Contents ]-[ Foreword ]-[
Introduction ]-[ Terms ]-[
Final Statement ]
A. Gezairy, MD FRCS
God has bestowed on humans his blessings, both hidden and apparent. Of these blessings the greatest is that of health, which the Prophet rg. regarded as one of two graces the importance of which was not appreciated by many people. Divine law in matters of blessings does not change: Because God will never change the Grace which He hath bestowed on a people until they change what is in their own souls (8:53).
When human beings make good use of, and preserve the blessing of health by strengthening and developing it, they maintain a firm tie with religion and benefit from the grace of well-being and its blessings and are immunized against all forms of sickness. They will only succeed in this if they behave in a way that promotes health, adopt a way of life that supports well-being and work to prevent ill-health, which is far better than any amount of medicine.
Those who indulge in excess, revelling in pleasures without heeding the consequences, and who adopt a negative way of life incompatible with health, drinking, taking drugs, smoking, eating excessively of fattening foods, who are ill-tempered and angry, neglect to rest, and participate in polluting and spoiling the environment should not be surprised when they lose their balance in life, become ill and subject to all sorts of misfortune as a result: To Us they did no harm, but they harmed their own souls (2:57).
It was expected that, following the great technological developments that the world has seen in the fields of diagnosis and cure, health problems in the industrialized countries would have reduced somewhat and that the wealthy countries would benefit in terms of health and well-being. What actually happened was that one sort of disease was replaced by another. Disease continues to claim lives. Statistics show that lifestyles that are incompatible with health are the leading cause of disease in industrialized countries. There is no way to avoid these diseases other than by avoiding unhealthy behaviour and adoptillg healthy practices in life.
The primary health care approach includes an important health promotional element with regard to lifestyles, which is health education. By this is meant the delivery of health information to everyone. There are many people who can undertake such education in their various spheres, including school teachers, tribal leaders, mothers, civic leaders, sheikhs and priests. The most important thing is the preparation of such health messages. They should be clear, intelligible, convincing and easy to implement. By the grace of God the inhabitants of this Region still respond to a religious call when it calls them to uphold what is beneficial to them. Religious guidelines in matters relating to lifestyle and daily behaviour are many and direct. A long list of divine rulings guides people through every step they undertake in life. They call for moderation in eating and drinking and warn against corruption of the land and the sea as a result of accumulation of wealth. The strong believer is prefened to the weak believer. Harming of oneself and others is forbidden.
One of the most important constituents of humanity is the freedom to take decisions. People can only take the right decision when they have the whole picture with all its dimensions before them and can distinguish sound conduct fi.om unsound and harmful behaviour from beneficial. One of the most important duties of academics is to help people take the right decision by making available to them all the details in a clear and direct manner .
For this reason, the World Health Organization Regional Office for the Eastern Meditenanean, in conjunction with the Islamic Organization for Medical Sciences and the Royal Academy for Research in Islamic Civilization-Aal AI-Bayt Foundation, called for a meeting to study this subject, to which were invited a group of theologians and experts. The Objective was to try to come up with a detailed scientific text which would clearly define for people wholesome lifestyles recommended by religion which would, if followed, ensure good health, and at the same time define the negative and unhealthy lifestyles which are forbidden by religion and by avoiding which people can remain free of sickness and ill-health.
Dr Muhammad Hawari was in charge of preparing the basic working documents. He was assisted by Dr Muhammad Abdel'al Uthman. Many of the distinguished pal1icipating scholars presented valuable research papers which were important additions to the working documents. It was agreed, at the end of the meeting, that the Islamic Organization for Medical Sciences would publish the working documents, the papers of the participants and the proceedings of the meeting in a single report.
Subsequently, the Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean decided to publish this short booklet, and asked Dr Haw,u.i to summarize the most important decisions reached. Members of the Faculty of Sharia of Jordan University undertook the intel"pretation and verification of some of the hadith. Dr Muhammad Haytham al-Khayat verified the hadith and edited and produced the document in its final form.
We ask God to make this monograph, which forms a part of the Health Education through Religion series, as beneficial as the ones which have preceded it, and to consider the contribution of those who helped in preparing for the meeting and making it successful a pious deed to be rewarded by God on the Day of Judgement. We ask him also to allow all humanity to benefit from this rightful guidance.
And to all are ( (assigned) degrees according to the deeds hich they (have done), and in order that (God) may recompense their deeds, and no injustice be done to them (46: 19).