Is it possible to lengthen the lifespan of man?

Dr. Mocay, a researcher from Cornel University, put forth that eating little retards aging through the experiments he performed on mice. He fed the first of the two groups of mice of the same age with the best foods abundantly and he let the second group live nearly hungry. As a result, he detected mice that lived with half empty stomachs lived 20% longer than the first group.

Dr. Walford observed that mice, which had normally a lifespan of 26 months, lived about 80 months through a special nurturing diet he applied on them. The 65-year-old doctor says he feels himself at the age of 30 through the diet he applies and he goes hungry two days of the week. It reminds the Monday and Thursday fasts recommended in the Sunnah (acts and deeds of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)). He tells human life can be extended up to the age of 120 in this way.

As a result of his researches he performed on butterflies growing up by having metamorphosis, the English physiologist Dr. Vicent has detected the existence of a hormone which supplies juvenility. The juvenile (youth hormone), secreted from corpus allatum gland existing on a butterfly at the phase of larva keeps the animal at the phase of larva, that is, keeps the animal young. He inoculated that hormone to a mature larva that was just about to transform into a butterfly. As a result, he detected the larva did not transform into a butterfly but always remained at the phase of larva.

In a mice species in Australia, male mice die just after mating. It was discovered that a hormone caused that instantaneous death as a result of researches. That hormone was produced by adrenal glands by the order of pituitary. In the experiments he made, by taking out the pituitary glands of old mice, Dr. Deneka found out that those mice gained their juvenility again partially and they did not die. Dr. Deneka asserted a specific aging hormone might also exist in human beings, but its effect was not as instantaneous in humans as in mice and it caused the body to get older and die at the end of a normal life between 60 and 80 years. However, since one cannot live long without pituitary gland, it is not possible to extend lifespan in that way.

Another research is about the subject that aging completely depends on spiritual activities. It is realized that although being at a very old age, people who are always among young people and are in close contact with them are very fresh and vigorous in comparison to their peers. On the contrary, it is seen that drowsy and spiritually finished persons who are through with everything and who do not participate in any activities get older much more quickly and come close to death step by step. According to statistical data, although people who do not participate in any activities after getting retired die within a few years, people who continue their mental and physical activities live longer, keep their vigor and are more resistant against illnesses.

Approximately 1500 researchers in the United States of America are making researches about old age and death and total funds spent for those researchers exceed millions of dollars in a year. Although the average lifespan seems to get longer by curing most of the illnesses and by paying attention to rules for health, a definite remedy for old age and death has not been found yet. (Scientific American, 1990,2: Rechercht, 1989, 3: Senecas Comprehension of Ethics)

Let us specify that the appointed hour of death in Allahs Divine knowledge does not change. It is called as the determined appointed hour of death. However, changing of the appointed hour of death written in the Preserved Tablet or written by angels –within determined conditions- is possible. It is called the ordained appointed hour of death. Some hadiths meaning: Give alms; cure your patients through alms. Certainly, alms repel accidents, diseases/illnesses. Alms help your lifespan get longer and your good deeds to double. (Kanzul Ummal, h. no: 16113) point to that fact.

As the determined appointed hour of death is called as inescapable appointed hour of death, the ordained appointed hour of death is also called as the suspended appointed hour of death. The determined appointed hour of death is the definite and the changeless appointed hour of death existing in Allahs knowledge, in the Pre-eternal Tablet. The ordained appointed hour of death is the appointed hour of death that appears to be definite in the Preserved Tablet and that can change due to the conditions. (It also has a form that never changes.)

Since the determined appointed hour of death is changeless, it is fundamental. The ordained appointed hour of death written in the Tablet of Appearance and Dissolution cannot be in contrast to it. Consequently, the realization of the ordained appointed hour of death means the realization of the determined appointed hour of death. (cf.. B. S. Nursi, The Flashes, p. 152; Barla, p. 349.)

Those two kinds of appointed hours of death (terms) are pointed in the verse having the meaning He it is who created you from clay, and then decreed a stated term (for you). And there is in his presence another determined term; yet ye doubt within yourselves. (the Quran, the Cattle (Al-Anam); 2 (6: 2)). The interpreters have different commentaries about that subject. We have preferred that opinion. (See Alusi, Ibn Ashur, the interpretation of the relevant verse.) The concept of the verse might have pointed to all those opinions, too.

In the verse having the meaning Nor is a man long lived granted length of days, nor is a part cut off from his life, But is in a Decree (ordained). All this is easy to Allah. (the Quran, the Originator of Creation (Fatir); 11 (35: 11)), it is declared that lifespan can be shorter or longer from its normal –natural- course.

The points below should be evaluated in the framework mentioned above.

- Within the limits Allahs knowledge stipulates and His wisdom approves, through some spiritual merits such as alms- respect and obedience to parents, it is possible for lifespan to get longer, it is also possible to increase the upper limit of normal standard of life-time in case of the improvement of physical conditions supplying the perpetuation of the biological processing of life.

- According to Badiuzzaman, the verse, which mentions Jesuss miracle and which has the meaning I shall heal the blind and the leper and I shall quicken the dead, by Gods leave. (Quran, the Family of Imran (Al Imran); 49 (3: 49)), points that remedies may be found for even the most chronic ills and it is even possible to give a temporary tinge of life to death. And in meaning Almighty God is saying through the figurative tongue of this verse: O man! I gave two gifts to one of My servants who abandoned the world for Me. One was the remedy for spiritual ills, and the other the cure for physical sicknesses. Moribund hearts were raised to life through the light of guidance, and sick people who were as though dead found health through his breath and cure. You too may find the cure for every ill in the pharmacy of My wisdom. Work to find it! If you seek, you will certainly find. Thus, this verse traces the limit which is far ahead of mans present progress in medicine. It hints at it, and urges him towards it. (The Words, 265)
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