Travelers on the Path of Knowledge

Knowledge is an ocean and a few drops just aren’t enough. -Unknown

Imam Zaid Shakir June 25, 2007

Filed under: Islam,News — musaafir @ 6:07 pm

I don’t know how many of you received those emails about Zaid Shakir appearing on Bill Moyers show on PBS a few days ago. But I saw the show and a friend recently sent me the link to the video online. I sent it to one of my friends who wasn’t Muslim as a joke( I told her I was famous because I’m on it for about 2 seconds- really unmiraculous though 🙂 ) and she watched the entire interview and was impressed by Imam Zaid. I’ve always thought he’s had this eloquence in the way he speaks and loved listening to him since the first time I saw him speak at a national conference. Anyhow, seeing that my non-Muslim friend was impressed by him- “this guy is mad mad MAD knowledgable!!”- I figured I might as well post the link for those who wanted to see the interview and didn’t.  Alhamdulillah. 🙂

Bill Moyer’s interview with Zaid Shakir 


Conflict of Interest June 17, 2007

Filed under: Medicine — musaafir @ 2:56 pm

Recently I was writing a paper on drug company profiteering. While researching the topic I learned about DTC advertising (direct to consumer). The arguments against DTC made a lot of sense because when you see ads for drugs on TV, the uninformed consumer is apt to tell their doctor that they want the drug they saw in the ad, despite the side effects- which are either mumbled really quickly at the end or written in fine print. “Ask you doctor if “our drug” is right for you.”

I’m sure you’ve heard it. In most fields, the average layperson asks the one who possesses knowledge to help them make informed decisions. But here the patient urges the doctor to prescribe the drugs that are advertised on mediums they often see- not just limited to television, these ads are in magazines and journals as well.

The drug companies also are not limited to marketing directly to the consumer, they often market to doctors as well. Where do you think people get all those free sample notepads, pens, paper weights, etc. etc. In fact, some drug companies even sponsor breakfasts and seminars for certain hospitals and clinics. Here ethics get blurred because more often than not the doctors will prescribe certain drugs because of the perks associated with those companies.

Now, there is article in the NYTimes about the potential conflict of interest in the field of medicine which can lead to the detriment of patient care:

the transformation of continuing medical education into an enterprise for drug marketing. The chore of teaching doctors how to practice medicine has been handed to the pharmaceutical industry. As a result, dangerous side effects are rarely on the curriculum.

Most states require that doctors obtain a minimum number of credit hours of continuing medical education each year to maintain their medical licenses. Not so long ago, most of these courses were produced and paid for by universities and medical associations. But this has changed drastically over the past decade.

According to the most recent data available from the national organization in charge of accrediting the courses, drug-industry financing of continuing medical education has nearly quadrupled since 1998, from $302 million to $1.12 billion. Half of all continuing medical education courses in the United States are now paid for by drug companies, up from a third a decade ago. Because pharmaceutical companies now set much of the agenda for what doctors learn about drugs, crucial information about potential drug dangers is played down, to the detriment of patient care.

Drug companies should never have been allowed to become the primary educator for America’s doctors. The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education, a nonprofit organization composed of the major medical associations, establishes the rules that govern continuing medical education. According to the guidelines, companies are forbidden from directly paying doctors who teach continuing medical education courses.

But the standards have a loophole that allows drug companies to circumvent the regulations. They hire for-profit “medical education communication companies” to organize the courses. These companies receive millions of dollars from drug companies to create course work and to pay doctors to deliver the content. Sometimes, they pay doctors to give lectures to other doctors. Other times, prominent doctors are paid to be listed as the authors of journal articles that are written by ghost writers, a practice that was extensively documented in court records from a lawsuit against Pfizer.

Either way, the content is rarely developed by the identified experts. Instead, it is developed by the undisclosed communication company, which is paid by the sponsoring pharmaceutical company.

Essentially, this is a new twist on that well-known instrument of corruption, money laundering. Drug companies don’t directly pay doctors to teach courses. Instead, they pay someone else to cut the checks. Similarly, the drug companies don’t explicitly tell doctors to say good things about their products. Instead, they hire a company to write good things about their products and to pay doctors to deliver the messages.

Full text.

Now you would think that those companies that have in their hands the lives of consumers would be ethical, wouldn’t you? But drug companies shrug off this responsibility because their existence is based on money and they feel that health isn’t their primary responsiblity since they are not the primary healthcare givers.. but the more involved they get in medical processes, the deeper the hole they dig for themselves..


Murid and Murad June 14, 2007

Filed under: Islam — musaafir @ 8:35 pm

An e-mail from a mailing list I’m on:


The Difference between a Murid and a Murad

The travelers on the path of love are of two types.  The first is called a murid [seeker], and denotes one whose progress is based on his own effort and worship.  The second is called a murad [one who is sought], and denotes a person whom the Beloved (subhana wa ta’ala) Himself wishes to draw near to Him.

The difference between a murid and a murad may be understood by comparing the lives of Prophet Musa (alayhis salaam) and the blessed Prophet Muhammad (sallullahu ‘alayhi wasallam) .  Prophet Musa (alayhis salaam)  was a lover of Allah [muhibbullah],  while the blessed Prophet (sallullahu ‘alayhi wasallam)  was the beloved of Allah [mabbubullah].  The distinction is hightlighted by the following examples.

Example Number One

Prophet Musa (alayhis salam) was granted a meeting with Allah (subhana wa ta’ala)  at Mount Sinai.  Allah (subhana wa ta’ala)  narrates:

And when Musa came to meet Us. (7:143)    

However, when the blessed Prophet (sallullahu ‘alayhi wasallam)  was granted a meeting with Allah (subhana wa ta’ala)  during the Ascension [mi’raj], Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) stated:

Glorified is He who brought His slave for a journey at night. (17:1)    

The verb “came” [ja’a]   is used for Prophet Musa (alayhis salaam)  whereas the verb “brought” [asra]   is used for the blessed Prophet (sallullahu ‘alayhi wasallam).   Prophet Musa (alayhis salaam)  was told where to come for the meeting, whereas the blessed Prophet (sallullahu alayhi wasallam)  was sent an angel to bring him to the meeting.

Example Number Two

Prophet Musa (alayhis salaam)  prayed:

O my Lord, expand my breast for me.  (20:25)    

Whereas, regarding the blessed Prophet (sallullahu ‘alayhi wasallam),  Allah (subhana wa ta’ala)  revealed:

Have We not expanded for you your breast?  (94:1)    

Example Number Three

Prophet Musa (alayhis salaam)  had to climb Mount Sinai to recieve revelation, whereas the Quran was sent to the blessed Prophet (sallullahu ‘alayhi wasallam)

It is he (Gabriel) who has revealed (this scripture) upon your heart by Allah’s leave.  (2:97)    

The ways of love dictate that the lover [muhibb]  hopes and desires to meet the Beloved [mahhub]  subhana wa ta’ala.  Yet sometimes the Beloved (subhana wa ta’ala)  also desires that the lover come to meet Him.  And when the Beloved (subhana wa ta’ala)  also wishesd to meet, then it becomes easy to draw near to Him.

When the Most Beautiful One (subhana wa ta’ala)  arranges a meeting, then the true pleasure of love [‘ishq]  is attained.  When the lover knows the Beloved (subhana wa ta’ala)  loves him well, then his happiness knows no bounds.

The love of the lover manifests in deep sighs of longing, whereas the love of the Beloved (subhana wa ta’ala)  is subtle and hidden.  The love of the lover weakens his body, while the love of the Beloved (subhana wa ta’ala)  invigorates the lover’s body.

When Allah (subhana wa ta’ala)  bestows His grace upon a servant, He opens the way to reach Him.  Then the remembrance [dhikr]  of Allah (subhana wa ta’ala)  predominates.