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Islam and Medicine

Happy Juma
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May Allah be with you
Islam And Medicine
Hasan Ghaznawi, M. D.

Islam is the religion of all times and places.It is a perfect system
of temporal values. By practicing its laws Muslims all over the world
not only attain spirituality but the pinnacle of all other glories
and gain the wealth of health.

There is a great inter-relationship between modern medicine and some
of our Islamic teachings.

Every word of Qur'an is in fact an experience of great reality and
science is just an effort made towards this reality. Knowledge is
limitless and its horizons are constantly expanding with every strike
of progress disclosing fresh informations and according to Qur'an
knowledge is a comprehensive text and it involves all branches of
science, religion, technology, agriculture, engineering and medicine.
It is definitely a miracle of our sacred religion that it expands on
all branches of human knowledge. This is known from the following
quotation from Qur'an:

"We have revealed to you the Scripture so that it might be a clear
evidence for every thing."

In the following paper I have tried to elucidate that the guide lines
given in the Quran and Sunnah concerned with the promotion of
physical health of humans have been duly proved by years of modem
medical science research all over the world. Some of them I am going
to deal with in this paper.


In Sura Moon "God deprecates those who are careless in their prayers
offer them only for show." The blessed Prophet told us "Prayers are
certainly health promoting."
Although the real purpose of prayers is the worship of God yet there
is a large number of additional benefits also.


As we eat three times daily we need exercise to lessen the
cholesterol in the body which increases in blood after meals,
thickens blood and leads to the deposition of slit in the arteries.

In addition to saving us from the sins and elevating us to the
heights of spirituality prayers are great help in maintaining our
physical health. They keep our body active, help digestion and save
us from muscle and joint diseases through regular balanced exercise.
They help the circulation of blood and also mitigate the bad effect
of cholesterol. Prayers play a vital role in acting as a preventive
measure against heart attack, paralyses, premature senility,
dementia, loss of control on sphineters, diabetes mellitus etc.

Collateral circulation plays a major role in decreasing the danger of
heart attack in patients. Patients above 55 years of age in which
this type of circulation is developed have less severe attacks. It is
possible to speed up the development of collateral circulation by
regular and balanced exercises which is present in the prayers are
not only potent, preventive measure against coronary heart diseases
but also help in the development of collateral circulation in those
people who have already suffered from a heart attack or are prone to

Heart patients should offer-the five obligatory prayers regularly as
they get the permission from their doctor to leave bed.

The arrangement of prayers is such that those at the time of empty
stomach are brief but those after meals are longer and give more
exercise to the body.

During the month of Fast (Ramadan) the additional twenty Rakaat
(Tarawih) are added to the late evening prayers because more than
normal food is usually consumed after breaking fast.

The performance of prayers put almost all muscles of the body in
action. Different groups of muscles are activated while performing
prayers. During Sajda blood supply to the brain is improved. One of
the useful methods to strengthen the muscles of the knee joints to
mitigate the strain on knees in osteo arthritis is the regular
exercise of these muscles during prayers.


This vital organ of the body has to be always healthy and efficient
as it is responsible for the circulation of blood. Diseased heart
results in deterioration of the healthy body. This knowledge we
obtained after centuries of scientific research yet it was simply
told to us fourteen hundred years ago by our great Prophet (peace be
upon him).

"Verily in the body there is such apiece of flesh that if it remains
alright the whole body keeps well but if this piece of flesh develops
some defect the whole body becomes unhealthy. Behold,- this piece of
flesh - it is heart." (Bokhari, Muslim ...


It was the habit of our blessed Prophet to sleep for a while after
lunch, his companions also followed this practice. This short nap
gives relief to the vital organs of the body like heart and brain.


Both Qur'anand Hadithhave touched this topic, Qur'antells us in Ayah
30 of Sura Al Airaf:

"O children of Adam, look to your adornment of every place of worship
and eat and drink but not prodigal Lo! He loveth not the prodigals."

Strenthening this order, the Prophet has strictly forbidden over
eating in the following Haith:

"It is enough to eat few morsels of food to keep one's back straight."

"If you must eat more, be sure that only one third of your stomach is
filled with food, one third is left for water and the remaining one
third for air."

"A Muslim eats in one intestine (stomach) whereas a non believer eats
in seven intestine."

It has been proved beyond doubt that over eating is the root of many
diseases and also responsible for premature senility. It produces
obesity, predisposes to dangerous diseases like diabetes, Menitus,
hypertension, coronary heart disease and paralysis.


This is due to insulin deficiency. Overeating gets the special cells
of the pancreas (islets of Langerhans) over worked so it cannot meet
the increased demand for insulin . Those cells may get tired, atrophy
and causes difficiency of insulin .


Their basic course is the narrowing of the coronary arteries.
Paralysis is the natural result of blocking of an artery in the
brain, should this happen in the heart Myocardial infarction results.
Premature senility is installed when majority of the arteries in the
body get narrowed.

Slit in the form of cholesterol and triglycerides is deposited in the
arteries. Over eating increases blood cholesterol levels. Pork and
beef contain high cholesterol values while on the other hand birds
have the least amount. Qur'an mentioned that birds meat is one of the
specialties of Paradise.

Olive has been repeatedly mentioned in Qur'an, and statistics shows
that heart attacks occur more in Northern Italy where they use butter
and margarine for cooking than in Southern Italy where olive oil is
generally used.

Patients suffering from narrowing of the coronary artery usually
develop the heart attack after a heavy meal.

1. Blood:

Ingested blood on reaching the intestine is acted upon by various
bacteria normally present there resulting in poisonous products like
ammonia which is toxic to the liver.Therefore,God has forbidden us to
eat or drink blood and has prescribed such a method for slaughtering
animals that most of their blood is shed.

2. Pork:

There are two harmful worms harbored by pigs, one is "TAENIASOLIUM"
which on ingestion passes to the brain and causes epilepsy. The other
one is"TRICHINELLASPIRALIS"which passes to the muscles and brain
causing muscular swelling and pain and also epilepsy. Pork has more
fat and cholesterol than any other meat.

3. Alcohol:

Numerous diseases have been attributed to alcohol like dyspeptic
trouble, peptic ulceration, cancer stomach, pancreatitus, cirrhosis
liver, vitamin deficiency and coronary heart disease.


One of the criteria of Islam is that every Muslim should be
circumcised. This is medically suggested now a days as a toxic
substance called Smegma may collect under the redundant skin causing
cancer of the genitalia in both man and his wife, inflammation of the
penis, phthisis, sticking of the redundant skin over the urethral
opening leading to difficulty in urination.


This beneficial habit saves us from Pilonidal sinus which is an
abscess with hair inside occurring near anal opening.

Pylonephritis: This is more in women due to the proximity of the
urethral opening to the anus so toilet paper while being used may
bring germs like E. coli to the urethra.


A pre requisite of prayers yet one of the most hygienic procedure as
it usually keeps the exposed parts of our body clean and also the
parts of entry like mouth and nose thus avoiding Infection.


Infection may be transmitted through dirty hands or dirty food.
Hands: It is essential to wash our hands before and after meals. Our
blessed Prophet told us:

"It is a blessing to wash your hands before and after meals" (Abu
Daud & Tirmizi)

He has also advised us not to clean our hands with a towel before
meals as they may convey infection from one person to the other
particularly viral diseases like infective hepatitis or bacterial
infection like Typhoid dysentries and cholera.

Or Prophet said "Whosover gets up from slumber should not dip his
hand in any utensil unless he washes them three times, who knows what
things he has been touching during sleep." (Bokhari, Muslim, Abu
Dawood, Nisai)


These articles should be handled with great care. If the food is in
open utensil they should be covered to avoid contamination. Stressing
this our Prophet said "Cover up the utensils and tie the mouth of the
water skins." (Bokhari, Muslim)

He said, "Why did you not cover the utensil carrying the milk even if-
it was with a piece of wood."


Particular stress has been laid by our Prophet on this as it is very
important in the prevention of disease. He attached great importance
to "Miswak" a twig of a tree used for brushing teeth. "If I had not
thought this to be an unbearable hardship for my followers I would
have prescribed the use of Miswak before every prayers." (Bokhari,

According to modern dentistry the best method of using a Miswak or a
tooth brush is up and down the length of the teeth and this exactly
the way our Prophet used his Miswak.


The blessed Prophet said "Whosoever eats should pick bits and pieces
from in between his teeth."

It is beneficial act so that those do not rot and produce disease.


Covering the head and neck as our Prophet used to do, mitigate the
danger of hyperpyrexia which is due to imbalance of the heat control
centre situated in the hind brain, which may lead to death.


Death occurs if the temperature of the body exceeds 106 degrees
irrespective of the cause. Medically speaking the first line of
treatment is to lower the temperature by cold water, ice sponging or
even immersing the patient in cold water. On this Prophet said:

"The fever is related to the Hell. Application of cold water keeps it
away." (Ibne Maja)


The blessed Prophet advised that while defaecating keep pressure on
the left foot (Tibrani). In squatting position this maneuvers will
cause pressure on the descending colon. Medically this helps
evacuation of feaces from the descending colon thus relieving
constipation, particularly when muscles of the abdomen are weak.


Several Hadiths pertaining to this were said:

"It is unbecoming to eat in the Bazar (Market)."
"Whosoever eats earth aid his death." (Tibrani)
" Use curry with food even if it is in the form of water. " (Tibrani).
"Vinegear is a very good curry."
"The best curry is common salt."

Salt depletion through perspiration during summer is increased thus
it is obligatory to use common salt during this period.

Our Prophet liked pumpkin (one of the vegetables) as it is easily
digested and less likely to produce flatulence.

Our Prophet said. "It is not right to eat your food quickly, besides
this one should eat from what lies nearest to one" (Bokhari, Muslim)


Hygiene is very important. Cleanliness prevent infection entering the
citadel of human body and this guards us against ill health and
epidemics- God ordered our Prophet in Sura Al-Muddassir:

"O, Prophet keep your apparel clean and meticulously avoid filth and

Our Prophet said, "God Almighty is himself pure and likes purity, God
himself is clean and likes cleanliness."

"God Abnighty dislikes dust, dirt and disheveled hair."
"Avoid three things which are cursed. To urinate at the source of
water, in the shade, in the pathways."
(ibne Maja)

"No one should pass water in standing water."
(Bokhari, Muslim, Abu Dawood)

"If any one of you yawns,,cover your mouth with hands."
(Muslim, Abu Dawood)
One should avoid coughing, sneezing, yawning or laughing with fully
open mouth near other persons as the breathed out bacteria may spread
in the atmosphere and be conveyed to other persons.


Town planning is based on broad and airy roads so that there is no
obstruction to the flow of traffic and to avoid congestion which
helps of communicable diseases. Our blessed Prophet fourteen hundred
years ago said "keep the breadth of the streets seven arms length.

Ibis was mentioned in the authenticated Hadith as an effective
treatment of several disease. Research work is being carried out in
China and other parts of the world to use acupuncture as a method of

There are other aspects of medicine which have been dealt with in
Islam for example:

1. Quacks should not treat patients.

2. Treatment and prevention of disease have been recommended and
practiced by the Prophet.

3. When you visit a patient do not stay long.

There are many priceless gems of knowledge in the Qur'an and Hadith
from which man can benefit immensely. These are but brief facts of
medicine which have been mentioned before in Qur'an and Hadith and
there is a lot more to be discovered and studies.

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