What is My Responsibility as a Muslim Doctor?

Medicine is one of the well-respected fields of science in the holy religion of Islam, to the extent that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) mentioned it along with theological studies as two main branches of knowledge [1].  However, as in any branches of practical science, there are specific moral codes that Islam obliges people who are involved in them to observe. Accordingly, a Muslim doctor is not only concerned with his/her patient’s bodily health but also is responsible for his/her spiritual side. This is where doctors need medical ethics in their profession to fulfill their job satisfactorily both for themselves and patients, which ultimately brings with it God’s satisfaction and contentment.

Muslim doctor, medicine, Islam, Muslims

The first and foremost responsibility of doctors is to find a cure -if there is any- as fast as possible and to put the needs of their patients above their financial concerns. Imam Sadiq (AS) said: “the one who avoids curing the injury of an injured person, would be associated with the one who caused the injury. Since the injurer intentionally harmed the wounded person, and the one who avoided his/her treatment did not intend to cure him, thus he/she intended his/her destruction” [2]. In other words, if a doctor neglects his responsibility and does not make enough effort to help the patient, he would be the cause of any harm that inflicts him/her.

In their decision-making also, doctors should follow the codes of ethics. First of all, they should consider patient’s opinion and then try to offer the best option to him/her, being always observant of his/her wellbeing and satisfaction. Islamic rules and regulations should play an essential part in the decision that doctors make - e.g., in the case of child abortion, euthanasia, etc. Moreover, they should try to be as kind and tolerant as possible toward their patients; the disease is severe enough for patients to make them anxious, add an impatient and rude doctor to that and imagine how they might feel. Being a doctor, according to Islam, is not only a religious responsibility but also a social and humane necessity and a moral obligation [3]. Therefore, a doctor should do his best to fulfill all those duties and should not be content with mere financial benefits of the work or the social position that might be attached to his/her job.

Muslim doctor, patient, Islam, disease

Finally, the most important characteristic of an ethical work is to gain Allah’s satisfaction; in other words, if a person did something and his intention in doing it was God’s contentment and not financial matters and earning more money, the given effort would be worthy to be called ethical [4]. While a Muslim doctor believes in his/her power in curing the patients, he/she knows that the ultimate healer and decision-maker is Allah and all he/she does is in line with His will.

References: 

[1] Bihar ulanvar. Vol. I, p 220.

[2] Muhammad ibn Yaqub Al-Kulayni, Al-Kafi (The Sufficient Book). Vol.VIII. Tehran, Masjed Publication, p 345.

[3] Morteza Ameli, Medical Etiquettes in Islam, Jame’e Modaressin Qom publication, p 59.

[4] Morteza Mottahari, Taalim va Tarbiat dar Islam (Teaching and Education in Islam), Sadra publication, 23rd ed. p71.