As Muslims have physical and psychological needs (eating, feeling loved and so forth) like all people, they may also have spiritual needs to connect and please God. In times of difficulty, health professionals can support with improving both physical and mental health; it is only recently that spiritual needs have been taken into more consideration and so faith-based approaches to educating people about their feelings, beliefs and attitudes towards health and spirituality have increased. For Muslims in the UK, the response has been the formation of several health professional initiatives such as the Muslim Doctors Association (MDA) and Muslim Doctors and Dentist Association.
The MDA categorises their work and what they offer as such: campaigns, health education, networking events and seminar and conferences. One of the campaigns they have been supporting is the ‘I am a Muslim and I Give Blood’, as part of the initiative to encourage Muslims in the UK to donate blood and help the NHS Blood and Transplant.
Muslim scientists and health professionals can occupy a variety of careers other than medicine and dentistry; you can find them in pharmacy, physics, geology, cosmology and other science-related jobs. According to statistics from the British Islamic Medical Association, Muslim doctors represent 7% (the number is approximately 18,500) of the total practising doctors in the UK.
There are many prominent Muslim scientists and health professionals in the UK. This section will not do justice in that only a few will be mentioned here.
Tipu Zahed Aziz is a professor of neurosurgery at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, Aarhus Denmark and Portugal and lecturer at the medical schools in Magdalen College, Oxford and Imperial College London.
Tipu is a specialist in researching and treating several diseases like Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, dystonia, spasmodic torticollis, fixed abnormal posture of the neck, tremor, and intractable neuropathic pain.
He is also known to support animal testing in not just the medical field, but also cosmetic industry. About using animals for testing in cosmetics, he said: “People talk about cosmetics being the ultimate evil. But beautifying oneself has been going on since we were cavemen. If it’s proven to reduce suffering through animal tests, it’s not wrong to use them. To say cosmetics is an absolute evil is absurd” (Jeffries, 2006).
To know more about his views on vivisection, you can watch him on a debate here.
Rozina Shahzady Ali is an English (with Pakistani roots) microvascular reconstructive plastic surgeon and consultant with a specialist interest in breast reconstruction and a tv presenter, having appeared on the BBC’s documentary series Horizon on ‘The Truth about Looking Young’ and Channel 4’s ‘How Not to get Old’.
Besides her medical work, she also enjoys a thriving writing career. In her widely published books, she has been actively contributing to major international plastic surgery and breast surgery texts. Rozina is therefore considered a specialist and with many world leading surgeons, presented new knowledge on breast reconstruction and microvascular surgery.
On her website, she describes her work ethos as: “Being comfortable in your own skin is the ultimate luxury. Once you can inhabit your body with grace and confidence, you can inhabit your life with the same ease and poise” (Ali, No Year).
To watch some of her clips and reading more about her work and view, please click here.
Dr Hina Shahid is the chair of the Muslim Doctor’s Association and she is a GP who graduated with Distinction in Medical Sciences from University College London. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacology from University College London and a Masters of Science in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She has an interest in humanitarian relief work and is involved in a number of charity projects, having worked abroad and in the UK as a volunteer. She also has an interest in medical education and is a clinical tutor at Imperial College London. In her spare time she enjoys reading, travelling and learning languages. She is currently learning Arabic and can also speak French, Urdu and Hindi.
Dr Khalid Master is a director and partner of a multi-award winning dental practice – Bank View Smile Studios (BVSS) – based in Blackburn, Lancashire. BVSS has won many regional and national dental and business awards inclduing the accolade ‘Best Dental Clinic in the UK’ and ‘Best Dental Team in the UK’. The way he gives back to young students is by offering work experience placements and hosting other dentists. high school, colleges and university students. Master is also the chairman and founding trustee of the Abu Hanifah Foundation, which is an educational charity that aims to both teach but also encourage the next generation of British Muslim role models.
Dr Mohammed Jiva is a GP and CEO of Rochdale and Bury Local Medical Committee. Dr Jiva provides care in his role as clinical lead for seven day GP services in Bury. Dr Jiva is also supporting and accompanying the annual British Hajj Delegation, which send s team of British doctors during the pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. Finally, his services has been recognised the award for an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2014.
Mr Sharif Kaf al Ghazal – Consultant Plastic Surgeon, clinical lead, Bradford Teaching Hospitals.
Mr Sharif is an honorary senior lecturer at University of Leeds Medical School. He is a member of the Bradford Research Committee and has many other professional associations, including: British Association of Plastic Surgeons, British Society for Surgery of the Hand, British Microsurgical Society, Royal Society of Medicine, International Society for Burn Injuries, New York Academy of Sciences.
He has developed a significant interest in Islamic Medicine as one of the founders and executive members of the International Society for History of Islamic Medicine (ISHIM) and is one of the editors of the ISHIM Journal. He is also an Advisor Member of the British Board of the International Institute of Islamic Medicine (IIIM) in Florida, USA. He is also a founding member of the British Islamic Medical Association, currently serving as BIMA Vice President.
Prof Saad Amer – Consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at Royal Derby Hospital
Prof Saad Amer is a consultant Gynaecologist practicing in Derby with extensive experience in General Gynaecology, Reproductive Medicine and Minimal Access Surgery. He qualified at the University of Ain Shams, Cairo in 1985 and completed speciality training in Obstetrics and Gynaecology in a large Teaching Hospital in Cairo. In 1991 he successfully completed a Master’s degree in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Ain Shams. His initial period of training in Egypt provided him with a broad-based general experience in Obstetrics and Gynaecology before moving to the UK in 1995 for more advanced training and further postgraduate qualifications in this field. He is also the Regional Lead for BIMA East Midlands.
Dr Ghazala Mir – Associate Professor at University of Leeds with research interest in health and social inequalities
Dr Mir is an Associate Professor at Leeds Institute of Health Sciences with research interests in health and social inequalities. Her research covers minority ethnic and faith communities, women and people with learning disability. She is the Director of the Equality Training Network where she provides training to health and social care professionals on cultural competence and how to develop this in practice.
She is involved in numerous research and development projects addressing health inequalities including: addressing depression in Muslim communities and developing a faith-sensitive therapy, exploring social networks and infant mortality, improving use of evidence on ethnicity in commissioning and studying BME satisfaction with social care services.
Dr Asim Yusuf – consultant psychiatrist with a special interest in spirituality and mental health
Dr Shaykh Asim Yusuf is a Consultant Psychiatrist with a special interest in Islamic Spirituality and Mental Health. He is acknowledged as an authority on Islamic Psychology and is regularly to deliver lectures and seminars on the subject. He serves on the advisory panel of the Centre for Islam and Medicine, as well as in an advisory capacity to a number of community initiatives and charities.
He is the founder and director of the Path of Salvation Diploma in Classical Islamic Studies (one the largest Muslim grass-roots teaching organisations in the UK), the Sacred Texts Syllabus, and of the Islamic Ethics and Global Citizenship Initiative. He has authored four books on diverse aspects of Islam, with a focus on classical spirituality. He has received twenty years of rigorous theological training at the hands of leading scholars of Islamic law and spirituality. He has been granted ijazaat (formal authorizations) to instruct students in the art and science of Islamic thought by over thirty scholars from four continents, and has taught thousands of students across the country and overseas.
- British Islamic and Medical Association. Main Page. Link: http://www.britishima.org/about.html
- Miah, D. 2006. ‘Twitter Journal: would you share your original research on Twitter?’ Link: http://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/blog/2014/jan/27/twitter-only-journal-academic-research
- Muslim Doctor’s Association. Main Page. Link: http://www.muslimdoctors.org/
- MDDA – Muslim Doctors and Dentists Association. Main Page. Link: http://mddauk.org/
- Muslims give Blood. Main Page. Link: http://www.muslimsgiveblood.co.uk/
- YouTube. ‘A debate on vivisection between Michelle Thew and Professor Tipu Aziz moderated by Jeremy Paxman’. Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pXLsgLCvfw
- Wikipedia on Tipu Aziz. Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tipu_Aziz
- Wikipedia on Rozina Ali. Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rozina_Ali