Islamic Medicine


Medicine , as it stands today ,  did not develop overnight. It is the culmination of the efforts of millions of people. The flame of civilization , including medicine , started thousands of years ago. Health & healing according to Islam is that which guarantees to preserve a clean sole within a healthy body free of all diseases.

It is also advised by Prophet Mohammed (P.B.U.H) to maintain a healthy life physically , psychologically and spiritually. The prophet also said : " God hath not created a pain without a remedy for it ". The concept of incurable disease is thus alien to Islam.

Within a century after the death of Prophet Mohammed (P.B.U.H) the Muslims not only conquered new lands , but also became scientific innovators with originality & productivity. They hit the source-ball of knowledge over the fence to Europe. Islamic medicine is one of the most famous and best known facts of Islamic Civilization in which the Muslims most excelled.

The Golden era of Islamic medicine that lasted more than 1000 years , reached it's peak during the time of the sixth grandson and successor of Prophet Mohammed (P.B.U.H) , that is Imam Jaffar Sadeqh (A.S.) - around 711 A.D. - who extensively published and propagated diagnosis and cure of some main diseases through the holy verses of the Quran , by his spiritual & intellectual height , which indeed laid the foundation stone of modern medicine.

The patients were treated through a scheme starting with physiotherapy & diet , if this failed , drugs were used and surgery would be the last resort. Proper nutrition was an important item of treatment.

The Prophet on several occasions had suggested medicines for instance incase of loss of appetite he frequently advised ' Talbina ' a preparation of Barley. For constipation he used to recommend the use of Senna ( as a mixture with other herbs ). He was in favour of regular use of Honey for keeping fit. The Prophet is also reported to have said ' Black Cumin ' is a remedy for many diseases. The Prophet laid great stress on medicine (Herbs) , drinking plenty of water , eating of pure natural food (fruits & vegetables) and hygiene. He is quoted to have said , " Cleanliness is a sign of faith ".

By the 9th century , the Islamic teachings transformed Talisman and supersticious practices which people believed in , ( the pre-islamic era ) to advanced medical practices in hospitals with wards , where doctors had to pass tests and use technical terminology and practice. For more than 1000 years the Islamic Empire remained the most advanced and civilized nation in the world. This is because Islam stressed the impotance and respect of learning , forbade distruction , developed in Muslims the respect for authority and discipline  , and tolerance  for other religions.

By the 10th century the center of scientific knowledge and activity shifted east ward , were the Muslims were the great torchbearers of international scientific research. In the words of Campbell : " The European medical system is Arabian not only in origin but also in it's structure. Islamc Medicine was a 1000 years ahead of it's time".

Imam Jaffar Sadeqh (A.S.) said : " A man has not filled a vessel worst than his belly , it is sufficient for a man some few bites which support his stamina ; it is necessary to take one third the space for food , a third for water and a third for respiration". He also said : " The stomach is the house of ailments " , the origin of every ailment is excessive eating of food ( where he has warned against fat & obesity ). This saying by the Imam indicates the importance of protecting the digestive system which will lead to protecting the whole body against self poisining resultant from excessive eating and consuming food before digesting the previous meal which may lead to inflammations in the digestive system as well as multiplying harmful bacteria in it. Consequently this releases poisons in blood , respiratory system , urinary system and kidneys leading to malfunction in them.

The directions and guidance of Allah orders us not to take food excessively. This is the best way to decrease the weight and keep the body normal & fit. 1400 years back Islam explained the importance of adapting a moderate and normal nourishment system that created balanced and ideal body weights.

Islam proceeded the modern medical references in warning against excess in taking food ( an ill diet ) the consequence of which is Obesity ( mother of most diseases ). Some of the Prophet's favourite condiments were ( honey , olive oil , salt and vinegar ) and food items like fruits , vegetables , meat , milk products and grains which modern science has extensively laid out their benefits to human health.

The most important thing we can learn from Prophetic nutrition is MODERATION. The Quran (20:81) says , " Eat of the things we have provided for your sustenance , but commit no excess therein ". An English proverb points out " some men walk through the forest yet see ne firewood ". The followers of the Quran should be careful of falling into this proverbial truth. The Quran and narrations ( Hadith ) provide guidance on many ways through which we can combat being overweight. They include periodic cleanings of the alimentary tract , eating simple and wholesome natural foods and herbs , avoiding excessive drinking of water , praying and seeking guidance from Allah , being persistent and patient. For example Ramadan is a time for physical cleansing as well as spiritual cleansing. The month long fast heals the body from disease. Since there is strong scientifically proven link between our spiritual , mental and physical health , to purify all systems at the same time , fasting during Ramadan provides the ultimate and most powerful detoxification-fast that we have available today.

To eat purely means consumption of whole unprocessed and pure food that God Almighty has provided us , such as whole wheat bread , grians , beans , vegetables and fresh fruits. These are perfect food items and we do not need to improve them with colours , chemicals and preservatives. The Quran also says (7:31) " Eat & drink but waste not by excess for God loves not the prodigals ".

Imam Sadeqh (A.S.) mentions that , " The stomach is the home of disease and abstinence the head of every remedy ". We must not ignore the benefits of the many herbs that Allah has provided us. Another gift that God Almighty has given us in the battle against excess weight is "water". The Quran sya (15:45) , " The righteous will be amid gardens and fountains of the clear flowing water " , (21:30) , " We made water essential for all life ". Islamic medicine directs the followers wanting to loose weight to drink 10 glasses of water a day , at least one and a half hours before and after meals.t

Not to forget that the five prescribed daily prayers in addition to their spiritual benefits and in-depth meaning and philosophy provide physical toning benefits to the body. Last but not least "Patients" which is often the greatest task we face when we decide to lose weight ; The Holy Quran directs the followers to " exercise patience when struck with adversity and say : ' Indeed we belong to God , and to Him is our return ' ; Such ones receive blessings and mercy from their Lord and such are the guided ones ". The Quran says (26:80) , " And when I sicken , then He (Allah) heals me " , in other words Allah Never inflicts a diseases unless he makes a cure for it.