Friday, October 23, 2009

Ophthalmology and humanity

I woke up early this morning as for today is the first day I enter the 4th year of medicine. The distance between my new lecture hall and my house is now a few steps nearer than before. Well, that makes a lot of change! We don't have to run from the main gate to the faculty. We don't have to climb to the 6th floor for lectures. And also, we don't have our Malaysian Room here. Oh, we are going to miss that room! To tell you the truth, I've missed ophthalmology classes several times because the lesson began on 3rd October 2009. Despite of being late for a fortnight, I tell myself to be positive and give my full concentration during the class.

What I like best the lecture today is the lecturer himself. He enters the classroom, greets the students with a smile on his face and brings us some candies! He distributes each one of us a candy before he starts his lecture and during two-minutes-breaks in between lectures. He treats us like small kids and that's very cute!


We learn about corneal diseases today with a demonstration on using Slitlamp Test. For that purpose, he invites a patient with corneal defect. The patient is a female, about 60 years old. He holds her hands tenderly and leads to his table. He gives directions for her softly and does the test on her kindly. Upon finishing the test, he again holds her hands and leads her outside the classroom. When he enters our class again, he says: "Dear students, we have to treat our patients as if they are our mothers and fathers. Always remember that patients who come here, they have two problems; 1. Problem of the disease and 2. Problem of money. We as doctors have to build sense of humanity in dealing with our patients."

Dr. Sameh is right. Man is a moral being. Allah al-Lateef (The Subtle One, The Gracious, The One who is kind to His slaves and endows upon them) tells us to be kind upon his creations. Some of the more fundamental and basic
Permanent Values mention in the Qur’an are:

1. Respect for humanity in general.
The very fact that every human child at his birth is equally endowed with a Self or Personality, entitles every individual as a human entity to equal esteem and respect ; and no distinction whatsoever should, therefore, be allowed to the incidence of birth, family, tribe, race or community, nationality, religion or sex.

Verily We have honored all children of Adam (equally)
(Qur’an, 17: 70).

2. The criterion of a high position in society.
The intrinsic value of every individual human being is uniformly equal, but the criterion for determining the relative position and status of every individual rests on his own personal merits and character.

And for all there are ranks according to what they do
(Qur’an, 46: 19).
The noblest of you in the sight of God is the best in conduct
(Qur’an, 49: 13).

3. Unity in humanity.
All human beings, according to the Qur'an, are the members of one brotherhood and branches of the same tree.

Mankind is one community
(Qur’an, 2: 213).
He it is Who created you (as human beings) but one of you rejects (the Permanent Values) and another believes (in them, so this is the only line of demarcation)
(Qur’an, 64: 2).

4. Human Personality implies responsibility.

It means to say that every human being will be held responsible for his own actions; rewards as well as retribution, which none else will share.

Whoever commits a crime commits it against his own self
(Qur’an, 4: 111).
No bearer of a burden bears another's burden
(Qur’an, 53: 38).

5. Freedom.
According to the Qur'an, every human being is born free, and, therefore, should ever remain free; and freedom means that none, whosoever he may be, can extort obedience from another human being.

It is not right of any man that God should give him the Book and authority and (even) Messenger-hood and he should say to men "obey me instead of Allah"
(Qur’an, 3: 78).

6. Freedom of will—no compulsion.
The responsibility for the act of a human being is determined by his own volition and intent, so much so, that if one is forced to believe something or is prevailed upon with force and compulsion against his will to act in a particular manner, he would not be held responsible for such belief or action, for, Iman is the other name for full conviction.

There is no compulsion in deen
(Qur’an, 2: 256).
And say: The truth is from your Rabb, so let him who pleases believe, and let him who pleases reject
(Qur’an, 18 : 29).
And when it is said to them (the un-believers), "Follow what God has revealed," they say: "Nay, we follow that wherein we found our fathers." What! Even though their fathers had no sense at all, nor did they follow the right path
(Qur’an, 2: 170).

7. Tolerance.
Islam not only tolerates followers of other religions but also bestows upon them all the rights of humanity, and solemnly undertakes to protect and guard their places of worship.

And if God did not repel some people by others, cloisters and churches and synagogues and mosques, in which God’s name is oft remembered, would have been pulled down; and surely God will help him who helps Him (in this regard)
(Qur’an, 22: 40).

8. Justice.
Justice is one of the fundamental Permanent Values (16: 90), and no distinction is allowed in this respect between friend and foe.

And let not the hatred of a people incite you not to act equitably. Be just: that is nearer to observance of duty
(Qur’an, 5 : 8).

Dear friends, meeting with Dr. Sameh today has shift my paradigm. A doctor can be an excellent dae'i if he practices Islam in his daily life especially when dealing with patients. A patient unconditionally tends to believe whatever the doctor will say. Why don't we expose how perfect our deen is by showing excellent character and preaching Islamic lifesyle to our patients?
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