Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Prayers and Healing

Prayers and Healing

By-Shahid Athar, M.D., F.A.C.E. *

We the Physicians have now come to accept a fact known to our patients for centuries, that healing is from God, and we are just an instrument of the Healer. We give the same medication to two different patients with the same type of medical problem or perform similar operations on two patients otherwise at the same risk and one will survive and the other one doesn't. It is more than LUCK.

As Socrates put it -" I dress the wound and God heals it. "

This is also acknowledged by Prophet Abraham,
"and when I am ill, it is He who cures me" (Quran 26:80).

God himself attests to it by saying...

" If God touches thee with an affliction, no one can remove it but He " (Quran 6:17).

Healing from Quran

Quran, the Muslim revealed scripture is not a text book of Medicine but in it are some guidance, that if followed, will promote good health and healing. Thus Quran calls itself a book of healing.

" O mankind, there has come unto you a direction from your Lord and a healing for the heart and for those who believe in guidance and mercy "
(Quran 10:57)

" We have sent down in the Quran that which is healing and a mercy to those who believe "
(Quran 17:82)

Healing from Quran is of three types.

a. Legislative effect: This includes Faith (Iman) in God as not only Creator but the Sustainer and the Protector. This also includes medical benefits of obligatory prayers, fasting, charity and pilgrimage, details of which is beyond the scope of this article.

Health Guidelines: Health-promoting items from Quran and tradition of Prophet Mohammed include use of honey, olive, fruit, lean meat, avoiding excessive eating, and Prohibition of alcohol, pork, homosexuality, sexual promiscuity and sex during menstruation.

c. Direct healing effect of Quran: Recitation of Quran by the sick person or for the sick person (ruqya) has shown to have a direct healing effect on the sick person. This most likely uses medical benefits of Echo.

Echo of sound is such a powerful force that it has been used to blast off mountains. Now the miniaturized version of Echo is used in medicine to break Kidney Stones (lithotripsy), gallstones, and even vegetations in the sub endothelial bacterial endocarditis (SBE).

Listening to the recitation of Holy Quran, in a study conducted by Dr. Ahmed E. Kadi and Associates, has been shown to lower blood pressure, heart rate, and to cause smooth muscle relaxation in Muslim Arabs, non-Arab Muslims and even in non-Muslims. It is postulated that Echo Target of Alif Lam Meem is in heart and that of Ya-seen is in the pituitary gland of the brain. Thus Prophet Mohammad (P) always stressed reading Quran (Quran-recitation) loudly and not silently by saying "The comparison between a silent reader and a reciter (Qari) is like a bottle of perfume when it is closed and when it is opened."

Use of Meditation (dhikr, Zikrallah) in Prayer and Healing

Dhikr (Zikr meditation) are acts of remembrance and communications with God as ordained to us.

1. " When my servant asks you (O Muhammad) about me, (tell them) I am close to them: I listen to the prayer of each supplicant when he asks Me. Let them listen to My call and believe in Me, that they may walk in the right way "
(Quran 2:186).

2. " Your Lord says: " Call on Me and I will answer your call "
(Quran 40:60).

3. " Those who believe and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of God, for in the remembrance of God do hearts find rest "
(Quran 13:28).

4. " Remember Me, I will remember you; thank Me and reject Me not "
(Quran 2:152).

5. " Remember thy Lord much and praise Him in the evening and morning "
(Quran 3:41).

6. " Such as those who remember God standing, sitting and reclining "
(Quran 3:191).

7. " and men who remember God much and women who remember God, God has prepared for them forgiveness and a vast reward "
(Quran 33:35).

8. " O you believe! Remember God with much remembrance and glorify Him in the morning and evening "
(Quran 33:41-42).

Sayings of Prophet Muhammad (P)

Prophet Muhammad (P), like all other prophets of God, was engaged in the remembrance (dhikr) of God most of the time. He is known to have said

1. "There is a polish for everything that removes the rust and the polish for the rust-of- heart is the dhikr (remembrance) of God."

2. He was asked which people are most virtuous and most highly esteemed by God on the Day of Judgement. The messenger of God (P) replied "Those who remember God often."

3. It is narrated in a hadith Qudsi (direct revelation to Prophet Muhammad (P) "God Most High says I am as my Servant - think I am. I am with him when he makes mention of Me. If he makes mention of Me by himself, I make mention of him to Myself. If he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assembly better than his. If he comes closer to Me a hand span, I come closer to him arms-length, if he comes to Me walking, I come to him running."

Thus dhikr (meditation/remembrance) has been a practice of all Sufi sheikhs. In the words of Sheikh al-Mursi "dhikr pleases God, defeats and drives evil forces, increases livelihood, makes personality more prestigious, cleanses the heart, removes the faults and saves the tongue from lying, gossip, backbiting and hypocrisy while engaged in the remembrance of God."

Seeking Help with Prayers

According to Imam Ghazali (RA), illness increases faith and brings man closer to God. Knowing this nature, we are told in Quran -

O you who believe, seek help with patience and prayers, as God is with those who patiently persevere" (Quran 2:153).

Prophet Muhammad (P) when he visited the sick, used to comfort him and say the following Prayer for the Sick

"O Allah remove the hardship, O Lord of mankind, grant cure for You are the Healer. There is no cure but from You, a cure which leaves no illness behind."


- "Allahumma Azhibil bas, Rabbannas, Ishfi wa anta Shafi, La Shifa illa Shafaok. Shifaal La Yoghadiro saqama."

He used to make following prayer for his own health -

"O Allah cure my body, cure my heart and cure my eyesight from any illness" (repeated 3 times).


- "Allahumma Afini fi badni, afini fi qalbi wa afini fi basari" (3 times).

Do Prayers Work?

Yes they do. Dr. Larry Dossey in his book "The Healing Words" has documented the healing effects of prayer. Citing one example from the research conducted by Dr. Byrd at San Francisco General Hospital in 1988, 393 critically ill heart patients admitted to the intensive care units over a 10-month period were divided in 2 groups. Group A were the patients who were prayed for by name till they left the hospital. Group B were not prayed for. The prayer makers were not told how to pray. The results were very interesting. Those who were prayed for left the hospital early, had less cardiac arrest, 2-1/2 times less incidence of congestive heart failure and needed 1/5th less antibiotics.
They also observed that prayer combined with loving care worked even better. Men who had angina pectoris and a loving caring wife, reported 50% more reduction in angina than men who were single or divorced.

Prayers work for us even while we are sleeping.

Thus Prophet Muhammad (P) has advised us to say prayers from Quran (Surah Ikhlas, Al Falaq, Annas and/or last verse of Al Baqra (2:286) before going to sleep.

My Own Practice

I do dhikr in all my free time, especially while driving, and I pray for myself, my family, my friends and my patients by name, knowing that cure is only from God.

One time I visited a critically ill patient who had an adrenal tumor (pheochromocytoma) and was in hypotensive shock. I asked her what could I do for her and she, out of desperation (doctors had told her she wouldn't make it) asked me to pray. So I placed my hand over the site of the tumor and made the Prophetic Prayer and left. The next day when I came, I was surprised to see her sitting up in bed smiling. She told me that evening the radiologist x-rayed her again and found no trace of the tumor. He could not explain it but thought the arteriogram may have "infarcted the tumor."


*Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine. Presented on March 7, 1997 at the 4th Annual Convention of International Association for Sufism, San Francisco, California. Dr. Athar is also the Chairman, Medical Ethics of Islamic Medical Association of North American and Member IAS. He is the author of "Health Concerns for Believers" and edited "Islamic Perspective in Medicine."
Selected Reading

1. The meaning of the Holy Quran translated by Abdullah Yusuf Ali, Amana Corp, M.D.

2. Athar, Shahid "Health Guidelines from the Quran and Sunnah" in
Health Concerns for Believers (Kazi Publication 1995).

3. El-Kadi, Ahmed "Health and Healing in the Quran" in Islamic Perspective in Medicine
edited by Shahid Athar, M.D. (ATP 1994).

4. Medicine of the Prophet by Imam Ibn Qayyim Al Jawziyya translated
by Muhammad Al-Akili (Pearl Publishing House).

5. Medicine of the Prophet by Jalaluddin Abdur Rahman As-Suyuti (Ta Ha Publishers Ltd.).

6. Bakhtiar, Laleh "God's will be Done: Moral Healing through the
most Beautiful Names" The Institute of Traditional Psychoethics and Guidance 1994.

7. Dossey, Larry, M.D., "Healing Words" - Harper Collins 1993.

8. Shaykh Hakim Moinuddin Chishti "The Book of Sufi Healing".
The Inner Traditional Int.1985.

9. Al-Gazali - Invocations and Supplications translated by
K. Nakamura, Cambridge, U.K. The Islamic Text Society 1990.

10. Gilani, Shaik Muhyiddleen Abdul Qadi
- "The Endowment of Divine Grace and the Spread of Divine Mercy"
Vol I - Pearl Publication, Philadelphia, PA 1990.



Omar said...

Hello, i am trying to reach Dr.Athar. My name is Omar Alnazer and there is someone i know who is in Los Angeles and she is fighting metastatic breast cancer. The doctors gave her no hope and they all said she is going to die, this was over 6 months ago, now she is so sick in the hospital in LA that she cant do much anymore. She is only 20 years old. I spoke to her about Islam, she is very willing to convert insha'allah, i live in Omaha Nebraska and i cant go there to help her. I read Dr. Athar's story about reciting the Quran and healing a person, i tried that so many times with her over the phone but nothing seems to work, she is dying and i cant help but feel so much pain running through me. I feel like I am useless and i cant help her at all. I even prayed all through Ramadan for her even through the last 10 days of Ramadan and through Laylat-Al-Qadr. Please i need Dr.Athar's help. Anything He can do, i would appretiate it, Anything at all, this is her final hope. Please Help her see the truth and insha'allah she will follow Islam...Please Please Please email me, This is the most important email i could ever recieve.

Thank you so much,
Omar Alnazer

Omar said...

Hello, I am trying to reach Dr.Athar, my name is Omar Alnazer and i need help with a friend who is currently going through treatment in Los Angeles for Metastatic Breast Cancer. She is only 20 years old. I am a Muslim alhamdulilah, she is still christian and very close to converting to Islam insha'allah. She was diagnosed almost 6 months ago and is on her death bed it seems. All doctors lost hope in her, i prayed for her all through Ramadan even the last 10 days and through Laylat-Al-Qadr but she was just getting sicker. I feel like i am useless but i know there is hope and Allah is the all mighty all merciful. I have tought her so much about Islam, showed her how to pray, even told her how to convert when she is %100 ready as i did not want to make it seem like im forcing her into anything because thats not what Islam teaches as you know.

I tried everything, i prayed for her over the phone together, she cried with me over the phone as i prayed for her. I am only 21 years old and i know she is too young to die, she is a very good person, she is fighting and she is losing this battle, i havent heard from her in 2 days now. I know she is in the hospital as one of the nurses told me she is still in bed. Insha'allah she lives a beautiful life, Amen.

I read the story about Dr.Athar touching a girl where she had the tumor and reciting the Holy Quran and she was cured. Wallah i am hoping Dr.Athar can help her, Please, If there is anything anyone can do, Please help her, Anything at all. I live in Omaha Nebraska and i cant do anything to help her, all i could do was pray for her here and pray for her on the phone with her.

Please email me as this is the most important thing i could do for her. She deserves life, just like she deserves her four children that she always dreamed of. I will watch my email constantly everyday, please Help Us and Allah will Surely Repay you, Insha'allah.

Thank You so much.
Omar Alnazer

leigh-ann said...

Hi my name is laaiqah im in hospital with a bleeding ulcers i would appreciate all ur duahs as im not well shukran. I really need ur duahs

fatima49 said...

Salem Alekum. Dr Athar. My son is very ill he has a tumor in his stomach.
My son is a muslim does all his five time prayers and fasting.
This month of ramadan he is very ill.
Please do a dua for my son Abdulla Bin Daud.
That his tumor goes away.
From a desperate mother.

bilal asghar said...

Prayer Please
Hey everyone, My DAD had a major heart attack. He is in the hospital and he is on a ventilator. He is in very serious condition. Remember him in your prayers.
Thanks Bilal

farislinux said...

Hello everyone,

Please pray for my sis daugter Umaima as she is suffering from Dengue fever and she is in critical stage.

Thahaniyath said...

Salaams. Duas for my brothers nd sisters. My dad is havn cancer stage 3. They r yet to take few scans to figure out the issue. I live in us and dad in india. Im the oly financial support they hv. Im nt able to be near dad. But duas for him. I hope all join hands for my dad and all in need. Ameen.

nika danes said...

Dua for my friend who is in bed due to fatal heart attacked. He was sent out from hospital and now vegetable. He has life support apparatus with him to sustained his life. The family is praying for a voluntary muscle movement and that he can see and talk.Please brothers and sisters pray for him.
I'm Jameela your sister.