I’m more inclined to just say that these bracelets are a rip-off and real men shouldn’t be wearing bracelets. The are various opinions, granted, but Allah has already provided us with so much. Yet, I dare not say it is haraam or prohibited.

قُلْ مَنْ حَرَّمَ زِينَةَ اللَّهِ الَّتِي أَخْرَجَ لِعِبَادِهِ وَالطَّيِّبَاتِ مِنَ الرِّزْقِ

“Say (O Muhammad ): “Who has forbidden the adoration with clothes given by Allâh, which He has produced for his slaves, and At-Taiyibât [all kinds of Halâl (lawful) things] of food?” (al-A’raaf:32)

But as a sign of our faith in Allah, let’s err on the side of piety, once in a while. :-)



Salam to Non-Muslims

I was talking with some acquaintances and the question went into greeting the particular phrase of السلام عليكم (as-Salaam ‘alai-kum) to non-Muslims. Is it a devotional expression to be specifically directed at Muslims only, or a general greeting which can be mentioned to anyone?

Short answer: Yes, you can convey Salam to non-Muslims.

Long answer, excerpted from the fatwa by Sheikh Faisal al-Mawlawi:

  • It is permissible to greet to non-Muslims with the Salaam; this opinion was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas, Ibn Mas’ud, Abi Umamah, Ibn Muhairiiz, ‘Umar ibn Abd al-‘Aziz, Sufyan ibn ‘Uyaynah, al-Sha’bi, al-Auza’ii, and al-Thabarii. This opinion was also selected by Rashid Ridha in Tafsir al-Manaar, and Sheikh Shinqiti in Ad-waa’ al-Bayaan.
  • The permissibility is also supported by the generality (شكل مطلق) of the following Qur’anic verses which do not state the exclusivity of Salam to Muslims only. In fact, it is the opposite; especially when one is faced with rejection.

Verse #1:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لا تَدْخُلُوا بُيُوتًا غَيْرَ بُيُوتِكُمْ حَتَّى تَسْتَأْنِسُوا وَتُسَلِّمُوا عَلَى أَهْلِهَا ذَلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ

“O You who believe! enter not houses other than Your own, until You have asked permission and greeted (tusallimuu) those in them, that is better for you, in order that You may remember.” (Al-Nuur:27)

Verse #2:

وَإِذَا سَمِعُوا اللَّغْوَ أَعْرَضُوا عَنْهُ وَقَالُوا لَنَا أَعْمَالُنَا وَلَكُمْ أَعْمَالُكُمْ سَلامٌ عَلَيْكُمْ لا نَبْتَغِي الْجَاهِلِينَ

“And when They hear vain talk, They turn away therefrom and say: To us Our deeds, and to you yours; peace be to you (salaamun ‘alaikum), we seek not the ignorant.” (al-Qasas:55)

Verse #3:

وَعِبَادُ الرَّحْمَنِ الَّذِينَ يَمْشُونَ عَلَى الأرْضِ هَوْنًا وَإِذَا خَاطَبَهُمُ الْجَاهِلُونَ قَالُوا سَلامًا

“And the servants of Allah Most Gracious are those who walk on the earth in humility, and when the ignorants address them, They say, “Peace” (salaamaa).” (al-Furqaan:63)

Verse #4:

وَلَئِنْ سَأَلْتَهُمْ مَنْ خَلَقَهُمْ لَيَقُولُنَّ اللَّهُ فَأَنَّى يُؤْفَكُونَ

وَقِيلِهِ يَا رَبِّ إِنَّ هَؤُلاءِ قَوْمٌ لا يُؤْمِنُونَ

فَاصْفَحْ عَنْهُمْ وَقُلْ سَلامٌ فَسَوْفَ يَعْلَمُونَ

“If Thou ask them, who created them, They will certainly say, Allah. How then are They deluded away (from the truth)?

(Allah has knowledge) of the (Prophet’s) cry, “O My Lord! Truly these are people who will not believe!”

But turn away from them, and say “Peace” (salaamun)! But soon shall They know!” (al-Zukhruf:87-89)

Verse #5:

قَالَ أَرَاغِبٌ أَنْتَ عَنْ آلِهَتِي يَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ لَئِنْ لَمْ تَنْتَهِ لأرْجُمَنَّكَ وَاهْجُرْنِي مَلِيًّا

قَالَ سَلامٌ عَلَيْكَ سَأَسْتَغْفِرُ لَكَ رَبِّي إِنَّهُ كَانَ بِي حَفِيًّا

“He (Ibrahim’s father) said: Do You reject My gods, O Ibrahim (Abraham)? If You stop not (this), I will indeed stone you. So get away from Me safely before I punish You.

Ibrahim (Abraham) said: Peace be on You (salaamun ‘alaika)! I will ask Forgiveness of My Lord for you. Verily! He is unto Me, ever Most Gracious.” (Mariam:46-47)

  • Also the following sahih hadiths which indicate the permissibility  of giving the Salam towards everyone.

Hadith #1:

Narrated by عبد الله بن عمرو RA:

أن رجلا سأل رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أي الإسلام خير قال تطعم الطعام وتقرأ السلام على من عرفت ومن لم تعرف

“A man asked the Messenger of Allah: Which Islam is the best? He (the Prophet) said: To give food and convey Salam to those who know you, and those you do not know.”

– Al-Bukhari, Muslim, and others

Hadith #2:

أفشوا السلام بينكم

“Convey Salam between all of you.”

– Muslim, Al-Tirmidzi, Ibn Habbaan

  • Meanwhile those who are of the opinion that giving Salam is not permissible to non-Muslims based it on the sahih hadith narrated by Muslim:

لا تبدأوا اليهود ولا النصارى بالسلام

“Do not greet (lit. start) the Jews and Christians with Salam.”

However according to the same fatwa, the hadith above is specifically related to situation of the ongoing war at that time, as is explained in other sahih narrations by Imam Ahmad, al-Tabrani, and al-Bukhari:

إني راكب غدا إلى يهود، فمن انطلق منكم معي فلا تبدأوهم بالسلام فإن سلموا عليكم فقولوا: وعليكم

“I am going to ride to the Jews tomorrow. Who goes out with me, do not greet them with Salam. But if they greet you with Salam, then say: And upon you.”

Ibn al-Qayyim (d. 751AH/1350CE) commented that this was applied only during the battle which resulted when Banu Quraizah broke their treaty with the Muslims at the time:

هذا كان في قضية خاصة لما ساروا إلى بني قريظة بعد أن نقضوا العهد ووقفوا إلى جانب الكفار للقضاء على المسلمين قال: “لا تبدأوهم بالسلام” فهل هذا حكم عام لأهل الذمة “أهل الكتاب” أم يختص بمن كانت حاله بمثل حال أولئك “بنو قريظة”؟ هذا موضع نظر.

“This was a special case when they marched towards Bani Quraizah after they (Banu Quraizah) broke the pact and stood with the non-Muslims to eliminate the Muslims. He (The Prophet PBUH) said: “Do not greet them with Salam.” Is this rule applied broadly to the citizens (loose translation of ahl al-zimmah) and People of the Book, or is only specifically for the likes of Banu Quraizah? This is the point of deliberation.”

  • And al-Mawlawi also viewed that if a Muslim is greeted with Salam from a non-Muslim, it becomes obligatory for the Muslim to answer the Salam, following the Qur’anic verse:

وَإِذَا حُيِّيتُمْ بِتَحِيَّةٍ فَحَيُّوا بِأَحْسَنَ مِنْهَا أَوْ رُدُّوهَا إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ حَسِيبًا

“When You are greeted with a greeting, greet in return with what is better than it, or (at least) return it equally. Certainly Allah is ever a Careful account Taker of All things.” (an-Nisaa’:86)

More details of the khilaf can be read from Min al-Fiqh al-Aqalliyyat al-Muslimah.

Other fatwas on the issue can be read here.


Related post:

Peace be to all