With Mohammed Hassan Loum
I am very squeamish and cannot stand the sight of much blood otherwise, I will swoon. I would not be able to properly put on surgical gloves to stitch ghastly uncluttered wounds, let alone rummage through the innards of split open chest and stomach cavities during complicated surgeries, or even in the least sacrifice a goodnight’s sleep for tedious night shifts, therefore I chose not to become a doctor or a male nurse. I do not have the stamina to stand for long hours in front of a classroom for two or three periods, with chalk in hand teaching at least 30 pairs of differently shaded eyes and prepare lengthy class lessons, so I opted not to become a teacher.
I cannot pretend to suffer the deafening sounds of firing rifles, spend sleepless nights patrolling and protecting borders, standing for hours under hot scorching sun controlling traffic, and protecting homes and streets from vandalising criminals, so I crossed out from my list of future vocations becoming a soldier or a policeman. The snapping and sizzling sounds of blazing infernos with their intense heat and stifling smoke knocks my very breath away, thus I knew that I could never become a fireman.
I am not a very good swimmer, I easily get seasick and being out in the cold sea breeze for just a little while gives me very bad chills and a perpetual runny nose, so the navy was not for me. I will get very impatient and may even rudely snap if I see the floor which I have so toiled to spotless clean with bent back being dirtied again and again by trampling feet which seem oblivious of my very presence, so I stayed away from being a cleaner. I cannot sit for long hours behind the wheels of a speeding vehicle to go on long weekend treks for my back will hurt, I will get painful knee and leg cramps, and my eyes could lose focus after many hours and will fall asleep which could lead to disastrous consequences, so I most definitely chose not to become a driver.
Such excuses to opt out from the above-mentioned professions are perhaps not particular to only me. Therefore if we cannot pray for, appreciate, motivate and encourage our dear brothers and sisters in the security and social service sectors, we should definitely not be insulting, ridiculing or taking them for granted. It is my very humble opinion that our cleaners, drivers, doctors, nurses, soldiers, policemen and women, immigration officers and teachers are not paid adequately enough as is proportionate to their high level efforts and many sacrifices. Have we properly looked at their monthly salaries and other benefits if any? Some earn less than D3,000 monthly in our civil service, and from these paltry sums they have to pay rent, daily sustenance, school fees and so forth. For any meaning development to take place, there must be peace and stability which is guaranteed by robust and cohesive internal and external security systems.
Therefore without no army or police, we may not sleep peacefully at night or work productively during the day. Sustainable development cannot happen without a healthy and an educated nation, and this is assured by our health and education personnel. Cleanliness which is considered next to godliness is unquestionably the first step towards healthiness. Effective development cannot also take place without the legitimate movement of goods and people through international trade and commerce. Consequently, we require reliable means of locomotion and able human resources to facilitate the transport of essential goods and services from and to various destinations.
Allaah stated in the noble Qur’an in Surah Al-Imraan, verse 200: “O you who believe! Endure and be more patient and guard your territory by stationing army units permanently at the places from where the enemy can attack you and fear Allah so that you may be successful”. This specific verse in the Noble Qur’an clearly establishes the need for permanent security border control units, the lack of which would have facilitated the prevalence of all sorts of organised cross-border crimes. The soldier, immigration and police officers accrue many rewards managing these border controls posts. Abu Hurairah (ra) narrated that the Prophet SAW said; “Every person who dies will have fully completed his action except the deeds of the one who is on the frontier, he receives the reward of his deed until the day of resurrection and he is saved from the questioning of Munkar and Nakir (in the grave).” [Al-Haakim, Ibn Mardawi, Mukhtasar Ibn Kahir p.35, vol.1].
There are also many virtues and rewards of visiting the sick. In fact, one of the five obligatory rights of a Muslim over another Muslim is to each other when sick. Imam Nawawi stated in Sharh Muslim that visiting the sick does not involve only those whom you know, but also those whom you do not know. In a hadith narrated by Imam Bukhari, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) visited a sick Jewish boy who used to serve him. Ibn Hajar stated that this hadith indicates that it is permissible to visit a non-Muslim if he/she falls sick and pray for the restoration of their good health. At-Tirmidhi (969) narrated that Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: “There is no Muslim who visits a (sick) Muslim early in the morning but seventy thousand angels send blessings upon him until evening comes, and if he visits him in the evening, seventy thousand angels send blessings upon him until morning comes, and he will have a garden in Paradise.” [Classed as authentic by Imam Albaani in his Saheeh at-Tirmidhi].
Imam Muslim narrated from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that; “When the Muslim visits his (sick) Muslim brother, he is harvesting the fruits of Paradise until he returns.” So if these are the rewards for the one who visits the sick, then what about the doctor and or nurse who visits and takes care of the sick on daily basis?
Islam does not prevent women from becoming nurses and doctors but under the right known Islamic conditions. Rufaydah bint Sa’ad al-Ansaariyyah was the first Muslim female nurse during the time of the Prophet Muhammad SAW who used to treat the wounded in her tent which was set up by the Prophet’s Mosque in Madina as a clinic. Apart from being a Florence Nightingale, she was also a social worker and a teacher who used to instruct Muslim women as volunteers in nursing skills. Female doctors and nurses are required in Islam who would be able to properly treat fellow sick women and provide general reproductive, maternal and child health care services without women having the need to uncover themselves before strange male doctors and nurses.
If there is indeed corruption in our Gambian health system as it is being claimed, then this must firstly be communicated internally and through the right channels with a common view towards solving the problem once and for all. Hasty generalisations of targeted verbal accusations without tangible practical evidences are perhaps not the best way forward. Is it not high time that we cease to hang out our dirty linen for all to see perhaps yearning for cheap commendations? Such situations could have been best honorably dealt with internally through the engagement of all concerned parties and stakeholders in order to ensure that such malpractices desist. If we do know that a crime is being committed right under our noses, and as boss or overseer, we did absolutely nothing to stop it but just merely complain about it and at the wrong forum, then such a boss is perhaps even the more uglier and guiltier than those being targeted in mere accusations. There are so many good health officers with very fine morals in our health sector who could be vouched for as such. The health sector is very important and we need to keep its personnel very happy for we cannot pay them enough for the fine humanitarian services that they render.
However in seeking to redress a bad situation and requesting for the dispensation of due justice, the oppressed may definitely opt to take their pound of flesh, but not with so much drops of blood. Allaah The Almighty has prescribed excellence in all things. Shaddad Ibn Aws reported that the Messenger of Allaah Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing of Allaah be upon him said); “Verily Allah has prescribed excellence in everything. If you have to kill, then kill in the best manner. If you have to slaughter, then slaughter in the best manner. Let one of you sharpen his knife so his animal (i.e. the sacrificial slaughter) is spared of suffering”. [Narrated in Imam Nawawi’s Forty Hadith and in Sahih Muslim 1955].
So if this means revenge, then please by all means do so in the best and most excellent manner. A sit-down strike may not seriously affect the top, but the bottom would definitely be made to suffer. A very clear point has been registered by the vanGARD of our national health system and it is hoped that from this very unfortunate gaffe, all overseeing bosses will learn an important lesson and treat their staff with the much respect that they deserve and not take them for granted. The staff working under you today could very well become your boss tomorrow, so take heed. Provisions changes hands and what goes around most definitely will one day come around, therefore be reminded. Such reminders indeed benefit the reminder and the one being reminded. Allah bless you all and keep our dear motherland safe.