Is the act of Tatbir, the ritual practice of bloodletting on the day of ‘Ashura lawful?
In the Name of Allah, the All-Beneficent, the All-Merciful.
May Allah bless Muhammad and his Family and damn their enemies.
The practice of ‘Tatbir’ on its own is not only religiously lawful but also medically recommended. Releasing blood from the head is a form of ‘Hijama’ (bloodletting or cupping); an act recommended by the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his pure family). He described it as a form of preventative therapy which prevents diseases and illnesses, such as thrombosis – something that is medically proven.
This has also been reported in the ‘Sunni’ sources:
Ibn ‘Umar reported that the Messenger used to cup his head and would call the place at the top of the head ‘Umm Mugheeth,’ i.e., ‘’the saviour.
al-Mu’jam al-Awsat, by al-Tabarani, volume 8, page 16
As such, the practice of Tatbir is praiseworthy, and if it is done to imitate the Master of Martyrs (peace be upon him) in bleeding and to share some of his pain, it will become highly recommended and rewarding.
The Office of Sheikh al-Habib