Healthy Living and World Health Day

The physical health of an individual can be defined as an essential part of overall health of an individual, which include everything from physical fitness to overall wellness. A good physical health of an individual means every external part of our body functions properly as it is commonly supposed to function and also it indicates wellness of our internal body organs and systems. It is an important aspect of living an optimized life as if there is something wrong with our health, all other activities will be disturbed. High-quality nutrition, daily exercise and adequate sleep are the foundations of healthy living. A healthy lifestyle keeps us fit, energetic and at reduced risk for disease. According to WHO, Healthy living is a way of living that helps us enjoy more aspects of our life. It is a way of living that lowers the risk of being seriously ill or dying early. Health is not just about avoiding a disease or illness. It is about physical, mental and social well-being too. We can increase our energy level and prevent our body from happening something wrong by maintaining our health. A successful physical health programme should help children in learning how to care for their body (grooming, cleaning), healthy eating and sleeping habits, activity as a way to enjoy themselves and stretch their body, to look at their body as a tool that needs to be well maintained to serve them well. It is important to note that people are not just physical entities; an optimal state of emotional well-being is essential to achieving overall wellness. The emotional health in this context includes one’s ability to appropriately express their emotions, their ability to learn, and their ability to have meaningful social interactions and connections. It is not easy to maintain these aspects of emotional health at times of stress in life. In the past, scientists believed that success made people happy but at present research reveals that it’s the other way around. Happy people are more likely to work toward goals, find the resources they need and attract others with their energy and optimism — key building blocks of success. Mental health is a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities; can cope with the normal stresses of life; can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to his or her community. The importance of maintaining a good mental health is crucial to living a long and healthy life. Mental health can enhance the joy of living. Mental wellness is based on some g factors such as Critical thinking, Problem solving creativity, Education and learning goals, Ability to adapt to change, Ability to access resources. Mental status is a very important part in creating and maintaining a balanced and healthy lifestyle. Our bodies and minds have been given to us as a trust, and we are responsible for them. Islam takes a holistic approach to health. Just as religious life is inseparable from secular life, physical, emotional and spiritual health cannot be separated; they are three parts that make a completely healthy person. When one part is injured or unhealthy, the other parts suffer. If a person is physically ill or injured it may be difficult to concentrate on anything but the pain. If a person is emotionally unwell, he or she may not be able to take care of him or herself properly or find their minds distracted from the realities of life. Injury and illness can happen for many reasons, however it is important to acknowledge and accept that nothing happens in this world accept with the permission of God. To help us secure a place in Paradise God places trials and obstacles in our way. He tests our patience and gratitude and provides us with ways and means of overcoming the obstacles. The Quran is not a textbook or book of medicine, but it does contain guidance that promotes good health and healing.“O mankind! There has come to you a good advice from your Lord (i.e. the Quran), and a healing for that which is in your hearts.”(Quran 10:57) “And We send down from the Quran that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe…”(Quran 17:82) There is no doubt that the words and verses of Quran contain a healing for humankind’s woes and ills. It was narrated in the traditions of Prophet Muhammad, (PBUH), that certain verses and chapters by God’s will could bring about healing from disease and distress. Slowly over the years, we have begun to rely more on medicines and physical remedies rather than the spiritual remedies prescribed by Islam.
Islam encourages anything that promotes refreshing the mind or revitalizing the body provided it does not lead to or involve sin, cause harm, or hamper or delay religious obligations.
If faith is strong and unwavering, the effect of spiritual remedies may be fast and efficient. From the traditions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) comes the story of the man whom the Prophet sent on a mission. He camped close by to some people who did not show him any hospitality. When the leader of the nearby camp was bitten by a snake, they went to Prophet Muhammad’s companion for help. He recited the opening chapter of the Quran over the afflicted man and he arose “as if released from a chain”. The Prophet said: “There is no disease that God Almighty has created, except that He also has created its treatment.” He also said: “There is a remedy for every malady, and when the remedy is applied to the disease it is cured with the permission of Almighty God.” Quran is a healing for the body and the soul. Whenever life becomes too difficult or we are beset by injury, illness or unhappiness Quran will light our way and lighten our burdens. It is a source of solace and ease. In the world today many people have untold wealth and luxury but little contentment. Those of us in the West have access to doctors and medicine, to traditional healing, medical breakthroughs and alternative cures but many lives are full of emotional pain and listlessness. What is missing is belief, faith in God. In the past several decades, it has become widely accepted that religious belief and practices have a significant impact on both physical and emotional health. Medical and scientific research has demonstrated that religious commitment aids in the prevention and treatment of emotional disorders, disease and injury and enhances recovery. Belief in and submission to the will of God is the most essential part of good health care. The traditions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) teach us to cherish good health and realise its true value as one of God’s countless bounties. A major part of living life according to the Creator’s instructions is implementing a suitable diet. Choosing wholesome food and avoiding the unwholesome is essential to good health. God says in the Quran, “… Eat of the good things which We have provided for you.”(Quran 2:172) “Eat of that which is lawful and good on the earth.”(Quran 2:168) The Quran contains many verses of advice about healthy eating that relate to the interconnectedness of physical and spiritual health. Encouragement to eat only good and pure food is often combined with warnings to remember God and avoid Satan. Healthy eating not only satisfies hunger but also has an effect on how well we worship. If one becomes obsessed with food or indulges in too much unwholesome or junk food he or she may become physically weak or distracted from his primary purpose of serving God. On the other hand, if one concentrated exclusively on spiritual endeavours and neglected their health and nutrition, weakness injury or illness would also result in failure to carry out obligatory worship. The guidance found in the Quran and the traditions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) advise humankind to maintain a balance between these two extremes. A healthy diet is balanced with a mixture of all the foods God has provided for His creation. The variety satisfies all the body’s needs for carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, proteins, fats and amino acids. We must take care of spiritual, emotional and physical health. Our bodies, the most complex of machines, are given to us by God as a trust so we should maintain them in good order. Imam Ibnul-Qayyem stated that movement helped the body get rid of waste food in a very normal way and strengthened the body’s immune system. He also stated that each bodily organ has its own sport (or movement) that suited it and that horse riding, archery, wrestling and racing, were sports that benefitted the whole body. Islam encourages anything that promotes refreshing the mind or revitalizing the body provided it does not lead to or involve sin, cause harm, or hamper or delay religious obligations. The traditions of Prophet undoubtedly encourage involvement in sporting activities as a way to promote a healthy lifestyle and encourage brotherly love and family togetherness. Imam Bukhari (a scholar who compiled Prophetic Traditions), states that “The Prophet passed by some people from the tribe of Aslam while they were competing in archery (in the market). He said to them, ‘Shoot children of Ishmael (Prophet) your father was a skilled marksman. Shoot and I am with so and so.’ One of the two teams therein stopped shooting. The Prophet asked, ‘why do not you shoot?’ They answered, ‘How could we shoot while you are with them (the other team). He then said, ‘Shoot and I am with you all.” In another tradition Prophet Muhammad’s beloved wife Aisha mentions their love of games and sports. She said, “I raced with the Prophet and I beat him. Later when I had put on some weight, we raced again and he won. Then he said, ‘this cancels that (referring to the previous race).’” A true believer recognises the wonder of the human body and is grateful to the Creator. This gratitude is shown in the care and attention given to maintaining optimum health.
World Health Day’s message is simple: giving people access to healthcare without the prospect of financial hardship.
The World Health Day is a global health awareness day celebrated every year on 7 April, under the sponsorship of the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as other related organizations. In 1948, the WHO held the First World Health Assembly. The Assembly decided to celebrate 7 April of each year, with effect from 1950, as the World Health Day. The World Health Day is held to mark WHO’s founding and is seen as an opportunity by the organization to draw worldwide attention to a subject of major importance to global health each year. The WHO organizes international, regional and local events on the Day related to a particular theme. World Health Day is acknowledged by various governments and non-governmental organizations with interests in public health issues, who also organize activities and highlight their support in media reports, such as the Global Health Council. World Health Day is one of 11 official global health campaigns marked by WHO, along with World Tuberculosis Day, World Immunization Week, World Malaria Day, World No Tobacco Day, World AIDS Day, World Blood Donor Day, World Chagas Disease Day, World Patient Safety Day, World Antimicrobial Awareness Week and World Hepatitis Day. The theme for 2021 is “Building a fairer, healthier world”. In recent years, countries in the Western Pacific have experienced rapid economic growth, migration and urbanization. This created opportunities for better lives for many, but left others behind. The COVID-19 pandemic has undercut recent health gains, pushed more people into poverty and food insecurity, and amplified gender, social and health inequities. This World Health Day, we’re calling for action to eliminate health inequities, as part of a year-long global campaign to bring people together to build a fairer, healthier world. The campaign highlights WHO’s constitutional principle that “the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition.” The world is still an unequal one. The places where we live, work and play may make it harder for some to reach their full health potential, while others thrive. Health inequities are not only unjust and unfair, but they also threaten the advances made to date, and have the potential to widen rather than narrow equity gaps. However, health inequities are preventable with strategies that place greater attention to improving health equity, especially for the most vulnerable and marginalized groups. COVID-19 has hit all countries hard, but its impact has been harshest on those communities which were already vulnerable, who are more exposed to the disease, less likely to have access to quality health care services and more likely to experience adverse consequences as a result of measures implemented to contain the pandemic. That’s why we are calling on leaders to ensure that communities are at the forefront in decision-making processes as we move forward to a new future, and that everyone has living and working conditions that are conducive to good health. At the same time, we urge leaders to monitor health inequities, and to ensure that all people are able to access quality health services depending on their needs and values within their communities. We mention some facts as for the first time in 20 years, global poverty levels are predicted to rise and hinder the progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals; Up to 60% of people living in some countries of the Region lack coverage with essential health services; More than 1 billion people living in informal settlements or slums are facing increased challenges in preventing infection and transmission of the coronavirus; The Asia-Pacific region as a whole account for nearly 82.5 million or 32% of the world’s international migrants; 5.9 million children in the Asia-Pacific Region are at risk of not returning back to school due to the disruption to education and the economic impact of the pandemic; 52% of the Asia-Pacific population remains unconnected to the internet. To mark World Health Day 2021, Elsevier presents a curated list of free access journal articles and book chapters in support of this year’s theme. World Health Day’s message is simple: giving people access to healthcare without the prospect of financial hardship. This is regardless of where they’re from; they could be in Africa, Asia, South America or the United States. What matters to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the group behind it, is that there’s Health for All. It is concluded that in this World Health Day, we’re calling for action to eliminate health inequities, as part of a year-long global campaign to bring people together to build a fairer, healthier world.
(While Bilkees Nazir, Research Scholar at the University of Kashmir, Dr. Bilal A. Bhat is an Associate Professor at SKUAST-Kashmir. Views are their own)

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