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Chapter 9

Public Health

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 9/1 Infection

     Disease transmission, be it a viral, bacterial, or parasitic, is not the actual cause of infection. It has been proven that infection spreads only by Allah’s leave. It is according to the will of Allah that germs spread and become active, or are dormant and controlled by the immunity system. Statistical studies have clarified that the symptoms of any given disease are visible only in few people amongst thousands who carry the same disease. Moreover, a person may be a carrier of a disease for many years without being subject to its symptoms, but they can suddenly appear, for no clear medical reason. Here, comes the inimitability of what Allah informed His Prophet (peace be upon him), i.e. that infection by itself is not the specific cause of disease. 

      The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

-              “There is no infection, nor evil omen, nor hamah , nor bad omen in the month of Safar. Flee from a leper as if you flee from a lion.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari) 

     “There is no 'adwa (no disease is conveyed from the sick to the healthy without Allah's permission), nor bad omen in Safar, nor Hamah." A Bedouin stood up and said, "Then what about my camels? They are like deer on the sand, but when a mangy camel comes and mixes with them, they all get infected with mangy." The Prophet said, "Then who conveyed the (mange) disease to the first one?" (Reported by Al-Bukhari) 

     Yet, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) warned Muslims against associating with the sick:

      "A sick person should not be taken to one who is healthy." (Reported by Al-Bukhari)

      Also, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) ordered Muslims to isolate those who have incurable diseases, so that people who have low immunity would not be infected (see Quarantine).  

     In addition to this, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) ordered Muslims to wash their hands before and after having food, in order to decrease the possible spread of disease: 

     “The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to wash his hands before having food.” (Reported by An-Nasa’i) 

     “The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) ate a shoulder of a ewe, then, he rinsed his mouth and washed his hands.” (Reported by Ibn Majah) 

     The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

     “If anyone spends the night with grease on his hand which he has not washed away, he can blame only himself if some trouble comes to him.” (Reported by At-Tirmidhi) 

     The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

     “And whoever wakes up from his sleep should wash his hands before putting them in the water for ablution, because nobody knows where his hands were during sleep." (Reported by Muslim) 

      The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) ordered the Muslims to cover food containers to protect it from insects and vermin: 

     “Cover up the utensils, and tie up the mouth of water skins.” (Reported by Muslim)  

     "Beware of dust, for it has microbes." (Reported by Al-Fayruzabadi, in Al-Qamus Al-Muhit)

     It is narrated that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) ordered the Muslims to tie up water skins and cover up food containers of. (Reported by Ibn Majah)

      `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated:

     “I would prepare three covered containers for the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in the night, the first for his purification, the second for his siwak (cleaning his teeth), and the third for drinking. (Reported by Ibn Majah).  

     Moreover, the Prophet (peace be upon him) prohibited drinking from a broken cup, as it may retain dirt within the cracks. (Reported by Ibn Majah)

 9/2 Medicine

     The Prophet (peace be upon him), who was raised in one of the poorest and most ignorant nations, taught Muslims that there is a cure for every disease, and that it is required of us to search and discover effective medicines. He also said that we should take medicines, but that it is Allah Who bestows the healing. In the past, treatment with magic and the like was widespread all over the world, until the rise of pharmacology, whose foundations were laid down by the Muslim scientists.  

     The following are some Hadiths that verify the wisdom and knowledge of Allah, Who revealed the Holy Qur’an to His trustworthy Prophet (peace be upon him):

       “There is no disease that Allah has created, except that He also has created its treatment.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari) 

      “Allah has never created a disease but created its treatment that is known by some people and unknown to others, except death.” (Reported by At-Tabarani and Al-Bazar) 

     “Allah has sent down both the disease and the cure, and He has appointed a cure for every disease, so treat yourselves medically, but use nothing unlawful.” (Reported by Abu Dawud) 

     At the time of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), a man fell ill. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Summon the physician of the tribe so and so for him.” The attendants said: “O Messenger of Allah! Do you really mean the physician?” The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Yes.” (Reported by Ahmad) 

     Once, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) visited a sick person. He said: “Call a physician for him.” One of the attendants said: “Even you say this, Prophet of Allah?” The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) replied: “Yes.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari, Muslim and At-Tirmidhi) 

     Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) sent a physician to Ubayy Ibn Ka`b. He cut the vein and then cauterised it. (Reported by Muslim) 

9/3 Cleanliness

      Cleanliness is one of the basic acts of worship in Islam. Islam was revealed in the Arabian Peninsula, the cradle of ignorance at the time of the revelation of the Holy Qur’an. This is a proof that the Holy Qur’an did not emanate from such an environment, rather, that it was a light revealed by Allah’s knowledge. Islam guided to every aspect related to personal cleanliness.

 A- Major Ritual Ablution:

     One of the signs of true Islamic teachings is the necessity of taking a ritual bath for purification after sexual intercourse. In this case, the bath is an obligation without which a Muslim is not permitted to pray or perform any of the rituals of pilgrimage. This major ritual ablution is a strongly emphasized ritual (a stressed Sunnah) prior to performing the Friday congregational prayers. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an:

]يَاأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا لاَ تَقْرَبُوا الصَّلاَةَ وَأَنْتُمْ سُكَارَى حَتَّى تَعْلَمُوا مَا تَقُولُونَ وَلاَ جُنُبًا إِلاَّ عَابِرِي سَبِيلٍ حَتَّى تَغْتَسِلُوا وَإِنْ كُنْتُمْ مَرْضَى أَوْ عَلَى سَفَرٍ أَوْ جَاءَ أَحَدٌ مِنْكُمْ مِنَ الْغَائِطِ أَوْ لاَمَسْتُمُ النِّسَاءَ فَلَمْ تَجِدُوا مَاءً فَتَيَمَّمُوا صَعِيدًا طَيِّبًا فَامْسَحُوا بِوُجُوهِكُمْ وَأَيْدِيكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَفُوًّا غَفُورًا[

Meaning: O you who believe! Approach not As­-Salat (the prayer) when you are in a drunken state until you know (the meaning) of what you utter, nor when you are in a state of Janabah, (i.e. in a state of sexual impurity and have not yet taken a bath) except when traveling on the road (without enough water, or just passing through a mosque), until you wash your whole body. And if you are ill, or on a journey, or one of you comes after answering the call of nature, or you have been in contact with women (by sexual relations) and you find no water, perform Tayammum with clean earth and rub therewith your faces and hands (Tayammum). Truly, Allah is Ever Oft ­Pardoning, Oft ­Forgiving.” (Surah An-Nisa’ – Verse No. 43) 

]يَاأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا إِذَا قُمْتُمْ إِلَى الصَّلاَةِ فَاغْسِلُوا وُجُوهَكُمْ وَأَيْدِيَكُمْ إِلَى الْمَرَافِقِ وَامْسَحُوا بِرُءُوسِكُمْ وَأَرْجُلَكُمْ إِلَى الْكَعْبَيْنِ وَإِنْ كُنْتُمْ جُنُبًا فَاطَّهَّرُوا وَإِنْ كُنْتُمْ مَرْضَى أَوْ عَلَى سَفَرٍ أَوْ جَاءَ أَحَدٌ مِنْكُمْ مِنَ الْغَائِطِ أَوْ لاَمَسْتُمُ النِّسَاءَ فَلَمْ تَجِدُوا مَاءً فَتَيَمَّمُوا صَعِيدًا طَيِّبًا فَامْسَحُوا بِوُجُوهِكُمْ وَأَيْدِيكُمْ مِنْهُ مَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيَجْعَلَ عَلَيْكُمْ مِنْ حَرَجٍ ْوَلَكِنْ يُرِيدُ لِيُطَهِّرَكُمْ وَلِيُتِمَّ نِعْمَتَهُ عَلَيْكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ[

Meaning: If you are in a state of Janabah (i.e. had a sexual discharge), purify yourself (bathe your whole body). But if you are ill or on a journey or any of you comes from answering the call of nature, or you have been in contact with women (i.e. sexual intercourse) and you find no water, then perform Tayammum with clean earth and rub therewith your faces and hands. Allah does not want to place you in difficulty, but He wants to purify you, and to complete His Favour on you that you may be thankful. (Surah Al-Ma’idah – Verse No. 6)  

Consider the following Hadiths:

     “It is the right of Allah upon every Muslim that he should take a bath (at least) on one day (Friday) during the seven days (of the week) and he should wash his head and body.” (Reported by Muslim)

      “Bathing on Friday for every adult, and applying some perfume, that is available, these are essential.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim) 

     “Anyone of you attending the Friday (prayers) should take a bath.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari, Muslim and Ibn Majah)

     It was narrated that:

     “The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) would take bath on Greater Bairam (`Id Al-Ad-ha) and Lesser Bairam (`Id Al-Fitr).” (Reported by Ibn Majah) 

     “A time limit has been prescribed for us by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) for clipping the moustache and cutting the nails.” (Reported by Imam Muslim)  

     Modern dermatological studies clarified the importance of taking a bath to remove sweat and the dirt associated with it. Sweat additionally contains a lot of bacteria that infect the skin and the body in general and cause a foul smell. 

B- Minor Ritual Ablution:

     In the Holy Qur’an:

]يَاأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا إِذَا قُمْتُمْ إِلَى الصَّلاَةِ فَاغْسِلُوا وُجُوهَكُمْ وَأَيْدِيَكُمْ إِلَى الْمَرَافِقِ
وَامْسَحُوا بِرُءُوسِكُمْ وَأَرْجُلَكُمْ إِلَى الْكَعْبَيْنِ
[

Meaning: O you who believe! When you intend to offer As-Salat (the prayer), wash your faces and your hands (forearms) up to the elbows, rub (by passing wet hands over) your heads, and (wash) your feet up to ankles. (Surah Al-Ma’idah – Verse No. 6)

       Modern medicine verifies the great benefits of ablution as it purifies the body and prevents the spread of diseases. Iit has been proven that the hands have a key role in the transmission of microbes. Experimental research has verified the effective role of ablution in limiting the numbers of bacteria on the skin. 

      In relation to this there are many Hadiths that call Muslims to perform ablution and explain how they should perform it:

     “Purification is half of the faith.” (Reported by Muslim) 

     “The prayer of a person who does not perform ablution is not valid.” (Reported by Ibn Majah) 

     “The key to prayer is purification.” (Reported by Abu Dawud) 

     “Prayer is not accepted without purification.” (Reported by  Ibn Majah) 

     “My people will come with bright faces and bright hands and feet on account of the marks of ablution, so he who can increase the lustre of his forehead (and that of his hands and legs) should do so.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim) 

     “If a Muslim performed ablution and rinsed the mouth and snuffed up water and cleansed the nose, his sins would come out from his mouth and nose. If he washed his face, his sins would come out from beneath his lids. If he wiped his head, his sins would come out from under his ears. If he washed his feet, the sins would come out from under his nails.” (Reported by Muslim) 

     “He who performed ablution well, his sins would come out from his body, even coming out from under his nails.” (Reported by Muslim)  

     The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) prescribed ablution for acts other than the prayer also: 

     “Someone asked the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): “Is a person in the state of major impurity [i.e. after sexual intercourse] allowed to sleep, eat, or drink? The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: "He is allowed if he performs the ablution for prayers."” (Reported by Ibn Majah) 

     “When anyone amongst you has sexual intercourse with his wife and then he intends to repeat it, he should perform ablution.” (Reported by Muslim) 

     “When you go to bed, perform ablution as is done for prayer.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim) 

     It is Sunnah [i.e. following the way of the Prophet (peace be upon him)] to perform ablution in cases of anger, when reciting the Holy Qur’an, learning, and the like.  

     Modern medicine has clarified the benefits of rinsing the nose during ablution, as it prevents many diseases from infecting the body through the nose. Rinsing the nose is done to let water enter the nose and then let it be released again.  

     The following are some Hadiths that call for the rinsing of the nose: 

     “If one of you performs ablution, he should rinse his nose.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari, Muslim, and Abu Dawud) 

     “Perform the ablution properly. Cleanse the base of your fingers and sniff [water into] your nose but be careful when you are fasting.” (Reported by At-Tirmidhi) 

     It was narrated that `Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) asked for water. He rinsed his mouth, and sniffed and cleansed his nose with his left hand thrice, and said: ‘This is the way the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) performed ablution.” (Reported by Ahmad and An-Nasa’i) 

C- Cleaning oneself after defecation (istinja’):

     This means to clean one’s genitals after urinating or passing feces. It is one of the prerequisites for performing ablution and it has an important role in limiting contamination and the spread of infective diseases. In the following we will review the Prophetic Hadiths, a source of a perfect public health education and for protecting the skin and its pores from disease: 

     Anas Ibn Malik narrated that:

     “Whenever the Prophet went to answer the call of nature, I used to bring water with which he used to clean his private parts.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim) 

     “I have never seen the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) coming after answering the call of nature without cleaning himself with water.” (Reported by Ibn Majah) 

     `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) would teach the Muslim women saying: “Order your husbands to clean themselves with water; for I am shy of telling them so, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) would do this.” (Reported by At-Tirmidhi) 

“If one of you answers the call of nature, he should cleanse himself three times.” (Reported by Ibn Hazm) 

D- Trimming the nails:

      Centuries after the mission of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), who ordered his followers to trim their nails, modern science discovered the importance of such an act for personal health. Trimming the nails prevents the accumulation of dirt that carries bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites. 

     The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

     “The acts of fitrah (returning to a natural state) are five: circumcision, shaving the pubic hair, cutting the nails, plucking the hair under the armpits, and clipping the moustache. (Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim) 

     “O, Abu Hurayrah! Cut your nails, for Satan sits on the extra parts of them.” (Reported by Al-Ghazali in Al-Ihya’) 

E- Hair:

     The noble Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) ordered Muslims to take care of all their body hair. He ordered them to remove their underarm hair, shave their pubic hair, and trim their moustaches. Modern science has verified that these acts are important to prevent the development of bacteria and foul smells resulting from the secretions of the sweat glands in the armpits and pubic area. Also, they prevent remnants of food, nasal secretions, and pollutants from accumulating on the moustache, as stated in the Hadith above of the recommended acts (Sunnahs) of natural disposition.  

     Islam as a culture made many leaps from the Arab era of ignorance. One of these leaps was that of proper adornment. 

   In the Holy Qur’an:

] يَا بَنِي ءَادَمَ خُذُوا زِينَتَكُمْ عِنْدَ كُلِّ مَسْجِدٍ وَكُلُوا وَاشْرَبُوا وَلاَ تُسْرِفُوا إِنَّهُ لاَ يُحِبُّ الْمُسْرِفِينَ * قُلْ مَنْ حَرَّمَ زِينَةَ اللَّهِ الَّتِي أَخْرَجَ لِعِبَادِهِ وَالطَّيِّبَاتِ مِنَ الرِّزْقِ قُلْ هِيَ لِلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا خَالِصَةً يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ كَذَلِكَ نُفَصِّلُ الآيَاتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُونَ [

Meaning: O Sons of Adam! Take your adornment (by wearing your clean clothes) at every mosque, and eat and drink, and do not be extravagant; surely certainly He (Allah) likes not Al-Musrifun (those who waste by extravagance). Say (O Muhammad SAW): "Who has prohibited the adornment of Allah, which He has brought out for His bondmen, and the good things of (His) providing?” Say, “They are, in the life of this world, for those who believe, (and) exclusively for them (believers) on the Day of Resurrection (the disbelievers will not share them)." Thus We expound the signs for a people who know. (Surah Al-A`raf – Verses Nos. 31 - 32)  

     It was narrated that a man came to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) with unkempt hair and beard. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) signaled him to comb his hair. The man did and returned. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “This is better for one of you than coming with untidy hair as if he is a devil.” (Reported by Malik) 

     Abu Qatadah narrated that he said to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): “O, Messenger of Allah! I have a forelock. Should I comb it?” The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Yes, and take care of it.” (Reported by Malik) 

     A man with disordered hair and beard came to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The Prophet said: “Could this man not find something to make his hair lie flat?” (Reported by An-Nasa’i) 

     “Do the opposite of what the pagans (the Magi) do. Keep the beards and cut the moustaches short.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim) 

F- Circumcision:

     Circumcision prevents the accumulation of excretions that store bacteria and may cause inflammation, which could in turn affect the reproductive and urinary systems. Circumcision is one of the natural conditions for men, as stated in the Hadith, but female circumcision is not in principle, recommended nor obligatory in Islam. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) permitted it only for those who wanted to do it, but he ordered them not to remove a much, so that the bodily functions and marital relationships would not be affected. 

     The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

     “O, Umm Habibah! If you circumcise a female, do not cut a great deal, for, this makes the face more radiant, and makes her dearer to her husband.” (Reported by Abu Dawud) 

G- The Siwak (tooth cleaning-stick) and Oral Hygiene:

     It is due to the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) that Muslims knew the importance of cleaning the mouth and the teeth, centuries before the rise of dentistry and its schools. 

     The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

     “Were it not that I might over-burden the people, I would have ordered them to use a tooth cleaning stick at every prayer time.” (Reported by At-Tirmidhi) 

     “Siwak [toothـstick] is a purifier of the mouth and a means of pleasing the Lord.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari)  

     “Gabriel has never come to me but he recommended me to use the siwak, to the extent that I feared that it would be imposed on me and my nation. Had not I found it hard for my people, I would have commanded them to use the siwak. I use siwak a lot to the extent that I fear that I would remove a part of my gum.” (Reported by Ibn Majah) 

     “If you perform ablution, you should rinse the mouth.” (Reported by Abu Dawud)  

     “Rinse your mouths after drinking milk, for it contains fat.” (Reported by Abu Dawud)  

     The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his Companions set off for Khaybar. The Prophet asked for food. Nothing but suwiq  was brought to the Prophet. So, they chewed it, and ate it, and drank water. After that the Prophet got up and washed his mouth. (Reported by Ibn Majah)

     “The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) would pray pairs of raka`at (prostrations) during the night, and then use a siwak.” (Reported by Ibn Majah) 

     “The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) did not get up by day or night but cleaned his mouth with a siwak before performing ablution.” (Reported by Abu Dawud) 

     “Whenever he (the Prophet) got up for prayer during the night, he cleansed his mouth with the tooth cleaning stick.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim) 

     All these Hadiths combine together to affirm that the source of the Sunnah (customary practices) of the illiterate Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the All-Knowing, Allah.  

     On the other hand, modern studies have discovered the medical benefits of the Arak tree, the source of siwak. It is a tree grown in the Arabian Peninsular, which contains chemicals that remove the yellowness of teeth and contain a fragrant purifying oil. 

 
9/4 Prayer

     As an act of worship, prayer is the essence and cornerstone of Islam. It is the spiritual school of the Muslims that protects them from the whisperings of the devils. Additionally, the prayers have medical and health benefits, such as activation of the brain arteries and strengthening of the cerebral ventricular walls, prevention of thrombosis in the legs and back ulcers, that usually infect those who move little.  

     When considering the appointed times of the five daily prayers, we see other signs of the wisdom of Allah, the All-Wise, and the All-Knowing. The times of the prayers are in accordance with the positions of the sun. The fixed time for the dawn prayer ranges from the time in which the sun reaches a 19 degrees depression under the horizon to sunrise, and the time of the sunset prayers is from sunset until the sun reaches the 19 degrees depression under the horizon. This also relates to the timing for the evening prayers. When the sun is vertical to the horizon and there is no shadow, it is the time for the noon prayers; and the time of afternoon prayers starts when the length of the shadow of an object is equivalent to its height. 

     The prayer times are in accordance with the daily routine of life, and the conditions of man’s body. For example, the dawn prayer comes while man is still inactive as a result of sleep, the noon prayer is at the zenith of the working day and vitality, the afternoon prayer comes after man becomes tired of work, the sunset prayer is at the end of the hectic day, and finally, the evening prayer is at the time of rest and sleep.  

     Allah says in the Holy Qur’an:

]فَإِذَا قَضَيْتُمُ الصَّلاَةَ فَاذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ قِيَامًا وَقُعُودًا وَعَلَى جُنُوبِكُمْ فَإِذَا اطْمَأْنَنْتُمْ فَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلاَةَ
 
إِنَّ الصَّلاَةَ كَانَتْ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ كِتَابًا مَوْقُوتًا
[

Meaning: When you have accomplished the prayer, then remember Allah, upright, and seated, and on your sides. (Yet) you feel composed, then keep up the prayer; surely the prayer has been a timed prescription for the believers. (Surah An-Nisa’ – Verse No. 103)

      It is difficult to mention all of the citations of the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah that call for the careful performance of prayers, that are made in order to gain Allah’s blessings during the life on earth and in the Hereafter.

 9/5 Quarantine

     Quarantine is one of the methods of preventive medicine that was not known to mankind until the last century, and yet it was one of the practices of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), revealed to him by Allah, the Exalted and the Omni-potent, to prevent the spread of the plague. 

     The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

     “The plague is a calamity that was sent to Bani Isra'il or upon those who were before you. So when you hear that it has broken out in a land, do not go to there, and when it has broken out in the land where you are, don't run out of it.”  (Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim) 

     “If you hear of its spread in a land, do not approach it, and if a plague should appear in a land where you are present, then do not leave that land in order to run away from it (i.e. plague).” (Reported by Al-Bukhari and Imam Muslim) 

     `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated that she asked the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) about the plague and he replied: “The plague of human beings is like that of camels. The one who stays in a place afflicted with plague is equivalent to a martyr, and the one who flees from it is like the one who flees from war.” (Reported by Ahmad) 

     Amazingly, the noble Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) describes in this Hadith the symptoms of the plague in such a way that accords with its scientific description. This is also mentioned in the following Hadith: 

     `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated that she said to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): “We know about Ta`un (stabbing),  but what about Ta`un (plague)? The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “It is like the plague of camels, and afflicts the lower abdomen as in the camels.”” (Reported by Al-Bazzar) 

     The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) also ordered the Muslims to keep apart from lepers:

     He said: “One should run away from a leper as one runs away from a lion.” (Reported by Ahmad) 

 
9/6 Protecting the Environment

     The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) lived at a time and in an environment that had no knowledge of the dangers of parasites, the way they spread, and how they can be controlled. Yet curiously, he clarified for Muslims merits of preventive practices, that later came to be known as ‘preventive medicine’ only many centuries after his mission. It is now verified that the parasites such as bilharzia, ascariasis, enterobiasis, ameba, etc.  that complete their life cycle in man’s body, become inactive due to drought and high temperatures. Let us consider the Hadiths of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) concerning the prevention of the spread of parasites and the protection of the cleanliness of the environment and water resources:  

     “Be on your guard against three things that provoke cursing: easing yourself in watering places, on the thoroughfares, and under the shade (of the tree).” (Reported by Abu Dawud) 

     “Avoid the two acts deserving a curse.” The Companions asked: “What are such acts that deserve a curse?” He said: “Relieving oneself on the road or under the shades where people take rest.” (Reported Abu Dawud) 

     “You should not pass urine in stagnant water then (you may need to) wash in it.” (Reported by An-Nasa’i)  

     “None of you must wash in standing water when he is in a state of junabah (post sexual intercourse impurity).” (Reported by Muslim) 

     Also, notice that this is related to the teachings of cleaning oneself after urinating or defecating, as clarified above. In regard to the  protection of the environment, Islam teaches us also the following: 

* The removal of what is harmful from the road:

     “While a man was passing along a road, he saw a thorny branch. He removed it. Allah appreciated his action and forgave him.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim) 

     “And to remove a harmful thing from the way is also sadaqah (a charity). (Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim) 

     “Faith has over seventy branches or over sixty branches, the most excellent of which is the declaration that there is no god but harmful from the road.” (Reported by Muslim) 

* Kindness to animals:

     The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) forbade the mutilation of animals. (Reported by Ibn Majah)

     The Prophet forbade the shooting of tied or confined animals. (Reported by Ibn Majah) 

* Protecting trees:

     “He who kills a young or old living creature, burns a palm tree, cuts a fruitful tree, or slaughters an ewe for its skin, will gain nothing but the substance.” (Reported by Ahmad)

 
9/7 Rabies

     Another medical miracle of the Prophetic Sunnah is that it guides Muslims to an elevated scientific way of dealing with utensils and water sources from which a dog ate or drank, fearing that it (the dog) could be carrying the dangerous rabies or other disease. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

     “The purification of a dish belonging to any one of you, after it has been licked by a dog, lies in washing it seven times, using soil for the first time.” (Reported by Muslim)

     The wisdom of washing a dish seven times, the first time with soil is that the rabies virus is so minute, and it is known that the smaller the size of a microbe, the more actively its surface adheres to the wall of a dish (higher specific surface). A dog’s saliva contains viruses in the form of a fluid salivary tape, so the purpose of using the soil is to adsorb the surface of the microbes on the utensil.

9/8 Flies

     The idea of vaccines and serum emanated from the fact that modern science discovered that treatment of a disease with its own toxin is the best way to be rescued from the very same disease, as the living cells produce antibodies. Studies of flies have verified that the wing of a fly carries some viruses, and accordingly generate some antibodies (as clarified above, this is not the case with flies only).

      The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

      “If a fly falls in the drinking vessel of any of you, let him dip all of it (into the vessel) and then throw it away, for in one of its wings there is a disease and in the other there is healing (an antidote for it) i.e. the treatment for that disease.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari)

      In another narrative:

     “If a fly falls into the drinking container of one of you, he should dip all the fly in it, then pull the fly out. For, one of its wings has a disease, while the other has healing, and it immerses the poisonous wing first, then the healing one.” (Reported by Ahmad)

      The Hadith above initially mentions the role of flies as principal carriers of diseases, a fact that was not known at the time of the revelation of the Holy Qur’an. This is another sign of the scientific knowledge which was bestowed by Allah on His noble Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).