In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
The Praiseworthy Goals to Be Sought After In Medical Practice
Medical practice is one of the noblest occupations because its subject matter deals with life of the human being. Its aim and purpose is to preserve health, strengthen physical well-being and distance a person from illness. The need for medicine is great and a person is in need of it in all circumstances, because one is in need of good health in order to carry out work and fulfil obligations in this life, which is the purpose behind the creation of the human being. Allaah [The Most High] said: [وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ – And I (Allah) created not the jinns and humans except they should worship Me (Alone)]. [Surah Adh-Dhaariyaat. Aayah 56]
So the aim behind medicine is to preserve health, strengthen the body’s physical well-being and distance it from illness. Among the virtues of medicine is that it preserves life and this is one of the five necessities which Islaam preserves, namely religion, life, intellect (or the mind), lineage and wealth. It helps a Muslim and the society to repel harm, as it is well known that the Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said: [ لا ضرر ولا ضرار – There should be neither harming nor reciprocating harm]. [Ref 1]
It fulfils the obligation of co-operating upon righteousness and piety. Allaah said:
[وَتَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْبِرِّ وَالتَّقْوَىٰ – Help you one another in Al-Birr and At-Taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety)]. [Surah Al-Maa’idah. Aayah 2]
It fulfils the command of the Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] found in the hadeeth of Usaamah bin Shareek [may Allaah be pleased with him] that a Bedouin said, “O Messenger of Allaah! Should we seek medical treatment?” He said, “Seek medical treatment, because Allaah has not created any disease, except that He has also created a remedy for it, except for one disease: old age”. [Ref 2]
One should hope for Allaah’s reward and good recompense, sincere to Allaah in such a profession and not to practice medicine only for their status to be acknowledged; rather one should be sincere and hope for Allaah’s reward. Alqamah Ibn Waqqaas Al-Laythiy said, “I heard Umar Ibn Al-khattaab [may Allaah be pleased with him] saying whilst on the minbar, ‘I heard the Messenger of Allaah [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] saying, ‘Actions are (judged) by intentions and every person will have what he intended. So he whose migration was for Allah and His Messenger, his migration is for Allah and His Messenger. And he whose migration was for some worldly (gain) or for a woman to marry, then his migration is for that which he migrated’” [Ref 3]
The doctor must fear Allaah with regards to those affairs about which one is consulted, especially that which is related to the rights of the people, such as when a sick person approaches him for a sick note or when in need of a medical note to prove that he is fit for employment or when consulted regarding a particular type of medication, or whether the state of health of an individual (woman) allows her to utilise contraception in order not to get pregnant, or whether her state of health warrants the removal of her ovaries. It has been reported in a hadeeth by Abu Hurairah [may Allaah be pleased with him] who said that the Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said: [الْمُسْتَشَارُ مُؤْتَمَنٌ – The consultee is in a position of trust]. [Ref 4]
Few Reminders From The Above Hadeeth:
[الْمُسْتَشَارُ مُؤْتَمَنٌ – The consultee is in a position of trust]
[المستشار -The Consultee]: He is the one whose opinion is sought regarding an affair of Maslahah (i.e. an affair that will bring about benefit and repel harm). He is in a position of trust with regards to what he is asked and it is not permissible for him to deceive the one who consults him, by concealing the affair that would bring about benefit. [Ref 5]
This hadeeth is an evidence to show that the consultee has to (advise) with the course of action and opinion -in relation to the consultation – he would choose for himself and it is not permissible that he directs his Muslim brother to something he would not be pleased with for himself. [Ref 6]
The Muslim doctor should not make the patient a means of experimenting the effectiveness of a medication, especially if he fears that there would be severe side effects, because this experimentation would negate the honour Allaah has bestowed on the children of Aadam. Allaah [The Most High] said:
[وَلَقَدۡ كَرَّمۡنَا بَنِىٓ ءَادَمَ وَحَمَلۡنَـٰهُمۡ فِى ٱلۡبَرِّ وَٱلۡبَحۡرِ وَرَزَقۡنَـٰهُم مِّنَ ٱلطَّيِّبَـٰتِ وَفَضَّلۡنَـٰهُمۡ عَلَىٰ ڪَثِيرٍ۬ مِّمَّنۡ خَلَقۡنَا تَفۡضِيلاً۬ – And indeed We have honoured the Children of Adam, and We have carried them on land and sea, and have provided them with At-Taiyibat(lawful good things), and have preferred them above many of those whom We have created with a marked preference]. [Surah Al-Is’raa Aayah 70]
This deed [i.e. using the patient as a means to experimenting the effectiveness of a medication] negates the command given to person to safeguard the blood of a Muslim. The Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said, “A Muslim is the brother of another Muslim, so he should not oppress him, nor should he hand him over to an oppressor. Whoever fulfilled the needs of his brother, Allaah will fulfil his needs; whoever brought his [Muslim] brother out of discomfort, Allaah will bring him out of a discomfort from the discomforts of the Day of Resurrection, and whoever screened a Muslim, Allaah will screen him on the Day of Resurrection. [Ref 7]
If the Muslim doctor is certain that the harm [or side effects] that will result from the medication is lesser than the harm caused by the continuation of the illness, then it is permissible to give the medication based on choosing the lesser harm between two.
The Muslim doctor should ask the scholars regarding affairs that occur in his profession and should not jump into affairs without background knowledge of the Islamic legislation! He should be careful of (Sigmund) Freud’s absurdities, fictitious and false views and should not be deceived by (Charles) Darwin. Abu Hurairah [may Allaah be pleased with him] said that the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said, ‘’A slave (of Allaah) may utter a word which pleases Allaah, without giving it much importance, and because of that Allaah will raise him to degrees (of reward); and a slave (of Allaah) may utter a word (carelessly) which displeases Allaah, without thinking of its gravity, and because of that he will be thrown into the Hell-fire.’’ [Ref 8]
The Muslim doctor should be careful of what is transmitted in the medical journals (or textbooks) and he should not accept everything transmitted in them without ascertaining its correctness, for indeed knowledge is established either through a trustworthy transmission or an unquestionable view point. The affairs of medicine attributed to the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] should be checked as to whether their chains of transmission are authentic, and the affairs of medicine that are established by way of opinions [i.e. through study and research etc] should be examined to find out whether they are [sound, unsound, or whether they contain flaws, sin, offence etc]. He should not be an easy and legitimate prey whom the enemies of Allaah use as a means to transmit that which opposes the Religion of Islaam and causes harm to the Muslims; rather he should know that everything that comes to him regarding modern medicine has to be subjected to research and has to be ascertained.
The doctor should believe that his knowledge of medicine is nothing else but only a means (of cure). As for the effects and effectiveness (of the cure), it is decided by Allaah (The Mighty and Majestic) if He (Allaah) wishes to give cure and well-being. Allaah (The Most High) stated (that Ibraaheem- alayhis-salaam said): [وَإِذَا مَرِضْتُ فَهُوَ يَشْفِينِ – And when I (i.e. Ibraaheem) am ill, it is He (Allaah) who cures me]. [26:80] So Allaah is the one who gives cure and not others. The doctor should make this known to the patient.
The doctor should be pleased with the Divine Will and Decree of Allaah. Abdullaah Ibn Abbaas [may Allaah be pleased with him and his father] said, “Once I was riding behind the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] so he said, ‘O young man! I shall teach you some words (of advice). Be mindful of Allaah, and Allaah will protect you. Be mindful of Allaah, and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, ask Allaah (Alone). If you seek help, seek help from Allaah (alone). Know that if the nation were to gather together to benefit you with something, they would not benefit with anything except that which Allaah has already recorded for you. If they gather to harm you by something, they would not be able to harm you by anything except what Allaah has already recorded against you. The pens have been lifted and the pages have dried’’. [Ref 9]
So neither should a doctor be beguiled by his (or her) knowledge of medicine nor raise objections against Allaah’s Power and Position. He (or she) should know that the affairs of the creation alternate based on Allaah’s decree.
[Excerpt from Akhlaaq At-Tabeeb Al-Muslim pages 4- 18]
[Ref 1: Reported by Ibn Maajah 2341 & Ahmad 1/313]
[Ref 2: Reported by Abu Dawud Number 3855]
[Ref 3: Al-Bukhari Hadeeth Number 1]
[Ref 4: Reported by Abu Dawud Number 5128’ & declared Saheeh by Imaam Albaani (rahimahullaah) in his checking of Sunan Abee Dawud]
[Ref 5: See Hadeeth Number 5062′ Vol 4’ page 259′ in Mirqaat Al-Mafaateeh Sharh Mishkaat Al-Masaabeeh]
[Ref 6: Source: Awnul Ahadis Samadi, Sharhu Al-Adab Al-Mufrad’ Vol 1′ Hadeeth Number 256′ page 283]
[Ref 7: Bukhaari Hadeeth Number 2442]
[Ref 8: Saheeh al-Bukhaari Number 6478]
[Ref 9: Recorded by Tirmidhee who said it is a Hasan saheeh hadith. Number 20516]