There are two types of diseases that attack the heart, doubt and error, and the second lust and desire, both are mentioned in the Qur’an, Allah says about the disease of doubt:
فِى قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٌۭ فَزَادَهُمُ ٱللَّهُ مَرَضًۭا ۖ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌۢ بِمَا كَانُوا۟ يَكْذِبُونَ(2:10)
“In their hearts is a disease, so Allah has increased their disease, and for them is a painful punishment because they [habitually] used to lie.”
In addition, He said:
وَٱلْمُؤْمِنُونَ ۙ وَلِيَقُولَ ٱلَّذِينَ فِى قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٌۭ وَٱلْكَـٰفِرُونَ مَاذَآ أَرَادَ ٱللَّهُ بِهَـٰذَا مَثَلًۭا ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ
يُضِلُّ ٱللَّهُ مَن يَشَآءُ وَيَهْدِى مَن يَشَآءُ ۚ وَمَا يَعْلَمُ جُنُودَ رَبِّكَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۚ وَمَا هِىَ إِلَّا ذِكْرَىٰ لِلْبَشَرِ74:31
“…and so that those ˹hypocrites˺ with sickness in their hearts and the disbelievers will argue, “What does Allah mean by such a number?” In this way Allah leaves whoever He wills to stray and guides whoever He wills. And none knows the forces of your Lord except He. And this ˹description of Hell˺ is only a reminder to humanity.”
Allah says concerning those who refuse to make the Qur’an and Sunnah the basis of their judgments:
وَإِذَا دُعُوٓا۟ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِۦ لِيَحْكُمَ بَيْنَهُمْ إِذَا فَرِيقٌۭ مِّنْهُم مُّعْرِضُونَ24:48
And as soon as they are called to Allah and His Messenger so he may judge between them, a group of them turns away.24:48
وَإِن يَكُن لَّهُمُ ٱلْحَقُّ يَأْتُوٓا۟ إِلَيْهِ مُذْعِنِينَ24:49
But if the truth is in their favor, they come to him, fully submitting.24:49
أَفِى قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٌ أَمِ ٱرْتَابُوٓا۟ أَمْ يَخَافُونَ أَن يَحِيفَ ٱللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ وَرَسُولُهُۥ ۚ بَلْ أُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ هُمُ ٱلظَّـٰلِمُونَ
Is there a sickness in their hearts? Or are they in doubt? Or do they fear that Allah and His Messenger will be unjust to them? In fact, it is they who are the ˹true˺ wrongdoers.24:50
This is the disease of doubt and error.
In addition, Allah says about desire and lust, adultery in this case:
يَـٰنِسَآءَ ٱلنَّبِىِّ لَسْتُنَّ كَأَحَدٍ مِّنَ ٱلنِّسَآءِ ۚ إِنِ ٱتَّقَيْتُنَّ فَلَا تَخْضَعْنَ بِٱلْقَوْلِ فَيَطْمَعَ ٱلَّذِى فِى قَلْبِهِۦ مَرَضٌ وَقُلْنَ قَوْلًا مَّعْرُوفًا33:32
O wives of the Prophet! You are not like any other women: if you are mindful ˹of Allah˺, then do not be overly effeminate in speech ˹with men˺ or those with sickness in their hearts may be tempted, but speak in a moderate tone33:32
Physical diseases that attack the body
لَّيْسَ عَلَى ٱلْأَعْمَىٰ حَرَجٌۭ وَلَا عَلَى ٱلْأَعْرَجِ حَرَجٌۭ وَلَا عَلَى ٱلْمَرِيضِ حَرَجٌۭ ۗ وَمَن يُطِعِ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُۥ يُدْخِلْهُ جَنَّـٰتٍۢ تَجْرِى مِن تَحْتِهَا ٱلْأَنْهَـٰرُ ۖ وَمَن يَتَوَلَّ يُعَذِّبْهُ عَذَابًا أَلِيمًۭا
There is no blame on the blind, or the disabled, or the sick ˹for staying behind˺. And whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger will be admitted by Him into Gardens under which rivers flow. But whoever turns away will be subjected by Him to a painful punishment.48:17
These Verses refer to ailments that might attack a person while performing fasting or making ablution. They contain tremendous secrets and wisdom, indicating the greatness and divine wisdom of the Qur’an and its sufficiency for those who have a sound understanding and comprehension.
The science of medicine consists of three basic rules preserving good health, avoiding what might cause harm ( i.e establishing immunity), and (ridding the body of harmful substances. Allah has mentioned these three basic principles in connection with the performance of Hajj, Fasting, and ablution mentioned above.
أَيَّامًۭا مَّعْدُودَٰتٍۢ ۚ فَمَن كَانَ مِنكُم مَّرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍۢ فَعِدَّةٌۭ مِّنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ ۚ وَعَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ يُطِيقُونَهُۥ فِدْيَةٌۭ طَعَامُ مِسْكِينٍۢ ۖ فَمَن تَطَوَّعَ خَيْرًۭا فَهُوَ خَيْرٌۭ لَّهُۥ ۚ وَأَن تَصُومُوا۟ خَيْرٌۭ لَّكُمْ ۖ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ2:184
˹Fast a˺ prescribed number of days. But whoever of you is ill or on a journey, then ˹let them fast˺ an equal number of days ˹after Ramaḍân˺. For those who can only fast with extreme difficulty, compensation can be made by feeding a needy person ˹for every day not fasted˺. But whoever volunteers to give more, it is better for them. And to fast is better for you, if only you knew.2:184
Allah has allowed the sick to break their Fast because of their illness. Allah has In addition permitted the traveler to break their fast in order to protect and preserve their health and strength while traveling. Traveling uses tremendous physical effort that requires nourishment to sustain the body’s energy. This is why the traveler is given an exemption from fasting so his body can be supplied with the required nourishment. Further, Allah said:
وَأَتِمُّوا۟ ٱلْحَجَّ وَٱلْعُمْرَةَ لِلَّهِ ۚ فَإِنْ أُحْصِرْتُمْ فَمَا ٱسْتَيْسَرَ مِنَ ٱلْهَدْىِ ۖ وَلَا تَحْلِقُوا۟ رُءُوسَكُمْ حَتَّىٰ يَبْلُغَ ٱلْهَدْىُ مَحِلَّهُۥ ۚ فَمَن كَانَ مِنكُم مَّرِيضًا أَوْ بِهِۦٓ أَذًۭى مِّن رَّأْسِهِۦ فَفِدْيَةٌۭ مِّن صِيَامٍ أَوْ صَدَقَةٍ أَوْ نُسُكٍۢ ۚ فَإِذَآ أَمِنتُمْ فَمَن تَمَتَّعَ بِٱلْعُمْرَةِ إِلَى ٱلْحَجِّ فَمَا ٱسْتَيْسَرَ مِنَ ٱلْهَدْىِ ۚ فَمَن لَّمْ يَجِدْ فَصِيَامُ ثَلَـٰثَةِ أَيَّامٍۢ فِى ٱلْحَجِّ وَسَبْعَةٍ إِذَا رَجَعْتُمْ ۗ تِلْكَ عَشَرَةٌۭ كَامِلَةٌۭ ۗ ذَٰلِكَ لِمَن لَّمْ يَكُنْ أَهْلُهُۥ حَاضِرِى ٱلْمَسْجِدِ ٱلْحَرَامِ ۚ وَٱتَّقُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ وَٱعْلَمُوٓا۟ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ شَدِيدُ ٱلْعِقَابِ2:196
Complete the pilgrimage and minor pilgrimage for Allah. But if prevented ˹from proceeding˺, then ˹offer˺ whatever sacrificial animals you can afford. And do not shave your heads until the sacrificial animal reaches its destination. But if any of you is ill or has a scalp ailment ˹requiring shaving˺, then compensate either by fasting, charity, or a sacrificial offering. In times of peace, you may combine the pilgrimage and minor pilgrimage then make the sacrificial offering you can afford. Whoever cannot afford that ˹offering˺, let them fast three days during pilgrimage and seven after returning ˹home˺—completing ten. These offerings are for those who do not live near the Sacred House. And be mindful of Allah, and know that Allah is severe in punishment.2:196
Allah has allowed the sick and those suffering from lice or sensitive scalps, to have their head, which is normally prohibited, while wearing Ihram. Shaving the head and exposing the scalp in these cases removes the harmful substances and thus allows the sick person to get rid of whatever caused his illness and to recover from the condition that was aggravated because of the hair. This is an example of ridding the body of harmful substances, which had a higher priority (thus the exemption) than the general rule, of no shaving of the head while in the state of Ihram.
Harmful substances for the body
There are ten things that might cause harm to the body when congested unless the body eliminates them:
- Blood when it is irritated.
- Sperm when it is excessive.
- The need to sneeze.
When any of these ten things are not properly dealt with or satisfied, as, in the case of sleep, they will cause a particular type of illness. When Allah permitted shaving the head to remove harmful substances on the scalp, His statement inspired His slaves to use the same practice in removing harmful substances caused by other ailments.
As for observing a certain precautionary measure ( i.e, diet, or other types of abstention), Allah said:
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ لَا تَقْرَبُوا۟ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَأَنتُمْ سُكَـٰرَىٰ حَتَّىٰ تَعْلَمُوا۟ مَا تَقُولُونَ وَلَا جُنُبًا إِلَّا عَابِرِى سَبِيلٍ حَتَّىٰ تَغْتَسِلُوا۟ ۚ وَإِن كُنتُم مَّرْضَىٰٓ أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ أَوْ جَآءَ أَحَدٌۭ مِّنكُم مِّنَ ٱلْغَآئِطِ أَوْ لَـٰمَسْتُمُ ٱلنِّسَآءَ فَلَمْ تَجِدُوا۟ مَآءًۭ فَتَيَمَّمُوا۟ صَعِيدًۭا طَيِّبًۭا فَٱمْسَحُوا۟ بِوُجُوهِكُمْ وَأَيْدِيكُمْ ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ عَفُوًّا غَفُورًا4:43
O believers! Do not approach prayer while intoxicated until you are aware of what you say, nor in a state of ˹full˺ impurity—unless you merely pass through ˹the mosque˺—until you have bathed. But if you are ill, on a journey, or have relieved yourselves, or been intimate with your wives and cannot find water, then purify yourselves with clean earth, wiping your faces and hands. And Allah is Ever-Pardoning, All-Forgiving.4:43
Allah has allowed the sick person to use clean earth instead of water to perform his ablution for prayer; this spares his body from the repercussions of using water while ill. This Ayah sets the precedent for every type of precautionary or preventive measure (diet, etc.) that protects the body from harmful substances that one consumes or his body produces.
Allah, all praise is due to Him, has emphasized the three basic rules of the science of medicine that are mentioned above,
The superiority of Prophetic medicine over other types of medicine
Let’s see how Prophetic medicine is superior and more comprehensive than any other method.
Providing proper remedies for ailments of the heart (referring to spiritual or emotional ailments) only occurs at the hands of Prophets and Messengers of Allah.
The heart becomes well when it acquires knowledge of its Lord and Creator and in His Names, Attributes, Actions, and Commandments. The heart In addition becomes well when it prefers acquiring Allah’s Pleasure and prefers what He likes, all the while avoiding His prohibitions and what might lead to His displeasure.
There is no life, health, or well-being in the heart except by this method, which only the Messengers can provide. It is wrong to think that one can ever attain the heart’s well-being through any other way than through the guidance of the Messengers of Allah, these errors result from confusing the heart’s true well-being with satisfying and strengthening its lower animal lusts and desires. In this way, the heart will be far from acquiring its true well-being, and strength and even its very existence will be in danger. Those who do not distinguish between these two paths should grieve for their heart’s life and health, or in fact for the lack of it.
Let such people In addition grieve because of their lack of the light of true guidance and because they are completely submerged in an ocean of darkness.
Remedies for physical illnesses
Remedies for physical illnesses are divided into two categories
One depends on instinct, which all species have. There is no need for the doctor to cure this type of illness, which entails responding to hunger, thirst, cold, and fatigue.
The second, requires deep thought and analysis and entails subduing and resisting the ailment, and moderating the patient’s condition (temperament), which can result from fever, heat, coldness, dryness, or a combination of these symptoms.
These ailments have two types of causes: physical and one that relates to temperament. These ailments are the result of a physical cause or are due to changes that affect the mood and the temper (of the body). The difference between the two types is that the ailments of the temperament occur after the physical causes are eliminated. Their effects remain and alter the temperament. The ailments that are caused by physical elements have their causes with them. In these cases of physical disease, we should look at the cause first, the ailment second, and the cure third.
Further, deep thought and careful analysis are in addition required concerning repelling and removing the ailments that affect the various organs and cause some alterations in the organs whether in the shape, cavity, vessel, roughness, touch, number, bone, and so forth.
When these organs, which collectively constitute the body, are working properly, they are described as being connected. Otherwise, they are described as having lost their proper connectivity.
These ailments that affect and alter the organs are included in the general ailments that affect the body. These same ailments negatively affect mood and temperament. The changes that accompany such ailments come in eight types, four simple types, and four compound types.
The simple types include coldness, hotness, wetness, and dryness. The compound types include hot and wet, hot and dry, cold and wet, or cold and dry. The causes of these ailments are either physical or changes in mood or temperament as we have stated.
In addition: there are three states that the body can be normal, abnormal, and in the middle (between normal and abnormal). When the state of the body is normal, the body is healthy. The second state occurs when the body is ill, while the third is in the middle, as one extreme does not become the opposite extreme except after passing through a middle stage.
There are internal reasons for the abnormal state the body passes through, for the body consists of coldness, hotness, wetness, and dryness. In addition, there are external reasons for the abnormal state, which could find the body susceptible and affect it. The potential harm inflicted on the body could result from a bad temperament, that was not moderated, an ailment that attacks an organ, or general weakness in the overall power of the body, or even the soul, which sustains such power, The ailment could be caused by an increase in what should not be increased or a decrease in what should not be decreased. In addition, a break in the connection could be the cause, where the connection is essential, or due to a connection between that which should not be connected. The ailment could in addition occur due to an extension of what should not be extended or an alteration and change in the shape or place of some of the body organs.
The doctor is able to distinguish between what might harm the body when connected and what should be connected. The doctor distinguishes between what might cause harm if increased and what might cause harm if decreased. The doctor helps bring about good health or what preserves good health and helps fend off the ailment with its antidote (opposite) or by using a correct diet. We can see that all these guidelines are met by the guidance and advice of the Prophet (PBUH) by Allah’s Will, Power, and Support.