The Incompetent Doctor
As someone who’s been involved with the Muslim-American community at various levels — both national and grassroots — I’ve experienced a diversity of mindsets first-hand that many in the Muslim-American community have. I’ve categorized them into five mindsets — and when talking to people about these mindsets I like to give the analogy of incompetent doctors. Hence when it comes to addressing problems facing the world most of us are either one of the 5 types of incompetent doctors:
1) Incompetent Doctor #1: No-Cure Doctor
These doctors identify the symptom of the problem, but don’t offer the cure or the medicine to cure the sickness. Example of this doctor is such: A patient comes to a doctor who has a sore throat and is looking for a cure and asks the doctor for medicine but instead of offering medicine to cure the sore throat the doctor simply says: “You have a sore throat,” and when the patient asks for medicine the doctor responds again: “You have a sore throat.”
Examples of these types of doctors: Most Muslims who blame and criticize the work and efforts of others. They often point out the problem or problems but don’t offer solutions.
2) Incompetent Doctor #2: Dr. Blame-the-Victim
These doctors see the sickness or the injury and instead of solving or fixing the problem they blame the patient (victim). Example of this doctor is such: A patient comes to the doctor with a large cut on their arm that is bleeding profusely, instead of attending to the bleeding arm the doctor blames the patient for getting the cut in the first place and when the patient asks the doctor to stop the bleeding the doctor continues to criticize and bash the patient’s life decisions, lifestyle or religious or ethnic background.
Examples of these types of doctors: Some imams, community members, and ethnocentric Muslim parents who look at cases of domestic violence or any other crimes as a problem of the victim and not of the criminal.
3) Incompetent Doctor #3: My-Way-Or-the-Highway Doctor
These doctors neither see the problems or the cures, but is so consumed in his/her specialty/focus area that they deny the existence of other forms of medical practice and other specialties and focus areas. These doctors think that their specialty and focus area is the only type of medical practice and is the only cure for all problems. This doctor shames, mocks, and character assassinates any doctors who disagree with him or her or have different focus areas or specialties. An example of this doctor is such: A patient comes to a pulmonologist and the patient complains of chest pains and is exhibiting symptoms of a heart attack, instead of telling the patient to an ER the pulmonologist begins running tests on the patient’s lungs and gives the patient and inhaler. When the patient considers going to the ER to seek medical attention, the pulmonologist says that the cure for all medical problems is pulmonology and that other forms of medical practice are all incorrect and that all doctors who practice other forms of medicine are liars and practice the wrong form of medicine.
Examples of these types of doctors: Groupies of imams/scholars/sheikhs, the political activist, and a large number of Muslims in general who stick to their world view as if it’s a matter of life or death.
4) Incompetent Doctor #4: Selective Doctor
These doctors only admit healthy patients into their hospitals or clinics. They refuse treatment of any sick, ill or injured patients. They also only allow patients of the same ethnic, racial or ideological background as themselves into their hospitals and clinics.
Examples of these types of doctors: Some masjid boards, some imams, and ethnocentric organization leadership that caters to only a specific ethnic, racial or cultural demographic. Another example are ethnocentric Muslim Americans and ethnocentric Muslim parents who deny cross-cultural marriages from occurring due to the difference in culture of either the girl or the boy.
5) Incompetent Doctor #5: Apathetic Doctor
These doctors went to the best medical schools in the country. However, these doctors see neither the problems, symptoms or cures for any illnesses or injuries. Every patient that walks into the hospital or clinic in the eyes of the doctor is in the best of health and is not in need of any medical attention.
Examples of these types of doctors: Some youth, some young professionals and some ethnocentric Muslims who could care less about the problems of the world and the communities in which they live.
Now that we’re aware of the different mindsets we should all look within ourselves to see if any of our actions, ideas, or world views match the above mindsets. If we continue to look at the world in our own limited ways we will not allow ourselves and our communities to prosper and grow. Unfortunately, these mindsets may lead us to abandon, boycott, hate and despise one another.
This is exactly the opposite of what we should be doing as Muslims and as a community. Not only is it against our Islamic beliefs, morals and values, but it simply is not smart strategically if we are as a community to gain our place in the societies in which we live.
If we continue to look at the world with our own strict world views and not humble ourselves (and not reflect upon our own weaknesses and flaws) we will continue to bicker and hurt not only ourselves but our community. Our egos are not more important than the Truth. We must rid ourselves of our intellectual arrogance and learn to see other world views without hating the person we’re disagreeing with. We must learn to disagree with adab (manners).
Moral of the story? Don’t be an incompetent doctor — be an excellent one who saves the lives of others for the sake of Allah alone. Bismillah.