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a well wisher  
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 25 May 2010 at 3:41pm
Accepting Death and Dying
 
Modern medicine whispers to us something we prefer not to admit that we like hearing. Softly it soothes our fears by implying that death is unnatural. Death as unnatural has become a truism in our culture that does not need a proof. It does not fit with our image of our worth, and thus is a tragedy at best, a travesty at worst. To conquer death is part of modern medicine’s mission, although no one would admit to this. Of course it is ironic that in the age of biology, where death is understood as part of the life cycle, we secretly, or unconsciously, believe in an immortality not to be attained in an afterlife or a different bodily form, but rather in this life, with our own bodies that we already possess. Like the character in Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure,” we hold that a lived life, no matter how badly it is lived, is better than any death. This “kneaded knot,” as the human flesh is called, should not cease to be the beauty that it is.

 

While modern biology has enshrined death as part of the cycle of life, our perception of our place in history makes it an affront to our sensibilities. Thus, death is hardly allowed any space in our world. Not that we do not know that it is coming, but we act as if it will never come. The very form in which we have shaped our existence now presupposes its absence. In this sense, we are at a unique moment in human history: death might be everywhere, but it is always something that happens to others who are not as careful as we have been so far. Collectively, we insist on structuring our lives as if death has no bearing on it. Death, in this sense, is not even a metaphysical problem any more.

Life to us is not infused with the overwhelming presence of death, and so death does not cast a shadow over our lives. Life no longer reminds us of death. None of us would echo the words of Purcell’s “Funeral Mass for Queen Ann” and declare that in the midst of life we are in death. In the midst of life we are in life.

Thus, to speak about death and life after death as presented in an old text, a pre-modern text –  the Qur’an  – is to try and imagine a world in which the reality of death was the only certitude and the only predictable element in human life. This is almost impossible for us to envision, for death in this form does not exist for us. To us, death is always an accident having no independence or reality. Ontologically, death does not exist, for it is no more than the result of a germ, a car accident, or aging mitochondria. If only we fiddle enough with the gene responsible for aging, we will have life eternal. If only we had enough antioxidants in our cells! As such, we do not concede a place to death; however, we all seem to die despite ourselves.

It is thus inescapable that when we speak of death and the afterlife as the ancients spoke of them, we often sound absurd, as absurd as talking about devils and demons as if they were real. The only way to speak sensibly of death and life after death as such is to treat them as historical topics instead of ontological realities. To come face to face with how the ancients saw death is invariably amusing to us, as we are amused when we admire the pyramids and the mummies. Had the ancient Egyptians known what we know, they would not have lived their lives so absurdly.

But an historical investigation can only take us so far. Perhaps we ought to add another dimension in an attempt to situate ourselves in their place. A good place to start a dialogue with the ancients is to admit the similarity between our predicament and theirs. Thus despite the apparent differences in our attitudes to death, there is a shared predicament that makes us both alike. We deal with death by denying its existence; they dealt with it by making it the only constant. It is not that we are any more rational than they were or that we have solved the riddle, for modern medicine is not helping us any more than mummification helped them. Yet we are not willing to give up antibiotics any more than they were willing to give up mummification. The inequities they visited upon their corpses in order to mummify them are matched with our willingness to let the knife of the plastic surgeon visit our living bodies to keep ourselves forever young.

This difference is not one of superiority, for our presumed correct understanding of what death is has not reconciled us to it, just as their faulty understanding of death did not mean that they were less able to enjoy life and its beauty. Our faith is pinned on modern medicine and its promises; theirs was based on mummification or any other salvific promise and the power inherent therein to ensure a resurrection of the body. In many ways we have conquered religion by making all of its promises real and visible in this life.

Ultimately, no matter how much we analyze the understanding of death in rational terms, we will not understand  unless we also imagine death as a reality and accept it as a  necessary consequence of life.

Walid Saleh
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote searching Replybullet Posted: 04 June 2010 at 4:50am
Thank you for this post, sister. I will take the time to read through all of the articles you so kindly posted. I am interested in the Black Seed oil. I saw it in an Islamic bookshop that also sells other Islamic products including modest clothing. I have huge problems with inflammation in my knees and even blood tests show inflammation, though not autoimmune.

It's amazing what prayer and even other human beings can do to promote healing. Having caring family around a patient can make a huge difference for the sick. Faith and hope can also really promote healing.

But what I want to know is why God would let one person survive and another suffer? Why would he make the one suffer and pass away, leaving children behind? God is so powerful so why can't He cure more people? Is it that He chose for them to have cancer, or just didn't cure it? And if He loves us so much, why not help us with this type of suffering? I do all I can to help my patients get well but I don't really have the power to heal them. If I did, I would. I need help and guidance with this. It has always been a tough thing for me to understand and has led to my own faith wavering at times.

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote OneFaith Replybullet Posted: 04 June 2010 at 6:38pm
I haven't read it completely yet, but I just loved it! God bless and heal US ALL!
17:36 And follow not that of which you have not the knowledge; surely the hearing and the sight and the heart, all of these, shall be questioned about that.
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 05 June 2010 at 12:22am
Originally posted by searching



But what I want to know is why God would let one person survive and another suffer? Why would he make the one suffer and pass away, leaving children behind? God is so powerful so why can't He cure more people? Is it that He chose for them to have cancer, or just didn't cure it? And if He loves us so much, why not help us with this type of suffering? I do all I can to help my patients get well but I don't really have the power to heal them. If I did, I would. I need help and guidance with this. It has always been a tough thing for me to understand and has led to my own faith wavering at times.



This world we live in is not a final destination

It is a transition phase

Life is similar to a test, an exam which starts from the age of puberty till the last day in each person's life. To try to respond to your question, there are several factors involved:

1- Free will: God gave us free will. Some people fall ill with serious health problems due to the misuse of their free will. Drug addicts for example, alcoholics, ... etc. harm their selves with the lifestyle they freely choose to follow.


2- Injustice: The health condition of some other people may deteriorate due to injustice committed by others, like for example a person who drives while drunk, and causes an accident where other innocent people are harmed.

3- Environmental Problems: We are damaging our own environment with some of our actions, and recent years it seems this has lead to an increase in cancer patients. Again this is our mistake and an issue which we need to fix

In addition, there are other cases where illness can affect people for none of the above causes, like for example when some people are born with genetic problems which they inherit from their parents. Some people are cured and other aren't. And this is part of each person's test in life. We may not understand the wisdom in each case, but as this thread illustrated, there are many cases which are cured through prayers, and through faith.

We do our best in life, and deal with the problems we face in the best way we can, including seeking cure from illness, but at the end it is God's decision who will be cured and who won't.

Illness is one of the factors which lead human beings to the next life, as no one is Eternal. Caring for those who are ill is a sign of mercy in the heart, and as God commands us to take care of parents, He also commands us to care for those who are ill.



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Throughout my life I haven't understood how when things are good, people are "blessed" by God. I'm not just talking about Islam's perspective on this. For example, "God blessed me with a healthy child." But what about the truly faithful people who pray and live their lives according to God's rules but have a child who is sick, who suffers and maybe even dies. Are they too blessed? Should they thank God for this? And why would God bring such suffering upon innocent people who worship Him? Why not let them be and test those with no faith? I really struggle with this.
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 05 June 2010 at 5:06am
Originally posted by searching

Throughout my life I haven't understood how when things are good, people are "blessed" by God. I'm not just talking about Islam's perspective on this. For example, "God blessed me with a healthy child." But what about the truly faithful people who pray and live their lives according to God's rules but have a child who is sick, who suffers and maybe even dies. Are they too blessed? Should they thank God for this? And why would God bring such suffering upon innocent people who worship Him? Why not let them be and test those with no faith? I really struggle with this.


A believer should thank God under all conditions

When someone goes through a health hardship, he/she thanks God for His many other blessings and at the same time asks Him for good health

God tests
all people, those with faith and those without faith. In some cases, a hardship can be a reason for someone without faith to search for God, and this becomes a reason for his/her guidance. In this case, it's a blessing in disguise, as it leads to a happy eternal life in the Hereafter

You may wish to look at this similar Q&A for more details:

http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?pagename=IslamOnline-English-Ask_Scholar/FatwaE/FatwaE&cid=1119503544478

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 05 June 2010 at 9:27am
Originally posted by searching

Thank you for this post, sister. I will take the time to read through all of the articles you so kindly posted. I am interested in the Black Seed oil. I saw it in an Islamic bookshop that also sells other Islamic products including modest clothing. I have huge problems with inflammation in my knees and even blood tests show inflammation, though not autoimmune.

 
Hello Sister Searching
 
I am sorry for the late reply but my internet connection is giving me problems at the moment and I hope I can type out my replies to you Insha Allah...I will type them in parts so that atleast I can respond to some of the things
 
Sister if you can please mention your diagnosis then maybe I can help you with it...PM me the details insha Allah...Black seed according to the Prophetic tradition does hold immense healing properties...it is good for inflammation as well...so do try it out but start of with a small dose like a teaspoon a day....it takes around a week or two to feel the difference but some people may get dizzy and have to reduce the dose but Insha Allah I hope it works for you...May Allah grant you good health Aameen...My mother has a knee problem as well....she was diagnosed quite a few years back with villonodular synovitis but she refused to have surgeries...Masha Allah she is quite strong and tred out several things that with God's mercy helped her alot...One thing you can try out is to soak your feet in warm water containing rock salt for 15 -20 mins everyday...it helps with the circulation and inflammation....Also there is this plant in Pakistan called neem tree  (Azadirachta indica) which is very good for inflammation....currently she is using  herbal medicine made out of it and it helped her alot ...I think California might have these trees...ask around and let me know Insha Allah.
 
I hope you don't take pain killers on a regular basis  or anything...Don't use NSAIDs for longer period of time...If possible try to find healthier alternatives...May you fully recover from all that ails you Aameen..
 
Take Care and God Bless You
 
 


Edited by a well wisher - 05 June 2010 at 11:01am
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 05 June 2010 at 10:01am
Originally posted by searching

But what I want to know is why God would let one person survive and another suffer? Why would he make the one suffer and pass away, leaving children behind? God is so powerful so why can't He cure more people? Is it that He chose for them to have cancer, or just didn't cure it? And if He loves us so much, why not help us with this type of suffering? I do all I can to help my patients get well but I don't really have the power to heal them. If I did, I would. I need help and guidance with this. It has always been a tough thing for me to understand and has led to my own faith wavering at times.

 
 
 
I myself have struggled alot with those questions esp when I decided to pursue Medicine so in a way I can fully sympathize with you...but I'll copy some perspectives so if you would kindly consider them then maybe you can get some of your answers Insha Allah...
 
 
Life is a cacophony of trial and tribulation...God has given us so many gifts and blessings that we simply cannot count them all. One of His most awesome blessings to us is our health - both good and bad. Disease does not prove the non-existence of health altogether nor decay the non-existence of body. It is an extraordinary blessing when we are healthy and it is also an extraordinary blessing when we are ill. So how can these two opposite statements be true at the same time? After all, to be sick can be a very difficult trial, (although it may be a source of many blessings - blessings in disguise at that!) whereas to be healthy is comparatively easy to bear. Sometimes Sickness wakes people up from heedlessness, guides them to give up their sins, makes them think about the Hereafter, leads them to pious foundations; makes them more thankful to Allah, and teaches them the necessity of taking better care of their health and making better use of their life - something they didn't realise before - teaches them to understand other sick and other people in pain better, to feel sorry for them and to help them; and raises their ranks and degrees higher in the Hereafter.Allah  created suffering and heartache so that a joyful heart might appear through its opposite...Hidden things become manifest and known to us only by means of their opposites.
 
Trials and tribulations is not an end on itself. It is a temporal event and a part of a process beyond which lies the reality of something good and desirable.

Though calamities may hit a believer as a surprise, the reality is that by virtue of being a believer one is supposed to suffer. If a believer understands the Islamic philosophy that this life is a testing ground, then he should realize that this philosophy will be implemented for him in practice while he lives in this testing ground, and not after he dies. Tests are not just limited to see whether one performs the rituals or not. His belief and commitments to Allah (swt), and his focus in the Hereafter will be fully and thoroughly tested with calamities and afflictions to gauge the depth of his faith in his heart.Allah, may He be glorified, says:
 
Ye shall certainly be tried and tested in your possessions and in your personal selves. (3:186)
Do men think that they will be left alone on saying “We believe” and that they will not be tested? (29:2)
Be sure We shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil); but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere. (2:155)
 
The punishment in the Hereafter is much severe – in fact unimaginable from our worldly perspective – than any affliction one can face in this world. Therefore, when Allah (swt) loves someone and intends for him or her to go to Paradise, He wipes out his sins and mistakes and rewards him highly by putting him to afflictions in this world
 
Therefore, no matter how difficult one’s situation is or how sever his sufferings, he should have absolutely no doubt in his mind he has the ability to deal with the trial. Allah (swt) is Just, and every affliction that He tests his faithful servant with, there is always two viable outcome for him: passing the test with success and thus earning Allah’s good pleasure, or failing it.
 
The believers should know it for fact that Allah (swt) never puts any burden on a soul that is beyond its ability to bear
 
On no soul doth Allah place a burden greater than it can bear. (2:286)
On no soul do We place a burden greater than it can bear: before Us is a record which clearly shows the truth: they will never be wronged. (23:62)
No burden do We place on any soul but that which it can bear. (6:152)
And those who believe and do good – We do not impose upon any of them a burden beyond his capacity. (7:42)

Is there any achievement without an effort or any fruit without labor? The obvious pattern that we see in our human experience is that those who work hard and go through the process of struggle are rewarded with success in this materialistic world. The greatest reward of everything that one can imagine is Paradise. In fact, the bliss and happiness in Paradise is so great that one cannot even imagine it (32:17). How can then one expect that he will achieve this greatest success without him being thoroughly tested to see if he qualifies for it?
 
One should not think that following the rituals, such as making salat five times a day, is enough test for him. The external rituals that we do and the laws of the shari’a that we observe returns immediate benefit to us as they bring peace and happiness to our families and provide us with a healthy social and moral society in which to live and prosper. Thus, one should not expect that observing Allah’s commandments and reaping these benefits in turn is the only tests. The real test is the test of the heart where faith lives, and that is tested with affliction and hardship to check if the faith and trust in Allah is firm and well-rooted or is it weak and superficial:
 
Sickness
All living creatures will die to pass the inheritance of this world to the next generations, and with the exception of a few cases, death will come through one sickness or another. This is a reality that all have to accept. No matter how virtuous one is, he is not exempted form sickens and disease. We know the examples of many Prophets who suffered from sickness, such as Prophet Job who suffered from severe skin disorder for years. Prophet Muhammad (p) himself suffered from sickness. 'Aisha, one of his wives, said: “I never saw anybody suffering so much from sickness as Allah's Apostle.”[6] For a believer, suffering from sickness is not just a reality but also a philosophy that comes with blessings. He knows that Allah (swt) in His mercy will expiate some of his sins if he remains patient through it.
 
 The Prophet (p) said:

No Muslim is afflicted with harm because of sickness or some other inconvenience, but that Allah will remove his sins for him as a tree sheds its leaves. (Bukhari)

Aminah Assilmi, a convert to Islam, mentioned about a person who died of cancer. He was only 20 years old, and yet she was dazzled by this young man’s faith and love of Allah in the midst of suffering. She wrote: Shortly before he died, he told me that Allah was truly Merciful. This man was in unbelievable anguish and was radiating with Allah’s love. He said: “Allah intends that I should enter heaven with a clean book.” His death experience gave me something to think about. He taught me of Allah’s love and mercy.
 
It is Allah s.w.t. who is our Creator and it is He in His Perfection and Wisdom (as well as with all His other attributes) who 'runs the show' shall we say. Absolutely nothing can occur without His permission. When He, in His perfect wisdom, decrees good health for us, then we will be healthy. When He in His perfect wisdom decrees ill health for us, then we will suffer from illness. Good health is truly a wonderful blessing and we should be grateful when Allah s.w.t. decrees that for us. It is an honour. But then ill health is also a marvellous blessing. If a sick person can still remain grateful to Allah s.w.t. through the course of his or her sufferings, trials and tests of illness, and still not oppose his or her destiny and endure patiently, then there will be many rewards and recompenses for them. Their sufferings will be rewarded with spiritual honours and gifts of forgiveness.
 
It's the same with death, it's a joyful occasion-the reunion of a loving friend after a long separation (i.e., meeting our Maker).
The Holy Qur'an makes it very clear that our origin is from Allah s.w.t. and ultimately that is where we will be returned:
"To Allah we belong, and to Him is our return"
 
For a muslim death marks the transition from one state of existence to the next.Islam teaches that life on earth is an examination-the life to come is the eternal abode where one will reap the fruit's of one's endeavours on Earth.Death is therefore not to be resisted but when it happens it is to be accepted as part of the overall divine Plan.It is they who radiate a faith in everlasting life which in its turn takes away the sting from ill health and death and enables us to view life with a sense of ease." .So life is a gift -- a trust from Allah s.w.t. Our bodies and our lives belong to Him. Therefore, as trustees, we are required to take care of our bodies, protect our bodies from all adversities and guard our lives under all circumstances, until the appointed hour of our transfer to the other world comes from Allah.Allah
s.w.t. has created all of creation out of His Mercy (Rahmat) as a manifestation of His glorious name 'al-Rahman' and so no matter what one's destiny is, whether it be health, sickness, wealth, poverty, etc., etc., there is Mercy and Wisdom in it.The French philosopher Montaigne said:
 
"A person is not influenced by what happens as much as he is by his opinion regarding what happens."
 
 Prophet (bpuh) supplicated: "O' Allah, make me pleased with your decree, so that I may know that whatever has befallen me was not meant to miss me, and what has passed me by, was not meant to be in my lot."
 
If a person chooses to remain blind and therefore refuses to benefit from the many "blessings in disguise" that are given to us, then the seeds of his or her own discontent have been planted. What kind of a plant could possibly grow from those seeds? Think about it . . . self-pity and anger are both poisonous. All that could ever grow from those kinds of reactions to suffering is abject misery and sometimes even a desire to end it all.
 
One always has the privilege/obligation to choose one of the two alternatives - one of the two divergent roads...To be miserable and unhappy because of self-pity or angry over something that one have no control over is not only futile but a complete waste of time. Putting your full trust in the Maker brings ease even in hardship... 
 
Only those who are patient shall receive their rewards in full, without reckoning.  (Qur'an 39: 10)
And indeed the Hereafter is better for you than the present [life of this world].     (Qur 'an 93: 4)
 
Therefore there is a secret to guide one in this life----and that is to know the triviality of this world.

Take care and God Bless


Edited by a well wisher - 05 June 2010 at 10:04am
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How to Overcome The Emotional Aspect of Disease
 
When serious disease strikes, most think of its physical effects. But every illness, every disease has an emotional aspect, too. Emotions influence how people react to the news, their resolve to fight disease, and the extent to which they recover from it or learn to live with it.
“We are psychological beings. Dealing with job loss, relationship loss, death of a loved one, all these have physical consequences, affecting our sleep and our eating habits. In the same way, we respond psychologically to physical illness.”People may go through shock, denial, anger, grief or fear when diagnosed with a chronic or life-threatening illness.How quickly people sort through these emotions depends on the person – on his or her attitude, family structure, support system, spirituality and cultural beliefs.
 
All chronic diseases and terminal illnesses generate emotional responses.It manifests itself in different ways. One patient doesn’t want to deal with it or talk about it, the next person drowns in sadness,Medical specialists like oncologists are trained to combat physical, not emotional, illness,  “We focus on the physical aspects, the tumor size and shrinking it.”

A line cannot be drawn between body and mind.Fear and grief are the two most common emotions. Fear is based on anxiety about the unknown.The fear component subsides faster than grief.Fear and anxiety can lead to depression. Depression is common in older adults, and even more prevalent among those with chronic disease, “In cancer patients, it’s two or three times as many.” This is particularly true for those dealing with multiple issues. Patients undergoing chemotherapy, for example, may be nauseous, exhausted, in pain, anemic, unable to sleep or eat and have low self-esteem.

“Mood can be a big barrier to health, affecting ability to focus on daily tasks,A patient may need medication or counseling for anxiety or depression before he or she is able to deal effectively with a physical illness or chronic condition. “They feed off each other,” . “It’s hard to follow through with a treatment plan if you’re fatigued and hopeless.”

Depression is also linked to chronic pain. “Depression, negative emotions, anxiety dramatically increase how we experience pain.Chronic pain is associated with 30 to 60 percent of illnesses. Yet pain often is not the main issue, particularly among those who have a terminal illness.“It’s about acknowledging what’s important in life and communicating as honestly and as openly and with as much sensitivity as possible.If a doctor meets with a patient who has advanced disease, he spends time exploring the person’s values and beliefs. “What’s important to you? What are the things that bother you the most? How can we help you tend to those things? Ask a lot of questions, and  listen.
 
By relieving the emotional pain, the physical suffering diminishes... patients are able to switch their frame of reference and move on with their lives.A chronic or terminal illness scars a person’s psyche. “Some people have an innate ability to deal with it and some people don’t ever learn. The first step is acknowledging that it exists. Grieving is one way the psyche adapts. It’s normal and healthy.”

At each visit, asks patients about two emotional clues: Sleep and sadness or anger. Also arrange a meeting with a psychologist, who can help the patient express and cope constructively with feelings.
 
“It’s OK to be angry, to doubt God,” but it’s destructive to remain that way or to refuse food, quit school or work, isolate from friends or hurt yourself or others. “It takes a lot of gentle coaxing to allow the person to work their way out of a harmful mechanism and learn more positive coping skills.” Patients deal with serious illness the same way they deal with any big or bad news, like unemployment, divorce or death of a loved one. They don’t necessarily follow stages of grieving. “Each patient reacts differently. People do things their own way,”. “Most people, however they cope, sooner or later do cope.” “They may be tired of telling their story, they may be tired of the shock, tired of the sympathy and condolences. Patients often strive to say, ‘Listen, I know I’ve got this problem. I don’t need to hear you tell me ‘Oh, that’s so terrible.’ I just need some help to get on with my life.’ Yet talking helps many people,  “The more you can talk something out, the more you can cope. Sharing what you’re feeling makes it more real and puts it into perspective so you can deal with it better.” Support groups offer a good venue for that communication. “It helps the person know others have the same experience. You find out you’re normal in what you’re doing and feeling,” 
 
“Until you’re the person who’s going through it, no one can know how scared you must be.”. Some may benefit by a referral for counseling. Others may find peace in prayer. The key is to recognize individual differences and needs... “Be fluid, flexible and aware that it changes. Do what works for them.”“If you don’t know what you feel, how can you deal with it? People who seek solace in some form of spirituality have an easier time, just like people who have a strong support system.”
 
An optimistic attitude is imperative.Neither a diagnosis of chronic illness or age is a sentence to what the future holds. But it creates challenges. Challenges can be overcome or at least met.”People who take an active role in their health tend to do better.Those with degenerative illnesses may feel they are burdens on their families if they cannot contribute financially or participate in household chores. Family members can let the patient know that he or she is still valued and has accomplished much, even if capabilities have diminished.
 
 “Dignity is the underlying issue.“If they walk in with an attitude that says, ‘OK, what can I do about this?’  They’re going to be fine,” . “If someone has a negative attitude, feels victimized, doesn’t want to address the problem and fights the very things that can help, that person is not likely to do well.”

Acceptance, optimism and hope propel patients. “Faith and prayers create a sense of hope, dignity, a spiritual dimension.


One of the foremost experts in psychology of our time, Dr. Carl Jung, mentioned in his book The Modern Man In Search Of Spirit:

"Over the last thirty years, people from all over the world have come to me seeking advice. I treated hundreds of patients and most of them were middle-aged, or more than thirty-five years old. The problem with every one of them returned to one issue seeking refuge in religion, and by doing so, being able to have a perspective or outlook on life. I can reasonably say that every one of them became sick because they missed out on that which religion has to offer to the believer. And the one who does not develop a true faith cannot be healed."

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 30 July 2010 at 10:45am

The Relationship between Stress Cognition and Religious Beliefs

Stress is defined as the outcome of the cognitive process through which a person interprets and attaches meaning(s) to an event. Selye (1974) explains it as being the negative or positive cognitive appraisal that causes the individual to perceive an event as stressful. Based on the outcomes of the cognitive appraisal, Selye distinguishes between two types of stress: a) distress or pathogenic stress “which goes beyond people’s optimum arousal point so that performance and health deteriorate” is the optimal amount the individual requires to stimulate physical and social functioning (Selye 1980). The individual may interpret a stressful event as an opportunity, a constraint, or a demand on higher desires (Schuler 1980, 189). Thus the same event could be perceived as an opportunity by one person or as a demand or constraint by another person depending on whether the appraisal is positive or negative. The determinant factor, however, is the individual's needs, values, and desires. While evaluating a stressor, the individual not only considers the objective environment but also predisposes other personality variables as inputs to information processing.

The purpose of this paper is to: a) develop the theoretical foundations of the interrelationship between stress cognition and Islamic beliefs; b) present a stress cognition paradigm that explains the moderation function of certain Islamic beliefs; and c) incorporate certain Islamic beliefs in the appreciation of the cognitive techniques of stress management.
 
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 11 August 2010 at 10:35pm

In the Shade of Ramadan: A Time for Healing

An  excellent video clip by Sister Muslema Purmul that explains how we can utilize the month of Ramadan to heal and help ourselves...

 
(About 9 mins)
 
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 22 September 2010 at 3:31am
Prayer, the Most Powerful Healer

By Karima Burns, MH, ND

"Pray to me and I will hear your prayer"
the Koran says (40:60).

"Say Du'a for the Palestinians" an Islamic human rights organization pleads.

"Say Du'a for me." Your friend pleads as she goes to interview for a job.

Muslims are accustomed to using du'a and prayer in a number of situations mentioned above, but often forget the power of prayer in healing. One is more likely to drink some herbal tea or take an over-the-counter medicine than to be found making du'a for their health and one is more likely to think of offering a pot of soup to their friend rather than offering a du'a for their recovery. However, modern studies have shown that prayer can be a powerful healer in itself and can also increase the healing power of other medicines.

The Koran and Hadith guide us in offering two kinds of prayer for illness, one can be offered anywhere and the other must be offered in person. Prayer that is offered at a distance is called du'a or supplication. Allah says, "Oh ye who believe! Seek help with
perseverance and prayer: for God is with those who patiently persevere
(11:153)". Allah the Exalted, has said: "And your Lord says: Pray unto me: and I will hear your prayer" (Koran 40:60)

In the Hadith of Bukhari A'isha reported, "When any person amongst us fell ill, Allah's Messenger (SAWS) used to put his right hand and then say: O Lord of the people, grant him health, heal him, for Thou art a Greet Healer. There is no healer, but with Thy healing Power one is healed and illness is removed." The "Fatihah" is the most common recitation for healing, and is the recommended incantation if a person does not know the correct supplication for a particular illness.

Although healing with prayer has not been given the same professional status in modern medicine, it has, however, been recognized as a significant healer. Healing with prayer has been studied at Harvard Medical School as well as hundreds of other schools. In one study presented at a Harvard conference, 406 people were studied. Half of these were prayed for and half were not. The results of the study showed that in of the criteria for improvement in the study, that all the subjects being prayed for improved on all eleven measures. Even more astounding to the researchers was that the people praying also improved their health in 10 of the 11 criterion categories.

Furthermore, researchers confirm (what we know to be obvious as Muslims) that either method of prayer is effective. In his book, Reinventing Medicine, Larry Dossey, MD, says "Researchers have diligently looked for some sort of subtle energy that connects distant individuals when thoughts are communicated ... or when prayer affects the body of someone far away. Yet there is not a shred of evidence that such (measurable) energy exists." Researchers have thus concluded through testing that these prayer events do not have a "carrier" like a telephone cable or a satellite wave. So in passing a prayer to someone its strength is not affected or lost by the distance. This means prayer is also unaffected by time or space and thus their result is immediate. Researchers have dubbed this phenomenon that Muslims call du'a or ruqya, "non local healing", and have recognized it to be unaffected by time or space.

So how can prayer heal a person? Henri Bergson, a prominent medical researcher has concluded that (what he calls) "the mind" does not need help to go anywhere. Since it is already everywhere, it has no need to "go" or be "sent" and therefore needs no sender or carrier. He explains this by saying that the brain does not produce the mind, but interacts with it. He provides a crude analogy with the radio and radio waves. We know that the radio does not produce the waves, it only detects and transmits them and filters them. In the same way, when we heal with prayer, we are simply reflecting attributes of Allah and transmitting healing that has been given to us through Allah. And just as the radio stations are always playing even if you have the radio turned off, so is Allah transmitting healing and blessings upon us every moment - we need only to "tune in" to this bounty with our prayers and du'a and we can receive all the benefits we are promised.

With adverse reactions to drugs causing more than one hundred thousand deaths a year in US hospitals (this is equivalent of having a passenger jet crash every day), one should not rule out prayer as at least a supplemental healer. Larry Dossey, MD quotes in his book "An internist always looks internally inside the patient for the origin of the problem, in the present moment. A eternist looks at all of time and space, both inside and outside the patient for solutions." In light of the fact that Muslims are promised "eternal life" we should encourage more healers to become "eternists" and hope that in the future more doctors will take into consideration the spiritual health of a patient as well as pray for their patients.
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 30 September 2010 at 7:08pm
Bedside Manners: The Broken Spirituality of Contemporary US Medical Practice

Doctors aren’t spending nearly enough time listening to and getting to know their patients. I recently told a disbelieving younger friend about the late Dr. Michael Halberstam, my doctor in Washington DC during the late 1970s. Dr. Halberstam would spend the better part of an hour in the course of my annual checkup to ask lots of questions and take detailed notes for my file. Only after the interview was completed would he begin to examine my body. First, he wanted to know about my life.

In a piece for The New York Review of Books last November, Dr. Jerome Groopman writes movingly about the breakdown of careful medical discernment and individual attention to the sick.

Groopman notes how so many of the things that matter to good medical practice, all of which involve time and attention, are today unlikely to be compensated under the system of “Relative Value Units” by which almost all physicians are now paid:

There is a compassionate, altruistic core of medical practice—sitting with a grieving family after a loved one is lost; lending your experience to a younger colleague struggling to manage a complex case; telephoning a patient and listening to how she is faring after surgery and chemotherapy for her breast cancer; extending yourself beyond the usual working day to help others because that is much of what it means to be a doctor. But not one minute of such time may be accountable for reimbursement on a bean counter’s balance sheet.
“Wrongly relinquishes the soul”: this clearly isn’t normal physician-speak, but then Jerome Groopman is no ordinary physician. He is an old-fashioned humanist who is willing to acknowledge the deep mystery at the heart of the human being in which body and spirit are intertwined. This is not quite the same as the celebrated “mind-body problem,” although that interface is another great mystery. The spirit-body connection is one that almost everyone acknowledges to be real but that almost no one can pin down.

Attending family members and friends and nurses can often pinpoint, for example, the moment at which the dying person lets go and releases her spirit. Even before then, among those who are at some risk of dying, family members and medical personnel commonly acknowledge the importance of a spiritual will to live in determining whether a given episode of illness will lead to death or to a rebound into active living.

So strong is the spiritual dimension in healing that significant religious movements—Christian Science and (to some extent) Religious Science and Dianetics/Scientology—have grown up around it. Because these movements (along with faith-healing proponents within traditional Christianity) so often take the extreme position of denying the power of bodily illness altogether, sober realists and an overwhelming preponderance of scientifically-trained people, including doctors, have been inclined to move to the other extreme and to insist that pneuma (spirit) and psyche have nothing at all to do with soma (the body).

Hospital-based chaplains and pastoral counselors come up against a fairly brutal form of scientism all the time. In many health care institutions, these people are barely tolerated. They are pointedly not invited to participate in rounds or in patient evaluation sessions. I recall how, as a first-year seminary student doing what is called “supervised ministry” at a New Haven mental health hospital, I was somewhat shocked to see how patients’ behavior was interpreted purely in terms of reactions to their medications, whereas I could see plainly that many of these same patients were responding to the presence or absence of human connection—visits and phone calls from loved ones either made or not made, friendships with other patients either formed or broken.

It is not at all my intention to represent contemporary physicians as soulless robots. I think a great many of them recognize that the quality of their practice would rise appreciably if they were allowed to spend even a tiny bit more time with each patient. But as they and we all know, the economics of health care today militate in the other direction: towards even less time per patient “visit,” and towards even more aggressive mechanization of what Groopman calls the medical assembly line.

If there is any hope for positive change, however, it may just come from this same intense economic pressure to cut costs. I say this because of assembly-line medicine’s dirty little secret: misdiagnosis. Someday someone is going to figure out that the aggregate cost of widespread misdiagnosis is greater than the aggregate cost of allowing a bit more of that precious private time between doctor and patient. Until that day comes, religious people who grasp the spiritual dimension of healing should be as vocal as possible about the urgency of doctors spending real time with those who are ill. And let the healing begin!

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 26 October 2010 at 10:59am

Listening and Supporting: The Spirituality of Nurses

In research I conducted in a neonatal and adult medical intensive care unit at a large academic hospital, nurses gathered information about patients’ religious and spiritual backgrounds through nursing assessments they completed when patients were admitted to intensive care. They offered the services of the hospital chaplain as needed, especially if there were difficult decisions to make and in end of life situations.

Outside of these formal channels, families regularly initiated conversations with nurses about prayer, God, and spiritual and other rituals that might help their loved one. Many Americans draw on spiritual and religious beliefs to cope when a loved one is ill, both to try make sense of illness and to hope for recovery. Large numbers of Americans pray, and a recent survey published in the Archives of Surgery reported that close to 60% of the public and 20% of medical professionals think someone in a persistent vegetative state can be saved by a miracle.

In the neonatal ICU, it was not uncommon to see signs of families’ prayers and hopes in the New Testaments, Qur’ans, and Catholic medals actually in bed with the babies, in plastic bags labeled with their names. Families invited nurses to attend related rituals that took place in the intensive care units, and Catholic nurses sometimes agreed to serve as godparents for Catholic babies baptized in emergency situations.

The nurses I interviewed responded to family-initiated discussions about spirituality and religion more than they started them. Some stood quietly with patients and families when they were invited to pray, while others worked to support families when families talked about their spiritual or religious beliefs. Nurses negotiated their own comfort levels in such situations, striving, as a group, to care not just for their patients’ physical conditions but to support their psychological, emotional, and spiritual well-being—even when that spirituality was different from the nurse’s own.

Attention to spirituality is not uncommon among nurses. A recent survey of 299 nurses working at a university hospital found that 84% think there is something spiritual about the care they provide (in comparison to 24% who think there is something religious about the care they provide). Only 4% think that promoting spirituality is at odds with the real purpose of medicine.

Issues related to spirituality have long been a part of nursing curricula, with introductory textbooks often devoting a chapter to spirituality, and related topics being covered in chapters about caring, cultural diversity, grief, health promotion, and other topics. Upper-level courses also take up these themes, focusing more on spirituality (or that which gives people personal meaning) than on religion, defined in terms of religious institutions. Ethics codes, like the Code of Ethics for Nurses of the American Nurses Association, emphasize the importance of patients’ spiritual well-being and the NANDA International, which develops language around nursing diagnoses, recognizes three diagnoses related to spirituality and spiritual distress.

In medical and broader public discourse about religion, spirituality, and medicine, it is important not to overlook nurses’ support for the spiritual well-being of the patients and families in their care. While physicians and hospital chaplains talk with patients and families about these issues, it is nurses who are consistently at the bedside when the chaplains and physicians leave, listening and supporting. The majority of nurses do just that, listen and support.

http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/science/1372/listening_and_supporting%3A_the_spirituality_of_nurses

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