In the Name of God: The Exceedingly and Everlastingly Loving and Caring

March 30 was National Doctor’s Day, and Hospitals all across our country – including my own – held celebrations in honor of the doctors who tirelessly work helping save the lives of their patients. And I must say that it is nice to be appreciated for the hard work that we do, even if it is once a year.

March 30, incidentally, was also the first day of the Passover holiday, and the coincidence could not be more fitting for the occasion.

As a Muslim, Passover has a very special meaning for me, even though I do not celebrate it as a religious holiday. That is because the Quran has several passages that speak of the Passover and the happy occasion of the freedom of the Hebrews from bondage in Egypt. Even though I am of Egyptian heritage, I am rooting wholeheartedly for the Hebrews in the Passover saga, for they – and their Prophet Moses – are my spiritual forebears.

The coincidence with Passover is also fitting because, just like Moses led the Hebrews out of bondage in Egypt, physicians also work to lead their patients out of the bondage of illness.

Furthermore, just like death passed over the Hebrews in Egypt, physicians work tirelessly to try to have death pass over their patients as well. At the time of Moses, it was sheeps’s blood on the door that made death pass over the Hebrews. Today, it is the medicines and technologies at our disposal that frequently make death pass over our patients as well.

Now, there are huge caveats here. First, I am not – even for one second – suggesting that I, as a physician, am like into a Prophet or even remotely akin to one. I am not worthy of the dust on Moses’ shoes. Second, no success that I enjoy as a physician comes without the help of God. It was neither the sheep’s blood back then nor is it modern medicine today that allowed death to pass over. It is only the power of God.

At the same time, illness is enslaving, robbing its victims of the freedom to live without pain, without suffering, and without difficulty. Being given the chance to try and help people become free of that enslaving illness is the gift of a lifetime. And when we are successful, the joy is similar to that felt when the Hebrews were finally able to leave Egypt as free people.

Ever since I was a small child, being a doctor is all I have ever wanted to do. And the fact that I have been given this gift overwhelms me in awe. All I can do is two things: first, constantly thank God for His tremendous blessing, and second, work as hard as I can to be the best doctor I can be. It is the only way I can truly show gratitude for being able to give my patients the joy of their own personal Passover each and every day.

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