Pain reveals the sublime nature of Allah the Healer

Updated 13 June 2014

Pain reveals the sublime nature of Allah the Healer

PAIN is one of the basic defense mechanisms created by Almighty Allah to protect us from danger. If there is a problem somewhere in our bodies, and if that problem is growing, then our body informs us through pain. Nerve cells establish communication in transmitting stimuli to the brain by releasing various chemicals. These chemicals’ production is ensured by certain proteins called enzymes.

The feeling of pain
Feelings of pain and discomfort are warnings that a tissue in the body has been damaged. Almighty Allah has created several inter-related systems that all work together to allow that system to function in a flawless manner.
There are nerve endings beneath our skin and tissues and some of these are sensitive to pain. For example, we feel pain when we bump into the corner of a table, tread on a piece of broken glass, when the temperature changes as we hold our hand above a flame, when a hammer hits our thumb, when we cut ourselves or when any abnormal event takes place in any of our internal organs.
Almighty Allah has created several million of our neuroreceptors in such a way as to be able to perceive pains and to be stimulated in proportion to the severity of the blows suffered. When cells in the body are injured they release a chemical known as “prostaglandin.” This chemical, which increases pain signals, has a major effect on the nerve endings that feel pain.
As soon as the nerve endings are stimulated by this chemical they immediately transmit pain messages to the brain. The brain perceives the pain depending on the location and intensity of the incoming message, and by triggering the speech center enables us and those around us to be aware that something is wrong.
Feelings of pain and discomfort have a vital place in our lives because without these it would be impossible for us to know there is a problem anywhere in our bodies. Had Almighty Allah not created these sensations, human beings might often be in grave danger. For example, someone might lose a lot of blood if he did not feel pain when he cut himself, and this might become life-threatening.
One might not realize one had broken a bone in one’s ankle in an accident, and continuing to use the injured ankle might damage the bone even further and lead to permanent disability.
If pain did not warn us beforehand, numerous diseases could advance, starting out as some minor or trivial pain, but then going on to have serious consequences. Pain is therefore the first and only symptom of many diseases. For example, without stomach pain we might not realize we had appendicitis, or without pain or tightness in the chest we might not know we were having a heart attack.
If we did not feel pain when we fall over or lift a heavy load, we would continue to strain our joints and muscles and might worsen the degree of injury.
As revealed by Allah, “…It may be that you hate something when it is good for you and it may be that you love something when it is bad for you. Allah knows and you do not know” (Qur’an, 2:216), pain, which appears to be evil and that causes us discomfort is, in fact, actually a very good thing.

The pain killing mechanism
Almighty Allah has created a very powerful pain killing system in the human body. The organ that feels pain in the body is the brain. In the event of pain, the brain releases a very powerful pain killing chemical called endorphin. These suppress neurotransmitters in the area of the brain that feels pain and in the spinal bulb, thus preventing or reducing pain sensations.
The reason why people may not be aware that they have been injured or even lost an arm for a very long time in warfare, or that people are able to adapt if some disaster strikes without pain inhibiting their ability to react, lies in the release of this hormone. The presence of such a powerful analgesic in our bodies is without doubt a manifestation of Allah’s title of Ar-Hamur Rahimeen (The Most Merciful of the Merciful).

The effect of pain killers on pain
Since pain is a sensation that arises as a result of a nervous connection between the organ concerned and the brain, if that nervous connection is interrupted anywhere, the sensation of pain will decrease or disappear. When pain killers are taken as pills or injected directly, they enter the circulatory system and spread through the entire body.
A very small part of the drug makes direct contact with the organ where the pain is and restricts the production of prostaglandin.
Since the nerve endings can no longer transmit pain signals, the sensation of pain decreases or disappears, even though the wound or injury is still there. Therefore, although pain killers do not know where the pain is and head there directly, if they encounter chemicals transmitting pain signals along the way they immediately react with them and interrupt that chemical’s functions and prevent the signal reaching the brain. Therefore, if we experience pain in two or three areas of our bodies at the same time the pain killer can deal with them all at once.

It is Allah Who bestows health
One of the times when people best understand their own weakness and how needy they are is when they are sick. Allah has created various diseases and pain of differing intensities in order for people to experience this.
The physical and psychological effects of each instance of pain are all very different yet they are all evidence of a most wise creation. The way that an enzyme can initiate pain and thus prevent highly undesirable consequences, and pain being prevented by drugs as a result of collaboration between the circulation, enzymes and nervous system are all proofs of the might of Allah.
Research by scientists to eliminate pain reveal the sublime nature of Allah’s creation. They first deal with the way that pain emerges through systems created by Allah in the body and then, on the basis of those systems, discover drugs to overcome that pain through chemicals inspired by Allah.
Since it is Allah Who inflicts pain, that pain can only be resolved by His will. If Allah so pleases, He will eliminate the disease and pain through His title of Ash-Shafi. Indeed, if Allah does not so wish it, it will still be impossible for all the doctors in the world, the most advanced technological equipment and the latest drugs all working together to cure that disease and pain. All drugs used are just instruments in the healing of disease.
If Allah so pleases, He will allow the person to recover through the treatment administered; but if He does not so will it, then an apparently very minor illness and pain can result in a person’s death. This is revealed as follows in one verse: “...and when I am ill, it is He Who heals me.” (Qur’an, 26:80)

The writer has authored 300 books, translated into 73 languages on politics, religion and science.

The beauty of prayer in Islam

Updated 23 September 2016

The beauty of prayer in Islam

GOING deeper into our spiritual state during prayers (salah) requires that we have a presence of heart and are mindful of the words being said during the prayers.
Our prayer will feel shorter, yet when we look at how much time we actually spent, we will think, “Did I just spend 10 minutes?” or even 15 and 20 minutes.
A person who began applying this said he wished the prayer would never end.
A feeling that Ibn Al-Qayyim describes as “what the competitors compete for… it is nourishment for the soul and the delight of the eyes,” and he also said, “If this feeling leaves the heart, it is as though it is a body with no soul.”

The love of Allah
Some people’s relationship with Allah is limited to following orders and leaving prohibitions, so that one does not enter hell. Of course, we must follow orders and leave prohibitions, but it needs to be done out of more than fear and hope; it should also be done out of love for Allah. Allah says in the Qur’an: “… Allah will bring forth [in place of them] a people He will love and who will love Him.” (Qur’an, 5:54)
We often find that when a lover meets the beloved, hearts are stirred and there is warmth in that meeting. Yet when we meet Allah, there is not even an ounce of this same feeling. Allah says in the Qur’an: “And (yet) among the people are those who take other than Allah as equals (to Him). They love them as they (should) love Allah. But those who believe are stronger in love for Allah.” (Qur’an, 2:165)
And those who believe are stronger in love for Allah. There should be a feeling of longing, and when we raise our hands to start the prayer, warmth and love should fill our hearts because we are now meeting with Allah. A dua of the Prophet (peace be upon him): “O Allah, I ask You for the longing to meet You” (An-Nisa’i, Al-Hakim)
Ibn Al-Qayyim says in his book Tareeq Al-Hijratain that Allah loves His Messengers and His believing servants, and they love Him and nothing is more beloved to them than Him. The love of one’s parents has a certain type of sweetness, as does the love of one’s children, but the love of Allah far supersedes any of that. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Any person who combines these three qualities will experience the sweetness of faith: 1) that God and His messenger are dearer to him than anything else; 2) that his love of others is purely for God’s sake; and 3) that he hates to relapse into disbelief as much as he hates to be thrown in the fire.” (Bukhari)
Thus, the first thing he mentioned was: “… that God and His messenger are more beloved to him than anything else…”
Ibn Al-Qayyim says: “Since ‘there is nothing like unto Him’ (Qur’an, 42:11), there is nothing like experiencing love for Him.”
If you feel this love for Him, it will be a feeling so intense, so sweet, that you would wish the prayer would never ever end.
Do you truly want to feel this love? Then ask yourself: ‘why do you or should you love Allah?’
Know that you love people for one (or all, in varying degrees) of three reasons: For their beauty, because of their exalted character or/and because they have done good to you. And know that Allah combines all of these three to the utmost degree.

All-embracing beauty
We’ve all been touched by beauty. It is almost fitrah (natural disposition) to love what is beautiful. Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, said about the Prophet, peace be upon him, that it was “as if the sun is shining from his face.” Jabir (may God be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allah was more handsome, beautiful, and radiant than the full moon” (Tirmidhi)
Allah made all His Prophets have a certain beauty so that people would have a natural inclination toward them.
And beauty is more than what is in the face, because beauty is in all of creation and somehow has the ability to take our breath away and give us peace simultaneously. The glimmer of the crescent moon on a calm night, the intensity of a waterfall as the water drops for thousands of feet, the sunset by the sea … certain scenes of natural unspoiled beauty stirs something in us. As Allah is the One Who made it beautiful, so what of Allah’s beauty?
Ibn Al-Qayyim said: “And it is enough to realize Allah’s Beauty when we know that every internal and external beauty in this life and the next are created by Him, so what of the beauty of their Creator?”
This fitrah for loving what is beautiful is because Allah is beautiful. One of His Names is Al-Jameel (the Most Beautiful). Ibn Al-Qayyim states that the beauty of Allah is something that a person cannot imagine and only He knows it. There is nothing of it in creation save for glimpses.
Ibn Al-Qayyim says if all of creation were the most beautiful they could be (so let’s imagine, ever single human being looked as beautiful as Yusuf, peace be upon him, and the whole world was like Paradise), and all of them combined from the beginning of time until the Day of Judgment, they would not even be like a ray in comparison to the sun when compared to Allah. Allah’s beauty is so intense that we will not even be able to take it in this life. In the Qur’an, Allah describes Musa’s (peace be upon him) request: “And when Moses arrived at Our appointed time and his Lord spoke to him, he said, ‘My Lord, show me (Yourself) that I may look at You.’ (Allah) said: ‘You will not see Me but look at the mountain; if it should remain in place, then you will see Me.’ But when his Lord appeared to the mountain He rendered it level, and Moses fell unconscious.” (Qur’an, 7:143)
Even the mountain could not bear the beauty of Allah and crumbled, and when Musa, peace be upon him, saw this (he did not even see Allah), he fell unconscious. This is why on the Day of Judgment it is Allah’s light that will shine on everything. We talk about breathtaking beauty, but we have yet to experience Allah’s beauty. While things in this world can be beautiful or majestic or if they combine both they are finite, true majesty and beauty are for Allah: “And there will remain the Face of your Lord, Owner of Majesty and Honor.” (Qur’an, 55:27)
Keeping all of this in mind, the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Allah directs His Face toward the face of His servant who is praying, as long as he does not turn away” (Tirmidhi).
Remember this in your prayer, and ask Allah to allow you the joy of seeing Him in Paradise.