With the Name of Allah, the extremely Merciful at this very moment, and the extremely Merciful at all times.
The below are what I believe to be the seven essential Islamic habits for Muslim (medical) students towards success. Insha’Allah they are beneficial to future Muslim medical students or students of any other field.
- Earning good deeds while studying
Narrated `Umar (ra):
I heard the Prophet (saw) saying, “The reward of deeds depends on the intentions, so whoever emigrated for the worldly benefits or to marry a woman, his emigration was for that for which he emigrated, but whoever emigrated for the Sake of Allah and His Apostle, his emigration is for Allah and His Apostle.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari Book 63 Hadith 124)
Every action can potentially be an act of worship and a source of a bank-full of good deeds. One such way for a Muslim student to achieve this is to make his intention of studying and working to be for the pleasure of Allah. This intention should- but doesn’t have to be- made right in the beginning before school; but it can and should be continuously renewed each and everyday.
Whatever we work towards we should remember that the reason we are going through the struggle is to please Allah- whether it is to help people in need or simply to become a successful Muslim in a respectable career- make that a secondary gain after pleasing Allah. Thus, everything that you study, the hours you work, and the people you help will all be a source of good deeds.
2. Having confidence to tackle any challenge
“Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity. It will have [the consequence of] what [good] it has gained, and it will bear [the consequence of] what [evil] it has earned. “Our Lord, do not impose blame upon us if we have forgotten or erred. Our Lord, and lay not upon us a burden like that which You laid upon those before us. Our Lord, and burden us not with that which we have no ability to bear. And pardon us; and forgive us; and have mercy upon us. You are our protector, so give us victory over the disbelieving people.” (Surah Baqarah 2: 286)
Medicine is a huge sacrifice. It will test you in the time that you need to be away from family for work, the time it takes to study, and tests the limits of your brain due to the sheer amount of material to learn, study, and master. It is an overwhelming but not impossible career to be a part of.
That is why, when one feels burdened by the course load or the hours, think back to the beautiful ayah above, and realize that these struggles are struggles we can deal with, and are nothing compared to the struggles faced by people around the world.
- Being optimistic about the future outcome
Indeed, with hardship [will be] ease.” (Surah Ash-Sharh 94:5-6)
Although each year of medical school becomes progressively harder in terms of material needed to study and time needed to sacrifice, perhaps nothing is tougher than the initial adjustment phase of your first semester of medical school. Nonetheless, every time finals week approaches or another month’s worth of studying is done for yet another board exam, the Muslim medical student can find solace in the fact that ease is coming after all of that hardship. You will always have some time off to relax after finals and will also have some vacation. I believe constantly reinforcing yourself with a positive attitude can get you through potentially any challenge thrown your way.
- Placing activities in their proper places to achieve balance in life
Once Allah’s Messenger (saw) said to me, “I have been informed that you offer Salat (prayer) all the night and observe Saum (fast) during the day.” I said, “(Yes) I do so.” He said, “If you do so, your eye sight will become weak and you will become weak. No doubt, your body has right on you, and your family has right on you, so observe fasting (for some days) and do not observe it (for some days), offer prayer (for sometime) and then sleep.” (Sahih Bukhari Book 19 Hadith 34)
A balanced life is a successful life. Many medical students forget what is going on with their families and communities during the 4 years they are immersed in school. Yet despite cutting themselves off from the world (or just Facebook) their study lives are still chaotic and stressful.
Instead, Muslim medical students should take a more balanced approach: they should pay attention to their studies, but not forget to sleep, eat, relax, and spend time with their families. The activities outside of studying allow one to recharge their battery and come stronger to the desk to study the next time around.
- Seeking help with patience and prayer
The formula for winning is the two P’s: Patience and Prayer. Everything that we want to achieve in life requires patience; no one is born with it, and it is learned through practice. Rome was not built in a day, and similarly the material you covered for 3 weeks won’t be memorized in a day. Take the time and the patience to learn the material as it comes to you so that it is less stressful in the end.
For those of us who are impatient, we can develop patience with prayer. Take time from studying and make it to your mandatory meetings with Allah (swt). Take the time to ask Him for help, and He will surely not leave you empty handed.
The next time we get tempted into thinking we should skip prayer for studying we should ask ourselves: “Would Allah, in his Infinite Mercy, allow me to fail if I sacrificed my study time for His sake? Would he not see that and help me?”
- Enjoying continued success by giving thanks
Too often, many of us get lost in our own ego and tend to take all of the credit for the success that we have. No matter how “smart” we think we are or how much we studied, the bottom line is that we are products of what Allah has granted to us.
The Muslim student uses this knowledge to his advantage. Every human being loves success, but more than success, we love continued success. What better way to ensure continued success than to remember Allah and thank him when enjoying success?
- Wishing your peers success
The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “The supplication of a Muslim for his (Muslim) brother in his absence will certainly be answered. Everytime he makes a supplication for good for his brother, the angel appointed for this particular task says: ‘Ameen! May it be for you, too’.” (Sahih Muslim Book 17 Hadith 1495)
The last, and certainly not the least, is to constantly make dua’ to Allah to help you through the struggle. It is one thing to make dua’ and remember Allah right before an exam, but it is entirely different when you consistently make dua’ each time you sit down to study. When we make dua’ to make the material easy for us to understand each time we study, and then make a more generalized dua’ for success prior to test day, we maximize our chance for success due to our consistent dedication to dua’ each day.
Although we tend to be selfish and want the best grades for ourselves, we can actually maximize our chances for a successful score when we make dua’ for the success of our brothers and sisters. In this way, when everyone makes dua’ for each other, everyone benefits with multiple dua’.
It is important for us as a community to do well in our education and further cultivate our community, but is more important to stay connected to Allah during this time as the business and hectic part of our lives during this time can make it easy and tempting to forget Him.
May Allah protect us and give us success.