Application of TibbiNabi to Modern Medical Practice [Electronic resources] نسخه متنی

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Application of TibbiNabi to Modern Medical Practice [Electronic resources] - نسخه متنی

Hakim Moinuddin Chishti

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Application of Tibb-i-Nabi to Modern
Medical Practice


Hakim Moinuddin Chishti
(Robert Thomson, N.D.)

Medical practice in the United States is facing its
most serious challenge in the past 100 years. While no medical
system can be expected to have a monopoly on cures, to day
allopathic medicine is facing an ever- growing number of unorthodox
assaults, on top of the malpractice increase. And, these charges are
being lodged despite the outstanding advances and cures which can be
attributed to scientific medicine.

The chief complaints against the orthodox system
are that it is often harmful, often ineffective, and often too
expensive. Modern hospital medicine is vulnerable on all three
counts. It uses techniques and drugs that are productive of many
adverse reactions, cost too much and frequently do not cure. Indeed,
Dr. Lewis Thomas, President of the Sloan-Kettering Memorial Cancer
Center in New York, confessed in a recent interview, that all
internists know that ninety percent of all illnesses get better by
themselves.

In the late 1979's in modern and scientific America
(and much of the rest of the developed world), there need be no
concern for the plagues and diseases which leveled civilizations in
the past: smallpox, poliomyelitis, cholera, measles, and especially
systemic bacterial infection are simply not a threat to life. In one
sense, then, men and women and children are much healthier than they
have ever been in human life; yet, they are much more apprehensive
and disappointed about their lives than ever before.

The reports of unnecessary surgeries, suicides,
drug abuse, sexual perversion, alcoholism and a wide array of
"nervous" disorders, affect the entire population. What is more the
causes of death for most people cancer, heart disease contain a clue
as to the true source and cause of the problem, the gradual
withering away and withdrawal of the life Force itself. Still, women
abort their children, everyone seems quite willing to ingest
substances known to shorten their life span, and engage in life
habits and patterns which demonstrably build disease.

Coincident with this growing lack of true health,
there is an assault upon the very integrity of the physician, and
the substantial proportion of malpractice suits are rooted in the
common misunderstandings about medicine and responsibility for
health. Patients feel that the doctor has all the answers and the
patient is but a passive participant in the relationship. Such an
expectation is beyond the ability of medical science to satisfy.
Physicians themselves have difficulty overcoming the psychological
and financial temptations involved in assuming such a role. Thus,
they too fall into the traps inherent in relationships based upon
unjustified dependency.

It is at this critical juncture, when Man seems to
be losing the physical and psychological underpinnings necessary for
rational life-that we must turn to our Gracious and Merciful
Creator, Allah t'ala, for the infallible remedy and vital
prescriptions for our time.

Insha allah, in this presentation, I would like to
suggest some conceptual framework within which we can begin to
utilize the most Complete and thorough Medical Tradition, that of
the Holy Prophet Muhammad (AS), and arrive at a renewed view of man
as healer and man as patient.

Allah t'ala tells us in Surah An'am, verse 17:

"If God touch thee with affliction, none can remoe
it but He;" (VIII 7)

And, again, in Surah Yunus, verse 57, we learn:

"O mankind! there hath come to you a direction from
your Lord and a healing for the (diseases) in your hearts, -and for
those who believe, a Guidance And a Mercy". (XI57)

And, once again, in Surah Bani Isra'il, this idea
is even made more clear:

"We send down (stage by stage) in the Qur'an that
which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe... " (XVII /
82)

Similar revelations are contained in other verses
in Qur'an, notably in Surah XXVI, verses 80 and 81; XLI, verse 44;
Surah XVI, verses 53 and 69. These are the specific references to
guide mankind to the revelation of the latest and complete code for
the fit conduct of human life on earth, in order to maintain or
regain health.

As Muslim physicians, there is a very special
obligation upon us, to become models of human life lived in harmony
with these commands of our Creator. To accomplish this, let us look
for a moment at the very excellent and perfect example left to us by
the Prophet Muhammad (AS), and conveyed to us in the Sahih
Traditions of Muslim and Bokhaii. The first Appendix shows a
preliminary listing of those topics having a direct bearing and
relationship upon health, which is given with a specific
instructions from our beloved Prophet (AS),

It is clear that far from being a general and vague
guide to health, the Qur'an and Hadith of Islam, on the contrary,
gives us most specific ordering of matters of healthy living, for
all manner of public and private health, even to the contamination
of food by pets!

As Muslims we are well aware of a fact kept hidden
from the general public in the West, and this is that the most
complete system of "natural medicine" ever devised has been extant
for 1,400 years, presented in the fullest and miraculous order of
Divine Commands from Allah, and lived out in example by the most
profound human being in history. And it is by this example that the
present health crisis may be met. For this is, above all, a crisis
of faith, of faith in the physician, of faith in the human mechanism
as healing process, of faith in the patient, but above all, a
cynical loss of faith in God Himself. We have learned from the
Hadith of the Prophet (AS), "We did not send down any disease,
unless we have sent down the remedy with it." And so, as the disease
is "loss of faith" in the ultimate sense, the cure is therefore
"iman."

This does not allow for any incurable disease,
including the so-called "terminal" cancers, for, by giving up hope
and informing a patient of such "hopelessness" of their faith and
hope. Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi has said in Fihi Ma Fihi, that "faith
is superior to prayer", even, for faith is continuous, cannot be
omitted for any excuse, and has its own benefit with or without
prayer.

The main tenets of Tibb-i-Nabi, or "medicine of the
Prophet," of course Proceed from this iman, and are contained first
of all in the usual religious in-junctions known as the "Five
Pillars of Islarn". We wish to review them briefly.

1. Shahadat.
"Lailahailallah;Mohammadd-ur-rasoulallah." Imam Al-Ghazzali has
Said, "Illness is one of the forms of experience by which man
arrives at a knowledge of God; as He says, 'Sicknesses themselves
are My servants, and are attached to My chosen. ' "If one is unable
to have faith in the soul, in Allah, and in the seen and unseen
worlds, then how could one expect to have any wellness in the fight
with other "unseen" things, like microbes and viruses. It is in the
first place precisely because people have turned away from the
nurturing and feeding of the soul, that disease has taken hold and
overpowered that pitiable and shruken soul.

2. Salat. The five daily obligatory prayers are the
most magnificent form of food for our soul, as well as being a
practical set of physical exercises which, if conducted regularly
will banish so many of the common ailments such as lower back pain,
arthritis, cervical misalignments, headache and other complaints-or
at least greatly reduce their severity if they occur at all.

The recitation of prayers in Arabic language
conveys an added benefit which can be described under the Science of
Breath (nafas), which holds that the heart is the seat of
manufacture of the breath, and the storehouse for the divine
potentialities (sifat). These potentialities are conveyed about the
body by various humours (akhlat), which must be kept in harmony.

The transmission of sound is important for
maintaining or building health. After all, the Command for the
Qur'an was, and is, "Recite!" For example, the long sound of aleph
('al' as in father) is known to vibrate i the heart plexus and
stimulate the feelings of power, concentration, majesty and so
forth.

The sound of "ya" or long 'c' in English (as in
seen), travels up the nasal septum and stimulates the root of the
pineal body, acknowledged by most Western biologists to be a
vestigial remnant of a third eye, or light- sensitive organ. Even
though its specific function is not known to science, a quick review
of words and phrases in salat will show the place Allah t'ala has
found for stimulation of this body throughout the day.

3. Ramadhan. "Fasting (sivawm) is the best
medicine",is the claim of the latest natural food faddists, but this
statement too comes from the comprehensive Tradition on Medicine of
the Holy Prophet Muhammad (AS). The burden upon the digestive
organs, stressed further by addition of so many chemical additives
to food, stress toxins and consistient dietary indiscretion, places
a very great labor upon the detoxifying systems for the
body-primarily upon the liver-which may ultimately be seen to be the
leading cause of degenerative disease.

4. Zakat. Every physician knows that if the subject
of disease is looked into deeply enough, nearly all diseases can be
said to originate in the mind. The psychological fears associated
with not knowing if, or how, one is going to provide for one's dear
ones, often leads to excessive drinking, depression, and suicide,
among other things. The humane system of community preservation
provided for by zakat, is a necessary component of any truly humane
society, and therefore is incumbent upon all Muslims.

In addition, there is the added benefit of
increasing one's humility and preventing one from becoming selfish
and greedy, characteristics so prevalent in modern society, which
harm others by withholding something from the less fortunate
peoples' needs and affections.

5. Hajj. The pilgrimage for every physically and
financially able Muslim usually is performed by adults who have met
their responsibilities in life, and have in one sense "earned" this
final religious journey, It gives the mature in life a hope for the
future, a very great and exalted final Purpose and direction, a
final re-ordering and re-affirmation of iman as one approaches the
transition from human life on earth. While it is surely the best
provision against senility, even the young who are fortunate to
perform the Hajj, the benefits are perhaps still greater.

Any interested person can go much deeply into these
topics, and they are repeated here only to suggest a mere glimpse of
the superior benefits to be gained from following the injunctions of
the way of life known as Islam. Advanced study of Islam yields rich
source material in any field of human thought and behavior.

What needs to be stressed here, is that even if all
of these acts were not called by the name "Islam", they would, if
prescribed and enforced as a mode of treatment, produce profound
effects entirely beneficial. In my own work, I often suggest to
non-Muslims who come for health guidance, the movements of salat,
cleanings of wazu, and certain elements of fasting, under the rubric
of "health building". The results under such a regimen, which is
nothing more than suggestion Islam, have been truly astonishing,
with recovery of many serious chronic and degenerative diseases
recorded.

The Appendix I gives the list from Hadith on
health-related topics, but from a broader perspective we can gain
even more, to include some of the giants of Islamic medicine as it
has developed from the example of the Prophet Muhammad, when applied
by the advanced Muslim minds to fields of scientific endeavor during
various periods of human history.

While there are many physicians who command our
utmost respect there is one man who stands out above all others, who
is responsible for nearly all of today's pharmacology methodology,
much of the nature therapeutics, and whose medical theories have
maintained their authority through seven centuries of medical
practice.

Abu Ali Al-Husayn ibn Sina-known in the West as
Avicenna-was one of the illustrious physicians in recorded history.
He was born in 980 A.D. near Bokbara in present-day Afghanistan.
Though that was the center of learning of the time, he had exhausted
all teachers of the day by the time he reached his teens, and in
fact explained logic to his master. He received no formal education
in the sciences or medicine, but had physicians working under his
direction at the age of fourteen.

He is perhaps less known for his medical genius
than for his philosophy. His book Kitab-ul Ansaaf (The Book of
Impartial Judgement), in which, at the age of twenty-one, he
answered 28,000 questions on theology and metaphysics, remains a
significant and undisputed contribution to human thought.

Avicenna was extremely active in all realms of
life, serving several times as a court minister and on more than one
occasion was caught up in intrigues which led him to flight or to
prison. He wrote whenever he could- in prison, on horseback, or in
the wee hours of the night after working all day. He wrote in verse
to instruct his pupils, and produced important works on Sufi
doctrines and behavior.

He never had a library and wrote primarily from
memory. He is (credited by scholars with an astounding outpouring of
276 works, touching on all aspects of human endeavor-medicine,
natural history, physics, chemistry, astronomy, mathematics, music,
economics and oral and religious questions. Among them is the
greatest classic on medicine, the eighteen-volume Qanun-ul-Tebb
(Canon ofMedicine), which covers and orders aU medical knowledge in
the world up to his time. The Qanun has maintained its authority in
medical practice and teaching for more than seven hundred years, and
today remains the "bible" of medicine for practitioners in India
(both Muslim and Hindu) and throughout the Near and Middle East.
Large medical schools are devoted to teaching Avicenna's and huge
warehouse complexes are strategically located to dispense remedies
from the Qanun ...

The London Dispensary revealed considerable
influence of Avicenna up until the end of the eighteenth century,
and use of his remedies continued widespread into the nineteenth
century, especially in rural parts of North America which rely upon
"home remedies". It remains for Westem medicine to become familiar
with and study this rich source of knowledge as one of the greatest
sources of rational medicine ever devised.

Translations of Avicenna's Qanun remain incomplete.
A British doctor translated and provided a commentary for the first
volume, but the remaining volumes are locked in Arabic and Persian
with some translations into the Romanic languages.

Western medicine, nor science, has not a figure to
compare with Avicenna, and it seems unlikely that one would be
produced from the present moulds, rather, a researcher becomes
"known" for some so-called discovery, which passes out of fashion
quickly, or the drug he devised becomes too dangerous for human use.
How many chemical drugs are in use today, that were in use 25 years
ago?

Can we now construct-with the foregoing as a
foundations model for the Muslim spiritual physician, or simply, the
hakim in the fullest and deepest sense of that work, as a new, or
reborn figure who can function not only to meet the specific needs
of the ever-growing numbers of Muslims in the West, but also as a
model for the medical paraprofessional to work with modern doctors
to the benefit of the patient? To what extent can modern allopathic
medicine be allied with such a model? What are the educational and
licensing criteria which can reasonably be established for the
modern hakim in the West?

The first need is to establish a pilot training
program for Muslim hakims. This would include the primary areas of
Isclamic religious knowledge, of shariat, of the medical bases
inherent in the application of what as usually taken as religious
duties, and to present these subjects-these measures and rules for
living-in a framework which satisfies the highest standards of
academic criteria in the American model. This can be accomplished
during a training period of two years of class work, with the basic
curriculum to include anatomy and physiology, organic chemistry,
botany and plant pharmacoloty (herbology), ligamentous tissue
adjustment, dietetics and training in first aid and acute
symptomology.

To answer such a need, primary textual materials
must be developed from those already in use, but keyed to an
selected for the Islamic basis of the instruction. Translation of
more than one of the classic Islamic medicine tests is a sine qua
non, which may be easiest from the Urdu materials which are widely
available and already in use in hakimi curricula in Pakistan.
Moreover, Works of such import as Qarabaadin-e Kabir, Qanun-ul-
Tebb, the Formulary of Al-Samargandy and a few other works are an
immediate need. Such texts could be available within twelve months
if funding were made available, Insha allah.

In addition to the more or less bard science
aspects of such a curriculum, the ideal of Muslim
physicians-spiritual physicians-must be taught by example, by
precept. For this purpose, practicing hakims from predominantly
Muslim countries can be brought in as visiting professors on a one
to four semester basis. Likewise, it would be a value to the
students, to visit and observe traditional hakims at work in Islamic
cultures.

The second Appendix provides an outline for just
such a two year training program. It is suggested that following the
two year program of education in the hard sciences and other course
work, that at least three years be spent under direct supervision of
a practicing hakim, to ensure that each student has gained a mastery
of fundamentals before undertaking independent practice.

The application of this training to practice in and
among, Muslim communities can best be effected in the context of the
Masjid, in each city. It is well-known that the mullah or imam is
the most frequently visited person in the pathway to health among
traditional Muslim cultures. A recent study in Afghanistan showed
that for each single visit to a modern pharmacy or medical doctor,
the patient visited the mullah ten times.

There exists a very special role for those Muslim
physicians who have been trained in Western medicine, and are
licensed for its practice. For the ordinary American doctors reject
out-of-hand any religious basis for treatment, and the use of herbs
are considered in the realm of the "quack." But, there is
overwhelming scientific support for using herbs and natural
religious modalities for treating the sick.

The intention of establishing a specific Islamic
modality in America, is not to compete with or disparage medical
doctors. It is rather to provide the supportive counseling and
day-to-day guidance as an integral part of one's deen, which cannot
be practiced under existing models of medicine. The diseases of
alcoholism and mental illness, for example, will respond well to
natural herbs, detoxification and spiritual counseling, but the
requirements in terms of time are severe

A hakim can fill this need better than any
institutional form of therapy, or any known drug therapy. For the
diseases of today are the diseases of the soul, and demand folly
supportive environ ments and an Islamic way of life to effect a true
cure. Drugs can never remove the causes of loneliness, estrangement
of family members, lack of self-worth, pressures of environment-but
Islamic medicine can. Medical doctors must be available for
consultation by patient and hakim, whenever concern for pathology
arises.

The question of licensing requirements for hakims
trained under this program arises. The first amendment to the
Constitution of the United States exempts the "practice of
religion", from regulation, and the Supreme Court has consistently
held that Congress shall make no laws regarding the practice of
religion. Lesser judicial bodies, and statutory laws, have also
exempted religious practice from medical practice acts. Since the
hakims would be an integral part of the Islamic religious community,
in fact at its very core, there would be no interference from
regulatory agencies of the state. As the training of initial classes
proceeded, there may be developed some form of recognition
certificate from the IMA or similar bodies. In any event, criteria
for practice would be well established.

A glance around the society we live in compels one
to realize that there must be developed some alternative
therapeutics to the allopathic model as it currently exists. There
has been a proliferation of a truly amazing array of "natural"
therapies, some of which are clearly based on wrong assumptions, and
mislead people into further degeneration of the mental and physical
health. As Muslims, we possess the latest and most complete Medical
Tradition and are rapidly approaching the time when we may be in
error to fail to actively promote this system and way of life.

We cannot assume that all of the edifice of
research of Islamic Medicine is simply rank superstition, based as
it is upon the Holy Qur'an? There will no doubt need to be some
adjustments made in the time manner and places where we choose to
present this system, but can any excuse be offered as valid to
delay, when the cost is life itself, and the suffering- of so many
people.

In Tucson, Arizona, in conjunction with the Chishti
Mission and Masjld Tucson, we have successfully implemented a
pro-ram according to the outline given here, and it is an active and
thriving model in our community. This arose initially out of
necessity, to serve those whom modem medicine failed, and from small
success, Allah the Merciful has guided us along, Subhan allah.

We would therefore like to ask this 11 th Annual
Convention of the Islamic Medical Association of the United States
and Canada, to take an historic and forward-moving role, and
formalize a program to implement the goals and ideals outlined
heretofore in the field of lslamic Hakimi medicine.

Eventually, with a fully-functioning Islamic
Medical Research Institute, along with the many dozens or hundreds
of Muslim hakim practitioners, Muslims in America and the West can
create the model of medical treatment for the future, secure in the
knowledge and promise of Allah t'ala, that it is the only fit
conduct for our lives on this earth, to follow His commands, and
nature this tendency in our fellow men, in our children and in
ourselves.

The utilitarian social,and medical systems pass out
of vogue because they are based upon the ideas of man, and the ideas
of man can never be eternal, cannot cover the whole ground of man's
existence and nature. But ours is an Ideal, of true healing and
remedy of the, soul and body, exemplified by the last and greatest
of prophets, Muhammad (AS). Islamic medicine takes up the
individual, but in his relation to the Infinite.

We therefore see that there is an indisputable
necessity for a religious basis to work in healing and health, and
this will continue to be so if mankind wishes to be successful and
happy. All else is a mirage, misleading and absurd, empty rhetoric.
in light of the matured experience of our ancestors in the faith of
Islam.

What is needed today, more than all the
advancements of science, is a return to the simple, eternal laws for
living, as shown in the way of life of Islam. Resurrection of our
health, of body, mind and soul, utilizing the medical traditions of
Islam, as shown by the light of Islam the Prophet Muhammad (AS), is
the true need for the salvation of the plagues which now disturb the
souls of men.

In this uphill task, everyone will be required to
make concessions and sacrifices, to earn the goodwill of mankind,
and blessings of Allah.

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