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ISLAMIC MEDICAL EDUCATION RESOURCES-03

0304-LIFE

Elementary Clinic Lecture for 3rd year medical students at the faculty of Medicine National University of Malaysia Friday 10th April 2003 by Prof Dr Omar Hasan Kasule Sr. MB ChB (MUK), MPH & DrPH (Harvard) Deputy Dean Kulliyah of Medicine, International Islamic University, Kuantan. E-MAIL omarkasule@yahoo.com . WEBSITE: http://doctor-omar.net/

1.0 DEFINITION OF LIFE

Life is a complex phenomenon with biological, chemical, and spiritual components. Both life and death are earthly phenomena[i]. Life exists in the hereafter; but death does not. Humans share biological life with plants and animals. They share spiritual life with angels. No other creation of Allah resembles humans in having physical and spiritual life at the same time. Life without any spirituality is not a full human life but is a life of animals. Life can be described at various levels: ruh, the whole living organism, the organ, the tissue, the cell, sub-cellular structures, the molecule, and the atom. The highest level is that of the ruh about which we know very little[ii]. We however know that the ruh is the essence of human life and that it is eternal. The ruh is inserted in the fetus during intra-uterine life to give it human life[iii].  Human life started with the stage of ruh when life was at a spiritual level. It became life in a material form with the creation of the first humans. They were created from clay and became full perfect humans when the ruh was inserted into them. Biological life can be looked at in three stages: pre-uterine, uterine, the post-uterine phases. The post-uterine phase has in return got two stages: life on earth and life in the hereafter. Life belongs to God and not the human[iv]. God gives and takes away life[v]. Humans do not own their life but are temporary custodians of life enjoined to take good care of it. Humans have no ultimate control over life or death[vi].

 

 

2.0 THE CONCEPTS OF LIFE

Humans were created from the basic elements of earth[vii] and water[viii]. They result from semen[ix] and the union of male and female gametes[x]. The stages of creation start with the soul, then the gamete, then the clot then the flesh[xi]. The processes of life after birth are basic necessities of life such as eating[xii], drinking[xiii], reproduction[xiv] and excretion[xv]. The processes may also be needs that make life more meaningful for example vision[xvi], hearing[xvii], and speech[xviii]. The processes may also be embellishments such as the intellect[xix], consciousness[xx], and the qalb[xxi].  The nature of the insertion of the ruh is not known for certain to us. It may be a purely spiritual phenomenon or may have some biological and physical aspects. The ruh is the permanent essence of life.

 

3.0 NATURE OF LIFE

There is a continuum in human life. The start is the state on non-existence. God then created the souls and took an undertaking from them to worship Him[xxii]. Starting with the first humans God created a physical body to house those souls during life on earth[xxiii]. The physical part of existence on earth ends with physical death and the souls continue existing into eternity. Life in the integerrum[xxiv] is an intermediate stage between life on earth and life in the hereafter[xxv]. In the hereafter human life will re-assume its physical form with the resurrection. Life in the hereafter will be eternal. Human life on earth has a definite time span[xxvi]. No human endeavor including the most advanced medical procedures can shorten or extend this time span. The whole purpose of medicine is to exert maximum efforts to improve the quality of remaining life since Allah alone knows the timing of the ajal. The first and most important purpose of life is worship of God[xxvii].  Life can be a happy one[xxviii], or unhappy[xxix]. A good life is related to good deeds[xxx]. Success and failure are experienced both on earth and in the hereafter.

 

4.0 QUALITY OF LIFE

The quality of life can be defined in physical, mental, or spiritual dimensions. The physical criteria are: absence of disease, comfortable environment, and basic necessities. The mental criteria are: calmness, absence of neurosis and anxiety, and purposive life. The spiritual criteria are mainly correct relation with the creator.

 

5.0 VALUE OF LIFE

Human life is a gift from God[xxxi]. Humans must be grateful to Allah for the gift of life by worshipping Him[xxxii]. Good health and wellbeing are two bounties that many people do not enjoy[xxxiii]. Each human has an inalienable right to life from Allah. The sanctity of life is guaranteed[xxxiv]. The life of each single individual whatever be his or her age, social status or state of health is important and is as equally important as the life of any other human[xxxv]. Protection of life is the second most important purpose of the Law coming second only to the protection of freedom of religion. No material value can be put on human life. Every life is as important as any other life. Destroying the life of one person is equivalent to destroying the life of all humans[xxxvi].


[i] (7:25)

[ii] (17:85)

[iii] (15:29 & 66:12)

[iv] (3:156 &  67:3)

[v] (2:96 & 67:2)

[vi] (25:3)

[vii] (15:26 & 38:71)

[viii] (25:54)

[ix] (77:20-23)

[x]  (16:4)

[xi] (22:5 & 23:12-14)

[xii] (26:79 & 106:4)

[xiii] (16:10 & 16:69)

[xiv] (35:11 & 41:47)

[xv]  (4:43 & 5:6)

[xvi] (16:78 & 76:2)

[xvii] (16:78 & 76:2)

[xviii] (6:111 & 13:31)

[xix]  (2:118)

[xx]  (2:49)

[xxi] (22:46)

[xxii] (7:172-173 & 36:60)

[xxiii] (2:204 & 45:24)

[xxiv] (23:100)

[xxv] (9:38 & 40:39)

[xxvi] (6:2 & 13:38)

[xxvii]  (51:56)

[xxviii] (16:97)

[xxix] (20:124)

[xxx] (16:97)

[xxxi] (16:78 & 67:23)

[xxxii] (2:21-22)

[xxxiii] (Bukhari K81 B1)

[xxxiv] (2:84-85 & 25:68)

[xxxv]  (5:32)

[xxxvi] (5:32)

Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr. April 2003