For Healthcare Practitioners

For Healthcare Practitioners

Islam approaches health in a holistic manner, with proper exercise and a well-balanced diet a person can stay healthy and not falling ill too regularly. The Prophet (PBUH) said: “There are two blessings which many people do not appreciate: Health and leisure.” (Hadith: Muslim & Bukhari). It has been mentioned in the Quran and quoted by scholars, how we must take care of our body and health, as it is a gift from Allah. Should one falls ill, therefore seek medication that is permissible and allowable to be consumed.

The Prophet (PBUH) said:

“Seek medical treatment, for truly Allah does not send down a disease without sending down a cure for it. Those who have knowledge of the cure know it, and those who are ignorant of it do not.” [Musnad Ahmad]

Healthcare practitioners are people who possess knowledge on how to treat ailments and diseases, and in Islam, they are treated with utmost respect and dignity. They are the upholders of medical ethics, which governs them to assure patients are correctly diagnosed, and proper medication is prescribed. It was discovered during the medieval Muslim time; physicians were bound by strict ethical practices. The conduct of a physician (Adab al-Tabib) was written by Ishaq bin Ali al-Rahawi (854-931 AD), and it detailed out medical ethics defining physicians as “guardians of souls and bodies” of a good Muslim physician.

Here are the six common values that apply to medical ethics:

  1. Autonomy – the patient has the right to refuse or choose their treatment.
  2. Beneficence – a practitioner should act in the best interest of the patient.
  3. Non-maleficence – “first, do no harm”.
  4. Justice – concerns the distribution of scarce health resources and the decision of who gets what treatment (fairness and equality).
  5. Dignity – the patient (and the person treating the patient) have the right to dignity.
  6. Truthfulness and honesty – the concept of informed consent have increased in importance since the historical events of the Doctors’ Trial of the Nuremberg trials and Tuskegee Syphilis Study.

Values such as these do not give answers as to how to handle a particular situation however; it provides a useful framework for understanding conflicts.

Islam in principle prohibits the use of medicine from haram sources to cure. Abi Darda’ reported: The Prophet, (PBUH), said ‘Allaah has sent down the disease and the cure, and has made for every disease the cure. So treat sickness, but do not use anything haraam’” Medicines of haram sources are permissible for the preservation of the life of the person who takes it. And a knowledgeable and trustworthy Muslim physician recommends such types of medication containing haraam ingredients as necessary for critical treatment.

When prescribing medicine to a Muslim, ideally a Muslim physician who is well versed in Islamic principles should be the one doing it. However, to be fair, not all Muslim doctors are well versed in Islamic laws. Therefore the role of the pharmaceutical industry in Malaysia who manufactures halal medicines should provide better information materials to hospitals, pharmacy and clinics where halal pharma is available. By doing so, this will help promote better knowledge of halal pharma medicines and its benefits for doctors to share with their patients.

By achieving this, we develop better relationships between pharmacists, consumers and healthcare providers on the information concerning ingredients in medicines that might be of concern to the patient and presenting them with other alternatives.

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