Humans are enjoined to search for cures for diseases. Treatment modalities can be spiritual, physical, or a combination
of the two types. Spiritual modalities of treatment do might be mediated through physical processes. The Law prohibits use
of physical modalities of treatment whose harm exceeds the benefits. Haram material
is prohibited as medicine. The Islamic concepts of tauhid, wasatiyyat, and shumuliyyat guide the manner of use of physical modalities of treatment.
1.0 ANY DISEASE IS POTENTIALLY CURABLE
Every disease has a treatment. The prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said in an authentic hadith that Allah did not reveal any
disease, bau, without also revealing its cure, dawau[i]. Humans are encouraged to seek treatment, al hatthu ‘ala al dawaa[ii]. The Qur’an described cure, shifa[iii]. The Qur’an is itself a cure[iv]. Honey is described in the Qur’an as a cure[v]. Some people may know the cure and others may ignore it but it nevertheless exists. The
Qur’an described disease in prophet Ayyub (PBUH) and its eventual cure[vi]. The Qur’an described how Isa cured chronic diseases[vii].
2.0 CURE IS FROM ALLAH:
Humans try, but it is Allah who cures, allah huwa al shafi[viii]. Humans should not be arrogant by attributing cure to themselves and not Allah. In the same way humans cannot refuse
to take measures to cure disease claiming that Allah will take care of it. It is true that Allah cures but in some cases that
cure operates through the agency of humans. Sometimes the measures that humans take to cure a disease may not be sufficient
on their own to alleviate the condition; it is Allah’s divine intervention and mercy that brings about the complete
cure. Disease treatment is part of qadar[ix]. Seeking treatment does not contradict qadar or tawakkul. Disease treatment is part of qadr. The principle that applies here is reversal of qadar by another
qadar , rad al qadr bi al qadr.
3.0 SPIRITUAL MODALITIES OF TREATMENT:
Among spiritual approaches to disease management is use of dua from the
Qur’an[x] and hadith as ruqiy. Dua is medicine[xi]. Dua was reported to have been used
for madness, dua min al junoon[xii] and for fever[xiii]. 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, dua ma’athurat. The Qur’an is the best medicine[xiv].. Asking for protection from Allah,
isti’adhat, is medicine. A strong iman
and trust in Allah, tawakkul, play a role in the cure of diseases. Salat is a cure[xv]. 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 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.
4.0 PHYSICAL MODALITIES OF TREATMENT
Among physical approaches to disease management are: diet, natural agents (chemical, animal and plant products), manufactured
chemical agents, surgery, jiraha, and physical treatment e.g. heat. Physical approaches
can reverse disease pathology, mitigate its effects or just stop farther progression. All therapeutic agents and procedures
are allowed unless they contravene a specific provision of the Law. This provides a wide scope for the practice of medicine.
Bad medicine is forbidden[xvi]. Bad medicine causes more harm than benefit. While seeking treatment, the moral teachings
of Islam must be respected. The end never justifies the means. Haram material is
not allowed as medicine except in special circumstances where the legal principle of necessity, dharurat, applies. Alcohol is for example not an accepted cure for any disease; it is actually itself a disease.
The side effects of medication must be considered alongside the benefits. The discovery of antibiotics and other powerful
agents and procedures effective against disease has changed the face of medical care for the better in the past 50 years but
has brought with it many iatrogenic problems. Drugs are associated with side effects or unwanted effects that a good physician
should be aware of and should look out for. These problems are two-fold: (a) introduction of new molecules in drugs into the
body and the environment. The long-term effect of such ‘unnatural’ molecules is not known. (b) Invasive technology
makes drastic changes to human anatomy and physiology with its long-term consequences still unknown.
Harmful treatments are not allowed in situations in which the cure is worse than the disease. Choice of what treatment
modality to use should involve a careful weighing of benefits and possible harm or injury. It is a principal of Islamic Law,
sharia, to give priority to preventing harm over accruing a benefit, dari’u al mafasid muqaddam ‘ala jalbi al masalih. The equilibrium between benefit and harm of treatment
modalities should be looked at using three Islamic principles: tauhid, wasatiyyat,
& shumuliyyat. The concept of tauhid motivates looking at the patient,
the disease, and the environment as one system that is in equilibrium; thus all factors that are involved with the three elements
are considered while making decisions. The concept of wasatiyyat motivates the
need for moderation and not doing anything in excess. The concept of shumiliyyat
extends the tauhidi principle by requiring an overall comprehensive bird’s
view of the disease and treatment situation.
5.0 MULTIPLE/COMBINATION OF SPIRITUAL AND PHYSICAL: 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.
[iii] Qur’an 3:49, 5:110, 9:14, 10:57, 10:69, 17:82, 26:80, 41:44)
[vi] Qur’an 21:83-84, 38:41-44
[viii] Qur’an 21:83-84, 26:80, 38:41-42