A One Unity


In 1848, a railroad worker named Phineas Gage had a horrendous accident while working. A part of his left frontal lobe was shot out by an iron rod.

Wartapilihan.com, Depok— His left eye was also injured in the accident. Amazingly, however, he still had strength to walk to ride a car back home. Later, a doctor came to examine him. The doctor originally ridiculed Phineas’ story. He can’t believe his brain was skewered out… until Phineas cough made another part of his brain fell to his tea cup.

One month later, Phineas recovered, but is not the same person. He might behave like usual, but many of his friends noted that his personality was changed. While the old Phineas is soft spoken and mild mannered. In work, he was also a hard worker, responsible, liked by his men. One of his employers regarded him as, “The most efficient and capable foreman in their employ”. The post-accident Phineas is somewhat surly, mean-spirited and vulgar. The same employer who regarded him high now said, “Considered the change in his mind so marked that they could not give him his place again”. “No longer Gage”, is what his friends and acquaintances said about him.

Phineas Gage later went back to his parents’ home in Lebanon, New Hampshire. Gage would pass away at the age of 36 in or near San Francisco. Now, fascinating isn’t it? How an external injury could make someone change mentally. We always thought mental, personality and emotion alike are something that is untouchable. There is almost no way it could be change so sudden. But, as it turns out a change in our biological system could play a part in our emotion, even personality change.

About eleven centuries ago, a Muslim scholar by the name of Abu Zayd al-Balkhi had discussed similar matter. About how one body health could influence one mental health. He said, “Since man’s construction is from both his soul and his body, therefore, human existence cannot be healthy without the ishtibak (interweaving or entangling) of soul and body.” Al- Balkhi futher argued, “If the body gets sick, the nafs (psyche/soul) loses much of its cognitive and comprehensive ability and fails to enjoy the desirous aspects of life and if the nafs gets sick, the body may also find no joy in life and may eventually develop a physical illness.”

Many people these days only placing concern on physical health. They neglect their psychological or mental well-being. It ultimately resulted on many cases of mental health issues such as stress, depression, anxiety, even suicide. Our Muslim community even fall into this massive problem. We forget what the Prophet Muhammad had said centuries ago, “Truly, in the body there is a morsel of flesh, and when it is corrupt the body is corrupt, and when it is sound the body is sound. Truly, it is the qalb (heart).” Not only we have to take care of our body, we have to take care of our heart. Heart is the foundation of our mental stability. And by maintaining our mental stability, we could achieve a physical health.

Because our body and heart is a one unity. One cannot live without the others, nor can they nurture. As a Muslim we have many ways make our heart stable. Such as reading Qur’an or praying. We are also recommended by the Prophet to keep our body healthy. As he said, “A strong Muslim is better and more liked by Allah.”


Wallahu a`lam bisshawab, Depok, May 20th 2019

Muhammad Faris Ranadi

Santri PRISTAC, Pesantren At-Taqwa Depok (www.attaqwa.id)




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