Hope as Medicine

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There are many Prophetic hadiths in Bukhari, Muslim and others that show that people were accustomed to go to the Prophet regularly and tell him about their ailments. He would advise them to resort to medicine first and then pray to God to get rid of the disease. On several occasions he would himself suggest certain medicines. For instance, in case of loss of appetite he frequently advised his followers to take talbina, a preparation made from barley.


For constipation he used to recommend the use of senna. He was also in favor of regular use of honey for keeping fit. Similarly, for different ailments he would advise the use of olives, black cumin, chicory, endive fenugreek, ginger, marjoram, saffron, vinegar, and watercress. Hadiths on these medicines and others show the concern of the Prophet for the welfare and good health of his followers. For even apparently small matters like drinking water, eating food, and keeping clean and tidy he also gave advice. He is noted to have said, “Cleanliness is half of faith.”


Some of the hadiths on black cumin, senna, and watercress are very thought provoking.


For instance, the Prophet is reported to have said that, “Black cumin is a remedy for every disease except death.” The Prophet expressed similar views on the efficacy of senna and cress.


The style and language of these hadiths are a clear indication of the fact that the Prophet placed great stress on medicines. These

hadiths also put emphasis on confidence building of the ill towards their diseases and agonies suffered. Very rational advice was given that none should be disheartened by the intensity and duration of the disease because remedies have been provided by nature. They were also advised not to be afraid of impending death.


Once during the time of the Prophet, a person committed suicide as he could not bear the agony of his disease. The Prophet condemned the act and refused to participate in the last rites.


Thus, hopelessness, despondency, dejection and frustration on account of serious disease and pain are against the spirit and tenets of Islamic medical ethics, as shown by the tradition of the Prophet.



Source: Prophetic Medicine & Herbalism



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