Proper food & medicine – Tibb-e-Nabawi

Proper food & medicine

رَبَّنَا وَاجْعَلْنَا مُسْلِمَيْنِ لَكَ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِنَا أُمَّةً مُّسْلِمَةً لَّكَ وَأَرِنَا مَنَاسِكَنَا وَتُبْ عَلَيْنَآ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ

Prophet’s Guidance on treating various illnesses with food and medicine the body is used to

This is one of the major pillars and the most beneficial parts of the science of medicine. When the doctor errs in prescribing the correct medicine, the patient will be harmed while the doctor is thinking that he is benefiting him. Only the most ignorant doctors will fail to recognize the importance of using the most favorable types of foods and medicines that are the most suitable for different patients. For instance, the Bedouins neither benefit from Nenuphar (Nilofar ~ similar to carrot and used as a drink) or rose-syrup, nor do these remedies have any effect on them, nor would the majority of the medicines used in villages and cities have much effect on them. This fact is known through experience and observation.

Those who read through this book will find that the Prophetic medicine and remedies are all suitable and favorable to the sick person and what he is accustomed to of food and medicine. We have stated that this is a pillar of Medical Science, as the best medical authorities concur. For instance, the renowned Arab doctor, Al-­Harith bin Kaladah, said, “Diet is the best cure; and the stomach is the residence of ailment and give each body what it is accustomed to (of food and medicine)”. In another statement, Al-Harith said, “Azm is a cure”, meaning hunger. In fact, going on a diet is a better cure for plethoric illnesses (having an excess of blood in the body and therefore looking reddish), except when there is a fear that the condition would flare up with septic accumulation and aggravate the illness.

Al-Harith stated that stomach is the residence of the disease. The stomach is a curved organ that looks like a gourd and consists of three layers of delicate and neural components called fibers and surrounded by flesh. The fibers of one layer are arranged longitudinally, while the second layer fibers are horizontal and the third slanting. The tip of the stomach has more nerves, while the bottom has more flesh and its interior is coated and fuzzy. The stomach is located in the middle of the abdomen, leaning more to the right side, created in this shape by the Wisdom of the All-Wise Creator. The stomach is indeed the residence of the ailment; it is the center of digestion and maturing process of all foods and drinks. After that, the digested food descends to the liver and the intestines. Meanwhile, excess amounts of partially digested substances; that the stomach was not able to completely digest remain, either because the amount of nourishment was excessive, spoiled, or were not consumed in the proper order, or all of these reasons. Some of this excrement remains in the stomach and the body is not able to completely discard them, and this is why the stomach is the residence of ailments. Al-Harith indicates the importance of eating less food and preventing the heart from fulfilling its desires.

As for one’s being accustomed (to certain things and foods), it is a part of the human nature. Habit has such a great influence on the person and on his body, that if we conduct an experiment on several people who have the same characteristics, the result will vary considerably. For instance, we present the example of three young, hot-tempered men, one of them is used to eating hot foods, second is used to cold foods, while the third man is accustomed to mild foods. When the first person eats honey, it would not harm him, unlike the second person, while the third person would be slightly bothered. Habit, therefore, is an important basis on which preserving the health and healing ailments relies. That is why Prophet Muhammad Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam said that each person should be treated according to what he is accustomed to of medicine and food.