Camel Urine and Islam
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This article is about the use of camel urine as medicine in the Hadiths and how such usage is viewed in the Muslim world.
Camel Urine in the Hadiths
It appears Muhammed believed camel urine had medicinal value and prescribed it to cure the men’s illness.
There is also the possibility the use of camel urine was a cultural norm among the Bedouin Arabs as camels had many valuable uses among the people of ancient Arabia. How use of the camel was viewed in ancient Arabia.
The Bedouin use the camel for many purposes, including transport, meat, milk, and sometimes they make use of their skins. Camels were also used in war.
The Bedouin use the camel to scout out new grazing land before they move. The camel then changes to a pack animal, carrying tents, equipment and women and children.
The Bedouin also live off of the milk of camels. For many Bedouin, milk replaces water in their diet, sometimes living off of several camels at a time. Often a young camel is killed and eaten, and the mother camel is milked each day. If the calf is not killed, then they share the mother's milk, using one side of the udder for the calf and the other for themselves.
The camel also supplies the Bedouin with a ready supply of meat. Often camels are slaughtered for an occasion, and the whole tribe partakes in the meal. Often a young camel is slaughtered, that has not been used as beasts of burden or for ploughing, as the meat of these animals is considerably tougher.
From the hide of the camel, the Bedouin make containers to keep water in, and buckets to raise water from wells or pools, or even troughs to put water in for the camels to drink. From this hide, Bedouin also make sandals for themselves, as well as other leather items for the tent.
The fur of the camel is used to weave bags for gain of flour and to make tent panels for flaps, or to make an aba for the owner of the house, or a cover for the saddle of his horse. Usually the fur is only taken as the camel sheds its fur during the beginning of the summer. Often the women collect it before it falls out, and some try to hide it from the men and sell it secretly so they can buy bits of cheap jewelry.
Camel dung is used as fuel for fires in the winter, and sometimes for cooking food. Camel urine is often used as a hair wash to protect it from knits, and to give it a reddish hue. Some even drink the urine as medicine for certain diseases.In the past, the mahr, or dowry given to a bride was paid by a fixed number of camels, depending on the social standing of the bride and her family, or the bride groom’s ability to pay.
According to Plinio Prioreschi, author of A History of Medicine: Byzantine and Islamic Medicine, the use of camel urine as medicine might have been a common remedy in Muhammed's time. According to Prioreschi there is some evidence the Arabs might have used the usual mixture of musical folk formulas and crude medicine including Drekapotheke (excrement ).
Evidently the camel played an important role to the Bedouin Arabs and this much suggests Muhammed got the idea of camel urine having medicinal properties from those around him.
The use of camel urine in the Muslim world
In an interview in the Saudi Gazette, Dr. Faten Abdel-Rahman Khorshid states Nano-particles in camel urine may help treat cancer.
Speaking to the Saudi Gazette, Dr. Khorshid claimed that she was inspired by Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) medical advice and that camel urine consists of natural substances that work to eradicate malignant cells and maintain the number of healthy cells in a cancer patient. “This treatment is not an invention, but rather, taken from our Prophet’s legacy,” she remarked. A Hadith narrated by Al-Bukhari (2855) and Muslim (1671) claims that some people came to Madina and fell ill with bloated abdomens. The Prophet (pbuh) told them to combine the milk and urine of a camel and drink that, after which they recovered. A swollen abdomen may indicate edema, liver disease or cancer. Dr. Khorshid added that she is not a medical doctor but a scientist and her job involves the preparation and testing of a drug in the lab and supervising the manufacture, testing and application of the drug. “We have researched and studied (camel urine) for seven years, during which we have tested the effectiveness of camel urine in fighting cancer to prerequisites set by the International Cancer Institute,” she explained. According to her published study on the subject, the clinical trial her team conducted on patients indicated that the medicine (capsules and syrup) did not entail any harmful side effects. In the case of a volunteer patient with lung cancer, the medicine helped in halving the size of the tumor after only one month. The patient, and others like him, are still undergoing treatment. Heeding the advice found in the Hadith, Dr. Khorshid is combining specific amounts of camel milk and urine to develop her medicine and focuses on particular types of cancer, including lung cancer, blood cancer, stomach cancer, colon cancer, brain tumors and breast cancer.She added that she advises all of her volunteer patients to use fresh camel milk and urine with the two components given individually for a period of time and then combined together later. Other illnesses, including vitiligo (depigmentation in certain areas of the skin), eczema and psoriasis (an autoimmune disease which affects the skin and joints). However, Dr. Khorshid adds that she will only dispense this medicine to patients on a non-voluntary basis when pharmaceutical companies obtain a license to do so. Currently, the medication is still undergoing tests.
From Islam Q and A
The author of al-Qanoon (the Canon) – i.e. the doctor Ibn Seena (Avicenna) – said:The most beneficial of urine is the urine of Bedouin camels which are called najeeb.
Islam Q and A states that the benefits of camel urine have been well known to earlier generations of medical science and have been proven by modern scientific research. It is interesting and perhaps problematic that all the scientists who are promoting camel urine as a medical cure are Muslim. The drinking of camel urine is part of an alternative medicine movement called urine therapy and the American Cancer Society’s position is that scientific evidence does not support individual claims that urine or urea given in any form is helpful for cancer patients and that the safety of urine therapy has not been confirmed by scientific studies.
Also camel urine was found to cause a significant cytotoxic effect in the bone marrow cells of mice:
Camel Urine contains Hippuric Acid. Hippuric Acid is a carboxylic acid found in the urine of horses and other herbivores. High concentrations of this acid can indicate a toluene intoxification:
In an effort to prove the miracle of camel urine Muslims cite this article from the BBC:
Dead cattle in Cumbria Camels are free from viruses such as foot and mouth A team led by Dr Sabah Jassim, from the Zayed Complex for Herbal Research and Traditional Medicine, says camels are highly resistant to many deadly viral diseases and believes their antibodies could be used for new drugs.
But as well as these advantages, they have immune systems that are so robust. They remain free from many of the viral diseases that affect other mammals, such as foot-and-mouth and rinderpest.
The antibodies that camels carry inside them are structurally much simpler than those of humans, and Dr Sabah Jassim suggests they could be much simpler to replicate artificially than human antibodies.
Writing in the British Institute of Biology's magazine, The Biologist, Dr Jassim says the small size of camel antibodies would also allow them to penetrate deep into human tissue and cells that would not be otherwise accessible.He said the camel antibodies, by being transported from the desert sands into the laboratory test tube, had the potential to be a vital weapon against human diseases.
In regard to the natural immunity of camels, anyone who has basic knowledge of microbiology understands that antibodies are specialized cells that attack and destroy invading microorganisms and other foreign objects. At present, we are not aware that some antibodies come in smaller packages than others or these smaller antibodies can penetrate deep into human tissue and cells. Moreover, camel urine does not contain any antibodies unless the animal is fighting an infection. In that case, the camel urine could not only sicken a person but allow a pathogen to cross the species barrier and cause a major epidemic. In fact, the drinking of camel urine by Muslims is the likely origin of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS) and WHO has advised against drinking it.
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- "Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Oman", World Health Organization, 8 december 2016 (archived), http://www.who.int/csr/don/8-december-2016-mers-oman/en/.
- "Stop Drinking Camel Urine, World Health Organization Says", http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/06/10/stop-drinking-camel-urine-world-health-organization-says.
- Where camel products are used to treat HIV virus
- Yemen: Camel urine trade flourishing
- Patent application title: Separation and Formulation of Bioactive Fraction and Subfraction from Camel Urine work as Anticancer Agent
- Hippuric acid - Wikipedia
- Cytotoxicity - Wikipedia
- Toluene - Wikipedia
- Muhammad and The Muslims from Uraynah by Silas - Answering Islam
- The Benefits of Drinking Camel Urine - Islam Q&A
- A History of Medicine: Byzantine and Islamic Medicine by Plinio Prioreschi - Google books
- The benefits of drinking camel Urine - FFI