By Zafaryab Hassan
As we all know, there is very poor medical facilitation for those who can’t afford private hospitals and they are bound to incline towards public hospitals. Public hospitals are going down not because of the fall in employment but because of the poor medical facilities, unresponsive behavior of medical staff, lack of latest medical machineries, and unhygienic conditions of the buildings. Private hospitals, on the other hand, are awfully expensive and charge at least Rs. 500 just to get an appointment with the doctor where as the daily wage of a laborer is merely Rs. 250 on average. With such dismal facts kept in mind, it comes as no surprise just how unhealthy our living standards are. While private hospitals are out of range for medical care, public hospitals are just too careless. The poor are left with no option but to visit what we call ‘peer’ in Urdu or better translation would be spiritual healers. These unqualified doctors seem to have cure for just about any disease known to mankind and they attract more people (illiterate people) because they guarantee cure, but how? This is what I am about to analyze if it’s true or just fraud.
When the people of our society get sick, they will go and see a doctor at the hospital, but they prefer it after seeking the spiritual guidance. While this avails no healing whatsoever and causes nothing but a moment of psychological relief, unconsciously, it has also been a very profiting business and while it soothes the very aching corner of the brains just for a few moments, it also attracts misguided people and thus this fraud which to no surprise, cannot be criminalised. Imagine if universities introduced a programme offering Bachelors of Science in Spiritual Healing. Pharmacology would be left to questioning, medical science would come to no avail and every bit of research on medical cure of the complex, relenting diseases would be vain. I fail to understand just how can uttering certain holy words cure a sick person? I don’t recall watching an ambulance rushing to mosque, church, temple, and synagogue just to seek medical help. Not a single priest of any religion of this state, be it minor or major and irrespective of sect, has been able to cure one single disease unless of course he/she is already a doctor but the people of this state, the people of my society, my country prefer the guidance of religious healers instead of getting medical help. Most uneducated people, and even some belonging to affluent families, rely on religious healers who exploit them while maintaining their reputation as a messiah.
There is actually no harm in uttering or murmuring words that praise the god of one’s religion but it does take away the delicate logic and reasoning if such murmuring is opted to be the only source of cure and treatment. Is it not painful to see people suffer and not be able to take them to hospital? To further add insult to the injury, people would pray so they don’t have to consult a doctor but according to they believe that if god created them, he could cure as well and all one must do is to ask him to get rid of the pain. If only this were true and logical, nurses would be kneeling beside the beds of the patients while pushing the beads of rosary in their hands.
There is not a single pharmaceutical store which offers ‘Dua’ for you if you decide substituting the medicine. Due to ill nature of fear that surrounds us religiously, to which we can’t stand face to face and admit openly just how idiotic and wrong it is to not rely on medical treatment, , we are letting people die. Rather, it is a ‘dua-e-maut’ (prayer of death) than even a helpful one. I could be wrong on this one but I don’t think medical schools offer any course on spiritual guidance for patients or any specific prayers as a shortcut to cure. Surely we can see the verses of Koran hanging inside the offices of doctors very vividly; written just below the huge logo of the pharmaceutical stores and hospitals, written
“And when I am ill, it is [God] who cures me.” (ash-Shu`ara, 26:80).
This does not mean praying is wrong. But it is a problem to rely on spirituality alone for the cure. One needs to step out of their fatalist attitude and start battling against disease. Prayers are only there to hold on to hope. But prayer in place of medical treatment doesn’t really work.
Doctors help us restore health that no faith and spiritual leader could do. The former helps people getting better, the latter does not. It is not losing faith if you are not listening to your local priest babbling about the prescribed religious texts that can help you get better if you’re sick.
The doctor that I visit never prescribes me any “dua” and that’s because he knows that it is the antibiotics that will help restore my health and not prayers.