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Sunday, 20 April 2008 23:34

Islamic Medical Practice: Challenging the sceptics

Three decades ago Islamic banking does not exist and banking without interest was confined to theoretical ideas on paper. The world, including the majority of Muslims, was sceptical that Islamic banking was feasible. The proponents of Islamic banking then had a tough time answering criticisms from the opponents. Now Islamic banking has become a reality and big conventional banks e.g. HSBC and Lloyds TSB sell Islamic banking products alongside their conventional products. The voice of criticism is no longer heard.

Healthcare is one of the fastest growing industry and consumers go to various extent to stay healthy, experimenting with various alternative methods, drugs and food supplements even though their effectiveness are still being debated. This is because hospital treatment alone does not give a complete answer to one’s health. Furthermore, western medical practice does not give answers to all types of diseases.

There is one aspect of Islamic medical treatment which considers metaphysics factors (e.g. Jinn and black magic) as the cause of some diseases which can cause physical bodily harm or psychological or paranormal changes in human behaviour. Just like Islamic banking concepts had faced stiff criticism from sceptics, this section of Islamic medical treatment will face strong criticism from opponents. This section of Islamic medical treatment takes into account metaphysical factors as the cause of some diseases, challenging the theory of modern medicine which denies the existence of metaphysics-being such as Jinn.

Critics will view the proponents of Islamic medical treatment as people who live in the past and those who have not kept up with progress of the 21st century. Their rejection is motivated by pre-conceived ideas, not by sound debate on the subject. In the past, proponents of Islamic medical treatment were handicapped simply because they cannot reach a large audience to convey their arguments. This has been caused primarily by their weaknesses in English and lack of medium to convey their argument. The popularity of internet technology and the presence of many English-speaking proponents will now allow the debate of Islamic medical treatment to be heard around the globe.

It took three decades for Islamic banking to establish itself as a viable alternative to conventional banking. It is not unreasonable to say that three decades from now, we will most likely see Islamic medical practice establishing itself as a viable alternative to modern medicine on certain diseases. Just like we now have a conventional and Islamic counter at leading banks, it is not absurd to visualise a “normal disease” counter and a “paranormal disease” counter at hospitals in the future.

A wide range of changes can happen in the future. Health insurance in the future may cover treatment using Islamic medical practice. With mobile internet gaining even higher bandwidth, Islamic medical practitioners will use mobile phone video-streaming technology for remote consultation and remote treatment. Mobile phone users will also start downloading Islamic medication verses in addition to their favourite ring-tones.

Many non-Muslims are now using Islamic banking and we can also expect many non-Muslims to resort to Islamic medical practice in the future. With intellectual debates, academic publications and R&D on Islamic medical treatment on the way, critics of Islamic medical treatment will soon be on the defensive. Just like the case of Islamic banking, these critics of Islamic medical practice will be silenced eventually.