Did the Prophet Muhammad give any glad tidings for doctors?

Details of the Question

There is a great demand for faculties of medicine today and medicine is regarded as a holy profession in the society. There were doctors in Era of Bliss too.

- Are there any glad tidings of the Prophet (pbuh) about doctors, any encouragement to become doctors, hadiths, etc. regarding the issue? Is there any encouragement about it in our religion?

- Is a doctor more advantageous in terms of the hereafter?

- It is definitely a great thawab to be a means of saving a person’s life but are there any religious risks of being a doctor?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

"... If anyone slew a person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people..." (al-Maida, 5/32)

According to the verse above, it is a valuable duty to be a means of keeping a person alive; it is regarded as equal to keeping all people alive. The reward (thawab) of it will definitely be great.

If a doctor becomes a means of saving patient who is about to die with medical interventions, if a ruler strives and stops a war that goes on at full steam, if an official rescues people who are about to die of hunger and the people who have survived various natural disasters, it means they all fulfill similar duties.

Our scholars regarded medical science as fard al-kifayah due to its importance to serve life. (see Ihyau Ulumiddin, 1/23) In this respect, it can be said that a religious doctor receives the thawab of fard with his knowledge and service.

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) advised his Companions to take care of their health and ordered them to seek and find the best doctor when they got ill. An example in this regard underlines his exemplary sensitivity regarding the issue:

Zayd bin Aslam narrates:

"The wound of a person got worse. The Prophet (pbuh) summoned two doctors from the tribe of Sons of Anmad. He asked them,

"Which one of you is a good doctor?" They said,

"This one." They asked, "O Messenger of Allah! Is medicine good and useful?" He said,

"He (Allah) gives diseases and sends cures too." (see Önder Çağıran, Tıbbi Nebevi, 1st Impression, Boğaziçi Yayınları, Istanbul 1996)

According to another narration, Sad Ibn Waqqas became ill. The Prophet (pbuh) went to visit him. When he saw Sad lying ill, he said,

"Call Harith bin Kalda. He is a good doctor; he will treat you." (Abu Dawud, Tibb 12)

This narration shows how important specialty in medicine is.

On the other hand, the Prophet (pbuh) attracted attention to the responsibility of the doctors as follows:

"Anyone who practices medicine though he does not have enough knowledge will pay for the damage he causes." (Abu Dawud, Diyat 23; Nasai, Qasama 41)

We want to emphasize that the most important thing those who serve the lives of people should consider is to try to save their eternal lives. If they give so much importance to others’ temporary worldly lives and forget about their eternal lives, it means they do not understand the meaning and importance of life.

As a matter of fact, Badiuzzaman Said Nursi wrote the following letter to a doctor:

"Hello! The fortunate doctor who can diagnose his own disease! My sincere and dear friend!"

"The spiritual awakening that your letter shows is worth appreciating. Know that the most valuable things among beings is life. The most valuable duty among duties is serving life. The most valuable one among services to life is to work in order to transform the temporary life into the eternal life. This life is valuable and important in that it is a seed, beginning and source of the eternal life. Otherwise, it is insanity like preferring a sudden lightning to the eternal sun to concentrate on this temporary life in a way that will poison and spoil the eternal life." (see Barla Lahikası, 68. Mektup)

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