Islamic Perspectives

Health Guidelines From Qur’an & Sunnah -ii

By Shahid Athar, MD

(3) Cleanliness: Allah is pure and likes purity. He is clean and likes cleanliness. Therefore, cleanliness of body and mind is stressed in Qur’an (4:43, 5:7). Miswak (brushing teeth) is not a new invention of last 200 years. This was stressed as part of our daily routine by Prophet Mohammed (P.B.U.H.). He also advised us on flossing (khilal) as now being advised by all the dentist. In fact, he is known to have said that if it was not hardship for Muslims, he would have advised miswak before each prayer i.e. 5 times a day. Cleanliness of our mind is prerequisite for total cleanliness (body and mind).

Value of exercise in maintaining health
Though we do not find much in Qur’an about specific exercise, recommendation, the Prophet’s (P.B.U.H.) Iife was full of recommendations. Advised all Muslims to teach their children swimming, archery and horse riding. He, himself used to walk at fast pace even race with his wife, Ayesha (Ra). Most importantly, he used to work with his hands whether at home, in the kitchen, or with his companions collecting wood for fire, or fighting during wars etc.

It is a pity that Muslim men and women have become sedentary and, I because of excessive consumption of starches, obesity has crept into them. We should keep ourselves fit to go for jihad, and feel healthy in peacetime.

The State of disease
Many of the common chronic illnesses, coronary heart disease, hyper-tension, diabetes, peptic ulcer disease, obesity and depression have also common man-made etiology, that is rich food, too much food, too much salt, too much sugar, smoking, stress and alcoholism. If we give up excessive salt, sugar and cholesterol from our diet, and do not drink and smoke, and be active, it is possible that - the pump (heart) won’t be rusted from inside.

What should a Muslim do when disease is confirmed?
A. Accept it as a will of God as kaffara for his sin, and ask him to remove the affliction.

“If God touches thee with affliction, none can remove it- but He: if He touches thee with happiness He has power over all thing.” (Al_Qur’an_006:017)

B. Many Muslims won’t seek early medical attention, contrary to the Prophet’s practice and teaching. In Christianity there is a sect believing in faith healing who have let their members die rather than go to the physician.

Usamah Bin Shareek (Ra) Reports “I was with the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) and some Arabs came to him asking “O Messenger of Allah, do we take medicine for any disease.-”-He said, “Yes, 0 You servants of Allah take medicine as Allah (SWT) has not created a disease without creating a cure except for one. They asked which one, he replied old age’.

C. Increase your knowledge of health and disease, of medications and side effects. This knowledge is not a monopoly of doctors. You can have it, and use it in preventing the illness, recognizing it early when symptoms appear, seeking early medical attention, then monitoring the course of disease, implementing the treatment (i.e. knowledge of diet for diabetics) and recognizing side effects of the medicine. Those of my patients, who do as the above, make me very happy that I can trust their health to them as they do trust it to me.

In summary, our healthy body is a gift from God, we are the trustees, we should not misuse it, nor provide wrong raw product for the factory. And should keep superb maintenance of this delicate and sensitive machine, in order to enjoy it will be the container of our soul. (


This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 October 2009 on page no. 29

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