Traditional Chinese Medicine and Prophetic Healing
Since it is Interfaith month at Muzlimbuzz, we are looking at how Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) intersects with Prophetic Healing. This is only the first part of the article. Check back soon for the next few parts!
One of the greatest blessings of our Creator which most of us take for granted is health. Islam has placed a lot of value in health and medicine like other cultures and religion. Our Prophet SAW has continuously asked Muslims to pray for forgiveness and health in various Ahadith. The general concept of health in Islam relates not only to building a healthy lifestyle in the worldly life but also building a healthy soul for the hereafter.
Islam And Science
The preservation of health is necessary in Islam and any other religion one because it leads to a better way of life and second Allah SWT has provided bodies to humans as His keepings and we have to protect it and take care of it throughout our lives.
Islam does not separate science from religion and provides teachings to acquire a physically, mentally and spiritually healthy lifestyle. Health is an important concept in Islam. Even the Quran is referred to as a book of healing in various circumstances.
In the years following Islam the Muslim healers of that time mostly referred to the prophetic healing laid out by Prophet SAW himself and also to western medicinal concepts to provide advanced solutions. The major contributors to medicine and healthcare have mostly been Muslims.[pullquote_left]Prophet SAW himself at many times not only provided people with a treatment for disease but also let them know about medical practices and procedures of other cultures.[/pullquote_left]
From birth, nutrition, personal hygiene, diet, diseases to spiritual healing, Islam focuses on all the aspects of personal health as well as environmental health.
Belief in Other Medicinal Approaches
Where other religion and cultures of the world also focuses on health issues and provide their own medicinal value to the people there exists many similar factors between medicine of other cultures and Islamic medicine. Our Prophet SAW himself at many times not only provided people with a treatment for disease but also let them know about medical practices and procedures of other cultures that he had heard about and did not prohibit.
Contemporary Islamic approach to health deals with usage of healthy food in routine life, natural products or compounds as cure to diseases, physical activity and treatment of the soul through prayer, supplication and Zikar.
Chinese concept of health is quite different from the rest of the world. Chinese are ardent followers of the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) which is based on Yin and Yang since 1600BC. The TCM focuses on the energies from the surroundings to affect the human body. TCM views the body not in an anatomical way but relates to more with the functional aspect of the body like digestion and breathing etc. It considers the body to be made up of these functional entities. Health is very much perceived as a harmony that exists between these entities and the outside world. If disharmony occurs that is the cause of disease.
The ‘Chi’ Aspect
Because of their unique concept of healing diseases, the Chinese people isolated themselves in medicine from the rest of the world by their own choice. In TCM, health is viewed as a constant flow of energy called Chi or Qi. The cure of diseases comes from altering the negative energy with the positive one. This form of spiritual healing concept has caused many disagreements with the western medicine who believe in the scientific proof for a cure.
TCM concepts believe in curing illness before they occur. Chinese also take health aspects seriously like Muslims. However Chinese medicine takes the approach of treating the imbalances in the body rather than symptoms to prevent illness. The disease cannot manifest and de-harmonize the body if the energies flowing in the body are balanced. This positive energy is called the balanced Qi.[pullquote_left]Chinese medicine takes the approach of treating the imbalances in the body rather than symptoms to prevent illness.[/pullquote_left]
Because of these unique concepts not many people are able to comprehend the methodologies of TCM as other cultures take health to be directly related to anatomical human aspects. Practices like acupuncture, cupping nutrition therapy, physical exercise, massage and herbal preparation are applied to control health in TCM.
Any Relation with Islam?
Though the practices of TCM may appear different, Islam does agree with some of the concept as endorsed by the Prophet SAW himself. Talking about the energy channels many Muslim scientists and health practitioners relate the concept of Chi with Qudra. This might be new information for many readers but a research paper at Harvard Medical School on spiritual healing in Islamic tradition by Dr. Shaikh Hisham Muhammad Kabbani shows the working of spiritual energy in the body to augment the working of weak organs.
This is true in the sense that through dedicated supplication and practicing of our religion many Muslims are able to control the way of life in a healthy manner. The positive flow of spiritual energy is acting as a driving force for the organs of the body. Such flow calls for the spiritual healing aspect of human body in Islam which is achieved mainly through prayer and Zikr (the constant remembrance of Allah SWT).
Creating a positive environment through following the practices and peaceful teachings of Islam will have a positive effect on individual’s physical, mental and spiritual development.
Muslim medicine practitioners were the first who bridged the gap between oriental and western medicine with Islam. There are nutritional aspects as well that relates the Islamic and oriental healing which had been laid out by our Prophet SAW. The oriental approach although may seem less credible or weird for people who believe in modern medicine but the truth is there lies reality in some of the concepts when looked at from an Islamic perspective.
Sadaf Siddique holds a degree in Computers and a Masters in Business Administration. She is the mother of a 2-year-old boy, a part-time writer and a full-time homemaker.