A few months have passed now since the COVID-19 pandemic invaded our lives, holding people hostage in their homes, preventing people from working, and completely changing the social dynamic and lifestyle that humans were used to. Yet while everyone was ordered to stay home and away from their jobs, healthcare workers were expected to put more hours at work and deal directly with patients battling the virus, potentially putting their own lives at risk.  In honor of their work and the daily sacrifices and risks they endure, I am dedicating this article to show how honorable their field is in Islam and how grateful people should be to them, and of course, how much rewards they will earn from God because of such service.

Islam is built on the concept of preserving the self so each individual can walk in the path of stewardship on earth with the intention of worshiping God.  Allah (SW) said: {And when your Lord said to the angels, I am going to place a viceroy on the earth…} 2:30 and He (SW) said: {He brought you into being from earth and made you dwell in settlement in it…} 11:61. Such a concept produced an understanding that a person dedicated to save even one life, to protect the mission behind existence, it is decreed as if he/she has protected the entire human race.  Allah (SW) said: {And one who [brings a soul] into life, it is as if he had brought humanity into life.} 5:32. This is why scholars of Islam used to look at medicine as the second honorable field of knowledge after religious studies. Imam Al-Shafe’i said: “No knowledge after Halal and Haram is more honorable than medicine, but indeed people of the Book were more into it than us.” He also said: “Do not live in a town where there is no scholar to educate you about the matters of your religion or a physician to educate you about the status of your health.”

In the Sunnah of the prophet (SAAW), we find many Hadiths that relate to such concept of preserving the self. He (SAAW) said: “A strong believer is closer and more beloved to God than a weak believer, but there is good in both of them.” The first meaning understood from that Hadith is strength in the truth and standing for it, however it does not cancel the understanding of the health and well-being needed to preserve one’s ability to serve God in all kinds of rituals as well.

Anyone who studies Shari’ah in Islam knows that the rulings were revealed in the Quran and through the Sunnah to protect five concepts for the well-being of the human being. The preservation of religion, self, mind, honor and wealth. As you can see, two of these concepts are related to the health status of each individual.

For all that, we can see the importance of such fields of medicine and its honor in Islam. And like any other profession, ethics are part of any practices.  Islamic medical ethics were also part of the focus in Shari’ah. Ethics like right of treatment, equality in service, preventing harmful procedures and many other detailed ideas are found in many articles written specifically about the medical fields.

I want to thank all healthcare workers for all their efforts, for all their time and dedication to keeping us safe and healthy, but also a special thanks to our own community members who are in these important fields; physicians, nurses, paramedics, health administrators, and all.

You are in our prayers and Dua, may Allah protect you and your families as you are trying to protect us.  Ameen.

By Sh Kifah Mustapha