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Concerning The Reports Regarding Medicine

Says the Shaykh: Our belief as regards the reports handed down about medicine (at-tib) is that they are of various kinds.

Some of them have reference to the climatic conditions of Mecca and Medina, and are therefore not applicable to other conditions.

Some are reports from an expert based on his knowledge of the physical condition of the questioner (patient), not living far from his place, inasmuch as he (the 'alim) knew the condition of the questioner better than the questioner himself.

Some have been wrongfully interpolated in the books by opponents to show up the religion in false colors.

And among them are some regarding which the reporter has fallen into an error.

And among them are others concerning which something is remembered and something forgotten.

And what is related about honey ('asal), that it is the remedy for all diseases, is correct. It's meaning is that it is a remedy for all diseases due to cold (barid). And what is related concerning purification (after excretion) by cold water, for him who suffers from piles, applies only in the case of a patient whose piles are due to heat (harara).

And what is related concerning brinjal (badinjan) as a curative agent, applies surely in the case of a person who eats dates at the time when they are ripening, and not at other times.

And as for the most effective of medicines for diseases, as reported from the Imams, on whom be peace, they are the verses of the Qur'an and its chapters and prayers, contained in reports, which are handed down by trustworthy authorities and through reliable channels.

Imam Ja'far said: In times past, a physician (tabib) used to be called mu'alij (one who cures). Musa bin 'Imran said: O Lord, from whom does disease originate? He (Allah) said: From Me. Musa said: And from whom does medicine come? Allah said: From Me.

Musa said: And why do the people have the mu'alij (physician)? Allah said: In order to please themselves. And for this reason the physician is called tabib. And the real meaning of at-tib is to treat one's self medically (tadawa).

In the niche (mihrab) of David, on whom be peace, a kind of grass used to grow every day, and it used to say: Take me, for verily I shall be useful for such and such a thing. At the end of his life, David saw a grass growing in his mihrab and he said to it: What is thy name? And the grass replied: I am the kharubiya. And David said: The mihrab is ruined. And thereafter nothing would grow in it.

The Prophet, on whom be the peace and blessings of God, said: He whom (the sura) al-Hamd (Fatiha) does not cure, may Allah not cure him.

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