In the Name of the Kind and Beautiful Precious Beloved
This was published on Inside Islam: Dialogues and Debates.
“So, you are going to become a doctor, right?” This question, I am quite certain, has been asked of scores of Muslim children by their parents all across this world. Does Islam, somehow, motivate Muslims to become physicians? Perhaps slightly, especially since the Qur’an says that saving a life is like saving all of humanity. But I think that is more of a “fringe benefit” than a major motivation for Muslims to become physicians.
Most importantly, when the Lord blesses a person with being a physician, He gives them the opportunity to do His work on earth: help relieve the suffering of His people. Each and every day, physicians are given the honor and privilege to help people feel better, breathe better, feel less pain, and – through the Lord’s healing power – treat and even cure disease. If smiling to one another – as the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) once said – is a charity, then how about helping someone’s asthma attack? Or helping someone overcome a cancer diagnosis? Or relieving the pain and suffering of someone afflicted with a terrible infection? For me, as a Muslim, being a doctor goes hand in hand with my mission in life: to help God’s people be better.
I did not deserve this honor, and so that’s why I am thankful for it each and every day. God blesses men and women in becoming doctors in two ways. First, and especially in the United States, most physicians are blessed with a good, stable, and well-paying occupation. Additionally, although it has been eroded significantly, most people have enormous respect for physicians and the difficult job they must do.
Has being a doctor ever conflicted with my religious belief? Never. In fact, I hang my religious faith, as I hang my coat, on my desk chair before I see any patient in the office or hospital. My job is to take care of my patients and do what is medically best for them. Period. My religion has never entered into the equation, and that is how I think it should be. I would never, God forbid, impose my own religious belief upon my patients. To me, I would betray my mandate as a physician if I were to do so.
Was Islam a factor for my becoming a doctor? No, not really. For me, there was absolutely no pressure from my parents to become a doctor. Ever since I was a young boy it has been my life dream to be a physician, and I am eternally grateful to the Lord for His granting me my dream to be a doctor. I help people and, in the process, do God’s work at the same time, without ever preaching or even mentioning God at all. What a tremendous gift, Lord, and I thank you so very much for it.