Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says in the glorious Qur’an (17:82) “And we send down of the Qur’an that which is healing and mercy for the believers, but it does not increase the wrong doers except in loss.” A key word in this Ayah is healing. What is healing? Healing has been defined in medical encyclopedias as “the diagnosis of the cause of physical and mental sickness and the development of techniques for its cure.”
More than 300 scientific studies demonstrate the medical value of religious commitment like prayers and active participation in a spiritual community. The benefits include enhanced prevention and treatment of mental disorders like depression, suicide, anxiety, and medical/surgical illness like heart disease and cancer, to name a few. Research also has shown that a spiritual treatment like prayer and religiously based psychotherapy enhances recovery.
Recently a study was conducted by a medical college in Lahore on the effect of late Night Prayer (Tahajjud) in curbing depression. In the study, one experimental group was advised to recite the Holy Qur’an, offer prayer and to be busy in invocation (zikr.) The second group was asked to remain busy in home-tasks. Astonishingly 25 out of 32 (76%) patients of the first group showed remarkable recovery from depression. The majority of the other group showed no change.
The holy Qur’an (13:28-29) says, “those who believed and those whose hearts are assured by the remembrance of Allah. Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah, hearts are assured. Those who have believed and done righteous deeds- joy (Tuba) and true happiness is for them and good return.”
Tuba is an internal state of satisfaction, an inward joy which is difficult to describe in words that safely carries a good person through positive and negative events of life until he/she reaches destination. After his/her life’s struggles are over, he/she reaches the beautiful home of rest in the Hereafter.
The true happiness in fact comes from belief in Almighty Creator. While all pleasures stemming from carnal desires disappear soon after their satisfactions, the bliss surrounding moral and spiritual consummation always remains alive and fresh in the human soul and mind.
The value of prayers is underscored once more in Qur’an 9:103 when Allah says, “Pray for the believers because that is a source of security, serenity and tranquility for them.” Similarly, according to Hadeeth, there are some people whose prayer (du’a) is not rejected. They are the fasting person until he breaks his fast, the just ruler and the oppressed person.
Allah advises all believers to seek strength in patience and prayer, Allah is with those who are patient (Qur’an 2:153.) When the period of suffering seems to be too long, strength seems to be sapping, patience may soon be exhausted unless strength is renewed. Prayer is the ever flowing spring which renews the believer’s energy and gives them strength. Prayer, also add to perseverance, contentment, confidence and reassurance that they are not alone.
Before ending this article, I would like to remind you that the first surah of the Qur’an is called in Arabic, ashshafiyah meaning the Healer and the Cure from all ailments. No wonder this surah is recited in prayers at least 17 times daily.
When Abu Hurairah, a companion of the Prophet was suffering from intestinal pain, the Prophet (peace be upon him) advised him: “stand up and pray because healing is in prayer.” Surprised by the impact of prayer on healing, many doctors tend to believe that the miracle of spiritual healing should be accepted as the newest medical technology.
Dr. Mohammed Saleh is an educational consultant based in Surrey, British Columbia and can be reached at email@example.com.