Remedy for Imaginary Sickness
O sick person who is searching for a remedy for his ills! Illness is of two sorts. One sort is real, the other, imaginary. As for the real sort, the Shâfî-i Hakîm-i Zulcelâl (All-Wise and Glorious Healer) has stored up in His mighty pharmacy of the earth a cure for every illness. It is licit to obtain medicines and use them as treatment, but one should know that their effect and the cure are from Almighty Allah (God). He both gives the ailment and provides the cure.
Following the recommendations of skilful, God-fearing doctors is an effective medicine. For most illnesses arise from abuses, lack of abstinence, wastefulness, mistakes, dissipation, and lack of care. A religious doctor will certainly give advice and instructions within the bounds of the lawful. He will forbid abuses and excesses, and give consolation. The sick person has confidence in his advice and consolation, and his illness lessens; it produces as easiness for him in place of distress.
But when it comes to imaginary illness, the most effective medicine is to give it no importance. The more importance is given to it, the more it grows and swells. If it is disregarded, it lessens and disperses. The more bees are upset the more they swarm around a person’s head, but they disperse if no attention is paid to them. Similarly, the more importance one pays to a piece of string waving in front of one’s eyes in the darkness and to the apprehension it causes one, the more it grows and makes one flee like a madman. While if one pays it no importance, one sees that it is an ordinary bit of string and not a snake, and laughs at one’s fright and anxiety.
If hypochondria is chronic, it is transformed into reality. It is a serious illness afflicting the nervous and those given to imaginings; such people make mountains out of molehills and their morale is destroyed. Then if they encounter unkind ‘half’ doctors or unfair doctors, it further provokes their hypochondria. If they are rich, they lose their wealth, or they lose their wits, or their health.
My sick brother! Your illness is accompanied by physical pain. However, you are surrounded by a significant spiritual pleasure that will remove its effect. For if your father, mother, and relations are with you, their most pleasurable compassion which you have forgotten since childhood will be reawakened and you will see again the kind looks you received in childhood. In addition, friendships envelop you that had remained secret and hidden; these too look towards you with love through the attraction of illness. In the face of these, your physical pain is reduced to insignificance. Also, you have become e a master of the masters since those whom you used to serve proudly now serve you kindly at the decree of illness. Moreover, you have attracted towards yourself the fellow-feeling and human kindness in people, and so have found numerous helpful friends and kind companions. And again, you have received the order from your illness to rest from many taxing duties and are taking a rest. For sure, in the face of these immaterial pleasures, your minor pain should drive you to thanks, not complaint.
25th Flash, Risale-i Nur
Bediuzzaman Said Nursi