Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Quranic Recitation and Healing Effects Part 1

Recitation of the Qur'anic verses can have healing effects that are mediated through both the tongue movements and sound waves.

Healing can be mediated through recital of some specific verses and words that involve touching of the tip of the tongue on the 'magic spot' located in the hard palate on the back of the gums of upper incisors (front teeth). Touch of tongue stimulates the mechanoreceptors located underneath the mucosal lining covering the hard palate, which in turn activates more obscure processes in the brain leading to health positive effects. The sacred words specially related with the 'magic spot' include 'Allah', 'La ilaha illallah' the first four 'kalima's and specially the verse about whom the Prophet (PBUH) has said that it gives cure from 99 diseases: "Lahaula wala quwata illa Billah L-Aliyyil-Adhim".

Effects of sound waves generated during Qur'anic recitation are mediated by two mechanisms. Firstly, through the ears sound waves are converted into electrical stimuli that activate the Auditory area of the brain that in turn stimulates release of chemicals and messengers that have healing properties. Secondly, the sound waves especially at frequencies ranging from 50 - 800 db pass through the body and in the process they are transduced by the body tissues and cells leading to a positive change in the vibratory frequency of the cells and generation of electrical stimuli.

Discussion in the following pages makes it clear that stimuli are generated as a consequence of movements of tongue and the effects of sound waves on the body and the brain, but it is still not clear how these stimuli promote health. More work is needed. However on face value we can correctly assume that they must have healing effects as Allah has disclosed in very plain terms in the Holy Qur'an: "And We sent down in the Qur'an that which is healing and a mercy to those who believe" (Qur'an 17:82)


Medical science has made rapid progress during the last two centuries; treatment modes have changed. This development has been largely focused in one direction: the pharmaceutical industry driven Allopathic Medicine.

Human beings have existed in this world for a much longer time. During all the eras and phases of history cure from disease has been of prime concern to mankind. Various holistic approaches have been explored and practiced based on a variety of philosophies. Even today people seek cure through other modes like the Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Unani Medicine, Homeopathy, Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine, etc. And patients do get cured with them as well.

Being a psychologist, I have always been fascinated with the multiple approaches that one can adopt to treat diseases. After 10 years of practice based on the knowledge of modern day psychological medicine I believe that there are other effective ways to treat that can supplement medical treatment. Allah, the Creator, has made some very categorical statements in this regard:

O Mankind: There has come to you a direction from your Lord and a healing for the (disease) in your hearts - and for those who believe a guidance and mercy!" (Qur'an 10:57)

"And We sent down in the Qur'an that which is healing and a mercy to those who believe; to the unjust it causes nothing but loss after loss" (Qur'an 17:82)

"Those who believe and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of God, for in the remembrance of God do hearts find rest" (Qur'an 13:28)

Scientifically healing effects of reciting Qur'an have not yet been studied in detail; medical science of the 21st century does not understand the exact processes and chemical reactions that take place during recitation. However with the belief that whatever Allah has said is true we can relate the modern day scientific findings with the hints and leads given by the Creator to hypothetically postulate a viable but vague bio-electro-mechanical model of some of the processes that may be taking place. I have tried to do the same thing. It is a view based on my limited knowledge and may not be true. Only Allah knows best.

Every action needs some input. In the case of healing through Qur'an what can be that input? Let us analyze the different forces, factors, or events that are involved in recitation and can be the input leading to healing effects. Body parts involved in recitation are:

1. Vocal cords, tongue & lips: Read or recite.

2. Eyes: See (reading).

3. Ears: Listen (reciting in a loud voice or if listening to a recorded source.

4. Brain / Mind: to analyze and absorb the meanings and the sound.

Activities that take place during recitation include:

1. Movements of lips, tongue and vocal cords.

2. Generation of sound waves.

3. Perception of sound waves by the brain and the body as a whole.

I could only relate the tongue movements and the effects of sound waves with healing. I have failed to understand the role of lips and vocal cord movements or the effects of meanings mediated through nerve impulses triggered in the brain and elsewhere.

Effects of Tongue Movements

You must have noticed the tongue touches the walls of the oral (mouth) cavity while we speak. Recently scientists have found out that there are very sensitive receptors underneath the mucosal lining of the oral cavity specially the hard palate. Theses receptors are stimulated when even lightly pressed by the tongue. It has been documented that this pressure at various points is responsible for initiating the swallowing reflex and other motor movements when we have food in the mouth cavity.

For a moment say the word "ALLAH" and notice your tongue. The tip of the tongue gently presses against a spot (see the spot in the figure above) on hard palate in the mid line just above the back of the gums of the upper front teeth (incisors). Pressure on this spot stimulates the release of signals from mechanoreceptors embedded in the mucosa covering the hard palate.

Allah Almighty has 99 names (Asma ul Husna). Each of them indicates a different attribute of God. Only "ALLAH" is the name (al-ism al-a'zam, the Greatest Name) that God has chosen for himself. Why not something else? God could have taken any name. Why specifically this word. Can the sound of ALLAH have healing powers?

Signals generated through pressure at this 'magic spot' are transmitted to centers in the brain; what these signals do is not yet known. At least we can very safely assume that they cannot be harmful. They must be beneficial as they relate to the name of our Creator.

An authentic saying of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) further supports the possibility of this spot possessing some magical properties. He (PBUH) is reported to have said that reciting the following verse a 100 times daily has cure for 99 diseases and the most minor disease among them is Leprosy: "Lahaula wala quwata illa Billah L-Aliyyil-Adhim" ("There is no power and strength except in Allah, the Exalted, the Majestic"). Now again notice the finely calibrated knock on the 'magic spot'. The tip in a very rhythmic fashion presses against this magic spot almost 10-12 times in about 3 seconds that are consumed in one recital. The advise of the Prophet (PBUH) is for continuous recitation for a 100 times resulting in 1200-1300 continuous harmonically synchronized knocks.

Here I would also draw your attention towards another saying of the Prophet (PBUH): "Jabir (RAW) reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) saying, 'the best way to remember Allah is to say: La ilaha illallah (there is no God but Allah)." (Ref: Tirmidhi)

Once more notice the tongue movements during the recital of 'La ilaha illallah'. Same spot is touched four times in an amazingly synchronized manner.

It is worth mentioning that more than routine involvement of this spot is also observed while reciting all the Kalima's specially the first four:

Kalima Tayyab: "Laa ilaaha ilallahu Muhammadur Rasulullah"

Kalima Shahadat: "Ashadu anla ilaha ilallahu Wa ashadu anna Muhammadar Rasulullah"

Kalima Tamjeed: "Subhanallahu Wal Hamdulillahi Wa Laa ilaha illal Lahu Wallahu Akbar. Wa La haula Wala Quwwata illa billahil AliYil Azeem"

Kalima Tauheed: "Laa ilaha illalLahu Wahdahoo Laa Shareekalahu Lahul-Mulku Walahul Hamd Yuhyee Wa Yumeetu Wa Hua Haiy Yul La Yamutu Biyadihil Khair. Wa hua Ala Kulli Shai 'in Qadeer"

Involvement of this particular magic spot during the recital of some of the most important words and verses in Islam besides the one prescribed by the Prophet (PBUH) as cure cannot be a coincidence. Everything ordered by Allah is very well thought of; human intelligence cannot comprehend it. It becomes even more interesting when we notice that during our daily conversation or routine recital of Holy Qur'an, this spot is not involved as much and in the same rhythmic manner as it is during recital of the prescribed verse.

Scientific research has pointed out towards existence of very sensitive 'Mechanoreceptors' in the oral cavity including the hard palate. Although these studies were not done to prove this hypothesis, I have benefited from them by correlating them with the 'magic spot' phenomenon discussed above. I have here reproduced abstract of one of those studies that documents complex sensory perception of these receptors involved in initiation of reflexes and coordination and timing of patterned motor behaviors. (For my non-medical friends I have highlighted the main points in italics):

Study: Mechanisms of Oral Sensation Norman F. Capra, Department of Oral and Cranio-facial Biological Science, University of Maryland Dental School, 666 W. Baltimore St., 21201 Baltimore, USA:

Sensory nerves that supply mechanoreceptors in the mucosal lining of the oral cavity (incl. mucosa lining the hard palate), pharynx, and larynx provide the substrate for a variety of sensations. They are essential for the perception of complex or composite sensory experiences including oral kinesthesia and oral stereognosis. Relevant to the concerns of the oral health care delivery specialist they also contribute to initiation of reflexes and coordination and timing of patterned motor behaviors. The response of oral mechanoreceptors to natural stimuli is determined to a large degree by morphological factors such as the nature of the relationship between nerve ending and certain cellular specializations, their distribution in the mucosa, the diameter of their primary afferent nerve fibers, and the central distribution of these fibers in the brainstem. Because of morphological similarities to certain cutaneous mechanoreceptors, the mucosal lining may be considered as an internal continuation of the large receptor sheet for localization and detection of mechanical stimuli. In some regions of the oral, pharyngeal, and laryngeal mucosa, this analogy is appropriate whereas in others, existing data suggest a different role consistent with regionally specific demands (i.e., initiation of protective reflexes).


mahboob said...

Really It is a great article.
My best wishes for you.Allah bless you.

mahejabeen said...