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Similarities Between Medicine and the Darse-Nizami, Part II

June 11, 2006

kr’s note: I found this statement by Mr. Atif Jaleel to be quite interesting, and perhaps accurate =):

Atif123456 (1:52:15 PM): kamran, you are a shell of halal orbiting a pure, black core of haraam

2. Biochemistry = Tajwid, Sirah, and other pre-requisite sciences.
Biochemistry is an assortment of various facts about the processes that govern
the human body. It encompasses topics ranging from enzyme kinetics, vitamins, signal
transduction, and various metabolic/anabolic processes that occur in the human
body. As with other subjects within the medical curriculum, biochemistry is
often a field of study in and of itself, with the profession of biochemistry
being not only auxiliary to the medical field, but also a separate one with its
own innovative research and governing philosophy. On the higher levels,
biochemistry is a highly sophisticated field that has its own PhDs running the
show. In addition, most medical students have a working knowledge of
biochemistry before they even start medical school as a result of their
exposure to biochemistry during their undergraduate years. Medical school
biochemistry not only covers undergraduate biochemistry (I think we did in 2
weeks what we had done in a semester of undergrad), but goes into a more
thorough analysis as well. Most importantly, biochemistry provides a framework
of knowledge that affects other fields as well Similarly, tajwid (being able to
recite Qur’an properly), sirah (the life story of the Prophet (salallahu
`alayhi wa sallam)), etc., are a collection of assorted Islamic sciences. Most
people have an exposure to tajwid and sirah even before they
start a formalized program of Islamic studies. And while a working knowledge of
these is necessary to contextualize Hadith, Fiqh, and Tafsir, mastery in these
fields is often a separate program of study: and thus we have amazing qaris and
historians who aren’t necessary scholars. And just as many common people know
about biochemical processes, many common people know (and should know) tajwid
and sirah.

3. Behavioral Sciences = Usul in hadith and tafsir; tasawwuf.
Behavioral sciences is a collection of various topics as well, ranging from
statistical analysis to situational ethics. A lot of times, behavioral sciences
are regarded as “fluff”, unimportant, and not as glamorous as other subjects
within the medical curriculum. It may even seem like it is semantics, rhetoric,
and ethical acrobatics in many ways. Yet, behavioral sciences are a necessary
component for the prospective physician since many topics, such as epidemiology
and situational ethics, are vital for the physician regardless of the field of
specialization. Ethics, especially, often is debatable, and it must be taught
by masters of the field or else the student can be led astray. Knowledge of
this also helps the physician to relate to his/her patients and their families;
in a way, it helps the physician to be more human instead of just being a
walking copy of Harrison’s Guide to Internal Medicine. Similarly, study of usul(principles)
is vital for a scholar before he/she begins to actually study advanced fields.
This is because principles remain as guiding beacons of light along the path
when one ventures into these disciplines. As for tasawwuf, the
prospective scholar must be spiritually grounded and connected to the mystical
tradition through a shaykh that can refine and excise the student’s
deficiencies while bolstering and harnessing the student’s academic and
spiritual potential. Just as ethics must be taught by a master of ethics (often
no real textbook is used, and ethics are taught differently be different
doctors), spirituality isn’t something that one learns from reading a text. It
is a science that requires sophisticated levels of discipline and how it is
taught differs from shaykh to shaykh, depending on what the shaykh feels is
necessary for the student to develop. Many times, it seems very unglamorous and
full of “fluff”, but only after years of dedication to mysticism, just as
ethics, does one truly appreciate remaining true to this field of knowledge.

4. Microbiology and Immunology = `Aqidah (Theology) and Mantiq (Logic).
Microbiology is the study of bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, and other
nasty little critters that cause disease in the human body. It focuses not only
on studying their life cycle and how they damage the human body, but also deals
with treatments for various infections. Since viruses and bacteria are the most
common causes of sickness, this is what most people think of when they think of
“doctor”: someone who treats fevers, headaches, and colds. Immunology is the
study of the body’s immune system and how it responds naturally and when stimulated
to fight off infection. It’s quite systematic in terms of cause and effect, and
perfectly complements microbiology. Thus, both courses are often taught
simultaneously, or more often, microbiology follows immunology. In terms of the
sacred sciences, `aqidah is often regarded as one of the highest
academic sciences, to the point it’s often referred to as `ilm al-kalam,
or knowledge of speech (literally), since classical theologians often deemed
that any speech that is not of theology is not true speech at all. Knowledge of
theology, about the attributes and characteristics of Allah, understanding the
Divine Decree, etc. is essential to being able to qualify faith, both to one’s
self and to others. Thus, books such as `Aqidah Tahawiyyah and Sharh
`Aqa’id al-Nasafiyyah
are taught to equip the future scholar with correct
information about such matters within the scope of the people of Sunnah and
Jama`ah. Lacking knowledge of theology leads to an intellectual sickness with
spiritual effects, whereas one who soundly understands theology (just as one
who soundly understands microbiology) is able to authoritatively treat such
diseases/issues when they arise. As for mantiq (logic), it is an
amalgamation of common sense logic with classical Aristotleian logic. It is
necessary to know logic in order to understand theology, especially in terms of
understanding arguments against deviant groups such as the Mu`tazilites. The
great mystic-scholar, the Proof of Islam, Abu Hamid al-Ghazali said, “man
lam ya`rifi ‘l-mantiqa fa la thiqata lahu fi ‘l-uloom (Whosoever does not know
logic, he has no trustworthiness in (the matters) of religious knowledge)
”, signifying
the importance and status of logic. This is why logic is taught before any
serious undertaking of aqidah is taken. Certainly, a superficial
knowledge of aqidah without logic is beneficial, but to truly be
grounded in theology, logic is vital.

5. Pathology = Tafsir (Quranic Exegesis). Pathology is the branch
of medicine that is a study of the nature of disease and its causes, processes,
development, and consequences. In essence, it is the heart of medicine. Any prospective
doctor must know pathology extremely well since he will be using this knowledge
in nearly everything. It is a vast field that deals with everything, with
hundreds of books written that deal with the subject; classically, certain
books such as Robbins’ Pathology (though I’d like to add BRS
on here… hehe) stand out as the standard used in medical schools
everywhere. There is a lot to know—there is a book component, a lab component,
and a visualization component as well—and thus further study in this field is a
specialization in and of itself. Especially on the USMLEs, the number of
questions that deal with Pathology, out of 300, it’s safe to say that at least
100 of them have something to do with Path. As mentioned previously, other subjects
help one to do well in pathology, especially histology (for the visual
component) since histology helps one to understand what “normal” is supposed to
be in order to determine what is “abnormal”. As for tafsir, seeing as
how the Qur’an is the chief source of guidance for Muslims, the prospective
scholar must understand it inside and out. It is not just a vast field, it is a
limitless ocean of knowledge and despite hundreds of commentaries written by
scholars from every generation, and we have barely scratched the surface of
understanding the full meaning of God’s Book. In classical institutions, there
are several commentaries that stand out as the paragon works for the
prospective scholar to study, such as Tafsir al-Jalalayn of Jalal al-Din
al-Mahalli and Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti, Tafsir al-Baydawi, and Ruh
. True Qura’nic study is left for the last years of the course,
since so many prerequisite branches of knowledge must be mastered before the
student can truly understand exegesis. As mentioned earlier, knowledge of tarkib
is vital to begin understanding the Jalalayn, for example. In fact, even
the books taught in the course are essentially primers that help the scholar to
read even more advanced commentaries on his/her own after graduation. And just
as we learn more and more things about the nature of disease in Pathology, we learn
newer meanings of the Qur’an in every generation.

Part III to follow in a few days, Inshallah. I’ve been way too busy lately.


From → Uncategorized

  1. First to comment!!!…yet again…I believe this is a sign…an Ayatollah if you will
    Anyways stellar post…your keep busting out studly posts the same way the Pistons keep on busting out stellar playoff performances…

  2. Anonymous permalink

    i dont remember the last time i read one of your posts…

  3. ^i dont remember the last time i read one of your essays to proofread…

  4. hey kr I updated!

  5. Why thank you, my fine moustached friend.

  6. Atif is right…or at least he’s on to something.

  7. Interesting read….Check this out: Sunniforumbtw…kr…in the Google search engine, look up the following four words Sudais Quran Khatm Dua… might prove a thing or two 🙂

  8. hahah that google thing is freaky… people search for sudais and get my terrible du’a? subhanallah

  9. why the 0 eprops, fag?

  10. KamKam is a superstar…ugh…baby squirrel needs a vacation!

  11. How do you do this while your busy? I feel too busy to even read all this; how do you write so much? I print it and save it for later when I get time. And by the time I have some time, your “busy” self already has already posted another time.

  12. lol @ sayeed’s 0 eprops. how random.

  13. If I gave kr 0 eProps he’d prolly excommunicate me

  14. haha, yea i like that statement. 

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