Home

ISLAMIC MEDICAL EDUCATION RESOURCES 04

0304-ISLAMIZATION and INTEGRATION OF KNOWLEDGE IN THE KULLIYAH OF MEDICINE, IIUM

Paper presented at TIDE program, IIUM Gombak Campus on 3rd April 2003 by Professor Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr.

CONCEPT

Islamization is a process of recasting the corpus of human knowledge to conform to the basic tenets of aqidat al tauhid. All true knowledge whatever its kind and source is Islamic. Islamic knowledge has no time or space constraints because Islam is universal being suitable for every place and time. Islamized knowledge is for the benefit of all humanity and not monopolized by Muslims. Islamization is a corrective reformative movement. The process of Islamization does not call for re-invention of the wheel of knowledge but calls for reform, correction, and re-orientation. Islamization is an evolutionary and not revolutionary movement. The vision of Islamization of knowledge is accelerated growth of objective, universal knowledge that is beneficial to all humanity and allows a harmonious interaction of humans with their physical, social, and spiritual environment. The practical mission is conceptual transformation of the paradigms, methodologies, and uses of disciplines of knowledge to conform to tauhid.

 

PROCESS

Guided by empirical scientific spirit of the Qur’an, Muslims must be innovative, creative, and researchers in basic and applied medical sciences so that they may become leaders of the disciplines. A medical student starts by commitment to discipline reform process. He must master his discipline well. He should then get basics of Islamic methodology from usul al fiqh, ‘uluum al Qur’an and ‘uluum al hadith to be able to critique the basic paradigms of the discipline on the basis of tauhid and the universal and perennial values of Islam. This is followed by research, publishing, teaching, networking, and inspiring others.

 

VISION

The vision of the Kulliyah’s program has two separate but closely related components: Islamization and legal medicine. Islamization deals with putting medicine in an Islamic context in terms of epistemology, values, and attitudes. Legal medicine deals with issues of application of the Law from a medical perspective including the ‘grey area’ for which simple categorisation as good & bad, legal & illegal is not easy. The program contributes to the Islamization of medical sciences by bridging the dichotomy between traditional Islamic sciences and the medical sciences. The program basically tries to provide an Islamic intellectual and cultural context for medical concepts and practice. The approach has not been confined to technical aspects of medicine but has gone beyond to explore social, cultural, and epistemological issues that have an impact on the teaching and practice of medicine. The program can be used as a basis for further development of Islamic Medicine concepts. It is hoped that students of medicine who go through this program will be inspired to write and develop new concepts of Islamic Medicine. The program also contributes to the evolution of an system of Islamic legal medicine with guidelines that can help the Muslim physician and the patient make the best decisions in difficult circumstances that arise out of the recent developments in medical technology. Most of what falls under the rubric of medico-ethical issues in the European communities are actually medico-legal issues for which the Law, shariat, has adequate guidelines.

 

FIVE MAIN OBJECTIVES, ahdaaf asaasiyyat

(a) Fundamental concepts and paradigms

The first objective is the introduction of Islamic paradigms and concepts in general, mafahiim islamiyyat ‘aamat, and as they relate to medicine, mafahiim Islamiyat fi al Tibb. The Muslim physicians must have some general concepts deriving from Islamic teachings that can guide their work and research. These concepts can be grouped in five major categories: the Islamic creed, aqidat Islamiyyat; general concepts of knowledge and epistemology, \ilm & marifat; civilization, ‘imarat al ardh; concepts of life and health, hayat & sihhat; and structure and function of the human organism, tarkiib wa wadhaif al a’adha. The medical student and future physician must understand medicine in the ummah from historic and futuristic perspectives, tarikh wa mustaqbal al tibb. The medical student is motivated and inspired by appreciating the medical heritage of the Muslim civilization. Knowledge of the evolution of medical knowledge and practice since the first century of hijra and achievements of Muslims in medicine have been ignored by western scholars and have been poorly documented by Muslims. This knowledge is an indispensable component of the Islamic intellectual heritage. Few Muslim physicians know the medical and intellectual heritage of medical knowledge in the Qur'an, tibb qur’ani, and the hadith, tibb nabaw. Islamization of medical sciences is a challenge that does not aim at producing different knowledge but at producing medical and scientific knowledge within an ethical and moral context.

 

(b) Medicine and revelation

The second objective is strengthening faith, iman, through study of Allah’s sign in the human body. Medicine and medical knowledge have been described as the altar of faith, al tibb mihrab al iman. Study of medicine leads to the conclusion that there must be a powerful and deliberate creator because such a sophisticated organism could not arise by chance. Contemplation of the structure and functioning of the human body lead a normal person to appreciation of the power of the Creator and to believe in Him. This is achieved by contemplating the perfection, optimality, and sophistication of human biology starting from the sub-cellular to more sophisticated structures like tissues and organs; contemplating the order, harmony, and purposiveness of human growth and development; contemplating human senses and organ systems as a gift from Allah; and contemplating the tauhidi integrating paradigm as reflected in the well coordinated body physiology  and interaction of the human organism with the eco-system.

 

(c) Medicine and the law

The third objective is appreciating and understanding the juridical, fiqh, aspects of health and disease, al fiqh al tibbi. There is a close interaction between injunctions of Islamic law, shariat, and medical practice. Muslim physicians must be aware of the general concepts so that they can give preliminary advice to the patients. Diseases and their treatment interfere with the patient’s duties to Allah and also to other humans by limiting legal rights and obligations. Difficult and fine choices must be made. Well-trained physicians should be able to understand the various options available and to explain them well to enable the patient make an informed decision. Legal aspects of medicine can be categorized in five groups: medical and health issues of the physical acts of worship such as salat,saum, zakat, & haj; normal physiological processes of breast-feeding, menstruation, pregnancy, excretion of body wastes, nutrition, sleep, and reproduction;  the impact of disease on ibadat obligations and the impact of disease on human and social obligations; medical aspects of applying the Law using medical and forensic evidence. Included under the rubric of the Law is a group of issues that constitute medical ethics in Europe.

 

The physician is the first recourse to patient and their families in trying to make an informed decision when confronted by an ethical issue. The physician is not expected to make a legal ruling, fatwa. He must however know and understand the issues involved from Islamic and medical perspectives and guide the patients to the most appropriate choices. Controversial legal issues arise in medical care and medical research which involve serious violations of human and animal rights.

 

(D) Social issues

The fourth objective is understanding the social issues in medical practice and research, al qadhaya al ijtima’iyat fi al tibb. Medicine is not taught or practised in a social or ethical vacuum. Good physicians must understand how social problems and issues impact on health, disease and medical treatment. They also must appreciate how medical practice can create or solve social problems. The physician must know societal institutions and how they affect disease occurrence and disease management. He must be able to identify social causes of disease from the context of a social system to be able to plan the eradication of social root causes of disease.

 

(f) Professional etiquette, adab al tabiib

The physician carries a heavy trust, the amanat of being professionally competent. He must know the proper etiquette of dealing with patients and colleagues. He must understand that medicine is a service vocation and not a way to self-enrichment.

 

TAUHIDI HOLISTIC COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH

The manual is written from a holisitic tauhidi paradigm that does not look at medicine as a science and art isolated from the rest of society and human endeavours. When medical issues are discussed, reference is made to relevant social and spiritual aspects. A basic paradigm of this manual is that medicine and medical treatment are comprehensive involving physical, psychological, social and moral aspects. It therefore tries to be inclusive and discuss all factors that directly or indirectly affect human wellbeing or ill health. This paradigm is a practical consequence of the integrative tauhidi paradigm that is the basis of the Islamic civilization. The curriculum aims at universality and integration. Medicine is not a collection of sub-specialties but an integrated whole. Medicine in integrated with other disciplines in a multi-disciplinary approach to solving human problems. Disease and its treatment at seen from the context of the whole eco-system. Lack of integration with the eco-system leads to new problems being created while solving old ones. The medical curriculum for which this manual is prepared aims at producing a well-rounded physician who is not only skilled in scientific medicine but also understands the spiritual and social aspects of disease. Such a physician looks at the patient as a whole person living in a social and spiritual milieu and not just as a collection of symptoms and signs. The physician’s approach to medical problems is not only scientific and technical. It extends to other aspects of the patient’s life that affect overall well-being.

Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr. April 2004