Bless the One who is Modest without Indigence

Some of my colleagues told me about a painful phenomenon, of which they suffered and went through during their studies in Arab medical schools, and did not realize how wrong it was or recognize its negative effect on them until they travelled abroad to continue their studies and training in different medical majors.


This phenomenon is the big difference between how students are treated by professors in Arab countries compared to other countries. Although I did not personally experience what they went through, as I received all my education in the United States, I felt like it was my duty to ascertain how prevalent that phenomenon was to avoid misjudgment.


After asking tens of Arab doctors working in the United States or those who received their training over there, who also happened to be some of the best young men who proved their abilities and skills and were among the best graduates in their countries and earned respect and trust in the American scientific circles, it became apparent to me that the phenomenon was not exaggerated and was not based on some exceptional cases but a painful behavioral phenomenon that needs examination and treatment.


Among what was mentioned to me was the abruptness of some professors who adhered to being called “professors” at all times and refused any scientific criticism or different points of view in different medical issues. It is ironic, as the only way to reach scientific facts especially in the medical field is through examining – and even challenging – different theories and opinions. The medical field is abundant with studies that support different points of view, and a lot of what we rely on is based on statistical studies. Scientists with deep understanding of the medical field and authors of medical references taught around the world – from whom I received some of my education in the United States – are usually some of the most humble people with high respect for difference in opinions. When they try to illustrate a certain case, they usually take the time to mention different views and even remind that there is still room for modification and addition.


That is the reason why they don’t have a hard time accepting correction or being reminded of something if they forgot, or even being challenged by other theories by their students as long as they follow the scientific methods to prove their claims. Some of them even appreciate all that effort and do not give honorary grades except for those who participate in discussions and debates; it is a sign that a student is interested in the knowledge in his hands and is thirsty for more knowledge and scientific facts. Scientific debates and discussions characterize hardworking students and scientists, and that’s what those science gurus try to teach their students. Some department heads and medical gurus in Western countries even prefer to be called by their first name without any titles, as they consider those students to be the doctors of the future and deserve to be treated as colleagues despite the differences in scientific experiences, degrees and positions.


Knowledge is a trust… Education is an honor and a mission.


True knowledge is not measured by the quantity of information in our possession, but in our ability to teach the future generations how to think, learn and teach… And that is not possible without respect to the mind and ideas.


If we were unable to make our children and students realize the importance and value of their own brains and ideas, they would not be encouraged to wade into the prospects of science to invent and create, and would not be able to help those around them to follow the same values; you cannot give what you don’t have.


Whoever thinks he has reached the summit of knowledge should know that over every possessor of knowledge is another who is more knowledgeable.


True knowledge inherits modesty and piety of God, as what we still haven’t achieved is way greater than what has already been discovered. It is also possible that God will allow one of our students to reach the sort of achievement and creativity that wasn’t possible for us or those before us; “Mankind has not been given of knowledge except a little.” The prophet (PBUH) said “God rewards forgiveness with nothing but luster, and whoever shows humbleness will be given prestige from God.”


Ayesha (may God be pleased with her) said “You ignore the best of act of devotion which is modesty.”


Al-Fadhil, when asked about the meaning of humbleness, said “To follow the truth and accept it, even if you hear it from a little boy or from the most ignorant.”