Rescuing Health with Self-Knowledge

Sunnah foods

My life has changed completely since I invested my resources into integrative medicine. I am grateful to Allah (swt), Who has blessed me with knowledge resources and made me discover a holistic health practitioner in Pakistan, Dr. Shagufta Feroz. Her book ‘Living as Nature Intended’ is a panacea for those in search of optimal physical and psychological health. Unfortunately, the significance of nature is often not deeply absorbed by us.

Thinking about the magnificence in Allah’s (swt) creation, I asked my friends through Facebook and text messages what popped up into their mind when they hear the word ‘nature’.

Majority responses were beauty, peace, greenery, purity, and signs of Allah (swt). My cell phone was being updated with responses while I was being assailed by doubt, embarrassment and awe. We all have an association with nature but we neglect the most supreme form of Allah’s Qudrat in front of us, with us, inside us! You and I are Allah’s (swt) masterpiece! Ashraf Al-Makhlooqat. Nothing is more awe-inspiring than human beings. If we ponder over the human body, the human brain or human behaviour, we will be startled at how our Creator is Al-Musawwir the Fashioner, the Bestower of Forms, the Shaper. Allah says: “Verily, We created man of the best stature (mould).” (At-Tin 95:4)

Some of the precautionary changes that I took when I woke up from this sound sleep were to transform and check the sources of my food, cosmetics and clothing.

Imam Ghazali, while counselling the believers, states that a human being’s share in the name Al-Musawwir lies in understanding his existence, and the intricacy of his soul, body and mind. Furthermore, he advises to learn from whole details commencing from body membranes, types of organs and the wisdom and skill in their creation. The turn of studying soul, intellect and abilities comes much after understanding the minute details of body.

If we neglect our bodies, can we attain what we call serenity? If we don’t understand or appreciate ourselves can we comprehend the beauty in nature otherwise? Timothy Leary says: “One cannot understand the rhythms and meanings of outer world until one has mastered the dialects of the body.”

To value nature in the real sense of the word along with the creations of Allah, we need to probe into self-knowledge. We’re composed of an amazing network of systems: nervous, muscular, skeletal, reproductive, and digestive and so on. The elements of nature we are associated with like fire, clay, water and air have been created for our quality survival. The immune system is a blessing in disguise, Alhumdullilah. Our body’s healing properties are much stronger than any drug treatment or antibiotics and we need to nurture with pure, simple Sunnah foods.

How did I change? Five years back, like every average youth in Pakistan influenced by westernization, I had deep-rooted complexes. I found it hard to look at myself in the mirror, being bulky and tall and ‘fitting’ into the society’s acceptance limits. I found beauty around me but not inside me, until I realized I am Allah’s masterpiece. I have been created by Al-Wadud, The Loving-Kind. It is hard to alter eating habits or resort back to Allah’s super-foods; it is hard to understand the natural circadian rhythms of the human body but I have found all the changes completely worth the investment. The need of the hour is that to become sound and healthy, we need to take our mind off obesity stories and health dilemmas inside our brain and focus on Al-Khaliq’s creatures; to begin with, I’ve chosen the masterpiece! What about you?

My mother went through the conventional process of treatment chemotherapy and radiation, but it was the binding link with Allah through the Quran and intake of healing foods that she was blessed with recovery.

Over and above, in combating sickness, we can suppress symptoms by neglecting health in the first part of life and then restoring it in old age with a substantial monetary investment or as the Sunnah medicine suggests, we can address the root cause. We need to know what it means to be a healthy Muslim. Islam puts utmost importance on healing physical and spiritual diseases; a Muslim practitioner should know the uniqueness of the immunity of the patient and highlight the far-reaching effects of positive emotions (Islamic Guideline on Medicine by Yusuf Al-Hajj Ahmad).

Allah says in the Holy Quran: “We will show them Our Signs in the universe, and in their ownselves, until it becomes manifest to them that this (the Qur’an) is the truth.” (Fussilat 41:53)

So what are your plans about being a healthy and a productive Muslim? To get closer to Al-Bari, The Producer, we need to understand our systems, our soul and our mind.

Another life-enriching trial in my life was my mother’s chronic cancer. Narrated by Jabir (rta) the Messenger of Allah (sa) said:

“For every disease there is a remedy, so if you find the right remedy for the disease, you will be healed by the leave of Allah.” (Muslim)

My mother went through the conventional process of treatment chemotherapy and radiation, but it was the binding link with Allah through the Quran and intake of healing foods that she was blessed with recovery. I’ve seen the magnanimity of neglecting health and well being through her. We should not be victimized by the modern concept ‘nature deficit disorder’ such as psychological, physical and cognitive costs of alienating from nature.

Eliminate worry from your life as it can weaken your faith.

Imam Ibn al Qayyim Al-Jauziyah prescribes health over sickness, youth over old age. Leaf through his book ‘Healing with the Medicine of Prophet (saw)’ and enlighten your health instincts. In the tough journey in this world, health, time management, patience and gratitude are the tools to march forward. Understanding body and evaluating the Nafs or psyche is mandatory to become the beloved of Allah Almighty. The paradigm in front of us lies in the Seerah of Prophet Muhammad (sa). Allah says:

“Indeed in the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad) you have a good example to follow for him who hopes in (the Meeting with) Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much.” (Al-Ahzab 33:21)

Let us resolve and respect the laws of nature and try to implement them. Some of the precautionary changes that I took when I woke up from this sound sleep were to transform and check the sources of my food, cosmetics and clothing. I am still discovering farms in my city and organic food sources. Many people in our honourable Ummah love home gardening. Allah’s creation can do wonders if blessed by Him!

We tend to go all green to preserve natural environment, but we forget to preserve ourselves. Let’s please Allah (swt). Stay holistically healthy and protect your family members from consuming processed, convenience foods. Another step you have to inculcate is being patient in adapting and promoting healthy behaviour. Try to inculcate the attitude of gratitude each time Allah (swt) gratifies your thirst and hunger. Praise Allah (swt), the Most Deserving of praise, when you like the colour, the taste or the aroma of any food. Cherish the times when you are healthy and equally thank for the times when Allah (swt) puts you into sickness for a while.

Lastly, eliminate worry from your life as it can weaken your faith. The following Hadeeth is the most soothing of all,

Narrated by Abu Hurairah (rta), Allah’s Apostle said: “If Allah wants to do good to somebody, He afflicts him with trials.” (Bukhari)