First of all, it is noteworthy that every human being is bound to feel ill sometime and somehow. A Muslim does not feel panic when afflicted with any sickness because his belief in the mercy of Allah is great, so is his faith in destiny and his awareness of the importance of enjoining forbearance 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 order to seek medical treatment. Here appears the significance of medicine in Islam and the great role played by doctors.
as for the role of a Muslim doctor, we’d like to cite the following: The Muslim doctor shares with the Muslim patient the two main characteristics: the faith in Allah 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 the mission 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 Allah’s will. It seems that doctors are more aware than others of the Divine power and Allah’s will. They meet every day with cases where destiny plays the major pan, and they encounter the most unexpected results. Our Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) said, “For each disease there is a cure; and when the treatment is given, the disease is cured by the Will of Allah.” (Reported by Ahmad and Muslim)
the art of healing, which is called the medical profession in modern language, has been highly respected all through the ages. For a long period in human history this was closely correlated with religious leadership and quite often confluent with magic and miracles. Since the advent of Islam 1400 years ago, medicine has become a science subject to human intelligence and discovery. Nevertheless, the medical doctor has persistently captured the appreciation and respect of his contemporaries, especially as medicine was usually associated with other philosophical and social knowledge.
In fact, this close marriage between philosophy and medicine distinguished the medical history of Islam. The gist here is that doctor’s prognosis included the spiritual, psychological and social sides of the patient over and above the pathological aspects. In an Islamic state, all Muslim doctors in course of their every day practice, and when dealing with Muslim patients in particular, should keep this traditional prognostic attitude in mind.
But what is it that makes a Muslim doctor different from other non- Muslim doctors? From the technological and scientific points of view, all doctors fall in one category. However, when it comes to practice, the Muslim doctor finds himself bound by particular professional ethics plus his Islamic directives issuing from his belief. In fact, the Muslim doctor—i.e., a doctor who tries to live his Islam by following its teachings all through—is expected to behave differently in some occasions and to meet greater responsibilities than other non-Muslim doctors.
1. The Public Responsibility: A Muslim doctor is supposed to belong to a Muslim community where there is some common causes, common feelings, and mutual solidarity. (Believers are brethren.) (Al-Hujurat 49: 10)
almighty Allah also says: (And hold fast all of you together to the Rope of 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…) (Al `Imran 3: 103)
the implication here is that the Muslim doctor is a member in a Muslim community where the same body of the individual is crucial for its survival and development. The 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. The best missionary service to be rendered by a medical doctor is to behave all 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.
2. Faith and healing: By accepting the fact that Allah is the Healer and that the doctor is only an agent, both patients—irrespective of their creeds—and their doctors, fight their battle of treatment with less agony and tension. I think it is an established fact that such spiritual conviction would improve the psychological state of the patient and boost his morale, and thus help him overcome his physical weakness and sickness. There are many examples where faith played a miraculous part in the process of healing. A Muslim doctor must make faith the backbone of his entire healing procedure.
3. Reprehensible, Prohibited and Permissible Acts: More than any other professional, the Muslim medical doctor is confronted more frequently with questions regarding the Islamic legitimacy of his activities. There are almost daily controversial problematic issues on which he is supposed to decide: e.g. birth control, abortions, opposite sex hormonal injections, trans-sexual operations, brain operations affecting human personality, plastic surgery, extra-uterine conception, etc. The Muslim doctor should not be guided in such issues merely by the law of the country in which he is residing (which may be non-Muslim). He must also find the Islamic answer and rather adopt it as much as he can. To find the answer is not an easy matter, especially if the doctor himself has no reasonably solid background in the field of Islamic teachings. Yet, to gain such knowledge is very simple and would not consume much time as generally presumed.
In general, every Muslim must have a preliminary knowledge of what is reprehensible and what is prohibited. One has to admit that our early education as individuals is very deficient in this regard. But this does not justify our ignorance of the essentials of our religion and our indifference towards its injunctions. There is no difficulty nowadays to obtain a few reference books about our Shari`ah and to find out the answers to most, if not all, our medical queries. The most preliminary study to the Islamic science of Usul would give the doctors the main principles of analogy (Qiyas) and juristic preference (Istihsan). The importance of such knowledge becomes conspicuous when the subject of the issue is purely technical and thus lies beyond the reach of the normal religious scholar. Besides, there are many secondary questions that arise in the course of dealing with patients where the personal judgment of the doctor is the only arbiter. There, as always, the doctor needs a criterion on which he can build his code of behaviour and the ethics of his medical procedure.
to conclude, the role of the Muslim doctor is briefly to put his profession in service of his religion. To this end, he must know both: medicine and Islam.