Does faith and prayer have a role in treatment? How does modern medicine view it?
There is enormous growth in all areas and all branches of science all over the world. All the work has contributed quite a lot to the material and spiritual development of humanity. There are productive works being carried out in the fields of astronomy, genetics, physics, chemistry biology, medicine, etc. Some of the related work concerns only certain groups of people of today but some discoveries concern all times and all people. Discoveries related to medicine and health are the most important ones. In medicine, a new kind of treatment which has not yet been proven to the full extent is mentioned a lot: soul-body relationship and the role of faith in treatment.
Researches show that people who have groundless fear and apprehension about health issues are more likely to fall sick and people who have greater will power and who believe in fate are more resistant to sicknesses. It is also known that people who have faith and tranquility are more responsive to treatment than people who have no faith and who have a lot of stress. The reason is that, apart from the chemical and material drugs, spiritual inspirations, a persons point of view with regards to sickness and life in general are important factors in strengthening a humans immune system. The more people are open to spiritual suggestions and have belief in fate, the stronger their immune system becomes and the more resistant they become to sicknesses.
It is certain that the good health of our thoughts, our emotions, our soul and our heart do have a positive effect on the health of our body. For example, when we experience events that affect us deeply or when we are very tired, our immune system weakens and we can fall sick more easily. Good signals are sent to our body when our mind, soul and heart are in a good state. So, we stand stronger against the flu and the cold. When the opposite is true, we are more inclined to become sick. The more negativeness we face in our family life and at work the more likely we are to fall ill. When we fall to depression or when we are tired and exhausted spiritually, falling sick is inevitable. (Henry Dreher (1995). The Immune Power Personality, Reprinted by Arrangement with Dutton Signet, A Division of Penguin Books USA, Inc.
Today, modern medicine has started to accept those truths, though not completely. We can already see that in the near future, modern medicine will bring that concept forward and be proud that it is a major scientific breakthrough. So, psychological factors will be given more importance for the sicknesses occurring from the relationship between the body and the soul and the case of faith will be more upfront. Heavenly religions have provided a solution to where modern medicine is trying to reach eventually. Especially, Islam and the Holy Quran have concluded those issues.
The related verses in the Quran are:
That (the Quran) is the truth and medicament for the believers. The non-believers have severity in their ears and the Quran seems closed and incomprehensible to them. (It is as if) they are being talked to from a far distance (and they dont understand). (Fussilat, 44).
For the believers, we bring down things of medicament and mercy form the Quran. The Quran only increases the damage of the tyrants. (al-Isra, 82).
It is stated that the Quran is all by itself a source of medicament because the Quran promises a healthy body by treating the soul, heart, emotions and senses.
Basing it on the Quran, Badiuzzaman Said Nursi wrote the Treatise for the Patients and it features preventive medicine and assistant curative techniques on soul-body relationships. The Treatise for the Patients is an important work that has no side effects and it is definitely useful. When patients read that pamphlet, listen to it or talk among themselves about the blessing aspects of sicknesses, they observe the fact that their immune systems and their resistance to sicknesses have strengthened and that the effects of medicine and treatment have increased in a short time.
Let us try to give a few explanatory and striking examples on the subject:
1. Prof. Dr. Mustafa Nutku explains:
My late father Dr. Sadullah Nutku and the psychiatry specialist the late Prof. Dr. Ayhan Songar were sitting next to each other on a plane.
They were not talking because they did not know each other. My late father took out the Treatise for Patients from his pocket and started to read it to himself. Prof. Dr. Ayhan Songar cast a furtive look at the book for some time and then they became acquainted. My father started to read the Treatise for Patients aloud. Prof. Dr. Ayhan Songar listened to it carefully because the he had never listened to the Risale Nur Collection before and it contained remedies that concerned him as a psychiatry specialist. At one point, he remarked:
While listening to those spiritual remedies, one wishes to be sick!
When Prof. Dr. Ayhan Songar had patients who came to see him for medical examination or treatment he used to advise most of them the Treatise for Patients.
Prof. Dr. Ayhan Songar had cancer during the last months of his life. During the last days of his life, cancer had spread to his whole body; and the book that he read during those last days and the book he had at his side during his death was the treasure of spiritual remedies: the Treatise for Patients.
2. From an article in Moral Dünyası Periodical by Zeynep Turkoglu:
Fatma Sahin is a radio programmer, a consultant in a center for the rehabilitation of the disabled, an idealist person and the third of four siblings. Most importantly, a disabled who overcame her obstacles. She has a strong will power. She is a graduate of the Department of Public Relations of a university. She is a consultant at a Disabled Center for Rehabilitation. She makes the program Overcomers of Disabilities at Moral FM.
She is a very comfortable person. You would expect a different attitude from a person with a sickness. Her sickness is a genetic muscular sickness. Let us listen to the rest from Fatma Sahin:
It took a very long time to get the right medical diagnosis, about 13-14 years. Yes, I was sick but how would I get along with my life. Somebody tells me that I cannot do anything and I should just sit aside. You feel like your life is over when you are just 25. Its the doctor who tells you that, actually it should be just the opposite. They should be the ones to inform you and encourage you
Unfortunately, thats how the doctor directed us. Your point of view can be very different. For a while, I used to be very sick because I was depressed. You are not related to anything, you feel you are not worth anything and everything is finished for you because you have expired. I used to have constant pains and the doctor could not diagnose anything because it was all because of stress. I had become a hypochondriac but I was so tired of coming back from the doctors empty-handed. I was angry. I was waiting for some serious sickness to be diagnosed so that I could die sooner. Thats how I felt.
You have a lot of time when you do not have anything to do. I tried to fill that time by reading. I read a lot. I read the Treatise for Patients. I also had interest in hadiths related to ill people like me. They used to boost my morale very much. Actually, that itself was a different process. When I first accepted my sickness, I first thought that it was a punishment given to me or to my family. Then, there was the period when I thought: I am glad I am sick. Otherwise, who knows where I would have wasted my health. Then, I started to read more. You would not know; I was almost going to fly!
Those examples are not the first and will not be the last because the soul-body relationship is certain. The spiritual nourishment and treatment of the soul will relieve the body materially and it will eliminate sicknesses originating from stress and disbelief of fate. When somebody has faith, the Divine mercy under the material and physical sickness will be apparent. So, one will be able to love sicknesses and thank Allah rather than have rebellious feelings.
The lessons taught to us by the Treatise for Patients:
Showing patience towards sicknesses is like prayer, fasting and other kinds of worship. It will gain us many good deeds and we should try to benefit from it.
Sicknesses are a means of understanding the Curegiver (Shafi) name of the Almighty and seeking refuge in Him.
Sicknesses remind us to turn our heads towards our real life; the infinite one.
Sicknesses remind us of the importance of health and that we should remember the bounties given to us by Allah and increase our thanks.
It shows us by reminding death that this world is transitory and that our deception by it is destruction and disaster.
Sicknesses make respect, mercy and love seeds emerge between us. They also refresh the old friendships.
One way to lighten the burden of sickness is to eliminate the curiosity and groundless apprehensions. It can be achieved by faith and obedience to Allah.
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