ATTITUDE TOWARDS DISEASES DURING THE SULTANATE PERIOD
This paper seeks to examine the manifold superstitions, different types of local treatments and spiritual methods for the treatment of various diseases during the period of the Sultanate of Delhi. Contemporary historical accounts, especially malfuzat literature, allude to contemporary social superstitious beliefs and practices, cures of diseases, spiritual healing, and local treatment. Even the literate, rational, and sceptical people were unable to withstand and check the widespread nature of these practices, which led to practices like visiting the graves and tombs for recovery from illness, belief in charms, amulets (naqsh), and talismans (tawidh) for curing diseases, prayers and faith in deities for recovery from illness, belief in black magic, witchcraft, and evil eye as a cause of disease, and belief in astrology and horoscopes became common. Sufi Shaikhs played an essential role as spiritual healers. Superstitious beliefs, local treatments, and spiritual healing methods regarding the causes and cures of various diseases became prevalent among the common masses. In the past, people used magical and exorcist practices to eliminate illnesses. Even though there has been continuous progress in the medical sciences for curing various ailments, these beliefs were ingrained in people’s minds and intensely practised by the people throughout the period of the Delhi Sultanate. It needs to be noted however that being religious increases a patient’s satisfaction and adherence to treatment, spiritual healing and the therapeutic powers of reciting the Quranic verses. The benefits derived from reciting surahs of the Holy Qur’an and Hadith while praying, have beneficial therapeutic outcomes. Numerous medical practitioners emerged in Sultanate society due to the prevalence of superstition and local healing methods. Divine healers boasted about their supernatural diagnostic powers, while witch doctors were responsible for exorcising evil spirits from their patients.
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