Being a doctor is not easy. The days are long, the nights even longer. We work weekdays, nights, weekends and on holidays. There are always people who are unwell, and it will never stop.
It takes a lot of courage and strength to stay in this noble profession, as many of us have actually quit our jobs to do our own business, to work with large multinational companies in related fields, or to spend more quality time with our beloved children and husbands.
As Muslims, our aim in life is to achieve success in this world (dunia), and the hereafter (akhirah). In fact, whatever we do in this world is aimed at getting blessings from Allah SWT, which can be done in many ways. We’re adviced to spend our days, our time, in His remembrance.
From the Quran, surah Adh Dhariyat, verse 56:
“And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.”
Allah SWT says in Surah Al Hasyr, verse 18:
“O you who have believed, fear Allah. And let every soul look to what it has put forth for tomorrow – and fear Allah. Indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do.”
How do we achieve taqwa? How do we obey Him in our busy day as a doctor? We are indeed very blessed that Allah SWT has given us this opportunity to serve Him with our responsibilities as a doctor. We are obliged to gain as much knowledge as we could to be able to help our patients to our best abilities. We are also responsible of passing down our expertise to our junior colleagues, to teach and nurture, as well as educating our patients about their health and illness. These duties are highly looked upon by our beloved Prophet Muhammad SAW:
‘Abdullah b. Mas’ud reported Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) as saying:
There should be no envy but only in case of two persons: one having been endowed with wealth and power to spend it in the cause of Truth, and (the other) who has been endowed with wisdom and he decides cases with the help of it and teaches it (to others).
Many of us Muslim doctors look at others with envy; they get to perform taraweeh every night in Ramadhan, they may follow that with i’tikaf in the masjid daily especially during the final 10 days of the holy month, while we’re stuck in the hospital being on call every few days, or even every other day. Yet we should not despair, those hours spent attending to the needy are not in vain, when done in the name of Allah SWT.
As Ibnu Abbas RA once said in his tears,
“I remember the man who rests in this grave (that is Prophet Muhammad SAW) once said, whoever walks to fulfill the needs of his brother, this is better for him than performing i’tikaf for ten years. And whoever performs i’tikaf for (just) one day, seeking Allah’s pleasure, Allah will place three trenches between him and the fire of Hell. Each trench is wider than the distance between the Two Wings (the expanse of the East and West).”
The rewards of helping others in their troubles is further emphasised in the following hadith, as reported by Abdullah bin Umar RA:
“Rasulullah SAW said, “A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim. So he should not oppress him nor should he hand him over to an oppressor. Whoever fulfilled the needs of his brother, Allah will fulfill his needs; whoever brought his Muslim brother out of discomfort, Allah will bring him out of the discomforts of the Day of Resurrection; and whoever screened a Muslim, Allah will screen him on the Day of Resurrection.”
There are so many of Prophet Muhammad SAW’s examples that we could learn and put into practice in our daily lives as doctors. They would make our jobs easier and our days brighter, filling barakah in every single corner that his teachings have touched. Simple things such as his smile, giving salam to fellow Muslims and good greetings to the others, giving advice when someone comes for it, the way Prophet Muhammad SAW spoke to others around him, his humility, fulfilling his obligations to the best of his abilities, and many more. Just imagine how much time we could spend following our beloved Prophet Muhammad SAW’s examples everyday!
Basically we could spend our days and nights in remembrance of Allah SWT, even at our workplace. Of course we often wonder why did we choose this profession at the first place? Why do we spend so much time in the hospital when others happily go on in their lives, perhaps even earning more than we do while working less hours? We spend more time studying for a lifetime, even when we have graduated, not to mention sitting (and paying) for professional exams. Our fellow Muslims go around doing charity work and we are stuck in the hospital.
It would be beneficial to look at it in a different way. One day we will all leave this world, and our deeds in life would be measured during the Day of Judgement. That is the day when we would all regret of not doing enough deeds, and end up wondering whether they really are enough to grant us jannah (paradise).
Ibnu Mas’ud narrated:
“The feet of the son of Adam shall not move from before his Lord on the Day of Judgement, until he is asked about five things: about his life and what he did with it, about his youth and what he wore it out in, about his wealth and how he earned it and spent it upon, and what he did with what he knew.”
All of us struggle in one way or another, at some point of time in our lives. It is easy to forget the beautiful Quranic verses and the sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad SAW when we’re stuck in a stressful situation. While it is not wrong to rethink our position in life, let us reflect back and be thankful to Him for this opportunity to spend our days in His remembrance, with not much chance to spend our time and energy to be carried away with this world.