PAIN is one of the basic defense mechanisms created by Almighty Allah to protect us from danger. If there is a problem somewhere in our bodies, and if that problem is growing, then our body informs us through pain. Nerve cells establish communication in transmitting stimuli to the brain by releasing various chemicals. These chemicals’ production is ensured by certain proteins called enzymes.
The feeling of pain
Feelings of pain and discomfort are warnings that a tissue in the body has been damaged. Almighty Allah has created several inter-related systems that all work together to allow that system to function in a flawless manner.
There are nerve endings beneath our skin and tissues and some of these are sensitive to pain. For example, we feel pain when we bump into the corner of a table, tread on a piece of broken glass, when the temperature changes as we hold our hand above a flame, when a hammer hits our thumb, when we cut ourselves or when any abnormal event takes place in any of our internal organs.
Almighty Allah has created several million of our neuroreceptors in such a way as to be able to perceive pains and to be stimulated in proportion to the severity of the blows suffered. When cells in the body are injured they release a chemical known as “prostaglandin.” This chemical, which increases pain signals, has a major effect on the nerve endings that feel pain.
As soon as the nerve endings are stimulated by this chemical they immediately transmit pain messages to the brain. The brain perceives the pain depending on the location and intensity of the incoming message, and by triggering the speech center enables us and those around us to be aware that something is wrong.
Feelings of pain and discomfort have a vital place in our lives because without these it would be impossible for us to know there is a problem anywhere in our bodies. Had Almighty Allah not created these sensations, human beings might often be in grave danger. For example, someone might lose a lot of blood if he did not feel pain when he cut himself, and this might become life-threatening.
One might not realize one had broken a bone in one’s ankle in an accident, and continuing to use the injured ankle might damage the bone even further and lead to permanent disability.
If pain did not warn us beforehand, numerous diseases could advance, starting out as some minor or trivial pain, but then going on to have serious consequences. Pain is therefore the first and only symptom of many diseases. For example, without stomach pain we might not realize we had appendicitis, or without pain or tightness in the chest we might not know we were having a heart attack.
If we did not feel pain when we fall over or lift a heavy load, we would continue to strain our joints and muscles and might worsen the degree of injury.
As revealed by Allah, “…It may be that you hate something when it is good for you and it may be that you love something when it is bad for you. Allah knows and you do not know” (Qur’an, 2:216), pain, which appears to be evil and that causes us discomfort is, in fact, actually a very good thing.
The pain killing mechanism
Almighty Allah has created a very powerful pain killing system in the human body. The organ that feels pain in the body is the brain. In the event of pain, the brain releases a very powerful pain killing chemical called endorphin. These suppress neurotransmitters in the area of the brain that feels pain and in the spinal bulb, thus preventing or reducing pain sensations.
The reason why people may not be aware that they have been injured or even lost an arm for a very long time in warfare, or that people are able to adapt if some disaster strikes without pain inhibiting their ability to react, lies in the release of this hormone. The presence of such a powerful analgesic in our bodies is without doubt a manifestation of Allah’s title of Ar-Hamur Rahimeen (The Most Merciful of the Merciful).
The effect of pain killers on pain
Since pain is a sensation that arises as a result of a nervous connection between the organ concerned and the brain, if that nervous connection is interrupted anywhere, the sensation of pain will decrease or disappear. When pain killers are taken as pills or injected directly, they enter the circulatory system and spread through the entire body.
A very small part of the drug makes direct contact with the organ where the pain is and restricts the production of prostaglandin.
Since the nerve endings can no longer transmit pain signals, the sensation of pain decreases or disappears, even though the wound or injury is still there. Therefore, although pain killers do not know where the pain is and head there directly, if they encounter chemicals transmitting pain signals along the way they immediately react with them and interrupt that chemical’s functions and prevent the signal reaching the brain. Therefore, if we experience pain in two or three areas of our bodies at the same time the pain killer can deal with them all at once.
It is Allah Who bestows health
One of the times when people best understand their own weakness and how needy they are is when they are sick. Allah has created various diseases and pain of differing intensities in order for people to experience this.
The physical and psychological effects of each instance of pain are all very different yet they are all evidence of a most wise creation. The way that an enzyme can initiate pain and thus prevent highly undesirable consequences, and pain being prevented by drugs as a result of collaboration between the circulation, enzymes and nervous system are all proofs of the might of Allah.
Research by scientists to eliminate pain reveal the sublime nature of Allah’s creation. They first deal with the way that pain emerges through systems created by Allah in the body and then, on the basis of those systems, discover drugs to overcome that pain through chemicals inspired by Allah.
Since it is Allah Who inflicts pain, that pain can only be resolved by His will. If Allah so pleases, He will eliminate the disease and pain through His title of Ash-Shafi. Indeed, if Allah does not so wish it, it will still be impossible for all the doctors in the world, the most advanced technological equipment and the latest drugs all working together to cure that disease and pain. All drugs used are just instruments in the healing of disease.
If Allah so pleases, He will allow the person to recover through the treatment administered; but if He does not so will it, then an apparently very minor illness and pain can result in a person’s death. This is revealed as follows in one verse: “...and when I am ill, it is He Who heals me.” (Qur’an, 26:80)
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