0806-Training Physicians for the Islamic Health Care Industry

Presentation at the Global Knowledge Forum 2008 held in Madinah Munawwarah 22-24 June 2008 by Dr Omar Hasan Kasule Sr. Mn ChB (MUK), MPH (Harvard), DrPH (Harvard) Professor of Epidemiology and Islamic Medicine University of Brunei and Visiting Professor of Epidemiology University of Malaya. EM: omarkasule@yahoo.com, WEB: http://omarkasule.tripod.com.

I am talking about the future. My futuristic vision is that in the next 15-20 years a vigorous Islamic healthcare industry will have emerged and will be well established. There will be many Islamic hospitals, polyclinics, free standing diagnostic centers, rehabilitation centers, and palliative care centers. In the context of the Knowledge Economy City of Madinah, Muslims will come to Madina for religious as well as medical objectives with the exception that the health care will be based in the Islamic context.


The Islamic healthcare industry will in my vision outperform the Islamic banking industry in terms of revenue generation and contribution to GDP. There are 3 main reasons for this. The first reason is that Islamic health care is an added value. Patients are dissatisfied with the biomedical model of medical care delivery because of its emphasis on technology at the expense of the human dimension that would be obtained in an Islamic holistic care that takes into consideration spiritual, psychological, and social dimensions of health care. The second reason is that whereas every Muslim is a stakeholder in health not everybody has the money to participate in the banking industry. The Islamic healthcare industry will involve all Muslims of various social strata because all seek healthcare. The third reason is that there is a general trend in the Muslim world to rebuild Muslim civilizational institutions such as Islamic economics, Islamic education, and Islamic nutrition (halal food). Islamic healthcare is part of this trend that has been growing stronger since the dawn of the 15th century of hijra.


The emergence of the Islamic health care industry necessitates a theoretical definition and refining of the concept of the Islamic perspective of medicine as well as the training of physicians and nurses to deliver care from an Islamic dimension. I have been working with several brothers and sisters over the past 13 years on both issues and I feel we have now reached a point of take-off. Starting in Malaysia in 1995 and extending to neighboring countries and even beyond the East Asian region we have been holding workshops at faculties of medicine with the aim of reforming the curricula to integrate Islamic values and Islamic law, fiqh tibbi. The details of these efforts can be found at our website http://omarkasule.tripod.com. I have brought with me CDs for distribution to the participants with details of our training curriculum as well as papers that define our work. Over the past 7 years we have graduated medical doctors trained in this system and we have anecdotal evidence that patients who interact with them find them different and superior to physicians trained in the traditional way.


Our basic sciences curriculum is based on the tauhidi paradigm in which we reject the dichotomy between sciences and religion. We teach our students that signs of Allah, ayat al llaah, are found in the book of revelation, kitaab al wahy, and the book of empirical science, kitaab al kawn. What is needed is to read the 2 books together, al jamu’u bayn al qiraatain. Thus our students’ iman increases as they delve deeper into medical sciences and realize the miracles of the human body and Allah’s signs, ayaat Allah fi al anfus & ayaat al Allah fi al aafaaq.


The clinical part of the curriculum consists of teaching students to help patients fulfill their religious ‘ibadat and social obligations using Islamic Law.


The community health part of the curriculum deals with how social problems that are root causes of disease can be prevented or solved using Islamic teachings.


We also deal with the ethical problems and challenges of modern medical technology such as assisted reproduction and artificial life support by using the bird’s eye view that is provided by the theory of the Higher Purposes of the Law, maqasid al shari’at.  It is these maqasid that form the basis for the Islamic medical ethics theory. Medicine to be ethical must fulfill and not violate any of the 5 maqasid: hifdh al diin, hifdh al nafs, hifdh al nasl, hifdhn al aql, and hifdh al maal.


I invite all of you to join us on the road to the future of Islamic healthcare based on Islamic medical education.



ŠProfessor Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr. June, 2008