For Healthcare Practitioners

Consuming Medicines From The Perspective of Maqasih Shariah

1. What is Maqasih Shariah

Maqasih Shariah is the objective established when deriving laws according to Shariah Law. It is a part of the Islamic knowledge that intends to explain the Islamic laws in achieving people’s welfare in this world and the hereafter.

2. The importance of Maqasih Shariah in modern medicine for Muslim

Maqasih Shariah is the objective established when deriving laws according to Islamic Shariah. It is a part of the Islamic knowledge that intends to explain the Islamic laws in achieving people’s welfare in Medicines have played a significant role in our lives today. We turn to medications to make us better. In Islam, medicines are something you consume however only Allah will cure the ill at his will. When consuming medicines from a Muslim perspective, several questions need to be taken into account like is the medication halal, are they safe for consumption and in cases of emergency what should the Muslim patient do and how can the healthcare practitioner assist them. Maqasih Shariah lays down several guidelines for Muslims regarding medication.

Maqasid is an Arabic word that means goals or purpose. Maqasih Shariah is the objectives of Islamic laws, means ensuring the preservation of the five essentials that protect the well-being of the community in their order of importance:

  1. Deen (religion) – protection of faith
  2. Nafs (life) – protection of life
  3. Aql (mind) – protection of mind
  4. Nasl (progeny) – protection of humankind
  5. Maal (property) – protection of property

The 5 Purposes of the Law in Medicine, maqasid al shariah fi al tibb

Protection of ddiin, hifdh al ddiin, essentially involves ‘ibadat in the wide sense that every human endeavour is a form of ‘ibadat. Thus medical treatment makes a direct contribution to ‘ibadat by protecting and promoting good health so that the worshipper will have the energy to undertake all the responsibilities of ‘ibadat. A sick or a weak body cannot perform physical ‘ibadat properly. Balanced mental health is necessary for understanding ‘aqidat and avoiding false ideas that violate true ‘aqidat.

Protection of life, hifdh al nafs: The primary purpose of medicine is to fulfil the second purpose of the Law, the preservation of life, hifdh al nafs. Medicine cannot prevent or postpone death since such matters are in the hands of Allah alone. It, however, tries to maintain as high a quality of life until the appointed time of death arrives. Medicine contributes to the preservation and continuation of life by making sure that physiological functions are maintained. Medical knowledge is used in the prevention of disease that impairs human health. Disease treatment and rehabilitation lead to better quality health.

Protection of progeny, hifdh al nasl: Medicine contributes to the fulfilment of the progeny function by making sure that children are cared for well so that they grow into healthy adults who can bear children. Treatment of infertility ensures successful childbearing. The care for the pregnant woman, prenatal medicine, and pediatric medicine all ensure that children are born and grow healthy. Intra-partum care, infant and child care ensure the survival of healthy children.

Protection of the mind, hifdh al ‘aql: Medical treatment plays a significant role in the protection of the mind. Treatment of physical illnesses removes the stress that affects the mental state. Treatment of neuroses and psychoses restores intellectual and emotional functions. Medical treatment of alcohol and drug abuse prevents deterioration of the intellect.

Protection of wealth, hifdh al mal: The wealth of any community depends on the productive activities of its healthy citizens. Medicine contributes to wealth generation by prevention of disease, promotion of health, and treatment of any diseases and their sequelae. Communities with generally poor health are less productive than healthy vibrant communities. The principles of protection of life and protection of wealth may conflict in cases of terminal illness. Care for the terminally ill consumes a lot of resources that could have been used to treat other persons with treatable conditions.

In Islam, moral and ethics are imperative and cannot be separated, and this applies to all aspects of life. In relations to medicine, physicians must uphold ethics when prescribing medications to their patients. The patient has the right to know, i.e. informed choice of the types of treatment available to them, and the method to which this treatment will be carried out.

Today we see more healthcare practitioners listening to their patients, as the world we live in, is more dynamic with the different culture, beliefs and religious obligation. Muslim patients have made a significant impact in the healthcare industry due to their demands of having better medication to suit their beliefs, and this has shifted the paradigm of the healthcare industry to look into ways to meet and accommodate to their needs. Countries such as England and New Zealand healthcare sectors have come up with guidelines when attending to Muslim patients.

Healthcare practitioners must equip themselves with the knowledge that will assist their Muslim patients. There will be some instances where Muslim healthcare practitioners are not able to attend to Muslim patients; therefore it is best for the hospitals to have guidelines in addressing the needs and concerns of Muslim patients.

Muslims are allowed to consume medicine however not to disregard the understanding and concept where no one other than Allah can cure them.

Reference:

  • Musa Mohd Nordin, Keeping Communities Healthy; The Islamic Paradigm, International Journal of Human and Health Sciences Vol. 02 No. 02 April’18. Page: 49-54, https://mpaeds.my/keeping-communities-healthy-the-islamic-paradigm/
  • Secularism in Medicine From Maqasid Al-Syariah – International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, 2017, Vol,7, No.12
  • Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia,n(JAKIM), Maqasid Syariah as the Basis of Community Well-Being (25 March 2016, 16 Jamadilakhir 1437)
  • Guidelines for use of non-halal Medicines for Muslim patients – Amrahi bin Buang RPh.581 MMPS,2015
  • Islamic Medical Education Resources – 17.1 Purposes and Principles of Medicine, maqasid wa qawaid altatbiib – By Professor Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr.

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