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Relations Between Religion And Health

Discussion in 'Islam and Health Guidelines' started by administrator, May 12, 2008.

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  1. administrator Islamic Medicine

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    RELATIONS BETWEEN RELIGION AND HEALTH

    Islam differs from other religions in that it concerns itself with both this life as well as the here after. It is the only religion which has built on earth a state and a society. Hence all the instructions for administrating such a society descended directly from heaven. Some concern the ruling system, others social and economic dealings in addition to the hygienic regime.

    The purpose of the hygienic regime in Islam is to create a community which is healthy and immune against infectious diseases, and the healthy individual (in body and mind) who is capable of understanding and applying God's message and carrying it away to the whole world.

    In this research we summarize Islam's instructions in the hygienic field and their efficiency in realising this objective

    I. CLEANLINESS, PURIFICATION AND ABLUTION

    1. Body Cleanliness: Islam recommends bathing for' twenty three reasons. Seven of them are compulsory and sixteen are preferable.
    2. Hands Cleanliness: Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) Says 'Wash thy hands before and after eating", Readds "Wash thy hands after awakening. No one knows where his hands lay during his sleep."
    3. Islam recommends clothing cleanliness and elegance "Ameliorate thy clothing and thy mount".
    4. Food and drink cleanliness: Orders for protecting food from dust and insects, the prophet says "Cover thy vessels and drinks"
    5. Residence cleanliness: "Clean thy courtyards and thy residence" as well as street cleanliness "It is charitable to remove harms from the road."
    6. Cleanliness of water sources such as wells, rivers and shores. Therefore, urinating and defecating are forbidden in any of them---"Avoid three evils; defecation in water sources, shades and in the road.
    If these instructions are followed accurately in the twentieth century, we can put an end to all gastrointestinal infections and exterminate harmful insects such as flys, cockroaches and others.

    II. ISLAM'S INSTRUCTION IN EPIDEMIC DISEASES CONTROL

    Having mentioned the role of cleanliness in preventing infectious diseases, we mention here Islams instructions to combat epidemics.

    1. Isolation: Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) says in this respect "Infectious cases would not contact the healthy"
    2. Quarantine: on cases such as leppers "Leave a space of a spear or two between ye and the lepper"
    3. Islam also laid basic rules for dealing with an epidemic such as Cholera, plague and smallpox "Do not enter a land of which you hear there is a pestilence, and if ye are in that land do not try to leave it in escape"2
    4. Islam encourages every means of protection from infectious diseases such as immunisation. When the prophet (PBUH) was once asked whether such protective measures prevent God's fate, he ( PBUH) said that it is a part of God's will"
    III. NUTRITION IN ISLAM

    Islam concerned itself with three aspects of the Muslim's food:-

    a. Forbidding the harmful food
    b. Aquainting the Muslim with the beneficial food.
    c. Rectifying his eating habits.

    A. Forbidden Items:

    God announces: -

    FORBIDDEN TO YE ARE: DEAD MEAT, BLOOD, THE FLESH OF SWINE, AND THAT BEEN INVOKED THE NAME OF OTHER THAN GOD, THAT WHICH HATH BEEN KILLED BY STRANGLING OR BY A VIOLENT BLOW OR BY A HEADLONG FALL, OR BY BEING GORED TO DEATH; THAT WHICH HATH BEEN PARTLY EATEN BY A WILD ANIMAL; UNLESS YOU ARE ABLE TO SLAUGHTER IT IN DUE FORM"3

    Each of these forbidden items has on undisputable scientific argument for being prohibited. It is true there is a controversy round the harm of the swine flesh and the diseases it may cause to human beings because of its dirtiness and its unhygienic nutritional habits. Whereas some people claim that the swine in Europe is being bred in clean pans and under medical supervision there are still some harms in its flesh which science could not overcome such as the excess of cholesterol and its liability to Trichina and Salmonella more than any other animal.

    Islam has also forbidden liquor in great as well as small quantities, the harm of which undisputed. Moreover, its moral and spiritual harm is worse than its physical harm.

    B. Unforbidden Food:

    Islam keeps pace with natural disposition. Hence, all food is allowed except what is harmful. But, there are certain foods which Islam recommends for their nutritional benefit such as meat, fish, honey and milk.

    Islam is against vegetarian doctrines which forbid eating meat for religious reasons. The argument is that the human body won't be healthy depending only on vegetables because the human intestines are shorter than those of the herbivorous animals. Thus, it does not suffice its need for proteins from a vegetarian meal.

    C. Timing and Quantifying Meals:

    Islam prompts people not to be extravagant in eating The Prophet (PBUH) says "The stomach is the worst vessel to fill" The Quran says4 EAT AND DRINK BUT BEWARE OF EXTRAVAGANCE, GOD DISLIKES THOSE WHO ARE EXTRAVAGANT.

    Islam originated Ramadan, a whole month of fasting yearly; the benefits of which cannot be denied whether physically or spiritualy.

    On the other hand, Islam is against doctrines which urge people to discard food or to overfast to the extent of weakness. The prophet (PBUH) announces " Fast for good is not proper lasting" He (PBUH) also declares "Every morsel a Muslim eats is a deed of charity"

    IV. SPORTS:

    Islam attaches much importance to sports in order to create a physically powerful generation capable of sustaining fighting and resisting diseases. Therefore, Islam advises Muslims to teach their children shooting, swimming, and horsemanship. "Teaching thy children writing swimming and shooting is a duty" He (PBUH) also adds "Teach thy children shooting and train them on horsemanship till they excel" and since these were the only sports known at the Prophet's time, then, Islam encourages all the sports known to us in the time being.
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