Guest Name Dr. Hassan Hathout
Profession Medical Doctor
Subject “Medical Ethics: An Islamic Point Of View”
Date Wednesday,Jun 14 ,2000
From… 22:00…To… 00:00
Name ibn Ismail – United States
Question How does the Islamic perspective of a doctor’s “bedside manner” compare to that of the non-Muslim doctors?
Answer First, the general philosophy in Islamic medicine is that the healer is Allah and the doctor is the instrument that Allah uses to heal the people. The doctor patient relationship is stronger in Islam than it is in now.
The relationship now in the west is medical/legal. The emphasis has become one that has slipped into more materialism. Because the relationship between docotr and patient has become one that is based more on money than before, the level of trust has been decimated between the doctor and his/her patients.
There is also more sensitivity on the part of the patient, both man and woman, in the Islamic ethic. The patient is dealt with having more consideration. The patient does not want to be looked at completely naked when being examined, so their interest and privacy is considered more.
A Muslim doctor examining a female patient must have a third party in room (i.e. nurse) in order to have a go between so that the issue of sexual harassment will not be a serious problem.
Also, there is extreme sensitivity about the question of virginity in the unmarried Muslim girl. The rate of virginity in Muslim girls at the age of marriage is in the region of 100% and so it should only be a last resort to do a vaginal examination to the unmarried girl.
A Muslim patient usually would like to know the direction of the Qibla in order to pray and have access to water in order to make wudoo.
Also, when you are taking the medical history of a patient, Islamically, it should be done in private. For example, if you ask an American unmarried girl if she has children, she would not be offended. However, if you asked an unmarried Muslim girl the same question, they would take offense to this due to the fact that she does not participate in relations outside of wedlock. Abortion is generally prohibited with certain exceptions and so is reproductive technology, which includes more than the husband and the wife. Such as artificial insemination from a donor or using semen or ovum or uterus from a different person than the spouse.
Lastly, Muslim patients would rather have treatments with non-alcoholic medicines because Islam prohibits alcohol. Also, Muslims do not eat pork, so that must be taken as a consideration.
Suicide and assisted suicide have no place in Islam.
Name Khaleel – United States
Question What is the Islamic point of view when it comes to organ donation?
Answer Organ donation is a great charity and the Qur’an states that “whoever causes a soul to live, it would be as though he saved all humanity”. But of course, various rules and laws should regulate the procedure in order to keep it within the context of the shari’a.
Of course, one recent aspect in this issue is the redefinition of the moment of death. The overwhelming majority of jurists have accepted the definite death of the brainstem to be death. Therefore, at that moment, you can use the other organs or tissues that have not died yet individually, such as the heart and the liver. In this case, heart transplantation can be done if you can get the living heart during the window of time after the patient died but before the heart died.
Name Mustafa – United States
Question What is the Islamic point of view when it comes the euthanasia and/or assisted deaths?
Answer There is no place for suicide or assisted suicide in Islam.
Name Zahra – United States
Question How do you look at the HMO’s and PPO’s that exist today in the west?
Answer I think it is a pity because the nature of things is a direct doctor/patient relationship. Now, with the introduction to this third party with their influence on doctors choice and with the massive amount of money they benefit from is definitely a drawback. This money should have gone to the patient or improving the condition of the facility. Of course, in America, the system is inevitable, but certainly, there should be a more spiritual and humane element in it.
Name Mohamed – Egypt
Question Is there a place in the Islamic ethic of medicine for retirement homes?
Answer Cetainly. Times move on and the pattern of the Muslim family changes and probably the social norms that were fit in the past will not be able to serve the present and the future anymore. So the idea of a retirement home seems to offer an answer, especially for families where both husband and wife work and there is nobody at home to look after the elderly. But it is so important that retirement homes should be based on the humane factor and may even be a good activity for religious institutions of all religions and not just commercial enterprise.
Name Nader – Palestine
Question When talking about the type of medication that is preferred in the Islamic ethic, could you elaborate on the type of homeopathic and more herbal medicines that one can use?
Answer There is a new global movement to go back and explore these kinds of therapies. This does not happen only in Islamic countries. We know that Europe, the U.S., India, Pakistan and China that there is renewed interest in this field.
Therefore to call it “Islamic” may not be totally accurate. However, using it as a source of healing would be very beneficial from a health standpoint as well as an economic one. It might even be able to overcome many illnesses that our current modern medicine has not been able to so far. Besides, we know that our modern medicine can harbor such complications and side effects to make some of them dangerous or ever fatal.
It has been estimated in one of the world’s conferences that 70% of illness today is due to medicine. So I think the field is very promising and of course it would and should be handled according to up-to-date techniques.
Name Ibrahim – United States
Question What are your comments on sexually transmitted diseases, especially AIDS?
Answer It is regrettable that such diseases could be completely preventable. It is just the lifestyle with its obvious moral decline. In the last periods that allowed these diseases either to come back or to spread in the form of epidemics, it is also unfortunate that the medical authorities do not hold these diseases as they do other diseases. That is by preventing the evil before evil begins and avoiding the evilness before falling into it and then lose millions of lives and billions of dollars trying to find some vaccine or medicine.
The state of affairs now show that our current civilization harbors in its body the seeds of its own destruction. The logical thing of closing the door of evil in the first instance is applied, then these illnesses will continue to exact their toll of life, happiness and money. The call in vogue in the west now is “be what you are” whereas in Islam it is “be what you should be.” This makes all the difference regarding the present and the future of humanity.
Name Hassan – United States
Profession medical doctor
Question What is the role of Muslims in all this dilemma? What can we do to affect a positive change overall in what the state of the world is currently?
Answer It seems that the preventive medicine of these illnesses lies in the teachings of Islam. It is no wonder that Islamic societies have a much lower incidence of these catastrophies (compare India and Pakistan on the issue of AIDS for example). The real medicine is morality, although we Muslims have neglected much of our Islam, yet Islam still strongly influences the patterns of moral conduct for the individual and the society. We have to present this to the world and tell them that morality and chastity is not a theoretical thing, but it can be done and is already being done. They have the illness and we have the medicine in the form and teachings of Islam. But we have first to be good representatives of Islam and second reach out with its teachings and introduce them to the people.
Name Aaron – United States
Question Could you please specify some of the homeopathic medicines and their benefits?
Answer This is not my area, but I know that in India, there are institutions named Hamdard and in Kuwait, there is the Islamic Organization of Medical Sciences. They have both been very active in producing homeopathic medicines. In America, the herbal medicines have become a multi-billion dollar industry now. I have no doubt that the age of homeopathic medicine is coming. However, I don’t have the ability to elaborate on names and uses because this is not my field.
Name safa’a – United Kingdom
Profession meat packer
Question How should the brothers and sisters behave when intermixed for a Islamic reason?
Answer They should behave like brothers and sisters. They are in Islam brothers and sisters. Of course, every one of them should know what is polite and impolite, what is appropriate and what is inappropriate and serious. They are free to discuss, but avoid khalwah.
Name Ahmed – United States
Question Do you know if there are any efforts in the west to construct and have fully functioning hospitals that are owned by Muslims and run by Muslims? Is this possible in this age?
Answer I think there are not any yet. We should do it, and we will try to do it, but not yet.
Name Ali – United States
Question In what ways can we practically bring the message of morality to the West? Currently, there are many people that are putting forth da’wa material; etc. However, in what terms can we participate in this effort?
Answer There is the question of the good examples. And know how to swim against the current. And when the peer pressure says, “let’s do that,” you should have acquired the confidence to say “sorry I cannot share in that because I am a Muslim and my religion prohibits it.”
Second, when it comes to sex. I tell people that I am believer in equality of the sexes and in justice. In situations of liberal relations, the consequences are not equally shared by the boy and the girl. The girl is always the one who loses — if he leaves, if she is a single mother, if she has to abort or send the child for adoption. Is this justice? No. The system we live in is not condusive to justice. Islam makes the consequences equal for both. When a boy and girl enjoy each other, it is done in the context of marriage and they both have rights and responsibilities. In liberal sex, this does not pertain, and therefore the system is unjust.