The Character of the Doctor

In today’s society doctors are the most respected professionals. Indeed, to work to promote the health of others is a serious undertaking and requires a self-sacrificial spirit. But, in societies divorced from the morality of the Qur’an, the way people regard doctors and the character doctors develop out of this are somewhat different.

Firstly, some people mistakenly believe that their lives are in the hands of their doctors. For this reason, they look at them for help. Most families want their children to be doctors and instill this idea in them. For this reason, almost every child says that he wants to be a doctor when he grows up. Of course, it is good for a family to want their children to have a useful profession for humanity but, in a society of ignorance, the main purpose of a family that directs their children to this profession is to win adulation from their community. Another reason is that, when a family member gets sick, their children who are doctors will be able to look after them and this gives them a sense of security. And besides this, doctors make the best candidates for marriage.

This way of looking at doctors in a society of ignorance begins as soon as a student enters a faculty of medicine. The students who navigate the corridors with their white lab coats have only one model in mind. According to the model they are taught, doctors are above all sure of themselves and think they know everything. When they talk to patients they use phrases containing medical terms which the sick person cannot understand. Of course, these doctors know that their patients cannot understand this language but they continue to use it thinking that this is the way a doctor speaks. In the societies living by the morality of ignorance, after they start practicing, the majority of doctors have only a few goals left; they want to be a famous specialist or a professor, to have a luxury office and earn as much money as possible.

The greatest suggestion that people are indoctrinated with in some societies is the error that people’s lives are in the hands of their doctors. It is this subconscious suggestion that underlies the respect and awe in which doctors are held in such a society. Members of ignorant society who are totally unaware of the Might and Power of Allah, Who created them from a drop of water and feeds them, are deceived to perceive doctors as beings with superhuman powers (surely Allah is beyond that). For this reason, they feel ignorantly that they are of less value than doctors and that, as we said before, doctors are their only hope for recovering from an illness. However, Allah warns human beings that they are only servants:

Those you call on besides Allah are servants just like yourselves. Call on them and let them respond to you if you are telling the truth. (Surat al-A‘raf, 194)

Of course, it is right for a person to go to a doctor and follow his advice. But, in doing this, that person must not forget that it is Allah Who restores them to health. It is only He Who knows where and when an individual will die. Allah has set the time of everyone’s death and all people approach that day without knowing when it will come. Many people make the great error of ignoring this reality; they forget to pray to Allah and look to their doctors for help. And because so much is expected of them, doctors, who are far removed from the morality of the religion, develop certain arrogance.

The difference between how some doctors act in their private offices and how they behave while working in a hospital well illustrates the distorted values of ignorant society. Because the office is private, the patients that come there are usually well-off. An ignorant person’s love of money requires him to act politely to those who are financially comfortable and some doctors are overly polite to those who come to their offices. The patient who comes to the doctor’s office has chosen him and if that patient does not like the treatment he gets, he may pay his bill and go to another doctor.

There is another aspect to this discussion; doctors’ attitude to those patients who have no money. In a society of ignorance it is accepted that those who have no money are always treated without respect and some doctors who work in hospitals are very good at treating such patients in compliance with this flawed mentality. The patients that doctors have to deal with in hospitals are most often poor. For this reason, the doctors acting in compliance with the rationale of ignorance regard themselves as the most important people in the hospital. Due to the same flawed rationale, they do not often look at their patient in the face because they think that the sick person is of no value. Even most of the hospital personnel have the same point of view. They ignore someone asking for directions or for a doctor’s name. They get established in their environment, become used to its sights and forget about mercy and compassion. Even as patients are entering the door of the hospital, they encounter the irritable attitude of security guards who treat them badly.

In the societies living by the morality of ignorance, majority of doctors work in a hospital more or less to earn their salary. After working there for years, they have at most a waiting room and a treatment room that doubles as an office. This is the ideal of a great many doctors. No doubt, helping people is something to appreciate. However, for the character of a doctor in a society of ignorance in the basis of such diligent efforts lie mundane expectations such as ranks, status and fame. The fact is, however, no matter what one’s profession may be, what will make a person honorable, respected and esteemed will be his efforts to win Allah’s good pleasure, love and the infinite life in the Hereafter and his awareness of his weaknesses.

We should keep in mind that, no matter what their profession may be, after living in this world for a short time, every person will come face to face with the next world. After his death it will not matter how many patients a doctor has treated, whether or not he knew his medical terms well enough or what title he earned; he will be asked what he did to earn Allah’s favor. In societies divorced from the morality of religion, most doctors are not aware of these realities because they are living under the strong influence of ideas instilled in their minds by the ignorant society they live in. It is very important for them to win society’s approval and be respected in its eyes.

Every deed done in accordance with the teaching of the Qur’an is directed towards winning Allah’s approval and, no matter what their profession may be,believers exhibit high moral standards. Believers are the best supporters and helpers of those in their community who are sick, weak and helpless. This behavior comes from their adherence to the Qur’an and their unwavering dedication to the morality that Allah has commanded. A person who embraces the Qur’an knows that medical knowledge can only be gained by the will of Allah and that He has created everything that brings healing. He sees clearly that, if it were not according to Allah’s will, he would not do what he does or know what he knows. He never forgets that he may become ill at any time and that, if that happened, he would have no helper or healer other than Allah.

The prayer of the Prophet Ibrahim (as) related in the Qur’an in this regard is a fine example of the high moral standards that everyone should take as an example:

He Who created me and guides me;

He Who gives me food and gives me drink;

and when I am ill, it is He Who heals me;

He Who will cause my death, then give me life;

He Who I sincerely hope will forgive my mistakes on the Day of Reckoning.(Surat ash-Shu‘ara’, 78-82)

2012-01-21 02:49:13

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