Islamic Garden

Islamic Garden
Islamic Garden in Lausanne, Switzerland

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Al-Fatiha in Prophetic Medicine

Peter Pormann and Emilie Savage-Smith write about the healing power of al-Fatiha in their book "Medieval Islamic Medicine:"

"Treatises on Prophetic Medicine also advocated in varying degrees folkloric and magical remedies in addition to numerous invocations for warding off afflictions and protecting from jinn and the Evil Eye. The early tract based on Shi'ie imams had, for example, the following prescriptions:

He (the Prophet) said: 'Keep many domestic animals (dawajin) in your houses so that the demons are occupied with them instead of your children.'

(The imam Ja'far ibn Muhammad) al-Sadiq said to him (one of his clients whose fever would not subside): 'Undo the buttons of your shirt and put your head in it. Recite the call to prayer (adhan) and the introduction to prayer (iqamah), and recite seven times the 'surah of praise' (Al-Hamd, that is, the 'Opening', al-Fatihah, no.1).' The man said: 'I did that and recovered as quickly as a camel loosened from its cord.'

He (al-Sadiq) said to him (someone suffering from colic (or intestinal obstructon, qawlanj): 'Write for him the opening (surah) of the Qur'an (al-Fatihah, no.1), the surah 'Purity' (al-Iklhas, no. 112), and two surahs for seeking protection (al-ma'udhatan, the last two surahs of the Qur'an, 'Dawn', al-Falaq, and 'People', al-Nas, nos. 113 and 114). Then write underneath: "I take refuge in the presence of God, the Great, and in His might, which is unceasing, and in His power, which nothing can resist, from th evil of this pain, and the evil within it." Then swallow it with rainwater on an empty stomach. You will be cured of it, God the Exalted permitting.' " (2007, p. 150).

~Excerpted from "Medieval Islamic Medicine" by Peter E. Porman and Emilie Savage-Smith.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Renowned clinical intervention in Medieval Islamic Society

Dr. Taha Baasher recounts the following story in "World History of Psychiatry". The modern reader is reminded that the Abbasid court of Harun al-Rashid (786-809) represented an era that was patriarchal and from the modern perspective, probably sexist. However, the court physician was the most trusted and reputable medical practitioner in the land:

"An often quoted example is the story of Harun el Rashid's maid, who developed what appeared to be a state of hysterical conversion, involving her right upper limb. The maid lifted her hand up and could not bring it down. Massage and other physical treatments were of no avail. Gabriel (Gibreel Ibn Bakkhta Yashue), the court physician, in the presence of the Caliph and his entourage, pinched the maid from behind, and unconsciously the up-lifted arm dropped down. Though the explanation given by Gabriel was based on humor pathology, his therapeutic approach was obviously psychological." (1975, p. 557).

~ Excerpted from "World History of Psychiatry" edited by John G. Howells

Sura 1:5's healing force

Dr. Taha Baasher, a Sudanese psychiatrist writes this in "World History of Psychiatry:"

"Obviously the whole Koran is endowed with sacred blessing (baraka), but there are certain passages or chapters which are more concerned with healing holiness. The passage in the first chapter which states "to thee we worship and into ye we take refuge" is of central importance in incantation and treatment in general, because of its particular submission to God. References are also to the prophet's consideration of the emotional side of treatment. Muslims were urged to relieve patients of their emotional tensions when visiting them."(1975, p.555).

~ Excerpted from "World History of Psychiatry" edited by John G. Howells