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ISLAMIC MEDICAL EDUCATION RESOURCES 04

0405-SPIRITUAL APPROACHES IN MEDICAL TREATMENT

Presentation at the 6th Scientific Meeting of the Islamic Medical Association of Malaysia held at Penang on 26-28th May 2004 by Prof Dr Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr, MB ChB (MUK), MPH, DrPH (Harvard) Deputy Dean, Kulliyah of Medicine International Islamic University Malaysia EM: omarkasule@yahoo.com

SPIRITUAL APPROACHES

Every disease has a treatment. Allah did not reveal any disease without also creating its cure. Humans are encouraged to seek treatment. Some people may know the cure and others may ignore it but it nevertheless exists. The Qur’an described cure of prophet Ayyub’s disease[i] and how Isa (PBUH) cured chronic diseases[ii]. Humans try, but it is Allah who cures[iii]. Disease treatment is part of qadar[iv]. Seeking treatment does not contradict qadar or tawakkul. Disease treatment is part of qadr and is reversal of qadar by another qadar , rad al qadr bi al qadr.

 

Among spiritual approaches to disease management is use of dua from the Qur’an[v] and hadith as ruqiy. Dua was reported to have been used for madness, dua min al junoon[vi] and for fever[vii]. The formulas for ruqy reported from the prophet, al ruqiy al mathuur, consist of the following chapters of the Qur’an: al fatihat, al falaq, al naas, ayat al kursi, and the various supplications reported from the prophet, du’a ma’athurat.

 

The Qur’an is the best medicine[viii]. Dua is medicine[ix]. Asking for protection from Allah, isti’adhat, is medicine[x]. A strong iman and trust in Allah, tawakkul, play a role in the cure of diseases. Salat is a cure[xi].

 

The spiritual approach to cure is mediated through the physical processes. Psychosomatic processes affect the immune functions and other metabolic functions of the body. A believer who is spiritually calm will have positive psychosomatic experiences and not negative ones because he or she will be psychologically healthy and at ease. Faith can change the very perception of disease symptoms. Pain is for example subjective. A believing person who trusts in Allah may feel less pain from an injury than a non-believer with the same injury.

 

SHIRK APPROACHES

There should no dichotomy between spiritual and physical modalities of treatment. Both approaches should be used for the same condition; they are complementary. Each cures the disease each using a different pathway. There is no contradiction but there is always synergy. It is a mistake to use one and reject the other.

 

Shirk arises when humans seek and expect cure of disease from anything other than Allah. Forbidden shirk practices in disease treatment include: talismans[xii], amulets[xiii], fortune telling[xiv], divination[xv], astrology[xvi], sorcery[xvii], and worshipping or asking cure from humans called saints by visiting their graves. Other superstitious practices usually associated with shirk are: claiming knowledge of the unseen and claiming supernatural powers by any human. Many people with disease conditions resort to shirk practices due to misguidance by shaitan. These practices nullify ‘aqidat al tauhid because they attribute disease and its cure to other than Allah. They also distract from seeking true treatment based on rational scientific medicine. Jinn possess limited power that is used to misguide and give credibility to shirk and superstition. The jinn do not know the unseen[xviii]. A good Muslim should not be involved with jinns and should ask Allah for protection against them[xix]. Some forms of dream interpretation, tafsir al ahlam, are forms of shirk. Only Allah knows for sure the correct interpretation of dreams. Limited ability to interpret dreams was given to some prophets[xx]. Other humans do not this ability. Therefore dreams of ordinary humans should have no role in the diagnosis, treatment and prognosis of disease.


[i] Qur’an 21:83-84 & 38:41-44

[ii] Qur’an 3:49 & 5:11

[iii] Qur’an 21:83-84 & 38:41-42

[iv] Tirmidhi K26 B21

[v] Qur’an 17:82)

[vi] Ahmad 1:302

[vii] Tirmidhi K45 B36, 111, 118

[viii] Ibn Majah K31 B28

[ix] Ahmad 2:446

[x] Kunuuz al Sunnat p. 338

[xi] Ibn Majah K31 B10

[xii] Muslim K39 H121

[xiii] Qur’an 5:3 & 5:90

[xiv] Muslim K39 H121

[xv] Bukhari K76 B17

[xvi] Ibn Majah K23 B28

[xvii] Bukhari K76 B17

[xviii] Qur’an 15:17-18 & 72:8

[xix] Qur’an 3:36 & 114:1-6

[xx] Qur’an 12:6 & 12:100-101

Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr. May 2004