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ISLAMIC MEDICAL EDUCATION RESOURCES 04

36.2 MEDICAL EDUCATION, al taaliim al tibbi

By Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr.

36.2.1 MEDICAL EDUCATION: CONTENT and ISSUES

Medicine is closely associated with all the 5 purposes of the Law: diin, nafs, nasl, aql, & maal. Study of medicine is therefore fardh kifayat. Medical students should learn basic and clinical sciences, the essentials of Islam, al ma’lum fi al diin bi dharurat, ahkam fiqhiyyat relating to medicine, and the social background to disease causation and prevention. There are 6 conceptual issues in medical education from the Islamic perspective: purpose of medicine and medical education, integration, balance, service, leadership, and research.

 

36.2.2 THE ISSUES OF PURPOSE, INTEGRATION, and BALANCE

The purpose of medicine is to restore, maintain or improve the quality of remaining life. It cannot prevent or postpone death because ajal is in the hands of Allah. The aim of medical education is producing physicians whose practice fulfills the 5 purposes of the Law within a holistic tauhidi context. They will have the following characteristics: health and not disease oriented, focused on quality and not quantity of life, humble to recognize limitations to their abilities, holistic in outlook, understand society, scientific capability, clinical expertise, and leadership. European secular-oriented medicine is fragmented by organ, disease process, and is not holistic. Islam can provide an integrative tauhidi paradigm to replace the European non-tauhid world-view that is atomistic, analytic, and not synthetic. In the absence of an integrating paradigm, European medicine lacks balance and equilibrium in its therapeutic approach. The Qur’anic concepts of wasatiyyat, mizaan, i’itidaal, and tadafu’u provide a conceptual framework for balanced medical practice.

 

36.2.3 THE ISSUE OF SERVICE

Medicine should be taught as a social service with the human dimension dominating the the biomedical dimension. Medicine should be practiced as of mutual social support. Medical education should prepare the future physician to provide service to the community. This will require skills of understanding and responsing to community needs that can be acquired by spending part of the training period in a community setting away from the high technology hospital environment.

 

36.2.4 THE ISSUE OF LEADERSHIP

The medical school curriculum and experience should be a lesson in social responsibility and leadership. The best physician should be a social activist who goes into society and gives leadership in solving underlying social causes of ill-health. The physician as a respected opinion leader with close contact with the patients must be a model for others in moral values, attitudes, akhlaq, and thoughts. He must give leadership in preventing or solving ethical issues arising out of modern biotechnology. He must understand the medical, legal, and ethical issue involved and explain them to the patients and their families so that they can form an informed decision. He should also provide leadership in advocating for the less privileged and advocacy for human rights.

 

36.2.5 REFORM OF MEDICAL EDUCATION

Admission decisions should in addition to academic competence consider comprehensive holistic approach based on tauhid, a service vocation, ethical and community leadership, and motivation to get knowledge. The medical school curriculum should be reformed in 2 ways: (a) more methodological content and less biomedical information (b) learning by apprecenticeship by early involvement in patient care. The future physician must be a producer and not a consumer of knowledge. This will require giving more time to basic research methodological tools and decreasing the amount of biomedical scientific information that is either forgotten or becomes obsolete by the time of graduation. Student research projects are a good introduction to life-long curiosity in science and discovery. Besides facts and skills, students learn values, attitudes, and assumptions from their teachers and the environment. For apprenticeship to succeed the teachers must be good models and the ambience must be Islamic. An ideal Muslim physician is a multi-dimensional character described as having iman, taqwah, amanat, and akhlaq.

(c) Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr. 2004