"Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love of humanity"
The terms Natural or holistic may seem rather alien to us when discussing pharmaceutical treatment yet are key aspects in the healing art of Tibb. Now, you may find yourself asking what this peculiar word is. Tibb is a system that has long been unrecognised by the western way of life and so it's no surprise very little is known about it.
With related word forms translating to ‘healing’ and ‘fortress’, the art of Tibb permeates the concepts of wholeness and balance. I guess we could best term it the equivalent of Natural or Herbal Medicine.
We were able to learn about this rich science through UK based 'Hakim' Salim Khan: a practitioner of Tibb medicine for over 35 years.
So how does Tibb Medicine work?
When there is an imbalance of one of the mind, body or spirit, there will be an impact on the other – that’s what leads to disease. The essential element of Tibb is temperament – or Mizaj. Each individual has a combination of qualities yet one will be dominant.
- Sanguine - hot and moist
- Bilious - hot and dry
- Melancholic - cold and dry
- Phlegmatic - cold and wet
Not only ourselves but everything we eat and drink have a Mizaj. And so it’s only inevitable that one person’s custom medicine or food may worsen symptoms of another if they have a different Mizaj. Tibb doesn’t believe in; one size fits all. Therefore the practitioner will treat patients with medicine that is selected based upon the patient’s Mizaj and offer guidance of the best foods for their situation.
Tell us a little bit more about your history, Salim.
I was born in the Northwest Frontier of Pakistan and studied there and in England. I have been practising Islamic Medicine since 1978 and I've been acknowledged as a ‘Ḥakim’ – a medical practitioner who has mastered the science of Ṭibb medicine. We set up a practice at the Mohsin health clinic in 1978: based in Leicester, England. After training in Tibb, I also went ahead and studied Iridology , Osteopathy, and Western herbal medicine. Our work has included over 35 year's successful clinical experience in the UK, having helped thousands of people with a wide range of illnesses to better health and greater vitality.
What efforts have been undertaken by you to help revive this lost science?
Initially, I authored a book to profile the basics of this profound knowledge base, titled An Introduction to Islamic Medicine, it is one of the few English resources on this topic.
We further worked to set up Mohsin Health Products, a line of herbal & natural health remedies available for anyone to benefit from. This was supported initially by the Prince's Trust in 2008. These products are available from the Leicester-based Clinic and through the Mohsin Health website.
But this is not the end of our work. In order to revive this undervalued science, we founded the College of Medicine and Healing Arts where the aim is to train students to become future practitioners. With accredited and soulful teaching, covering aspects such as temperaments, anatomy, pulse diagnosis, iridology and even clinical practice, it truly encompasses all interests. Being a key lecturer and teacher, the effort is to bring a unique perspective to Medical Practice.
In all your years of expertise, how has the need for natural medicine changed?
In today’s medical world with medical bills and expenses being a concern, the inconspicuous need for Natural medicine has surely grown. With the plentiful side effects of chemical drugs and the rise of psychological disorders, Natural medicine nips these concerns right in the bud. The treatment methods used, call for development within the family as well as the community at large. So people feel connected, which is very significant in helping psychological issues that are prevalent in our societies.
Salim was featured in a BBC Documentary in 1985 for his work
We at Bahath are astounded by the effort and hard work carried out by Hakim Salim. In expounding these achievements we have proudly discovered that the Islamic tradition holds much depth and forms a strong foothold in the complex and invaluable asset of medicine which is uncommonly perused. Displaying Islam through his own fragment of its golden roots, we hope the best for his endeavors.
Author: Khansa Khan