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ISLAMIC MEDICAL EDUCATION RESOURCES 04

0301-FOUR DIMENSIONS OF BEING A MUSLIM DOCTOR

By Prof Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr

IMAN

Three aspects of iman bear directly on medical practice: tauhid; qadar; and tafakkur. The integrating paradigm of tauhid enables the physician to practice integrated and balanced medical care. Belief in pre-destination, qadar, guides the physician in his work to know and understand that life & health, illness & cure are in the hands of Allah. He will understand that he is a tool and not the reason for the cure; all cure if from Allah. The physician has limited knowledge and limited ability and should not be arrogant. After doing all what is humanly possible for his patients, the believing physician trusts in Allah's help and support. A believing physician will know that he cannot change the time of death, ajal, since that is under Allah’s direct control. He will concentrate on improving quality of remaining life for his patients. As the believing physician goes about his daily chores, he contemplates, tafakkur, about all what he sees. Medical knowledge and actual clinical experiences increase iman because the physician realizes the power and majesty of Allah who created the complex human organism and who cures it from the most severe diseases.

 

TAQWAH

A believing physician is conscious that Allah is watching and is ever-present. He knows that other humans observe his actions. He will do well in public and private. He will strive to know the permitted, halal, and do it. He will even more intensely strive to know what is prohibited, haram, and avoid it. He will avoid being involved in prohibited medical procedures that result in destruction of life such as abortion, euthanasia, and assisted suicide. He will keep away from fraud, false evidence, lying and misrepresentation. He will not dispense forbidden, haram, medication.

 

AMANAT

A believing physician will take his medical work as a trust, amanat. The trust involves four dimensions: commitment and sincerity of intentions, ikhlas al niyyat; quality work, itqan al ‘amal, excellence in work, ihsan; and social responsibility of dawa and being a role model, qudwat. A sincere intention increases commitment. Medical practice is ‘ibadat for the pleasure of Allah. Medicine is also a form of charity. The motivation of the physician should therefore be service and not personal enrichment and material gain. A believing physician will try to excel in his clinical responsibilities by making sure that he tries to achieve perfection, itqaan, and excellence, ihsaan. Professional competence cannot be compromised in any way. It is a major sin to undertake any medical procedure beyond the level of competence of the physician. A believing physician knows that he is accountable before Allah, the profession, and society at large. He will discharge his duties honestly using the highest standards of good medical care. He will avoid harmful, doubtful, or unnecessary treatment. He will strive to have regular updating of his knowledge and skills. He will engage in research for new and better treatment modalities; every disease has a cure. A believing physician will know that he has societal responsibilities beyond the treatment of disease. He will use any opportunities available to make dawa to patients and their relatives. He will work to eradicate or alleviate social root causes of disease. In his personal life he will strive to be a role model of good character and behavior for the rest of society. He will not shy away from social leadership and advocacy for the less privileged or the oppressed.

 

AKHLAQ

The physician must have humility, tawadhu’u, show brotherhood, ukhuwwat, and have social respectability, muru’at. He should show humility to Allah, to professional colleagues, to patients and their relatives. He should avoid show-off, riyaa, in its manifest and hidden forms. Brotherhood is manifested in the humane treatment and respect for all patients regardless of their disease and social status. The believing physician gives reassurance, empathy, consolation, psychological support for patients and relatives. He has a positive and optimistic attitude in the stress of illness. He also fulfils the basic duties of brotherhood with his professional colleagues. Social respectability is acquired by good public behavior and avoiding any negative behavior that violates this respectability, kharaq al muru’at. This should not be a mere show or acting in public when in private behavior is despicable. It must be sincere and consistent with an overall good behavior.

ęCopyright Professor Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr January 2003