Magazine article Islamic Horizons

Taking Care

Magazine article Islamic Horizons

Taking Care

Article excerpt

The founding of the Muslim Students Association of the U.S. and Canada (now MSA National) - the precursor of ISNA - in 1963 - inspired Muslim physicians working in the U.S. to found their own organization within this new spreading national umbrella: the Muslim Medical Association. They were soon followed by engineers and scientists (i.e., The Association of Muslim Scientists and Engineers) and social scientists (i.e., Association of Muslim Social Scientists).

In due course, the physicians' committee blossomed into an independent body: the Islamic Medical Association of North America (IMANA).

At its 10th annual convention in 1977, IMANA adopted the Muslim physicians oath that had been presented at its 9th annual convention in Newark, which included the following supplication to God: "Give us the understanding that ours is a profession sacred that deals with Your most precious gifts of life and intellect."

IMANA and its members, who continue to acknowledge this precious gift, are also guided by "Whoever kills a human being, not in lieu of another human being nor because of mischief on Earth, it is as if he has killed all of humanity. And if he saves a human life, [it is as if] he has saved the life of all humanity" (5:35).

With this vision in mind, they established IMANA Medical Relief, which continues to send qualified volunteers to many lands and peoples stricken by both man-made and natural disasters.

To meet another pressing need, one commonly experienced by Muslims living as minorities confronted with vexing health and treatment questions that involve religious and medical ethics, in 1967 the group set up the IMANA Islamic Medical Ethics Committee, which both provides answers and informs non-Muslim physicians how to treat their Muslim patients in accordance with their beliefs. To fulfill this obligation, committee members also reach out to Islamic scholars to secure their advice. …

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