Medicine

Islamization of the Curriculum: The Islamic Input in the Medical Curriculum (IIMC) at the Kulliyyah of Medicine

Paper presented at the Ibn Sina Medical College Dhakka Bangladesh on 31st March 2007 by Professor Omar Hasan Kasule

INTRODUCTION TO THE ISLAMIC INPUT CURRICULUM

The main motive of IIMC is to resolve the crisis of duality or dichotomy manifesting as teaching Islamic sciences separately from medical disciplines by different teachers and in different institutions. IIMC resolves the crisis of duality by insisting that Islamic concepts should be taught by the same people who teach medical disciplines. All lecturers in the Kulliyah of Medicine go through a Diploma in Islamic Studies (DIS) whose modules are exactly the same as the modules of IIMC. This prepares them to be effective teachers of IIMC.

The teaching material of IIMC has been prepared and tested over the past 7 years. Synopses of all lectures for years 1 -5 are available at http://omarkasule.tripod.com.

 Since the start of the Kulliyah in 1997, we have worked towards integrating Islamic values and concepts in the teaching and examination of basic and clinical medical sciences. The expectation is that our graduates will be able to integrate Islamic moral and legal values in their practice of medicine because they went through an integrated education system.

 IIMC follows the Islamic paradigm of reading 2 books, the book of revelation, kitaab al wahy, and the book of empirical science, kitaab al kawn. Both books contain signs of Allah, ayaat al llaah, and must be read together. It is a mistake to read one of the books and neglect the other. The solution to the crisis of duality in the ummah starts from joint reading of the 2 books, al jam ‘u baina al qira atain. Thus medical scientists who are involved in IIMC read the signs in both books.

The vision of IIC has two separate but closely related components: Islamization and legal medicine. Islamisation deals with putting medicine in an Islamic context in terms of epistemology, values, and attitudes. Legal medicine deals with issues of application of the Law (fiqh) from a medical perspective.

IIMC has 5 main objectives: (a) introduction of Islamic paradigms and concepts in general as they relate to medicine, mafahiim Islamiyat fi al Tibb. (b) strengthening faith, iman, through study of Allah’s sign in the human body (c) appreciating and understanding the juridical, fiqh, aspects of health and disease, al fiqh al tibbi. (d) understanding the social issues in medical practice and research and (e) Professional etiquette, adab al tabiib, from the Islamic perspective.

We feel that IIC helps the future physician prepare for the heavy trust, the amanat of being professionally competent. He must be highly motivated. He must have personal, professional, intellectual, and spiritual development programs. He must know the proper etiquette of dealing with patients and colleagues. He also must know and avoid professional malpractice. He needs to be equipped with leadership and managerial skills to be able to function properly as a head of a medical team.

DERIVATION OF MEDICAL ETHICS FROM THE MAQASID AL SHARI’AT

In my view the most significant aspect of IIMC is the derivation of medical ethics from Islamic sources as al alternative to western sources. The full impact of this will be appreciated in due course when these ideas become widely adopted.

Secularized European law denied moral considerations associated with ‘religion’ and therefore failed to solve issues in modern medicine requiring moral considerations. This led to the birth of the discipline of medical ethics that is neither law enforceable by government nor morality enforceable by conscience. On the other hand, Islamic Law is comprehensive and encompasses moral principles directly applicable to medicine.

The theory of medical ethics in Islam should be based on the 5 purposes of the Law, maqasid al shari’at, that are also considered the 5 purposes of medicine, maqasid al tibb. The 5 purposes are preservation of religion and morality, hifdh al ddiin; preservation of life and health, hifdh al nafs; preservation of progeny, hifdh al nasl; preservation of intellect, hifdh al ‘aql; and preservation of wealth, hifdh al maal. Any medical action must fulfill one of the above purposes if it is to be considered ethical. If any medical procedure violates any of the 5 purposes it is deemed unethical.

In practical detailed situations, legal axioms called Principles of the Law or qawa’id al shari’at need to be used to resolve mostly situations of apparent conflict between maqasid or to assist logical reasoning. Principles of the Law, qawa’id al shari’at, when applied to the medical area can also be referred to as Ethical Principles of Medicine, qawa’id al tibb. The basic ethical principles of Islam relevant to medical practice be derived from the 5 principles of the Law, qawa’id al shari’at, that are: intention, qasd; certainty, yaqeen; injury, dharar; hardship, mashaqqat; and custom or precedent, ‘aadat. The maqasid and qawa’id are used in a synergistic way. The basic purpose of qawa’id is to provide robust rules for resolving situations of conflict between or among different maqasid.

 The challenge before Muslim physicians is to liberate themselves from confusing and inconsistent European ethical theories and principles and instead to work hard to develop specific regulations for various medical interventions, dhawaabit al tibaabat, by a renewal of ijtihad. This ijtihad will be based on primary sources of the Law (Qur’an and sunnat), secondary sources of the Law based on transmission, masaadir naqliyyat (ijma and qiyaas); secondary sources of the Law based on reason, masaadir ‘aqliyyat (istishaab, istihsaan, & istilaah); the purposes of the Law, maqasid al shari’at; principles of the Law, qawa’id al fiqh; as well as regulations of the Law, dhawaabit al fiqh.

In the early period of medical jurisprudence (0-1400 H) most issues could be resolved by direct reference to the primary sources. In the middle period (1401 – 1420 H) issues were resolved by using ijma, qiyaas, istishaab, istihsaan, & istilaah. In the modern period (1420 - ) medical technology is creating so many issues whose resolution will require a broad bird’s eye-view approach that can only be found in the theory of maqasid al shari’at.

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