What are the virtues of a man reciting ruqyah for himself? What is the evidence for that? What should he say when he recites ruqyah for himself?
There is nothing wrong with the Muslim reciting ruqyah (protective and healing supplications) for himself. That is permissible; indeed it is a Sunnah, for the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) recited ruqyah for himself, and some of his companions recited ruqyah for themselves.
“It was narrated that `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said: “When the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) was ill, he would recite al-Mu`awidhatayn (surahs of Al-Falaq and An-Nas) over himself and spit dryly. When his pain grew intense, I recited over him and wiped him with his own hand, seeking its blessing” (Al-Bukhari).
With regard to the hadith narrated by Muslim, according to which the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) described the seventy thousand of this Ummah who will enter Paradise without being brought to account or punished, and in which it says: “They are those who did not recite ruqyah or ask for ruqyah to be done, and they did not believe in bad omens and they put their trust in their Lord” – the phrase “they did not recite ruqyah” is the words of the narrator, not of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). Hence Al-Bukhari narrated this hadith and did not mention this phrase.
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
"These people are praised because they did not ask anyone to recite ruqyah for them, and ruqyah is a type of du`aa’, so they did not ask others to pray for them. The phrase “and they did not recite ruqyah” which is mentioned in the hadith is a mistake (on the part of the narrator), for their ruqyah for themselves and for others is a good deed. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) recited ruqyah for himself and for others but he did not ask anyone to recite ruqyah for him. His reciting ruqyah for himself and others was like his making du`aa’ for himself and others; this is something that is enjoined, for all the Prophets asked of Allah and prayed to Him, as Allah tells us in the stories of Adam, Ibraheem, Musa and others." (Majmu` al-Fatawa, 1/182)
Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
"This phrase is inserted in the hadith, but it is a mistake on the part of some of the narrators." (Hadi al-Arwah, 1/89)
Ruqyah is one of the greatest remedies that the believer should use regularly.
With regard to the du`aa’ that is prescribed for the Muslim to say if he wants to recite ruqyah for himself or for someone else, there are many such du`aa’s, the greatest of which are Al-Fatihah and Al-Mu`awidhatayn.
A group of the Companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) set out on a journey and traveled until they came near one of the Arab tribes. They asked them for hospitality but they were refused. Then the leader of that tribe was stung, and his people tried everything to cure him but nothing helped. Then some of them said, “Why don’t you go to those people who are staying (nearby)? Maybe one of them has something.” So they went to them and said, “O people, our leader has been stung and we have tried everything and nothing helped him. Do you have anything?” One of them said, “Yes, by Allah. I will perform ruqyah for him, but by Allah we asked you for hospitality and you did not give us anything, so we will not perform ruqyah for you unless you give us something in return.” So they agreed on a flock of sheep, then he started to blow on him and recite Al-hamdu Lillahi Rabb il-`Alameen. Then he recovered quickly from his complaint and started walking, and he was completely cured. After that they took the flock of sheep, and some of the companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Let us share it out.” The one who had performed ruqyah said, “Do not do anything until we come to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and tell him what happened, and we will wait and see what he tells us to do.” So they came to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) and told him what had happened. He said, “How did you know that it is aruqyah?” Then he said, “You did the right thing. Share them out, and give me a share.” And the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) smiled (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
The du`aa’s that have been narrated in the Sunnah include the following:
Muslim narrated from `Uthman ibn Abil-`As that he complained to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) about pain that he had felt in his body from the time he had become Muslim. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said to him, “Put your hand on the part of your body where you feel pain and say ‘Bismillah (in the name of Allah) three times, then say seven times, A`udhu bi `izzat-illah wa qudratihi min sharri ma ajid wa uhadhir (I seek refuge in the glory and power of Allah from the evil of what I feel and worry about).”
At-Tirmidhi added: He said, “I did that, and Allah removed what I had been suffering, and I continued to enjoin my family and others to do that.”
It was narrated that Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to seek refuge for al-Hasan and al-Husayn, and he would say, ‘Your father [ meaning Ibrahim peace be upon him] used to seek refuge with Allah for Isma`il and Ishaq with these words: A`udhu bi kalimat Allah al-tammah min kulli shaytanin wa hammah wa min kulli `aynin lammah(I seek refuge in the perfect words of Allah, from every devil and every poisonous reptile, and from every evil eye)’” (Al-Bukhari).”