AHMAD AND Mrs. NIKHAT AHMAD
The most important cause of morbidity today is the stress and strain of life. Not only this, but directly or indirectly the stress and strain of life. Not only this, but directly or indirectly the stress and strains of life are also one of the most important causative factors of cornary artery diseases which stands out as the number on ekiller of mankind today.
"We are born in pain, we die in pain and in between there are pains both psychic and somatic". One cannot avoid stress in life nor can we live without stress. It is essential for the development of human faculties. But excess of it is extremely damaging to the human body. Minimising stress within tolerable limits is the goal of modern physical and psychological therapy.
The present work attempts to analyse how best Islamic practices have contributed to solving the psychological problems and have helped towards a healthier living in a chieving positive health.
Because of the limited space only the commonly practiced methods which minimise stress and bring about relaxation both physcial and mental will be discussed int he light of Islam.
The following methods of relaxation have been selected for the present discussion.
1. MID-DAY NAP
A short mid-day nap (Qailulah) is a Sunnah. The value of this mid-day nap in total body relaxation has been appreciated recently by scientists.
Not only does a mid-day nap give relaxation to the body in day time but it is also very conducive to sleep at right.
Relaxing once during the day is very conducive to total relaxation and sleep - once you crawn into bed for the night (Kerner)
It should be appreciated that insomnia is a "powerful stressor in itself". The Sunnah of short mid-day nap may, therefore, be practiced as a remedy for sleeplessness.
Furthermore, the sunnah is not necessarily to sleep during the day but to lie down for some time to relax. This is exactly what is required for proper relaxation according to the modem scientific investigations.
2. FAITH IN THE ALMIGHTY CREATOR AND SUSTAINER
Lack of faith in the Almighty Creator is one of the theories of psychological disorders leading to psychoneurosis and psychoses. This can be understood from the knowledge of the mechanisms of development disorders.
Man is constantly exposed to stress conditions. It is not possible to avoid stress in life. One tries to adjust to the stresses of life by methods which he has learned as well as by the inherited tendencies of reactions to stress. The resul of this stress adaptation interaction is a STESS REACTION. The effect of this stress reaction will depend upon the severity on stress and on the power of adaptation of the individual to stress. If stress is mild an dpower of adaptation is good, the reaction results in an adjustment which is beneficial to the individual. However, if the stress is severe and adjustment poor, it results in major mental disorders (psychosis).
A person who has the faith in Allah the Alkmighty and He is with Him, has an intense moral support which will sustain him in th emost adverse situations in life.
Hadith Sharif mentions extensively of the importance of the virtues of remembrances of Allah and the Holy Quran bears a testimony to it in the following words:
BEHOLD ITS MERIT THAT REMEMBRANCE OF ALLAH BESTOWS SATISFACTION OF HEART
It is logical to conclude that believing in one Allah as preached by Islam provides the real moral support as needed in life and bestows satisfaction of heart.
3. FAITH IN LIFE HEREAFTER AND ACCEPTING THE INEVITABLE
In the light of the foregoing discussion, it is obvious that one who believes that the troubles of this Dunia are nothing but emporary and Dunia is Fani, and there is a life hereafter, will be content with whatever he gets in this world. 'Accepting the inevitable' is an important and indispensable mechanism of psychological defence against frustration.
Those who do not have faith in life hereafter are totally dprived of this benefit. Those who believe in a temporary life hereafter will be partially deprived of this benefit and those who believe that they will get the rewards of all their deeds in the world only, should be expected to have an effect of fear rather than relief.
The faith in destiny and in the life hereafter as is preached by Islam should definitely be the most effective sustainer for anybody.
4. CARE OF NEIGHBOURS
In the so-called 'most advanced places', it is a fact that people do not know even their immediate neighbours. The scientific significance of keeping good relations with neighbours is being appreciated only recently with the observations of Hans Seley, known as the father of the science of Stress. He has concluded that the most important factor affecting mental peace is having good relations with neighbours. In most of the religions good relations with neighbours has been emphasized. But the meaning of aneighbour and the type of relations to be kept with neighbours is very comprehensive in Islam. As for the definition of a neighbour, in Islam all persons living in the 40 houses from the houses of an indiviudal, in all directions, are his neighbours. As regards the rights of the neighbours; these are extensive in Islam. Hazrat Gibrail stressed so much on the right of neighbours that once it appeared to Rasool (pbuh) that neighbours may have a share in the property of a person. Thus one can appreciate the status of a neighbour as considered in Islam.
It is the faith of all Muslims that all the teachings of the Prophet (pbuh) are the best of the actions. The psychiatrist will definitely realise their significance when he will look at it in an unbiased perspective.
5. SLEEP POSTURE
The posture one adopts while sleeping reveals a lot about the personality of the person, his attitude towards life and so on.
Lying down in bed relaxes the muscles of the body and the degree of relaxation is determined by the sleep posture adopted by the person.
In the semifoetal position the person lies on his side with arms and legs partially folded. The limbs are not kept in an exactly opposed position.
In terms of physical comfort, in this position it is possible to turn from side to side without undoing the set configuration of the body position. It is supposed to be the best position in terms of physical comfort. It has, therefore, been considered as the best position for relaxation.
According to an old proverb the kings are known to prefer to sleep on their back, the rich man on his stomach and th ewise man on his side.
These abovementioned observations bear testimony to the superiority of sleeping in semi-flexed position on one side.
The sleep position which was adopted by Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) is a Sunnah and is scrupulously adopted by devout Muslims. He used to lie on his right-side with limbs slightly flexed, right hand below his cheek and facing towrds Kaba Sharif. This position is similar to the semi-foetal position described above, and, obviously in the light of the existing knowledge about sleep posture, is the position adopted by a highly balanced person psychologically. It is also the best posture for relaxation, both physical and psychological. Adherence to this sleep posture should therefore, contribute a lot to total body relaxation.
SALAT AS A MEANS OF RELAXATION
In salat the person concentrates on Allah, who is not a formed object but a Light, a Noor, with all His qualities of being Rahman and Rahim. He is unlimited and will remain forever. He is the Master of the Day of Judgement, the Qeyamat, when the fate of every body will be decided. The person not only concentrates on Allah but also talks to Him in a murmuring voice, reciting His own words. The person not only sits before Allah, but stands before Him, bows down before Him and finally prostrates before Him. Praising Him with words better than which no human mind can think of and better than which no human can utter. Finally, he recites the conversation which took place between Allah and Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) during Meraj. Obviously both in physical form and in mental state, this should be a definite improvement on the most sophisticated method of concentration devised by human mind.
From theforegoing discussion, it is obvious that scientific researches have confirmed the superiority of Islamic practices. Further researches will definaitely reveal more astonishing facts regarding the superiority of faith in one Almighty Allah, faith in the eternal life hereafter and in the life style of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh).
Anxiety and psychological maladjustments bring about a chain of metabolic changes which, in turn, produce damage in various tissues of the body - causing 'PSYCHOSOMATIC DISEASE'. These diseases are the most important cause of, morbidity and mortality of mankind today. Islamic practices bring about peace of mind and soul apart from giving phsycial relaxation. Undoubtedly, if one adheres to the teachings of Prophet (pbuh) he will be greatly benefited in this life as well as in the life here after.
Al-Quran-ul Hakeem (Surah Ra'ad)