Who Needs Doctors?

Saudis comprise around 20% of the workforce in the healthcare sector. Considering this very low figure, the government have decided to open new colleges of medicine and health-related sciences to cope with the increasing demand of healthcare services in the country. It seems pretty much straightforward and it should make sense to almost everyone. I say “almost” because there is one particular man who strongly disagrees.

Sheikh Saleh al-Fowzan, a senior cleric and member of the Ulema Council, recently wrote to Al-Riyadh daily expressing his dismay at this approach by the government, which included opening health colleges even at Imam Mohammed bin Saudi Islamic University, and asking the government to open more religious colleges at the “civic” universities. I thought we already have large Islamic studies departments at all of our universities but what do I know.

Sheikh al-Fowzan argues that people need Sharia more than they need medicine and science, and that they need muftis and preachers more than doctors and scientists. (!)

With mentalities like this one, no wonder our country is still struggling to join the modern world. Such statements readily exposes that there are still some people in the religious establishment who seem so detached from reality. I have to say that at first I was laughing and thought nobody would buy his argument, but going through many comments on the newspaper’s website had left me frightened. This man owns a seat in the body which has the highest religious authority in the country, and his opinions — bizarre and foolish as they maybe — exert much influence on how regular folks here think.

I don’t want to ask him to be more responsible and act according to what is in the best interest of our nation because apparently that doesn’t concern him at all. But please, cut the nonsense and stop insulting our intelligence. Oh and btw, I think he could really use a doctor.

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40 thoughts on “Who Needs Doctors?

  1. Really interesting … maybe we should work Muftis on a 24 hours roster and let them do night shift and 100 hours work weeks to keep up with the “demand” . We’re doing that to doctors when we don’t need them as much !

  2. oh my god!

    this is the worst mentality we had ,,

    although i am a doctor

    but this is not strange ,,
    it is consistent with the way of thinking –

    i have heard of one of them that the earth is not turning around ! the earth is flat !
    and he says it from the holy quran ,,

    their minds has huge problems ,,

    things change ,,

    thanks for the post

  3. You always have the “with friends like these, who need enemies” line in your posts.
    The guy was voicing his opinion, no need to get all defensive just because it doesn’t suit you.
    Come on, be a little more democratic.

  4. abdullah,

    “their minds has huge problems”

    You are over reaching there by assuming they have a mind.

    Ahmad,

    Very funny!!
    It is sad, but our country’s policies are influenced by such mentalities. I mean look at the picture of the guy, he should have retired in 1970. Does anyone really think he has an idea of what modern medicine is about and that he should have a say on such matters.

  5. (Sheikh al-Fowzan argues that people need Sharia more than they need medicine and science) with all do respect, he meant that people need the Sharia the way he and his likes “interpret”.

    Who really looks inside the Sharia that is applied in Saudi he will definitely say NO to applying the Sharia.

    Isn’t enough that 8 million people are enslaved inside the kingdom by the law of “sponsorship” that is “inspired” from the Sharia ?

    If you really want to join the modern world, then let go of these mentalities and don’t provide any type of support. PERIOD.

    Thank you,

  6. When religion is part of the govement it is all the same everywhere. Got almost same talk here If this can make you feel better.

    I just like to see why this religious idiots goes for medical treatment when they can get anything from religion. I’d like to see a good dentist work with help of good and without anesthesia. Strangely no one them want to be medical martyr :)

  7. This is ludicrous… and to think they made fun of the guy who said adult breast feeding was allowed… this is a good example of one step forward two steps back, the same dance we have been doing for what seems like forever.

  8. I work at King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, College of Medicine and I am so proud of the Saudi students who have enrolled in our programs. In spite of “whathisname” you can be assured that the Kingdom will continue to turn out polished, confident, committed and compassionate doctors — both MALE AND FEMALE!

    And as a recent patient in a government run hospital, I cannot speak highly enough of the professional care I received by all — from the doctors, to the nurses, to the technicians, to the aids and even housekeeping and food staff.

    And again, in regards to “whatshisname” he may be one of those who does not think it is necessary to seek traditional medical care. There remain a number of individuals here who believe being breathed and washed upon with zamzam water can cure them of all illnesses.

    Regards,
    Carol (American Bedu)

    • Hello Carol,
      Thank you for your post..! I have been offered an English Instructor position at King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences–College of Medicine in Jeddah. I am wondering if you would be willing to share some of your experiences? For example, I will be bringing my husband and ten-year old daughter. The university offered us housing, but I am wondering what other expenses we need to be thinking about. This will be a first-time experience coming to the Middle East for both me and my family so anything you can tell me will be greatly appreciated. Thanks..!
      Virginia

  9. Has anyone heard Bin Othaimine’s fatwa about how organ transplant surgeries – even if the organs were from a dead donor-and aborting a fetus to save the mother’s life are all impermissable procedures in Islam!!

    I know this is not the opinion of mainstream Islamic scholars although Bin Othaimine was a widely respected mufti in the kingdom.

    That’s exactly why theocracy is the worst form of government. Saying that God wants it this way leaves no room for debate.

  10. So then, what do you do when you are really sick?
    Instead of going to the hospital you just read a couple of verses from the Holy Quran and voilà, you are cured!
    Weird, ins’t it?

  11. Priorities. How are you supposed to think, read, write, study, live a active, positive life and partake in religious matters and discussions if you can’t get to the university because you are bed ridden and it has been a month wait to see a doctor because there simply aren’t enough. Priorities, priorities, priorities. If there were enough resources to pull it all together at the same time thats great, if not, what must come first logically.
    And you are being democratic, because it is part of democracy to disagree with a public authority figure. He is not simply expressing his opinion because he gave up the benefits of that simplicity when he took a post in PUBLIC office. We can criticize him I think, but we are not in a democracy the last time I checked.

  12. well he’s an old man!

    cant you find it in your hearts to forgive him . he’s too healthy to care for medicine and these unimportant stuff !

  13. “Instead of going to the hospital you just read a couple of verses from the Holy Quran and voilà, you are cured!” _____ No, you die and go to Paradise. Logically, if you believe in an afterlife, there is no point in using medicine (or any other means) to prolong this one. The only people who need doctors are those who expect to burn in Hell, and want to postpone that experience. If everyone sticks closely to Sharia Law, they will all go to Paradise. So, Saudi Arabia needs no doctors. (You can find simiar attitudes among Catholics.)

  14. Yep, we have the same mindset here too, amongst tho more scary religious nutters. Any illness is the will of God, and you just have to submit.
    These people use religion, but it is a mindset. You find all over the world. People are the same everywhere; the ones who are too scared to contemplate possibillities, and making choices, and without will and intelligence, are the ones who turn into religous nutters.
    Bad luck if you live in a country where the nutters have so much influence.

  15. I see his point of view.. but it makes no sense!
    these sheik’s are really heading low! They need to start realizing that if they wanted to people to accept their way of thinking they have to keep up with the program…
    No educator will see this and say “yep, he’s right”
    No person will see this and agree unless he is exactly like him…
    I don’t get them… they need to understand that if they wanted to gain peoples acceptance and so forth, they need to think like them and become OPEN to things.. because half ( or should i say all ) of the things he just said is not logical.. its ………. (rather not say)

  16. To all countries are being reigned over any religion is devoted:

    “Get up, stand up: stand up for your rights!
    Get up, stand up: stand up for your rights!
    Get up, stand up: stand up for your rights!
    Get up, stand up: dont give up the fight!

    Preacherman, dont tell me,
    Heaven is under the earth.
    I know you dont know
    What life is really worth.
    Its not all that glitters is gold;
    alf the story has never been told:
    So now you see the light, eh!
    Stand up for your rights. come on!

    Get up, stand up: stand up for your rights!
    Get up, stand up: dont give up the fight!
    Get up, stand up: stand up for your rights!
    Get up, stand up: dont give up the fight!

    Most people think,
    Great God will come from the skies,
    Take away everything
    And make everybody feel high.
    But if you know what life is worth,
    You will look for yours on earth:
    And now you see the light,
    You stand up for your rights. jah!

    Get up, stand up! (jah, jah!)
    Stand up for your rights! (oh-hoo!)
    Get up, stand up! (get up, stand up!)
    Dont give up the fight! (life is your right!)
    Get up, stand up! (so we cant give up the fight!)
    Stand up for your rights! (lord, lord!)
    Get up, stand up! (keep on struggling on!)
    Dont give up the fight! (yeah!)

    We sick an tired of-a your ism-skism game –
    Dyin n goin to heaven in-a jesus name, lord.
    We know when we understand:
    Almighty God is a living man.
    You can fool some people sometimes,
    But you cant fool all the people all the time.
    So now we see the light (what you gonna do? ),
    We gonna stand up for our rights! (yeah, yeah, yeah!)

    So you better:
    Get up, stand up! (in the morning! git it up!)
    Stand up for your rights! (stand up for our rights!)
    Get up, stand up!
    Dont give up the fight! (dont give it up, dont give it up!)
    Get up, stand up! (get up, stand up!)
    Stand up for your rights! (get up, stand up!)
    Get up, stand up! ( … )
    Dont give up the fight! (get up, stand up!)
    Get up, stand up! ( … )
    Stand up for your rights!
    Get up, stand up!
    Dont give up the fight! “

  17. Sheikh al-Fowzan argues that people need Sharia more than they need medicine and science, and that they need muftis and preachers more than doctors and scientists.

    The doctors will minister the Sheikhs, and the Sheikhs will minister to everyone else. Isn’t that how it is supposed to work?

  18. theeze bearded bastardz r da biggest curse for muslims—-they have done more harm than any number of cruize missiles and bullets which israel and america have done combined since time immemorial—i hope this bastard trips on his dick and requires a doctor 2 treat him and then someone uses his logic against him and tellz him doctorz r not necessary, just b patient, it was Allahz will that ur dick go limp and lifeless, u may suffer psychologically becuz of this problem but hey look at da brite side old man, ur sins r being wiped off and in da hereafter u will automatically b admitted 2 da highest echleons of paradise without being asked any question, what could b a better deal than that??!! so u should quietly, in fact happily accept ur fate and should thank Allah more than usual by doing extra prayerz that u r being spared eternal torment and since according 2 u this life is nothing and not a big deal, and is temporaray, than so what 2 bear it a few more yrs as ur old anyways and about 2 exit this world soon! After that, it would b hilarious 2 c how this old dud respondz!!

  19. I hope many in Saudi Arabia will follow the Saleh al-Fowzan suggestions. You need to purge out of the gene pool the stupid people. And whoever follow Saleh al-Fowzan suggestions is stupid.

  20. I say if he believes this, let him lead the way! No more doctors or medicines for this guy. Seeing how old he is, and obivously how “devout” he is I am sure he takes no medications at all. Nothing but The Qur’an and Zam Zam right?

    Wonder how long he’d last without his doctors?

  21. what’s wrong with u people ?
    ” لحوم العلماء مسمومه ” !!!!
    who said that ?!!
    لما بويع أبو بكر بالخلافة بعد بيعة السقيفة تكلم أبو بكر، فحمد الله وأثنى عليه ثم قال:
    )))”أما بعد أيها الناس فإني قد وليت عليكم ولست بخيركم، فإن أحسنت فأعينوني وإن أسأت ((( فقوموني،،
    ………….
    do u want to say that saleh is better than abo bkr ?
    i really hate empty minds !

  22. Indeed, the great Sheikh Ibn Uthaymeen did not undergo treatment for his cancer.
    Only those people want to live this life as much as they can who are interested in this world. Bling bling, cars, and women. Right.

    Those who are opposing Sheikh Al Fawzan are doing it in the wrong way. They are opposing with the assumption that “science will cure every single thing.” It might. It might not. Many healthy people develop diseases and many obsese people do not develop disease. There MIGHT be a scientific reason behind this, but why could that specific scientific reason be not applicable in other people? Again, there might be other scientific reason for that and so on and so forth. If we then look at the broader picture, it is a game of chance. Some people will tend to develop more diseases and others will not. If human beings evolved to better fight with the environment, then I am sorry, humans are still suffering with the diseases that are at least 2000 years old (recorded evens from the history).

    An immoral and a shameful doctor is a bad doctor. Maybe that is why Sheikh Fowzan stressed on cultivating morals by Shariah and THEN focussing on preparing new Saudi graduates. In the meantime, there are enough expat doctors working in the Kingdom from South Asia and abroad.

  23. “An immoral and a shameful doctor is a bad doctor.” counterposed by, “In the meantime, there are enough expat doctors working in the Kingdom from South Asia and abroad.” This suggests that Saudis are one type of doctors and the expats another. If this is true, there is a serious breach in what the profession really means to those for and against it, and of course those who sit in between who badly need the services.
    I for one would go through as many procedures, medical interventions, and whatnot as needed because my children still need me to rear them; not the countless men, women, bling, money, etc.that might exist for some as needs to remain alive…some people have legit reasons to want to live a longer life. Not everyone will have a long life; but if I brought others into this world I am reasonable responsible for their welfare- otherwise I would be a cavalier SOB who married for the title; had children because I couldn’t come up with anything else to do with myself, and am so egotisical that I prefer the afterlife now than finishing the project I started-My family. (Somewhere in this the Judge ALLAH SWT would ask why I didn’t do what was humanly possible to perfect, polish, and finish my project in life)
    The Sheikh is talking from his box; and most of us are outside his box…as long as we realize that boxes come in various shades and sizes…the problem being that the Sheikh belongs to a group that may have small boxes but carry one hell of a punch to those more expanded boxes.
    Things are done at the same time; not one after the other-if so we would be stuck with who came first “the chicken or the egg”… The Sheikh thinks he is both chiken and egg…so how can we beat the argument?

  24. Amazed with your translation………. I know Arabic… I read that article but, man, you definitely want people have the wrong idea…

    As far as I am concern, this blog is always denigrate wahabism, saudi, syariah, with all reasons you just can find.
    when everything happen in saudi, you just say…

    —–“With mentalities like this one, no wonder our country is still struggling to join the modern world. Such statements readily exposes that there are still some people in the religious establishment who seem so detached from reality. I have to say that at first I was laughing and thought nobody would buy his argument, but going through many comments on the newspaper’s website had left me frightened. This man owns a seat in the body which has the highest religious authority in the country, and his opinions — bizarre and foolish as they maybe — exert much influence on how regular folks here think.”

    No wonder you just… shiite…

    maybe, sheikh is just giving his opinion regarding low number of sharia student (always declining), or maybe shaikh is just want to say that health is important, but religion is more and more important…

    But u just simply don’t want to look beyond it, and because shaikh is just being religious salafy, different from you because you love jeans??

    —-“Sheikh al-Fowzan argues that people need Sharia more than they need medicine and science, and that —they need muftis and preachers more than doctors and scientists. —(!)

    Or is it same to say: who need doctors?

    is it possible that we can say we need doctors , esp when we sick, but we need preachers more (not necessarily more person) because we need all the time being remembered about our day after?!!

    Come on, act fairly… oh I forget, you just shiite…..you just hate wahhabi (you prefer to call it -I prefer to call it sunni salafy..)… or…or…or….

  25. So Ghazi Al-Ghosaibi is currently receiving medical treatment in the US. What is wrong with the Saudi hospitals and the many excellent and highly qualified medical staff therein? Could it be in the Saudi establishments he fears to meet again some of those like me who he cruelly shafted in past years and would now gladly assist his speedy journey to everlasting hellfire and brimstone? Every dog has his day and I am sharpening my knife as I write.

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