Islamic medicine as practiced in Malay traditional medical system


Haliza Mohd Riji


Traditional & Complementary Medicine Exhibition 2007 (TCME 2007),Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia




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Islam spread to the Malay Peninsular around the 14th century and had since then affected most of the Malays way of life. Religious knowledge penetrated into the people’s beliefs about life’s existence.  Maintaining a balanced quality of life necessitates one to be concerned with both the external as well as the internal aspects of living. Healers or therapists who can be described as the backbone of the Malay traditional medical system will not hesitate to claim that they practice mostly Islamic principles. Resorting to the humoral system and referring to the Tibb Nabawi are clear manifestations of the beliefs and adherence to Islamic teachings.  Yet the Malay traditional medical system is not as simple as many tend to believe. This paper deals with bases of knowledge and practice of Malay medicine as they relate to the curative and promotion of mental health within the Malay communities. The writer wishes to demonstrate that while in many instances, a clear distinction is made of the function of the mind, in yet other situations, for example in dealing with amok, there is a mixed explanation and therapies adopted by the Malay healers. The practice of Islamic medicine in Malay culture represents a constant process of adaptation and reshaping the Arabic text as the medical source materials. A large part of this presentation is based on research in recent times among various types of bomoh in Peninsular Malaysia.