Healthcare System in Islam Is A Road to Healthy Life
- Importance of Healthcare in Islam
Creator has given us life (It is Allah who gives life; Quran 3:156).
Allah has given us life to take care and make use of it as per His guidance. Human Life consists of three things: Body, Mind and Soul. A Muslim is required to take care of his Body, Mind and Soul so that these remain pure and healthy so that he can make good use of it. Prophet Muhammad (p) said: “taking care of health is the right of body (Bukhari, Muslim). “ He also said: ‘On the Day of Judgment one will be asked- in what pursuits he used his health ( Tirmmidhi ).
Quran and Sunnah widely discussed Importance and Method of Healthcare. There are many verses in the Quran on the subject. Also in the book of Prophet’s tradition many chapters are dedicated on healthcare. Most important of this is chapter“ Kitab Al Tibb “ ( Book of Health Science ) in Bukhari.
- Health is a great gift from Allah
How great health is! We can realize this only when we fall sick or we see the condition of a sick person. Good health is needed for good life. Prophet (p) said: “Greatest blessings after belief is health” ( Tirmidhi). He also said : “ Take advantage of health before you fall sick” ( Musnad Imam Ahmed). This means make use of good health for good life and take care of health before you fall sick.
- What good health is?
By good health we generally understand physical body health. It is something more than this. Good health means good state of Body, Mind and Soul. Physical body health, Mental health and Spiritual Health- all these together make one healthy. All three makes one physically, mentally and spiritually strong to enjoy life and contribute for mankind. Prophet (p) said: “Strong believer is better than weak believer to Allah”. Islam integrated all these three in Healthcare System.
- How to maintain Good Health?
The aim of Islamic Health Care System is to provide all elements that help to develop body, mind and soul and protect these from falling sick. “Take Care to keep the health good and make use of good health for welfare” is the direction of Prophet (p). He said : “ Take advantage of your health before you fall sick”.
Health Care System as introduced by Islam gives more emphasis to prevent the cause of disease than treating the disease for cure after falling sick. Islam not only takes care of Physical Body Health, it equally gives importance to Mental and Spiritual Healthcare. Islam does not ignore any of these because if anyone of these is sick the other is affected. Some of the important aspects of these three are as follows:
- Physical Body Health
Prophet Muhammad ( p) said : “ your body has a right over you “.
Physical Body Health mainly depends on (a ) Physical Exercise, (b) Cleanliness and Personal Hygiene (c ) Environment (d ) Food and Drinks ( e) Work and Rest.
- Physical Exercise
Physical exercise is very important to make muscles strong. If we use our muscles, muscles become strong. If we do not use our muscles, it becomes weak. Islam encourages sports and exercise. There are many modern exercise machines to facilitate physical exercise.
Prophet Muhammad (p) gave exercise high importance in his religion. He said : “ Any action without remembrance of Allah is either diversion or heedlessness except actions (i) Walking from target to target( during archery practice), (ii) Training a horse , (iii) Playing with one’s family ,( iv) Learning to swim.
Ayesha (wife of Prophet Muhammad( p) said: “I raced with the Prophet and I beat him. Later on when I had put on some weight, we raced again and he own “( Bukhari).
- Cleanliness and personal hygiene
Personal Hygiene and cleanliness play important role in healthcare.
Most of the sickness and diseases starts due to lack of attention to clean living and eating. Billions of dollars are spent to treat diseases arisen due to poor hygiene and cleanliness. According to a report of World Bank, India alone lose 54 billion dollar annually to treat diseases arisen due to poor hygiene.
Islam addressed this issue by integration of cleanliness as religious worship. It has integrated cleanliness with ‘Iman’. Prophet (p) said: “cleanliness is half of Iman”.
He also said: “Islam is clean, therefore, you should keep yourselves clean too. Only clean people will enter paradise”.
Quran stated the subject as follows:
“Truly, God loves those who turns to him in repentance and love those who purify themselves” (chapter 2, verse 222).
Thus by giving tremendous importance to cleanliness Islam wants to build lifestyle of believers on high standard of hygiene and cleanliness.
–Cleaning of the body:
Body organs like hands, face, mouth, feet, head are mostly affected as these organs are mostly open. Islam made a permanent system for cleaning these organs daily five time by making cleaning of these obligatory for prayer ( ref. Quran 5 : 6).
Other than the above it is Sunnah to wash after toilet. Also it is Sunnah to clean hand and mouth before and after meal.
- Cleaning of garments
Brush to clean teeth is key to Dental and Oral Health. It saves from many oral and dental diseases. It is very important Sunnah. It is so important that Prophet (p) did not forget to clean his teeth at his death bed. His last action of life was cleaning teeth.
After body cleaning next important for health is cleaning of one’s garments. Dirty clothes not only look bad, it gives bad odor and also may carry germs; which may cause disease.
Allah has ordered to clean garments:” “Magnify your Lord! And purify your garments and shun off all filth “(Quran 74: 4, 5).
- Clean Environment
After personal hygiene and cleanliness, next important is clean environment. Dirty house, road, neighborhood, polluted air etc. are the cause of diseases and a health concern. Islam did not ignore these important aspects of Healthcare. Islam has asked believers to keep environment clean for the health benefit of self and others.
“ Purify my house for those who make tawaf and stands to pray” ( Quran 22:26).
Prophet Muhammad (p) said: “Removing obstacles from path is a part of Iman.”
He also said:” Beware of three acts that cause you to be cursed: “ Relieving (urinate) in shaded places( that people utilize) , in a walkway , or in a watering place” ( authenticated as hasan by Albani).
A believer is required to maintain clean environment, which Allah has kept clean and healthy by rain , water and sun.
- Food for Health:
Food is another important need for health. Allah has given food for us to enjoy and maintain healthy life. Healthy food in right quantity is good for health. Unhealthy food, over eating and wasting food are not good for health. Quran and Sunnah guided people to enjoy Food for Health and build lifestyle with healthy eating. Few examples are as follows:
- Eat good food through lawful earning: “O you who believed! Eat of the good things that we have provided you “. ( Quran2 :172).
“O mankind! Eat of what is lawful and good on earth” ( Quran 2: 168 ).
- Over eating is not good for health. Prophet Muhammad (p) said: “Over eating does not go along with health”. Allah strictly ordered to stop habit of over eating: “Eat and drink, but be not excessive “. (Quran 7:31).
- Healthy eating:
Prophet’s teaching is to fill stomach one-third with food, one-third with water and leave one third empty for breathing ( Ibn Maja).
- Healthy food
Quran and Sunnah allowed to eat food like fruits, vegetables, rice , wheat, meat , fish etc. in right quantities. Specially encouraged to eat fruits. Many fruits also stated in Quran ( Quran 36:57 , 43: 73 , 16: 67). Unless stated specifically haram(forbidden) all food are halal( permissible) to eat.
- Unhealthy food and drink:
Quran and Sunnah prohibited unhealthy food and drink like alcohol, drug, tobacco, dead animal’s meat, blood, flesh of swine etc. (Quran 5: 3, 90,91,92; 2:219).
- Hunger and starvation:
Like over eating, starvation is also causing major health concern. People are dying due to diseases related to malnutrition. Islam addressed this problem by making food distribution obligatory on those who have food to eat. Prophet (p) said:” He is not believer who eat full whereas his neighbor starves”.He ordered the believer: “ “Feed the hungry “
If the above principals are followed; diseases due to unhealthy food, over eating and starvation ; will be reduced. Today world spend thousands of billion dollars to treat diseases like obesity; arisen from over eating and from unhealthy food and drink. On the other side millions of people suffering from mulnutrition due to lack of food.
- Work and rest
Idle life is not good for health. Same is over work for health.
“ Allah does not give anyone burden more than his capacity to bear”( Quran ).
Allah has given night to sleep for physical and mental rest. Insufficient sleep affects health.
Use of mobile phone, internet etc. before sleep affects sleep. Prophet (p) used to go to sleep after Isha prayer and also used to take brief rest after lunch. He said: ‘ There are two blessings which many people do not appreciate: Health and Leisure’.
- Discipline and Time Management
Discipline and timely action plays important role in health. Timely food, work and rest keep healthy. Prophet (p) said: “Allah loves actions done on regular basis even it is small”
Timely prayer teaches discipline.
- MENTAL HEALTH
Mental Health problem is increasing day by day.
Tension, stress, grief, anger etc. causes mental health issue. These generally arise in life due to inability to fulfill one’s desire, loss of anything he likes, poverty and lack of satisfaction in one’s own condition.
Islam teaches its followers how to minimize affect of these by relying on Allah in all situation. He strictly follows word of Allah : “ Rely upon Allah , Allah love those who rely upon him” ( Quran 3: 159).
During hardship his burden is reduced when he listens word of Allah :
“ Allah does not give anyone burden more than his capacity to bear” ( Quran ).
“No affliction befall without approval of Allah” ( Quran).
In time of misery he prays to Allah : “ O Allah ! Reward me for my loss and give me what is better than it ( Quran).
These type of mental condition gives peace in grief and helps to avoid many physical and mental health issues originated due to mental depression.
Remembrance of Allah and prayer helps to reduce depression. Meditation by looking at God’s creation helps to gain relaxation. Islamic teaching for patience also helps to offset mental pressure. Hope in Allah also brings mental relief : ‘ verily with every difficulty there is relief ( Quran 94:5-6).”And never give up hope of Allah’s soothing Mercy . “( Quran 12:87)
Thus Islam gives mental satisfaction to believers in all situation. This situation of mind close the door of things that leads to mental disease.
It is worth to mention here that recent survey shows religious people are mentally happier.
As discussed earlier human being not only has body and mind but also has Soul.
Soul also encounters sickness known as “Disease of the Heart”. These are like; Arrogance, Jealousy, Suspicion, Oppression, Uncontrolled Anger, Misery, Show off (riya), hate, corruption, envy , greed, unlawful competition for power, money, fame etc. These creates a situation to lead to grief, stress , tension and upset mental health and ultimately ruins body , mind and soul.
Islam introduced moral education for teaching purity of soul and get rid of the ‘ disease of heart’. Love, fear and remembrance of Allah, fear of punishment in hell fire , reward of paradise ;helps to get rid of disease of heart. Ultimately reading, understanding and following Quran is the best cure of the Soul.
“O human being! There has come to you now an instruction ( Quran) from your Lord , a healing for the ailments of the hearts and a guidance and mercy for those who believe “ (Quran 10: 57).
- FAMILY AND SOCIAL HEALTHCARE:
Social Healthcare is the responsibility of everyone in the community.
The spirit of this is reflected in a Hadith Qudsi as follows:” O son of Adam ! I fell ill and you visited me not. He will say: O Lord , and how should I visit you when you are the Lord of the world ? He will say: Did you not know that my servant so and so had fallen ill and you visited him not? Did you not know that had you visited him you would have found Me with him?”
The above hadith assign on us responsibility to take care of every sick person. This shall be done in the spirit of serving Allah- The Almighty.
Community Healthcare is not only responsibility, it is rewarding also. Prophet (p) said : “verily , when a Muslim visits his sick Muslim brother, he is as if in the garden of paradise until he returns to his home “.
- MEDICAL TREATMENT:
After all care one may still fall sick physically, mentally and spiritually.
It is natural. When one is sick he needs to pursue treatment. If he is neglecting, he is violating order of prophet (p). Prophet (p) instructed us to follow treatment when sick: “Worshippers of Allah, use Medical Treatment “( hadith no. 2170 Al Tirmidhi ). He also said : “ Every disease has a medication. If the medication for a particular disease is found , it will be cured by the permission of Allah” ( Al Bukhari , hadith 7: 610).This hadith also indicates; need for search for medicine and medical treatment.
Medical research, inventing medicine and medical equipment, learning medical treatment are all lifesaving activity. Any lifesaving activity is a great service to humanity (And if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind- Quran5: 32). In this sense pursuing Health Science is a Great Worship.
Early Muslims understood very well that healthcare is a religious function and considered as worship. As a result they made research for inventing medicine, making instrument and developing procedures of treatment. World’s first Medical Ethics was written by Muslim Physician Ishaq bin Ali in 9th century. He wrote “ Adab Al Tabib” ( conduct of physician).
Great Muslim Physician Ibn Sina wrote “ The Law of Medicine “ in 10th Century.
Today Muslims forgot to treat this great service as worship. As a result the entire nation is more or less sick Mentally, Physically and Spiritually. It is the duty of Ulema and scholars to pull back the nation to right path of worship with respect Healthcare; Mental health , Physical Health and Spiritual health.
Syed Md, Jalal Uddin