Sunday, June 3, 2007

Qur'aan & Science - Dr. Jamil

The Holy Quran’s
Scientific and Social Theories

Volume 1

Theory of Health

Dr Javed Jamil
Executive Chairman
International Centre for Applied Islamics
Saharanpur, India



1.Modern Sciences – Mistresses of Economic Fundamentalists
2. Fundamental Duties in Islam: Impact on Health
3.Fundamental Prohibitions:Health Protective Measures
4. Defining Health: Islamic Definition versus International
5. Applying the Quran’s Theory of Health
6.Islamic Model for Control of AIDS
7. Islamic Model of Family Welfare
8. Environment
9. Mental & Spiritual Health
10. Challenges ahead
11. World Health Organisation (WHO) – The Failed Institution
12. Last Word




For the followers of Islam, it is not a mere belief that the Qur’an is no ordinary work of no ordinary mortal; they are thoroughly convinced that it is a Singular, Supreme and Majestic Work of a Singular, Supreme and Majestic Author, the Creator and the Lord of the universe. The Qur’an itself declares, and does so categorically, that it is for all times to come, for all parts of the world and for all human generations. This, again, is by no means an ordinary declaration. This is indeed an outstanding and extraordinary claim—this is why the Qur’an is regarded as the greatest of all miracles, a “living miracle”, bestowed by God on Muhammad, the Final Prophet of Islam — and this claim has been strengthening with every passing day in the onward march of the world civilisation. And the irrefutable truth is that the Qur’an contains much more than what human brain can imagine, ponder or discover. This book of the Creator of God is the Best Possible Guide for human beings. It does not only provide social and spiritual laws, as is universally believed, but it also indicates the fundamental universal laws (physical) that govern the universe in its entirety, fundamental biological laws that govern living beings and the health related laws that govern the human health. In the present book we will discuss all these and will try to formulate theories based on the Quran.

I would like to clarify at the outset that the theories to be formulated in this work represent my understanding of the Holy Book, and human understanding is bound to have errors. What I am trying to do is to describe in the language that we know in the modern world what God tells. With the passage of time, scholars will emerge who will understand things much better than what the current experts do.

My methodology will be to first describe what the contemporary theories are, to critically analyse them in the light of Quranic verses, to present alternative theories, to discuss their consistence with the word of God and finally to study their implications. I will discuss a number of theories, chiefly the theory of health, theory of Physics, theory of Economics, theory of Law, theory of Society, theory of Hereafter and the theory of Peace, not necessarily in the same order. Other theories are also likely to be added at a later stage.


1. Modern Sciences -- Mistresses of Economic Fundamentalists
2. Quran’s injunctions regarding Health: Fundamental Duties and Fundamental Prohibitions
3. Quran’s theory of Health: Therapeutic Sociology
4. The current health problems and their solution
5. Comprehensive Hygiene
6. Islamic Model for Control of AIDS
7. Islamic Model of Family Welfare
8. How to implement Quran’s theory of Health

1. Modern Sciences –
Mistresses of Economic Fundamentalists

Economics is surely one of the essential constituents of human life. Without money, one cannot survive; we need coins for food, drinks, clothes, house, treatment, entertainment, marriage, bringing up of children and their education and even for funeral. But the problems begin to arise when money is assumed to be the only essential of life. Economics is stomach that supplies food for the body. It cannot and must not become heart and brain. For a wholesome living, good relations among members of family and of society, proper spiritual and moral development and proper environment are also needed. Love for money is nice, as far as it does not disturb mental, family and social peace. But as soon as it transforms into lust encroaching upon others’ spheres, it becomes a curse. When the lust for making money becomes organised, its effects on society are bound to be devastating. And when this organisation turns global and uses highly advanced information and technology available to it, mankind faces imminent ruin. This dominance of economics in the world affairs is what I call Economic Fundamentalism.

It can be seen that economic fundamentalism is becoming increasingly aggressive with every passing day. What has facilitated its stupendous growth is the outstanding ability of its generals to deal with the hurdles coming in their way. The truth is that they have been marching towards their ultimate destination without facing any appreciable resistance. They had studied and recognised all the possible sources of obstruction well in advance and prepared a meticulous plan to thwart them. All possible weapons were and are being employed for this purpose: persuasion, advertising, misinformation, defamation, bribing, manoeuvring and use of power. The ballistic missiles of their money-power have proved to be too destructive for the resistant elements to withstand. Through persuasion or threats they are either overpowered or purchased. The opposing forces have failed owing not only to the lack of resources but also to the glaring deficiency of will and spirit. What further paralysed them are innumerable divisions in their ranks, based on religion, region, race, ideology and language. The economic fundamentalists have used this lassitude to gain on them; they are now virtual rulers of the world. Their trumpet blows everywhere — from the north to the south and from the west to the east. There is little evidence in sight to foretell that their dominion will shrink to any remarkable extent in the foreseeable future. Whatever few areas or fields have till now remained beyond their reach will soon be ransacked by their visible or invisible forces. How long they will be able to retain their hold, only time will tell. But presently, no signs of the emergence of a messiah or mahdi are visible.

Thus, the rise and growth of economic fundamentalism has been, from historical standards, rather rapid taking hardly a few centuries. The think-tank of the world of economic fundamentalism has taken innumerable steps to strengthen their hold. They have sacrificed the goddess of justice before the eyes of Statue of Liberty. They have transformed through political manoeuvres the state into their estate. They have incessantly and relentlessly been trying to organise a grand farewell for religion. They have captivated the imagination of the people through the media. They have got the attire of society redesigned so that it looks gorgeous and inviting to their eyes. They have industrialised sex, in which they have discovered the hen that always lays golden eggs. They have relocated the entire educational set-up on the Wall Street. They have monopolised the tree of economy whose fruits and shadows are only theirs; others can only admire its beauty from a safe distance. They have taken science and technology as their mistresses who are always keen to offer their glorious best to them. They have nipped all the challenges in the buds by masterminding popular movements. They have lynched ‘civilisation’, which has been given a new incarnation; and now Bohemians are called civilised. Last but not the least, they have been busy colonising the good earth in the name of globalisation.

In the nineteenth and the early twentieth century, science achieved preponderance in the affairs of the world. But, with the march of the twentieth century, economics outsmarted sciences. This was an ominous development as it led to misuse, in extremely dangerous proportions, of the various disciplines of science. The scientific spirit is no longer visible anywhere. Scientific researches are being misused to exploit the masses in order to attain the economic and political supremacy. The outcome of the misappropriation of sciences and medicine has been that a large number of life-threatening diseases are increasing in incidence at an alarming pace; people are killing one another; and family peace and social order are conspicuous by their virtual non-existence. It is therefore high time now that the vessel of scientific and medical spirit were set into motion without any further demurrage. Let us see what science means.

Science is the name given to the efforts for arriving at the truth and knowing the realities. It unfolds the mysteries of nature and explains how scores of natural forces combine to maintain perfect harmonious equilibrium that is essential for the sustenance of the universe and for the survival of all living beings. It teaches us how to avail ourselves the materials and energies for different purposes. It would however be dangerous to presuppose that science is merely an informer and has nothing to do with our morals. What is incontrovertible is that science too, like religion, has been and is being misused by the vested interests. The dagger of blame falls not on science but on those who misappropriate it. Scientists themselves have often tended to refute the greatest truth of the universe. A general empathy towards religion that was the outcome of maledictory campaigns against it by the forces of economic fundamentalism influenced scientists too, who strove to present science as an antidote to religion. Religion had already been equated with orthodoxy and retrogression. It was therefore natural for the emerging edifice of science to maintain a safe distance from the Faith. Hence, when science discovered that there exists a most wonderful equipoise in the universe that keeps life intact, that there seems to be a common cause of all the causes (a common force behind all the forces), and the common cause has to be cognisant of the needs of all the creatures, they named this common cause Nature. Had it been called God, the avowed antagonism of religion by science would have suffered a major setback. The acceptance of the One by science could have been a big boost for moralists. Materialists could have faced encumbrances in their naked pursuit of money. Thus numerous laws governing the vast universe were labelled not as God’s or Creator’s Laws but the laws of Nature. The laws of gravitation and motion, for instance, were called Newton’s Laws of Gravitation and Motion rather than the Creator’s Laws, as if Newton created these laws, who in fact only tried to elucidate them. Despite all these attempts to banish God from the realm of science, the truth is that science cannot move an inch without assuming the presence of a being that is all-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful, eternal, wise, calculating and all-pervading. It has only tried to infatuate itself by calling this omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient being as Nature. Can science enlighten us how the particles, or the space, or the waves forming “Nature” possess faculties of intelligence and wisdom? Can it explain why all the physical laws remain the same everywhere in the universe? (Einstein’s theory of relativity postulates that physical laws are the same in all co-ordinate frames all over the universe.) Science claims itself to be the truth and nothing but the truth, or an effort to arrive at the truth. But its signal failure has been its inability to recognise the greatest truth of the Universe. It is not that science transformed its exponents into atheists. In fact, the greatest scientists of the world including Einstein, Darwin and Newton had an unshakeable belief in the presence of the One. But what their hearts were cognisant of, their pens could not describe in a scientific jargon. It was less perhaps because they found their belief scientifically untenable and more because they were scared of becoming targets of anti-religion elements that had a dominating presence in society. Both capitalism and socialism, the two great faces of economic fundamentalism had anathema for God whose fear and love created “unnecessary” impact on human morals.

The ethical denudation turned science amoral. Scientists started thinking that science was above religion and ethics. It had no role to play in the on-going course of social history except providing or striving to provide means of comfort or supremacy to those who seek them. They have continued their work despite the fact that self-seekers misuse their inventions and discoveries to rob common people of their hard-earned money, or to kill humans for political supremacy in the world. Scientists have incarcerated themselves in laboratories, computers, books and journals; the barons of economic fundamentalism roam free. Seldom do the beacons of science protest against the on-going desecration of nature and life. The few who display some determination and conviction to vent their feelings, like environmentalists or epidemiologists, are tackled either diplomatically or through lucrative offers.

In short, there is little to doubt that the scientific spirit does not govern the present world. It is the economic spirit that prevails and pervades everywhere. The question may here be put forward: what does the scientific spirit actually mean? Sciences can be broadly divided into material sciences and life sciences. Material sciences explain the phenomena occurring in nature and inform how precisely matter follows certain principles. The laws of physics remain the same in all the frames of reference throughout the universe. The laws of motion, the law of gravitation, the laws relating to light, magnetism, electricity, nuclear physics and chemistry never change. Rules are the rule, and exceptions are exceptional. These laws are not only universal but also eternal having continued unchanged from time immemorial. It can be seen that every particle of the atom follows with uncompromising precision the duties imposed on it. It has no individual rights. It has to stick to the duties and prohibitions applied by “Nature”. It is because of adherence to the principles that the huge universe maintains an incredible equilibrium sustaining billions of mammoth planetary bodies that too in their turn follow the prescribed course. They all are having peaceful coexistence because each one of them knows its specified boundaries, which it never infringes. When one studies living sciences, one finds that it is life that brings billions of billions of atoms together into one single entity. Living cells also follow the rules but the precision of material sciences is not visible here. Instead, they work within certain boundaries. Blood pressure, respiratory rate, cardiovascular impulses, etc. are not pinpointed, (as in the case of material sciences) but have upper and lower limits. No pulse count can be termed as exactly normal. The range of 60 to 80 is taken as normal. Similarly, the systolic blood pressure normally ranges between 110 and 140 mm Hg and the diastolic between 60 and 90. There are also normal ranges for the time and amplitude of different waves appearing normally in an electrocardiogram, viz., P, Q, R, S, T and U waves. The same is true for total leukocyte count, differential leukocyte count, red blood cell count, haemoglobin percentage, serum bilirubin, blood sugar, cholesterol, creatinine, globulin, albumin, T3, T4, TSH, insulin and thousands of other indicators. An individual remains healthy till all these remain within the normal ranges. As soon as any of them either shoots up beyond the upper limit, or falls below the lower limit, deterioration in health begins. And these indices tend to remain in the normal range, if the individual’s routine activities including eating, drinking, physical work, sleeping, etc. remain normal. No sooner does one engage in an abnormal activity, one’s body starts exhibiting signs of weakness and disease. Excessive or deficient eating and drinking, swallowing of such materials as have no role to play in the functioning of the physical system, extraordinarily exacting or sedentary work, uninhibited sex, or no sex at all—all these pose threats to the normal functioning of the body.

Economic fundamentalism banks on change. Change, it is asserted, is the essence of a successful life; and society must continue to change with the time. The emphasis on change is the obvious outcome of the conspiracy to rob the masses by luring them to buy new fashionable clothes and household items and to adopt new social mores. But science has different ideas to disseminate altogether. Natural laws always remain precisely the same and do not change with time and place. Living beings, if at all they change, do so extremely slowly and for the better; these changes are aimed at adapting in accordance with the new environmental conditions. The corporate world, on the other hand, insists on rapid changes. In fact, it deliberately brings transformations in the surroundings for its own interests, and then pressurises the masses to make adjustments. The new changes often bring disaster, not any real betterment in life. Magnates want the organs of the body to perform functions that they have not been created for. They want stomach to digest the indigestible, lungs to inhale what is unworthy of inhalation, mouth and tongue to lick or suck what is unworthy of licking or sucking, anus to receive what is not worthy of receiving, and brain to think what is unworthy of thinking. Yet, they harangue fantastic arguments to allow these in the name of personal freedom.

Science, it can therefore be confidently concluded, instructs that it is more important to perform duties and avoid prohibitions than asserting rights. Life sciences tell us that it is more important for the living being to work within the boundaries and never overstep limitations. This follows that the scientific spirit in synonymous with discipline, probity, truth and self-restraint. The economic spirit, on the other hand, which is so assiduously propelled by the modernists especially the corporate, asserts that rights have to prevail upon duties. Absolute freedom is the most cherished goal, whatever its consequences on society. Discipline is important only as far as it helps the business. It also follows that the scientific spirit adores health, peace and order, and detests anything that jeopardises any one of these. The modern world has the body of science ruled by the ghost of commercialism.

Science, in general, is the name given to understanding the truths of the universe and to utilise them in the best possible way for the peace, progress and prosperity of mankind. Medical sciences, in particular, aim at alleviating the sufferings of men and to create conditions favourable for a disease-free and tension-free life. Montgaine (Essays, II) says: “Health is a precious thing, and the only one, in truth, which deserves that we employ in its pursuit not only time, sweat, trouble, and worldly goods, but even life; inasmuch as, without it life comes to be painful and oppressive to us. Pleasure, wisdom, knowledge and virtue, without it, grow tarnished and vanish away.” It is therefore essential, in keeping with the scientific and medical spirit, that all the developmental, political and administrative activities must be aimed at ensuring health, family peace and social order.

As explained earlier in the chapter, the current international system is revolving around economic fundamentalism, an ideology that originated in the West but has now become a global player. All disciplines of life other than economics including health and peace have been relegated to secondary importance. The current theory of health has therefore the visible influence of economic fundamentalism over all of its dimensions. The models of growth in vague in the contemporary world have been developed in accordance with the requirements of market forces; health is a notable victim. It is in this background that we will try to develop Quranic theory of Health. We will see that

1. While health has secondary importance in the current international systems, economics being its pivot, in Islam, health is one of the defining and deciding factors in the over-all definition of peace, which includes health as one of it most important constituents. Health is therefore not to be ignored in the over all scheme of things; what endangers health is unacceptable for Islam, the degree of unacceptability depending upon the degree of dangers posed by a certain practice or item.
2. All the three dimensions of Islam’s three-dimensional system, viz. Fundamental Duties, Fundamental Prohibitions and Fundamental Rights are meant to ensure total health (physical, mental, social and spiritual well being) along with other objectives.
3. In Islam’s three-tier social system that gives equal importance to individual, family and society, individual’s health, family health and public health, all are extremely important, and any activity that seriously hampers any aspect of the three is either entirely prohibited or effectively restricted.
4. Even Social and Preventive Medicine (Community Medicine) currently taught and followed all over the world has a definite stamp of economic fundamentalism on it. Islamic models of different health related programmes are to be based primarily on health rather than economic considerations. Even social and economic programmes have to be made consistent with the demands of comprehensive health. This is what I call Therapeutic Sociology and will be dealt with in detail later.

Fundamental Duties in Islam: Impact on Health

Islamic system is neither one-dimensional nor two-dimensional; it is three-dimensional giving equal importance to Fundamental Rights, Fundamental Duties and Fundamental Prohibitions. This citadel of Peace has Duties as the Foundation, Rights as the Roof and Prohibitions as Walls. The modern systems, on the other hand, stress only Rights, undermine Duties and ignore Prohibitions altogether. Before embarking upon the development of the Quranic theory of health in detail, let us first discuss the medical implications of some of the Fundamental duties Islam. This is necessary to facilitate discussion on the foundations of the theory.

Iman (Faith), Salaat (Prayer), Saum (Fasting), Zakah (Charity) and Hajj (Pilgrimage) are regarded as 5 pillars of Islam. There are other Islamic duties as well like gaining knowledge, striving in the cause of God (Jihad), inviting others to Islam (Dawah), promoting Good (Amr bil maruf) and campaigning against Forbidden (nahi anil munkar). We will discuss the impact of Faith on health at a later stage when we will discuss Spiritual Health. We will first concentrate on Salaat (prayer).

Islamic prayer (Salaat) is preceded by Wudu , a process by which the organs of the body are washed and rubbed (with a moistened hand) in a certain fashion. The Quran says:

“O believers! When you prepare for prayer, wash your faces and your hands to the elbows; and Rub your heads and your feet to the ankles. If you are in a state of ceremonial impurity, bathe your whole body. But if you are ill, or on a journey, or one of you comes from offices of nature, or you have been in contact with women, and you find no water, then take for yourselves clean sand or earth, and rub therewith your faces and hands, God does not wish to place you in a difficulty, but to make you clean, and to complete his favour to you, so that you may be grateful.” (Chapter 5, Verse 6)

The Quran only describes the general order. We are made aware of the details in the traditions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). A very specific order of washing the organs is followed. First, (after washing the hands to ensure that no dirt goes along with the water) mouth is cleansed, taking the water inside mouth and rinsing three times. Then the water is pushed into nostrils. After this the whole face is washed with both hands from the forehead to the chin. This is followed by the washing of hands, from hand to elbow (hands, forearm and elbow). All these actions are preferably repeated thrice. After washing the hands and forearm, one again returns to the head, passing a moistened hand over the head (also behind the ears and neck in Sunni school of thought)). Lastly, feet are either washed (Sunni school of thought) or rubbed with moist hands (Shiite school of thought)) three times. This sequence is extremely significant. When I was studying in my second year of MBBS at KG Medical College, Lucknow, I was struck with amazement when I studied the sensory and motor maps inside the brain. There are different regions in the brain, which have a distorted-looking map of the body on it. Each area of the body is represented on a specific place in the brain. Sensory map is situated on a portion of the brain called postcentral gyrus. (See the anatomical diagram of the sensory area on the postcentral gyrus.)To my wonder, I found that the sequence of washing and rubbing of different organs in Wudu almost exactly follows the sequence on this map. I made further researches and then wrote a paper, “Wudu: A Medical Analysis”, which was published way back in 1978 in the Eid Special Issue of Radiance. This was reproduced again several years later by Kuwait Times, which though unfortunately did not carry my name as the author. I also published a book in Urdu in 1990, which described parts of that paper.

Brain is the organ of the body that controls various functions of the body. Apart from performing functions such as thinking, learning etc, it receives different types of sensations such as cold, touch and warmth; it analyses them so that the body can be able to give a proper response to each one of them. Brain consists of several parts such as cerebellum, cerebrum, thalamus, medulla oblongata, pons etc. The brain substance consists of grey and white matters. Cerebral hemisphere is the seat of higher functions. It is also the final centre for the reception of all types of sensations and consists of frontal, parietal, occipital and temporal lobes. It has been found that the cerebrum has got a peculiar cortical organisation. Several workers like Fulton, Woolsey, Marshall and Bard have written in detail about it. A specific bit of the substance of the brain receives sensations from a specific portion of the body. Using various techniques including electrical stimulation, the projection of the body surface has been mapped on the postcentral gyrus, a portion of Cerebrum, and it has been seen that the projection is in the following order (from below upwards) (Note that the images are reverse in the brain.):

- Intrabdominal
- Throat and inside of mouth
- Tongue
- Teeth, gums and jaw
- Lower lips, lips and upper lip
- nasal passage
- nose
- eye
- forehead
- cheek, ear, chin,
- thumb, and other fingers
- hands
- Wrist
- Forearm
- Elbow
- Arm
- Shoulder
- head
- Neck
- Trunk
- Hip
- Leg, toes and foot

The Scientists are of the opinion that this extensive coding system has certainly to do a lot with the various sensations of the body. Loss or diminution of the function causes the degeneration of the part of the brain associated with that function. Some bands known as psychic bands surround the sensory, visual and auditory areas. Their lesions cause the inability to perceive the objects, so they are said to combine the sensory impression into significant patterns.

(The above diagram represents the mini-man on the map at postcentral gyrus in accordance with the sensitivity of different organs. It can be seen that organs washed or rubbed in Wudu cover almost 80% of the total surface of the image in the brain.)

The researches on that map have since then grown substantially. Now a term “Homunculus” is being used to describe that map, and has become a topic of huge interest. Homunculus means a tiny man within man, which controls him. It is important to note that

1. The mapping is not in the order like head, face, trunk, hands, foot etc, but according to the spinal enervation. So is the order in the Wudu.
2. Mouth is rinsed first and the face is washed later. This is exactly the sequence the homunculus shows.
3. Again, instead of rubbing head along with the face, hands and forearms are washed first and then head is rubbed. This again is according to the sequence shown in the map.
4. In Wudu, first, hands are washed followed by wrist, forearm and elbow. Homunculus again depicts the same sequence, not from elbow to hand.
5. It is also highly significant that Homunculus, the mini man on the map, is a highly distorted image of man. This is because the representation of different organs on the map is not in accordance with what the human image is but in accordance with the sensitiveness of different organs in the brain. Thus the mini-man has very big lips, very big hands, face and feet. The portion from the neck to the legs occupies hardly 15-18 per cent of the mini-man. This means that by washing only certain portions in the Wudu, one activates almost the entire mini-man inside the brain.
6. There are very specific cortical paths, which also explain why the face is washed simultaneously with both hands while other left and right extremities are washed one after another. This is because both the parts of the face, right and left, are represented in both portions of the brains. In contrast, extremities are only represented on the opposite side.
7. The head and feet are extremely sensitive superficially, so mere rubbing of them would also serve the purpose of activating the brain.
8. The homunculus plays an extremely significant role in temperature control mechanism of the body. In the events of the infarction of this area of the brain, there are huge temperature regulation failures on the corresponding sides of the body.
9. The cortical area covered by the hands is one of the largest. If the more sensitive areas are stimulated first, they can immediately call the body to bring out proper responses. For example if the hands are put into cold water, the blood vessels may constrict resulting in decreased loss of heat from the body. Though in Wudu , the first portion to be washed is mouth, hands are washed before that to ensure that the water does not become dirty. In doing so, the brain also gets acclimatised to the warmth of the water.
10. As is seen in the picture of mini-man as mapped in the brain, hands and face occupy the largest portions and cover more than 70% of the total area. By rubbing these portions therefore, as in Tayammum, too, a very significant portion of the brain is activated. (In Tayammum, which is done in absence of water, hands and face are rubbed with sand or soil.)
11. In Wudu, only those parts are washed or rubbed, which are normally exposed to atmosphere and are easy to wash. In ghusl (bathing), the whole body is washed, and Islamic ghusl again follows the pattern in the homunculus.

Medical benefits of Wudu

We have just seen how almost 80% of Homunculus, the mini-man controlling the man from inside the brain gets activated. This substantially increases the ability of the brain to respond to the different kinds of sensory stimuli, particularly heat and cold. As several kinds of psychic bands are also situated along with these sensory areas, the Wudu also increases the capacity to face different psychological situations. Wudu is extremely beneficial in many other ways.

1. It helps in countering the skin cancers. According to WHO, there are an estimated 10 million cases of malignant melanoma (the most dangerous form of skin cancer) annually, and an estimated 66 000 deaths from malignant melanoma and other skin cancers every year. In Norway and Sweden, the annual incidence rate for melanoma is estimated to have more than tripled in the last 45 years, while, in the United States, the rate has doubled in the last 30 years. Worldwide, the incidence of melanoma varies more than 150-fold. The highest rates are found mainly in those nations where people are fairest-skinned and where the sun tanning culture is strongest: Australia, New Zealand, North America and Northern Europe. One in three cancers worldwide is skin-related; in the United States, that figure is one in two. There are an estimated 1.1 million annual cases of skin cancer in the United States. The melanoma cancers particularly affect the white people, while non-melanoma cancers affect both whites and blacks. It is now well known that (1) continuous exposure to sun light is the chief factor in melanoma cancers; and (2) the exposure to industrial pigments like petroleum products and tannin, etc, along with sweat further accentuates the risk of skin cancer on exposure to sun. If there is a gap of shelter away from the sun for a certain period of time, the chances of Skin cancers would decrease remarkably. If exposed organs are recurrently washed or wiped, this would wash away the harmful chemicals that gather on the skin. This will substantially reduce the risks of skin cancers. Prayer preceded by Wudu achieves both these objectives. There are two breaks for the prayer in the most harmful period of the day. The first, known as Zuhr, is immediately after the midday. This prayer is the second longest among all prayers. The Wudu involving washing of face and arm and the wiping of head and feet (washing among sunnis) will ensure removal of dust, sweat and chemicals from the exposed portions. The Wudu followed by a long prayer under a shelter will ensure a shelter for the skin. There is very little to doubt that the chances of skin cancer will remain extremely low among those Muslims who regularly offer prayers at the prescribed times.

2. The recurrent washing of the skin and the removal of sweat, dust and other chemicals will also decrease the chances of infective and allergic disorders of the skin. These include furuncles, pyomas, deep-seated abscesses, rashes, allergic dermatitis, etc.

3. Oral Hygiene is another important result of the Wudu . The rinsing of the mouth and the brushing of teeth (miswak) are sure to cause a substantial decrease in all the diseases of the mouth, teeth and gums. The Prophet said: "If I had not thought this to be an unbearable hardship for my followers I would have prescribed the use of Miswak before every prayer." (Bukhari, Muslim)”. It was narrated by the Lady Aisha (RA) that the Prophet (SA) said; "Miswak is purification of mouth and gratification to the Lord."

On the basis of the worldwide medical studies, it can be noted that

• According to the epidemiological estimates, more than half of all adults have at least the early stages of the gum diseases.
• It has also been shown that more than 90% of all people develop gum disease at some part of their lives.
• The risk becomes greater in Diabetics, drug addicts and alcoholics.
• The disease of gums and teeth are now known to have caused systemic disorders like atherosclerosis, Subacute Bacterial Endocarditis and Glomerulonephritis.

When a person eats some item of food and does not rinse his mouth immediately, the food stuck in between the teeth and gums becomes a favourable culture medium for the germs to grow. These germs start affecting the gum first. It begins with a plaque, which is a sticky film of food, saliva and germs. If this plaque is not regularly removed through brushing and rinsing, they settle in the gun lines making them tender and swollen. Later, the plaque starts hardening into tartar. If plaques and tartars are not removed gums start bleeding, even with a gentle touch. This stage is called Gingivitis. Its severer form is called Peridontitis. At this stage, gums begin to pull away from teeth. The pus starts collecting in the pockets. It may then affect the teeth and the bone around it. This ultimately leads to several diseases including what is commonly known as Pyorrhoea. Other infective diseases of teeth are common outcomes with the decaying of teeth. Sometimes the abscesses become deep seated requiring surgical interventions. The more the food particles are allowed to stay the more the likelihood of the infections developing is. If the mouth is rinsed regularly, the chances of infection definitely decrease. Wudu five times a day at regular intervals will surely cause a marked reduction in the probability of the infection developing. And if this is associated with the brushing of teeth, either by the traditional miswak or its modern counterparts of toothbrush and toothpaste, proper mouth hygiene is maintained at the desired level to a large extent.

Recent evidences prove that the oral cavity infections can cause severe systematic diseases, which often threaten life. Periodontal disease permits organisms to enter deep systemic tissues, such as the carotid atheroma. Genco (2002) has shown an association between periodontal pathogens, such as Porphyromonas gingivalis, and atherosclerosis because of the pathogen's possible direct effect on atheroma formation. P gingivalis has also been found in carotid and coronary atheromas. It may also invade and proliferate within heart and coronary artery endothelial cells, and may also induce platelet aggregation associated with thrombus formation. Oral microorganisms may also enter the deeper tissue after trauma or surgery, and may even cause Bacterial Endocarditis.

Periodontitis has recently been shown to be associated with atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. . According to Herzberg, (1983), the bacteria like S sanguis and P gingivalis, found in dental plaque may induce platelet activation and aggregation through the expression of collagen like platelet aggregation–associated proteins, playing a role in the formation of atheroma and thrombosis. Atherosclerosis may lead to heart attacks and cerebrovascular accidents causing Paralysis.


Miswak has rightly been described as Natural Toothbrush, which is in use by Muslims for centuries as an effective method of maintaining oral and dental hygiene. A miswak is typically made of the twigs of a tree with botanical name as Salvodora persica. But other trees are also used including arak tree, peelo tree, olive and walnut. It strengthens teeth and gums, removes bad odour and protects teeth and gums against infections. A study by Al-Otaibi M, Al-Harthy M, Soder B, Gustafsson A, Angmar-Mansson B (2003) concluded that miswak was a better protector of oral hygiene than the ordinary toothbrushes. The World Health Organisation too recommended the use of Miswak in its consensus reports published in 1986 and 2000. Plants contain phytochemicals such as alkaloids, tannins, essential oils and flavonoids, which have pronounced antimicrobial activity. A study by Almas, K. (Aug 2002) concluded that that Salvadora persica extract is somewhat comparable to other oral disinfectants and anti-plaque agents like Triclosan and Chlorhexidine gluconate.

4. Wudu has also a very direct relationship with the practice of Istanja, a process in which genitals are washed after urinating. If the drops of urine remain on the body, it signals an impurity, which must be removed as a precondition for the Wudu Istanja should be performed after each act of micturition, but if one could not do it due to some reason, one must wash the area before starting the Wudu. Unfortunately, I could not find any statistics related to the beneficial effects of Istanja, these can be taken to show the beneficial effects, as a foregone conclusion. I am planning to start these studies soon. It can be easily proved that there is a direct link between Istanja habits and the urinary tract Infections. The urinary tract infections are one of the third common infections along with Respiratory Tract Infections and Gastrointestinal Tract Infections. These infections may lead to severe burning in urination, difficulty in urination, fever, ultimately leading to the swelling and damage to kidney. Sexual intercourse is one of the common routes of these infections and the chances of transfer of bacteria increase if both or one of the partners do not perform Istanja. Washing immediately before and after intercourse is also helpful in preventing urinary and sex related diseases, but regular Istanja by both men and women can be proved to be a much more effective way.

Salat (Prayer)

The Quran says:

• For such prayers are enjoined on believers at stated times. (4: 103/A)
• Guard strictly your (habit of) prayers, especially the Middle Prayer; and stand before God in a devout (frame of mind). (2: 238/A)
• And establish regular prayers at the two ends of the day and at the approaches of the night. (11: 114/A)

First, let us analyse the method of the Salat from an anatomical viewpoint. Human nervous system has two functional components: Sensory and Motor. Through sensory component, one controls various types of sensations like touch, heat, light, odour etc. The motor system governs the motions of the body. If for example, a needle pricks one’s hand, this information will be carried immediately to the spinal cord and brain through the sensory system. Then the motor system with its headquarters in brain and spinal cord will order the part to pull away from the needle. In the same way as the brain contains a sensory map, discussed n the chapter on Wudu, it also contains a motor map. The sensory map is located on the Postcentral gyrus and the motor map on the Precentral gyrus. The sequence of various motor actions on the map is as follows:

• Swallowing, Chewing
• Tongue, Jaws, lips
• Face, Eyes, eyelids
• Neck
• Hand, wrist, elbow, shoulders
• Chest, abdomen
• Hip
• Knee
• Ankle, Feet.

It can be seen that the movements of different organs in Salat are almost exactly in accordance with this sequence. After performing Wudu, a Muslim has been advised to swallow some water. Then he starts the prayer with the reading of the Niyyah (intention) using his lips, jaws and tongue. He then focuses his eyes on the point of Sajdah (prostration), also flexing his neck in the process. Then he moves his hands, wrists, elbows and shoulders raising his hands (Takbeer). After standing for a while, he bends his hips, which also brings his chest and abdomen in motion (Ruku). After extending his body again, he goes for prostration (Sajdah) bringing his knees, legs and feet in action. Thus in one unit (Rakat) of Salat, almost all the areas of the body engage in their movements, using almost all the major muscles of the body and activating almost all the motor system in the process.

Let us try to understand the movements in a little more detail. The movements are anatomically divided into:

1. Flexion, which means bending in the sagital plane. (The body has two planes: the Sagital that divides the body into right and left portions, and the Coronal, that divides the body into Anterior and Posterior;
2. Extension, which means strengthening of the flexed part;
3. Adduction, which means bringing a part in the coronal plain (such as bringing back the legs raised on the right.);
4. Abduction, which is the opposite of the adduction;
5. Inversion, which is the flexing of the foot inwards; and
6. Eversion, which is the opposite of inversion.

The movements of every part are controlled by different nerves coming out of the Spinal Cord. When a person raises his hands for Takbeer at the beginning of the prayer, it involves the following actions:
• The abduction of the shoulders, controlled by C5 (C here stands for the cervical part of the spinal cord.);
• The flexion of the elbow, controlled by C5,6;
• The extension of the wrist, controlled by C7,8;
• The adduction of fingers, controlled by C8, T1. (T stands for Thoracic)

This means that the actions are taking place in an orderly sequence involving the nerves from C5 to T1. When one goes to Ruku (bending), the movements of the arm, trunk and hip involve C5 to L2, 3. Similarly, the movements involving Sajdah (prostration) have the following components and the nerve controls:
• Flexion of hips L1,2,3 (L means lumbar)
• Extension of knee L3, 4
• Flexion of ankles L4,5
• Extension of Hips L5, S1
• Eversion of feet L5, S1
• Plantar flexion S1,2

It can be easily noticed that the movements involving Sajdah, sitting in between them and the returning back to the position of Qayam (standing) evoke the nerves in an orderly sequence, first from above downwards and then down upwards. The sitting in between the sajdahs ensures that even the movements of ankle and fingers do take place; this could not have been possible if there had been no sitting. The salat ends at salam, which is done in the last to ensure that the attention is maintained before the prayer ends.

Let us now study the impact of Salat on health.

1. The regularity of the prayer ensures that a person maintains a strict regime of hygiene. A salat cannot be offered unless a man purifies himself. If one is in a state of impurity following a sexual intercourse, one has to take bath in a specified manner to ensure that all the discharges involving a sexual contact are fully removed. If one is not in a state of sexual impurity, one is required to wash one’s organs that are usually exposed during the day. It has been proved in the previous chapter that the organs washed in Wudu activate more that two third of the mini-man present in the postcentral gyrus of the brain. It has already been shown that the Wudu protects skin from the infective and cancerous disorders, helps in preserving high oral hygiene and also helps in keeping the internal infections at bay, particularly the urinary tract infections. The feeling of freshness that goes along with the Wudu is an added advantage.
2. Different postures of the prayer have been designed in a way that most of the motor system of the brain gets activated and an overwhelming majority of the muscles of the body are brought into action. Different postures help in the relaxation of the muscles that usually become taut owing to taxing activities of the different types of works. The postures of salat are also a more comprehensive and easier-to-do alternative of the various yoga exercises.
3. Sajdah in particular is an extremely important posture. When I was studying in MBBS at King George’s Medical College, Lucknow, my professor of Medicine, Prof. Chakravarti very fondly talked of “Mohammedan’s Prayer Position”, explaining that patients of several diseases try to keep themselves in this decubitus because the cardiological output, the respiratory function, the amount of oxygen in the blood and the supply to the brain are at their optimum levels. This decubitus helps in clinically diagnosing diseases like Bronchiogenic carcinoma, Pericardial effusion, persistent Thymus, etc. The extraordinary importance of this decubitus means that every Sajdah cleanses different organs and refurbishes the body with new vigour. It is pertinent to say therefore that Sajdah is not only the most loved sight in the eyes of God but is also the best position anatomically and physiologically. The more the number of Sajdahs in a specific prayer the greater the benefits will be. However, a very long Sajdah may increase the blood supply to the brain for an undesirable period of time; so instead of one Sajdah, two Sajdahs with a gap have been prescribed in the prayer.
4. The timing of the prayers and the number of units in different prayers are also significant in terms of their impact on health. As has been elaborated above, every Salat comprises a certain number of units (rakahs), which are repeated several times thus repeating postures from standing to bending to prostrating to sitting a number of times. This ensures several rounds of exercises involving the activation of different muscles and motor areas in the brain and spinal cord as well as increased circulation of blood to different areas in a rhythmic pattern. Obviously, the more the number of units the more will be the refreshing effect on the body. Now the timing and the number of units in the 5 compulsory Salats have been designed to produce maximum effect. It can be noted that

First, the total number of obligatory (fard and wajib) and non-obligatory (sunnah and nafl) units in the 5 compulsory prayers is 48, which means that 2 units are practised per hour. Out of these, 20 come in the category of fard and wajib and the rest in that of sunnah and nafl. The number of rakahs and the timing of each prayer are as follows:

Fajr (morning prayer) After dawn, before sunrise 4 (2 + 2)
Zuhr (noon prayer) Immediately after noon 12 (4+8)
Asr (Afternoon) Afternoon 8 (4+4)
Maghrib (Sunset prayer) Immediately after sunset 7 (4+3)
Isha (ight prayer) About an hour after sunset,
up to the dawn 17(7+10)

(The above is according to the Sunni Hanafi way; the other schools may have slight differences; but the general pattern is the same.)

Second, it is obvious from the above that a total of 24 units are for the day prayers and 24 for the night. The number of fard units is 10 each for the day and the night.

Third, the number of units in the prayers generally depends on the amount of physical activity in the period before that prayer. In Fajr, there are only 4 units. The emphasis in Fajr is on recitation of long surahs (recited loudly in the congregational prayers); this means that one stands for a longer period of time. As the brain is already fresh after the night rest, the standing is longer compared to the time taken by Sajdahhs (prostration). Zuhr prayer is offered after a relatively longer period of physical and mental activities, as it is the prime time of work, and therefore involves much greater number of units, that is 12. In this prayer, rhythmic movements are much more essential than standing. The pattern followed therefore is to recite shorter Surahs silently. In the Asr prayer, 8 units are offered, which again are broadly proportional to the period between Zuhr and Asr. The same is true for Maghrib. Now the people have returned from their works, so surahs are recited loudly. In Isha, the number of units is maximal, as it is at a time when man can offer long prayers after a long day of activities. This also covers the period that will be spent in sleeping. A long prayer with a number of sajdahs and qayams will remove all the wear and tear from the body, the muscles and joints will relax, and the person will enjoy a sound and comfortable sleep.

Fourth, Salaat is also a very good exercise for the eyes. Eyes have been naturally formed in a way that they can rapidly adjust to see the near and distant objects. This is called Accommodation Power and is obviously an invaluable tool in the human weaponry. The Eyeball has the ability to turn up and down and right and left. These movements are controlled by various muscles of eyes, the chief ones being superior rectus, inferior rectus, medial rectus, lateral rectus, inferior and superior obliques, dilator pupillae and constrictor pupillae. When the eyes are focussed on a near object, one set of muscles constricts changing the shape of the lens, which makes it able to see the object. When the eyes are focussed on a distant object, another set of muscles performs the opposite action. During the prayers, these movements take place repeatedly one after the other. When a person stands, his eyes are focussed on the earth, which means a distance of 5-6.5 feet depending upon the height of the man. When he bends in Ruku, the distance becomes almost half. When he stands again and goes for the Sajdah, the distance of the object changes from around 5.6 feet to a few inches. When one sits and then goes to the Sajdah again, the distance of the object varies from around 3 feet to a few inches. Thus the eyes are frequently changing from positions of full convergence to half convergence to Full divergence, and the vice versa. This is sure to strengthen the Power of Accommodation of the eyes to a great degree. The oblique, adductor and abductor muscles are also brought into action in the prayer and the turning of the neck right and left at the end of the prayer.

Fifth, while standing, the feet should be kept neither too close nor too far. A distance of about one-foot is an ideal position of the feet, as it helps in proper distribution of weight on different bones. This is because it is in this position that the maximum part of the sole of the foot is in contact with the earth.

It can be seen that 48 units in 5 prayers a day will involve 96 sajdahs, 48 rukus, 48 qayam (standing) and 25 sitting positions. 34 salams (turning neck right and left). It also involves 18 movements on the elbow joint (Takbeer), this number being much greater in shafai and shia schools, 248 movements (flexion and extension) of hip joints and at least 96 movements of the knees. These are approximate numbers. (Any error of calculation if there is regretted.) With these kinds of figure, the net impact on the physical, mental and spiritual health of the individuals has to be tremendous. But it must be clarified that the basic aim of the prayers is not body building; Prayers are meant for proximity with God, but God has been kind enough to design a scheme of prayers that also cause huge physical and mental benefits.

In Islam, prayers assume distinctive character in many other ways too. These include a number of direct and indirect benefits and will be discussed later in the chapter on the mental and spiritual health.


Fasting is the third pillar of Islam. Daylong fasting is obligatory on every adult and healthy Muslim in the Islamic month of Ramadahan. The Quran says:

• O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you...(2: 183/A)
• Ramadan is the (month) in which was sent down Quran, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgement (between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting...(2: 185/A) …(Fasting) for a fixed number of days. (2: 184/A) {NOTE: Fasts are 29 or 30 depending on the visibility of moon.)
• ..but if any one is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period (should be made up) by days later. God intends every facility for you; He does not want to put to difficulties. (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance ye shall be grateful.(2: 185/A)
• For those who can do it (with hardship), is a ransom, the feeding of one that is indigent. (2:184/A)
• and drink, until the white thread of dawn appear to you distinct from its black thread; then complete your fast till the night appears...(2: 187/A)
• Permitted to you, on the night of the fasts, is the approach to your lwives. …” (2: 187/A)
• .... but do not associate with your wives while ye are in retreat in the mosques.( 2: 187/A)

In Islam, fasting has the following features:

1. A full month every year is specified for fasting; fasting in other months is not obligatory.
2. Fasting is only for the day and the average duration of a fast varies from 11-15 hours, being obviously longer in summers.
3. During the period of fasting, no food or drink can be taken;
4. The believers have been advised to take a wholesome food just before the start of the fasting time as well as immediately after the expiry of the fasting time.
5. During the month of fasting, food (lot of milk and fruits) rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals is preferred.

It is important to note that

1. Fasting technically commences within the first twelve hours of the fast when the consumption of the stored carbohydrates begins. Once the fasting goes for a long enough period to consume all the stored carbohydrates and fats, the consumption of proteins starts. This stage in fact signals the beginning of starvation. Islamic fasting being only about 11-15 hour long, it in fact has a minor depleting effect on the storage of the carbohydrate and no starving effect at all. But with as many as 29-30 fasts in continuation, the net effect is some loss of stored carbohydrate; there is hardly any possibility of protein depletion particularly because protein rich diet is taken in plenty during the month.
2. Fasting is said to increase the process of detoxification. Detoxification is a normal body process of eliminating or neutralizing toxins; the elimination normally takes place through the colon, liver, kidneys, lungs, lymph glands, and skin. Fasting precipitates detoxification, as with no food entering the body, the accumulated fat starts getting used. The utilization of fat releases harmful chemicals in the blood that are then excreted through the above mentioned organs. Even harmful chemicals like DDT that have entered the body are excreted.
3. Hunger is a natural healer, which is the reason why a person develops loss of appetite when ill.
4. Abnormal growths within the body are not protected to the extent the normal tissues are protected and are therefore more likely to be autolysed in order to fulfil the energy needs of the body.
5. Growth hormones are also known to be released more during fasting.
6. An anti-aging hormone is also released more rapidly. Researchers have argued that the only reliable method of increasing age is under-nutrition without malnutrition. This is exactly what the Prophetic traditions prescribe.
7. During fasting, the energy consumption is reduced in the gastrointestinal system and is partly diverted to the Immune system strengthening its effectiveness.

It is also important to note that Ramadan falls in different seasons, as the Islamic calendar is shorter by about 10-11 days than the lunar calendar. So not only every person experiences fasting in different seasons, the inhabitants of different regions on the earth experience fasting in different seasons at the same time. Furthermore, Islamic fasting is different from that in other religions in many ways. First, the rules of fasting in Islam are distinct and elaborate. It is obligatory on every adult and healthy woman; it is only for the daytime; it forbids all forms of solid and liquid intake unlike fasts in some religions where certain food items are permitted. Second, it is also associated with spiritual training. Third, it is of social significance too as Zakah (Obligator Charity) is normally paid in this month. In short, fasting strengthens physical, mental, spiritual and social health of all those who fast.

Fundamental Prohibitions:
Health Protective Measures

In the last chapter, I discussed the health-related importance of Islamic prayer and fasting as a part of the Fundamental Duties. It can be easily seen that the fundamental duties in Islam have a direct bearing on the physical, mental, spiritual and social well being. Now, I am going to discuss some of the Fundamental Prohibitions in Islam and their impact on health not only at the individual level but also at the epidemiological level. After discussing some of these prohibitions, we will arrive at the most crucial part of this discussion when the Islamic definition of health will be unveiled and it will be presented as a better, more effective and more viable alternative to the current definition of health.

I) Drinking and gambling

The Holy Quran says:

• They ask thee concerning wine and gambling. Say: “In them is great sin, and some profit, for men; but the sin is greater than the profit.” (2: 219/A)
• O ye who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination,- of Satan’s handwork: eschew such (abomination), that ye may prosper. Satan’s plan is (but) to excite enmity and hatred between you, with intoxicants and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of God, and from prayer. (5: 90-91/A)

Islam expressly prohibits alcoholic drinks and substances causing addiction. In fact the Quran declares drinking and gambling as the Devil’s handiwork meaning that those who indulge in this act in any way are the rebels of God. Prohibition in Islam means prohibition on manufacturing, storing, selling, drinking or serving all alcoholic beverages anywhere on any occasion to anybody. Drinking has been labelled as Ummul Khhabais, that is the mother of all evils, in the Prophetic traditions, and the investigations have clearly established that drinking is Ummul Khhabais indeed. The Global Burden of Study has reported that “in 1990, alcohol was responsible for 3.5 percent of the world's total disability-adjusted life-years lost.” This exceeds the combined toll taken by smoking (2.6%) and illicit drugs (.6%). Alcohol is the leading cause of disability among men in industrialised nations.

Dependence on alcohol is counted as a disease in medical sciences, commonly referred to as Alcoholism. Alcoholism is divided into two groups: substance-use disorders and substance-induced orders. The former include dependence and abuse; the latter include intoxication, withdrawal, delirium, dementia, amnesiac disorder, psychotic disorder, mood disorder, anxiety disorder, sexual dysfunction, and sleep disorder. Alcohol dependence and abuse are manifested by tolerance, withdrawal, inability to fulfil role obligations, recurrent substance related legal problems and social and interpersonal problems. Cirrhosis is another disease related to alcohol that more often than not proves fatal. It is among the leading killers in many countries where alcohol consumption is high. Other medical conditions related to alcohol include cancers (liver and laryngeal), heart diseases, maternal and child health problem (low birth weight and spontaneous abortion), injuries (falls, burns, or work-related), accidents (water and auto transport) and violence (suicide, assault and child abuse). Alcohol is also related to traffic accidents, increased risks of all sex-transmitted diseases including AIDS and suicides. In women, it is related to several cancers like those of breast and liver. Maternal consumption during pregnancy increases the risk of birth defects in children. It is linked to the birth of children with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome. In several countries, FAS is considered to be the most important cause of mental retardation.

There have been several brazen attempts recently to popularise drinking on the basis of some dubious reports that impart a protective effect to alcohol for Ischaemic Heart Diseases. This has been strongly countered by independent experts. It will be worthwhile to quote here from a report:

“Over the past decade seemingly paradoxical evidence has emerged that alcohol consumption may have a protective effect on one aspect of human health: coronary heart disease. Studies have shown that individuals who consume small to moderate amounts of alcohol are less likely to have a myocardial infarction than those who do not drink. (For a review of the studies in the United States on the health benefits of alcohol, see NIAAA, 2000). These studies, however, have been challenged on two fronts: applicability of the findings to women; and methodology (see detailed discussion in World Bank Group, 2000). The majority of participants in the studies were men. In those where women did participate, the protective relationship was not so clear. Studies found that light consumption of alcohol (1.5 to 29.9 grams per day) protected older women (50 years of age and over) from CHD; light consumption also conferred protective benefits on women with one or more risk factors for CHD. . These benefits did not hold true, however, for women with no CHD risk factors. Such women enjoyed no significant protective effects. Notably, women who drank more than 30 grams per day had significantly higher mortality, largely due to their higher risk of death from breast cancer. The research on beneficial effects of alcohol remains inconclusive for women. Furthermore, when discussing the beneficial effects of alcohol on the risk of CHD, it is important not to ignore the prevalence of CHD in a given developing country in relation to other health and social problems that are caused or exacerbated by alcohol. 5NIAAA (2000) has conducted an extensive review and analysis of FAS prevention research. Although research is largely US-based, the review offers a valuable framework for developing prevention programs.” It can be safely concluded that if some benefits -- which even the Quran accepts -- may be accrued to the use of alcohol they will have to be weighed against harms and hazards related to alcohol, which are massive, qualitatively as well as quantitatively, which are enough for its being declared the “Devil’s handiwork”.

As has been said before, alcohol increases the risks of unhealthy sexual behaviour. Studies of AIDS in other countries, such as Thailand, indicate that alcohol consumption influences many dimensions of sexual behaviour. One such study, which included students, soldiers, and clerks revealed that “heavy drinking increased the odds of having had sexual intercourse; increased the odds of having visited prostitutes; and decreased the odds of consistent condom use in sexual encounters with sex workers (VanLandingham and others, 1993).” Another report says, “The relationship between drinking and HIV risk behaviours, such as visiting commercial sex workers or having sex without condoms, is not one of simple causality. It has been argued that drinking behaviour co-occurs with other dangerous factors; such a risk-taking Includes beverages made from sugarcane alcohol and agaves, such as mescal and sotol. Aguardiente means "burning water" (Aledina-Mora, 1999).”

A list of the alcohol related problems is given below.


Liver disease Elevated liver enzyme levels Fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, cirrhosis Pancreatic disease Acute pancreatitis, chronic pancreatitis Cardiovascular disease Hypertension Cardiomyopathy, arrhythmia’s, stroke Gastrointestinal problems Gastritis, gastroesophageal reflux disease, diarrhoea, peptic ulcer disease Oesophageal varices, Mallory-Weiss tears Neurologic disorders Headaches, blackouts, peripheral neuropathy Alcohol withdrawal syndrome, seizures, Wernicke's encephalopathy, dementia, cerebral atrophy, peripheral neuropathy, cognitive deficits, impaired motor functioning Reproductive system disorders Foetal alcohol effects, foetal alcohol syndrome Sexual dysfunction, amenorrhea, anovulation, early menopause, spontaneous abortion Cancers Neoplasm of the liver, neoplasm of the head and neck, neoplasm of the pancreas, neoplasm of the oesophagus Psychiatric comorbidities Depression, anxiety Affective disorders, anxiety disorders, antisocial personality Legal problems Traffic violations, driving while intoxicated, public intoxication Motor vehicle accidents, violent offences, fires Employment problems Tardiness, sick days, inability to concentrate, decreased competence Accidents, injury, job loss, chronic unemployment Family problems Family conflict, erratic child discipline, neglect of responsibilities, social isolation Divorce, spouse abuse, child abuse or neglect, loss of child custody Effects on children Overresponsibility, acting out, withdrawal, inability to concentrate, school problems, social isolation Learning disorders, behaviour problems

The alcohol consumption is directly associated with increased health risks related to alcohol, crimes, accidents, sex-related problems, suicides and domestic violence. Note the following facts:
• World wide, alcohol accounts for more than 2 million deaths
• In developing nations, alcohol ranks as the fourth cause of disability among men.
• Deaths attributable to alcohol form 1.3 percent for developed regions and 1.6 percent for developing regions.
• ‘The Global Burden of Disease' study estimated that, in 1990, alcohol was responsible for 3.5 percent of the world's total disability-adjusted life-years lost. This exceeds the tolls taken by tobacco (2.6 percent) and illicit drugs (0.6 percent) combined (Murray and Lopez, 1996).
• Among men, alcohol is the leading cause of disability in industrialised countries and ranks fourth in causing disabilities in developing countries (WHO, 1999).
• In developed nations, more than 136000 people die every year, in developing countries more than 636000 and in LAC countries more than 136000.
• In industrialised nations, 14.3 % and in developing nations, 4.4% of total disability adjusted life years are lost.
• There are countries with alcoholics in the range of 10-36 % of total population. (Remember that alcoholic means an alcohol-dependent person, not the persons who take alcohol irregularly.)
• Cirrhosis is one of the ten leading causes of death in Mexico. Among men between the ages of 35 and 45, it is the number one killer (Madrigal, 1998, Medina-Mora, 1999). In Mexico, Venezuela R.B., Argentina, and Trinidad and Tobago, cirrhosis deaths among men are as much as three times higher than the deaths among women.
• Percent of traffic fatalities attributed to alcohol
Chile 1970 46% (male traffic deaths)
Colombia 1990s 60%
Costa Rica 1990s 46%
Peru 1990s 50%
Sources: Caetano, 1984; Madrigal, 1998
• Alcohol was estimated to cause 41 percent of suicide cases among men in Australia, compared to only 16 percent among their female counterparts.
• Selected Health Issues by Alcohol Attributable Fractions
Health issue Australian Canadian
Male Female Male Female
Liver cancer 0.18 0.12 0.29 0.16
Breast cancer - 0.03 - 0.04
liver cirrhosis 0.54 0.43 0.54 0.54
pancreatitis 0.84 0.84 0.84 0.84
abortion - 0.04 - 0.20
Road injuries 0.37 0.18 0.43 0.43
Fall injuries 0.34 0.34 0.24 0.15
Fire injuries 0.44 0.44 0.38 0.38
Drowning 0.34 0.34 0 30 0.23
Suicide 0.41 0.16 0.27 0.17
Assault 0.47 0.47 0.27 0.27
Source: Edwards and others, 1995, Single and others, 1998

• Drinking, along with poor condom use and sex with prostitutes, was found to increase by a factor of 15.6 the soldiers' risk of acquiring sexually transmitted diseases (Flores and Arathoon, 1994).
• More than a quarter (26 percent) of the women seeking counselling services in the urban areas of Mexico reported that their partners' abusive behaviours were fuelled by intoxication (Ramirez and others, 1992). In the Solomon Islands, 32 percent of family violence offences were related to problem drinking (McDonald, 1995). Even higher rates were found in South Africa: 67.4 percent of domestic violence cases in Cape Town and 76.4 percent in rural areas involved alcohol use (Parry, 1995).
• In both Canada and Australia, 16 percent of child abuse cases could be attributed to alcohol. In Japan, 20 percent of abused children had alcoholic parents, and in Hungary 8.6 percent of child abuse cases in 1994 involved alcohol (Fekete, 1996). Alcohol has also been associated with a high proportion of child abuse cases in the UK (30 percent) and Norway (50 percent) (Moser, 1992).
• Alcohol use disorders present serious problems for the interpersonal relationships, health, and productivity of employed men and women. Of the $117 billion estimated as the economic cost of alcoholism and alcohol abuse in the United States in 1983, nearly $71 billion (61 percent) was attributed to lost employment and reduced productivity (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 1990).

• World-wide Deaths Attributable to Alcohol
Percent Total
Cause of Total Alcohol Alcohol
Death Deaths Related Deaths

Motor Vehicle 214,208 50 107,104
Oesophagus Cancer 805,980 75 604,485
Liver Cancer 488,060 15 73,209
Alcohol Dependence 279,930 100 79,930
Syndrome Cirrhosis 2,094,110 50 1,047,055
Total 2,111,783

Alcohol accounts for around 2 million deaths annually. Most of these deaths take place in industrialised, developing and Latin American countries. In Islamic countries, alcohol related deaths are virtually absent. All other problems related to alcohol are absent too. According to the data available, the economic cost of alcoholism and alcohol abuse in the US was 117 billion dollars in 1983. I could not find recent data. European countries lead the table of countries having maximum per capita consumption of alcohol. Canada, the US, South Africa and Australia follow Europe. South American, Asian and African countries come next. In Muslim countries, of course, the consumption is extremely low. Here is the list of top 20 countries in terms of alcohol consumption:

Top countries in terms of alcohol consumption

1.Luxemberg 12 litres per inhabitant
2.Portugal 10+
3.Ire;and 10+
4.Germany 10+
5.France 10+
6.Spain 10
7.Denmark 9+
8.Austria 9+
9.Great Britain 8*
10. Belgium 8*
11.Netherlands 8*
12. Russia 6+
13.Greece 6+
14.Australia 6+
15. Italy 6+
16.Finland 6+
17.USA 6+
18, Canada 6+
19. Japan 6+
20.Sweden 5+
21.Norway 5+
All these are Western countries. The high consumption rate, it may be argued, points to their high lifestyle and the ability to spend more. If the ability to spend more leads to spending on the purchase of slow poisons for themselves it is better not to be rich. If Westerners consume alcohol at such an alarming rate it is because they have been made habitual or addict of drinking by their cultural supervisors, the forces of globalisation. It is not surprising then that about 2 million deaths every year are attributable to alcohol-related problems. A substantial percentage of these deaths occur in the developed nations whose “advanced” health system is always busy in creating conditions that lead to the longevity of life. Still, they are not in a position to demand a ban on substances and practices that are the leading causes of mortality and morbidity. Some of the findings of a research report entitled, “ALCOHOL-ATTRIBUTABLE MORTALITY IN A HIGH PER CAPITA CONSUMPTION COUNTRY — GERMANY” by Ulrich John and Monika Hanke are startling. The report says:
• Based on data from Europe, increases or decreases of 1 litre of pure alcohol in the per capita consumption were estimated to be associated with increases or decreases of 1.3% in all-cause mortality rates (Her and Rehm, 1998)
• On this basis, for the USA, 4.5% of the total mortality was estimated to be alcohol-attributable (McGinnis and Foege, 1999)
• Restricted to middle adult age (36–64 years), in France, the rates are 19.1% of all male and 13.0% of all female death cases (Zureik and Ducimetière, 1996
• Alcohol-related disease, accounting for 25% of the total mortality in males and 13% in females, is a substantial part of the total mortality in the most productive part of adult life.
• In males, the median age at death in all alcohol-attributable cases is 7 years and in AAM1 cases 15 years below that of the male general population. In females, the median age at death in all alcohol-attributable cases is 10 years and in AAM1 24 years below that of the female general population.
It is clear that the consumption of alcohol is least among Muslims and also therefore all the problems related to alcohol—alcohol related diseases, deaths, accidents, suicides, divorces, separations, unhealthy sexual behaviours, rapes, murders etc.


Let us now concentrate on gambling, which too has been prohibited by Quran and along with Alcohol has been described as one of the mischievous activities of the devil. Gambling is recognised by medical scientists as a disease, which is called pathological gambling. According to the National Research Council, “pathological gamblers 'engage in destructive behaviours: they commit crimes, they run up large debts, they damage relationships with family and friends, and they kill themselves. With the increased availability of gambling and new gambling technologies, pathological gambling has the potential to become even more widespread'"(p. 4-1). The National Research Council of US states that “many families of pathological gamblers suffer from a variety of financial, physical, and emotional problems, including divorce, domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, and a range of problems stemming from the severe financial hardship that commonly results from problem and pathological gambling. Children of compulsive gamblers are more likely to engage in delinquent behaviours such as smoking, drinking, and using drugs, and have an increased risk of developing problem or pathological gambling themselves.” Other problems include crime, loss of employment and bankruptcy. According to NRC, 'As access to money becomes more limited, gamblers often resort to crime in order to pay debts, appease bookies, maintain appearances, and garner more money to gamble.' It has been found that “28 percent of pathological gamblers attending Gamblers Anonymous reported either that they had filed for bankruptcy or reported debts of $75,000 to $150,000.' (Ladouceur et al. (1994)).

The social problems due to gambling are even severer. Relatives, friends and employers suffer hugely. Employers complain of loss of work hours, embezzlement and inability to fulfil their financial obligations. NRC report further states: "How can we begin to measure the social impact of individuals who spend their children's milk money or cash their welfare checks to buy lottery tickets, as the Commission heard during visits to convenience stores? We cannot, but the Commission can acknowledge that when gambling is promoted as 'the only way to get ahead' and, in particular, targets those who do not have 'leisure dollars' to spend, the economic and social, indeed, the moral fabric of our nation is damaged." (p. 7-18)” Reports say that one in fifth of gamblers attempt suicide; other reports speak of as high as two third contemplating suicide.

The impact on family is equally dangerous. In NORC's survey, 53.5 percent of identified pathological gamblers reported having been divorced, versus 18.2 percent of non-gamblers and 29.8 percent of low-risk gamblers. Further NORC respondents representing two million adults identified a spouse's gambling as a significant factor in a prior divorce. In a survey of nearly 400 Gamblers Anonymous members, 18 percent reported experiencing a gambling-related divorce. Another 10 percent said they were separated as a direct consequence of their gambling. The domestic violence and child abuse are significantly greater problems in the families of gamblers than non-gamblers. Several cases of children dying in cars have been reported, on account of their father or mother leaving them locked and forgetting them, as they joined the casino.

Gambling was always bad. History is replete with the havoc caused by gambling in social lives. With the growth of economic fundamentalism, gambling, like other human addictions, became an organised business at the global level. Owing to the money involved in it, market forces were quick to use it as a big money-spinner. Not only have casinos burgeoned, gambling of one kind or the other has become associated with almost all the vistas of business to accelerate their growth. Casinos are regular part of tourism and entertainment industry. Betting is associated with almost all the big fixtures including political, entertainment and sports events. Lucky draws are being used to collect money as well as to boost the sales of hosts of consumer items. The globalisation of gambling also means globalisation of opportunities. The National Opinion Research Centre (NORC) of US has rightly stated that "As the opportunities for gambling become more commonplace, it appears likely that the number of people who will develop gambling problems also will increase."
Let us note a few facts about gambling:
• NORC found that the presence of a gambling facility within 50 miles roughly doubles the prevalence of problem and pathological gamblers.
• Two key studies indicated that between 15 and 20 million Americans are displaying some signs of a gambling addiction. Further, the Commission emphasised that estimates of the number of problem and pathological gamblers may be significantly understated.
• A Harvard University meta-analysis concluded that approximately 1.6 percent, or 3.2 million, of the American adult population are pathological gamblers. . In Oregon, the lifetime prevalence of problem and pathological gambling is 4.9 percent. Recent studies in Mississippi and Louisiana indicate that 7 percent of adults in these states have been classified as problem or pathological gamblers.
• NORC found that approximately 2.5 million adults are pathological gamblers. Another three million of the adult population are problem gamblers. Over 15 million Americans were identified as at-risk gamblers.
• A survey of nearly 400 Gamblers Anonymous members revealed that two-thirds had contemplated suicide, 47 percent had a definite plan to kill themselves, and 77 percent stated that they have wanted to die.
• In NORC's survey, 53.5 percent of identified pathological gamblers reported having been divorced, versus 18.2 percent of non-gamblers and 29.8 percent of low-risk gamblers. Further NORC respondents representing two million adults identified a spouse's gambling as a significant factor in a prior divorce.
• One domestic violence counsellor from Harrison County, Mississippi, testified that a shelter there reported a 300 percent increase in the number of requests for domestic abuse intervention after the arrival of casinos.
• The NRC reported on two studies indicating between 10 and 17 percent of children of compulsive gamblers had been abused.
• "World Online Gambling Markets," says the global online gambling market generated $834.5 million in 1998 - an increase of more than 100 percent over 1997. The market has considerably swelled since then. Research firm Datamonitor forecasts that revenues from gambling will soar to $20.8 billion by 2005.
• It is estimated that more than a trillion dollars are wagered annually world wide on various forms of gambling.
• According to the International Data Corporation, the number of Internet users is projected to grow from 142 million people at the end of 1998 to 502 million people in 2002.
• The Baker Report was quoted as saying, "We believe our projections of Internet gambling revenues of US$100 to US$200 billion domestically and US$200 to US$400 billion in the rest of the world by 2005 is reasonable, even conservative."

Sexual corruption

Sex is the water of life. It sustains the human existence and brings colour to the life. But sex also brings huge responsibilities with it. The case of human beings is different from animals. In animals all responsibilities related to sex fall on the shoulders of females; males do absolutely nothing but impregnate females. They have nothing else to shoulder -- during pregnancy, at the time of delivery and during the growth of children. God has been extremely kind to women, on the other hand; in every part of their biological functions, they have been assured of men’s support in every part of their biological functions. This necessitates family system, which does not only relieve women of the burden of looking after children alone but also provides children with a highly congenial atmosphere for growth. Furthermore, it protects women from unwanted intrusions into their modesty, exploitation and abuse, safeguards children against abuse and devastation in life and bestows upon men a life of comfort and peace. Family system also acts as an infallible barrier between human beings and life-threatening viruses, bacteria and protozoans, ensuring longevity and better quality of life. If Sex within marriage is guarantee to health and security, sex outside marriage is invitation to diseases, destruction and devastation. While Islam promotes sex between a man and a woman, within the boundaries of marriage, it prohibits sex outside marriage; all forms of extramarital relationships are not only sins in the eyes of God but also punishable crimes under Islamic legal system. Apart from extramarital relationships, Islam also prohibits homosexuality, anal sex with women, prostitution and any erotic depiction of human body. Quran says:

• Nor come nigh to adultery: for it is a shameful (deed) and an evil, opening the road (to other evils). (17: 32/A)
• If two men among you are guilty of lewdness, punish them both. If they repent and amend, Leave them alone; for God is Oft-returning, Most Merciful. (4: 16/A)
• O ye who believe! Ye are forbidden to inherit women against their will. (4: 19/A)
• But force not your maids to prostitution when they desire chastity, in order that ye may make a gain in the goods of this life. But if anyone compels them, yet, after such compulsion, is God, Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful (to them)... (24: 33/A)

The problems related to prohibited sexual practices have assumed such enormous proportions that sex can now be regarded as the biggest tormentor of human life. It has been killing millions of men, women and children, exterminating family system, desecrating the sanctity of women, denigrating them into prostitutes and porn actors, transforming them into single mothers, divorcees and unwed mothers; and killing foetuses, converting children into half-orphans and making them vulnerable to all sorts of abuses.

Physical problems related to prohibited practices include AIDS, Syphilis, Gonorrhoea, Chancroid, Lymphogranuloma venereum, Herpes, Reiter’s Disease, Hepatitis B and many other diseases. AIDS has already killed more than 20 million people across the world and is expected to kill double that number in the next decade. Promiscuity and prostitution are the biggest breeding grounds for HIV. Syphilis has been one of the major killers in the past. Even till fifty years back, it caused fatal complications, and in many parts of the world, has continued to be one of the major factors in the incidence of repeated miscarriages. Gonorrhoea and Chancroid continue to be a troubling factor for sexually promiscuous and pervert; Herpes is one of the major infections in many countries including the US. The propagation of Hepatitis B through sexual route is now well documented. Diseases like Gonorrhoea and Chancroid do not only cause painful problems themselves, but also facilitate the propagation of HIV.

Psychiatric disorders related to unhealthy sexual practices and extramarital lesions include Nervousness, Anxiety, Depression and Suicidal tendencies. The detection of HIV in blood has led to many a suicide in the last two decades. There have also been a number of reports regarding HIV positive persons going on the infecting spree as part of revenge or frustration.

Forbidden degrees in marriage

Quran says:

• Do not marry unbelieving women (idolaters), until they believe: a slave woman who believes is better than an unbelieving woman, even though she allures you. Nor marry (your girls) to unbelievers until they believe: a man slave who believes is better than an unbeliever, even though he allures you. (2: 221/A)
• Also (prohibited are) women already married, except those whom your right hands possess. (4: 24/A)
• And marry not women whom your fathers married,- except what is past: it was shameful and odious,- an abominable custom indeed. (4: 22/A)
• Prohibited to you (for marriage) are:- your mothers, daughters, sisters; father’s sisters, mother’s sisters; brother’s daughters, sister’s daughters; foster- mothers (who gave you suck), foster-sisters; your wives’ mothers; your step-daughters under your guardianship, born of your wives to whom ye have gone in,- no prohibition if ye have not gone in;- (those who have been) wives of your sons proceeding from your loins; and two sisters in wedlock at one and the same time, except for what is past...(4: 23/A)

Islam prohibits marriages between immediate relatives – between brothers and sisters, uncles and nieces and aunts and nephews. This automatically decreases the chances of incest, sexual abuse and rapes of women and children by close relatives. This strengthens a healthy family life; and young children and girls can grow in an atmosphere of harmony and security. Furthermore, it is a well-known fact that the dangers of congenital abnormalities increase with the closeness of spouses. Consanguineous marriages are permitted in Islam but not prohibited; it is better to avoid marriages in very close relations.


Quran says:

• Forbidden to you (for food) are: dead meat, blood, the flesh of swine, and that on which hath been invoked the name of other than God; that which hath been killed by strangling, or by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall, or by being gored to death; that which hath been (partly) eaten by a wild animal; unless ye are able to slaughter it (in due form); that which is sacrificed on stone (altars); (forbidden) also is the division (of meat) by raffling with arrows: that is impiety. (5: 3/A)
• But if one is forced by necessity, without wilful disobedience, nor transgressing due limits,- then is he guiltless. (2:173/A)

Islam allows all kinds of foods except what have been expressly forbidden. The forbidden foods include pork, flesh of already dead animals, and flesh of animals that have been slaughtered in a manner not permissible in Islam. The unacceptable methods of slaughtering are the methods that do not allow time for blood to gush out of the body before death and slaughtering in the name of other gods and goddesses. The diseases related to pork are well known. There are two major infestations related to the consumption of pork. These are Taeniasis, caused by Taenia solium and Trichenellasis, caused by Trichinella spiralis. Both these were quite common till about half a century back Thy can cause paralysing illnesses, including blindness and hemiplegia, and can sometimes even cause death. To avoid these diseases, extraordinary care has to be taken in cooking and storing. There are other diseases that are related indirectly to pigs, some of which can prove fatal.

Defining Health: Islamic Definition versus International

In the previous chapters, we have discussed the importance of health in Islam taking a few Fundamental Duties and a few Fundamental prohibitions as examples to prove the argument. We will now discuss how Islamic theory of health would change not only the definition of health but would pose a huge challenge to the international model of health, which is being pursued through international agencies like the World Health Organisation and the branches of the United Nations. We will see that these organisations are nothing but mere stooges of the economic fundamentalists and are only promoting the interests of the market forces.

Health is arguably the most important gift of nature to man. Without health, life becomes an unmeaning burden. But to maintain health requires exactly what the economic fundamentalists loathe: discipline in life with plenty of restrictions on activities. The worship of Hygeian is not tolerable for Mammon. “Restrictions” and “prohibitions” are words that do not exist in the lexicon of the bazaar. Health is also perhaps or must be the most easily recognisable criterion of right and wrong. In the simplest terms, right and wrong can be defined thus: what has a good overall impact on health is good, and what has a bad overall impact is bad. This definition can create some complications; but it holds good for most of the cases. Health itself is a comprehensive state of well being. Normally, it is defined in terms of physical, mental and social well being, with spiritual well being added as en essential constituent recently. Ideally this includes family health as well. This is essential for family is an organised unit of society comprising individuals. A person, male or female, child, young or old, is an individual, a member of the family and a member of society.

West deserves ovation for the amazing advancement in sciences that the world has witnessed during last few centuries. It has undoubtedly helped man to overcome a large number of problems. Western scholars are worthy of encomium for their tireless, selfless and dedicated efforts to determine and apply natural forces and resources for the benefit of mankind. They successfully imbued the 19th century with a scientific temper in human approach. But alas, this scientific spirit did not last long. The concourse of scientific development and economic fundamentalism, after travelling some distance side by side, positioned the latter in the driver’s seat. The scientists were naive and guileless doves. They could not decipher their enormous potential as the ultimate guides for society. They could not muster courage, conviction, desire and wit required to thwart the onslaught of the economic fundamentalists who were full of intrigues, and used their money power to take control of almost all the departments of social existence. While scientists toiled day and night at the expense of their comfort without receiving much in return, except mention of their names in books, their inventions and discoveries were hijacked by the merchants for their own zooming. If they had done so without disturbing the delicate environmental and social poise, it could not have been as devastating as it ultimately turned out to be. What the earth had to witness and bear was the most blatant misuse of scientific and technical information for the sake of money. The most amazing source of energy, the nuclear, was misused for manufacturing nuclear bombs capable of decimating the whole of mankind. Atomic bombs were hurled on the innocent citizens of two Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, murdering thousands of thousands of men, women and children, and crippling forever as many. Other highly destructive weapons — combat aircraft, missiles, chemical bombs, etc. came into the hands of man. The objective behind their development was to impose the uncanny will of certain powers on the rest of the world so that they may be forced to acquiesce or cringe to their economic plans. Business houses started using the advanced equipment to boost their sales. Cameras are now used to take pictures of persons in the nude, and the electronic equipment is used to dispatch vulgarity and shamelessness in the houses of the common people. Technology is misused to loot and plunder in the name of fashion. Masses are made addicts of insalubrious or highly damaging items. They are made to drink what is unworthy of drinking and eat what is unworthy of eating. The precious time of men, women and children is killed with indecent, hazardous programmes.

Consequent on the blind race for money, what has suffered most is health—physical, mental, spiritual and social. While medical scientists have been perpetually engrossed in efforts to find out the aetiologies and remedies of various health problems, magnates have been relentlessly engaged in popularising whatever suits their interests, irrespective of their impact on human health. And the tragedy is that medical scientists too have lately become mere tools in their hands. They sometimes resist. But, subdued as they are in disposition, their viewpoint is published only in medical journals. If at all it becomes public, merchants find alternative ways to submerge it into oblivion. The medical world is not dynamic enough to aggressively push its concerns. The problem has further been compounded by the privatisation of medical institutions and research laboratories. The industries are now buying medical specialists for their own ends. They have the money power to lure experts who too seem to have found a heavenly haven in the garden of materialism.

The callousness of medical experts and the passive nature of the medical education have strengthened the resolve of the economic fundamentalists to market everything the demand for which already exists or can be made to exist through stage-managed propaganda. They are least bothered about the adverse effects of their actions on the individual, family and social health. The doctor has proved unequal to the dire challenges of the bazaar. The bazaar has continued to grow. Health has continued to suffer. Thus first tea and coffee hit the shops, and such was the “quality” of the campaign to popularise them that they rapidly assumed the status of household beverages. The medical world was seized with the health problems related to these developments, and pointed out that these drinks had undesirable effects on heart, nervous and gastrointestinal systems. It is now well established that coffee is one of the significant etiological factors in the rising incidence of heart attacks and peptic ulcers. Yet, their social glorification continues. Tobacco and cigarettes of various tastes have seized the market. They have become symbols of high standard with increasingly large numbers of people becoming addicted to smoking. To multiply their demands women who were previously disinclined to smoking were also encouraged. Equal as they are, if men can smoke why can’t women? Doctors have declared in unequivocal terms that smoking is not just harmful but is extremely hazardous to health. They have established that cigarettes can cause lung cancer that still remains almost incurable, bronchitis that leads to asthma causing severe distress in breathing, and are a highly significant factor in the development of coronary heart diseases. Each one of these diseases is either fatal or severely crippling. Similarly, tobacco has been associated with mouth cancer and Buerger’s disease, a disease of the veins of legs that may lead to the gangrene of foot. But all these caveats have failed to discourage smoking to any remarkable degree; for doctors are not assertive enough to pressurise parliaments to pass bills proscribing the production and sales of cigarettes, cigars and tobacco. Instead, doctors themselves have succumbed to the propaganda by the manufacturers and their henchmen. It is unfortunate but true that a sizeable percentage of doctors do also smoke. Smoking women are rapidly on the rise despite the accumulating evidence that smoking badly damages the health of their foetuses. But for a “forward-looking” woman, health of foetuses is not as important as the elan that she attaches to her smoking.

Similarly, such has been the glorification of alcohol that any person trying to prove his credentials in society has no choice but to serve drinks to his visitors, especially on the occasions of celebrations. The medical sciences inform us in categorical terms that alcohol is damaging to the health whatever the amount imbibed. Yet, with the support of some partisan investigators, the campaign that it is harmless in small doses has gathered momentum. Some have gone to the extent of declaring it beneficial for the heart, capable of increasing a specific kind of cholesterol that seems to have a soothing effect on the cardiovascular system. It need not be emphasised that this sort of flagrant advocacy has chiefly been goaded by financial motives and has little to do with the medical truth. At the most, they are truncated facts. What the medicine tells is that once a person starts taking alcohol, the level at which the desired euphoria is attained rapidly increases necessitating an increased intake. No person becomes an addict the day he or she smokes the first cigarette, or takes the first sip of bear, whisky, rum or wine. All the present addicts had small beginnings. Those who introduced it to them had argued that these were injurious only if taken in huge amounts and regularly. It is very well known that alcoholism may lead to fatal diseases like cirrhosis and Korsakoff”s psychosis, and has a damaging impact on almost all the organs of the body. It disturbs the power of reasoning thus leading to crimes, accidents and suicides. Ironically it can also lead to impotency; yet alcohol is presented as an essential adjunct to hot and wild sex. Alcohol directly or indirectly kills millions of people every year, destroys innumerable families and leads to countless rapes. It causes severe financial losses to the well-established individuals who often get ruined on account of their intemperate drinking habits. Divorces are common outcome; and the wives and children of habitual drinkers have to pass their lives in an environment of extreme fear, insecurity and tension. Children too often start drinking in their teens. The party culture coupled with women’s propinquity to try their hands at whatever men do as a manifestation of ‘equality’ and the encouragement by men for their own rejoicing have made alcohol popular among women too.

The campaign for freedom of sex is a direct product of economic fundamentalism. The medical sciences have been mute spectators to the rise of sexual perversity despite the incontrovertible fact that it causes no less mortality and morbidity than smoking and drinking do. In many ways, its effects are much more dangerous. Time and again, epidemics or endemics caused by promiscuity or sexual perversions have devastated the mankind. Many of them have proved to be the decimating killers. Syphilis was the first sex-related disease that killed people in large numbers. The homosexuals and the promiscuous heterosexuals were the common victims. Syphilis is a bacterial infection that leads to severe cardiovascular and neurological complications. Before the discovery of penicillin, death was not an uncommon end. Up till 1940, it was a major disease in Europe and the US. The incidence in 1943 in the US was about 4 per 1000 population. Despite the availability of highly efficacious antibiotics and tremendous fall in the number of cases in 1975, there were still more than 25,000 cases of primary and secondary Syphilis; 26,000 cases of early latent Syphilis were reported. The number of unreported cases was presumed to be several times greater. The gynaecologists and obstetricians in Indian subcontinent still regard Syphilis as one of the major causes of repeated miscarriages, and get VDRL test routinely done in all females with a past history of abortion. Chancroid, Gonorrhoea, Lymphogranuloma venereum, Herpes and Reiter’s disease are other sexually transmitted diseases having varying severity and often producing crippling complications.

The emergence of social and preventive medicine (also called community medicine or public health) as one of the important disciplines of medical sciences has as much to do with economic fundamentalism as with the health of society. Here it is the medicine that is used to propel social and economic policies, and not vice versa. Major policies are formulated separately, or in tandem by the secretaries of the government and the tycoons of the industry. The bureaucrats in fact act largely as connoisseurs of the big business. The population control, the AIDS control and the control of communicable diseases—all these programmes have been fine-tuned to suit or adjust to the market forces. If endeavours have been and are being made to eradicate small pox, chicken pox, polio, rabies and other such diseases for which vaccines are available, it is because no medical cures are available for them in the market. And vaccines can be sold on a much higher scale if the government and other agencies working in social fields are properly convinced of their importance. This has also been one of the ways to pull back the money, which the government might have exacted in the form of taxes or the agencies might have collected as donations from the rich. The ostensible human spirit behind these programmes would vanish in a few moments once alternative ways having bigger market potential are found.

Current Understanding of Health
According to Winpledia,
“Health is the level of functional and/or metabolic efficiency of an organism at both the micro(cellular) and macro(social) level. In the medical field, health is commonly defined as an organism’s ability to efficiently respond to challenges (stressors) and effectively restore and sustain a "state of balance," known as homostasis”

Another widely accepted definition of health is that of the World Health Organisation "WHO". It states that "health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity". This widely accepted definition was expanded in the 1970's and 1980’s, as other components were included: intellectual, environmental, and spiritual health. The balance of all these components is based on the principle of self-responsibility. In more recent years, this statement has been modified to include the ability to lead a "socially and economically productive life." According to Winpledia, “the WHO definition is not without criticism, as some argue that health cannot be defined as a state at all, but must be seen as a process of continuous adjustment to the changing demands of living and of the changing meanings we give to life. The WHO definition is therefore considered by many as an idealistic goal rather than a realistic proposition.”

The above definitions clearly demonstrate the impact of the economic fundamentalism, which have been stressing the inclusion of "socially and economically productive life" without insisting the adoption of a health protective socio-economic system. Economic fundamentalism relies on the promotion of individualism and the negation of family and society. In their view it is individuals that form society rather than that society comprises individuals. Market forces advocate the importance of absolute individual freedom, and strongly resent any suggestion that the demands of society in general and the demands of family in particular must guide individual choices. It is therefore necessary to restrict the definition of health to an individualistic notion. If “social well being” is talked of, it means how an individual acts within society and not how society protects the individual. This definition is thus a passive proposition where the onus to maintain health falls on the shoulders of individuals themselves; family and society are not largely responsible to protect the health. If society comes into action, it is invariably when a particular programme has the blessings of the market forces. If some hue and cry is raised by certain quarters to correct the ecology and environment, these are diplomatically tackled. Some of these demands have in fact the blessings of the big industries in order to fail the small-scale industries. And whatever the force behind these demands, environment to them just means air and water free of pollution; it has nothing to do with social practices and systems that are dangerous for the health, unless they have a scope for commercial use at a larger level. We will discuss later how and why only secondary preventive measures are advocated and primary preventive measures ignored.

Quran’s Position

Islam on the other hand suggests a much more comprehensive definition of health. Let us examine the following verses of the Holy Quran, related to Health, Reproductive & Child Health and Family Health:

About Hygienic food
* Say: Who hath forbidden the beautiful (gifts) of God, which He hath produced for His servants, and the things, clean and pure, (which He hath provided) for sustenance... (7: 32/A)
Unhealthy food prohibited
* Forbidden to you (for food) are: dead meat, blood, the flesh of swine, and that on which hath been invoked the name of other than God. that which hath been killed by strangling, or by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall, or by being gored to death; that which hath been (partly) eaten by a wild animal; unless ye are able to slaughter it (in due form); that which is sacrificed on stone (altars); (forbidden) also is the division (of meat) by raffling with arrows...(5: 3/A)

About Environment
* Why were there not, among the generations before you, persons possessed of balanced good sense, prohibiting (men) from mischief (and disorder) in the earth - except a few among them whom We saved (from harm)? (11: 116/A)
* And the Firmament Has He
Raised high, and He has set up
The Balance of (Justice),
In order that ye may
Not transgress (due) balance.. (55: 7-8)

About Personal Hygiene
* In Book well-guarded, which none shall touch but those who are clean (56: 78-79/A)
And thy garments keep free from stain! (74: 4/A)

Unhealthy social practices prohibited
* They ask thee concerning wine and gambling. Say: “In them is great sin, and some profit, for men; but the sin is greater than the profit.” (2: 219/A)

Mental and spiritual health
* Then will he be of those who believe, and enjoin patience, (constancy, and self-restraint), and enjoin deeds of kindness and compassion. (90: 17/A)
* O ye who believe! Persevere in patience and constancy; vie in such perseverance; strengthen each other; and fear God that ye may prosper. (3: 200/A)
(They are) those who persevere in patience, and put their trust on their Lord. (16: 42/A)

Sexual Hygiene
* O ye who believe! Approach not prayers with a mind befogged, until ye can understand all that ye say,- nor in a state of ceremonial impurity (except when travelling on the road), until after washing your whole body. (4: 43/A)
* They ask thee concerning women’s courses. Say: They are a hurt and a pollution: So keep away from women in their courses, and do not approach them until they are clean. But when they have purified themselves, ye may approach them in any manner, time, or place ordained for you by God. For God loves those who turn to Him constantly and He loves those who keep themselves pure and clean. (2: 222/A)
* Say: the things that my Lord hath indeed forbidden are: shameful deeds, whether open or secret; sins and trespasses against truth or reason... (7: 33/A)
* Nor come nigh to adultery: for it is a shameful (deed) and an evil, opening the road (to other evils). (17: 32/A)

Homosexuality forbidden
* If two men among you are guilty of lewdness, punish them both. (4: 16/A)

Mother & Child Health
* ..for those who carry (life within their wombs), their period is until they deliver their burdens... (65: 4/A)
* And if they carry (life in their wombs), then spend (your substance) on them until they deliver their burden... (65: 6/A)
* The mothers shall give suck to their offspring for two whole years, if the father desires to complete the term. But he shall bear the cost of their food and clothing on equitable terms. No soul shall have a burden laid on it greater than it can bear. No mother shall be treated unfairly on account of her child; nor father on account of his child; an heir shall be chargeable in the same way. (2: 233/A)
* If they both decide on weaning, by mutual consent, and after due consultation, there is no blame on them...(2: 233/A)
* If ye decide on a foster-mother for your offspring, there is no blame on you, provided ye pay (the mother) what ye offered, on equitable terms. (2: 233/A)
* Let the man of means spend according to his means: and the man whose resources are restricted, let him spend according to what God has given him. (65: 7/A)

On the basis of the above quoted verses, it is not difficult to conclude that:
First, in Islam, health is not a separate entity but one of the essential constituents of peace, which comprise peace at the individual, family and social level. (It in fact includes peace in this life and Hereafter.) In the current world on the other hand, peace means only an absence of wars and civil wars, and the international organisations define peace and health in a way that they seem to be totally different entities.

Second, in Islam, there are three tiers of society: individual, family and society. All three have equal importance and none can be sacrificed through the sword of the other. Health therefore too has to involve all the three. The three have a mutual relationship that makes them inseparable. Individuals have to establish a disciplined family and social system. In return, family and society have to protect individuals from all kinds of external threats. The current international system ignores family system and aims to cater only to the individual.

Third, Islam classifies acts into following categories:
(1) Halal (Permissible), without being obligatory or desirable;
(2) Fardh (obligatory);
(3) Mustahab (Desirable), without being obligatory;
(4) Haram (Prohibited):
(5) Makruh (undesirable) without prohibited.

This categorisation is extremely important; this in fact makes Islam the most scientific system of the world. It also gives certain flexibility to the constitution that makes life easy for even those having weaker convictions.

The Quran itself declares that it allows what is good and forbids what is bad. Now, after studying various prohibitions and obligations in Islam on the basis of the till now available scientific knowledge, we find the categorisation of acts, where they are related with health, to be based on the following principles;
(1) Islam declares prohibited all those things and practices that do not form parts of the normal requirements of the body and can directly lead to the development of a disease, which more often than not becomes fatal or causes physical handicaps like blindness, paralysis, etc. (Alcohol, pork, unhealthy sexual practices)
(2) Islam declares makruh or undesirable all those things and practices, which may harm the health but are neither usually fatal, nor lead to any physical handicap like blindness, paralysis etc.
(3) Islam declares Mustahab or desirable or obligatory all those things and practices that have beneficial effect on the health of the individual or society in general. (Circumcision, several foods, Ablution, Prayer, Istanja, etc.)

In the light of these observations, we can now give an Islamic definition of health, which is as follows:

“Health is a state of complete physical, mental, spiritual and social wellbeing, which must be safeguarded not only through the maintenance of a health preserving regime at the personal/individual level, but also through the establishment of a health-protective and promoting family system and a health-protective and promoting social system.”

We shall see how this definition would give sleepless nights to all the proponents of globalisation and their stooges in the World Health Organisation and other health related bodies. The WHO has never insisted on identifying practices that are not suitable for humans and must therefore be totally prohibited, legally and socially, through effective measures at the national and international level. Whenever campaigns have emerged and intensified against certain practices like smoking, the suggestions have been not to impose total ban on these practices and the commercialisation of harmful substances and practices but only to create awareness among the people about the adverse effects of their actions. The same approach is visible when we study the LaLonde report. The report suggested that there are four general determinants of health, which he called "human biology", "environment", "lifestyle", and "healthcare organisation". Thus, “health is maintained through the science and practice of medicine but can also be improved by individual effort. Physical fitness, weight loss, a healthy diet, stress management, training and stopping smoking and other substances are examples of steps to improve one's health. Workplace programs are recognised by an increasingly large number of companies for their value in improving health and well-being of their employees, and increasing morale, loyalty and productivity at work. A Company may provide a gym with exercise equipment, start smoking cessation programs, provide nutrition, weight or stress management training. Other programmes may include health risk assessments, health screenings and body mass index monitoring.” The report obviously stresses only the awareness and training programmes for individuals without even being lightly suggestive of any legal and executive measures to ensure a health protective family and society, where individuals are not exposed to dangerous substances and practices.

Another glaring weakness of the WHO definition is that it fails to properly explain the “spiritual” component of health. Some researchers tend to describe spiritual health as a feeling of happiness and contentment. Evidently, they are unable to differentiate between “mental health” and “spiritual health”. Islam will help us to better understand the difference between the two. Mental health means the ability to respond normally to the situations, to possess a mental balance, a state of mental calm without anxiety or fear and not to have any palpable disorders of thinking. When we say a patient is “mentally ill”, it means that the person is having problems of sleep, anxiety, fear, concentration, etc or his thinking process has become incongruous. In shorter, he has become either “crazy”(neurotic) or “mad”(Psychotic). Merriam-Webster defines mental health as "a state of emotional and psychological well-being in which an individual is able to use his or her cognitive and emotional capabilities, function in society, and meet the ordinary demands of everyday life." Mental diseases can be intrinsic, caused by internal disorders of thinking, as well as extrinsic, caused by extrinsic factors like stress, fears and losses. Spiritual health, on the contrary, means an individual’s ability to differentiate between right and wrong and resolve to lead a more righteous life, free of stratagems, deception, dishonesty and selfishness. We will discuss at a later stage how Islam promotes Spiritual health.

5.Applying the Quran’s Theory of Health

We can sum up the Islamic theory of Health as follows:
1. In Islam, health is one of the most important constituents of Comprehensive Peace; peace is not separable from health;
2. Health governs the overall system and is not governed by the economics;
3. Health can be defined as a state of complete physical, mental, social and spiritual well being, which is to be safeguarded not only through maintenance of a health-protective personal/individual regime but also through the establishment of a health protective and promoting family system and a health protective and promoting social system;
4. No substance or practices that seriously endanger health can be allowed in the system; (Fundamental Prohibitions)
5. There is a need to change society for the betterment of general health; the solutions to medical problems caused by social practices must be tackled socially also and not simply medically. (Therapeutic Sociology)

Quran’s theory of Health is not just another theory suggesting minor adjustments. It is a masterstroke that would decimate the current international understanding of health. It is a trigger that will set into motion currents overhauling the whole socio-economic infrastructure. It is a trumpet the sound of which will be heard not just in health departments but will echo in every sphere of political administration and social existence. Let us unfold some of its major implications.

Comprehensive Hygiene

If we want peace, we need a purer world; if we want a purer world, we need total hygiene. Hygiene is currently being used in a very limited sense. Physical hygiene is of utmost importance for the corporate world because it suits them; mental hygiene, sexual hygiene and social hygiene have no meaning for them, as they pose serious threats to their vested interests. If internal hygiene is promoted tobacco and alcohol industries will nosedive; if sexual hygiene is applied many industries including film, pornography, prostitution and tourism will become defunct; and if a campaign for social hygiene ensues, gambling industries will perish. For the economic fundamentalists, it is the health of industries not that of human beings that matters. Let people suffer but under no circumstances market can be allowed to suffer. Let the people be killed, families be disintegrated, tensions of all kinds plague society, but the interests of the corporate must never be allowed to be killed, slump must not disintegrate them and non-growth must not plague them.

Islam on the other hand prefers to preserve human health, dignity and honour. Monetary interests do not influence Islam’s concept of hygiene; it is the betterment of mankind that concerns it. It therefore promotes comprehensive hygiene, which alone can ensure a purer, safer and healthier world. It takes every possible step to ensure physical, mental and social hygiene. For total hygiene, some of the steps taken are as follows:

• Total ban on alcohol, flesh of dead animals, pork, drugs, tobacco (it should be declared prohibited in accordance with the principles laid down by Quran), blood, etc. (Internal Physical Hygiene)
• Regular bath after impurities, 5 times washing of the exposed organs of the body, cleaning of the area after each passing of urine and defecation, cleaning of hands after touching any unclean things including animals like dogs, maintenance of mouth hygiene through miswak (brushing of teeth), etc (External Physical Hygiene)
• Sex only with spouses of opposite sex, total ban on promiscuity, homosexuality, sex with animals, incest, paedophilia, anal sex and sex during menses and immediate postnatal period, washing of mouth and private parts soon after intercourse, (Sexual Hygiene)
• Total ban on any such activities that can incite people to indulge in forbidden activities, like pornography, watching sex and violence, reading materials that can lead to corrupting thoughts. (Mental Hygiene)
• Regular prayers, tasbihat (repeated rehearsing of God’s Attributes, invocations, preaching to others, meditation, charity (Spiritual hygiene)
• Cleaning of clothes, surroundings, environment (Environmental Hygiene)
• Ban on usury, bribery, commercialisation of forbidden practices, economic exploitation, murders, spreading mischief, rumours, promotion of brotherhood, mutual co-operation, well-established marriage system, proper care of children, etc. (Social Hygiene).

Primary versus Secondary Prevention

Economic fundamentalism in the medical world has percolated right down to the lowest level. Pharmaceuticals thrive on the spread of diseases, and so do doctors, the owners of nursing homes and hospitals and paramedical personnel. Prevention has therefore been able to grasp much less attention than cure; for prevention, especially the primary prevention is perilous for their commercial interests. Primary prevention can be defined as the avoidance of such activities and attempts to prevent such environmental conditions to emerge and grow as may be conducive to the development of diseases. Secondary prevention can be defined as the prevention of diseases through the use of certain materials, medicines, vaccines, or equipment. The latter has received greater attention, for it is beneficial for the industries. While the mouth hygiene and body hygiene have been emphasised upon as these propel the sales of thousands of varieties of tooth-brushes, tooth-pastes, lotions, soap, sanitary pads etc., a term like ‘sexual hygiene’ has found no mention anywhere. The result is that, while all other infections in the US have shown remarkable decrease in the last half century, Sex transmitted diseases are on the rise. Out of the top 10 infections in the US, five are STDs and about every fifth of adult has a STD. More than 15 million Americans contract STD annually. These are staggering figures for a superpower that has the biggest medical network in the world. Sexual hygiene means having sex only with one’s spouse, avoiding rectal sex and sex during menses and immediate postnatal period. If this were popularised, the sex-market could have crashed. Hence, only the secondary preventive methods that invariably advocate the use of condoms were chosen to allay the fears of the promiscuous and the pervert and those coming in their contact. The odour emanating from the mouth of a person not properly brushing his teeth gives sleepless nights to the industries, but the foul smell from the mouth of smokers and drinkers have never caused any alarm. The health of mouth and skin (that is to be kept healthy through creams, lotions and powders) has always kept them worried but not that of liver, heart, brain and lungs. The death and destruction on a much greater scale due to alcoholism have never bothered them. Similarly, the problems due to the steady increase in human population has been a matter of huge importance necessitating world-wide campaign, but the much greater and severer problems owing to the rapid increase in the population of vehicles have not even come to their notice. Such indeed has been the perfection with which the economic fundamentalists have been promoting their plans that their interests can easily be visualised in almost all the campaigns being pushed by the government or international agencies. To sum up, the modern approach towards health is to promote secondary prevention of diseases requiring the use of certain materials produced by the market, like toothpastes, creams, vaccines of different types, condoms, jellies, etc. Primary prevention involving ban on harmless practices like alcohol, unhealthy sexual behaviours, prostitution, promiscuity, smoking, gambling, etc. has no takers, as such a strategy of prevention would pose imperil the interests of the bazaar.

Quran’s theory of health on the other hand envisages a multi-pronged strategy to keep the population healthy and to treat the ill. While Quran has banned all harmful practices, it has also indicated the need of the treatment. Prophet Muhammad has called for treatment whenever a disease develops. He has also exhorted the people to continue searching for the remedies by stating that “Allah has produced treatment of everything except senility./death”. This comprehensive approach has the following components:

1. Primary Prevention: Banning on the use, sale or promotion of all such practices as are dangerous for health and promotion of practices that are helpful in preventing diseases. Important steps involving Primary Prevention include:
• Istanja (Washing of private parts after urinating), which has huge protective effects against the urogenital infection;
• Wudu (Ablution), which involves washing of the exposed organs and mouth reducing the risks of mouth infections, cardiovascular problems, skin infections and cancers and eye infections;
• Washing of private parts after intercourse and bathing as son as possible; which will decrease the chances of sex related diseases;
• Total ban on premarital, extramarital sex and promiscuity, homosexuality and prostitution, which all are the leading factors responsible for propagation of various sex related disorders including Syphilis, Gonorrhoea, Herpes, Reiter’s disease, HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B infection; (The last is not generally included in sex related diseases but has sexual route as one of the most common modes of spread.)
• Avoidance of sex during menses, which again prevents from urogenital infections;
• A compulsory period of Iddah (waiting period) between two marriage partners, which again is very important in preventing sex transmitted diseases. This will be elaborated later;
• Total ban on the production, serving and use of alcoholic beverages, which will not only prevent diseases like Cirrhosis, several cancers and Psychosis but will also help in prevention of sex related diseases and impotence;
• Total ban on all addicting substances including drugs and smoking, which will prevent diseases like lung cancer, mouth cancer etc;
• Total ban on gambling, which will prevent pathological gambling and suicides; also family related tensions;
• Breast-feeding for two years that decreases the chances of a woman getting pregnant before the expiry of the 2 year period thus decreasing all the problems related to repeated pregnancies and also the chances of Breast cancer; it reduces the chances of all infections in children and decreases the risks of cerebrovascular diseases in adulthood

Secondary prevention: Islam will support all the health-protective measures like vaccines, safe drinking water, condoms in special circumstances, use of pastes and creams; Circumcision that prevents from Phimosis, Paraphimosis, sex transmitted diseases including AIDS and the Cancer of Cervix (among women); can also be included as a method of secondary prevention, as it involves a surgical procedure. Miswak (Brushing of teeth), which has a remarkable preventive effect on the infective diseases of teeth, gums and several internal organs, is also a part of secondary prevention;

Treatment: Islam supports all the methods required to relieve pain and distress and to cure the diseases.

It can be seen that most of the measures related to primary prevention are not going to be accepted or promoted by the forces of globalisation. This is a clear proof of the fact that the international health system is the product of economic fundamentalism, which uses health only as a tool for amassing wealth. Secondary preventive measures like Vaccines, condoms, creams and therapeutic procedures like medical, surgical and other treatments are aggressively promoted and primary prevention is not given its due.

This also explains why Pulse Polio Campaign has been run at an unprecedented level in the last decade throughout the Third World while campaigns against diseases like Malaria and Tuberculosis have lagged far behind both in pace and intensity. This is despite the fact that while Polio hardly kills anybody and only paralyses a few thousands, Tuberculosis and Malaria kill millions of people every year. But as anti-tubercular and anti-malarial drugs are manufactured by the Pharmaceutical industry, they have no interest in pursuing campaigns that would reduce their incidence. If these diseases are controlled through primary prevention methods by the governmental agencies and other organisations, the sales of the medicines will suffer a huge loss. In contrast, polio has no treatment available in the market. It has only vaccines as a preventive measure. The industrialists know it very well that the illiterate masses are more inclined to spend money for treating a problem rather than preventing it. It is therefore more expedient, they calculate, to sell vaccines through the governmental and other agencies. Not only will this ensure greater sales of vaccines but will also ensure the utilisation of governmental funds in industry-friendly activities. In this way, the money they give as taxes will be used indirectly for their on benefits.

Therapeutic Sociology

The current International medicine has Social and Preventive Medicine as one its chief disciplines. It is also known as Community Medicine or Public Health. This subject teaches how to respond to widespread medical problems like epidemics and endemics, and how to prevent them. The public health programmes like Population Control/Reproductive & Child Health, vaccination programmes for diseases like Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Meningitis, Hepatitis, Bird Flu, Chicken pox, Polio, etc, anti-mosquito drives, Tuberculosis and Leprosy control programmes and the Programme for control of HIV/AIDS come under the Community Medicine. This is also taught as one of the subjects in the medical degree courses all over the world as well as a postgraduate course. With the march of “globalisation”, community health too has gone “global”. We will see how the forces of globalisation have hijacked the whole concept of community health and how all the programmes are being used to further their interests. The basic fault of the Community Medicine is that it focuses only on finding medical solutions to the medical problems created by social reasons. There is hardly any talk of finding social solutions to medical problems caused by social practices of different kinds. When the forces of economic fundamentalism contemplated that the population should not be allowed to grow at the current speed if their model of “growth” has to succeed, the medical experts were approached, and they began to put all their energies in finding medical ways to control the population. When the market forces embarked upon the sexual revolution that required protection of men and women against pregnancies and sex transmitted diseases, the medical fraternity was quick to provide all kinds of solutions. The social transformation was being pushed through in accordance with the demands of the market, which more often than not brought new diseases to the epidemiological levels. While formulating the laws of the country, economics was given the chief consideration and health became an easy victim. There is now a need to change the whole concept of preventive medicine/community health. The focus must now be shifted to finding social solutions to problems arising out of social practices or changes. Instead of being the only solution, the medical solutions should be an important supplement to the social solution. It is this approach, which is consistent with the System envisaged in the Quran and it is this concept which I have named as Therapeutic Sociology.

Therapeutic Sociology is not a passive concept like Community medicine. It is an aggressive and dynamic concept that has an overriding and overpowering influence on all the other aspects of social life, both governmental and non-governmental. It will not be a mere spectator to what is happening or developing on the earth but would pose a challenge to the dangerous ideas and practices. The primary purpose of human living is to avoid death and disease and promote a healthy being, and this primary aim must never be lost sight of in the glitter of the market. Therapeutic sociology would be a wall in the way of the forces that care little for the masses, and exploit their weaknesses for their own ends. Therapeutic sociology will conduct health impact studies of all the developments taking place, and will then suggest suitable remedial changes in legal, social and medical structure to stop the march of the diseases and death. It will also help in developing a “healthy morality” in the face of “commercial morality”. Healthy morality is what Islam and other religions preach, which is aimed at ensuring health and peace in society. Commercial morality on the other hand preaches what is good or bad for the market.

To sum up, the aims of Therapeutic Sociology, a concept based on the Quran’s theory of health, will be :
• To ensure that the supremacy of health is never compromised with in the affairs at different levels: individual, family, social, national and international;
• To campaign for establishing and strengthening a health-protective and promoting family system;
• To campaign for establishing and strengthening a health-protective and promoting social system;
• To ensure that the national and international laws are rewritten to safeguard health;
• To ensure that substances and practices that are decidedly dangerous for human beings are not allowed to exist or at least prosper;
• To conduct health impact studies of different socio-economic developments and spread awareness about them;
• To aggressively campaign against the institutions that are involved in practices that increase dangers for the lives of human beings;
• To create atmospheric and environmental conditions suitable for promotion of health;
• To promote a model of family health that is conducive for the health of men, women and children;
• To focus on both the primary and secondary preventive methods;
• To unveil the designs of economic and political forces, so that they are not able to do anything that endangers health in any way;
• To promote such customs and rituals as are beneficial for individual’s health, family health and the health of the masses;

• To lay an equal stress on the survival and health of all the human beings in different stages of lives: foetus, paediatric, adolescent, youth, middle aged and geriatric;
• To lay an equal stress on the health of both the genders: mean and women

6.Islamic Model for Control of AIDS

In the last chapter, I have elaborated the definition of health, based on the Quranic teachings. I have also introduced the concepts like comprehensive hygiene, sexual hygiene and therapeutic sociology as part of the application of the Quranic directions. At a later stage, I will discuss how the Quranic theory of health should be applied to:
• Make certain changes in the constitutions of the countries;
• Make certain important changes in the objectives and methodology of the international institutions;
• Introduce new concepts in medical education;
• Develop a dynamic attitude among the doctors to change the course of the socio-economic path;
• Develop new strategies to combat the health problems faced by the mankind.

Before that however, let us discuss one of the biggest medical problems of the current world, which has already decimated the lives of tens of millions of people, and will consume even a greater number in the coming years. This problem has emerged owing to a major social problem, which has arisen out of the development of modern sexuality in the wake of the rise of economic fundamentalism. Interestingly the new sexuality has been labelled as “Sexual Revolution”.

Revolution implies an extraordinary change. But the change is not always the antibiotic that kills the infection and treats the disease. Instead it may be the hypnotic that sedates, addicts and slowly poisons. For any colossal transformation to be valuable, it has to be for the better. If huge changes do not end into salubrious fruition, they have no credentials to be called a Revolution. “Sexual Revolution” is in truth the nadir of human behaviour. It has proved to be not the antibiotic but the hypnotic. It has heralded nemesis of individual’s peaceful existence, family’s peaceful sustenance and society’s peaceful countenance. It has derailed every body from the right course, nailed every institution and failed every development; it has only bailed the merchants. It has made humanity look ludicrous; it has thinned to almost non-existence the demarcating line between human and animal. It has sacrificed abiding happiness at the altars of instant fun; and has crucified health on the cross of wealth. It has made character moribund by slaughtering the inspector of conscience that sustained it. It has pierced childhood, hanged womanhood and polluted manhood. It has snatched the apron of shyness that used to adore and protect woman, and has made her “adore” the lingerie of shamelessness. It has transfigured man from a lover and protector of woman to mere usurper. It has made love without sex to look abnormal and ridiculous but sex without love to appear natural and admirable. It has reduced love to lovemaking, and has made lovemaking a perpetual captive of unadulterated lust. It has trounced parenthood and transfixed childhood. It has buried fatherhood and sickened motherhood. It has bulldozed the world converting it into huge rubble of solace and brought mankind to the verge of total collapse. Sexual Revolution is the python that must be trapped at the earliest and killed without delay.

Sexual Revolution has taught us that sex is not for life but life is for sex. That sex must overrule every other consideration and overcome every obstacle in its way. If it is the custodian of Law, it must learn to behave; if it is the inspector of Religion, it has to be dismissed; and if it is the police of morality, it has to be confronted. It has made us believe sex must not necessarily be between a human and a human; it can be between a human and an animal. That sex must not always require two sexes; it may be between a man and a man, and between a woman and a woman. That sex must not have to be between two adults: it may be between an adult and a child. That sex may not unfailingly involve those who are not linked by blood; it may involve a mother and a son, a father and a daughter and a brother and a sister. That sex should not always be limited to two individuals; many may join simultaneously. That sex must not necessarily use organs that are naturally meant for it; any organ that can be penetrated is fit for coitus. That sex must not necessarily be enjoyed away from the public gaze; it may be performed in front of their staring eyes and exhilarating hearts and brains. That sex must not necessitate any formal declaration; any two consenting individuals can have it without warranting any social or legal sanction. That, in extreme circumstances, sex does not even require consent; if one is smart enough to hoodwink Law or bold enough to face it, one may even rape without fearing too much. That sex does not have to be for fulfilling one’s legitimate physical and psychological desires; it may also be for filling one’s coffer. That sex need not be the corollary of love; it may be purchased or sold in the market. That whatever comes in the way of sex must be mercilessly got away with even if it is a human-in-making. In nutshell, Sexual Revolution has convinced us that sex knows no bounds. The old saying must be redefined thus: everything is fair in love, sex and war.
The results of the “revolution” have been devastating. Note the following statistics:
Prostitution and pornography
• The National Task Force on Prostitution suggests that over one million people in the US have worked as prostitutes in the United States, or about 1% of American women.
• There are now at least 40,000 porn sites on the World Wide Web and probably thousands more. “No one has been able to count them all." (U.S. News & World Report, 3/27/2000)
• There are in excess of 40,000 individual URLs containing child pornography, paedophilia and pro-paedophilia content. (United Mothers & Cyber Angels "Our Kids In Danger List", 2000)
• According to Nielson Net Ratings, 17.5 million surfers visited porn sites from their homes in January, a 40% increase compared with 4 months earlier. (U.S. News & World Report, 3/27/2000)
• Web surfers spent $970 million on access to adult-content sites in 1998 and is expected to rise to more than $3 billion by 2003, according to the research firm Datamonitor. (U.S. News & World Report, 3/27/2000)
• About 1.2 million children annually are exploited in child pornography and prostitution. (Source: Women Against Pornography)
• 25 million Americans visit cyber-sex sites between 1-10 hours per week. Another 4.7 million in excess of 11 hours per week. (MSNBC/Stanford/Duquesne Study, Washington Times 1/26/ 2000)
• Child molesters often use pornography to seduce their prey, to lower the inhibitions of the victim, and to serve as an instruction manual. (PORNOGRAPHY: RESEARCH ADVANCES AND POLICY)

Sex is the water of life. It sustains the human existence and brings colour to the life. But sex also brings huge responsibilities with it. The case of human beings is different from animals. In animals all responsibilities related to sex fall on the shoulders of females; males do absolutely nothing but impregnate females. They have nothing else to shoulder -- during pregnancy, at the time of delivery and during the growth of children. God has been extremely kind to women, on the other hand; in every part of their biological functions, they have been assured of men’s support. This necessitates family system, which does not only relieve women of the burden of looking after children alone but also provides children with a highly congenial atmosphere for growth. Furthermore, it protects women from unwanted intrusions into their modesty, exploitation and abuse, safeguards children against abuse and devastation in life and bestows upon men a life of comfort and peace. Family system also acts as an infallible barrier between human beings and life-threatening viruses, bacteria and protozoans, ensuring longevity and better quality of life. If Sex within marriage is guarantee to health and security, sex outside marriage is invitation to diseases, destruction and devastation. While Islam promotes sex between a man and a woman, within the boundaries of marriage, it prohibits sex outside marriage; all forms of extramarital relationships are not only sins in the eyes of God but also punishable crimes under Islamic legal system. Apart from extramarital relationships, Islam also prohibits homosexuality, anal sex with women, prostitution and any erotic depiction of human body.

The problems related to prohibited sexual practices have assumed such enormous proportions that sex can now be regarded as the biggest tormentor of human life. It has been killing millions of men, women and children, exterminating family system, desecrating the sanctity of women, denigrating them into prostitutes and porn actors, transforming them into single mothers, divorcees and unwed mothers; and killing foetuses, converting children into half-orphans and making them vulnerable to all sorts of abuses.

Physical problems related to prohibited practices include AIDS, Syphilis, Gonorrhoea, Chancroid, Lymphogranuloma venereum, Herpes, Reiter’s Disease, Hepatitis B and many other diseases. AIDS has already killed more than 20 million people across the world and is expected to kill double that number in the next decade. Promiscuity and prostitution are the biggest breeding grounds for HIV. Syphilis has been one of the major killers in the past. Even till fifty years back, it caused fatal complications, and in many parts of the world, has continued to be one of the major factors in the incidence of repeated miscarriages. Gonorrhoea and Chancroid continue to be a troubling factor for sexually promiscuous and pervert; Herpes is one of the major infections in many countries including the US. The propagation of Hepatitis B through sexual route is now well documented. Diseases like Gonorrhoea and Chancroid do not only cause painful problems themselves, but also facilitate the propagation of HIV.

Psychiatric disorders related to unhealthy sexual practices and extramarital lesions include Nervousness, Anxiety, Depression and Suicidal tendencies. The detection of HIV in blood has led to many a suicide in the last two decades. There have also been a number of reports regarding HIV positive persons going on the infecting spree as part of revenge or frustration.

Number of people living with HIV/AIDS
Total 42 million
Adults 38.6 million
Women 19.2 million
Children under 15 years 3.2 million
People newly infected with HIV in 2002
Total (million) 5
Adults 4.2
Women 2
Children under 15 years 800 000
AIDS deaths in 2002
Total (million) 3.1
Adults 2.5
Women 1.2
Children under 15 years 610 000

The international AIDS prevention programme leaves an unmistakable impression that it has been designed keeping in view the commercial interests of the business world where sex with all its ramifications has become a colossal industry, whose interests cannot be side-tracked. Consequently, the whole emphasis in anti-AIDS programmes has been on “safe sex”. The so-called safe sex is doubly advantageous for the sex-industry. First, it does not stop people from swimming in the pool of sexual “recreation”. Second, it helps boost the sale of condoms. An overwhelming majority of the anti-AIDS messages exhort the people to use condoms during sex rather than avoid liaisons with anybody other that one’s marriage-partner. The result of this strategy is that the sales of condoms are rapidly multiplying, the persons involved in the campaigns are earning handsomely and magazines, advertising agencies and video-companies are reaping huge profits through their “fight” against the killer disease. But the volcano of AIDS continues to storm with devastating speed and force.

The emergence of AIDS as a major killer at the end of the twentieth century is the direct result of the commercialisation of sex. HIV found a natural habitat in the sexual environment promoted by and at the behest of the Big Business including Sex Industry. The “great” Sexual Revolution has brought the greatest sexual killer to the world. The demon of HIV needed several boosts for the stupendous spread of its dominion. Sexual Revolution supplied to the Demon what it desired: promiscuity,

• Fewer than 4% of people in need of antiretroviral treatment in low- and middle-income countries were receiving the drugs at the end of 2001. And less than 10% of people with HIV/AIDS have access to palliative care or treatment for opportunistic infections.
• Best current projections suggest that an additional 45 million people will become infected with HIV in 126 low- and middle-income countries (currently with concentrated or generalised epidemics) between 2002 and 2010—unless the world succeeds in mounting a drastically expanded, global prevention effort. More than 40% of those infections would occur in Asia and the Pacific (currently accounts for about 20% of new annual infections).
• Implementation of a full prevention package by 2005 could cut the number of new infections by 29 million by 2010. It could also help achieve the target of reducing HIV prevalence levels among young people by 25% by 2010 (as set in the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS, which the world’s governments adopted in June 2001). But any delay in implementing a full prevention package will slash the potential gains.

homosexuality, oral sex, anal sex, sex during menses, mass sex, an environment blazing sexual passions, a legal set-up that is permissive, not dismissive of uninhibited sex, and the support of the mightiest, the richest and the greatest among men. With such a huge support at its disposal, bringing men and women under the umbrella of its rule was a task performed with remarkable ease. The real world is crying, moaning and mourning. The surreal world of the Demon inhabited by the tycoons and their stooges is laughing, dancing and rollicking. Millions have already died of AIDS in the last two decades, and tens of millions are waiting in anguish and pain for the end in not so distant a future. People organise summits; some of them even cry for them. Some do even go to the extent of begging for them from the rich. But none has the wisdom and courage to demand the eradication of the biggest contributor to the menace of AIDS: the commercial sex. The last World Summit on AIDS discussed everything about the disease and its overwhelming impact. But not a single word was uttered in the condemnation of the merchants of sex. None had the guts to admonish them and sound a clear warning that they must stop what has virtually transformed them into the merchants of death.

Tourism has become the most important breeding ground for sex-transmitted diseases including AIDS. Away from home, nobody watching activities, provocative environment and easy availability of sex make it almost impossible for tourists to escape. According to a report, about one third of the Swiss travellers returning home admitted of having had sex with local prostitutes. Another report says that in an intention-to-have-sex study of young Australians travelling alone to Thailand, only 34% of the sample reported a definite intention not to have sex. And it can be safely assumed that this definite intention has substantial chances of erosion in the face of intense provocation. The study tells:
“….among 1744 US Navy and Marine corps personnel deployed abroad for 6 months, 49% reported having had sexual contact with a prostitute. Of those who reported having had sexual contact during deployment, 70% reported that they had had multiple partners, and almost all of those who used condoms reported that they had used them inconsistently.”

The threat to the world from prostitution can be gauged from the following figures about the prostitutes having HIV infection. These figures also confirm the vulnerability of prostitutes to the killer disease. The report says:

“Commercial sex workers are at very high risk for infection. Prevalence rates in this population are remarkably high in major centres around the world: Nairobi, 81%; Kinshasa, 35%; Bangkok, 44%; and Port au Prince, 69%.”

In Mumbai, it is as high as 80%. STDs are very common even in developed countries.
The US tops the list of STDs among Industrialised nations. The report prepared by Kaiser Foundation in 1998 had several important findings. Its conclusions are as follows:
“Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) have a significant health and economic impact on the American people. The most widely quoted estimate - 12 million annual new STD infections - was published by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 1988. ….Foundation calculates that the actual number of new cases of STDs is approximately 15 million annually. ……. The number of new reported chlamydia cases are estimated 4 million to about 3 million a year….650,000 cases of Gonorrhoae occurred in 1996…. 70,000 new cases of Syphilis…. Trichomoniasis. “Trich” is the most common curable STD among young, sexually active women, with an estimated 5 million new cases a year.


NORTH AFRICA& MIDDLE EAST,550 000 83 000 0.3%
SOUTH &SOUTHEAST ASIA 6.0 M 700 000 0.6%
EAST ASIA & PACIFIC 1.2 MILLION 270 000 0.1%
LATIN AMERICA 1.5 MILLION 150 000 0.6%
CARIBBEAN 440 000 60 000 2.4%
WESTERN EUROPE 570 000 30 000 0.3%
NORTH AMERICA 980 000 45 000 0.6%
AUSTRALIA &NZ 15 000 500 0.1%

….Genital herpes, the lifelong viral infection has grown by the last two decades, to at least 45 million cases. Genital herpes now affects more than 1 in 5 Americans over the age of12. One million new cases occur each year. ……Human Papillomavirus (HPV): Some 5.5 million new infections occur each year, with at least 20 million people Cervical HPV infection has been linked with cervical cancer. …. Despite the availability of a vaccine, hepatitis B remains a leading STD, with 77,000 new cases a year acquired through sexual transmission. A total of 750,000 people are infected with hepatitis B as a result of sexual transmission. …The annual number of new HIV cases in the United States has been stable for several years, with about half-20,000 infections per year - of new cases acquired through sexual transmission….About 500,000 Americans are infected with HIV as a result of sexual transmission. …The panel reviewed published data on the economic costs of individual STDs and estimated the direct medical costs of STD treatment for all estimated cases in the United States per year to be at least $8.4 billion. In addition to the economic impact of STDs, the panel noted that STDs have a high human cost in terms of pain, suffering and grief……Of the top 10 most frequently reported infections, five are STDs…. More than half of teens aged 15-19 have had sex, and these teens are at high risk for STDs. About a quarter of all new cases of STDs occur in teens; two-thirds of cases occur in people aged 15-24 (see figure 3)…. By age 24, at least one in three sexually active people will have contracted an STD. … teenage girls are highly susceptible to contracting chlamydia and gonorrhea, because these diseases easily infect the immature cervix….. Biologically and socially, women are more vulnerable than men to STDs. Genital infections including HIV are more easily passed from men to women than from women to men. ….. They are then more likely to experience long-term consequences such as infertility, tubal pregnancy and cervical cancer… Virtually every STD can be passed from a pregnant woman to her foetus or infant, often with tragic consequences. Because infants’ immune systems are still developing, infections that are serious for an adult can be life-threatening for an infant. Common STD-related problems….Despite these advances in treatment and prevention, however, the United States continues to have the highest STD rates of any country in the industrialised world…”

The above report about STDs in the US clearly demonstrates the fact that technical advancement and high literacy rate have only a limited impact on the propagation of sex-related diseases. Even if high-class latex condoms are consistently used, their efficacy in preventing STDs and HIV is hardly 40-60%. Moreover, despite the bonanza around condoms, less than half of the sexually active persons use condoms. A report has rightly mentioned that “Celibacy and sexual monogamy with a “known” partner carry a much lower risk than the safest of “safer sex” practices.” The high prevalence rate of STDs must be enough to warn Americans that they must not feel complacent about the relatively low level of HIV infection in their country. There always remains a very high probability of a new more threatening kind of infection emerging, which can be much more difficult to control.

The diseases carried through sexual route are not only the ones that are normally described as STDs. Sexual transmission of hepatitis B and C is well documented in both developed and developing countries. The antibody prevalence rate for hepatitis B is over 50% in some countries in Africa and Asia, and surface antigen (HBsAg) carriage rates are described as high as 25%. In a study involving commercial sex workers in Asia, 6.1% to 17.9% were found to be HBsAg carriers.

Another retrovirus, HTLV-1, which is responsible for tropical spastic paraparesis and human T-cell leukaemia, is transmitted sexually as well as by other routes. Prevalence rates range from 5% in the Caribbean to 2.2% to 31.5% in Japan.

AIDS is killing people all over the world. But the devastation it has already caused and is causing in Africa is unparalleled in history. People are dying in such huge numbers that it is difficult to find their replacements in employment. A large number of children die before their first or second birthdays. Surviving children have to live under the scourge of orphanage. There are villages where the demon of sex has left no parents to look after their children. Only grandparents and grandchildren are visible. Describing the plight of children, a report, “African AIDS Orphans’ Lives Focus on Basic Survival” by Linda Green says:
“There were households throughout the township headed by children who were looking out for their siblings the best way they knew how. The children, especially those orphaned because their parents died of AIDS, needed to be fed, school fees paid and part of their medical bills met.”….. During a United Methodist News Service visit, the children of the trust perform a variety of skits and songs that give a realistic and poignant look into their daily lives. They sing about death and the scourge of AIDS while asking the Holy Spirit to enter and comfort their souls “I survive through the help of those who are merciful,” says 16-year-old Naomi. “I also believe that I am here because of God’s grace.”…..Asked to provide a glimpse of what her life is like, she becomes sombre and tries to choke back her emotions. “My life is very hard to describe because my parents passed away and the most difficult part is that my mother died before I had time t get to know her.” Namo lived with her father but grew up under the guidance of aunts. When her father died, she and a younger brother were on their own….”…She and her brother do what they can to eke out a daily living. Sometimes they have little or no food. “But,” she says, “through God’s grace and people’s mercy, we survive.”…Twelve-year-old Delia describes her life as the Cinderella story without the happy ending. Instead, she says, it is filled with pain. She and a sister live with an aunt and her family. “I ask for soap; there is none for me but there is soap for the others,” she says. “There is nothing for me, no money to go to school, but there is for the others. It is painful, but there is nothing that I can do about it. There is no love in the way I’ve been treated. I feel unwanted.” …Another girl describes having to fight off a father who “drinks heavily and when he is drinking, he comes into my room, wakes me up and wants to get in the same bed with me.” Her mother died last December, and “my father does not provide.” She stopped attending school in the seventh grade to help care for herself and her sister’s 2-year-old son. ..Trust, 14, lost both parents in 1999 from AIDS, and he tries to earn a living by making and repairing watches. He and his three siblings live with an elderly grandmother. “We have to do everything on our own,” he says. “Each one of us looks for food and money to pay our fees to go to school.”

In the US, about 17, 000 people die every year of AIDS. The prevalence of AIDS among adults and adolescents was 312, 000 at the end of 1999 (140 per 100, 000), compared with 76, 000 at the end of 1990. Persons living with AIDS during 1999 were much more likely to be female, African American, or infected through heterosexual contact and much less likely to be White than were persons living with AIDS in 1990. At the end of 1999, the numbers of Whites and African Americans living with AIDS were similar (approximately 120, 000 and 125, 000, respectively), but the prevalence rate among African Americans was 6.7 times that among Whites. The number of people living with diagnosed HIV in these states (including those with AIDS) increased from 122, 000 at the end of 1994 to 173, 000 at the end of 1999.

The CDC has used informal methods to estimate recent HIV incidence as approximately 40000 infections per year and current prevalence as 800000 to 900000 persons living with HIV. Since there were approximately 16000 deaths among persons with AIDS during 1999, HIV prevalence may have increased by approximately 25000 cases during that year. Such an increase is small compared with the large population involved and could not be detected with the available data sources.

The sex education and awareness are the mainstays of the world AIDS control programmes. And almost invariably these educational and awareness programmes describe not about the sexual liaisons that must never be pursued and those that must be avoided, but about how people can fully realise their sexual desires by adopting certain preventive practices. A teenager is not enlightened about the true nature of sex and reproduction. About the fact that sex must always be enjoyed within the legal and moral boundaries of marriage. That one must never venture to have sex before the marriage sanctions it. That premarital and promiscuous liaisons do pose extraordinary risks to society in general and to the vagrant in particular. And that the attempts to normalise sex perversions are fraught with highest dangers. What they are explained in detail instead is how to avoid pregnancy and STDs by artificial means. This almost always means the knowledge about the types of condoms, the ways to properly use them and the ways to possess them. ‘A packet in the pocket’ is what they seem to suggest as the road to safe sex. The sex educationists will not even bother to tell them that condoms have an efficacy of less than 50% in preventing STDs and HIV. Ask one hundred teenagers the questions about condoms. All may have knowledge about their use and efficacy in preventing pregnancies and infections, but hardly a few will talk of their limited usefulness. Thanks to sex education and awareness programmes, these balloons have emerged as gems for wanton youth. And young boys and girls do not miss the single opportunity to have full use of them. Girls are conscious enough to keep packets in their purses lest a lover boy comes their way not having them in his pocket. It would of course be nonsense to wait till he fetches one. Better be safe by having a few themselves! And condoms are not the only way to avoid pregnancy or STD. There are fantastic alternatives. Why do let the boy insert in your vagina? Why not use your mouth or anus instead? For your own discharge, you have to make your boy lick you causing a passionate burst in you unequalled in other forms of sex. You can also use artificial penises. Girls are also advised that if they happen to conceive, they must not hang back to visit the doctor at the earliest and get liberated from the unwanted burden. This is the age to enjoy, not having an unnecessary responsibility on shoulders. And the growing fashion is to impart this “great” sex education right in the schools. Waiting till boys and girls reach the college level would be rather late. What they are not taught in sex education classes, they learn from the media. Their knowledge about sex is more perfect than about anything else. They have been instructed in one way or the other various positions and postures, restrained sex, oral sex, use of body lotions of various kinds, use of various other objects (like ice, petals, wax etc.,) to arouse, sex in rains, tubs, swimming pools, sand, side-huts on beaches and many others. As young inquisitive minds and as students, boys and girls must explore each and every one of these. Sooner than later. They have of course already learned striptease and catwalk. Performed exclusively for the boyfriend would go a long way in the initiation of what would finally lead to an ecstatic orgasm. They fear that if they do not know all these dimensions of the art of sex or deliberately refuse to do; their boyfriends may kick them out. So in order to keep them glued, they must learn to be as much sexually aggressive as they can imagine. Despite all this, as reported above, one third of adolescents catch infection by the time they get into the twenties.

The diseases related to sex are not limited to sex transmitted diseases. The aetiology of scores of psychiatric problems can be traced to sex. Young boys and girls often develop anxiety neurosis due to false notions about sex in their minds and their desire to have a “perfect” sex. This often means to them that they must have large penises. They tend to think or are made to think that a few inches shorter organ would spoil their whole sexual life. Girls would simply not be satisfied; for they love larger penises. In order to enlarge their organs, they use all kinds of devices and medicines available in the market. They also tend to develop an exaggerated notion of long sex. Premature ejaculation is perhaps the most common sex-related psychiatric problem, men seek medical attention for. Other forms of anxiety, depression and nervousness too are often related to failure in love and estrangement with partner. Divorces, domestic violence, single parenthood and child abuse lead to severe psychiatric deficiencies and personality disorders.

Islamic Model

In brief, it can be safely asserted that the so-called sexual revolution has created much greater hazards to human health than anything else has. What has to be done? Islam provides the answer. Islam permits sex as a legitimate desire, which needs to be fulfilled, but only through a well-established marriage system. The system has rights, duties and prohibitions as its fundamental constituents. Our attitude towards sex and sexuality is to be governed by the trio of individual health, family peace and social order. Sex is a normal desire. It has to be one of the strengths not the weaknesses of human souls. Controlled sex is the harbinger of life; uninhibited sex that of death. Controlled sex heralds peace and health; uninhibited sex chaos and disease. Controlled sex brings lasting happiness; uninhibited sex temporary pleasure. Controlled sex builds and safeguards family, which uninhibited sex destroys. Controlled sex is benevolent on women and children; uninhibited sex decimates them. Controlled sex depicts accountability and responsibility; uninhibited sex lawlessness and irresponsibility. Uninhibited sex seeks to exploit humans; controlled sex endeavours to prevent it. Controlled sex transforms men into humans; uninhibited sex turns them into beasts. Finally, controlled sex is the symbol of civilisation; uninhibited sex is the sign of barbarism. Within the boundaries of family, sex can always be enjoyed in a hygienic way to the maximum, to the highest state of ecstatic love. Outside its boundaries, all forms of sex are unhygienic, whatever precautionary steps taken to maintain relative hygiene.

The whole AIDS control programme has to be revised. An Islamic model will be based on the following guidelines given by the Quran. (The relevant verses have already been quoted):

1. Supremacy of health in all matters including those related to socio-economic affairs;
2. Fundamental Prohibitions: Promiscuity, Premarital and extramarital sex, homosexuality, sex during menses, prostitution, pornography; drugs and alcohol
3. Promotion of a healthy family system;
4. Iddah (Waiting Period) (See below);
5. Circumcision (not in the Quran but a well-established practice among Muslims and Jews);
6. Use of other preventive methods to safeguard health.

Medical significance of Iddah

Before describing in detail the alternative AIDS Control programme, based on the Quranic teachings, let us understand the significance of Iddah.

Iddah is the period for which a woman has to wait after the initiation of the process of divorce or after the death of her husband. The following facts about Iddah are to be noted:
(1) The period of Iddah in case it follows the pronouncement of divorce is three menstruation-cycles if by that time she shows no signs of pregnancy.
(2) If a woman undergoing Iddah develops signs of pregnancy her Iddah will be extended till the termination of the process of delivery. (This must include the postnatal period of 40 days.)
(3) If she is having irregular menstruation cycles her Iddah will be of three months.
(4) If she is undergoing Iddah after the death of her husband its duration will be four months and ten days.

The legal provision of Iddah has enormous implications on family and social health and legal matters related to marriage.

1. Iddah safeguards the honour of woman. If a woman leaves the house of her husband and after a few weeks she develops signs of pregnancy, her husband can charge her with infidelity. This is why the Quran has specifically enjoined that Iddah has to be completed in the house of the husband.
2. Iddah safeguards the legal rights of woman and her child. In case, Iddah is not completed in the husband’s house, the paternity of her foetus may become a matter of controversy.
3. Iddah ensures safe motherhood. In case her pregnancy is completed in any house other than that of her husband, she may suffer from mental anguish, which can be detrimental for the health of mother and child.
4. In the case of divorce (according to the procedure laid down by the Quran), Iddah provides an opportunity to the couple to bury their differences and reunite without any problem;
5. Idadh is also extremely important for the sexual health of individuals and society

I was struck with the extraordinary role of Iddah during the compilation of my monograph, “Islamic Model for Control of AIDS” when to my amazement I found that Iddah would play a crucial role in protecting men and women from sexually transmitted diseases. Since then I have continued to get more and more convinced about the extraordinary importance of Iddah in Family Health and Peace. One of the primary objectives of Iddah is to ensure that right from the first day of conception till the completion of the process of delivery (including postnatal period) she would be looked after financially, physically as well as socially by her husband. During this period, the husband is not entitled to formalise the divorce even if he has decided to part with her. Thus the antenatal, natal and postnatal cares are obligations imposed by Islam on fathers. This also provides the couple with an opportunity to reconcile their differences; the news that she is pregnant is more often than not likely to facilitate this reconciliation. It is obvious that such an extraordinary status of mother also ensures the safety of child.

Family is not an artificial creation of man, for every born has a father and a mother. It is therefore necessary that the parentage of every child must be established beyond doubt. The establishment of the identity of mother is a foregone conclusion, as she physically delivers the child. But the establishment of the identity of father will create huge problems if the propriety of the institution of marriage is not maintained. If there had been no provision of a mandatory period of waiting it would have become impossible, in case a woman married within a few days of separating from her husband, to know the real father. If the identity of the father of the child is not established, it is bound to cause immense damage to the future prospects of the child; he or she may have to grow outside the shadow of fatherly protection. Thus Iddah preserves the family system ensuring that the children and parents live without their mutual love and affection getting diluted by any kind of suspicion. This of course also preserves the credibility and honour of the woman.

Another important role of Iddah is to prevent the sexually transmitted diseases. The provision of Iddah means that no woman can ever have sexual relations with two men without a gap of at least three months. This is greatly helpful in minimising the risks of HIV and other STDs. It is interesting to note that the incubation period of all STDs is less than 90 days, and the window period of HIV/AIDS is also about 90 days. In Syphilis for example the median period of incubation is 21 days though occasionally it may be up to 90 days. Thus in the case of Syphilis, the woman will develop symptoms of Syphilis within and not more than three months. The development of a painful swelling in her private parts is likely to prevent her from marrying till she gets relieved. The same is true of other STDs like Lymphogranuloma venereum, Reiter’s disease, Herpes etc. In the case of AIDS, while the incubation period may be several years, the blood test for HIV becomes positive within three months. So if the spread of AIDS warrants a strict vigilance a woman may get her HIV tested after the expiry of Iddah before getting married again. This rule may be used with good effect for the AIDS prevention programmes

Outlines of Comprehensive Programme for Control of AIDS
(Using Islamic teachings and their application)

I. Sexual Hygiene

• Washing of private parts after intercourse
• No anal sex; oral coitus (ejaculation inside mouth) to be avoided
• No sex during menstruation periods and postnatal period
• Male circumcision
• Avoidance of corrupting influences
• Use of condoms whenever suspicion of catching infection
• No drugs
• Sex only inside marriage (male-female)

II. Strengthening of Family System

• Marriages to be promoted; laws to be suitably amended
• Premarital and extramarital sex to be actively discouraged and punished
• Promiscuity to be suppressed
• Moral and family values to be strengthened

III. Concerted and effective campaign against commercialisation of sex

• Total ban on prostitution and rehabilitation of prostitutes
• Total ban on all forms of pornography
• Campaign against nudity and obscenity in public
• Cleansing of tourism
• Effective and concerted campaign against drugs

IV. Medical measures: Sexual quarantine
(These measures are already there in the AIDS control programmes, and should be followed, as they are not contrary to the Islamic injunctions and spirit of safeguarding human beings against death and diseases.)

• Proper screening of blood
• Sterilisation of syringes
• Effective sexual (not social) isolation of HIV positive persons: HIV status of a person to be informed to marriage-partners (present and future), boy/girlfriends, clients

V. Legal Measures

• Right to divorce if one’s spouse tests positive
• Right to refuse intercourse if her husband does not take adequate measures to safeguard her from the threat of AIDS
• Sterilisation compulsory for an HIV positive woman
• Right to know each other’s HIV status before or at the time of marriage.

Condoms: limited use only

The nonsense of safe sex being promoted as the mainstay of the strategy to control AIDS cannot be tolerated any more. As has been elaborated earlier, safe sex is only a ploy to perpetuate commercial sex and the free sex it promotes. Safe sex is not safe enough. The effectiveness of condoms in preventing sex transmitted diseases and AIDS is hardly 50-60%, if it is used properly and constantly. The failure rate of condoms as contraceptives is as high as 12%. The size of HIV is much smaller than sperms, and their probability of crossing the barrier is quite high. Furthermore, it is used by hardly ten-percent even in those countries where the level of awareness is substantially high. Sex workers cannot insist on the use of condom, as they risk losing business. The promotion of safe sex is in fact counterproductive. It often tends to ensure a false sense of guarantee against HIV. Adolescents feel inclined to explore sexual liaisons thinking that by using condom they would protect themselves. Condom promotion can however be utilised in specific areas:

(1) Where a person is already promiscuous, and before he gives it up, he may use condom;
(2) Where one of the spouses suspects the other to be involved in extramarital relations; and
(3) Where one of the partners has already tested positive and the other partner does not want to severe relations.

There is hardly any justification in defending the on-going strategy on the basis of reports that the situation has stabilised in many countries. The stabilisation does not mean a drastic downfall in the seroprevalence rate. Even till now, about 20,000 people die of AIDS in the US annually. That is no small figure in a country where infections other than STDs have been on the decline for several decades. The strategy to control AIDS has to be multi-pronged, multidisciplinary and multi-sector. Only a comprehensive approach can help. We will discuss some of the issues involved in the strategy in a little more detail later.

Devastation in Africa

AIDS is killing people all over the world. But the devastation it has already caused and is causing in Africa is unparalleled in history. People are dying in such huge numbers that it is difficult to find their replacements in employment. A large number of children die before their first or second birthdays. And the cruelty, which is man-made, is that the kids have to suffer for no sin of theirs. Surviving children have to live under the scourge of orphanage. There are villages where the demon of sex has left no parents to look after their children. Only grandparents and grandchildren are visible. Describing the plight of children, a report, “African AIDS Orphans’ Lives Focus on Basic Survival” by Linda Green says:
“There were households throughout the township headed by children who were looking out for their siblings the best way they knew how. The children, especially those orphaned because their parents died of AIDS, needed to be fed, school fees paid and part of their medical bills met.”….. During a United Methodist News Service visit, the children of the trust perform a variety of skits and songs that give a realistic and poignant look into their daily lives. They sing about death and the scourge of AIDS while asking the Holy Spirit to enter and comfort their souls “I survive through the help of those who are merciful,” says 16-year-old Naomi. “I also believe that I am here because of God’s grace.”…..Asked to provide a glimpse of what her life is like, she becomes sombre and tries to choke back her emotions. “My life is very hard to describe because my parents passed away and the most difficult part is that my mother died before I had time t get to know her.” Namo lived with her father but grew up under the guidance of aunts. When her father died, she and a younger brother were on their own….”…She and her brother do what they can to eke out a daily living. Sometimes they have little or no food. “But,” she says, “through God’s grace and people’s mercy, we survive.”…Twelve-year-old Delia describes her life as the Cinderella story without the happy ending. Instead, she says, it is filled with pain. She and a sister live with an aunt and her family. “I ask for soap; there is none for me but there is soap for the others,” she says. “There is nothing for me, no money to go to school, but there is for the others. It is painful, but there is nothing that I can do about it. There is no love in the way I’ve been treated. I feel unwanted.” …Another girl describes having to fight off a father who “drinks heavily and when he is drinking, he comes into my room, wakes me up and wants to get in the same bed with me.” Her mother died last December, and “my father does not provide.” She stopped attending school in the seventh grade to help care for herself and her sister’s 2-year-old son. ..Trust, 14, lost both parents in 1999 from AIDS, and he tries to earn a living by making and repairing watches. He and his three siblings live with an elderly grandmother. “We have to do everything on our own,” he says. “Each one of us looks for food and money to pay our fees to go to school.”

The irony is that the world powers have hardly any sympathy with theses poor Africans. They are being ignored perhaps in the hope AIDS will remove the “unwanted” people from the earth. This may be a cruel statement and can invite strong reactions. But the truth remains that the forces of globalisation have no concern for the masses in general and for the people who are not going to help their business, in particular. The world has neither the medicines to save the African AIDS patients nor the will to enforce social and moral laws to save them from the clutches of unhealthy sex. But the Islamic Model for control of AIDS would provide an ideal solution to the problem. The emphasis has to be on:

1. Eradicating promiscuity and drug addiction, even if severest punishments are to be given for the offenders. There has to be a total and effective ban on sex outside marriage and homosexuality;
2. Total ban on all kinds of prostitution. severest punishment to those who are forcing and luring women and children into prostitution and rehabilitation of prostitutes who joined this trade under force;
3. Compulsory screening of both spouses at the time of marriage;
4. Immediate separation of a couple if one is found to be HIV positive;
5. Compulsory sterilisation of HIV positive males and females;
6. Drive for circumcision;
7. Drive at the international level to supply anti-viral regimes to African people.

One of the most important steps in the fight against AIDS will be to popularise the concept of total sexual hygiene. Thanks to the globalisation, while other forms of hygiene like oral hygiene and body hygiene gained substantial popularity, a term like sexual hygiene has not even been proposed. How can it be when total sexual hygiene would signal serious consequences for the whole idea of free and commercial sex? Total sexual hygiene comprises physical, mental and social sexual hygiene. Physical sexual hygiene includes proper washing of private parts and mouth after intercourse, avoidance of anal coitus and avoidance of intercourse during menses. Circumcision may also be included, as it has a preventive role in several diseases. Mental sexual hygiene includes conscious attempts to keep the mind free of polluting thoughts by avoiding provocative images, literature and talks. Social sexual hygiene means avoiding of casual liaisons of all kinds and restricting oneself to one’s spouse only.

The other major steps comprise a total and effective ban on the commercialisation of sex particularly prostitution and pornography and strengthening of family system through measures that promote healthy sexual relationship within the ambit of marriage. There are certain legal issues that have to be tackled.

First, a person must have the right to divorce if one’s spouse tests positive.
Second, a woman must have the right to refuse intercourse if her husband does not take adequate measures to safeguard her from the threat of AIDS.
Third, sterilisation can be made compulsory for an HIV positive woman because she can transfer her diseases to her foetus and would not be able to perform her motherly duties. It should also be promoted for HIV positive man because his likely death would turn the child fatherless.
Fourth, spouses must have the right to know each other’s HIV status before or at the time of marriage.

If AIDS has to be controlled, the strategy has to be planned keeping in consideration three essential objectives:
(1) Preventing people from getting infected;
(2) Stopping infected persons from spreading infection; and
(3) Creating an environment conducive for healthy sexual practices.

The current international programme addresses only the first objective and that too partially. The other two are ignored altogether. The alternative comprehensive programme based on the teachings of Islam can be more effective in the prevention of AIDS.

For the purpose of the rehabilitation of prostitutes, they have to be kept in an asylum for a period of three months.(See Iddah, discussed earlier) At the expiry of this period, they will be thoroughly examined for any evidence of sex-transmitted diseases and HIV. If they have no disease, they must be helped to join the mainstream preferably marrying as early as possible. If they have any disease other than HIV they must first be treated before allowing them to join the mainstream. If they are HIV positive, they must be sexually isolated. Apart from these medical measures like proper attention to screening of blood to prevent spread of HIV through blood, availability of anti-AIDS drugs to all and legal measures discussed above have to be incorporated. Promotion of condoms has to be done as a supplementary not the chief weapon of defence.

Role of Media

One of the major factors behind the phenomenal success of economic fundamentalism in the twentieth century, especially in the latter half, has been the misuse of the print and electronic media to captivate the imagination of the masses. The media has steadily grown in independence. The censors have become increasingly lenient over the years with ever increasing doses of sex and violence in films. The industrialist giants own most of the magazines and newspapers. The media pursue the objectives laid down by their masters in highlighting specific news, the publication of analytic articles and the selection of advertisements. Television has become a big instrument in the hands of fundamentalists for further tightening their hold over the imaginations of men, women and children and to bring a social and attitudinal transformation necessary for “economic growth”. The attitudinal transformation towards sex and sexuality has been playing havoc with the world. If economic fundamentalism has to be uprooted, the thought pollution caused by its ideologues through the media has to be dealt with at the earliest.

As has been suggested earlier in this chapter, Fundamental Prohibitions as part of Fundamental Principles of the Constitution are essential for the sustenance and improvement of individual’s health, family peace and social order. Those prohibitions must cover the media as well. Any report, serial, film or advertisement violating them must be adequately punished. Censors must view films and serials not only from the angle of sex and violence; but they must also examine the story line, dialogues and characters. Any story or scene glorifying or advocating corruption, drinking, smoking, crimes, violence, premarital and extramarital sex and communalism must not be allowed to screen. The producer, the director, the actors and all those responsible must be brought to the court. The media must purify, not vitiate thought, and must play a positive and constructive role in social building. If it refuses or fails, the law must promptly come into action. Entertainment is good; but pollution of ideas and attitudes leading to deaths, diseases and destruction of family peace and social order cannot be tolerated. Freedom of expression cannot be absolute; the media can be free only as long as it is not harmful for society.

Thanks to satellite television, programmes of different sorts are now available 24 hours a day. These programmes are largely entertainment-based and more often than not have stories and scenes that are enough to disturb the poise of attitude. Though informative programmes are also available and there are certain channels that specifically telecast educative and informative programmes, the fact that the entertainment channels are on the air throughout the day and night, drastically reduce their utility. This is because the young boys and girls, who are in maximum need of informative programmes, prefer to watch dances, songs and sex-based serials and films. The informative and educative channels too have joined the race to cash in on sex. Channels like Discovery are now presenting regular features on the world beaches that give it an opportunity to show women in swimwear. The influence of advertisements has been extraordinary on the perceptions and tastes of the masses. The advertisers must be told not to give false information or convey untrue signals and messages. Disinformation must be declared an offence and every advertisement must be accompanied by an undertaking that the message contained and the information given are not false; if it proves wrong, the advertisers must be punished. The use of sex and nakedness for promotion of business must be severely dealt with.

To ensure that the media play a constructive role in character development, the government must bind all newspapers, magazines and TV channels to carry messages (in between programmes) prepared or screened by it. These messages must inculcate feelings of mutual love and brotherhood, selflessness, honesty, truth, maintenance of trust and promises, helping others, decency of behaviour, sweetness of talk, etc. and must discourage falsehood, disloyalty, selfishness, breach of trust and attempts to sow seeds of discord in society. These must also include information relating to health and social laws, particularly on the dangerous consequences of social evils like drinking, gambling, promiscuity, abortion, crimes against children, women and weaker sections of society. But it must be remembered that we have to learn to avoid the trap laid by merchants who tend to argue that it is good to make people aware but it is not good to police their choices.


Pornography has no place in a civilised society. It is extremely detrimental to the normal functioning of individuals as well as families. It turns humans into beasts and normalises abnormal and perverse behaviour. It instigates the watchers to go sexually berserk and vent their sexual frenzies in whatever way they can. It denudes love making of any element of love and converts it into an unalloyed and unadulterated sex. Pornography is the most sophisticated arsenal in the armoury of the devil. Through it the devil takes full control of human sentiments that then refuse to distinguish between right and wrong. It kills men and women in a way that they do not even know it. It is a poison that begins to act instantly and continues to damage for long. It pulverises conscience and readies a man to rape. Acquaintances are often the targets. It bedevils men who feel inclined to have a lustful desire for even their mothers, sisters and daughters. It demonises even some women who respond positively to advances of their fathers, sons and brothers. It makes them bare themselves and offer to whatever men desire from them. Under its effect, men and women tend to forget what the consequences of their actions would be. Pornography makes the people believe in the enjoyment of actions that in fact have nothing to enjoy. It makes men penetrate the animals. It makes one like one’s own sex more than the other. It even makes men believe that sex with children is more delightful than with adults. The wine of porn is much more deadly in effect than the wine of grapes. If the world has to be saved from the monster of uninhibited sex promoted by the merchants, pornography will have to be crushed at the first go. People argue and will continue to argue that it would be difficult to eradicate its menace for variety of reasons. This is only a ploy to keep things going. Once the decision is taken at the international level to uproot it, there are hundreds of ways to flush out the culprits. It is always impossible to achieve a hundred per cent result; but if it is attacked with the ruthlessness needed to combat such a huge and colossal menace, there is no reason why it cannot be minimised.

Sanctification of Sex (De-commercialisation)

The colossal transformation of social values that has taken place during the twentieth century all over the world, particularly in West, owes itself to the ever-increasing prospects of the commercialisation of sex. This may in fact be regarded as the most abominable, the most exploitative and the most threatening manifestation of economic fundamentalism. Sex in varying degrees is being used by large number of newspapers, magazines, films and consumer industries for their own growth. The worst forms of course are prostitution and pornography that have become big industries. If mankind is to be saved from death, diseases, distress and destruction, an end will have to be brought to the commercialisation of sex without any further delay. This monster cannot be tolerated in a civilised society. It has to be chained at the earliest and permanently demolished. Steps have to be taken at the international level with an earnestness of purpose that requires all the states, organisations and men of morals to contribute in their respective ways. Only a concerted, well-organised and co-ordinated fight can successfully challenge the merchants of sex.

The first step that has to be taken is to declare sexual exploitation in all forms illegal all over the world. Resolutions to this effect must be duly passed in the United Nations and other international forums. The world must clearly know that human beings including women and children are not meant for sexual abuse. The feminist groups, if they are genuinely interested in the welfare of women, must rise and pressure international organisations to take all the possible steps to thwart the designs of the merchants of sex.

The owners of brothels and the middlemen must be severely punished; the clients visiting brothels or soliciting call girls must also be penalised and their names made public. Prostitution is so heinous a crime and its adverse impacts on health, family peace and social order are so dangerous that the owners of brothels and middlemen deserve no less punishment than hanging in full public view. But before putting that into practice, a period of amnesty should be given during which time (that must not be more than a few months) they must wound up. Prostitutes must be dealt with compassion, and efforts should be made to rehabilitate them so that they can lead a happy family life. (The method for this is discussed elsewhere.)

The arguments that it is impractical to ban prostitution and it would continue despite ban are fallacious. Similar logic is not given in relation to the population control, which is an infinitely bigger problem than controlling the flesh trade. The truth is that the real problem is not in the impracticability but the lack of will to eradicate it. If there is a will and the world decides to put an end to it, there is no reason why it cannot be brought to a negligible level. The question of legalising the flesh trade does not arise. There cannot be a bigger travesty of justice than the idea that women sell their body under the legal umbrella only to ensure that their male customers do not contact certain diseases. I wonder when women would realise that the modern era is more male chauvinistic than ever before. Never before in the world had women been slaves of men’s desires in such numbers as now. There are others who argue that poverty must first be removed if women have to be stopped from falling prey to the flesh traders. This is only a ploy to perpetuate ‘the business’. Prostitution is more dangerous than poverty and has no direct relation to it. There are several rich countries where the flesh trade is running at a very big scale. And there are many poor countries where prostitution is uncommon. While the poverty alleviation programmes must be pursued at war footing, at the same time, all possible loopholes in the legal and executive set-up must be plugged to bring an end to the ugliest trade.

Tourism has been thriving in recent years vastly on commercial sex. Visitors are lured with the prospects of sharing moments on the beaches with beautiful, scantily clad women and having “sexiest” partners as bedfellows. Tourism industry has to be cleansed of all this filth. To make people enjoy the beauty of nature, unhealthy practices must not be promoted. It may cause a temporary loss to the market of tourism; but once sex market becomes unavailable all over the world, healthier methods to attract visitors would bring the life back to the industry. Even if the desired results are not achieved, commercial profits will have to be sacrificed to preserve the sanctity of women, protect health and safeguard the institution of marriage. Life and honour of people in general are much more important than the coffers of a few merchants.

Prostitution and promiscuity are promoted by pornography. Pornography survives on prostitution, because if women are not available for acting in these films (in case prostitution is effectively banned) or for posing nude before the camera, it would automatically scale down. Pornography fans sexual frenzy. To alleviate promiscuity from society, pornography, in all its forms including eroticism, has to be effectively banned. No man or woman must be permitted to appear naked at any place other than in absolute privacy. Strict dress code has to be formulated for men as well as women. Freedom of nakedness in public must be eschewed because its effects are not confined to the person appearing naked. It activates electrifying signals in the bodies of all the watchers intensifying their sexual appetite. Needless to say that nakedness breeds promiscuity; promiscuity leads to the commercialisation of sex, which invariably means the commercial exploitation of women and children; and the commercialisation of sex threatens the very survival of human beings as individual, as family and as society.

Pros and cons of Sex

Here let us also discuss the sexuality and the pros and cons of its forms. As I have said at several places in the book, sex is not to be abhorred. It must be celebrated. But it has to be within the prescribed limits. On the basis of the effects of various forms of sex, we can make a list of prohibited, undesirable (but not prohibited) and desirable acts. A brief outline is as follows:


*Sex outside marriage
*Homosexuality and anal sex with wife
*Sex with animals
*Sex with children
*Mass sex
*Use of torture

Undesirable (highly undesirable but not punishable in the court))

*Oral Sex (especially ejaculation in the mouth)
*Sex during menses and postnatal period


(All other forms of sex within marriage that give pleasure to both partners)

Oral sex needs some elaboration, as it has become so common now especially in West that men and women will not accept any curbs on it. Generally people do not regard it as hazardous to health. Though it is true that it is not as hazardous as anal sex but it is wrong to assume that it is perfectly safe. Studies have clearly indicated that oral sex poses certain risks. According to HRPC, Herpes is the biggest risk associated with oral sex. While it can cause a lesion in the mouth itself, the more distressing is the genital Herpes that can be passed from the oral to genital route. In the US, more than a fourth of the people have Herpes. Oral sex clearly increases the chances and extent of Herpes. Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea can cause painful infectious lesions in the mouth. If fluids spill to eye, severe eye infections may be caused which are serious problems. HIV can also pass through oral sex. HPV, Syphilis and Hepatitis B can also be passed to the mouths. Oral to anal route is particularly dangerous in the transmission of Hepatitis B. HRPC clearly says, “Limiting exposure to semen reduces risk of infection, so ejaculation away from partner’s body is the safest. That said, the mouth is the place most likely to contract something like HIV, so the conventional wisdom is, “swallow or spit, just don’t let it sit.” In an article, captioned, “Oral Sex threat underestimated”, Lisa Klay reported that, in 8% of Gay cases of HIV, oral route was the likely route of transmission. She quoted a CDC press release that stated, “researchers have found evidence that a significant percentage of new HIV infections in some groups of men who have sex with men are due to oral sex, a mode of transmission too often regarded as posing little or no risk.” She also quoted Gayle as saying “oral sex is equated with safe sex. However, for the individuals in this study, and for countless others, this false assumption has led to tragic lifelong consequences.” The report quoted Mayer as saying, “It still comes back to: If you have no way of knowing your partner’s [HIV] status, you put yourself at some substantial risk if you engage in some behaviours repeatedly and without protection.” A recent study from Texas indicated that the risk of transmission through oral sex increases as the volume of ejaculate increases. Mouth should not be allowed to become a receptacle for fluids. If this can be avoided, oral sex is not much of a risk though one case of HIV has been reported in whom the HIV passed through pre-ejaculate fluid. This can be safely concluded that it would be better to avoid oral sex; but if the couple is desperate for it, the ejaculation must be avoided as far as possible in the mouth. Furthermore, as mouth is not the natural receptacle for ejaculate fluids, there will therefore always remain the possibility of oral sex becoming a dangerous cause of some sex-related diseases in future.


To meet the interminable demands, merchants were always ready to offer novelties to the customers. In order to compete with one another, and to further swell their coffers, they began to popularise sexual perversions. Mass sex, sadism and masochism became common. The unavailability of women in sufficient numbers was a problem. Homosexuality was therefore introduced. It is not that sodomy did not exist before in history. Several religious scriptures have given grim accounts of how the citizens of the twin cities of Gomorrah and Sodom had become addicts of anal sex. So prevalent in fact it had become that there were not even ten righteous persons left in the city. (Bible) Bible and Qur’an both have narrated how the twin cities were ultimately ‘stoned to death’ by way of a tempestuous rain of sulphur stones from the sky. It is a known fact that homosexuality is still very much there in most of the countries. According to some estimates, 5-10% of males may be having such propensities. But there is a basic difference between homosexuality rampant in West and the one in some other countries. In Islamic and the majority of Asian countries, homosexuality is considered to be a big sin even by those who practise it. There is no question at all of glorifying or justifying it and the gays’ associations have only recently been making clandestine appearance in some metropolitan and cosmopolitan cities. In Western countries, on the other hand, it has turned commercial. It is to facilitate business that sturdy gay movements have been organised and under their pressure, one government after the other has chosen to legalise it. Gay clubs and literature are now booming in almost every city of Western world. Furthermore, while in Asian countries, homosexuality is not usually isolated, with most homosexuals also having heterosexual liaisons, in West, organised gay campaigns have led to exclusive homosexuality. Women too have not remained far behind and lesbianism is also on the increase. The other reasons for giving huge publicity to the gay movements are that it would help in controlling population that occupies a central place in the strategy of the economic fundamentalists, and would also accelerate the disintegration of family system.

The demoniac march of the commercialised sex has necessitated that all perversions must be considered “normal and natural” behaviour and any stigma associated with them should be struck with a fatal blow. To outdo one another, video-makers have been producing blue films exhibiting increasing variety of perverted sex. The chiefs of homosexual net and their marshals have been advancing the nonsense argument that relations between two persons belonging to the same sex are natural as a sizeable percentage of human population has such propensities. The commercial convenience makes them forget the truth that “natural” and “human” are not synonymous. The natural phenomena are essentially good for mankind; these defend humans against death, disease and destruction, for they are aimed at the common rather than the individual good. Even when they seem to be destructive (natural tragedies), they are the manifestations of an effort on the part of the nature to bring back the harmony that has somehow been disturbed. The natural tragedies are therefore aimed at averting bigger tragedies in the future. The human tendencies, on the other hand, are generally the result of self-gratification and tend to disturb the natural equilibrium. It is the human (and not natural) weaknesses that have given rise to crimes, diseases and abnormal acts including sexual perversions. If homosexual proclivities are accepted as natural, murderous instincts and tendencies to rape, steal or impinge upon others’ rights must also be regarded natural. And if the latter deserve outright condemnation, reform and punishment, the former also require the same treatment.

Homosexual relations, particularly man to man relations, need to be attacked most severely. Lately gay movements have picked up all over the world. Homosexuality is the most unhealthy and unhygienic of all forms of sexual relations, as it carries the highest risk in spreading infections. Syphilis, Gonorrhoea and AIDS - all have started in homosexuals and spread later to heterosexuals. However, distinction has to be made between lesbianism and sodomy. I think lesbianism cannot be recognised as a full sexual activity, as it involves neither penetration nor an exchange of fluids. At the most, it can be described as a form of mutual masturbation. As it does not involve penetration or exchange of fluids, it does not pose such huge risks to life as does sodomy. It has to be discouraged, as it creates certain psychological and social problems. But the punishment for lesbianism cannot be as hard as for sodomy. Gays should be given exemplary punishments. Their actions threaten the very survival of mankind.


Before concluding this chapter, it will be worthwhile to reproduce here the Quranic account of the sexual corruption that prevailed at the time of Prophet Lot (AS) and the punishment they received for that. Quran says:

* The people of Lut rejected the apostles. Behold, their brother Lut said to them: “Will ye not fear (God))? I am to you an apostle worthy of all trust. So fear God and obey me. No reward do I ask of you for it: my reward is only from the lord of the Worlds. Of all the creatures in the world, will ye approach males, and leave those whom God has created for you to be your mates? Nay, ye are a people transgressing (all limits)!” (26: 160-166/A)

* We also (sent) Lut: He said to his people: “Do ye commit lewdness such as no people in creation (ever) committed before you? For ye practise your lusts on men in preference to women: ye are indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds.” (7: 80-81/A)

* (He said to his people): “Do ye indeed approach men, and cut off the highway?- and practise wickedness (even) in your councils?” (29: 29/A)

* And his people gave no answer but this: they said, “Drive them out of your city: these are indeed men who want to be clean and pure!” (7: 82/A)
* But his people gave no answer but this: they said: “Bring us the Wrath of God if thou tellest the truth.” (29: 29/A)

* He said: “I do detest your doings. O my Lord! deliver me and my family from such things as they do!” (26: 168-169/A)

* He said: “O my Lord! help Thou me against people who do mischief!” When Our Messengers came to Abraham with the good news, they said: “We are indeed going to destroy the people of this township: for truly they are (addicted to) crime.” He said: “But there is Lut there.” They said: “Well do we know who is there : we will certainly save him and his following,- except his wife: she is of those who lag behind!” (29: 30-32/A)

* ……he began to plead with Us for Lut’s people. For Abraham was, without doubt, forbearing (of faults), compassionate, and given to look to God. Abraham! Seek not this. The decree of thy Lord hath gone forth: for them there cometh a penalty that cannot be turned back! When Our messengers came to Lut, he was grieved on their account and felt himself powerless (to protect) them. He said: “This is a distressful day.” And his people came rushing towards him, and they had been long in the habit of practising abominations. He said: “O my people! Here are my daughters: they are purer for you (if ye marry)! Now fear God, and cover me not with shame about my guests! Is there not among you a single right-minded man?” They said: “Well dost thou know we have no need of thy daughters: indeed thou knowest quite well what we want!” He said: “Would that I had power to suppress you or that I could betake myself to some powerful support.” (The Messengers) said: “O Lut! We are Messengers from thy Lord! By no means shall they reach thee! Now travel with thy family while yet a part of the night remains, and let not any of you look back: but thy wife (will remain behind); to her will happen what happens to the people. Morning is their time appointed: Is not the morning nigh?” When Our Decree issued, We turned (the cities) upside down, and rained down on them brimstones hard as baked clay, spread, layer on layer,- marked as from thy Lord: Nor are they ever far from those who do wrong! (11: 74-83/A)

* But the (mighty) Blast overtook them before morning, and We turned (the cities) upside down, and rained down on them brimstones hard as baked clay. Behold! in this are Signs for those who by tokens do understand. And the (cities were) right on the high-road. (15: 73-76/A)

This was in 1997 that at the behest of the then Director of AIIMS and the renowned Epidemiologist, Mr. LM Nath I had authored “Islamic Model for Control of AIDS”. Though there were a few reports of the possible relationship between circumcision and protection from AIDS, I was perhaps the first in the world to have advocated the inclusion of circumcision as part of the AIDS Control Programme. Following the publication of that book, PEACE had organised a three day seminar on “In Search of a Comprehensive Solution for AIDS” in collaboration with National AIDS Control Organisation. In this seminar too, I had argued in favour of the inclusion of circumcision in the NACO programme. The proceedings of that seminar were published in 1999, again with the financial aid provided by the NACO. But NACO did never take the recommendations of the seminar seriously. It is now after about 8-9 years of the demand first made by myself that the WHO and other organisations are gearing up to include circumcision as part of the strategy to prevent AIDS.

In my works I have also recommended some other measures related to personal and sexual hygiene that, combined with circumcision, can lead to a marked reduction in the incidence of the deadly infection. These include washing of the organs immediately after intercourse, avoidance of sex during menses and popularisation of the Islamic concept of Iddah (Waiting Period), which means that a woman cannot have intercourse with two males without a gap of at least three months. The concept of Iddah can be used to scan the risk groups like prostitutes before rehabilitating them in case they abandon their profession. This is to be noted that almost all the sex related infections have incubation periods of less than 90 days and AIDS too has a window period of 90 days in most cases. It is high time we studied all the possible measures to counter the menace of the deadly virus.

Sex the water of life

Sex is not something that needs to be suppressed. Sex is the well that gives life. But the need of the hour is to cleanse the well not pollute it. If it gives pure water, it would ensure health; if it is adulterated with pollutants it can kill everybody. The goblet from the well of sex is to be taken to satiate one’s desire; it can be sweetened with a sweetener, or made a bit salty by adding a pinch of salt or may be warmed or cooled depending upon the requirement. It is all right to make sex lively and not let it become livid. But don’t mix in it anything that poisons it! Sex is the gift of God that must be fully enjoyed. But don’t let the Devil wrap this gift in a colourful paper soaked with the cyanide of wild sex. If we have to save the world, we will have to guillotine the Devil of corporate sex at the earliest. If we do not get it doomed, we all will be consumed. Let the business help sex but don’t let the sex itself become a business. That is the only mantra for the salvation. I have doubts if the people would be ready to chant this mantra because, as addicts they can understand and even desire to get away with their addiction; but the addiction has shackles that are too difficult for them to break. Sexual Revolution is the monster that requires the sword of Counterrevolution to be beheaded. Insurrections here and there will not suffice. Let its elegy be sung by its progeny as soon as possible! Let this book be an important milestone in that Counterrevolution!

Islamic Model of Family Welfare

I have already developed a theory of health consistent with the teachings of the Quran. I have given a new definition of health: Health as a state of complete physical, mental, social and spiritual well being, which is to be safeguarded not only through maintenance of a health-protective personal/individual regime but also through the establishment of a health protective and promoting family system and a health protective and promoting social system.

Developing a health protective family system is something that challenges the interests of the economic fundamentalists. They have sought to disregard, in fact destroy the family system. We will discuss below how family planning/welfare programmes have been hijacked or purposefully advanced to serve the interests of market and other economic forces. We will then develop an alternative Islamic model of family welfare: Family Peace

Family Peace, not Family Welfare

There is need to develop an Islamic model of family welfare, consistent with Islamic principles. For this however, a threadbare analysis of the current international model of family planning programme has to be made, which unfortunately is guided by the primary objective of population control. Let us first try to analyse the pros and cons of the population control programme.

Population control programme has been pursued in varying intensities not only by the countries that have been under the influence of the West but also by several hard-core socialist countries including China, non-aligned countries like India, Egypt and Cuba and Islamic countries like Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan and Bangladesh. That the programme is not all garbage is also evident from the fact that it had its inception when capitalism and socialism were at loggerheads with one another. If communist countries have also adopted and aggressively pursued it, it could not essentially have been anti-people. Yet, if during the last few decades, the implementation of the programme has received an extraordinary thrust, it is because the big business has developed several interests in its pursuance. It may be true that the population is growing at a rate considered fast by the experts. It may also be true that such a rapid growth of population escalates several problems. If infectious diseases cause mortality and morbidity at alarming rates, mothers still die during deliveries, a sizeable percentage of infants do not remain alive to celebrate their first birthday, and out of the rest, many more die in their paediatric age owing to the lack of nutritious food and unavailability of good medical care, and cities are becoming overcrowded, the population growth may be a significant, if not the only contributory factor. But there are other factors related to the issue that are conveniently forgotten. Disinformation is generously used to further the birth control programme. For example, the impression has been usually disseminated that a steep rise in population would create the shortage of food. Studies by the organisations monitoring food production have been categorical in proving that the rise in food production in the last half century has been greater than the rise in population. If the people still starve, it is because the food is not allowed or made to reach them. It can be said with confidence that if the distribution of food becomes equitable no human being on earth will remain hungry. The earth allows the birth of only as many humans as it can sustain. The economic fundamentalists know this. This is why some economists have gone to the extent of arguing that increase in food production must not be allowed to occur; for if the food production rises the population will naturally expand to consume it. It can thus be the reason why food is not allowed to reach all the corners of the earth for if it reached all humans it would save many a life from starvation. This would obviously cause an increase in population. Once there are no more deaths owing to starvation, the drive for population control will receive further setback. Why exactly the economic fundamentalists seek to keep population under control will be explained below.

Another point that has been missed is that the total biomass of the earth remains the same. If the human population grew, the population of animals would decrease and, if the human population were reduced by natural or artificial means, the animal population would increase. The question arises: should we reduce the number of human beings and increase the population of beasts? If the human population has always continued to increase it is because Nature designs to replace the less developed creatures with the better developed. Should we endeavour to interfere with this natural preference? Similarly, in order to popularise family welfare programmes, the advertisements suggest that early marriage is detrimental to the health of the girl. This again may be disputable; for if Nature has made her physically capable to reproduce the probability of damage to her body would be minimal, provided of course she takes adequate diet and receives appropriate medical care, which are essential as well for the older mothers. Ironically, boys and girls are never discouraged to have sex before a certain age. It has been very well documented by gynaecologists that the chances of congenital abnormalities in children and certain kinds of malignancies (cancers) of women rise with the increase in the age of the mothers. The best period for procreation is below thirty. Family welfare programmes are definitely worth following as far as their objective is to save mothers and children from diseases and death. Proper spacing is essential. Avoidance of pregnancies in mothers who are ill, or when their other children are not healthy, or if the income of the family is too meagre to sustain a large family, is also understandable. But, is the programme really aimed at alleviating the problems of the common people? Unfortunately not. There is much more to what meets the eyes. Behind the “mercifulness” for the poor are several undeclared motives.

One, by fixing the blame of every problem of the world on the population growth, the economic fundamentalists are able to divert attention of the people from their own sinister games that are in fact responsible for the sweeping poverty. When less than five per cent have more than ninety per cent of the country’s income (and wealth) in India, for example, how a population growth of less than two percent per annum is going to aggravate the problems? Despite the high rate of population growth, the country has become self-reliant in food production, and is now in a position to export it. Still, poverty haunts more about half of the nation. Even if the population growth becomes zero, with the continuous flow of wealth from the poor to the rich and from the richer to the richest, would the situation show any signs of improvement even in decades? The situation warrants harsh measures and requires that the holders of ninety per cent of the wealth of the country be made, either through force, or through change in policies, to share the benefits of their wealth with the rest of the countrymen. It is not the explosion of “population bomb” but that of the bomb of truth that frightens the economic fundamentalists. Lest the people know the truth, it is better to keep them engaged in debates on the adverse effects of population growth.

Two, the big industries know that a bigger family uses a bigger chunk of its income to purchase food items. Rest is utilised in purchasing clothes that too are usually of cheaper variety often produced by small industries. Little money is left with it to buy costly consumer goods manufactured by the big industry. It tends to assist agricultural growth (and that of small-scale industry) at the cost of industrial growth. It is essential therefore that the size of the family remains small so that it can save enough money to shower on the big industries.

Three, the popularisation of contraceptive devices through promotion of small family norms is a great boon for industrialists. Through these programmes, men and women are informed and habituated of the use of methods for avoiding unwanted pregnancies. This awareness helps the commercial sex. If women had not become fearless on this account, promiscuity could never have become common. Furthermore, through the marketing of various contraceptive devices, the industries earn billions.

Fourth, encouraging men and women to marry as late as possible again immensely benefits the sex market. For the sustenance of the flesh-trade, demand and supply are essential; and if the people start marrying as soon as they attain puberty, the market would take a nosedive. It is hardly surprising therefore that to achieve success in population control encouragement to promiscuity as a method to discourage people from early marriage has been advanced by the Western experts. It is also for the same reason that the so-called champions of human rights do never raise their voice against killing of millions of children by way of abortion every year. The truth is that the so-called family welfare programmes are aimed at the disintegration of family system, for family system is not consistent with the “development” model. The weaker the family system is the more likely the members of family are to squander money in the consumer and sex-market and therefore to help the “development”.

Fifth, the current markets exploit the “services” of women in a big way to develop their business empires. The problem is that women are wanted i most n the market in the age group, which is also their reproductive age. If women started having pregnancies at regular intervals, the shortage of women would become a deathblow for the “growth” of economy. Let the family, women themselves and children suffer. But the market must not suffer.

Islam’s Position

It is an unshakeable belief of a Muslim that Islam is the religion of God revealed through His messengers time to time all over the world and perfected through Muhammad (Peace by upon him), the Seal of the Prophets. Islam literally means peace. But in Islamic sense, this word is not the same as understood commonly in the modern world; for, it is not limited to a state of law and order where there is no violence in society or a state of no war at the borders. “Islam” in fact encompasses all forms and dimensions of peace——peace (which includes the physical, mental and social peace) at the individual, the family, the community, the national and the world level. The first and foremost message of Islam, that is, absolute faith in God, is in fact aimed at achieving peace at all these levels; for it is God alone who knows best the ways by which the mankind can achieve peace; and therefore, faith in Him is absolutely essential. It also follows that unless the whole world submits to the will of God peace will remain elusive. God, the Bounteous and the Merciful, has modelled Islam in a way that is easy to understand and follow; it ensures peace not only in the Hereafter but also in this world. The Qur’an says:

On no soul does Allah
Place a burden greater
Than it can bear.
It gets every good that it earns,
And it suffers every ill that it earns.
(Pray:) “Our Lord!
Condemn us not
If we forget or fall
Into error: our Lord!
Lay not on us a burden
Like that which You
Did lay on those before us;
Our Lord! Lay not on us
A burden greater than we
Have strength to bear………..” (2.286)

This is why God has permitted all such things as are good for men and has forbidden all such things and acts as are harmful for them. The area of permissibility in Islam is extraordinarily large and the boundary of the prohibition starts only where the peaceful existence of individual or society as a whole is in danger.

Islam, being the religion of God, recognises the strengths and weaknesses of human beings; permissibility, obligation, exhortation, dislike and prohibition are governed by the benefit or harm of the materials and acts. This makes Islam the most scientific religion of the world. There are a large number of subjects where the modern science has reached a stage of development where it can explain the Islamic injunctions. (Still there are some issues where the science has to develop further to explain them). For example, Islam has prohibited alcohol, forbidden pork, declared fornication and homosexuality unlawful, adopted the custom of circumcision, made washing of the exposed organs five times a day followed by Salat obligatory and directed men and women to cleanse their parts after micturition. Each one of them has definite scientific evidences in its favour. Thus to understand Islam properly, ceaseless scientific researches are necessary. The vice versa is even truer, that is, to achieve scientific advancement, the study of Islam is essential.

In order to study the application of Islamic principles to the various aspects of the family planning and welfare, it is necessary to understand fully well that:
(1) Islam is a religion of peace and peace includes welfare of the individual as well as the family and society;
(2) Islam aims to achieve a state where all members of the family and all the families forming society can live in harmony;
(4) Islam does not burden anybody with what it cannot bear; wherever there is a threat to life or health, Islam eases its rules and restrictions. Thus, if there is danger to life one can even pretend to be an unbeliever; if there is imminent danger of dying from starvation and nothing else is available, one can even eat pork; and if alcohol alone is necessary to save one’s life, it also becomes permissible.

What has the Quran to say?

Under this heading, we have to find out:
(a) What are the rights of mother (in the prenatal, natal and the postnatal period) and the newly born?
(b) What has the Qur’an to say about the desirability of having a large or small family? and
(c) Is there anything in the Holy Quran which directly or indirectly approves or disproves any of the methods used for the birth-control?

Mother Care and Child Care

A careful perusal of the Quran will easily point to the fact that the Quran is extremely kind towards all the women in general and the women in prenatal, natal and postnatal stages in particular and also towards the new-born children; it safeguards their interests extremely well. The rights of the mother and the children in Islam begin not after delivery but immediately after conception. It is in fact the fundamental right of the child to be born and to be fed with the breast milk. Likewise, it is the fundamental right of the mother to give birth to her child and to feed her child for two years; till that time, it is the duty of her husband to make available to her all that is required for their healthy lives. Thus when a man divorces his wife, it is her legal right as well as duty to complete her Iddah in the house of her husband so that her pregnancy, if it is there in the early stage, becomes manifest during that period. If during Iddah, the normal period of which is three menstruation cycles or three months, she shows signs of pregnancy, Iddah will be further extended to the time of the delivery. During this period, it will be the duty of the husband or his heirs, in case he dies, to provide maintenance to her along with all the necessary facilities for the safe delivery of her child; during Iddah, the divorce, too, remains revocable. After delivery, too, he has to provide her maintenance-charges, if she is breast-feeding his child, for the two whole years.

Multiplicity of Children?

Some Muslim scholars have often given the impression that Islam advocates big family; the more the number of children, the better it is. This position, however, does not seem to be correct in accordance with the teachings of the Quran. Let us examine the following verses:

*Let neither their riches nor their children arouse your envy. Through these Allah seeks to punish them in this life so that they shall be unbelievers. (9:55)

*Wealth and sons are allurement of the life of this world:
But the things that endure,
Good deeds are best
In the sight of the Lord,
As Rewards, and best
As (the foundation for) hopes. (18:46)

*Thereupon Zakariya prayed to his Lord, saying:
‘Lord, grant me upright descendants. You hear all prayers. (3:28)
*“Lord, let me not remain childless. (through)
Of all heirs you are the best.” (21:89)
*Grand me good descendants.” (46:15)

The above verses clearly indicate that the Quran lays emphasis on the quality, not on the quantity. This is why Muslims should better pray for efficiency and sufficiency rather that for abundance. If one has many children but they are physically unhealthy or morally sick, they are useless for their parents and society and are, in fact, a burden on the earth. If, on the other hand, one has only a few children but each one of them is physically, mentally and spiritually healthy, every one of them will be an asset for the world and will also earn the Pleasure of God. In the Quran Allah gives the example of those who had much larger families and much greater wealth but were condemned with the wrath of God. On the other hand, it will also be prudent to say that the Quran does not lay any restrictions on the number of children as well. As will be seen later, the Islamic Model for Family welfare will aim at not reducing the population or drastically minimising the size of the family but to establish and maintain a healthy family.

Methods of Family Planning?

The methods, which are being used to limit the size of the family, are——
(1) Delay in marriage
(2) Proper spacing procedures which include Mechanical devices like condoms, jellies, cooper-T, contraceptive pills, the older methods of coitus interrupts and rhythmical control and
(3) Terminal methods including sterilisation and abortion.

Now let us see if the Quran advocates, approves or forbids any one of the above.
The Quran says:

“Let those who find not the wherewithal for marriage, keep themselves chaste, until God gives them means out of His grace.” (23:33)

From the above quoted verse, it is clear that the marriage can be delayed for economic reasons. If any person does not have sufficient means to overcome the burden of marriage, he has been advised by God to wait till his economic condition improves. If a person says that he does not possess means of marriage, it automatically implies that he cannot bear the expenses of his marriage. The most important ones of these are the capability of paying the amount of Mehr to his wife, her maintenance and that of the children that are expected. The survival of the lineage being the primary aim of marriage, permission to delay the marriage carries within itself the permission to delay reproduction. And if lack of sufficient means may be the reason behind delaying the birth of the first child, it may also be the reason behind delaying or preventing the birth of children after a certain stage. If the knowledgeable persons in the community, particularly the religious leaders, the medical experts and the sociologists agree that the general economic condition of the community or the country is not in a sound state and limitation of population growth is desirable, they may generalise this permission. Normally otherwise this depends only on the financial status of the individual. But here it should be pointed out that it should be poverty or any other equally pressing compulsion and not the desire to preserve or multiply wealth that should be the inhibiting factor.

It should also be stressed here that poverty does not only affect the general conditions of living but also affect the normal health of the members of the family especially that of the mother and the small children. It is, however, extremely important to know that, while the Quran permits delay in the marriage, at the same time, it imposes restriction that one should keep chaste. There is no scope at all in Islam for premarital sex.

There is another verse in the Quran that indicates towards the desirability of proper gap between the issues. The Quran says:

“The mothers shall give suck to their children for two whole years.” (2:233)

Now it is a known biological fact that the chances of conception in a woman are minimal till the time she is actively breast-feeding her child. This fact is widely propagated by paediatricians and obstetricians in the campaigns for breast-feeding.. If a woman feeds her child actively for two years, in most of the cases, it will be only a few weeks or months after the expiry of the two-year period that she would become pregnant again. Thus the next child will be born in around three years time of the birth of the first child. It implies therefore that if the promoters of family planning, too, advocate a minimal space of three years between the two children, it is not in violation of the Quran but is exactly in accordance with its commands. Further, if a mother becomes pregnant earlier than that, she will have to stop breast feeding her child which will virtually be a violation of the command of God.


The holy Quran says:

Kill not your children
On a plea of want;— We
Provide sustenance for you
And for them (6:151)
*Kill not your children
For fear of want: We shall
Provide sustenance for them as well as for you.
Verily the killing of them
Is a great sin. (17:31)

From the above quoted verses, it is clear beyond doubt that abortion is strictly prohibited for the purpose of the family planning or for economic reasons. Abortion is a cold-blooded murder of one’s own child and there can not be a greater crime than that. But those who argue that this verse forbids prevention of pregnancy are mistaken. for, killing a living being is one thing and preventing it from coming into existence is another. This difference is clear from the verse of the Quran that permits men to delay their marriage, if they are poor. If marriage is delayed, it surely means deliberate attempt to prevent the children from coming, who would come into existence much earlier if marriage had not been postponed. To understand it more clearly, we can take the example of a person, who has put on a place belonging to him, a board telling that no body is permitted to go inside. He has all the right to do so and he can make further arrangements to ensure the same. But if any person somehow knowingly or unknowingly enters the forbidden area, will the owner be allowed to kill him? Certainly not. If prevention of pregnancy by deliberately delaying the marriage or by actively breast-feeding the child cannot be regarded murder, how can the prevention by harmless methods for genuine reasons, be regarded murder?

Family Peace: Islamic Model of Family Welfare

The current international model of family welfare is replete with shortcomings. It is primarily aimed at population control, Family Welfare being only a secondary objective. In Islam, the primary aim is the welfare of family itself that indirectly helps the regulation of population as well. But this regulation is not as strict as the proponents of population control want. Too much control is only creating imbalances in the population, and there are now countries where this has led to severe demographic problems. Furthermore, Islam designs its programmes in a way that general moral values are not compromised with. Here are the outlines of an Islamic model of family welfare, which can be called Family Peace. It will not only be acceptable to Muslims but will also be seen with respect by Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Christians.

Fundamental Principles

1. Recognition of family as an essential and equally important institution of human organisation along with individual and society;
2- Recognition of family peace as a fundamental principle of a peaceful human living. (Family Welfare cannot be pursued at the cost of family peace); Family Peace or health has to be defined as a state of complete physical, mental, spiritual and social well-being of each and every member of family and creation of a family-friendly environment within and outside family (society);
4- Recognition of a legally sanctioned properly solemnised marriage between an adult male and an adult female as the starting point of the establishment of a family and rejection of all forms of casual relationships.


1- To strengthen the institution of marriage;
2- To strengthen the concept of a cohesive family that essentially means good understanding between husband, wife, their elderly parents and children;
3- To ensure that all the members of the family are physically, mentally, spiritually and socially healthy;
4- To ensure that all such practices as are destructive of family peace and health are effectively prohibited.

Steps for ensuring Family Peace

1- Steps for strengthening family system
(i) Strong measures at all levels (Social, spiritual, legal, administrative, etc.) against unhealthy and immoral sexual practices:
* Extramarital sex
* Premarital sex
* Homosexuality-Sodomy and Lesbianism
* Other sexual perversions like incest, etc.
(ii) Effective measures at war-footing against all dimensions of commercialisation of sex:
* Eradication of prostitution and social rehabilitation of prostitutes by adopting a proper procedure
* Total and effective ban on all forms of pornography, eroticism and obscenity
* Censoring of all such materials in all forms of the media as provoke or promote unhealthy sexual practices including promiscuity and other sexual perversions

2- Steps at all levels to ensure health of all members of family

* Emphasis on the health of the father (If the earning member is unhealthy, the whole family will suffer)
* Emphasis on the health of mother-antenatal, natal and postnatal and during breast-feeding
* Emphasis on the health of children (boys and girls without any form of bias)

3- A balanced, ethical, scientific and humanist approach to birth control

(i) Desirable (General encouragement)
* Active breast-feeding for a period of two tears and use of harmless mechanical methods (in case menses start) to ensure that the period of breast-feeding is completed
* Delay of marriage till the man is not only physically and mentally adult but also is financially competent to maintain his family and the woman is physically and mentally adult (that is mature enough to bear the burden of a family). (There should, however, be no lower limit in years of the marriage except the biological adulthood)
* Use of harmless methods like Azl, rhythmic methods and condom if the mother is unhealthy or previous children are sick

(ii) Permissible when the couples are already overburdened on account of any form of hardships
* Harmless methods like Azl, condom, Jelly, etc.

(iii) Normally undesirable but selective encouragement of harmful contraceptive methods where the hazards to mother’s or child’s health are more than the adverse effects of such a method
* Oral pills in certain types of diseases
* Vasectomy or Tubectomy when any of the parents are suffering from a disease likely to be transmitted to the child (Such as AIDS, some genetic disorders, etc.)

(iv) Ban on abortion as a method of birth control
(Permissible only for pure medical reasons when there is an imminent threat to the life of mother or child or there is an imminent risk of developing a serious disability)

(v) Campaign against newer methods unless their harmlessness is proved beyond doubt

(vi) Campaign against false propaganda and misinformation to popularise family planning

(vii) Campaign for due recognition of the right of parents to determine the size of their family (They can be forced neither to increase nor decrease the size of their family)

(viii) Campaign against the use of force or disincentives for promoting birth control

4- Special programmes to promote moral development of the whole family

5-Popularisation of personal hygiene for good reproductive life
* Circumcision
(This protects from a large number of diseases including sexually transmitted diseases especially AIDS, Gonorrhoea, etc., cancers of penis and cervix and phimosis and paraphimosis)
* Proper washing of private parts after intercourse
* Avoidance of sex during menses

The model presented above may be an ideal ground for discussion. Islamic scholars can deliberate over it and give it the final shape after making suitable amendments. They can show to the world that Islam can care for women and children in a much better way than the current world ruled by economic interests. Population stabilisation will be achieved, but numerous adverse effects on family and society will not accompany it.

Health of Mother and Child

In should be clearly understood that the chief motive behind adoption of family welfare must not be the economy but health hazards related or not related to deteriorating economic conditions of the individual and society. In a country like India, where more than sixty percent of people live under or around the poverty line, food and medical requirements of the mother and the children are not often met with. The result is that the mortality and morbidity associated with pregnancy is fairly high. The overwhelming majority of the pregnant women, particularly in the rural areas and suburbs are deficient of health required for proper growth and delivery of the baby. 80-90% of such women have moderate to severe anaemia and the incidence of Tuberculosis is fairly high. The medical aid available to them is almost negligible, and they hardly have access to advanced facilities. The result is that the incidence of miscarriages, stillbirths, premature births, neonatal and prenatal or postnatal maternal deaths is high. In these areas, therefore, the birth-control programmes do not remain only permissible but become extremely desirable, as these programmes there are saviours from death.

Here it will be worthwhile to enumerate diseases that are common in India and pose direct threat to the life of the mother and the child. Following are some of the important ones:
1. Severe Anaemia (that is, deficiency of blood)
2. Tuberculosis
3. Bronchial Asthma
4. Diabetes mellitus, especially juvenile onset and the severe forms of the Adult onset Diabetes
5. Urogenital diseases like Tuberculoses, Syphilis, etc.
6. Rh incompatibility, that is when the Rh blood groups of the mother and the child are not the same and the risk of the death of the child is very high particularly from the second child onward
7. Heart disease like Rheumatic heart diseases, Ischaemic heart, diseases, Congenital heart diseases, Hypertension etc
8. Pre-Eclampsia and Eclampsia, which are quite common and cause oedema, high blood pressure and fits, sometimes resulting in deaths
9. Fatal diseases like Cancers, Hepatic Coma due to Fulminant Jaundice, etc
10. Mental diseases, in particular the psychoses where not only is the mother often not in position to look after her children but the chances of the children developing the same diseases are also quite high.
11. Diseases where there are repeated miscarriages
12. Conditions where there is imminent danger of child’s developing sever congenital deformities

In my personal practice, whenever I found some Muslim woman suffering from any of the above listed problems and advised the couple to adopt contraceptive devices, they often rejected it saying that it was un-Islamic. It is therefore necessary that, at least in such cases, the ulama should give clear opinion so that the survival of mother and her children can be ensured. If a woman is saved (God willing) from dying, it is not she alone who is saved but her whole family; the ill effects of the mother’s death or sickness on the lives of the children as well as the husbands need no mentioning.


Though the devastation caused by the commercialisation of sex and beauty has tormented the whole society, the most appalling is the case of children. They do not possess the voice that can be heard beyond the walls of their houses; they do only have yells that get buried within the din inside. They are not physically capable of organising and wrestling for their rights. Neither have they representation in parliaments and assemblies nor in the media. Their fate is entirely at the mercy of others. They are therefore more likely to be killed, neglected and assaulted than anyone else.

The new sexual morality espoused and promoted by the big business, especially the global merchants of sex annihilated all the barricades in the way of free sex. Marriage or any other formality, age, gender, place, time and previous relation—all paled into insignificance for the purpose of a sexual encounter. The only restriction that the legal framework put, albeit without making it effective in practice, was the consent of the two individuals seeking sex. If both agree, nothing can stop them. They would be advised however to take precautions as far as possible not to let their ecstatic love drift to an unwanted fruition. There always hovered over the heads of women the threat of pregnancy. Unless this was nullified, women would resist sexual advances. The guidance was sought from the medical sciences that came to their rescue with the idea of condoms. Soon a number of other contraceptive devices were developed and became instantly popular. The contraceptive pill revolutionised the scene. Women had now practically no problem in sleeping with friends of their choice. But no contraceptive method was absolutely free from failure. Women would often conceive in spite of them. This necessitated legalisation of abortion that was promptly done— in the name of yet another right, the productive right of Women. Abortion clinics boomed. The state is there to provide whatever she needs for a safe abortion: legal permission, social protection and free services. Private clinics, in their own way, are looking to provide the best.

And with abortion begins the sad story of children being killed and abused for none of their faults. An estimated number of about 70 million of children are caused to perish before their birth every year. Staggering figures from all accounts. Figures that must put the whole mankind to shame and must jolt from head to toe every person with conscience. But where is the mankind? What we know of the mankind today is that it is a kingdom of human beasts seeking pleasure and nothing but the pleasure, whatever the consequences. And this is not just the pleasure of the whole mankind at the cost of other

• 54 countries allow abortion, which is about 61 percent of the world population. 97 countries, about 39 percent of the population, have abortion laws that make it illegal according to the pro-abortion Centre for Reproductive Law and Policy in New York.

• The Alan Guttmacher Institute reports approximately 22 million legal abortions were reported in 1987.

• It is estimated that between four and nine million were not reported, totalling of 26-31 million legal abortions in 1987 alone.

• There were a total of 10-22 million "clandestine" abortions, bringing the total world-wide figure to 36 and 53 million abortions. Sources: International Family Planning Perspectives, 16:59, June 1990; USA Today, 8/8/96.

• There are approximately 126,000 abortions conducted each day


• In 1995, a total of 1,210,883 legal induced abortions were reported to CDC, a decrease of 4.5% from the number reported for 1994. The number of live births decreased by 1.5% over the same period. From 1994 to 1995, the number of reported abortions decreased in 40 of 52 reporting areas. From 1994 to 1995, the national abortion ratio (number of legal abortions per 1000 live births reported by all reporting areas) decreased from 321 to 311 and the national abortion rate (number of legal abortions per 1000 women aged 15-44 years) decreased from 21 to 20, respectively. Consistent with previous years, approximately 92% of women who had legal abortions were residents of the state in which the procedure was performed.

• Women who obtained legal abortions in 1995 were predominately white and unmarried. As in 1994, one fifth of women who obtained legal abortions in 1995 were adolescents (aged less than or equal to 19 years); 33% were aged 20-24 years. As in previous years, Approximately 88% of abortions were performed during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. (Reported by: Statistics and Computer Resources Br, Div of Reproductive Health, National Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, CDC)

• 1,370,000 abortions occur annually in the U.S. according to the Alan Guttmacher Institute.

• 88% of abortions occur during the first 6 to 12 weeks of pregnancy

• 47% of abortions are performed on women who have already had one or more abortions

• 43% of women will have had at least one abortion by the time they are 45 years old

• Age - The majority of women getting an abortion are young. 55% are less than 26 years old and 21% are teenagers. The abortion rate is highest for those women aged 18 to 19 (56 per 1,000 in 1992)

• Marriage - 51% of women who are unmarried when they become pregnant will receive an abortion. Unmarried women are 6 times more likely than married women to have an abortion.

• Race - 63% of abortion patients are white, however, the abortion rate for non-white women is more than double that of white women.

• 25.5% of women to postpone childbearing.

• 21.3% of women cannot afford a baby.

• 14.1% of women have a relationship issue or their partner does not want a child.

• 12.2% of women are too young (their parents or others object to the pregnancy).

• 10.8% of women feel a child will disrupt their education or career.

• 7.9% of women want no (more) children.

• 3.3% of women due to a risk to foetal health.

• 2.8% of women due to a risk to maternal health

• 16% of Americans believe abortion should be legal for any reason at any time during pregnancy and 55% believe abortion should be legal only to save the life of the mother or in cases of rape or incest. (USA Today, CNN Gallup Poll in May, 1999

• According to a Call-up Poll in January, 2001 - People who considered themselves to be pro-life rose from 33% to 43% in the past 5 years, and people who considered themselves to be pro-choice declined from 56% to 48%. (Source: women’s issues)

creatures. It is for the gratification of the strong among men who have mastered the science of eradicating all that can directly or indirectly become impediments in their stupendous march towards an unstoppable fun and entertainment. What then if for this majestic plan, few millions of partially formed human fleshes are to be discarded! They are of course just the humans-in-making, not humans themselves. And they are the weakest obstacles as well. Flowers must be protected, proponents of abortion seem to argue, but there is no plausible reason why tears should be shed if buds are nipped to “save the mankind from undesirable consequences”. Big movements are organised against the killing of animals and the extinction of rare species, against the uprooting of plants and deforestation, and also against the destruction of historical monuments and sites. These have the backing and support of one or the other elements of power. But a notable global campaign against the unceremonious killing of millions of humans-in-making cannot be allowed to gather momentum. The cronies of the Big Business are always there, fully armed with the arsenals of “sophisticated” logic and money to thwart any such development. Still, we are forced to believe that we are living in a civilised world that cares for the human rights. And those that shout at the top of their voice for the human rights happen to be those who silently preside over most of these killings. The only voices audible in the all-pervading eerie silence are of those that are concerned merely and specifically with the killing of female foetuses, as if the killing of a male foetus is justifiable but not that of a female. Ironically, female feticide, not feticide in general, is regarded a genuine issue at the global level. It is agonisingly but amazingly true that an abortion not based on gender discrimination is normally not even labelled feticide. To join the fray against female feticide is considered a noble cause on account of it being part of the global movement against the gender-discrimination. But criminal silence on the abortion of male children is no discrimination in their eyes on the similar ground. I do not purport to say that the sordid practice of female feticide does not invite the concern it does. Female feticide is outrageously abominable, and must be condemned in the strongest possible words. In India, the problem has become so acuminate that, in some states like Punjab and Haryana, it has already severely disturbed the male-female ratio in the population that has gone down to as low as 650 women per 1000 men in some areas. Demographic catastrophe of its own kind is staring at the country’s policymakers. Such has been the traditional revulsion towards a girl child, especially among Hindus, in which community dowry still remains a major issue, that the news of the birth of a girl is often welcomed with gloom writ large on the faces of the members of the family. With ever increasing consciousness towards small family norms, it becomes even more compelling for the couples to get the sex of their babies determined early in the pregnancy. If a couple already has a girl, it is more likely to opt for abortion, in case the test proves the foetus to be a female. According to reports, out of the foetuses that are aborted in India after sex determination, around 99 per cent are females. That is absolutely unacceptable. But what I want to emphasise upon is that abortion on any non-medical ground with few exceptions like when pregnancy is the result of a rape must be unacceptable. If a hue and cry is raised against female feticide while abortion as such is accepted, it is largely because of the clashes of interests. Female feticide is no product of globalisation and is of no assistance to global business. This can in fact be jeopardous, as it can lead to less availability of females for scores of business that need them. Every possible effort must therefore be made to stop this. Abortion as a whole, on the other hand, helps their cause because it helps young women overcoming a big hurdle in their work and it helps in stabilising the population.

Abortion is such an important chapter in the book of the modern sexuality that it would be obnoxious to scrap it. The permissibility of abortion and the availability of medical services at the first door are essential prerequisites if the population is to be kept in check, and the commercial sex is to prosper. In fact wherever women play a meaningful role, abortion always helps. Women in their young age are the best consumer items themselves, or the best agents of promotion for other items. If large number of them have to take leave from the bazaar recurrently to be confined to houses or maternity homes for months, industrial “development” would take a nosedive. Therefore, the problem of abortion would be taken care of in its finest details. The hullabaloo against the termination of pregnancies would have to be diplomatically quietened. Any overture that to avoid pregnancy women must avoid sex before marriage would be dismissed as the non-starter outright. This would generate insurmountable problems for several major industries. Their marshals would immediately rise on their feet to declare that this would be a death-blow to the very idea of “freedom” that has been espoused and developed with such concerted efforts all over the years. Despite recognition in the inner corners of their hearts that it was the ideal solution, people would not press it because they have been made too addicted to the uninhibited sex to accept any restrictions on their activities. Those who talk of humanitarian grounds are confronted with the argument that it is better for children not to be born rather than being neglected. The argument may be grotesque, as it proposes to replace a smaller evil by a greater evil, substituting death for neglect. But the protagonists of abortion possess the intensity and lungpower that would effectively submerge any emerging voice of sense in the din. Right to live, which is used assiduously as the bullet to shoot the protagonists of death sentence, has been conveniently forgotten when it comes to abortion. What can be a colossal, yet notorious tragedy than this that parents are being made to be a party in the cold-blooded murder of their own children. And still greater tragedy is that parents hardly feel any compunction or remorse. Even mothers have been reconditioned to believe that it would be a greater sin to bring their kids out of their wombs if they are not in a position to look after them than to finish them. Thus the most innocent human beings are slaughtered without tears falling anywhere for them, and without anyone caring to perform obsequies for them. The ghastliness of this crime is unparalleled. No other crime can be anywhere near it in terms of cruelty and severity. If God had decided to punish the crime of abortion in the world itself, He would have perhaps doomed the whole earth without delay. I remember a woman coming to a doctor colleague of mine to seek abortion. He politely asked her: “What’s the hurry, lady? Let your child come out of your belly. It will then be easier for you to strangulate it” The woman walked off in tears. But who would tell this to every woman who attends a clinic for abortion? The interests of so many are at stake: those of the big business in general, particularly sex trade, hospitals and doctors, to name a few. Why should they unnecessarily bring morality into picture? Morality, in their view, is a needle in a haystack; it is futile to attempt a search for it. And when it also helps the common people to overcome the unwanted adverse effects of their desire to stroll freely without chains of morality, why should they raise voice against it, even if in their minds and hearts they do not feel particularly comfortable about it? What a way to live the life! Immorality heaped on immorality. To get away with one immoral act, take the help of another even more immoral act. And if there is a danger of the people becoming unduly distressed on account of their immoralities, change the definition of immorality! So that moralities become immoralities and immoralities become moralities.

There have of course been several admirable efforts by some groups to challenge the crime of abortion. There is a sturdy anti-abortion lobby in the US that endeavours to maintain at least some pressure on the government to take appropriate measures to discourage abortion. This lobby deserves kudos for at least trying to get to the thin end of the wedge. The US government has stopped funding those agencies that promote abortion for family planning. Several countries have now explicitly excluded abortion as one of the contraceptive methods. But this effort is too little and too late to make any appreciable impact on the situation, which is going from the bad to the worse. Unwanted pregnancy still remains a legally justifiable reason for its termination. Unwanted pregnancies include not only pregnancies in the wedlock but also those outside it. Abortions are discouraged only as a method of family planning. There is no discernible move to ban them altogether (allowing only for medical and humanitarian reasons). And despite the declared policy not to promote abortion as a method of family planning, the “positive” impact it has on the population stabilisation would stall an aggressive campaign against it. Population stabilisation of course remains one of the major concerns for reasons that are many more than what are publicly counted.

The holy Qur’an says:

Kill not your children
On a plea of want;— We
Provide sustenance for you
And for them (6:151)

*Kill not your children
For fear of want: We shall
Provide sustenance for them as well as for you.
Verily the killing of them
Is a great sin. (17:31)

From above, it is clear that abortion is prohibited in Islam:
• As a means of promoting sexual freedom;
• As a measure of family planning;
• To get rid of an unwanted child, and
• For economic reasons.

In Islam, abortion can be permitted only when it is aimed at saving the life of mother, it is the product of rape or there is distinct danger of the foetus developing some serious ailment. And in these conditions too, abortion is permissible only within first three months. Children’s rights are of extreme importance in Islam, and the first right of a child is the right to birth.


One of the major casualties of the impact of the “sexual revolution” brought about by the forces of economic fundamentalism has been the care of children. How children are being denied the right to birth has been discussed in the last chapter. The neglect of children also includes the inability of mothers to breastfeed their children for the ideal duration of two years. Studies have demonstrated beyond an iota of doubt that breastfeeding for an extended duration of about two years supports proper physical, mental and psychological development of children. They are expected to live longer and more peacefully. Under normal circumstances, a child on breastfeeding must have been a bridge of strength between the parents. But in a world where family system is fast disintegrating and the marriages do not last, at least in Western countries, more than a few years, this would hardly be any ground to keep parents hanged together. In a significantly large number of cases, mothers would already have been experiencing the trauma of a disturbed relationship with the fathers of the children whose concern for their kids is usually not enough to keep the relationship intact. A very minuscule percentage of children are given the opportunity to suckle their mothers’ breasts for more than a few months. Mothers have other concerns too that would prevent them from giving suckle for long. With the kind of aggressive sexuality men and women have become habitual of, women have to maintain their figures in order to keep their current or future partners glued to them. Breastfeeding could obliterate the shape and contour of their breasts. They are of course the most or perhaps the second most wonderful assets of their body. Breasts, they believe, are meant more for suckling and nibbling by their paramours than by their kids who can alternatively thrive on the products of the breasts of animals like cows and buffaloes. If breasts become pendulous on account of the pushes and pulls by the kids’ mouths, it would make their whole figure unattractive. And if a woman somehow feels inclined to feed her child for good enough a period, friends and relatives would always be there to advise her against her “obsession”. The other important reason of course for the shorter period of breastfeeding is the interest of market, which thrives on the availability of women. With women required for virtually every industry especially in roles requiring their charms, two-year-breastfeeding would signal a long period away from work. This is neither in the interest of women employees who risk losing the employment or at least a substantial amount of salary nor in the interest of their employers. The result has been that rather than emphasising the two-year-breastfeeding, more emphasis is laid on the six-month exclusive breastfeeding. The marketing of artificial milk further compounds this sorry situation. Despite several attempts to impose codes on the milk producing companies, the companies find ways to promote their sales in one way or the other.

Quran on Breastfeeding

The Quran addresses the issue of breastfeeding at several places:

"And the mothers should suckle their children for two whole years for him who desires to make complete the time of suckling.” (2: 233)

"We have enjoined upon the human being to treat his parents kindly. His mother bore him with weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years." (Luqman, verse 14 )

".And if you decide on a wet nurse for your children, there is no sin on you, provided you pay what you agreed on a reasonable basis." (2:233)

"... And if they are pregnant, then spend on them till they deliver. Then if they give suck to the children for you, give them their due payment ." (Talaq, verse 6)

It is clear from the verses of the Quran that:
1. Breastfeeding is the right of every infant;
2. Breastfeeding is the right of every mother who has to be given the opportunity and support to breastfeed her child for a desirable period;
3. If for some reason, the mother is unable to suckle her child, a nurse can be arranged to do the same;
4. The ideal period of breastfeeding is two years. This indicates the ideal period but does not put a ban on an extended period of breastfeeding in exceptional cases. However, for legal purposes, two years will remain the period for which a mother can seek compensation from the father of the child.


The documentary evidences about the medical benefits of breastfeeding have continued to accumulate. . According to the American Academy of Paediatrics,

“Extensive research, especially in recent years, documents diverse and compelling advantages to infants, mothers, families, and society from breastfeeding and the use of human milk for infant feeding. These include health, nutritional, immunologic, developmental, psychological, social, economic, and environmental benefits. ”

Breast-fed babies have a decreased risk for several infant conditions including sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The sucking encourages the proper development of both the teeth and other speech organs. It also has a beneficial role in the prevention of obstructive sleep apnoea. In practical terms too it is a very useful exercise as, breast milk is immediately available with no wait and is at body temperature.

According to the data compiled by the Wilpedia, Breastfeeding is associated with lower risk of the following diseases:

Autoimmune thyroid disease
Bacterial meningitis
Breast cancer
Celiac disease
Crohn's disease
Hodgkin's lymphoma
Necrotizing enterocolitis
Multiple sclerosis
Otitis media (ear infection)
Respiratory infection and wheezing
Rheumatoid arthritis
Urinary tract infection

Breast milk also has various anti-infective factors. These include the anti-malarial factor para-amino benzoic acid (PABA), the anti-amoebic factor BSSL and lactoferrin (which is the second most abundant protein in human milk and binds to iron, inhibiting the growth of intestinal bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella). and IgA which protects breastfeeding infants from microbial infection. Breast milk also contains, in adequate amounts, various amino acids which are essential for neuronal development like cystine, methionine and taurine.

Breastfeeding also benefits the mothers.

1. It releases hormones including oxytocin and prolactin. These hormones have been found to relax the mother and cause her to experience nurturing feelings toward her infant. The increases levels of systemic oxytocin caused by breastfeeding causes the uterus to contract more quickly; this decreases maternal bleeding.
2. It helps them return to their previous weights as the fat accumulated during pregnancy is used in milk production.
3. Frequent and exclusive breastfeeding delays the return of menstruation and fertility; this delay is known as lactational amenorrhoea. Sometimes this effect is deliberately used as birth control, although it is unreliable.
4. Breastfeeding mothers are at reduced risk of many diseases:

Reduced risk of breast cancer
Reduced risk of ovarian cancer
Decreased insulin requirements in diabetic mothers
Stabilisation of maternal endometriosis
Reduced risk of post-partum haemorrhage
Reduced risk of endometrial cancer
Reduced risk of osteoporosis [9][19]
Beneficial effects on insulin levels of mothers with polycystic ovary syndrome
Mothers who breastfeed longer than eight months experience improved bone re-mineralisation. (Compiled by

5; The maternal bond may be strengthened through breastfeeding, with the hormonal releases strengthening the mother's nurturing feelings towards the child. Strengthening the maternal bond is very important; up to 80% of mothers suffer from some form of postpartum depression, though most cases are very mild. A secondary parent can support the mother in a variety of ways and is an important factor in successful breastfeeding, and teaching partners about management of common difficulties is associated with higher breastfeeding rates

It has been incontrovertibly proved that breastfeeding has long-term benefits for health. There have been estimates that the breastfeeding especially if it continues for two years increases the age by about 10 years. Its role in decreasing the incidence of Hypertension and cerebrovascular deaths has also been documented. It has been estimated that improved breastfeeding practices could save some 1.5 million children a year. Yet few of the 129 million babies born each year receive optimal breastfeeding and some are not breastfed at all. There are also strong evidences that those who have been breastfed are less likely to develop criminal tendencies and psychological and psychiatric problems.

Innocenti Declaration

With the accumulating evidence that the breastfeeding has been getting less and less popular despite ever increasing evidence of its huge medical benefits, some remarkable efforts started to take place at the global level in 1980s. The most noteworthy was “Policymakers’ Meeting: Breastfeeding in the 1990s A Global Initiative” that was held here at the Innocenti Center in Florence on July 30-August 1, 1990. The meeting expressed deep dissatisfaction with the way organisations like UNICEF are neglecting the cause of breastfeeding. Innocenti Declaration after a long and hot debate achieved successes in highlighting the importance of breastfeeding. It declared that

“...all women should be enabled to practice exclusive breastfeeding and infants should be fed exclusively on breast milk from birth to 4-6 months of age. Thereafter, children should continue to be breastfed, while receiving appropriate complementary foods, for up to two years of age or beyond.”

Before this, the WHO was not specifying the “two year period or beyond” and only talked of continuing breastfeeding “well into the second year of life.”

It also gave the following recommendations at the operational level:
(a) appointing a national breastfeeding coordinator of appropriate authority and a national breastfeeding committee,
(b) ensuring that every maternity facility practiced the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding,
(c) taking action to give effect to the International Code, and
(d) enacting legislation to protect the breastfeeding rights of working women.

There were oppositions in the meeting against curbs on the marketing of baby-milks but despite opposition from the US, the “second target” stated that “governments would have taken action to implement the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes” The Declaration also stressed on the breastfeeding rights of working women.

Despite all these attempts in the right direction, the fact remains that the pressures of the market have not allowed the health organisations to be as vigilant on the question of breastfeeding as they need to be. There are still not enough efforts to make sure that every child receives an exclusive breastfeeding for the ideal period of 6 (“4 to 6 months” is more commonly used) months and that they MUST RECIVE BREASTFEEDING FOR AT LEAST TWO FULL YEARS. There are hardly any laws that bind the employers to support this and the question of breastfeeding hardly surfaces in legal proceedings related to divorces. While Islam binds the husband to arrange for the breastfeeding of the child for a period of two years, there are no such laws in India and most of the other countries.


The Quran speaks of the universe as a grand State ruled by One Majestic King. And this universal system survives due to an extraordinary discipline with every single particle without failing following the Physical laws of the universe the Lord established. While the Physical laws control the universe as a whole, the planet Earth also has biological laws in place. In addition, the mankind has been given the spiritual and social laws to follow. While Physical and Biological laws are beyond human control, social and spiritual laws are within the powers of human beings. The earth has a unique system in which mankind plays an extremely important role.

The Quran says:

“And He (God) raised the sky high and set equilibrium in it, so that you may not violate the balance; establish the measure with justness, and don’t harm the equilibrium. (55: 3-13/A)

* He who created
The seven heavens
One above another:
No want of proportion
Wilt thou see
In the Creation
Of (God) Most Gracious.
So turn thy vision again:
Seest thou any flaw?
Again turn thy vision
A second time: thy vision
Will come back to thee
Dull and discomfited,
In a state worn out. 67: 3-5/A)

Quran tells us that:

1. God has established a universal system, which runs without any disturbance, and God has also created a balance in the atmosphere of the Planet Earth.
2. God has created this equilibrium in a way that human beings cannot anihilate it. Nature has an inherent tendency to correct any disturbances that might destroy the equilibrium.
3. Though human beings cannot annihilate this equilibrium altogether, they can certainly harm it
4. The natural disasters are of man’s own making; Nature only judges and takes corrective action resulting in what we know as natural disasters. These disasters are a way to correct the equilibrium and save the mankind from bigger disasters .See the following verses:

• Lo! Allah wrongeth not mankind in aught; but mankind wrong themselves. (10: 44/P)
• Whatever good, (O man!)
Happens to thee is from God;
But whatever evil happens
To thee, is from thy (own) soul. (4: 79/A)

* Whatever misfortune
Happens to you, is because
of the things your hands
Have wrought, and for many
(Of them) He grants forgiveness.
Nor can ye frustrate (aught),
(Fleeing) through the earth;
Nor have ye, besides God
Any one to protect
Or to help. (42: 30-31/A)

Whether natural disasters are man made or not has been a topic of debate among environmentalists for decades. Quran had categorically declared it about 1500-years back that the disasters are the result of man’s actions. Now the environmentalists too have finally accepted it. Only recently the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change formed by the UN has issued a report declaring that the global warming is human made. This report has the following salient features:

1. The U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was its fourth such assessment since 1990 and its most urgent warning yet about global warming: what has already occurred, and what lies ahead.

2. By unanimous agreement, the 2,500 scientists and government representatives said there is now at least a 90-percent certainty that mankind is to blame for the warming already being observed.

2. As to the future, the projections were stark. Among them:
-in this century, the planet will warm up by between three and nearly eight degrees Fahrenheit;
-the weather will be hotter everywhere, with some areas becoming dryer, while others see more rain; and
-sea levels will rise.

3. It is not just the global mean temperatures -- the six years since the last report are in the top warmest seven years on record -- but also a whole host of other variables that provide compelling evidence to suggest that warming is happening. These variables include snow cover and sea ice, rising sea levels, melting glaciers, drought around the world, changes in hurricanes, etc.

4. As a result of warming, the extremes of water are going to be much more unmanageable, both the drought extreme and the risk of floods. The planet is really sure to warm up between 3.2 and 7.8 degrees Fahrenheit; it is 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit since the beginning of the 20th century and about 1 degree Fahrenheit since about 1970. So the rate of warming has increased. That is one of the key aspects of the global temperature increases.

5. With a greater warming, the amplification of the effects the world is already seeing is expected. So around the subtropical region, there is a drying that has been going on, there are increases in droughts, and some increases in rainfall at higher latitudes. And it is rainfall, some of what used to be snowfall is now occurring as rain.

6. There are large-scale patterns of changes in the rainfall and the rainfall distribution, which has real consequences for human activities and for the environment, because it increases the risk of droughts in the subtropics and other places around the world. This is owing to the fact that as temperatures warm up, it creates a drying effect off the atmosphere, on the surface. In other places where it does rain, it is likely to rain harder. And this relates also to changes in hurricanes. And so it means that the extremes of water are going to be much more unmanageable, both the drought extreme and the risk of floods.

7. One sort of nugget in the report is that the last time the poles were as warm as they could get over the next few decades, due to the greenhouse gases, substantial parts of the Greenland ice sheet and perhaps the Antarctic ice sheet had either melted or disintegrated away into the ocean. And sea level was something like 15 feet higher than today.

Now there may be many reasons for the natural disorders:

1. Emissions of gases from the industries and vehicles, the reason being well known;
2. Irregular distribution of population. This has not been studied in details it demands. The economic growth has not been uniform on the earth, and the type of the model of the economic growth the economic fundamentalists adopted necessitated population control. But the population control resulted in a great gulf between the population densities of the different parts of the world. The Northern Block saw the thinning of not only the human population but also the animal population in general. The Southern block witnessed the rise in human population. This has also resulted in a huge gulf between average weights in different populations. The world now has high weight, normal weight and low weight people in significant percentages. In fact the majority of human population is either overweight or underweight. These differences in the density of population of human beings and animals and the differences in weight would surely cause natural disturbances, and the nature will try to correct this by killing humans and animals where the population is large. If this threat is to be avoided, the North Block must start efforts to restore the animal weight it must share according to an equitable distribution. If it fails to do that, the death will keep visiting the South Block in one form or the other. If the South also follows an extensive population control programme, it will not solve the problem. The bio-mass of animal kingdom has to remain the same, and if human population decreases, it will have three effects: (1) rise of average weight of human beings, (2) the longevity of human life with an increase in the population of the elderly and (2) rise in the population and weight of animals.

According to the Quran, natural disasters do not only come on account of man’s violations of environmental poise but also due to widespread moral degradation. See the following verses:

* The word came: “O Noah!
Come down (from the Ark)
With Peace from us,
And blessing on thee
And on some of the Peoples
(Who will spring) from those
With Thee: but (there will be
Other) Peoples to whom we
Shall grant their pleasures
(for a time), but in the end
Will a grievous Penalty
Reach them from Us.” (11: 47-48/A)

* Mention (Hud) one of ‘Ad’s (own) brethren. Behold, he warned his people about the winding Sand-tracts: but there have been warners before him and after him: “Worship ye none other than God. Truly I fear for you the Penalty of a Mighty Day.” They said: “Hast thou come in order to turn us aside from our gods? Then bring upon us the (calamity) with which thou dost threaten us, if thou art telling the truth?” He said: “The Knowledge (of when it will come) is only with God. I proclaim to you the mission on which I have been sent: But I see that ye are a people in ignorance!”. Then, when they saw the (Penalty in the shape of) a cloud traversing the sky, coming to meet their valleys, they said, “This cloud will give us rain!” “Nay, it is the (Calamity) ye were asking to be hastened!- A wind wherein is a Grievous Penalty! “Everything will it destroy by the command of its Lord!” Then by the morning they - nothing was to be seen but (the ruins of) their houses! thus do We recompense those given to sin! (46: 21-25/A)

* Then see what was the end of their plot!- this, that We destroyed them and their people, all (of them). Now such were their houses, - in utter ruin, - because they practised wrong-doing. Verily in this is a Sign for people of knowledge. And We saved those who believed and practised righteousness. (27: 52-53/A)

* (He said to his people): “Do ye indeed approach men, and cut off the highway?- and practise wickedness (even) in your councils?” (29: 29/A)

* But the (mighty) Blast overtook them before morning, and We turned (the cities) upside down, and rained down on them brimstones hard as baked clay. Behold! in this are Signs for those who by tokens do understand. And the (cities were) right on the high-road. (15: 73-76/A)

This can generate a lot of opposition in the scientific community but the truth remains that according to the Quran the natural catastrophes can be the result of depraving beliefs and practices. Degradation of morality if it becomes widespread can attract natural punishments. Obviously the current International sciences will find it hard to accept, but this must be noted down as a prediction that the future scientific developments will prove the relationship between natural disasters and degradation of morals and beliefs. It must however be clarified here that the Quran does not say that all natural disasters are the result of failures to act righteously. The scholars of Islam can object here by saying that the Quran talks of specific events when God chose to punish the culprits in a special way and it did not reflect a general rule. It can be argued that though several of the ancient natural calamities were the result of the erroneous beliefs and moral corruption but this does not hold true now. There is no denying the fact however that the Quran is categorical about the afflictions being the result of disturbances of the environmental equilibrium. If the disturbances of physical environment at a larger scale bring disasters, disturbances of social and spiritual environment at a large scale may also herald disasters. How this relationship works is not clear at the moment; but as the time matches ahead there is surely likelihood that this relationship will be unveiled.

It should also be noted here that the scriptures of other religions including Old and New Testaments and Ramayana also describe the history of natural disasters having been caused by God’s punishment.

That the Quran speaks of the extraordinary ecological, biological and atmospheric balance is indisputable. Quran says:

• And who sendeth down water from the sky in (due) measure? And We revive a dead land therewith. Even so ye will be brought forth; He who created all the pairs and appointed for you ships and cattle whereupon you ride; that ye may mount upon their backs, and may remember your Lord’s favour when ye mount thereon, and may say: Glorified be He who hath subdued these unto us, and we were not capable of (subduing them). (43: 11-13/P)
• We sent down water from the sky in due measure and lodged it into the earth. But, if We please, We can take it all away. With it We caused vineyards and palm-graves to spring up, yielding abundant fruit for your sustenance. Also a tree which grows on mount Sinai and gives oil and relish for the eaters. In the cattle, too, you have an example of Our Power. You drink of that which is in their bellies, you eat their flesh, and gain other benefits from them, besides. By them, as by the ships that sail the sea, you are carried. (23: 18-22/Z).
• He knows all that goes
Into the earth, and all that
Goes out thereof; all that
Comes down from the sky
And all that ascends thereto;
And He is the Most Merciful,
The Oft-Forgiving. (34: 2/A)

* Say: Have ye thought: If (all) your water were to disappear in the earth, who then could bring you gushing water? (67: 30/P)

Environmental equipoise requires a separate full-scale discussion. Here it will suffice to say that:

1.Quran describes all the major players in the ecological balance – animals (birds, insects, mammals, fishes and “invisible” living beings), plants, air, water, mountains, water, canals, rivers, oceans, soil, land, fields, forests, orchards, gardens etc. – as the indicators of God’s creative powers. Their repeated mention in the Quran is the proof of the importance to preserve the roles of each of these players.

2. Quran gives the human beings control over the products of the universe, especially the ones on the Planet Earth. It allows them to avail the products of Nature. But at the same time it clarifies that they should be used judiciously and for the general welfare of the people.

3. Quran permits human intervention but warns against negative intervention for personal gains. The provisions of God can be remodelled, cleansed and purified for specific purposes, but only the methods and procedures that do not harm the equilibrium and balance are permitted. Those that can seriously hamper this balance are forbidden.

4. Quran categorically states that the whole universe submits to the Laws of God and also directs the human beings to serve Him by following His System. God warns that the failure in submitting to His System and the negation of His commands can lead to various forms of natural disasters and afflictions like diseases, famines, floods, huge rains, earthquakes, fall of meteors, destruction of corps by locusts and heavy rains, etc.

9. Mental & Spiritual Health

Islam takes all possible steps to establish peace at every level. The system that Islam proposes to establish has to develop in a way that ensures the attainment of the ultimate goal. Islam is the religion of God, and is therefore not affected by the arguments based on presumptuous sentimentality. It has its eyes focussed on the goal and prefers to achieve that goal, taking harsh measures whenever required, in order to avoid widespread chaos rather than indulging in false notions based on apparent humanism, which ultimately lead to widespread human sufferings. When we examine the three-dimensional system of Islam, we can easily find that each of the fundamental duties, rights and prohibitions helps in a significant way the attainment of one or more aspects of total peace. Mental health is one of the most important constituents of peace. We have already seen the impact of forbidden practices like drinking, gambling, promiscuity and smoking. The impact is not just physical but also mental. Persons not involved in these practices are surely much more mentally healthier than those involved in them.

Mental problems, medically known as psychiatric illnesses or disorders, mainly fall in two categories: Exogenous or Endogenous. The former are mainly due to the external factors, and the later due to internal factors. Exogenous factors involve losses or stresses of various kinds including fears and tensions. Islam tries to build a system where external factors are minimised.

1. Islamic judicial system is an effective means to keep crimes at minimum. There is obviously much less fear of getting murdered, assaulted, harassed or exploited;
2. Islam prohibits drugs, alcohol, smoking and sex outside marriage. All these are huge factors in the development of neurotic disorders including anxiety, neurosis and depression.
3. Islam promotes a strong family system, which is a proven antidote to high stress situations.
4. In Islam, all the duties have an extraordinarily beneficial effect on mental health.

Let us first examine the impact of some of the Fundamental Duties in Islam on mental peace.

Faith (or convictions)

The foremost duty in Islam, which is in effect the primary condition to enter the System, is faith. Faith has three essential components. First, one must be totally convinced in one’s heart, mind and soul that the Universe has been created and is governed by a Supreme Being, and that He has guided mankind through His Ambassadors and Scriptures. Second, one must be totally devoted to God and His system and must be ready to put one’s best into it. Third, one must be fully satisfied with whatever one gets out of that devotion. Faith is the foundation stone of the edifice of peace. Without it neither a good individual can emerge nor a good family or society. Faith is the fragrance that exhilarates the inside of the soul as well as its surroundings. Faith of an individual is sine qua non for his/her inner peace, and faith of the majority of the people constituting a nation or society is sine qua non for peace in the nation or society.

At individual level, Iman has an unparalleled calming effect on mind and soul. A Momin (Devotee) is always cool. The vicissitudes of life do not trouble him, pains do not perturb him and losses do not disturb him. Sadness does not bereave him, except to a certain degree, and happiness does not corrupt him. Failure does not depress him, and success does not intoxicate him. If anything worries him it is not his personal aggrandisement in this life but his desire to please God. Despite being ever on the alert fearing His Displeasure, he is always hopeful that Kind God will surely accept His Devotion. If he is hopeful of gaining God’s pleasure it is not out of his belief that he has done enough to warrant approval but out of his unadulterated trust in God who, through His unequalled benevolence, will embrace him. Conceit and haughtiness do not afflict him; humility embellishes his existence. His presence on the earth is not the source of injury to anybody; he loves to take pains to keep others happy. Avarice is not his wont; others’ possessions howsoever precious do not generate envy or jealousy in his heart. If he envies anything it is good deeds of others; if he tries to influence others it is always for their betterment. Rather than finding fault in others he tends to disregard his own achievements; others are better in his eyes than himself. It is this combination of trust in God and selflessness that engenders solace in his heart and mind. A Momin is in a position to detach from all sorts of worries convinced that God will never fail to do what is best for him. If his desires are not fulfilled he regards it as the right decision of Wise God who knows better than him. He prays to Him, without ever showing even minimal signs of dissent if his prayers are not heard. He acquiesces to whatever God chooses for him, patience being his hallmark. In return, even if his wishes are not granted, what he is surely bestowed upon is peace—almost always in this world, and always in Hereafter. Patience and mental health are inseparable, and patience is the supreme virtue of a Momin.

Every religion has similar designs as far as individual peace is concerned. All religions promote humility, patience and selflessness. What distinguishes Islam however from other religions is its extraordinary emphasis on Hereafter. Unlike Christianity, forgiveness for all sins is not ensured in Islam. He does not get a tacit license to commit sins. His sins against others will be punished in the world if detected by law and in Hereafter if he escapes the punishment here, unless forgiven by the person against whom the sin is committed. Mere belief in God or Muhammad (Peace be upon him!) will not save him. This does not mean one needs to despair if one has committed a sin; one must seek forgiveness from the person against whom the sin has been committed and from God. But sins even if forgiven would surely lower one’s status in Paradise. Nobody else, Jesus or Muhammad (Peace be upon him!) will take on themselves the burden of the sins of others; of course, they may recommend amnesty for anybody, due to their proximity to God. Fear of disincentive in Hereafter for every sin and hope of an incentive for every virtue inculcates virtuousness that promotes peace at all levels. What further distinguishes Islam from other religions, as will be seen later, is its categorical distinction between ‘permissible’ and ‘forbidden’. Moreover a crystal clear relationship can be noted between forbidden acts and severe social problems on one hand, and the desirability of obligatory acts in the attainment of peace, on the other.

The belief in God and Hereafter also helps a man to overcome depression, which often sets in seeing huge injustices being perpetrated in the world, massive sufferings of the weak and the apparent successes of oppressors and exploiters. Faith in Hereafter strengthens the confidence of the good and the sufferers. Their sadness at not being able to get what they deserve is compensated by the hope of getting their due in Hereafter.

While faith in God and Hereafter go a long way to ensure psychological and spiritual peace, when this combines with the faith in Muhammad (Peace be upon him!) as the Last Messenger of God and Quran as the last scripture, this paves way for physical, family and social peace. Though his curiosity leads him to try to find out the consequences of different actions, he is always convinced that injunctions and principles enunciated in Quran and put into practice by Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him!) are enough for him to have a wholesome life. He is satisfied in his heart that no man can know better than Muhammad (Peace be upon him!) and Quran because God Himself dispatched them. God is not dependent on the unfolding of events for knowing the effects of anything or action; He is omnipotent. When His omnipotence merges with His kindness, He will provide human beings with the best system: a system that will ensure a comprehensive and eternal peace and will take pre-emptive actions against chaos.

Prayer (Salat)

Prayer is an essential part of all religions. Worship of One who is in charge of everything in the universe is sure to attract His special attention. “No prayer goes unheard,” says the Prophet, “But God listens to prayers in three different ways. First, He can grant the wish, as implored. Second, He does not grant the wish itself, but gives something else in its place, which is more beneficial for him. Third, he does not grant anything, but rescues him from some impending loss.” Prayer indirectly helps in many other ways. It diverts attention from the ennui of routine activities and provides an escape route for worries, at least for the time being. It revitalises brain, so one can start afresh. Imploring God imbues a feeling of immense satisfaction in the mind; one feels as if one has shared one’s worries with One who is Omnipotent. One feels confident that God will surely find a way for Him. Burdens do seem to have lightened; diffidence does appear to have evaporated. This helps mental peace in a big way. Depression and anxiety get a thrashing and are less likely to devastate an individual who pays regular attention to his prayers.

In Islam, prayers assume distinctive character in many ways.

(1) As stated before,, prayers in Islam are directed to none but the Highest Authority in the Universe; no deputy stands between God and man. One therefore feels guaranteed that God has listened to his invocation. This direct relationship with Almighty generates a much greater degree of confidence than an indirect relationship through a devata, Son or Apostle.

(2) Prayers in Islam are more frequent and disciplined. At least five times a day a Muslim bows to God, glorifying Him, seeking His forgiveness and imploring his help in all the spheres of life. This means that he has a break from the routine at least five times a day. This not only disciplines his life but also has a much greater relaxing effect on brain than once a day prayer would have. Obviously, anxiety and depression will be far less likely to distract the person. Timings of prayers have been perfectly chosen: before sunrise, immediately after noon, in the afternoon, after the sunset and in the night. Regular reminders of God’s presence and His injunctions have definite influence on his actions; he is less likely to engage in forbidden practices; the more sincere, attentive and regular he is the more the chances are of his leading a purer life.

(3) In Islam, prayer is not merely a ritual; it is a physical, mental, spiritual and social exercise. Every prayer is to be preceded by ablution (Wudhu) requiring washing of exposed organs in a specified manner. This involves rinsing of mouth, brushing of teeth, washing of face, hands and forearms, soaking of head and soaking or washing of feet. I had shown in a paper written about 25 years back (repeated in this series of articles) that Wudhu involves an area of the body that represents about 80 percent area on the sensory map, present in brain. I had also shown that the sequence of the washing of the organs is in accordance with the sequence of the organs on that map. Five times Wudhu is sure to result in a marked reduction in the incidence of a number of diseases of teeth, gums and skin.

(4) The sequence of different movements in the Muslim prayer is also in accordance with their innervation. Salat, in addition, is a physical exercise of great value. Islamic prayer does not involve a mere sitting or standing, as is often the case in other religions; it is well-organised regime of a number of movements that involve almost all the muscles of the body. A person first stands, then bends on the hip, then stands again, then prostrates putting his hand on the earth, then sits, then prostrates again and then stands erect again, repeating this several times. Sajda is often referred to in medical sciences as Mohemmaden prayer position. In this posture, out of all other postures of the body, cardiac output is known to be maximum, the supply of blood to brain is optimum, breathing is in the best state and blood contains maximum amount of oxygen. Every Salat refurbishes all the important organs ridding them of fatigue. One finds a renewed enthusiasm to work; common problems like body-ache, headache, nervousness, fatigue, lassitude etc are less likely to set in.

Fasting (Saum)

Just as Salat, fasting (Saum) has immense physical, mental, spiritual and social benefits. Fasting of one kind or the other is prescribed in almost all the religions of the world. It symbolises self-sacrifice, devotion, discipline, patience, control, generosity and purification. Fasting of all kinds has a soothing and purifying effect on the body, mind and soul. In Islam however, it becomes a much more comprehensive exercise.

The month of fasting does everything that wholesome peace necessitates. It strengthens physical, mental and spiritual health of individuals; increases their awareness and knowledge about injunctions of God; involves practical steps to reduce economic disparities in society; promotes equality, brotherhood and communal harmony; and reminds followers of Islam of their duty to combat acts of aggression against them and those by the forces of evils against mankind.


One of the most lethal outcomes of human actions that gives an idea of true peace in real life is suicide. If a man commits suicide, he is driven into that for two reasons. First, he must face a situation when he feels he has no option but to end his life, and second, he must actually feel inclined to transform his motivation into reality. The first represents the external circumstances and the second the internal response to those circumstances. If suicides are common in a country, it means essentially two things. First that societal tensions in that country are high enough to make many persons believe they have no option left but to kill themselves; and second that the level of patience and contentment among the people of that country is substantially low. The high-stress life, the ever-increasing fascination for higher status in society, the free sexual life that often results in estranged relationships and broken hearts, the triggering factors like alcohol and gambling and the development of some life-threatening illnesses especially related to life style are some of the external factors that compel people to commit suicides. Absence of Faith in God and Hereafter and lack of tolerance, endurance and patience are the internal factors that are responsible for the extreme decision. In most of the Western societies, internal as well as external conditions are favourable for suicides. A significantly high percentage of suicides are related to AIDS, failure in relationships, alcohol, gambling, and family tensions. It is hardly surprising therefore that the incidence of suicides among adolescents and youth is on the rise. In the US it has become the third most important cause of death among adolescents. If we examine the rate of the incidence of suicides we can find that suicides are rarest in Muslim countries. A recent report by WHO states that nearly one million people take their lives every year. In the US alone, more than 27000 people commit suicide every year. The suicide rate in the USA is 0.02% per annum for men, and 0.005% per annum for women. Suicide levels are highest among the retired, unemployed, divorced, childless, urbanites, empty nesters, and other people who live alone. gives the following list of the top 17 countries in terms of the rate of suicide per annum.



44.0 per 100000 people
28.5 per 100000 people
25.2 per 100000 people
23.9 per 100000 people
23.0 per 100000 people
21.8 per 100000 people
21.0 per 100000 people
19.2 per 100000 people
16.2 per 100000 people
15.9 per 100000 people
15.8 per 100000 people
12,United States
15.3 per 100000 people
15.2 per 100000 people
14.New Zealand
14.8 per 100000 people
14.2 per 100000 people
16.United Kingdom
11.4 per 100000 people
7.7 per 100000 people
Weighted Average 16.36 per 100000 people

Source: GECD Society at a Glance 2001, Statistical Annex Table D3

What a glorious list for the eulogisers of the Western system of health! All 17 countries are typical Western countries. This is despite the fact that they possess much better facilities and health care system to treat the emergencies of attempted suicides. The picture would be much deadlier if attempted suicides are taken into account. Muslim nations of course leave all other nations far behind in terms of low suicide rate. Suicide is almost negligible among Muslims, which speaks highly of their mental calm as well as family peace and social equanimity. Most of the factors leading to suicides like extramarital sex, family disintegration, alcohol, gambling and sex related diseases are minimal if not totally absent in typical Islamic societies. Added to this, an unshakeable faith in God and Hereafter armour them with incredible patience, which helps them in facing even the most depressing situations.

Spiritual Health

The WHO has included “spiritual health” in its definition of health, but has failed to define what spiritual health is. It has also not been able to explain the distinction between mental and spiritual health. Most of the medical experts are not in a position to explain the difference. Quran’s theory of health however is very much clear on what spiritual health is and how it is different from Mental Health. While Mental Health represents the soundness of behaviour and reaction to stress situations and the ability to lead a normal stress free life, spiritual health denotes the ability of a man to control his actions, to distinguish between what is right and what is wrong, to adopt what is right and to reject what is wrong and to be able to work for the larger aims in life. A man can be mentally healthy but can still be spiritually ill. He may not be suffering from anxiety, stress or depression; but he can still indulge in practices that can later lead to disturbances in his personal, family and social life. A mentally sound person may be able to achieve his desired goal but may still be spiritually ill, as he may try to achieve his desired goals through immoral or illegal means, may cause harm to others for his selfish interests and may harm his long term benefits for short term gains. A spiritual healthy man has to be honest, humble, polite and kind. He is neither arrogant nor haughty. He is not selfish and is ready to make sacrifices for others. He does not indulge in evils and does not do anything that violates the interests of his family and society. Obviously, Islam strengthens spiritual health in a big way, as no other system has developed a more perfect health-protective and health-promoting system than Islam has.

Challenges ahead

In the last chapters, we have studied in detail:

• How Islam views health as the most important factor in the formation of social system,
• How a definition of health based on Islam is a much better guarantee to the health of human beings and
• How Islam based health strategies would differ from the current international health programmes.

The question now arises what we should do to implement the alternative Islamic theory of health in the world. Just shouting at the top of the voice that Islamic injunctions and practices are exactly in accordance with the modern concepts of medical sciences would be apologetic and defeatist. We have to put the Islamic theory of Health into practice by campaigning for various measures at all levels. Steps have to be taken at the national and international levels to bring health to the top of the agenda of the world. The definition of health, developed by this author on the basis of Islamic teachings, states:

“Health is a state of complete physical, mental, spiritual and social well being, which has to be preserved not only though health protective and promoting regime at personal level but also through the development of a health protective and promoting family system and a health protective and promoting social system.”

The addition of the phrase “which has to be preserved not only though health protective and promoting regime at personal level but also through the development of a health protective and promoting family system and a health protective and promoting social system” puts a huge onus on the whole world system. It throws a serious challenge to the dominance of the economic fundamentalism led by the market forces. It heralds a new revolution, intellectual as well as social, that is aimed at the alleviation of the sufferings of man as individual, as member of family and as member of society. It makes the establishment of “a health protective and promoting family system” and “a health protective and promoting social system” imperative for every national and international institution. It puts the burden of providing the policy guidelines for the socio-economic development on the medical fraternity. In effect, it puts Health into the driver’s seat. Health does not remain a silent spectator against the harms done to it but becomes the most powerful player in the affairs of the world. By safeguarding itself, it safeguards the lives, peace and calm of all human beings individually and mankind as a whole. Health, as the most important constituent of Islam’s objective of Grand Peace, subordinates politics and economics; the interests of health can never be sidetracked in ordinary conditions.

All the disciplines of science are invaluable as they discover the know-how to produce the materials of all hues and colours required by the human beings. But medical sciences are the most important, for the onus of keeping a close vigil on the emerging threats to human existence and inventing remedial measures falls on their shoulders. With the control by the economic fundamentalists on all the offshoots of social life, the capability of medical experts to influence policy decisions at the national and international level has undergone substantial erosion. If the world is to be rescued from the imminent doom, the medical fraternity must immediately assume a leading role in society. It must become the true Doctor of the World. It must tell the world what is right or wrong in different fields. It must not feel shy of holding the reins of administration along with the experts in other scientific fields. Medical scientists must at least put themselves in a position where they do not have to follow the directions of politicians, bureaucrats and economists; instead they must be able to mould the policies in a way that is consistent with healthy life. To achieve this grand objective, certain constitutional and administrative measures will have to be taken.

The supremacy of health, as envisaged in the Quran’s theory of health, will require important steps at the constitutional level. The constitution of the countries and the international institutions will have to be suitably amended to ensure the supremacy of health.

Right to Health

Health has to be recognised as the main constituent of Peace, and it should be one of the chief aims of all the constitution. To develop healthy human beings should be specifically mentioned as the desired objective in the Preamble. Right to Health must be enshrined as a Fundamental Right in the constitutions of all the countries as well as the constitutions of all the international bodies. Right to Health must be defined as the fundamental right of each human being including foetus, children and adult males and females to have security against all such developments, practices and things that can endanger the health of the individuals, families or society. All social, political and economic policies must be directed at developing an environment that is conducive to health.

This will go a big way in guaranteeing that no activity related to any field whatsoever that can directly or indirectly cause serious harm to health will be permissible; and all the governmental policies must take into consideration their impact on health before becoming operational. The production, trading and use of all such items and activities, as can cause fatal or paralysing diseases will then become forbidden. The items and activities, which are harmful but do not cause fatal or paralysing illnesses, must be discouraged, not forbidden. To keep a watch on the developments, an autonomous National Health Commission must be constituted in every country. This Commission will conduct health impact studies of all the developments taking place in the country; it must be bestowed upon constitutional powers to determine whether to allow or not different activities and its decisions must be binding. The Commission must have medical specialists of distinguished career as its members. Similarly, a World Health Commission must be formed to assess the health impact of the various social, economic and political developments at the international level. The Commission must not be financed by any nation or group of nations; it must be funded through equal contributions from all the countries. The Health Commissions of all the countries must be the members of the World Health Commission; and its chairmanship must be rotational.

When the right to health becomes a fundamental right, smoking, drinking and uninhibited sex would automatically become unlawful; for each one of these is responsible for increase in annual mortality of millions of people. This will result in a momentous fall in the incidence of diseases like lung cancer, mouth cancer, cirrhosis, ischaemic heart diseases, peptic ulcers, bronchitis, Korsakoff psychosis, syphilis, gonorrhoea, Chancroid, herpes, AIDS and a number of psychiatric diseases. The crime, accident and suicide rates would also decline substantially.

Three tier social system: Individual, family and society/community

It has to be recognised that individual, family and community/society are the three natural tiers of social organisation, and in a civilised world, each of the three has to be protected with adequate balance between the three. Thanks to the economic fundamentalism, family has been and is being ignored. In fact, overt and covert efforts are being made to weaken the family system. This must be recognised that family is a biological and social entity, which can never be destroyed. And medically too, the importance of family cannot be overemphasised. Family guards against all sexually transmitted diseases, and has a huge beneficial effect on mental, spiritual and social health. It guards women and children against abuse. Every possible effort has to be made at every conceivable level to safeguard family. At the legal level, individual’s health, family peace and social order are to be recognised as three basic constituents of Peace. Every national constitution and every international institution including health organisations must duly recognise this fact in their constitutional set-ups.

In order to safeguard the health of men, women and children within the parameters of family system, legal provisions have to be ensured to help

- Women perform their normal biological functions, including menstruation cycles, pregnancies (prenatal, natal and postnatal), breastfeeding (for a period of two years);
- Women safeguard themselves against their exploitation leading to serious hazards to their normal lives as women and mothers. A civilisation that permits or supports prostitution and pornography cannot claim to be fair to women. No women face greater risks to their lives than women who willingly or unwillingly join the sex trade. It is not only they but also the people they come into contact with and their own children, if any, who face serious risks to their lives and honourable existence.
- Men pass peaceful lives with their wives and children; broken families are one of the biggest factors in neurological diseases;
- Children safeguard their existence, proper growth and avoid abuse. There is no room for abortion other than for purely medical reasons. Parents together or mothers alone cannot be given the right to kill their children, even if they are yet to be born.
- Children to complete their breastfeeding for at least two years. Laws must be made to ensure that every child receives two years’ breastfeeding unless there are compelling reasons to act otherwise.

Three-dimensional System

This is the third most important imperative if the purpose behind the new definition of health has to be realised. For maintenance of peace in general and health in particular, a three-dimensional system comprising Fundamental Rights, Fundamental Duties and Fundamental Prohibitions must be implemented in theory and in practice. Currently, the whole emphasis is on Fundamental Rights and there is absolutely no mention of Fundamental Prohibitions in almost all the statutes, charters and memoranda. This should be realised and duly recognised that no system can sustain itself without its set of Prohibitions. The Prohibitions must be aimed at not serving the interests of the vested interests but the individual, family and social peace. Anything that seriously hampers health must be banned, any socio-economic development that endangers health must be rejected and any cultural values that seriously violate any component of health must be campaigned against.

If the impact of different items and practices is made the chief criteria, it will not be difficult to determine which items and practices must come under “Fundamental Prohibitions.” Alcohol, Smoking, Drugs, gambling and unhealthy sexual practices (including prostitution, promiscuity and homosexuality) are undoubtedly the biggest killers of human beings and biggest tormentors of human families and society. These cannot be permitted in any civilised society. A society that permits them can be anything but civilised.

World Health Organisation (WHO) –
The Failed Institution

The modernity driven by the forces of economic fundamentalism has bestowed on mankind much less than what it has snatched from it. If there is one field in which the modern civilisation can claim to have actually benefited mankind, though inadequately, it is the field of medicine. Certainly, there are many diseases that have now become treatable or preventable, namely, the infectious diseases like Tuberculosis, Cholera, Leprosy, Meningitis, Smallpox, Measles, Poliomyelitis, Diphtheria, Pertussis, etc. But economic fundamentalism has largely undone the great work done by medical scientists by promoting a social ambience that makes them susceptible to a large number of ailments—Chronic Bronchitis, Buerger’s disease, Ischaemic Heart Diseases, Hypertension, Peptic Ulcer, Diabetes mellitus, Cancers, especially of lung, mouth and breast, Arthritis, Spondylitis, Cirrhosis, Syphilis, Gonorrhoea, AIDS, Psychoses and neuroses, and many others. Instead of developing a health-protective social system, the market forces have glorified and commercialised everything that poses severe threats to life and health. It is indeed difficult to infer if man today actually faces less threat to his health than in the past. Whatever an increase in the average age has been noticed in the last few decades, it is chiefly due to reduced Infant Mortality Rate. This reduction is counterbalanced by the high rate of feticide; more children are killed every year by way of abortion than are saved by vaccines and antibiotics. Take abortions in consideration and the average age will nosedive.

Thus the balance sheet of the achievements of the modern world is not at all encouraging. It is in fact greatly depressing because, with the scientific knowledge and technical know-how that the world possesses, man must have been physically healthier, socially safer and mentally more peaceful. But he is not. And this is because economic fundamentalism has been rapidly destroying whatever the world has been gaining through the labour and dedication of scientists.

The World Health Organisation or WHO was created in 1948. With over 190 Member States, it is the lead agency in international health. WHO's stated goal is “to foster the attainment by all peoples - especially the poor and most vulnerable - of the highest possible standards of health.” The guiding principles of WHO are that "We can't do it alone, so we work in partnership with others" and that "We can't do it all at once so we set priorities”. Priority setting, it is argued, helps to focus the world's attention, resources and actions on innovative and cost-effective public health action with specific goals and measurable results." WHO is regarded “the health conscience of the world.” But if we examine the role of the World Health Organisation, we will have to conclude that it has failed abysmally in its role as the saviour of the world.

1. It has failed to put Health in the driver’s seat in the world affairs. Despite huge scientific and technological development, health continues to suffer. Developments continue to take place at the cost of health.
2. It has failed to set health free from the clutches of the forces of economic fundamentalism. With the growth of market economics and its globalisation, It has become mere pawn in the hands of market forces. The economic fundamentalists are able to influence in a big way the decisions of the WHO.
3. Under the impact of the economic fundamentalism, It has failed to lead a noticeable campaign against the items and practices that severely endanger health. In fact, all these practices are being commercialised in a big way, and the WHO has hardly shown any concern towards their sordid commercialisation.
4. It has failed to take an equitable stand in the matters of health with the result that the weak and poor countries and the weak and poor within the countries continue to face mortality and morbidity without a tear being shed for them.
5. With the interests of the market forces including those of the Pharmaceuticals, it is the secondary, not the primary prevention that has received all the attention. While there is no big campaign against drinking, gambling, promiscuity, prostitution, homosexuality and smoking, there is a huge emphasis on vaccines and the use of market products like lotions and pastes.
6. Not only the primary prevention has not received the attention it deserves, secondary prevention too receives attention only where there are no treatments available to the diseases. For example, polio eradication programme received huge attention despite the fact that it causes very little mortality and morbidity compared to Tuberculosis, malaria and other infectious diseases because there is no treatment available in the market for Polio. The market forces are not interested in the eradication of malaria and tuberculosis through big anti-mosquito and anti-tuberculosis campaigns, as they are more interested in selling the medicines they have for these diseases.
7. The WHO has fully failed to recognise the importance of family in health, and has failed to prevent the disintegration of family system, which is going on with a brisk space. Wherever the truck of globalisation roars, it signals doom for the family system. The WHO has hardly any idea of developing a health-protective and health-promoting family system.
8. The WHO has also failed to develop any strategy of developing a health-protective and health-promoting social system. There is hardly any system in place that can guarantee health of the individuals. Social system has failed to create an environment conducive for a healthy life, and has instead promoted a system that increases mortality and morbidity due to suicides, crimes, rapes, unhealthy sexual behaviour, gambling, betting and other societal tensions emanating from poverty, economic exploitation and stresses of various kinds. The WHO has completely failed to influence the direction of social development, which is moving in the direction opposite to what health likes to pursue.

The result of the defective, deficient and lacklustre approach adopted by the WHO and other organisations has been that
1.the avoidable infections continue to kill people in large numbers, infections continue to emerge and become devastating killers and
3.the diseases due to lifestyle, commercialisation of certain practices and disintegration of the family system continue to increase.

Let us examine the following facts:

* The following is the list of major infectious diseases and the number of people they kill:
Lower respiratory infections 3.9 m
HIV/AIDS 2.8 m
Diarrheal diseases 1.8 m
Tuberculosis 1.6 m
Malaria 1.2 m
Source: World Health Report, 2004 WHO
• More than 1 million people are murdered every year. (More than 240 million people lost lives in wars in the last century)
• More than 2 million people commit suicides
• More than 5 million people die of sex related diseases (more than 20 million have died of AIDS in recent years)
• More than 2.2 million die of alcohol related problems
• More than 5 million die of smoking related problems
• More than 70 million children are not allowed to take birth and are aborted.
• More than a hundred million suffer from alcohol related illnesses
• More than 2000 millions smoke
• Hundreds of millions indulge in gambling. 500 million are now using Internet alone for gambling. (In US alone, 20 millions show some signs of gambling addiction and 2 million divorces had gambling as a significant factor.)
• More than 100 million suffer from sex transmitted diseases (42 million from HIV/AIDS)
• Tens of millions of women are in prostitution and other sex related businesses (more than one million Americans alone have served as prostitutes)
• More than 1.2 million of children are exploited annually in prostitution and other sex trades
• More than 800 million watch pornography
• Millions of homes are broken every year
• Millions of women are raped every year; in many Western countries one tenth to half of all women have been raped (The total number of women who have been raped at least once is in hundreds of millions)
• Sexual abuse of children is on the rise all over the world; in many Western countries up to one third of all people have been sexually abused in their childhood
• Drug addiction is also persistent; tens of millions of people are addicted of harmful drugs

The above point to the fact that the whole health structure of the world has crumbled, and the blame primarily goes on the leading agency, the WHO. How come that despite the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people due to alcohol, smoking, gambling and sexual malpractices, the WHO has not taken an initiative to eradicate these problems altogether? These practices are killing hundreds of times the number of the people killed by terrorism, yet nothing is being done to counter this menace. The truth is that the WHO has been

First, ignoring what the corporate world and the other forces are doing at the cost of health,
Second, trying at their behest to manage the adverse effects of their policies on health and
Third, helping them in turning health itself into a huge industry.

In short, the WHO has become another tool of the globalisation.

Last Word

God says in the Quran, “Invite towards the Abode of Peace”. Islam in fact means Peace, etymologically as well as metaphorically. Etymologically, Islam means Peace as well as submission to God; without submission to God, Comprehensive Peace cannot be achieved in the world. Metaphorically, Islam means peace because its grand objective is to achieve peace in the World and Hereafter, and it takes every possible step to achieve those objectives. Peace is of no use if it does not ensure security; and security is of no avail if it does not lead to security from all forms of diseases. Naturally, health is one of the most important constituent of Islamic definition of peace. The way Islamic definition of peace is comprehensive, the Islamic definition of health too is comprehensive. Islam is not just a religion nor is it just a complete way of life, something the Muslim scholars are very fond of repeating in their speeches and writings. Islam in addition is a system of collective living that includes governance. When we speak of Islam as a “way of life”, it is more or less an individualistic notion, or at the most a collective way of life. When we speak of Islam as a “system”, it implies elaborate rules of governance and the adjustment of individual and collective life in accordance with those rules, so that the desired objectives can be achieved. So, Islamic theory of health does not simply deal with a “healthy living” of individuals, but also speaks of a health-protective system. In the present book, a new definition of health, derived from Quran, has been introduced:

“Health is a state of complete physical, mental, spiritual and social wellbeing, which must be safeguarded not only through the maintenance of a health preserving regime at the personal/individual level, but also through the establishment of a health-protective and promoting family system and a health-protective and promoting social system.”

Quran’s injunctions and the system they seek to build are not just health-friendly; health is in fact the essential criterion of these injunctions. It is not that the Quranic system is beneficial for health; health in fact is an inseparable part of its ultimate objectives. What is good for heath is promoted, and what is bad for health is not acceptable. As I have explained repeatedly, Quran’s theory of health is uniquely different from the modern theory of health. The modern health concepts have the stamp of the economic forces for which health too is nothing more than a money spinner. Where certain concepts of health support their economic designs, they exhibit an extraordinary enthusiasm to promote them; the health concepts that do neither support nor disturb their designs are given either a silent disapproval or a passive approval; and the health concepts that disturb their plans are simply not tolerable. Such concepts are either totally rejected or, if there is rising demand in favour of them, are tackled through political, social and ideological manoeuvring. In short, health is used by the economic forces, especially the corporate to

1. Sell the medicines, where the treatment of particular diseases are available;
2. Sell the vaccines, where treatment to particular diseases are not available; if both are available, the preference will be given to sell the treatment, as it normally brings more money;
3. Sell the items related to health like solutions, lotions, creams and jellies.
4. Protect and promote the interests of the market such as in the case of AIDS Control programmes, Population control programmes, etc;
5. Manage the effects of the unhealthy social practices, promoted by the market, like alcohol, smoking, gambling and unhealthy sexual behaviour;

The same economic forces use their power to

1. Thwart any such concepts from emerging or getting popular as can harm their interests;
2. Thwart any proposals that seek to ban or discourage practices that are major money – spinners for them. Primary prevention is of hardly any use to them, and they popularise only Secondary hygiene.

It is this selfish approach that has undone the achievements of the scientists. With the rapid advancement of science and technology and with the amazing advancement of medical sciences, mankind should have become healthier and more peaceful. But we are living in a world that is certainly more chaotic than what it used to be 500 years back. We have got rid of certain diseases but have invited bigger number of diseases deadlier than the ones we have got rid of. We have not been able to alleviate the sufferings that we could have had if we had not allowed the economics to outsmart religion and sciences. If we had followed religion, we could never have allowed practices like gambling, drinking, smoking, homosexuality and promiscuity to take roots in society. If we had followed sciences, we could not have wasted any time in banning these evils as soon their devastating effects started emerging for all to see. We are now living in a world where:
• More than 2 million people commit suicides
• More than 5 million people die of sex related diseases (more than 20 million have died of AIDS in recent years)
• More than 2.2 million die of alcohol related problems
• More than 5 million die of smoking related problems
• More than 70 million children are not allowed to take birth and are aborted.
• More than a hundred million suffer from alcohol related illnesses
• More than 2000 millions smoke
• Hundreds of millions indulge in gambling. 500 million are now using Internet alone for gambling. (In US alone, 20 millions show some signs of gambling addiction and 2 million divorces had gambling as a significant factor.)
• More than 100 million suffer from sex transmitted diseases (42 million from HIV/AIDS)
• Tens of millions of women are in prostitution and other sex related businesses (more than one million Americans alone have served as prostitutes)
• More than 1.2 million of children are exploited annually in prostitution and other sex trades
• More than 800 million watch pornography
• Millions of homes are broken every year
• Millions of women are raped every year; in many Western countries one tenth to half of all women have been raped (The total number of women who have been raped at least once is in hundreds of millions)
• Sexual abuse of children is on the rise all over the world; in many Western countries up to one third of all people have been sexually abused in their childhood
• Drug addiction is also persistent; tens of millions of people are addicted of harmful drugs
Islam does not rule the current world with the result that chaos prevails, as is evident from the figures cited in the preceding chapters. Muslims of the current world have adopted Islam partially. This partial application has deprived them of the peace in its entirety. Still they are in a much better state of peace than the people living in the so-called developed world are. This is evident from the fact that they have

• one of the lowest rates of murders
• almost negligible incidence of suicides
• very low rates of rapes
• negligible consumption of alcohol and alcohol-related deaths and other problems
• very low rate of gambling related problems
• extremely low level of family break-ups
• extremely low number of prostitutes and pornographic actors among them
• negligible level of sexual abuse of children
• very low incidence of sex-related, alcohol related and gambling related diseases
• relatively low incidence of drug addiction
• relatively low incidence of psychiatric illnesses
• relatively very low level of the consumption of sedatives and tranquillisers
• very low incidence of single parents, negligible number of children born out of wedlock
• relatively much lower level of promiscuity and other sexual perversions
• very low level of abortions including teenage pregnancies, etc
• relatively low incidence of several diseases including Cancers of Penis and Cervix (due to circumcision), sex transmitted diseases, Urinary Tract Infections, other cancers due to alcohol, etc.

The world must know that if Islamic principles are allowed to function properly, every year more than 80 million lives can be saved. These include
• 2 million murders
• 2.2 million suicides
• 5 million deaths from AIDS
• 5 million deaths from smoking
• 2 million deaths associated with alcohol
• 2 million deaths associated with smoking, gambling and drugs
• 70 million cases of feticide

Even if feticide is excluded, more than 10 million people should have been saved every year from falling prey to the unwanted kinds of death had Islamic legal and socio-economic system been in force. These are no ordinary figures. These are staggering statistics from all accounts. And adding the figures of feticide, more than 80 million lives are lost just because the laws of God are not followed. For a few thousands dead in terrorist attacks, the world is made hostage, billions of dollars are put to the fire, cities devastated and tens of thousands of innocents killed. For millions of death as the result of the pursuance of socio-economic policies dictated by the forces of globalisation, virtually nothing is done except a few cosmetic measures.

Islam does not just safeguard health; it also takes steps to strengthen all aspects of health. Quran talks of variety of food including milk, flesh, fruits, honey and vegetables – Quran does not promote exclusive non-vegetarianism and instead emphasises the availability of multiple kinds of food; the Prophetic traditions are supportive of exercises like swimming, wrestling and other sports; the prayers and fasting strengthen all the aspects of health, namely, physical, mental, social and spiritual; there is emphasis on controlled eating; spiritually elevating exercises go a long way in improving the mental and physical health.

Challenges before Islamic Theory of Health

Unfortunately we are living in a world where religion – thanks to the designs of the forces of globalisation – is being presented as some kind of a demon, which must be slaughtered. If killing it is not possible, they think, it should at least be contained. The truth is just the reverse. The need of the time is to engage and kill the monster of economic fundamentalism as soon as possible. The challenge before the Quranic theory of Health is twofold.
First, in an environment full of disrespect for the role of religion, the intellectual mind tends to reject anything that is primarily based on the religious texts. The world has to be told that if religion appears to have become something unworthy of serious consideration in scientific development, it is because the vested interests find religion an obstacle in their rise and also because the Islamic scholars have not succeeded in presenting Islam as a viable alternative for the current system. Quran’s theory of health is to be promoted in a way that it does not look to be a part of any political designs to impose Islam. The world is to be convinced that it is in the interest of the mankind to benefit from the theory; and they must not feel shy to accept it, as it is scientifically much better placed to establish a healthy society than the current theory is. The medical fraternity in particular is to be convinced that if we want a healthier world, Quran’s theory of health is the best and most potent option.

Second, the biggest challenge to the theory will of course come from the forces of globalisation. They will not let it even a subject of serious deliberation, as the application of the theory would signal doom for their commercial interests. In order to overcome this challenge, Muslims must pursue an aggressive policy of promoting all the aspects of the theory and their implications. A very serious endeavour has to be made to earn the support of other religions, especially Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism. The leaders of these religions have to be told that Quran’s theory of health is much more consistent with the principles of these religions than the modern theory is. The basic fundamental of all religions is the same, each one of which promotes a healthy morality rather than the commercial morality advanced by the market forces. They have to be mobilised in favour of a movement to give religion the place it deserves. Such an endeavour will also go a long way to bridging the gulf between different religious communities. If the great religions unite against the forces of economic fundamentalism, there is no reason why healthy morality cannot be restored to the system.

Islam does not regard itself as an exclusive religion having no relation to other religions. Islam in fact is the final destination of a long journey of religion, Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity and other religions being notable milestones in that journey. Quran is the culmination of the process of guidance that included great scriptures like Vedas, Torah and Gospel. Accepting an Islamic system does not in anyway mean rejection or abandoning of other religions. One way of making the theory more acceptable is to present its secular version, which will present the same theory but without basing the arguments on the religious sources. This however in my view is not the right thing to do, as it would weaken the position of those religionists who want to see religion emerge as a beacon of guidance. It will be a gift on a platter to those who do not want to subscribe any beneficial role to religion, in general, or Islam, in particular. Let’s fight and defeat those who are trying to make the world more entertaining and more glamorous! Let’s all unite in our endeavour to make the world cleaner, healthier and more peaceful!


Beneficial Effects of Wudu and Prayer

• Weiss JR, Burgess JB, Kaplan KJ. Fetiform teratoma (homunculus). Arch Pathol Lab Med 2006;130(10):1552-1556.
• Gray’s Textbook of Anatomy
• Watson JD, Berry A. DNA: The Secret of Life. New York, NY: Random House; 2003.
• Translation of Quran by Abdulla Yusuf Ali. (Brackets omitted)
• Abbott TM, Hermann WJ, Scully RE. Ovarian fetiform teratoma (homunculus) in a 9-year-old girl. Int J Gynecol Pathol 1984;2:392–402.
• Kuno N, Kadomatsu K, Nakamura M, Miwa-Fukuchi T, Hirabayashi N, Ishizuka T. Mature ovarian cystic teratoma with a highly differentiated homunculus: a case report. Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol 2004;70:40–46.
• Florescu, Radu (1975). In Search of Frankenstein. Boston: New York Graphic Society. ISBN 0-8212-0614-1.
• Gregory, Richard L. (1990). Eye and Brain: The Psychology of Seeing, 4th ed., Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-02456-1.
• Gregory, Richard L. (ed.) (1987). The Oxford Companion to the Mind. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-866124-X.
• Maconius, S. (1980). The Lore of the Homunculus. Red Lion Publications.
• Ryle, Gilbert [1949] (1984). The Concept of Mind. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-73295-9.
• Waite, Arthur Edward (ed.) [1894] (1976). The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Aureolus Philippus Theophrastus Bombast, of Hohenheim, Called Paracelsus the Great, 2 vols., Berkeley: Shambhala. ISBN 0-87773-082-2.
• Arbes SJ Jr, Slade GD, Beck JD: Association between extent of periodontal attachment loss and self- reported history of heart attack: an analysis of NHANES III data. J Dent Res 1999 Dec; 78(12): 1777-82
• Baltch AL, Pressman HL, Hammer MC, et al: Bacteremia following dental extractions in patients with and without penicillin prophylaxis. Am J Med Sci 1982 May-Jun; 283(3): 129-40
• Beck J, Garcia R, Heiss G, et al: Periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease. J Periodontol 1996 Oct; 67(10 Suppl): 1123-37
• Dajani AS, Taubert KA, Wilson W, et al: Prevention of bacterial endocarditis. Recommendations by the American Heart Association. JAMA 1997 Jun 11; 277(22): 1794-801
• Dorn BR, Dunn WA Jr, Progulske-Fox A: Invasion of human coronary artery cells by periodontal pathogens. Infect Immun 1999 Nov; 67(11): 5792-8
• Herzberg MC, Brintzenhofe KL, Clawson CC: Aggregation of human platelets and adhesion of Streptococcus sanguis. Infect Immun 1983 Mar; 39(3): 1457-69
• Peterson LJ, Peacock R: The incidence of bacteremia in pediatric patients following tooth extraction. Circulation 1976 Apr; 53(4): 676-9
• Seinost G, Wimmer G, Skerget M, et al: Periodontal treatment improves endothelial dysfunction in patients with severe periodontitis. Am Heart J 2005 Jun; 149(6): 1050-4
• Shively BK, Gurule FT, Roldan CA, et al: Diagnostic value of transesophageal compared with transthoracic echocardiography in infective endocarditis. J Am Coll Cardiol 1991 Aug; 18(2): 391-
• Lewis WH, Elvin-Lewis MPF. Medical Botany: Plants Affecting Man's Health. John Wiley and Sons, New York, 1977, pp 226-270.
• Holmstrup P, Poulsen AH, Andersen L et al. Oral infections and systemic diseases. Dent Clin N Am 2003, 47: 575-598
• Al-Otaibi M, Al-Harthy M, Soder B et al. Comparative effect of chewing sticks and toothbrushing on plaque removal and gingival health. Oral Health Prev Dent 2003; 1(4): 301-307
• Almas, K. (Aug 2002). "The effect of Salvadora persica extract (miswak) and chlorhexidine gluconate on human dentin: a SEM study.". J Contemp Dent Pract. 3 (3): 27-35. Retrieved on 2006-08-12
1)"Dr. Sniadach – True Health Freedom 3
2) The Health Benefits of Fasting by Will Carroll

No comments:

Post a Comment


Email to:

Voice of Moderate Muslims

Voice of Moderate Muslims
Voice of Moderate Muslims

Moderate Islam Speaker

Moderate Islam Speaker
Moderate Islam Speaker

quraan burning

Planned Muslim Response to Qur'an Burning by Pastor Jones on September 11 in Mulberry, Florida

August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas

Mike Ghouse
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916

Mirza A Beg
(205) 454-8797


We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.

Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”

God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.

We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration ( held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.

Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.

As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.

We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.

We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.

We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.

Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.

Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.

We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.


Thank you.


The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.