How were diseases cured during the era of the Prophet and the companions? Will you give information about preventive medicine?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

- It is not possible to say that there were modern surgical operations at that time. The methods of treatment that were in the foreground then were cupping, honey sherbet and branding with fire (cauterization). There are sound narrations showing that the Prophet (pbuh) used cauterization but there are also narrations showing that he did not like it and that he even prohibited it. (see Majmauz-Zawaid, 5/91, 97) As a matter of fact, the following hadith of the Prophet (pbuh) exists in Sahih Bukhari: “Healing is in three things: A gulp of honey, cupping, and branding with fire (cauterizing). However, I do not like cauterization.” (Bukhari, Tibb, 3-4). Cauterization is a method of treatment used among Arabs for a long time but it gives a lot of pain to the patient. Therefore, the following statement is famous among Arabs: “Cauterization is the last method of treatment.” (see Ibn Hajar, the explanation of the hadith in question) Treatment with cauterization is advised in some hadiths and its practice is seen in some other hadiths but it is forbidden in some hadiths. Scholars interpret it as follows: "Since it is a method of treatment that causes suffering, that is dangerous and that necessitates skill, one should not resort to it unless he has to and unless he finds a qualified person to do it."

When the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was wounded in the Battle of Uhud, they first washed the wound with water; when Hz. Fatima saw that bleeding did not stop, she burned a piece of mat and placed it on the wound; then, bleeding stopped. (Bukhari, Tibb, 27)

Surgical operation is regarded as one of the indispensable and highly effective means of treatment today. Since this method was not probably used in treatment in the Arab community and in neighboring nations of that time, it is not mentioned positively or negatively in the hadiths of the Prophet (pbuh). However, it is stated in the narrations that the tonsils of the children suffering from throat infection used to be removed with a finger enwrapped in a piece cloth for treatment and that the Prophet intervened in this; he recommended using aloeswood, which is a method of using throat drops. It is not possible to prohibit the method of surgery acting upon that incident. It is stated that the chest of the Prophet was opened in the chapter of al-Inshirah; it is also stated in the narrations that the chest of the Prophet was miraculously opened several times, that the inside was cleaned and sutured, and that even the traces of sutures were evident. (İbrahim Canan, Kütüb-i Sitte Tercüme ve Şerhi, Akçağ Yayınları: 11/378- 397)

- It is possible to divide the importance the Prophet gives to health into two as preventive medicine and treatment. We see that preventive medicine includes cleaning, healthy and halal nutrition, halal sports and entertainment, timely and adequate rest, fulfilling worship properly and on time, invoking Allah and avoiding haram things. We see that the following principles are advised related to treatment: It is Allah who sends illness and cure. Allah created a cure for every illness. Cure should be sought in case of illness. Various treatment methods to be used for cure are reported as methods such as diet, bloodletting, cauterization, surgery, medication, change of place, ruqyah (protective or healing words), praying to Allah, reinforcing spirituality, patience, experiences of non-Muslims. (ibid, 11/389)

Every word and practice of the Prophet (pbuh) was followed by all Muslims, especially the Companions; they tried to make them a way of living. Practices related to daily life were evaluated almost in the same way. It is possible to come across the traces of this understanding in many resources of hadith that were written afterwards. As a matter of fact, along with the special chapters related to Tibb an-Nabawi (Prophetic Medicine), separate books were written regarding the issue. Prophetic Medicine literature was formed. Abu Nuaym al-Isfahani’s book called at-Tibb an-Nabawi is one of the oldest and original books of resource in this subject.

The recommendations of drugs and methods of treatment presented in those books in the light of hadiths are important in that they reflect the medicine of the Era of the Prophet and the Companions. However, the most important one is that “preventive medicine” comes first in the protection of health.

Dr. Mustafa Dönmez studied Abu Nuaym and his book called at-Tibb an-Nabawi and showed the importance the Prophet (pbuh) gave to preventive medicine. The advice of the Prophet (pbuh) regarding the issue can be summarized as follows:

Fasting, tahajjud prayer, protection of health during journeys, elimination of the troubles that may arise during journeys, balanced nutrition, hygiene, protection from cold, sitting in scenic places, living in healthy homes and towns, traveling, avoiding traveling in bad climatic conditions, keeping away from places with epidemic diseases, avoiding staying in the sun a lot, lowering the body temperature in very hot weather, choosing suitable times for regular sleep, avoiding harmful foods, eating honey and citrus to stay healthy, using specially prepared paste to strengthen the body, avoiding foods that are unknown and are not appealing to appetite, removing some harms caused by food with drinks, using senna for diarrhea, using snuff and mouth medication regularly, having cupping done periodically, taking foods with high nutritional value in case of a decrease in body resistance, benefits of having a bath in curative public baths, benefits of vomiting in diarrheal disorders, eating ajwah dates against poisoning, using perfume, applying kohl on the eyes, paying attention to hair care and cleanliness of clothes, looking at the scenery that will relax the eyes and choosing colors of clothes.

It is remarkable that the Prophet (pbuh) gives examples related to his own practices about health in the hadiths in order to encourage people to do good deeds and to avoid bad deeds. Those measures correspond exactly to the principle “protecting health is better than taking drugs” emphasized by modern medicine (Dr. Mustafa Dönmez, Ebû Nuaym ve Et-Tıbbu’n-Nebevî İsimli Eseri Üzerine Uludağ Üniversitesi İlâhiyat Fakültesi Dergisi, Volume: 16, Issue: 1, 2007 p. 321 ff)

The main cause of diseases is indicated as extreme distress in the narrations. (see Abu Nuaym, at-Tibb an-Nabawi, I/315) Some material and spiritual methods of treatment are advised in order to eliminate extreme distress and stress. When the diseases of that period and the forms of medication and treatment are taken into consideration, it is seen that the methods of treatment and the medical materials are relatively limited. It is remarkable that not even one method of treatment is advised for some illnesses and that measures of preventive medicine are advised instead. (ibid)

We also advise you to read the following article regarding the issue:

Preventive Medicine in the Quran

The aim of preventive medicine called "hygiene" is to protect people against diseases. The main principle of protection against diseases is “cleanliness”. It is Islam that gave preventive medicine to humanity in its real sense. Muslims taught the Europe of the Middle Ages about toilet and bath.

The plague epidemic that broke out in 542 in the West and caused the death of millions of people lasted for forty years since its nature was not known. After that about twenty-five plague epidemics occurred in Europe until 1862, decreasing the population of Europe to half. On the other hand the Prophet (pbuh)said, "If you hear of an outbreak of plague in a country, do not go there; but if the plague breaks out in a place while you are in it, do not leave that place." (Bukhari, Tibb 30; Muslim, Salam 92)

The method of "quarantine", which the European doctors were able to discover hundreds of years later, had been put forward by the Messenger of Allah (pbuh).

Islamic medicine (the decrees introduced by the Quran and hadiths) gives more importance to protection from diseases than treating them; therefore, hygiene and preventive medicine play an important role in both theoretical and practical evaluations. (S. Hossein Nasr, İslâm ve İlim, (translated by İlhan Kutluer), İst.1989, p.164.) In fact, protection of health exists in all medical systems. However, there is no other system that emphasizes it so consciously and insistently. That is the ultimate goal of modern medicine. Despite the existence of so many technical facilities, the nature of many diseases is not known and new diseases called "diseases of civilization" are added to them. Ill people must definitely be treated but the main goal must be to eliminate the causes of diseases. With the principles it has introduced, the religion of Islam orders cleanliness, which is the basic principle of struggling against diseases: "Allah loveth those who make themselves pure." (at-Tawba, 108) "Cleanliness is half of belief." (Muslim, Taharah 1)

The decrees related to preventive medicine in the Quran and hadiths can be listed under the following headings:

1. Protection from Infectious Diseases.

2. Avoiding Harmful Foods and Drinks.

3. Body Cleanliness and Body Health.

4. Protecting the Body Health with Balanced Nutrition.

Not only did the Quran provide Muslims with religious, moral, civil, military, penal and political laws but also taught them the most perfect hygiene laws ever known. In fact, we can say that the Quran aims to protect and preserve the human species and their well-being with the decrees it has introduced not only in fields related to preventive medicine but also in all other fields.

For, Islam and its supreme book, the Quran, address man in the first place and target man with everything. For this reason, the Quran wants people to be protected from all kinds of physical and mental illnesses and introduces sound and fundamental principles in this regard. These sound and fundamental principles introduced by the Quran primarily protect man from physical and spiritual illnesses, but when he gets sick, it shows man the ways and methods of treatment related to the illnesses. With the principles and rules the Quran introduced in the field of preventive medicine, it addressed not only the people living in the era when it was sent down but also in all ages; the value and nature of the many principles and rules it imposed could be understood only after centuries as the information in this field increased.

As a matter of fact, detailed information is given in the Quran related to clothing, sleep, body and skin cleanliness in various aspects, rules related to food and beverage, attitudes toward dwellings, dead people and homes; in addition, there are important rules in many issues related to hygiene.
(Opitz Karl, Die Medizin im Koran, Kur'ân'da Tabâbet, (translated by Feridun Nafiz Uzluk), Ankara 1971, p. 45.)

People are advised not to go to extremes and follow a moderate way; they are ordered to act moderately especially related to eating and drinking. God Almighty states the following regarding the issue: "Eat and drink: But waste not by excess, for Allah loveth not the wasters." (al-A'raf, 31)

Describing extravagance (waste) as the reason for harms and illnesses, Mustafa al-Maraghi states that God Almighty orders people to eat and drink clean things and not to waste by excess in a way that will harm their health. (al- Maraghi, Ahmad Mustafa, Tafsirul-Maraghi, Beirut 1974, VIII,133.) The Quran prohibits approaching women in their menstruation and puerperal periods. (al-Baqara, 222) It explains in a decent and medically wise way that intercourse during menstruation is absolutely harmful. The science of medicine imposed the same thing due to the same reason. (Dr. Fritz Kahn, Tenasül Hayatımız, (translated by Dr. Feridun Frik), Cemil Cahit Cem, Ist.,1971, p. 75.)

The most important issue of medicine today is "preventive medicine". Preventive medicine introduces the rules and principles that protect people when they are healthy and do not make them ill. Vaccination is an important means of it. The first one of the basic principles put forward by preventive medicine, the first preventive measure to be taken by healthy people, is to prevent infection and to give importance to cleanliness and food. The Quran brought these principles 1400 years ago.

We can briefly explain the decrees of preventive medicine in the Quran and hadiths, which we have listed above, as follows:

1. Protection from Infectious Diseases

The religion of Islam and its supreme book, the Quran, introduced some preliminary preventive measures and ordered the implementation of these measures in order to ensure the protection and survival of human beings and human species. The principle of preventiveness and deterrence is the first one of the preliminary measures introduced by the Quran. According to this principle, the Quran strictly forbids extramarital intercourses and the roads leading to such intercourses, introducing measures in this regard.

As in the past, there are some infectious diseases that are dangerous for humans and human species today. Among these infectious diseases, the most common ones have been venereal diseases such as syphilis, gonorrhea, chancroid and AIDS, which is a disease that threatens all humanity now. That the most important factor in the transmission of these diseases is the extramarital intercourses and homosexuality shows everyone the wisdom behind Islam's determined and serious attitude towards these deeds. (İbrahim Canan, Hadis Ansiklopedisi., Akçağ yay., XI, 383.)

The religion of Islam prohibits prostitution due to this reason too along with some other religious reasons and closes the ways leading to prostitution. For this reason, God Almighty states the following:

"Come not nigh to shameful deeds. Whether open or secret." (al-An'am, 151), "Nor come nigh to adultery: for it is a shameful (deed) and an evil." (al-Isra, 32)

The harm caused by fornication in the social structure is very deep and very dangerous. The first and absolute condition of the social system and social structure is family and generation. Fornication is the strongest cause that destroys these two elements and hence the social system. In order to maintain the social system and to protect individuals from these disasters by which they may be hit, the Quran prohibits extramarital affairs, which form the source of venereal diseases and other infectious diseases, and blocks all kinds of prostitution with the order "do not approach", protecting human generations from this disaster.

The Quran's method to prevent fornication and extramarital sexual intercourses is to close the roads leading to fornication and to introduce preventive measures. The Quran regards looking at those who are forbidden to look at as the first way leading to fornication, and orders men first (an-Nur, 30) and women after that (an-Nur, 31) not to look at the people and places that are forbidden to look. Thus, by forbidding looking, which is described as the first way leading to fornication, the Quran forbids the other ways leading to fornication such as smiling, speaking, meeting and remaining alone and fornication itself. (Celal Kırca, Kur'an-ı Kerim'de Fen Bilimleri, p. 235-237)

It is necessary to be careful about the cleanliness of foods and drinks in order to be protected infectious diseases in particular. There are clear decrees in the Quran regarding the issue: "This day are (all) things good and pure made lawful unto you." (al-Maida, 5), "O ye who believe! Eat of the good things that We have provided for you." (al-Baqara, 172), "O ye people! Eat of what is on earth, Lawful and good." (al-Baqara, 168).

2. Avoiding Harmful Foods and Drinks

We can regard the harams introduced by our religion as a part of preventive medicine. The harms of alcoholic drinks, drugs, carrion, blood, and pork in terms of health are issues that are known by everyone.

3. Body Cleanliness and Body Health

Cleanliness is one of the most important issues to which both medicine and preventive medicine (hygiene) give importance and pay attention. Undoubtedly, cleaning the body is in the first place among the types of cleaning. Islam dealt with the issue of cleaning the body, which modern medicine emphasizes today, both in terms of bodily and spiritual cleanliness and health many centuries ago, introducing serious principles and decrees in this regard. These principles include precautions regarding preventive medicine and aim to protect human health. We will examine this issue under two headings:

a. Material Cleanliness:

The fact that Islam accepts material cleanliness as an indispensable condition for some deeds of worship and even the key to prayer (salah) clearly expresses how important material cleanliness is. For example, the key to prayer, which is accepted as the pillar of the religion, is cleaning the body.

b. Cleanliness of the Body

Islam has rendered cleaning one of the conditions of belief. The prerequisite for the acceptance of worship is material and spiritual cleanliness; cleanliness is also a condition of the perfection in belief. The Prophet (pbuh) states the following in a hadith "Cleanliness is half of belief." (Muslim, Taharah, 1) The cleanliness whose importance is mentioned here is cleanliness in general. In other words, both material and spiritual cleanliness are included. (İbrahim Canan, İslâm'da Çevre Sağlığı, Istanbul 1986, p.66)

Cleanliness of the body is divided into two: cleanliness from najasah (material cleanliness), and cleanliness from hadath (spiritual cleanliness).

Taharah (Cleanliness) from Hadath: Hadath is a state of virtual impurity that prevents a person from performing certain kinds of worship. Cleanliness is also divided into two as major hadath and minor hadath.

a. Major hadath: the states necessitating ghusl like janabah (after sexual intercourse and wet dream), menstruation and puerperium.

b. Minor hadath: things necessitating wudu like urinating, having a bowel movement and other things that invalidate wudu.

Accordingly, cleanliness from hadath means to be cleaned from the state of "hadath" by making ghusl or wudu, which is a type of cleaning whose spiritual aspect is weighted. In the Quran, wudu is ordered (al-Maida, 6) and attraction is drawn to the role of water in material cleaning. As it is known, prayer means entering into the presence of Allah. Both spiritual and bodily preparation are necessary in order to enter into His presence. Wudu is the prerequisite for this spiritual and especially physical preparation. (Sayyid Qutub, Fi Zilalil-Quran, Beirut 1980, II, 849) Ghusl is ordered after the states of janabah, menstruation and puerperium; in addition, the Prophet ordered Muslims to make ghusl at least once a week. (Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad I,304) "O ye who believe! Approach not prayers with a mind befogged, until ye can understand all that ye say,- nor in a state of ceremonial impurity (Except when travelling on the road), until after washing your whole body." (an-Nisa, 43) "They ask thee concerning women´s courses. Say: They are a hurt and a pollution: So keep away from women in their courses, and do not approach them until they are clean." (al-Baqara, 222)

Taharah (Cleanliness) from Najasah: Material dirt and impurities are called "najasah".  It means the material dirt that smears man’s body, clothes and the place where he prays. It is necessary to eliminate that dirt for the validity of the prayer (salah). Thus, cleanliness from najasah means cleaning the substances regarded najis (dirty) by the religion on the body or clothes. For instance, blood, sperm and urine or the clothes smeared by them are dirty. Cleaning such clothes is taharah (cleanliness).

ab. Cleaning the hands.

ac. Cleaning the mouth and the nose.

ad. Other advice related to cleanliness:

    1. Natural Cleanliness.

    2. Cleanliness of the Clothes.

    3. Cleanliness of the Place.

    4. Cleanliness of Water.

b. Spiritual Cleanliness:

It is wrong to limit cleaning only to material cleaning because "cleanliness of the heart", "cleanliness of the soul", "good intentions" and "high ethics" are as important as, even more important than, cleanliness of the body. Islam stipulates balance between man’s spiritual and material aspects as it does in everything. Therefore, it is impossible to distinguish between material and spiritual cleanliness in Islam. In most cases, spiritual and immaterial cleanliness is predominant, but we generally see them intertwined.

In the Quran, in the verses where cleaning is mentioned, not only cleanliness from material impurity but also the following aspects of cleanliness are meant:

a. Cleanliness in the sense of the cleanliness of the heart is mentioned as follows:  "... That makes for greater purity for your hearts and for theirs." (al-Ahzab, 53)

b. Cleanliness from prostitution and fornication: "... Drive out the followers of Lut from your city: these are indeed men who want to be clean and pure." (an-Naml, 56)

c. Cleanliness to protect goods from being dirtied by haram: " Of their goods, take alms, that so thou mightest purify and sanctify them.", (at-Tawba, 103)

d. Cleanliness from the impurity of idolatry and telling lies: "O Messenger! Let not those grieve thee, who race each other into unbelief: (whether it be) among those who say "We believe" with their lips but whose hearts have no faith; or it be among the Jews,- men who will listen to any lie,- will listen even to others who have never so much as come to thee. They change the words from their (right) times and places: they say, ‘If ye are given this, take it, but if not, beware!’ If any one´s trial is intended by Allah, thou hast no authority in the least for him against Allah. For such - it is not Allah´s will to purify their hearts. For them there is disgrace in this world, and in the Hereafter a heavy punishment." (al-Maida, 41) "O ye who believe! Truly the Pagans are unclean; so let them not, after this year of theirs, approach the Sacred Mosque." (at-Tawba, 28) Spiritual cleanliness is mentioned in the verses above and in similar ones.

4. Protecting the Body Health with Balanced Nutrition

One of the most important issues of preventive medicine is nutrition. It is one of the primary duties of preventive medicine to protect health by taking enough and balanced nutrients and to prevent diseases that may occur in the body by doing so.

The best measure to prevent many diseases is healthy nutrition. Undernutrition and malnutrition do not lead to a major disease directly, but there are cases of disorders, weakness and low spirits caused by them. It is necessary to distinguish between hunger and malnutrition. There is little or no food in hunger. It occurs during great famines, wars, siege, migration, etc., causing mass nutritional diseases. (Zeki Râgıp Yalım, Vücut Bakımı, Ankara 1944, p. 2)

Since one of the main aims of the religion of Islam is to protect human health, its great book, the Quran, indicates some remarkable signs regarding the issue and asks people to think deeply about them. (Jawhari, Tantawi, al-Jawahir fi Tafsiril-Quran, Egypt 1350/1931(I-XXVI), I,241-243.)

The Quran, which touches on remarkable points related to food and food types, which are essential in nutrition, mentions high-protein foods such as meat, fish and milk, which contain necessary and very useful things for the growth, strengthening and repair of the human body, and whose importance are understood better in this age, vegetable and fruits such as dates, grapes, wheat, pomegranate, garlic, gherkin, onions, lentils, figs and olives and draws our attention to these foods. Mentioning vegetable oil and healing honey, the Quran indicates the importance of honey, in particular, in treatment. (Afzalur Rahman, Hz. Muhammed (s.a.s.), Sîret Ans., I,342)

The Quran also mentions the elements the necessary additional elements too: "Then let man look at his food, (and how We provide it): For that We pour forth water in abundance, And We split the earth in fragments, And produce therein corn, And Grapes and nutritious plants, And Olives and Dates, And enclosed Gardens, dense with lofty trees, And fruits and fodder,- For use and convenience to you and your cattle." (Abasa, 24-32) (Afzalur-Rahman, ibid, I,343)

Those food items mentioned in the Quran are foods that include protein, carbohydrates and fats, which are essential for human health. Those food items are mentioned in the Quran in order to draw the attention to them and to indicate the need for them. Nutritionists in this age also state the same thing because issues such as food selection, their effects on health, harms of overnutrition or malnutrition have an important place in nutrition.

Tantawi Jawhari states in the interpretation of the verse 61 of the chapter of al-Baqara in particular that the vegetables mentioned in that verse are of great importance in terms of medicine, especially preventive medicine, and mentions the importance of those foods in human health. (Jawhari, ibid, I, 78)

God Almighty states the following about honey, which is used as medication in medicine and has an important place in nutrition: "And thy Lord taught the Bee to build its cells in hills, on trees, and in (men´s) habitations; Then to eat of all the produce (of the earth), and find with skill the spacious paths of its Lord: there issues from within their bodies a drink of varying colors, wherein is healing for men: verily in this is a Sign for those who give thought." (an-Nahl, 68-69)

When we look at the Quran, we see balanced nutrition. The most important elements of nourishment in nutrition are proteins: We see the following verses in the Quran: "And he hastened to entertain them with a roasted calf." (Hud, 69) "Then he turned quickly to his household, brought out a fatted calf, And placed it before them. He said, ‘Will ye not eat?’" (adh- Dhariyat, 26-27) Besides, the Quran mentions poultry as flesh that is desired: "... And the flesh of fowls, any that they may desire..." (al-Waqia, 21). We see the following related to the superiority of proteins to other food items in the chapter of al-A’raf: "We sent down to them manna and quails, (saying): ‘Eat of the good things We have provided for you.’" (al-A'raf, 160) However, ungrateful people wanted Allah to change those good foods with inferior ones: "And remember ye said: ‘O Moses! we cannot endure one kind of food (always); so beseech thy Lord for us to produce for us of what the earth groweth, -its pot-herbs, and cucumbers, Its garlic, lentils, and onions.’ He said: ‘Will ye exchange the better for the worse?’" (al-Baqara, 61). That statement clearly indicates the superiority of proteins to other vegetables.

We also see that fish is mentioned as a type of protein: "It is He Who has made the sea subject, that ye may eat thereof flesh that is fresh and tender, and that ye may extract therefrom ornaments to wear." (an-Nahl, 14). We see the following statement in the chapter of Fatir: "Yet from each (kind of water) do ye eat flesh fresh and tender." (Fatir, 12)

The importance of fresh milk is expressed as follows: "And in cattle (too) ye have an instructive example: from within their bodies We produce (milk) for you to drink; there are, in them, (besides), numerous (other) benefits for you; and of their (meat) ye eat." (al-Mu'minun, 21). The following is stated in the chapter of an-Nahl: "And verily in cattle (too) will ye find an instructive sign. From what is within their bodies between excretions and blood, We produce, for your drink, milk, pure and agreeable to those who drink it." (an-Nahl, 66)

Vegetables and fruits such as dates and grapes, wheat, pomegranate, garlic, onions, lentils, figs and olives and honey are also mentioned in the Quran. In short, we should state that all nutritional elements that are curative for humans and balanced nutrition are included in the Quran. (Polat Has, Peygamberimiz'den (s.a.s.) Günümüze Beslenme, İzmir 1991, T.Ö.V. yayınları, p. 15–17)

a. Food Items and Nutrition:

All kinds of food that living beings take by way of mouth in order to survive are called "nutrients". Nutrition means to take the elements that are necessary for human growth, development, and healthy and productive living for a long time and to use them in the body. (Ayşe Baysal, Beslenme, (pbuh) .4)

The energy needed for the growth of children, the functioning of the organs, the renewal of aging cells, and carrying out daily activities are always provided through nutrients and nutrition.

Let us deal briefly with excessive and unbalanced nutrition, and inadequate and unbalanced nutrition here.

aa. excessive and unbalanced nutrition:

Balanced and moderate eating is as important as the food that is eaten in nutrition. Unbalanced nutrition through eating excessively will lead to obesity. In fact, every extra kilo loaded on the body's natural weight means a load on the basic organs.

The following is stated in the Quran regarding the issue: (Kulu washrabu wa la tusrifu, innahu la yuhibbul musrifin) "Eat and drink: But waste not by excess." (al-A'raf, 31).

The Prophet (pbuh) states the following: "The human does not fill any container that is worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for the son of Adam to eat what will support his back. If this is not possible, a third for food, a third for drink, and third for his breath." (Tirmidhi, Zuhd 47; Ibn Majah, Atima 50).

Interpreting the verse "Eat and drink: But waste not by excess" in the best way, the Messenger of Allah states the following:

"What I fear most about my ummah is being pot-bellied, sleeping a lot and laziness." (Jamiussaghir, I,190) This hadith states that a Muslim has to eat moderately and in a balanced way and that not to eat and drink excessively is a necessity of being a Muslim.  

ab. inadequate and unbalanced nutrition:

We can say that "adequate and balanced nutrition is the basis of health" since there will be problems in the growth, development and normal functioning of the body in cases of inadequate and unbalanced nutrition. Inadequate and unbalanced nutrition is the direct cause of many diseases (beriberi, pellagra, scorpion, marasmus, xerophthalmia, rickets, etc.); in addition, it causes many other diseases (like measles, whooping cough, tuberculosis and diarrhea) to settle in the body easily and to become severe. Social imbalances are common in societies where undernutrition prevails.

The Quran states the following regarding undernutrition: "O ye who believe! Make not unlawful the good things which Allah hath made lawful for you." (al-Maida, 87) It is necessary for man to benefit from all kinds of nutrients Allah has rendered halal in order to have a sufficient and balanced diet. Medical problems occur when some foods are abandoned due to a variety of reasons and considerations.

Allah wants us to eat all kinds of halal and clean food items and criticizes those who do not eat certain food items: "Make not unlawful the good things which Allah hath made lawful for you." (al-Maida, 87) It is necessary to benefit from all kinds of food items in order to have a really good and balanced diet.

Being overweight by overeating or being very weak by eating very little or inadequately are equally harmful to human health. Islam and its supreme book, the Quran, command us to take all kinds of foods adequately and in a balanced way, protecting people from both conditions and ensuring human health in terms of nutrition.


In terms of its content and the subjects it includes, the Quran orders religious practices, improves ethics and guides people. Many different issues are also mentioned in the Quran, whose nature is summarized in this way above. One of them is the issues related to hygiene, that is, preventive medicine, which concerns everyone closely.

Islamic medicine, whose source is based on the Quran and hadiths, gives more importance to protection from diseases than treating them. The issue called hygiene or preventive medicine, that is, the protection of health, exists in all medical systems. However, there is no other system that emphasizes it so consciously and insistently. That is the ultimate goal of modern medicine. Despite the existence of so many technical facilities, the nature of many diseases is not known and new diseases called "diseases of civilization" are added to them. Ill people must definitely be treated but the main goal must be to eliminate the causes of diseases. With the principles it has introduced, the religion of Islam orders the following:

1. Protection from Infectious Diseases
2. Avoiding Harmful Food and Drinks
3. Protecting Body Cleaning and Body Health, and
4. Protecting Body Health with Balanced Nutrition.

As we have tried to explain in this short article, it is very important that the book of a religion addressing all the human beings up to the end of the world mention those issues. The structure that forms the basis of Islamic medicine is healthy people and healthy society. A society consisting of people who are healthy in terms of spirit and body is one of the goals that are pursued. It is essential to eliminate all dangers that threaten human health.

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