Secondly: Preserving and Protecting the Human Body

As Islam takes care of building the body, providing the necessities for its survival, and by means of its laws and legislations organizes social life and moral values, it also takes care of preserving the body and protecting it against whatever that may lead to its weakness, decay and loss of energy. It protects the body against diseases, filth and dirt, and calls for immunity and medical treatment, and tries to .

keep it away from fatigue, tiredness and lavish use of the allowables, or indulge in desires which sap its energies and expose it to diseases and failure. Islam prohibits man from committing whatever brings harm to him and his abilities, such as alcoholic drinks, adultery, consuming harmful food, so that man may preserve his powers and energies by organizing his material life -food, drinks, satisfying desires, etc. Through this legislative programme Islam saves the human body from the dangers of tearing and sanitary collapse. To attain this objective, Islam ordains certain regulations, such as:

1. Call for moderation:

Islam advocates moderation, and prevents man from excess and gluttony in food, drink, sex, desires, and in makin2 excessive use of the allowables, for when Islam allows food, drink and the other amenities and pleasures, it only aims at keeping the body healthy, preserving it, and affording it pieasure and happIness. Islam's call for moderation is based on essential principles of life. These principles say that man needs only what stays him and keeps his body healthy. Naturally, the body needs limited quantities of food, drink, sex, desire etc. Islam offers a practical explanation of its ethics evaluating sensual pleasure, and stressing that it is not a goal in life, as it is a prompter driving man to exert his lawful efforts to satisfy these needs. This explanation prevents man from becoming a brute, thinking of othing but food, drink, sex, and indulgence in gratifying his whims and desires.

In order to be certain that its conductive principles will be followed, Islam finds the system of life, man's connection to his requirements, and his share of them, on strict calculations and equations void of any disorder and excess. It measures everything and places it in its correct place, demanding that moderation should be practiced in everything in

such a manner that it is right to say that Islam's way is that of "moderation and uprightness .

Many Qur'anic Verses and Prophetic Traditions confirm this vital important principle .the principle of moderation which protects man against extravagance and gluttony. The extravagances affect all human behaviour. materially and spiritually. They affect morals, causing the degradation of the nations conducts ;they affect economy, disbalancing its role in the societies and they affect health, causing the physical energies to decline. So, in order to protect the society against this grave psychological plague, Islam laid its firm foundation to enact a serious moral law, the law of moderation and the giving up of gluttony and extravagance.

Therefore, Islam's fight against extravagance is a psychological and moral one, at its start, so as to show their effects later on in the human conduct.

Islam wants to cultivate the habit of moderation and morality in the Muslim to enable him to correctly deal with different vital subjects later on in life. A Tradition says that the Messenger of Allah (S.A.) saw Jabir ibn Abdullah Al - Ansari using too much water for performing ablution. He said to him: "0 Jabir! do not use water excessively.: Jabir asked him: "Can there be any excess in using water, 0 Messenger of Allah? "Oh yes , replied the Prophet, "even if you were at a riverside!"

Carefully contemplating this noble narrative, one is apt to realize that, by this prohibition, the Prophet's aim is the psychological and moral education ,based on moderate spending. That is why the Prophet (S.A.) told him: "Oh yes, even If you were at a riverside!"

Wasting the water, while you are at a riverside, cannot be regarded as extravagance, since there would be no actual loss, as it is plenty enough, and it would return to the nver once again, but it would enhance the spirit of prodigality an4 heedlessness. This principle is coined by the Qur'an in its saying: "0 Chilaren of Adam! Look to your adornment at every time of worship, and eat and drink, but be not prodigal. Surely He does not love the prodigals." Sure Al -A rat (7:31)

This is the line followed by the Prophet's Tradition, as he is quoted to have said:

"If you eat for a part of your stomach, you will get healthy,"38and "Do not kill the hearts with eating and drinking too much, as the heart is like the plant which dies if watered too often,"39 and "I fear three calamities that may befall my people: going astray after knowing, misleading attractions, and appetites for food and sex." 40

"The son of Adam has but to have a meal to keep his spine upright. So, when you eat, let one-third of your stomach for food, one-third for drink, and one-third for breathing. Do not get fat . Pigs are fattened for butchery." 41

2. Forbidding the Harmful:

The second step taken by Islam to protect health is prohibiting whatever brings harm to the body, and apt to cause illness, such as drinking wine, eating carrion, pork, meat of dogs, rats, and beasts of prey, as well as indulging in adultery, sodomy, masturbation, lesbianism, and the like. Now, with the current scientific progress in preserving health and in medicine, no one is ignorant of the dangers caused by food, drink and abnormal practices on human health and physical abilities.

3. Purification and Cleanliness:

The third step on the road of the Islamic hygienic programme is cleanliness. Dirts and body excretions are the home of germs and microbes, and the source of a number of diseases and physical ailment. Therefore, Islam legislates purification and cleanliness, and imposes on the Muslims to keep away from filths which are regarded to be the origin of endangering human health. Examples of these filths are: urine, excretion, blood, semen, human and some animal corpses, etc.. To achieve cleanliness, Islam legislates purificaton by water to remove the remnants of filth and to be protected against their harms. It also ordains ablution and the compulsory bathing after menstruation period, childbirth, sexual intercourse, wet-dreaming, touching a corpse and

recommends other baths, such as the Friday bath, according to the Holy Tradition.

Islam also calls the Muslims to clean and purify their houses, the streets, as well as their clothes, food and everything in their lives. Its stress on cleanliness is so persisting that some researchers and orientalists have called the Islamic culture: "The Culture of Purification and Cleanliness . The main legislation iii the Qur'an concerning purification is:

"0 you who believe! When you rise up for prayer, wash your faces and your hands as far as the elbows, and lighily rub your heads and your feet up to the ankles. And if you are Jun ubs'42purify yourselves. And if you are sick or on a journey, or one of you come from the privacy, or you have had contact with women, and you cannot find water, then betake yourselves to clean earth, and wipe your faces and your hands with some of it. Allah would not place a burden on you, but He would purify you and would perfect His grace upon you, that you may be grateful."

Sure Al-Ma ida (5:6)

"... Truly Allah loves those who repent (to Him), and loves those who purify themselves." Sure Al-Baqara (2:222)

On the basis of the above verses, the Messenger

(S.A.) explained the programme of purity, taking care of the society and the Muslim. He regulated rinsing the mouth, sniffing water, cleaning the teeth with toothpicks, washing the hair, wearing clean clothes, clipping the nails, observing cleanliness of food and drink, etc. Imam Al - Sadiq (A.S) is quoted to have said that the Messenger (S.A.) saw a dishevelled man with dirty clothes and in a bad condition. He said: "It is religious to enjoy and display blessings.

He also said:

"How bad is a dirty man!" 43

He is also quoted to have said: "Purification is half of faith." 44 "Be clean, as Islam is clean." "Cleanliness is part offaith." 45

There are numerous verses in the Qur'an, as there are many Traditions, which are classitied under such subjects as: Cleanliness' , Preserving Health', and several others, all of which aim at spreading cleanliness and purity, causing man tO feel free from physical and spiritual impurity and filth, and preserve the purity of the natural human instinct, and protect the body against what may befall by filth and impurities, so as to guard physical soundness, and to educate the feeling of spiritual purity and look for it. By physical cleanliness one gets used to rid oneself of any strange thing that may badly affect the order of life, whether concerning the body, behaviour or ideology.

4. Immunity and Medical Treatment:

Protection against diseases and their medical treatment are the last steps in the Islamic health and physical education programme. Islam regards protection and immunity against diseases as a major principle of securing human health. Consequently, the Islamic legislation fixes all the necessary principles, such as: cleanliness, moderation in eating and drinking, avoiding prodigality, coordinating all human duties in respect to man's abilities and endurance - a principle which is true in respect to all kinds of duties ordained by Allah, such as: worshipping rites and duties including fasting, praying, pilgrimage. jihad, etc.

Starting from this principle,Islam exempts the aged and those who cannot endure from fasting, pilgrimage, jihad, and other difficult duties, so as to spare their health and ward expected harm off them, in accordance with the rules of justice and wisdom defined by the following Verse: "Allah does not impose a duty on a soul beyond its Scope...." Sure Al - Baqara (2.286)

There is a further step taken by Islam on the road of protection against diseases, a legislative step concerninig quarantine regulations and keeping away from disease concentrations, A Tradition says:

"Run away from a leper as you run away from a lion."46 And also:

"If you heard of a township afflicted with colera do not enter it, and if it appeared where you are do not leave the place." 47 The Islamic philosophy of medical treatment and prevention is based on the existence of a natural relationship among all the interlinked things, as every incident in this world is connected to a number of causes, or perhaps, to a series of natural causes. These things - the causes and effects - which f all within a single group, interact with each other. Such general concepts are applicable to man's physical nature, and its outer connection with things, such as undernourishment and overstraining oneself, which cause physical feebleness.

Germs and alcohol cause physical sickness and affect the soundness of the order of the body; some medicines and herbs and certain foods help the body to keep its natural system, or assist it to attack the morbid microbes and kill them.

Thus, a Tradition says:

"For every malady there is a cure; So, if a cure gets the malady it cures it by will of Allah the Exalted ."48 The existence of this natural relationship among elements reflects full wisdom of Allah the Exalted, showing the precision of His creating this world whose function is based on interlinked rules and systems.

Had it not been for medicine and the possibility of amending a disordered body, the human life would have been subjected to confusion and quick ruin, and, actually, that would have caused a disorder in the system of creation. Glorified He be above all that, as He is the Wise, the All - knowing Who exacted everything wisely and measurely!

"And you see the mountains, you think them solid, and they shall pass as the passing away of clouds; the handiwork of Allah Wit. made all things perfectly. Surely He is Aware of what you do." Sura Al - Naml (2788)

Thirdly: Proper Use Of Physical Abilities

The Islamic programme, thus takes the form of an orderly perfection covering the bodily system and its diverse material needs, starting from affording its physical requirements in the first place, and arranging to protect andpreserve it in the second; then coming to the most important stage, in the third place, it , employs the human energies, and explains how to use and exploit them.

So, the human energy in this world, is the most advanced of the created powers, in its kind, value and nature, if it is utilized in a sound way according to Allah's programme and wisdom.

Offering man the necessary information and guidance in employing huge human energy in constructive projects, Islam defines the line of behaviour and conduct, so that he tiiay not misuse it towards evil and transgression, nor exhaust it in fields of triffle play and diversion.

Utilizing these human abilities wrongly and in an improper way is regarded by Islam as a kind of ttansgression against the system of existence, and a process of wasting man's noble aims and values in this life. so, the voice of the Qur'an raises its warning against falling in to this destructive pit of misbehaviour, saying: "But seal the future abode by means of that which Allah has given you and neglect not your portion of the world, and do good (to others) as Allah has been good to you, and seek not corruption in the earth. Surely Allah does not love corrupters."

Sura AI-Qasas (28: 77)

"Nay, surely man is rebellious. That he thinks himself independent!" SuraAI- AIaq(96:6-7)

"And if Allah were to enlarge the provision for His servants they would surely rebel in the earth..." Sure AI-Shura (42:27)

"The way (of blame) is only against those who oppress mankind, and wrongfully rebel in the earth..." Sure Al -Shura (42:42) ( 28 )

"... Let not the life of the world beguile you, nor let the deceiver beguile you in regard to Allah." Sure Luqman (31:33)

"As for Ad, they were arrogant in the land without right, and they said: who is mightier than us in power? Could they not see that Allah JVho created them, was mightier than them in power? And they denied Our revelations." Sure Ha Mim (41: 15)

So, contemplating these Qur'anic verses with a scrutinizing look, we come to the following conclusion:

Oppression, corruption, arrogance, tyranny, injus53 tice, and pride, are all abnormal psychological cases, deviated human feelings and incorrect evaluation of man's power and ability, which cause him to use these physical, mental and psychological powers in a foolish and destructive way. The Qur'an warns against such misbehaviour and abnormal use which lead mankind to the precipice of tragedy and pain.

In order that man may realize his real value and make himself deserving, the Qur'an continually draws his attention to the greatness of his Creator and His power, and to man's triviality in regard to the great Creator. It says:

"Could they not see that Allah Who created them, was mightier than them in power?" SuraHaMim(41: 15)

A Tradition puts this in a different style:

"When your might calls upon you to do wrong to somebody, remember Allah is mightier than you." This is in order that man may use his power and ability to his interest and for the good of mankind as a whole, according to the Qur'an's plan and its wonderful standards: ".... and do good (to others) as Allah has been good to you, and seek not corruption in the earth, Surely Allah does not love corrupters." Sura Al - Qasas (28: 77) ( 29 )

The Qur'an even displays a wonderful example of the faithful personality who is good at making. use of his energies, and knows how to handle them. It says:

"Those who, should We establish them in the land, will keep up prayer and pay the poor- due and enjoin good and forbid evil. And Allah's the sequel of events." Sura Al - Hal (22:41)

In this way Islam perfects its programme of organizing man's physical and instinctive life in a harmonious and balanced way, so that the body may be in its proper disposition, concerning its needs, or preserving and protecting man in the way he uses his abilities. Once a bedouin came to the Prophet (S. A.) and asked him:

"0 Messenger of Allah! Who is the best of men?"

He replied: "The best of men is the one who lived long, and did good deeds." It is this sound natural physical state which we describe as "healthy , and it is this same state to which the great Messenger, Muhammad, (S.A. W.) refers by saying:

"Two blessings are unknown: Health and Security ."

Thus health is a blessing bestowed on mankind by Allah the Exalted. It should be preserved, and utilized to the best, as a means of getting nearer to Allah.


----------------------------------------------------------------- 1. (A.S.): are the abbreviations of the Arabic phrase " alayhi/ha/him AI-salam (mey peace be upon him/her/them). 2. Al-Kulayni, "Furu' Al-Kafi , The Book of Foods', Vol. 6, p.287, ed. 1971. 3.lbid., p.287, 4.lbid.,p.287. 5. (S.A.) are the abbreviations of theAra bic phrase "Sal-lallahu ala yhi wa alih i' (May Allah bless him and his progeny). 6. Ibid., P. 308. 7. Ibid., p. 231. 8. Ibid., p. 332. 9.ibid.,p.335. 10. ibid., p. 337. 11. ibid., p. 344. 12. ibid., p. 345. 13. ibid., p. 352. 14. ibid., p. 358. 15. Al-Kulayni, "Al-Kafi , KitabAl-Nikah', p.321. 16. ibid., p. 320. 17. ibid., p.320., 18. ibid., p.324. 19. ibid., p.329 20. AI-Kulayni, Al-Kafi , The Book of Fashion and Adornment Vol. 6,p.438, ed. 1971 21. ibid., p. 444. 22. Wafra is thick hair behind the ears. 23. AI-Kulayni, ibid., p.485. 24. ibid., p.485. 25.ibid.p.510. 26. ibid., p.511. 27. Al- Kulayni, "Al - Kafi , Vol.5, pB4, ed. 1971. 28. ibid., p. 84. 29. ibid., P. 85., quoting lmam Al-Ride (AS.).

  1. ibid., P. 85, quoting lmam Al-Sadiq (AS.).,
  2. ibid., P. 86, quoting lmam, All (AS.).
  3. ibid., vol 5, P 49, ed 1971
  4. ibid., P. 48.
  5. ibid., P. 49.
  6. ibid., P. 49.
  7. Awatik' is pl. of Atika, which is the name of three of the Prophet's grand-mothers.
  8. Al-Kulayni, "Al-Kafi , Vol. 5. P. 51.
  9. Al - Naraqi, JamiAl - Se adat vol. 2, p.8, ed. 1963.
  10. ibid., p.4.
  11. ibid., p.4.
  12. ibid., p.5. Reference to what the non-muslims do.
  13. "A Junub is the one who is regarded unclean after a sexual intercourse, a wet-dream or masturbation.
  14. Al - Kulayni, "Al - Kafi The Book of Fashion and Adornment'.
  15. Abdulla shubbar, Al - Akhlaq "p. 22.
  16. ibid. p. 30.
  17. Afd Tebere, Ruh A' - 0Th A' - lslami, p. 443.
  18. ibid., p. 443.
  19. ibid., p. 443.