Health Concerns For BELIEVERS
Contemporary Issues

(Shahid Athar , M. D.)

Back to Contents


I thank God for giving me the knowledge and then the privilege of taking care of the health of my fellow human beings. Health is not the absence of disease. It is a state of total well-being, physical, mental and spiritual. Mankind was created "in the best of molds," but does not keep up with the "maintenance manual" of this most incredible machine. We damage our systems with excesses of salt, sugar, fat and calories and develop high blood pressure, diabetes, coronary artery disease and obesity. We suffer from stress and damage to our lungs with cigarettes and our liver with alcohol.

The Quran, which calls itself "a cure for mankind" is not a textbook of medicine. However, in it are guiding principles which, if understood and applied correctly, will lead to a healthful lifestyle to help us maintain a healthy body. Muslim physicians of today, as in the past, have a mission to translate the medical knowledge in the Quran into practical application.

We must tell others why the Quran prohibits alcohol, intoxicants and pork. We must leam the medical benefits of fasting during Ramadan. We should also find out from the Quran how we can cope with modern stress. Finally, we should define Islamic medical ethics and determine how they apply to the decision-making process in the case of terminally ill patients organ transplantations, infertility and AIDS patients. All these are discussed in a brief book and some suggestions for health maintenance are given with the belief that a healthy individual is a must for a healthy nation.

I thank my associate, Dr. Moazzam Habib, for reviewing these articles and KAZI Publications for publishing them in a book form. I am sure Muslim and non-Muslim readers will equally find them useful.

I also wish to thank the following for their permission to reproduce my articles herein: Pan-Islamic Publications, Karachi, Pakistan for "Health from the Quran and Sunnah," "Stress Management-An Islamic Perspective '" "Prohibited Food and Ingredients, Effect of Hormones on Behavior," "Medical Aspects of Fasting," "Alcohol and Drug Abuse-The American Scene and Islamic Perspective," and "Islamic Perspectives in Medical Ethics." Hamdard Medicus and Hamdard Foundation for "Ethical Decision-Making in Patient Care," and The Minaret, Los Angeles, California, for the article, "The Book that Led Me to My Creator."

I also acknowledge and thank Dr. Adil Ashary, Dr. K. C. Khemka and Ms Kauser Siddiqi, MS, RD for their input in the firat article, "Health Maintance Through Exercise and Nutrition."


It is a joy to read these articles on health issues by Shahid Athar, MD, a Muslim physician with a quarter of a century's experience in practice and teaching medicine. In a world of constant dynamism, information highways, scientific and medical progress, the task of keeping pace with the challenging medical issues is never over. Concepts change. New frontiers and challenges are bom all the time. Medicine, too, has progressed tremendously over the past century. Diseases and problems faced by us today were unheard of a generation ago.

Contemporary issues such as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, euthanasia, weight and stress management are eloquently addressed in this new book by Dr. Shahid Athar. Perspectives are also offered on topics as to how to help diabetics who wish to fast, life support for the terminally ill and organ transplantation.

These interesting and thought-provoking topics are well covered in this book. In a very informative, down-to-earth style, Dr. Athar draws the attention of professionals and laymen alike. He seeks to focus on the Islamic perspective of these important issues, missing in the contemporary literature, with references from the Quran. The Quran, although not a book of pure science, still touches a number of issues that are closely related to basic canons of medicine that include hygiene, psychosocial attitudes, food and drink, etc. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) by his example, laid the foundation for a healthy lifestyle that is a model for all humanity. Dr. Athar's reflections on these provide a timely reminder for all of us to incorporate these ideas into our lives.

I highly recommend this valuable book to all those who are interested in their own health or of their patients, Muslims or non-Muslims.

Moazzam W. Habib, MD
Consultant in Endocrinology and Intemal Medicine
St. Vincent Hospital, Indianapolis