|The Role Of A Muslim Doctor|
|Written by Prof. Mahmoud Abu - Saud|
Disease and Cure
"Perfect health" is a wish that humans crave for. They know that they can never attain this state of perfection, if only because they cannot conceive what is "perfect". Accordingly, they satisfy themselves with a relative "good health", where the individual would be living without imminent suffering or pain. As living organisms, humans are subject to genetic and environmental influences that affect the functioning of their organs. Any negative effect would cause a disease.
therein, declare His Glory: There is not a thing but
celebrates His praise, and yet you understand not
how they declare His glory. Verily He is oft-
forbearing most forgiving."
(XVII-44)Both words "glorifying" and "praising" in the above verse have been used by translators to imply "Tasbeeh", but they should be construed to mean the conformity with the laws enacted by Allah to administer the ideal relationships among all beings in course of their functioning and performance. When there is any disturbance to our deviation from the inherent discipline of Tasbeeh, then there is a disease. In humans, such a disease can be pure moral (psychological), pure pathological, or moral-cum-pathological. When a person goes astray in his behavioral conduct, or when he contracts a virus infection, or where the cholesterol in his blood increases to the extent that affects his meditative faculties and behavior, this person is accordingly considered sick. To cure him, an appropriate course of treatment must be followed. The person who is qualified to judge whether a person is suffering from a "disease" as such, and who assumes the functions of healing is called a medical "doctor".
To help understand the role of the Muslim doctor, let us have a general idea about the texts in the Qur'an and Hadith relating to the subject. God talks in the Qur'an about moral disease and cure in several suras (chapters). He says:
from your Lord and a healing for the (disease) in
your hearts, - and for those who believe, a
guidance and a mercy."
(X-57)The "direction" in this verse to the Qur'an itself, it is considered a sure cure to any moral or psychological disease that may afflict true believers.
(XLI, 44)There is no doubt that genuine belief in god can be the best cure for most of our psychological disturbances. It brings peace to our hearts as one reckons to his Creator and resigns in Him.
in patience, - Those who believe, and whose
hearts find peace and satisfaction in the
remembrance of God: for without doubt in the
remembrance of God do hearts find
satisfaction and peace."
(XIII, 27-28)Moral disease has been frequently expressed as disease in the heart. For instance, depicting the psychological picture of the Hypocrites (Munafiqeen) God says:
increased their disease: and grevious is the penalty
they (incur), because they are false (to themselves)."
(II, 10)Transgressors, unbelievers and ill-intentioned individuals suffer from a moral weakness - a disease in their hearts. This term has been repeated about thirteen times in the Qur'an.
From the physical point of view, there are many verses that mention the ill and the patient, giving them due license from some commissioned obligations and prescriptions. For instance, the ills allowed not to keep the fasting during Ramadan, (11. 184), not to observe the usual ablution (IV, 43), not to abstain from cutting his hair during the pilgrimage (11, 196), not to respond the call of Jihad (IX, 9 1) etc. In general, the ailing person is treated as a special case and is given the due chance for recovery and is always given special treatment and licenses.
It is granted that Allah is the ultimate healer. Ibrahim (P.B.U.H.) arguing with his people about the omnipotence of Allah said,
guides me, who gives me food and drink, and
when I am ill, He cures me..."
(XXVI, 80)However, Allah insinuates the need for treatment by ascribing a healing potentiality to honey produced by bees:
varying colors, wherein is healing for men... "
(XVI, 69)The Hadith, as usual, gave us striking revealing facts concerning disease and cure. Our Prophet (P.B.U.H.) informed us that the general rule is that there is a cure to every disease, whether we are aware of it or not. We know at present that our cells produce antibodies to fend against the agents of disease: the viruses and virulent bacteria. Homeopathic philosophy is based on helping the body to overcome the disease by giving the sick very small doses of drugs that would stimulate the same symptoms in a healthy person if given in large doses. In simple words, the well established Hadith narrated on the authority of Ibn Maso'ud "God has not inflicted a disease without prescribing a cure to it, known to whoever knows it, and unknown to whoever does not know it." (cited by Ahmad of Nayl-al-Awtar, V. 9, p. 89), this Hadith is a confirmation of the natural law of auto-resistance of self-defense. It indicates as well the necessity for discovering cures to our diseases. He (P.B.U.H.) said - on the authority of Usama Ibn Shuraik - when a Bedouin asked him whether be should seek treatment: "Yes, servants of God seek treatment; God has not set a disease without setting a cure to it, known to whoever knows it and unknown to whoever does not know it" (cited by lbn Majah, Tirmizi and Abu-Dawood). And again, on the authority of Abu-Huraira, the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) said, "God has not sent any disease without sending a cure to it" (cited by Ahmad, al-Bukhari and Ibn Majah).
The Muslim Patient
Every human being is bound to feel ill sometime and somehow. A Muslim does not panic when afflicted with any sickness because his belief in the mercy of God, his faith in destiny and his faith enjoining forebearance and patience, all these elements give him strength to stand fast and endure his ordeal. However, he is supposed to seek treatment in response to the Prophet's (P.B.U.H.) order. By accepting the Prophet's (P.B.U.H.) statement that there is a cure to every disease, the Muslim patient builds up a strong hopeful attitude that helps him and his doctor to resist the disease and overcome it.
The Muslim Doctor
The Muslim doctor shares with the Muslim patient the two main characteristics: the faith in God and destiny, and the conviction that there is a cure for every disease But the doctor must have something more; he is supposed to know, or at least try to know, the proper diagnosis and the proper cure. He must be aware of his mission or commission entrusted to him in his capacity as the agent of healing. Being an agent, he believes that the act of healing is not entirely his, but it depends on God's will. It seems to me that medical doctors are more aware than others of the divine power and God's will. They meet every day with cases where destiny plays the major pan and they encounter the most unexpected results. Our Prophet (P.B.U.H), on the authority of Yasir, says: "For each disease there is a cure; and when the (fight) treatment is given, the disease is cured by the Will of Allah", (cited by Ahmad and Muslim).
1. The Public Responsibility: A Muslim doctor is supposed to belong to a Muslim community where there is some common cause, common feelings and mutual solidarity. "Believers are brethren" (IXL, 10) God also says:
Allah, and be not divided among yourselves: and
remember Allah's favor on you, for you were
enemies and He joined your hearts together, so
that by His Grace you became brethern..."
The implication is the Muslim doctor is a member in a Muslim community where the same body of the individual is crucial for its survival and development. T'he doctor has a big say and great weight in influencing his patients and in righteously guiding their orientation. Besides, he should be actively involved in propagating true Islam among Muslims and non- Muslims. Almost all Christian missionaries depend on medical doctors when approaching alien masses, taking advantage of the humanistic service doctors render to poor diseased people. In a country like this where we live, the best missionary service to be render-ed by a medical doctor is to behave aU the time in accordance with his Islamic teachings, to declare his conviction, and to feel proud of it. Then he serves a good model that would convince others and gain their hearts.