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HibaLife

WISDOM OF HIJAZ

Al-Hejaz, also Al-Hijaz (Arabic: الحجاز‎‎, al-Ḥiǧāz, literally “the Barrier”) , is a region in the west of present-day Saudi Arabia. The region is so called as it separates the land of the Najd in the east from the land of Tihamah in the west. It is also known as the “Western Province bordered on the west by the Red Sea, on the north by Jordan, on the east by the Najd, and on the south by Asir, it is the region where Mecca & Medina are located. As the site of Islam’s holiest places, the Hejaz has significance in the Arab and Islamic historical and political landscape.It is the land that witnessed the birth of the last prophet (may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) sent by Allah.

The tenets of Islam are derived from the Quran and the authentic traditions of Prophet Muhammad, known as the Sunnah which provide us with a manual for life – from our prayers, to our behavior with fellow humans, to what we eat & drink.

As a complete way of life, Islam stresses the importance of maintaining good health and offers the ways and the means to cope with ill health. Islam’s holistic approach to health includes treating our bodies with respect and nourishing them with, not only faith, but also with lawful, nutritious food. A major part of living life according to the Creator’s instructions is implementing a suitable diet. Choosing wholesome food and avoiding the unwholesome is essential to good health. God says in the Quran,

“Eat of the good things which We have provided for you.” (Quran 2:172)
“Eat of what is lawful and wholesome on the earth.” (Quran 2:168)

What one chooses to eat & drink makes an impact on their body. If one indulges in too much junk food, they may become physically weak. On the other hand, if one neglected their health they would fall sick & unable to carry out daily tasks. The guidance found in the Quran and the traditions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) advised humankind on how essential it is to take care of your body.

The Quran contains many verses of advice about healthy eating that relate to the interconnectedness of physical and spiritual health. Encouragement to eat only good and pure food is often combined with warnings to remember God and avoid Satan. Healthy eating not only satisfies hunger but also has an effect on how well we worship.

“O mankind, eat from whatever is on earth [that is] lawful and good and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy.” (Quran 2:168)

Just like Islam has provided us guidance for all facets of life, it provides us a comprehensive health etiquette in the form of Tib-e-Nabvi or The Prophetic Medicine, a comprehensive tradition of medicine rooted in the teachings of Islam.

Prophetic medicine

Among the numerous gifts brought to us through Hijaz, the Prophetic Medicine (Tib-e-Nabvi) is one of the most special gifts. Numerous Quranic verses and Prophetic narrations recommend certain foods, such as honey, dates, figs, milk, and olives, for their healing properties.

For example, the Quran mentions the healing properties of honey:

{And your Lord inspired to the bee, “Take for yourself among the mountains, houses, and among the trees and [in] that which they construct. Then eat from all the fruits and follow the ways of your Lord laid down [for you].” There emerges from their bellies a drink, varying in colors, in which there is healing for people. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who give thought.} [Quran 16:68-69]

Honey is also mentioned in Saheeh Al-Bukhaari in a narration by ‘Aa’ishah, may Allaah be pleased with her, wherein she says, “The Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu ‘alayhiwasallam, used to love sweet edible things and honey.” The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhiwasallam, also attributed many healing powers to honey, as when he recommended it to a man suffering from stomach upset.
Modern research has attributed honey with healing wounds and burns externally, and making the skin supple and smooth. Internally, honey is a cure-all, with specific benefits for the digestive system and as a tonic for general health and well-being. Similar benefits can be found from modern science for dates, olive oil, vinegar & salt indicating that if we follow the practices outlined in Tib-e-Nabvi we are provided with a detailed health etiquette system of what to eat & what to avoid.

While Islam went through difficult times, there were dedicated scholars who strove to preserve all aspects of Islamic literature. A precious part of this literature included the Ahadith of the Prophet (may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). In the second Hijri, scholars such as Abdul Maalik bin HabibAndisi (RA) began to extract the knowledge of medicine from Ahadith. The student of Imam Shaafi (RA), Muhammad bin Abu Bakr al Sani (RA), and Abu NaeemIsphahani, compiled two distinct volumes of Tib-e-Nabvi which included comprehensive explanations of the relevant Ahadith. This encyclopedia of knowledge gathered years ago shows us how the tradition of medicine is rooted in the teachings of Islam.

Limitations of modern medicine

The biggest limitation of modern medicine is that it is man-made. There is no denying the incredible improvement brought into our lives through medical advancements. From antibiotics to vaccines, modern medicine has given us tools to fight vicious infections and infectious diseases. Latest surgical techniques have enabled surgeons to operate upon the human tissue in minimally invasive procedures. Millions of people look towards modern medicine to provide them with solutions to numerous illnesses, chronic and acute.

While modern medicine has made incredible progress, it is still an earthly discipline. Even the most advanced medical scholars are blind to many afflictions known today to mankind. Despite the billions of dollars spent on medical research, people continue to suffer. When people don’t find relief in the pills, injections and inhalers that modern medicine is able to offer, they look for alternatives.

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