Health Protection in Islam

Health Protection in Islam

Quoted from N. Daniel in The Arabs and Mediaeval Europe; Edinburgh University Press; 1974: Chapter I 0; p.292:

Ibn Butlan’s Taqwim As-Sihha (Protection of Health) was translated as Tacuinum Sanitatis, retaining the Arabic word with the translation “regimen”. It begins, “On the six things that are necessary to any man for the daily conservation of his health, with its corrections and operations.” These are immediately listed

“The first care of health is the preparation of the air, which affects the heart. The second is the regulation of food and drink. The third is the regulation of movement and rest. The fourth is the restraint of the body from sleep and from much watching. The fifth is the regulation of the relaxation and constriction of the humours. The sixth is regulation of the person to moderate joy, anger, fear and anxiety.

So the preservation of health will be in these methods of balance, and the removal of these six from that balance makes illness, God the Glorious, the Almighty, permitting. And under each of these kinds there are many types, and many things necessary of which, God willing, we will describe the natures … Let us invoke the help of God that He may make straight our mind, for human nature can scarcely be prevented from error…”

The emphasis is more on health than on disease. Near the beginning of Ibn Sina’s Canon of Medicine there comes this happy start: “I say that medicine is the science by which the dispositions of the human body are known, in order that customary health may be preserved or, being lost, may be recovered.” Ibn al-Wafid’s On the Powers of Medicines and Foods… makes similar points:

“I have put together this book on the virtues of medicines and foods, out of the books of the ancients; for long have I wearied my mind with it . . . I have poured forth prayers on it that it may come near to God, the Exalted, the Glorious . . . The object of medicine is health, and according to two modes. The first is the knowledge of the complexions of the bodies of men. The second is the knowledge of medicines and foods, by the knowledge of which health is maintained in the healthy man and restored in the sick man.”

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