It is narrated in the books of Imams Al-Bukhari and Muslim that Anas Ibn Malik said:
“Some people of (the tribes of) ‘Ukl and ‘Uraynah came to Al-Madeenah and its climate did not suit them. So the Prophet ordered them to go to the herd of camels reserved for charity, and to drink their milk and urine (as a medicine). So they went as directed. After they became healthy, they killed the shepherds of the Prophet’s camels and drove away all the camels, thus becoming aggressors against Allah All-Mighty and His Messenger . The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallm, sent (men) in their pursuit and they were captured. The Prophet then ordered that their hands and feet to be cut off (and it was done), and their eyes were branded with heated pieces of iron. They were then kept in the sun until they died.”
These people were complaining from dropsy, as per the narration from Imam Muslim who narrated the same narration above with the following addition: “…The Bedouins said: We have not found Al-Madeenah suitable for us and our stomachs swelled, our organs became weak…” until the end of the narration.
Dropsy is a physical disease that occurs when a harmful cold substance penetrates the external organs of the body and also the body organs other than those that are used in digestion, causing them to swell. There are three types of dropsy: in body tissue (fleshy), which is the most serious of the three, in a body cavity (ascites), and in an organ (drum). The remedy required for this disease includes mild laxatives and diuretic medicines that help rid the body of fluids. These diuretic qualities exist in the milk and urine of camels and that is why the Prophet ordered them to drink them. Camel milk is a mild laxative, diuretic, cleanses and opens that which is closed and removes the obstructions and soothes the body. This is especially the case when the camels graze on beneficial herbs, such as wormwood, lavender, chamomile, daisy and lemongrass. These herbs help against dropsy.
Dropsy is usually symptomatic of an ailment in the liver, especially due to congestion in the liver. The milk of the Arabian camels helps in this
case, because of its many benefits as mentioned and which help open the clogged passages and the obstructions. Ar-Razi said: “The she-camel’s milk soothes the liver and the effects of a spoiled constitution.” Al-Israeeli also said: “The she-camel’s milk is the softest, least concentrated and lightest milk. It is the best choice for moving the bowels, as a laxative and for opening the clogged passages and obstructions. What makes this evident is the fact that this type of milk is mildly salty, as a result of the animal’s instinctively hot nature. Therefore, the she-camel’s milk is the best remedy for the liver as it soothes it, opens its pores and veins and softens the hardness of fresh food. Fresh, warm camel’s milk is beneficial against dropsy, especially when taken with fresh, warm camel urine, thus making the combination more salty and adding strength to its effectiveness in dissolving harmful fluids and as a laxative. If the [combination of milk and urine] did not purge the stomach, then one should take a stronger laxative.” The author of Al-Qanoon also commented: “Do not listen to those who claim that milk does not provide cure from dropsy. Rather, know that camel’s milk is an effective cure, because it cleanses gently and easily, due to its other qualities. This type of milk is so beneficial that if a person substituted water and food with camel’s milk, he would be cured [from dropsy and other ailments]. Some people tried this remedy and were soon cured. We should state that the best camel urine is that of the camels of Bedouin people.”
The story that was mentioned in the narration above has several areas of interest:
- It encourages the use of medicines and cures.
- It indicates the purity of the milk of the animals that Muslims are allowed to eat.
- Using what Allah has prohibited in medicine is disallowed.
- The people mentioned in the narration were not commanded to rinse their mouths or their clothes for the prayer, although they were new Muslims.
- The Prophet cannot delay the necessary details of a religious command when such elaboration is necessary.
- It emphasizes the fact that the aggressor is punished by the same method he transgressed. The people mentioned in the narration killed the shepherd and branded his eyes, as in another report of this narration by Imam Muslim .
- It mentioned that the entire group was killed for killing one person.
- It indicates that whereas the aggressor deserves to be punished for multiple crimes, one punishable according to the law of equality and the other for an act of aggression, then both laws are applied. The Prophet ordered that the hands and feet of the aggressors be cut off, as a punishment from Allah for their audacious raid and aggression. They were also killed because they had killed the shepherd.
- It indicates that when armed aggressors steal money and also commit murder, their hands and feet are cut off, and they are then executed.
- It indicates that the punishment for multiple crimes is multiplied, because the people who were mentioned in the story reverted from Islam, killed a human being, disfigured the dead shepherd, stole other people’s property and announced their armed aggression. Also, the entire armed band mentioned in the story were executed, not only those who actually committed the murder, as the Prophet did not consider this fact, nor did he ask about who actually committed the murder.
Assassination warrants capital punishment and cannot be pardoned [by the relatives of the deceased] or compensated, according to the scholars of Al-Madeenah, Imam Ahmad and Ibn Taymiyyah .