I am a female currently in my fifth of sixth year of studying medicine. These last few years entail mostly working in hospitals. During our fifth year, we are required to study for six months in a hospital about an hour from home, thus requiring us to reside away from home. Since my parents were not happy with me staying at the campus residence, plans were in place for my mum to come stay with me there at a rented place, with my father travelling to be with us once or twice a week. However, a month before we were to leave, a close family member had a dream. When this dream was related to a respectable alim, he enquired as to wether anyone was moving or starting something new. When my situation was related to him, he advised that although not very clear, there seemed to be something not good about this move. He advised for me not to continue with this.
I have always desired to complete my studies and eventually treat females only. I have within the last year doubted the permessibilty since it meant dealing with males in the process. However, after enquiring from you for advise, I was advised to carry out these interactions only when unavoidable and to make taubah often. Due to the above dream, I had decided to postpone my studies for 6 months and use this period to reflect on my decisions.
My husband was studying away from home and his studies would be complete at the end of this year. During this six months I have come to stay with him. If I decide to continue my studies next year, my mum would not have to leave my father to stay with me as my husband would be able to.
This abrupt change of temporarily suspending my studies has not been easy for me. I often feel like I have no direction. I am confused as to wether I should continue next year after receiving a warning through the dream. I have only one and half years studying left which are hectic including night shifts. As much as it is my greatest desire to complete my studies, I am scared if it is a wrong decision and wether I it is unwise to do so after receiving a warning.
I am trying to think of alternatives, like maybe studying a course through correspondence. But on the other hand, it would take longer to complete this than the one and half years of medicine
Please advise as to the correct course to follow.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
Sister in Islam,
It is encouraging to note that you are conscious of your duties as a Muslim woman. May Allah Ta`ālā keep you steadfast on His Dīn. Āmīn.
Allah Ta'ālā says in the Holy Quran:
وَقُلْ لِلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِنَّ وَيَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَى جُيُوبِهِنَّ
And say to the believing women that they must lower their gazes and guard their private parts, and must not expose their adornment (i.e. places of beauty)...
From the verse above one can understand the importance of observing hijāb and keeping oneself away from an environment where one is forced to intermingle with the opposite gender. While one may be granted leeway in certain situations, it does not mean that one should not make an effort is distancing oneself from an act that potentially may result in breaking a direct command of AllāhTa`ālā. It is highly probable that the interpretation offered by the `Ālim is a sign from Allāh Ta`ālā regarding the direction you should be taking and a manifestation of your inner doubts regarding this matter. You yourself have stated that you have been contemplating the matter for a long time and have finally found yourself at crossroads between Dīn and Dunyā. While you have a strong passion to continue your studies, deep down you also feel that continuing your studies as before would have a negative impact on your religious state and your Īmān. This is precisely the feeling one gets when they are showing signs of a deep connection with Allāh Ta`ālā, also known as taqwā.
In the enquired case, our personal advice on the matter is that in order to pacify your inner passion for medicine and soothe your apprehensions regarding your Dīn, you should opt for finding an alternative (such as correspondence) even if it means that you will have to prolong your studies. This way, not only will you be able to fulfill your worldly aspirations of becoming a female doctor, but you will also have a means to secure your īmān while doing so. There is no gain in climbing the ladder of this world if it means that you are heading in a direction away from Allāh Ta`ālā.
We also advise you to pray Salāt al-Istikhārah and make plentiful du`ā’ to Allāh Ta`ālā so that he may guide you towards what is best for your Dīn and Dunyā.
Please note that once you have successfully graduated from medical school, if you intend on treating only female patients then there is no harm in doing so; however, you must still ensure that any and all unnecessary interaction with males is limited by strictly observing the rules of hijāb.
And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best
Student Darul Iftaa
New Jersey, USA
Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.