0705-Medical Education: An Islamic Perspective

Paper presented at  A Workshop on Islamic Medical Education organized by the Indonesian Islamic Medical Education Convention at the Faculty of Medicine Makassar Indonesia 25-27 May 2007 by Professor Dr Omar Hasan Kasule Sr. MB ChB (MUK), MPH (Harvard), DrPH (Harvard) Professor of Epidemiology and Islamic Medicine, Institute of Medicine, University Brunei Darussalam. EM omarkasule@yahoo.com WEB: http://omarkasule.tripod.com


The paper describes an Islamic Input into the medical curriculum needed to train doctors who will work in Islamic hospitals and Islamic faculties of medicine whose number is expected to grow phenomenally in the next 20 years.



The paper starts from the assertion that Islamic medical practice will in the next 20 years grow and reach or even the exceed the achievements of Islamic banking. The Islamic hospitals and clinics that will be established will need medical professionals trained to practice medicine according to the Qur’an, sunnat, and the purposes of the Law, maqasid al shari’at. Medical schools counted in the tens at the moment have already changed their curricula to have an Islamic input. In another 10 years the number of such schools is expected to treble or quadruple and in 20 years from now Islamic medical practice will have become so well established that, like Islamic banking today, it will have an impact even in non-Muslim countries and hospitals. It is therefore very important that we work quickly and cooperatively to develop curricula for the Islamic input in medical education.



2.1 The 2 visions of the Islamic Input Curriculum are: Islamization of medicine, islamiyyat al tibb, and medical jurisprudence, fiqh tibbi.


2.2 Islamization of medicine, islamiyyat al tibb, will not involve changes in the procedures or therapies of modern scientific medicine. Its aim will be reforming the underlying paradigms, concepts, and beliefs associated with medicine to conform to the tenets of aqidat al tauhid. A good example is the concept that cure is from Allay and that the physician is just an agent of Allah’s will. Another example is the concept that medical treatment aims at improving the quality of remaining life until the pre-determined time of death and that medicine cannot postpone or abolish death.


2.3 Medical jurisprudence, fiqh tibbi, provides the legal and ethical framework for medical practice based on the teaching of the Law. Islamic medical jurisprudence deals with application of Islamic legal obligations in cases of illness. It also presents a view of medical ethics based on the Qur’an and sunnat as an alternative to the European ethical theories and principles.



3.1 The following are 6 major content areas of the curriculum. Each faculty of medicine can choose which areas to emphasize depending on the background Islamic knowledge and experience of its students. The curriculum sources are the Qur’an, sunnat, and Muslim intellectual and cultural heritage.


3.2 Asaasiyyaat (fundamentals): This section covers the basics of the Islamic creed, ‘aqidat al Islam, Islamic Law, shari’at, and the Islamic concept of knowledge, ‘ilm. These three provide the conceptual background to further knowledge acquisition.


3.3 Fiqh al taariikh (history): This section provides a historical background without which the present cannot be understood properly. It covers khalq al kawn (creation of the universe), khalq al insan (creation of the human); taarikh al umam (world history), taarikh al ummat (Muslim history), and the concepts of reform (islaah) and renewal (tajdiid).


3.4 Fiqh al ‘uluum al tibbiyat (medical sciences): This section demonstrates the miracle of the creation of the human body (mu’ujizat al jism) by discussing the following aspects of human anatomy and physiology: perfection, optimality, coordination, equilibrium, and purposeness. The section also discusses issues of fiqh tibbi (medical jurisprudence) related to the normal physiology of reproduction, nutrition, personal and environmental hygiene, sleep, rest and activity.


3.5 Fiqh al tibaabat (clinical sciences): This section covers akhlaaq al tibaabat (medical law and medical ethics); fiqh al amraadh (jurisprudence of illness covering its impact on religious and social obligations); and fiqh al mustajiddaat (ethico-legal issues of modern medical technology such as artificial reproduction, transplantation, genetic engineering, cosmetic surgery, cloning etc).


3.6 Fiqh al jama’at (the community): This section discusses social factors that impact on health. It covers social institutions: bayt (the family), masjid (mosque), shuura (mutual consultation), takaful (social mutual self-help), and maal (economic system). The section also community transactions: mu’amalat madaniyyat (civil transactions such as marriage, divorce, inheritance), mu’amalaat maaliyyat (financial transactions), and mu’amalaat qadhaiyyat (judicial transactions).


3.7 Fiqh al qiyaadat (leadership): This section provides the medical student with the skills he will lead for leadership (qiyadat) and management (idaarat) as a leader of a health care team. It also covers many aspects of self-development (takwiin al fard) such as developing self confidence, self esteem, self reliance, and continuing Islamic education.



Integration is the basic philosophy of the curriculum. The same teacher of medical sciences is also the teacher of the Islamic input. He teaches the Islamic input in the same session as the relevant medical topic. Examinations and practical activities all incorporate the Islamic element. The whole culture and environment in the faculty is Islamic. Medical lecturers will have to take a part-time diploma in Islamic Studies to enable them integrate medical and Islamic perspectives in their teaching

ŠProfessor Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr. May 2007